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What I am reading this Summer (2018 Reading Challenge)


Way back in January I set my 2018 Reading Challenge to read 30 books this year. Yes, 30 books isn’t the loftiest of goals, but the previous year I was just shy of that goal with 26 books read.

I am on track with my goal and have read some great books this year. But they haven’t been incredibly diverse. I have fallen happily into my mystery/suspense comfort zone.

I just can not get enough of a good suspense novel.

I love plot twists, unreliable narrators, and psychological thrillers.

3 months ago, on a whim, I decided to join The Book of the Month Club (BOTM), and it has been amazing, I have gotten some of my favorite thrillers this year from them.

And while my BOTM books have kept me up way past my bedtime reading “just one more page” for the last half of the year I would like to challenge myself to read outside of my preferred genre comfort zone.

So I have decided to add some personal development, coming of age, and fictional family dynamic books into my bedside book pile this summer.

These books are in no particular order, and I tend to like to read two books at the same time (one slower more thought-provoking book, and a fast-paced thriller)


I’ve Been Thinking, by Maria Shriver

Honestly, I have ever read any of Maria Shriver’s books, but I have heard good things about her writing, so I decided to give it a try.

Book Description from Publisher:

In this moving and powerful book, she shares inspiring quotes, prayers, and reflections designed to get readers thinking, get them feeling, get them laughing, and help them in their journey to what she calls The Open Field–a place of acceptance, purpose, and passion–a place of joy.

I’ve Been Thinking . . . is ideal for anyone at any point in her life. Whether you feel like you’ve got it all together or like it’s all falling apart–whether you’re taking stock of your life or simply looking to recharge, this is the book you will turn to again and again. Spend the weekend reading it cover to cover, or keep it on your nightstand to flip to the chapter you need most. Like talking with a close friend, it’s the perfect daily companion—an exceptional gift for someone looking to move forward in life with hope and grace.

The Great Alone, By Kristin Hannah

And for the family drama, coming of age category I picked out this highly recommended book! It actually looks really good, and I am not the only one awaiting my copy from the library. I am number 43 on a list of 57 holds at the library, so it looks like this may be an end of summer read for me.

Book Description from Publisher:

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both, by Jennifer Fulwiler

This book had me at “Jennifer’s story will spark clarity and comfort to your own tug-of-war between all that is good and beautiful about family life and the incredible sacrifice it entails. “. I am really looking forward to reading this book during our busy season (farm, kids sports, etc.).

Book Description from Publisher:

One Beautiful Dream is the story of what happens when one woman embarks on the wild experiment of chasing her dreams with multiple kids in diapers. It’s the tale of learning that opening your life to others means that everything will get noisy and chaotic, but that it is in this mess that you’ll find real joy.

Something in the Water, by Catherine Steadman

You don’t expect me to completely give up my psychological thrillers, do you? This brand new June 2018 release is already stacking up the 5-star reviews, so I have very high hopes for this book!

Book Description from Publisher:

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Kind Is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously, by Candace Cameron Bure

**Currently Reading**

I stumbled upon this book on Instagram, and I have already started it. I grew up watching Full House and I’m a fan of Candace, I even started watching The View briefly while she co-hosted it (I am not a fan of talk shows). If you have never read a book by Candace she writes in a conversational relatable tone and her faith touches every topic.

I feel like confrontational attitudes have just become the norm, and we could all use a little more kindness. In the book, Candace writes about kindness she has been shown by others, her own acts of kindness, along with examples of situations that could have been handled with more grace. Each chapter wraps up with “Your turn”, a couple of pages of prompts and ideas on how to implement kindness and grace every day.

Book Description from Publisher:

In Kind Is the New Classy, Candace reveals the thought patterns and practices that have empowered her to stay centered in who she is while practicing radical graciousness toward others. 

The Book of Essie, by Meghan MacLean Weir

This is my June BOTM pick, and it should be here within a day or two. Based on the reviews I have read on Goodreads I feel like this may be a more Young Adult novel, and I am ok with an occasional Young adult read, especially in Summer. I am going into this book with an open mind…

Book Description from Publisher:

Esther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines

I enjoy all things Chip and Joanna Gaines, and am interested in reading Chip’s story about his business ventures.

Book Description from Publisher:

The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of five in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

The Woman in the Window, by A.J Finn

One more thriller!! I added this book to my BOTM order, I found it under the customer’s favorite list.  I am actually going into this book somewhat skeptically, I love an unreliable narrator, but it has to be done well, I don’t mind if the narrator confused as long as they are telling their version of the truth. My concern with The Woman in the Window is that I will grow tired of the unreliable narration if it is solely due to the main character’s habit of self-medicating and drinking.

Book Description from Publisher:

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney

This book is actually in at the library and awaiting me to pick it up! Based on the description this book will likely be my cup of reading tea.

From the publisher:

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

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Most of these books I will be checking out of the library as soon as they become available, Some I have purchased. This post contains my affiliate links but is not sponsored; I’m a happy paying Book of the Month customer 🙂

What is on your Summer reading list?


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Jennifer Morrisey

Hi! I’m Jennifer – a work at home, farmer's wife, mom to 3, living life in Upstate New York! I love sharing tasty recipes, easy do it yourself projects, and little stories of life on a farm in the Finger Lakes.

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