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The Books I’ve Read So Far This Summer (Only the Good Ones)

I can’t remember which came first for me; my love for writing or reading.

I fell in love with both at such a young age and really, the two can’t exist without the other. I remember being in 6th or 7th grade when we were asked as students to research a career path and then take a day off of school and shadow someone in that career field.

I chose to research and shadow the profession of an author. And now that I think about it, I believe it was definitely my love of story and reading words on a page that I fell in love with first.

Reading for me is at times an escape, a tremendous journey to far-off places that I could only dream of visiting in my real life. Sometimes, reading is an oasis, a shelter, where I run to meet my Heavenly Father within the pages of His book. And other times, I read with the intent to grow, learn, and be molded.

The Books I’ve Read So Far This Summer (Only the Good Ones)

I think each book holds a world of its own, waiting to be unraveled and discovered by us readers. And with barely a month of summer left, I wanted to share with you a list of some good books that you still have time to add to your summer reading list… or to maybe add to your fall reading list. I’ll include below the name and author of the book, a short synopsis, and a link to Amazon in case you want to pick it up.

Happy reading 🙂

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library: A Novel

The Midnight Library: A Novel [Haig, Matt] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Midnight Library: A Novel

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig had been on my reading list for quite some time. So, when I walked into my local discount bookshop and saw they only had one copy to spare, I had to snag it, and I am SO glad I did! The Midnight Library follows a young girl named Nora Seed who lives in a small town in England. The book starts off a bit dark, just a trigger warning, as we find Nora very depressed, deciding to tragically take her own life.

Surprisingly, Nora ends up in a library that only exists between life and death. But this isn’t just any ordinary library. The Midnight Library is filled with thousands upon thousands of books that each contain a different life Nora could’ve lived. She’s offered a second chance, and given the opportunity to live as many of her alternate lives as she wants until she finds one that sticks.

Matt Haig is a master storyteller and this book had me laughing one minute and crying the next. The Midnight Library invites readers to do some deep reflection on the kind of life they’re living and the kind of life they want to live.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book,

“But it’s not lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It’s the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people’s worst enemy. We can’t tell if any of those other versions would’ve been better or worse. Those lives are happening, it is true, but you are happening as well, and that is the happening we have to focus on.”

The Bookshop on the Shore (Scottish Bookshop Series Book 2) by Jenny Colgan

Bookshop On The Shore

Bookshop On The Shore [Colgan, Jenny] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Bookshop On The Shore

I fell in love with Jenny Colgan’s storytelling a year ago, when I read the first book in the Scottish Bookshop series, The Bookshop on the Corner. Reading one of her books is like wrapping a warm blanket around yourself and sipping on a hot cup of tea on a rainy, chilly day, and The Bookshop on the Shore was no exception.

The Bookshop on the Shore follows a young, single mom named Zoe living in London who is in desperate need of a new job and a change of scenery. She responds to an ad for a nannying position in the Scottish Highlands and upon arriving with her young son, Hari, it seems that Zoe has hit the jackpot. The home that she is to stay in while caring for the three children of a widowed man has the feel of a faraway castle nestled right next to a charming Loch.

But Zoe’s fairytale crashes and burns after being introduced to the three children who have been described by the townspeople as “feral wolverines” and the castle-like house quickly feels musty, old, and in need of a lot of love. Zoe’s journey is one of courage, new beginnings, and mystery as she attempts to juggle nannying, helping her new friend Nina with her bookshop on wheels, and raising a 4-year-old.

If you’re into fairytale stories with a subtle twist of reality, you’ll love Jenny’s books! Here’s a quote from the book that I loved,

“When you look at things the same way you’ve always done, nothing changes. When you change perspective, everything changes.”

The Deadly Shallows (Coastal Guardians Series Book 3) by Dani Pettrey

Deadly Shallows (Coastal Guardians)

Deadly Shallows (Coastal Guardians) [Pettrey] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Deadly Shallows (Coastal Guardians)

Ok, so I’m not usually one for action, agent-y, or mystery-type stories, which is exactly why I picked this one up. I wanted to get outside of my normal reading habits and I am SO glad that I did! The Deadly Shallows is a Christian fiction, action thriller that will keep you hungry for more of the mystery. The story follows CGIS agent, Noah Rowley, as he and his team are urgently called to a military base in Wilmington, North Carolina where a mass shooting has just broken out amidst what was supposed to be a graduation ceremony.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard flight medic, Brooke Kessler, also known as the woman that agent Rowley secretly loves, is flying in a helicopter rushing to the nearest hospital with the only living shooter remaining. As Brooke exits the plane, the near lifeless shooter whispers in her ear one word that instantly paints a big red target on her back.

Noah and his team, along with Brooke Kesler, race to find the rest of the shooters and the reason behind this vicious attack, and just when they think they’re close to answers, they’re forced to jump down the rabbit hole yet again.

This story had my heart racing, swooning, and near tears all in one swoop. The Deadly Shallows is a must-read! I jumped into the series on book 3, so you definitely don’t have to read all of them to fall in love with these characters.

Here’s a quote from the book that’s sure to pique your interest,

“His focus needed to remain on protecting Brooke. Once the threat was over, he’d tell her everything and beg God she didn’t walk away.”

My Life in the Maine Woods: A Game Warden’s Wife in the Allagash Country by Annette Jackson

My Life in the Maine Woods: A Game Warden’s Wife in the Allagash Country

My Life in the Maine Woods recounts Annette Jackson’s North Woods experiences during the 1930s when she, her husband, and their children lived in a small cabin on the shore of Umsaskis Lake. Jackson, an avid sportswoman and nature lover, writes of hunting, fishing, campfire cooking, and the sound…

I picked up this riveting memoir at a charming bookstore in Portland, Maine after falling in love with the state’s raw beauty and diverse culture. I try to challenge myself to read at least one memoir a year, and this one was for sure outside of my normal realm of reading. With that being said, it’s probably one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year.

It’s 1930s Maine and Annette Jackson is the wife of well-known game warden, Dave Jackson. Together, they spend the majority of their lives adventuring through the wild, raw terrain of the Allagash county forests. Annette tells stories of hunting down bucks in the middle of winter, canoeing down streams and rivers in dangerous conditions, and even warring off bears, all while raising a family and keeping house.

Together, Annette, Dave, and their children live off the land in a quaint log cabin and her story is one of adventure, simplicity, and nature as it should be. It’s well worth the read, and if you’re wanting to go off the well-beaten path of your own reading habits, I would encourage you to give this one a try.

And, disclaimer, you do NOT have to be an outdoorsy person to enjoy this read!

Here’s a favorite quote of mine from the book,

“One of the richest pleasures I know of is being housebound because of the wild winter weather outside. With your family about you, a good book on your lap, a roaring fire in the stove, and a good hot dinner in prospect – you are richer than a millionaire.”

Centering Prayer & Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening [Cynthia Bourgeault] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

Earlier this year, my spiritual director challenged me with the question, “how can you practice inclusion in this season of your life?” What she was asking me, was what could I add to my life that would be life-giving? After taking this question to the Lord and prayerfully contemplating it, I heard the Lord extend an invitation for me to practice centering prayer at the start of each day.

As I began to regularly practice centering prayer, I wanted to learn more about it, so I bought Cynthia’s book and devoured it within a week. The spiritual practice of centering prayer has felt like a lifeline for me some days. It’s an invitation into silence and wholeness as you present your whole self before the Lord and simply rest and receive His presence as you trust that He is tending to your weary soul.

If you’d like to learn more about the spiritual practice of centering prayer, I would highly recommend reading Cynthia’s book! I also wrote a blog post on how to practice centering prayer that you can check out here.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book,

“What goes on in those silent depths during the time of Centering Prayer is no one’s business, not even your own; it is between your innermost being and God; that place where, as St. Augustine once said, “God is closer to your soul than you are yourself.”

Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith by Richard J. Foster

Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith

Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith [Richard J. Foster, Martin Marty] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith

Streams of Living Water was the first book I read for my certificate program in spiritual formation. Richard J. Foster does an excellent job at breaking down the 6 different Christian faith traditions; The Contemplative Tradition, The Holiness Tradition, The Charismatic Tradition, The Social Justice Tradition, The Evangelical Tradition, and The Incarnational Tradition. His goal as I interpreted it is to get us to see that all facets of the Christian tradition flow together to create one stream of living water, leading back to Jesus.

He gives practical examples of Biblical men and women as well as prominent figures throughout history who lived out each faith tradition and how they all lead back to the love of Christ. Streams of Living Water was very spiritually forming for me, as I reflected on how my own life and heart fit into each of these traditions.

If you’re interested in the topic of spiritual formation, I would highly recommend this book!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book,

“Holiness is sustained attention to the heart, the source of all action.”

The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey Into a Deeply Meaningful Life by Ann Voskamp

The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life

In this new devotional, New York Times bestselling author Ann Voskamp draws on the themes of The Broken Way and her immensely popular blog to dare readers to live the gift of their wounds every day-and to cultivate the hope that through brokenness, they will be transformed. As Ann Voskamp writes,…

I’m ending today’s reading list with a devotional-style book from one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp. The Way of Abundance is a collection of 60 of Ann’s online essays straight from her online blog. Each devotional reading invites you to live given, embrace brokenness, and push wholeheartedly into the heart of Jesus as a way towards abundant living.

Ann’s words are gentle like poetry, but powerfully convicting and oh, so challenging in the very best way. At the end of each day’s reading, there are two reflection questions that you can pray or write your way through with the Lord. If you’re needing a new or different way to start your devotional time, I would recommend picking up a copy of The Way of Abundance.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the devotional,

“The only way to live a truly remarkable life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of His love everywhere you go.” 

xo,