I have always been an avid reader, at least as far as I can remember. There have been seasons where I have read voraciously and other seasons where I read just a few books, depending on my mind and surrounding circumstances. As an adult, I typically gravitate towards non-fiction books – specifically Christian non fiction or personal growth books that will help me as a business owner and leader. If you work from home, you may find these personal growth books helpful, or even these books.
Although I love personal growth type books, there are some seasons where I crave more lighthearted books. Seasons where I don’t have to become consumed with learning all the things. Information overload is a real problem in today’s society, and we often don’t take the time to just be still and enjoy reading for pure pleasure. Through experience, I have learned to listen to my body and mind, and to take information breaks periodically.
This post contains affiliate links.
Summer tends to be one of those times, as does the Christmas season. I naturally read more fiction during these seasons, and then anytime I know my brain needs a rest. Now, just because I focus on fiction books, does not mean I’m not learning. In fact, I have easily learned more about World War II in the historical fiction books I have read over the years than in all my years of school. I wish history had been presented to me in such fascinating ways!
So, my summer reading list is extensive and the majority of books are fiction. I do have quite a few historical fiction novels on my list (mostly WWII) because I really enjoy that time period. There are also a couple non fiction reads included in my list. I share a lot of books and my personal book reviews on Instagram, so make sure to follow me over there. We also have a great community of women in the Simple Home Community where we chat books, homemaking, homeschooling. faith, motherhood and more. If you want even more, make sure to check out the Simply Planned Life. We would love to see you there!
While I do prefer to have a paper book in hand, I only have so many bookshelves! In order to keep all the books I want to keep, and honestly to keep my budget in check, I have a lot of books on my Kindle HD. My kids can use it too, since I have Kids Freetime and can create multiple kid safe accounts on the one device, although we do have one kid friendly kindle that come with a year of Freetime included. Another thing I am so thankful for is my Kindle Unlimited membership. I pay less than $10 a month and have access to thousands and thousands of books. Most of the book on this summer reading list here are FREE with a Kindle Unlimited membership! SUCH A BLESSING!
One last thing… make sure to look for the best deal for each book. Many are free with Kindle Unlimited, some are best on Audible (like Clansland!) and you can get free audiobooks if you are new to Audible. And then kindle prices tend to be much cheaper than paper books. Look around and make sure to get the best deal!
MY SUMMER READING LIST:
BEACH READ by Emily Henry
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
A BREATHE OF SNOW & ASHES by Diana Cabaldon
This is the sixth book in the Outlander series. I started watching the tv series when it first came out and loved it, because of the historical aspect. But it was a little too much for me, so I am happy to start reading the books to finish out the story.
A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman
In this New York Times bestselling “charming debut” (People)—soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks—from one of Sweden’s most successful authors, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window.
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
THE BAXTERS BY KAREN KINGSBURY
I have read almost all the Baxter books, so I was so glad to see this book come out! This warmhearted and moving prequel to the “heart-tugging and emotional” (RT Book Reviews) #1 New York Times bestselling Baxter Family Series follows the family members as they face rising tensions during a wedding and a colossal storm.
CONFESSIONS OF A BOOKSELLER BY SHAUN BYTHELL
One cozy, funny year with a Scottish used bookseller as he stays afloat while managing staff, customers, and life in the village of Wigtown. This endearing world is the next best thing to visiting your favorite bookstore (shop cat not included).
AMONG THE INNOCENT BY MARY ALFORD
When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.
As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah—and Dalton—when the full truth comes to light?
THIS PRESENT DARKNESS BY FRANK E. PERETTI
Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.
LOVE LETTERING BY KATE CLAYBORN
Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.
A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .
NEED SOMETHING FUN TO HELP YOUR KIDS TRACK THEIR READING?
RETURN TO ME (THE RESTORATION CHRONICLES BOOK 1) BY LYNN AUSTIN
Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.
OPERATION KINGFISHER BY HILARY GREEN
Southern Auvergne, France, 1943.
Occupied France is a dangerous place for Luke and Christine, especially when they are the children of a French mother and a British father.
Desperate to escape, the two teenagers embark on a perilous journey back to England to the safety of their grandparents.
But there are eyes everywhere.
Luke and Christine band together with fugitive Allied airmen, thinking they will keep them safe and help them on their treacherous journey.
But their new partnership could be putting them in more danger than they realize. Especially when there are hostile forces at work determined to scupper any plans to get the teenagers and airmen safely back to England.
With secret operations mounting against the enemy, there is one path which remains unguarded: a risky escape route via the canals.
Luke and Christine take refuge on a canal barge and find themselves immersed in the complex Operation Kingfisher.
Can two teenagers make it across occupied France in one piece? Or will betrayal put them and the lives of others at great risk?
LAND OF SILENCE BY TESSA AFSHAR
Before Christ called her daughter . . .
Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .
Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.
No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?
THE LAZY GENIUS KITCHEN BY KENDRA ADACHI
You want your kitchen to be the heartbeat of the home, but you’re overwhelmed and out of breath trying to make it happen. Meals are on a never-ending loop, and you don’t have time to prepare dinner, much less enjoy it. Popular Lazy Genius expert and bestselling author Kendra Adachi is here to help!
CLANLANDS BY SAM HEUGHAN & GRAHAM MCTAVISH
A road trip book with a difference. Stars of Outlander – Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish – explore Scotland, a land of raw beauty, poetry, feuding, music, history and warfare.
Narrated by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, with a foreword written and read by Diana Gabaldon.
From their faithful camper-van to boats, kayaks, bicycles and motorbikes, join stars of Outlander Sam and Graham on a road trip with a difference.
TEAM OF RIVALS: THE POLITICAL GENIUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.
Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded was the result of a character that had been forged by life experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because hepossessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.
This capacity enabled President Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to preserve the Union and win the war.
THE TURNER HOUSE BY ANGELA FLOURNOY
A powerful, timely debut, The Turner House marks a major new contribution to the story of the American family.
The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house has seen thirteen children grown and gone—and some returned; it has seen the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit’s East Side, and the loss of a father. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts—and shapes—their family’s future.
Praised by Ayana Mathis as “utterly moving” and “un-putdownable,” The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It’s a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home.
BEYOND THESE WAR TORN LANDS (WOUNDED HEARTS BOOK 1) BY CYNTHIA ROEMER
The War brought them together ~ Would it also tear them apart?
While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.
After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher fears he’s seen the last of Caroline. Resolved not to let that happen, when the war ends, he seeks her out, only to discover she’s been sent away. When word reaches him that President Lincoln has been shot, Drew is assigned the task of tracking down the assassin. A chance encounter with Caroline revives his hopes, until he learns she may be involved in a plot to aid the assassin.
WHERE COURAGE CALLS (RETURN TO THE CADAIAN WEST BOOK 1) BY JANETTE OKE
Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected…
Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she’s had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?
THINGS WE NEVER GOT OVER BY LUCY SCORE
Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way…with fists and beer. Usually in that order.
Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.
There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.
At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.
NOT UNTIL FOREVER (HOPE SPRINGS BOOK 1) BY VALERIE BODDEN
“Karen Kingsbury meets Nicholas Sparks.” Sophie thinks she knows what she wants. Until she returns to the one place she said she’d never go again. And finds the one man she thought she’d left behind forever.
THE COMMANDANT’S DAUGHTER (HANNI WINTER BOOK 1) BY CATHERINE HOKIN
Germany 1945. Her heart thundering, Hannelore Foss runs out of the station and into the first car she sees. For long, brutal years, she has fought against her father, a high-ranking Nazi. But her final attempt to help the families being bundled onto the trains has been discovered. Heartbroken, she escapes to Berlin, to pick up the fight for justice once more…
One year later. Hanni has a new name and a tiny, lonely apartment on the outskirts of the city. In stolen moments, she collects evidence to expose her father’s crimes to the British. But her plan is threatened when she discovers a body hidden in a bombed-out building and meets Freddy, the tortured young detective in charge of the case.
As Hanni and Freddy piece together the shocking truth of Hanni’s discovery, their hearts become hopelessly connected. But both are hiding secrets about the choices they made during the war, and Hanni knows that any future together is impossible unless she can confront the past that haunts her. For a chance of happiness, what will she have to sacrifice, and can it ever be enough?
BEGINNERS LUCK (CHANCE OF A LIFETIME BOOK 1) BY KATE CLAYBORN
When three best friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, their shared winnings lead to luck in love in this romance trilogy debut.
A university research scientist, Kit Averin is practical to a fault. Even after she and her friends Zoe and Greer win the lottery, Kit doesn’t want the windfall to change her life in any way except one: she’s finally buying her first real home. Now, between work and her new fixer-upper house, she has more than enough to keep her busy. But then an unsettlingly handsome and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart.
THE SCHOOL MISTRESS (HISTORICAL BOOK 1) BY TESS THOMPSON
An impoverished young woman. A lonely father of five. Will they be able to resist when a cadre of optimistic children start matchmaking?
The School Mistress is the delightful first book in the Emerson Pass Historicals sweet romance series. If you like gallant nobles, resilient heroines, and hints of mystery, then you’ll adore Tess Thompson’s Edwardian adventure in the Old West.
THE TOURIST ATTRACTION (MOOSE SPRINGS BOOK 1) BY SARAH MORGENTHALER
This story of Alaska marries together all the things you didn’t realize you needed: a whirlwind vacation, a friendly moose, a grumpy diner owner, a quirky tourist, plenty of restaurant humor, and a happy ending that’ll take you away from it all.
THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY BY DENISE KEIRNAN
The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history.The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships–and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!
But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work–even the most innocuous details–was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb “Little Boy” was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.
Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there–work they didn’t fully understand at the time–are still being felt today. In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is history and science made fresh and vibrant–a beautifully told, deeply researched story that unfolds in a suspenseful and exciting way.
AT HOME WITH MADAME CHIC BY JENNIFER SCOTT
Approach life at home the Madame Chic way: a beautiful, illustrated toolbox of tips and ideas for organizing, entertaining, and savoring a stylish life.
When she arrived at Madame Chic’s Parisian apartment as a foreign exchange student, Jennifer Scott was a casual California girl who thought sweatpants were appropriate street attire. Madame Chic took Jennifer under her wing and tutored her in the secrets of how the French elevate the little things in life to the art of living.
SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN BY JILL LEPORE
The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history. Wonder Woman, Jill Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights—a chain of events that begins with the women’s suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.
THE RIVERIA HOUSE BY NATASHA LESTER
Paris, 1939: The Nazis think Éliane can’t understand German. They’re wrong. They think she’s merely cataloging art in the Louvre and unaware they’re stealing national treasures for their private collections. They have no idea she’s carefully decoding their notes and smuggling information to the Resistance. But Éliane is playing a dangerous game. Does she dare trust the man she once loved with her secrets, or will he only betray her once again? She has no way to know for certain . . . until a trip to a stunning home on the French Riviera brings a whole new level of peril.
Present Day: Wanting to forget the tragedy that has left her life in shambles, Remy Lang heads to a home she’s mysteriously inherited on the Riviera. While working on her vintage fashion business, she discovers a catalog of the artworks stolen during World War II and is shocked to see a painting that hung on her childhood bedroom wall. Who is her family, really? And does the Riviera house hold more secrets than Remy is ready to face?
THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE: BRAIN, MIND & BODY IN THE HEALING OF TRAUMA
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.
VERITY BY COLLEEN HOOVER
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night her family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue loving her.
AMERICAN ROYALS BY KATHERINE MCGEE
When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.
As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.