Howdy folks! For those of you who wondered why I haven’t posted a book roundup in a while, that’s because I took my hubby’s suggestion of doing one big post for the summer. So you’ll get everything I read in June, July, and August in one awesome post!
I definitely fell short in terms of what I expected my summer reading to be like. One book a week — no problem — especially since I decided not to work this summer. When I wasn’t traveling, I was able to sleep in and start my day off at a leisurely pace. A morning coffee, along with a Bible study and my daily gratitude journal made for a peaceful start to my day. No matter how much I’ve tried, I struggle to find that same peace and relaxation during the school year mornings. Consequently, I’ll soak it up while I can. 🙂
Just in case you’re new around these parts, let me explain the formatting. First, you’ll find the title and author. I’ve also linked to the book through Amazon, but this is NOT an affiliate link. While I love to support independent bookstores, my favorite source is the public library. Next up you will see a brief synopsis of the book in my own words. This is the italicized part. Finally, you’ll see my review and final thoughts. Hope this helps!
Lie to Me – J.T. Ellison
Ethan and Sutton seem to have the perfect life, except that they love to hate each other. When Sutton suddenly disappears, with nothing but a short note on the counter, Ethan’s life begins to unravel.
Another psychological thriller — wife goes missing, hubby is the main suspect. Their perfect life wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought. This one definitely took a few turns that I didn’t see coming towards the end. Overall it was a pretty good book, but the whole missing wife thing is getting just a tad overdone, don’t you think? I’d give it a 3.5/5
Fallen – Annie Lobert
Fallen is the true-life account of a Las Vegas sex worker — how she got into the business, why she stayed and what finally made her get out.
So, I fell down a rabbit hole known as the world wide web. One minute I’m looking at Tim Tebow’s book and the next minute I’m on A.J. Gregory’s page. Gregory is the co-writer/author of many books, including Fallen, which is how I happened to spot it in the first place.
In this eye-opening story, you see how brutal the sex worker industry is and the vicious cycle that women struggle to break free from. As this is something so far removed from my life, it was interesting to see why young girls turn to this lifestyle. Since 2008, Annie has run Hookers for Jesus, a non-profit Christian ministry that helps those involved in prostitution, pornography, sex trafficking and the sex worker industry. She also established Destiny House, a safe haven for those involved in the industry.
Something in the Water – Catherine Steadman
Erin and Mark seem to have it all. The perfect house, the perfect jobs, and the perfect honeymoon planned in a tropical destinaton. Life is good until the couple discovers something deep within the teal waters of Bora Bora. Do they tell the authorities or should they keep quiet about it? Their choices will take a you on a whirlwind adventure long after the honeymoon ends.
For starters, I downloaded this on a whim via Audible during our trip to Alaska when my beloved Hoopla just wouldn’t seem to work. So much for pre-downloading 3 new books! Anyway…this is a former Reese Witherspoon book club pick, so it was a no-brainer. Plus it’s a psychological thriller. #winning (← Is that still a thing?)
I liked the change of scenery in this book. Part of it took place in Bora Bora, but most of it was set in London, (and I heart London so much), plus I could instantly picture the surroundings. I also like that readers start out knowing the ending – or at least part of it – right from the get-go. Perhaps my favorite part is that I totally didn’t expect the ending to unfold the way it did, even though I knew part of what would happen. I’d give it a 4 out of 5 even though it seemed a little lengthy at times. I know, I know….the author has to build the characters and yadda yadda. 😉
Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
After years of building a media company and online empire, Rachel Hollis has sat down to debunk the common myths that women believe about themselves, their marriages and even parenting.
I had never even heard of Rachel before this spring, but suddenly this book kept popping up everywhere. People were raving about it across the nation. I added it to my Hoopla favorites and figured I’d get around to it someday. As summer approached I had 2 friends tell me that I needed to read it. That was it. I listened to most of it in one sitting and finished the remainder of it the next morning on a walk. This book is very easy to “read” and Rachel makes salient points about topics/lies/beliefs that most of us likely already know, but struggle to accept or believe on our own. I’d give it a 3.75 out of 5. Not super amazing, like…you need to read it right this moment…but definitely some truths we could all stand to hear.
Fierce Marriage – Ryan & Selena Frederick
Faced with a near death situation early in their marriage, Ryan and Selena radically changed how they approached their marriage. With God at the center, they want couples to not only strive for a healthy marriage, but to fight for one.
Hold on folks because I’m getting on my soapbox! I’m a wife and a Christian and my dear hubby and I go to church on a weekly basis (and not out of guilt). This newfound faith has been a pretty recent thing in our marriage — the past 2 years — and mostly on my part as the hubs grew up going to church. One day, after being married for several years, I looked up and realized that things were going in a direction that I didn’t like and I wanted to change that. Now, I strongly believe in creating a healthy marriage, and working towards one is something that I am pretty damn passionate about. But you have to put in the work! Hence, the marriage books, podcasts, date days, etc.. Enter Fierce Marriage.
I won’t sugar coat things — I sped read most of this book. I felt like topics/chapters droned on and on. Also, and this is me being a picky snot-face, I didn’t like the female narrator’s voice because she sounded mechanical — like my Google Home Mini was reading to me. However, the main reason I didn’t like this book is because of all the scripture references. Again, this is personal preference, but if I wanted to be beaten over the head with scripture, I would read the Bible.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I read a lot of books within the religious/spiritual genre. One of my favorite authors is Bob Goff. I think he explained it best when he said that you won’t find any scripture in his books because people don’t need more scripture thrown in their face. What they need is to be reminded of what it is to love others as we love ourselves. (I’m paraphrasing this because I can’t find the exact quote since I heard it on a podcast, but still…)
I think that’s where Fierce Marriage fell short for me. I didn’t need someone to quote 1 Corinthians and tell me love is patient and love is kind. I know that’s what the Bible says it *should* be. But the reality is that we are broken people and not one of us is perfect. Instead, tell me what’s working for you and your spouse. Give me your best tips, tricks, and nuggets of marital wisdom. Show me practical ways to be more patient with your spouse. How do you keep the spark going after being together for 10 years? Ultimately, I don’t think this book was the right fit for me, but I hope that others can find it useful.
Hiking Through – Paul Stutzman
After Paul loses his wife to cancer, he begins to question the choices he made in life and if he was really living at all. He quits his job to embark on the 2,176 mile trek along the Appalachian Trail in order to complete a life goal, as well as renew his sense of purpose.
I thoroughly enjoy reading books that take you on an epic journey of not only strength and endurance, but also spiritual and emotional growth and healing. Though I didn’t resonate with Paul in the same way I did while reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I still enjoyed hearing his story. I can’t help but be inspired by someone who completed such a monumental journey.
The Breakdown – B.A. Paris
Cass and Matthew live a quiet life in the English countryside. Their quiet life changes when Cass learns that a woman was found brutally murdered in her car on the road leading towards their house. The very same road that Cass drove home on the night before. The chilling fact that haunts Cass is that she stopped to see if the driver needed help, but she never got out of the car. Did the murderer see Cass and track her back to her house? Are they the one making mysterious phone calls to her house? And why does Cass suddenly feel like she is being watched?
Admittedly, I purchased B.A. Paris’ other novel — Behind Closed Doors — months ago, and I still haven’t read it. When some friends suggested I read this page-turner, I hopped onto Audible and downloaded it. Let’s just say that I finished it within 2 days! Though I was able to guess some of the plot line pretty early-on, it didn’t ruin the book, nor did it take away from the ending. I really enjoyed listening to this and now I’m even more stoked to read Behind Closed Doors.
I managed to read 7 books this summer, but I still have three books that I started in June “in progress” and waiting to be finished. I also brought a few books home from my classroom library, with every intention of reading them, but they’ve sat on a shelf all summer. To top it all off, I even checked out a book from the library and returned it without ever cracking the cover. But I’m not mad about it. Books are always there for you, whether you put them down for weeks at a time or stay up late trying to finish the last few chapters. And perhaps that’s why I love them so!