Summer Stack 2015

Monday, June 08, 2015

I love a good summer reading list! This summer, I've got a line up of new books that I've only discovered recently, classics I've been meaning to read for years, sequels that I've been looking forward to, and a few books that will be good for my soul to savor slowly. 

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

The ones in bold are the ones I'm currently reading.

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


"Once Upon A Summertime" by Melody Carlson // This was the perfect light hearted book to kick off my summer reading! I loved the fact that it was set in New York City. I enjoyed getting to know Anna and watching her figure her life out. You can read my full review here. (May 27, 2015)

"Unspoken" by Dee Henderson // I've had my eye on this book for several years. It was not typical Henderson and left me very disappointed. I was hoping for a story with a lot of suspense, but this particular book just didn't come through. If you ask me, this is one you can skip! (June 13, 2015)

"Desperate Measures" by Sandra Orchard // I'm sorry to say that this was another book that I just couldn't get into! I shared a full review here and since posting that I've read several raving reviews on the series. Maybe it is worth picking up, but from what I could tell from this particular book, Orchard's style just isn't for me. (June 19, 2015)

"Paper Daughter" by Jeanette Ingold (YA) // Ingold is one of my favorite authors! I discovered her just over three years ago and I've passed her books onto others because I love them so much! My Mom saw this one lying around and has been patiently waiting her turn to read it. The inspiration and research for this story happened simultaneously as Ingold was researching another book of hers  ("Hitch", the book that she hooked me with). I figured things out about half way through, but that didn't make the story any less enjoyable. Without giving anything away, I can say that this book contains it all. Think news room, Chinese Immigration flash backs, and a girl trying to get to the bottom of things. Ingold weaves in historical details in a way that really boosts her stories. Grab this one right up, you'll be glad you did! (June 27, 2015)

"The Bookman's Tale" by Charlie Lovett  // If it wasn't for the brief inappropriate scenes, this book would be four or five stars. I loved the literary history that builds the plot. I loved the relationship of the main character and his girlfriend up until about half way through the book. Books and writing and figuring things out take center stage and if you are quick to skip right over the bad parts, this is one of those books that will sweep you right in. I did figure out the mystery on my own which added to my enjoyment of this one! (June 21, 2015)

"Hannah Coutler" by Wendell Berry // I've read quotes from Berry's "Hannah Coulter" and also "Jayber Crow". It turns out, this is a series and I can't wait to dig into more of them! This is the shortest book that I read in June, but the one that packed the most punch. It is the fictional story of a woman's life written by a man. The kinds of quotes you will be sure to pull from this book are pure prose, prose that is rich with the truth of everyday life that most of us miss. (June 23, 2015)

"The Beautiful and Damned" by F. Scott Fitzgerald // I was planning to get a copy of this book for my shelf from my favorite used book store. As it happened, our trip to that town got cancelled and I'm saving this book for another summer! Call me crazy, but I read my first Fitzgerald book in July so it's become a little tradition of mine to read him then. (July 19, 2015)

"The Mapmaker's Children" by Sandra McCoy // It might be too early to say this, but I'm thinking this will be one of my favorite books from this entire summer. Read it. If you need  little more convincing, read my full review here. (July 5, 2015)

"Nowhere, Carolina" by Tamara Leigh - Ended up having to swap this one for the next one in the series! Even though I can only give this book two stars (way too slow and heavy on the dueling heart throbs) the last two chapters really reached home with me. Forgiveness, trusting God (rather than trying to play God), and looking back on the good parts of the past without wishing it or tomorrow away were the lessons that Bridget needed to learn and they're the lessons that I've been learning for most of my life. This is one you can skip, but those last two chapters forced me to stew over some things that needed some attention in my own heart. (August 6, 2015)

"The Inn at Ocean's Edge" by Colleen Coble // Too much "he felt, she felt" for me! I HAD to get to the bottom of the mystery, but I skipped entire sections of this one because of the little drama going on between Claire and Luke. It turns out that I was on the right track and had nearly every element figured out on my own.  Coble's ability to really come up with a mystery that is beyond your wildest dreams is still really strong! I love the way she develops her plots and comes up with mysteries where EVERYONE is a suspect. If she would just leave attraction out of it, I'd be happy! (August 14, 2015)

"The Magic of Ordinary Days" by Ann Howard Creel // After hearing about this book for quite a while, I was excited to read it with my goodreads bookclub friends. Overall, I really enjoyed it and flew right through it! It's the perfect book for the last few days of summer and you probably won't be able to put it down. That said, it was a teensy bit shallow. Creel has a way with words that gives her writing a feeling of prose which made up for anything the plot lacked. Set in the middle of WWII, this book has a little of everything - Farm living, unwanted pregnancy, family problems, forgiveness, and a large portion of the plot centers around a Japanese internment camp. Warning: Three scenes stand out in my mind as inappropriate, especially for younger readers.  They're over in a flash, but they're there. (August 17, 2015)

"Heading Home" by Renee Riva // When I was in high school, my Mom got a review copy of Riva's book "Taking Tuscany" and passed it onto me. I LOVED that book. It was set in the summertime and it followed a girl who was leaving an island in the PNW where she spent summers with her family in order to move to Tuscany because somehow her family came to own a villa there. Everything she felt was so familiar to me even though I'd never shared her exact experiences (I wouldn't complain about heading to Italy, especially if the villa came complete with a private pool). A few years ago, I found out that there were more books in that series. Last summer I read "Saving Sailor" and promised myself that I could finish the series this summer. "Heading Home" was real and yet cheesy at the same time. I really enjoyed the book just because of the way the story finally came full circle. It gave me the closure I was hoping for and one last trip to Indian Island. (August 28, 2015)


"Watership Down" by Richard Adams // My brother and sister are doing a unit on literary analysis and I decided to join them! This book (which I've been meaning to read for the longest time) was the assigned reading. We all enjoyed it very much! I love reading books with other people because of the discussions that happen along the way. My brother's favorite character was Kehaar. My sister decided she really liked Blackberry and Dandelion. I was drawn straight to Fiver. Adams wove so much into this novel that really communicates the power of story. The Christian influence was interesting to trace and there were so many great quotes that I had to write down! As the BBC  said, "It's the shortest long book that I've ever read." ("All The Light We Cannot See" is a close second!) My final thoughts for you on this book are simply this: Don't wait to read this one!!! (June 15, 2015)

"The Melody Lingers On" by Mary Higgins Clark // I sped right through this one because I just needed to get to the bottom of things! To be perfectly honest, I kept waiting for someone to sneak up and murder someone, but this was more of a "who IS involved and who isn't involved" mind game based plot. Clark is famous for leaving breadcrumbs for her readers with the intention that they will decide which ones are clues and which ones are just distractions. I figured things out just in time, but still managed to enjoy watching her tie everything together. To Clark I say, "Well done and thanks for the trips to New Jersey (especially Verona)!" (July 2, 2015)

"The Children's Story" by James Clavell // My Mom picked this up at the library on a whim. She finished it and passed it around to the rest of us! It'll take you about 15 minutes to read and it's a book that will really make you THINK. Get a copy of it as soon as you get a chance! It's basically about the power we have in the lives of children, but also, the power that adults had in our lives when we were children. (July 12, 2015)

"The Prayer Box" by Lisa Wingate // I was craving a series to plow through and I'm always craving a trip to the beach. This book has been on my to-read list since it came out. Since the third book in the series releases next month, I knew it was perfect! I really, really enjoyed it! It's set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it's about a woman who is starting over, and it's about the place and power of prayer. This is a fiction book that doesn't feel a bit like fiction. It's not extremely well written, but it's one of my favorite books from this season. In short, you should read it! (July 26, 2015)

"The Story Keeper" by Lisa Wingate // I almost gave up on this book, but then just before I got about 200 pages in, I couldn't it down! Goodreads says that this is the second installment in the Carolina series, but it didn't really feel like the two books were related. Wingate did mention a prayer box and sea glass in this book and it did take place in NC, but that's pretty much where the similarities stop. I was intrigued by the history of Mulungeon people and the fact that the plot was set in the mountains of North Carolina. If you're anything like me, this will leave you ready to do some researching of your own! (August 1, 2015)

"The Sea Keeper's Daugthers" by Lisa Wingate


"10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health" by Donald S. Whitney // I read this book over the course of this morning! I expected to read it slowly, pausing for much reflection...but once I got started I just couldn't stop. You need to pick it up!

Some chapters will have you praising God for His grace in your life and others will cut you to the quick. The chapters on being governed by God's Word and sensitive to His presence were the most challenging for me. The chapter on grieving over sin is one that I'll be going back over in my mind for a while. The chapter on forgiveness really helped to straighten some things up in my mind. I have  feeling it was just the thing to prepare my heart for Packer's book. (June 28, 2015)

"Holy Is the Day" by Carolyn Weber // This book had some truly GOLDEN nuggets in it about seizing God (as opposed to seizing the day) and living in constant awareness of His presence. At that same time, there were Bible verses taken out of context and an over all feel to the book that wasn't Weber's best writing. Near the end, she shared some words from her pastor that will stay with me, "If you can worry, you can pray." I'm glad I read it for those chapters and sections that added to my summer studies, but it's not a book I can easily recommend. (July 17, 2015)

"A Circle of Quiet" by Madeleine L'Engle // I adore this book. When I picked it up I had no idea that it would have so much to teach me about the art of writing. L'Engle is amazing at sharing and communicating. Reading this book was like joining her for a cup of coffee. So many times I had to read sections aloud to which ever member of my family was siting nearby. Buy a copy for your bookshelf and read it. You'll be back for more, for sure! (August 10, 2015)

What's on the top of your summer stack? 

What type of books do you crave during this time of year?

If you're looking for more books that are
 perfect for summer reading:


  1. The Magic of Ordinary Days was one of my favorite books growing up. I've lost count of how many times I've re-read and rediscovered it!

  2. oooooooo i need to check these out!

  3. I'm reading Hitch by Jeanette Ingold. (I noticed she's on your list, too. ;)) I'm also reading again for a book club The Hiding Place. AND Revolution of the Heart by Dallas Willard. I wish I hadn't put the last one on hold so soon. It's going to take a while to work my way through it. Hitch and The Hiding Place are my swim practice books.

    I may try A Wrinkle in Time again. I read it in 5th grade and hated it. But reading what it's about now, my son will probably love it. So I'll give it another try this summer. I'm reading The Westing Game aloud to Ethan now in the evenings. It's a great mystery whodoneit book.

  4. "The Magic of Ordinary Days" looks so interesting...definitely going to add that to my TBR pile! Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the books you get to read this summer!

  5. Oh no! So sad! I was wondering about that Dee Henderson book! I loved reading her OMalley series when I was in high school. I was hoping this one would be similar! Thanks for the heads up!


I love hearing from you! Please be sure to leave your e-mail so that I can reply. :)