Summer Stack 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Compiling reading lists is one of my favorite things to do! I thought I'd share MY list of possibilities just in case any of you are looking for things to read this summer.

I'll add a few comments about each book after I'm finished with it.

The ones in bold will be ones I'm reading now and I'll tell you what I'm thinking so far.

Also note that each title is a link to the goodreads profile of each book! 


"Jacob Have I Loved" by Katherine Paterson (YA)// I had a hard time getting into this book. I think there was just too much talking going on for my taste. The last twenty pages or so brought everything together nicely and almost changed my mind about the book. A conversation in these last pages between Louise and her Mother were part of what me give it a second chance. It goes something like this:

 Louise's Mother tells her about why she came to the island of Rass in the first place, "I had some notion that I would find myself here, as a poet, of course, but it wasn't just that." '

Louise says "And did you find yourself here on this little island?"

Her Mother replies while scrubbing away at something, "I found very quickly,"...."I found there was nothing much to find." (June 14, 2014)

"I've Got You Under My Skin" by Mary Higgins Clark//I am always on the look out for Mary Higgins Clark's new releases. This one was particularly enjoyable! I missed the mark and didn't truly figure out whodunnit until she made it glaringly obvious. (June 7, 2014)

"The Fight" by Luke Wordley//See my full review HERE. This book may be about boxing, but it's also about so much more! There's faith and discipleship and hard times and characters that are realer than real. It's a good one! (June 12, 2014)

"Navigating Early" by Clare Vanderpool (YA)//This was a GREAT book! I finished it with the thought, "Now, THAT was a novel!" It's the bigger picture of this book that proves to be enjoyable. The night before I finished it, I watched "The Soloist" and together these book reminded me of what it is like when people carry the burden of life not going as they had hoped or planned. (June 22, 2014)

"Saving Sailor" by Renee Riva// This was a little cheesy...I read the sequel to it (Taking Tuscany) years ago and have always been curious about the back story. I have been "saving" this book for years, but I finally decided that this summer felt like the perfect time to dig in. (July 5, 2014)

"To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee //This is my Mom's favorite book and I finally know why! Due to her raves about it and the fact that it is a classic and has been on our shelf almost as far back as I can remember, I have started this book countless times. Every single time, I thought I knew what I was in for and I just couldn't get into it. Last weekend I got sick and needed something to read...I ended up settling on To Kill A Mockingbird even though it wasn't part of this summer's stack. By Wednesday afternoon I was hooked! I'm not sure why I could never get into it all the other tines I started it.

Scout is grand. Atticus reminds me of my Mom. Calpurnia is familiar. Jem is every person I grew up with.

The stories and lessons and small town stereotypes are all so familiar. It feels like the story of America - growing up, realizing her foolishness, and yet, needing children to lead the way.

I'm only sad that I waited so long to learn from Harper Lee and to enjoy the stories that she thought up before so many others were even ready. (July 13, 2014)

"A Cup of Friendship" by Deborah Rodriguez - also titled "The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul"// I really wanted to like this book! I had to put it down because of the language and content. It was a work of fiction drawn from Rodriguez's own experiences owning a coffee shop (which I believe was in Kabul). That part was great even if it was a little depressing to read about life in the Middle East. I got a taste of life in Kabul which is really why I wanted to read the book. It turned out that the rest of it just wasn't for me. You win some, you lose some! (July 2014)

"Summer of the Gypsy Moths" by Sara Pennypacker (YA)// The plot of this novel was pretty far fetched, but if you can get past that, you'll really enjoy it. I've been talking about "Great-Aunt Louise" as if she was my great-aunt and Pennypacker likes the kinds of details I do. I picked this book up because it was set on Cape Cod. Now that it's over I'm wishing that there were more books in the series! Who knew following a couple of 11 yr. old girls through a few weeks of their summer with a HUGE secret to keep could be so entertaining? (July 3, 2014)

"Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" by Chris Grabenstein (YA) // EXCELLENT book! I read this one in ONE day because I couldn't put it down. As I've mentioned in another post, this book is Willy Wonka meets The Westing Game meets something I can't quite put my finger on. Grabenstein had some great lines in this book as well as an intriguing plot that keeps his readers trying to solve the puzzles before the kids in the story. It may be YA, but I really enjoyed it. There was a bit of juvenille humor (jokes about underwear, bodily noises, etc.)...Thankfully, once the real story got rolling, there wasn't room for any of that! I loved Mr. Lemoncello! He is one of those quirky older men who love being weird but think they are perfectly normal. Pick this book up and you'll be on your way to going back to your own childhood to revisit some of your favorite books and memories. Enjoy the puzzles along the way! (July 26, 2014)

"The Last Tycoon" by F. Scott Fitzgerald // This last and unfinished novel by Fitzgerald didn't really disappoint even though it basically went nowhere. There is something about the way he SEES and TELLS things that I just love. (July 28, 2014)

"The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton// I was in between library shipments but needed a good book to read, so I decided to re-read one of my favorites from jr. high. Now I'm ready to back through the other Hinton books that I read all those years ago. If it's really true that a 17 year old GIRL wrote this book, I am impressed. The way kids see things for what they really are...beyond the struggles and the pain and the's nothing short of amazing. (July 31, 2014)

"Murder at the Mikado" Julianna Deering// I received a review copy of this from the publisher, but I just couldn't get into it. The back and forth between Drew and his fiance was just too much for me. He was sneaky. She didn't like it. They worked out it. But then they realized they really hadn't. The mystery seemed to take a back burner which was disappointing to me. There were about 150 pages that were SOLID and had me ALMOST changing my mind about this book. (August 6, 2014) 

"Dangerous Passage" by Lisa Harris// Harris has a way with mysteries! Even though I usually finish her books within a few days, it's not because I want to get them over with. In this book you're looking at a string of murders in Atlanta that are all tied together by a simple magnolia tattoo. Your suspicions will be raised. You'll think you have it all figured out. If you're like me, you'll keep reading and realize that you're ready for even more! You should know that this is the first book in Harris' "Southern Crimes" series. (August 11, 2014)

"Tidewater Inn" by Colleen Coble//I really wanted to love this book. The plot was really good, but it was super slow. If you like Coble, you should probably give this book a chance, just don't do what I did and set your expectations too high. Set in North Carolina's Outer Banks, this book really does have a bit of EVERYTHING. Coble beat me with the mystery that she included in this one. Even though I was suspicious of the one who turned out to be guilty, I didn't zero in on them on my own.  (August 17, 2014)

"Glory Be" by Augusta Scattergood (YA)// It turns out that this book was written for a pretty young audience. It's set during "Freedom Summer" (the summer of 1964) and tells about the events in one town from the perspective of an 11 yr. old girl. I've always enjoyed studying the history of Civil Rights in America, but this was one book that didn't do much for me personally. Young readers may enjoy this story that leaves out the most gruesome of details, yet still gets across the foolishness that has colored this country for far too long. (September 4, 2014)

"The Witness" by Dee Henderson//Aside from Mary Higgins Clark, Dee Henderson is my favorite mystery writer. I first read "The Witness" when I was 15. I remember sitting out on my back deck that summer reading this book every chance that I got. It's a book that has stayed with me. I figured this summer would be the perfect time to read it again and I wasn't wrong! I needed  a good novel to tie up my summer reading, so I chose this one even though it wasn't part of my original list. (September 4, 2014)

Two that I probably won't get to:
"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak (YA)
"Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell


"Idols of the Heart"by Elyse Fitzpatrick// So far, so good. This was recommended reading from Behold Your God, so I knew it would be helpful. I've not read Fitzpatrick before, but I'll be back for more. UPDATED: I ended up NOT finishing this one. Fitzpatrick did something that made me very uncomfortable when she would embellish portions of Scripture in order to talk about what details MIGHT be included in order to help us relate to them. (June 18, 2014)

"Women of the Word" by Jen Wilkin//Wilkin is a teacher at The Village Church who packs a punch with the sweetest of voices. I am pretty confident that this will be my very favorite book of 2014! It is already on the "shelf" of the most influential books I have read in my LIFETIME. The purpose of this book is to TEACH women why they should study the Bible and give them a hands on approach as to HOW they should study the Bible. Stay tuned for my full review of this book!(June 14,  2014)

"I Never Had It Made" by Jackie Robinson, Alfred Duckett // This got added to my summer stack because my friend Shauna was reading it and I decided to join her! I love a good autobiography (I read this on the kindle and I'm not quite sure, but I think Robinson told his story to Duckett who wrote it. Or maybe Robinson wrote it and Duckett helped? All I know is that Robinson did a lot of writing, but he also admitted that Duckett was a popular ghostwriter.). ANYWAY. I got a look into Robinson's life, baseball in "the good old days", and the Civil Rights movement. Robinson was front and center and did a lot of mixing with all kinds of people. He had a lot to say.

I was sad to hear the way that he expressed himself towards the end of the book. It tasted a little bitter. The rest of the book seemed to be a very good representation of America at the time and what it would take to change and what SHOULD have change. Robinson gave so very much and he accomplished a lot.

However much you think you know, pick up this book and you'll learn a lot! (July 7, 2014)

"Grace for the Good Girl" by Emily Freeman// This book was due back to the library before I finished it. I turned it in, but not without plans to check it out again sometime. Freeman is the contemporary female writer that I admire most. She brings living in communion with God to each piece she writes in a way that I only wish I could. I'm eager to find out the rest of her story. (July 2014)

"Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood" free ebook compiled by Desiring God // I was expecting more from this book than it delivered. Each chapter was very well written, but since they were all written by different people, they didn't flow very well. If you go into knowing these things, it will probably be a very helpful read for those of us who are curious about God's plan for complementarian lifestyles. (July 2014)

"One Thing: Developing a Passion for the Beauty of God" by Sam Storms// This is my first experience with Sam Storms. I can't wait to read more of his works! There were so many key, life changing sentences in this book and I finally have an idea as to where to begin with reading Jonathan Edwards. This book was the perfect book to finish out the summer with because it gave my soul more of God to dwell on and to contemplate as we move closer and closer to winter. (September 3, 2014)


"The Mysterious Howling"by Maryrose Wood  //Wood put together a cute story. It reminds me of the Series of Unfortunate Events without all of the misfortune. We enjoyed reading about a very young governess overcoming the task of helping three "incorrigibles" learn to behave as they should. The nursery is a fun place to be and reading about a completely fictitious account was very entertaining. It's a series that we'll be coming back to! (July 2, 2014)

"As Ever, Gordy" by Mary Downing Hahn  //This book disappointed me...Gordy was as rotten as ever and not very eager to continue doing right. On top of that he becomes infatuated with Elizabeth. The first two books in the series were worth the read, but this one was just too much. (June 28, 2014)

ADDED: "The Hidden Gallery" by Maryrose Wood

What are you reading?

What are some books in your summer stack?


  1. I'm reading The Book Thief right now, and really enjoying it--the style of writing is so unique. Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite books in the whole world, so if you can make time for these two, I highly recommend them!

  2. Navigating Early jumps out at me: I've heard such good things about this and Vanderpool's other work. Love your description of it!


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