10 Books That Make Up My Summer

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

This is what I have to tell you: The books I link to here are affiliate links so if you buy one through my link, I receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.

I can’t say no to a good booklist, as evidenced by the ridiculous amount of books on my to-read shelf. Pre kids, I could plow through 8 books a month, but, like most things in life, I didn’t appreciate how good I had it. Now I have to fight for my precious reading time. I have to schedule it in or it doesn’t happen. Science says that people who read books live longer and are more creative, so on that note, if you are looking to amp up your reading this season, here is my summer in 10 books:

Books I’ve Read

Let’s start with some non-fiction:

Grace Not Perfection

By Emily Ley

I read this book a year and a half ago when I was in over my head in survival mode with a non-sleeping newborn and incapacitating health issues. It was one of the catalysts, along with Powersheets, that helped me start taking the steps to claw out of the pit of that season. I revisited it this summer because I’m in a completely different life stage and wanted to see what else I could get out of it. It did not disappoint. This time around, the message and practical application were gentle reminders to keep going on the path I’m on and be aware of old ways of perfectionism and performance trying to sneak back in.

Favorite quote: If our well is not fed by a freshwater spring, where it can be replenished and refilled, we have no water to give to the ones we love. If our well is fed by a stream of comparison, anxiety, and stress, guess what we will have to give to our families? Sharp words, headaches, and impatience will brim at the top. Nothing good can come out of that poisoned well. But what would we have if we let our wells be filled with things like rest, laughter, confidence, good tea, hugs, and adventure? I want to overflow with that sweet water.

Make It Happen

By Lara Casey

I’m a big fan of Lara Casey and her message of cultivating a life shaped by God’s grace. She speaks my language of spiritual + practical. I read her latest book, Cultivate, with my book club and decided to go back and read the story of how she got to where she is and the lessons she learned along the way. If you need a reminder that God’s fingerprints are all over your life, even in your messiest mistakes, this is a must-read.

Favorite quote: You don’t need to be ready or perfect to make what matters happen. A life of purpose - living for something bigger than yourself - is not about achieving your dream job or the ideal circumstances or the perfect timing. Use what you have, where you are, right now, on purpose. (This is my mission statement)

The Lifegiving Parent

By Clay & Sally Clarkson

I’m in the middle of this one and can’t give a full review yet, but so far, it’s solid. My husband and I have a “marriage book club” (aka just the two of us) where one night a week we set aside time to discuss a chapter of a book. This is our current selection. Sally and Clay Clarkson have a long-time ministry of leading and equipping parents to raise their kids to develop a genuine faith of their own and this book gives several principles to follow to achieve that aim. They include guarding your child’s heart, shaping your child’s will, and cultivating your child’s character.

Favorite quote (so far): As lifegiving parents, one of our most important tasks has been to help our children discover themselves in the story God is writing, to find their places in the unfolding tale of God’s grand purpose and plan and to know that we are all, as a family, in that story together.

Fiction selections for the novel-lovers:

The Great Alone

By Kristin Hannah

You know how an epic movie will make you feel like one of the characters and stir up emotions so deep you find yourself invested in the story? Very few authors have done that for me, but Kristin Hannah is one of them. Every book of hers that I have read has brought me to tears and often causes me to take a break from reading just to process the beauty of the story she told. If you haven’t read her yet, I highly recommend The Great Alone, The Winter Garden, and The Nightingale.


By R.J. Palacio

This was cute. I think I had way too high of expectations going in because of all the hype. It had a great message and is a book I would encourage any middle-schooler to read, but it was just okay for me. This rarely ever happens, but I liked the movie better than the book.

Truly Devious

By Maureen Johnson

Young adult + murder mystery + remote boarding school location + plenty of Sherlock Holmes’ references? Count me in! This book had a slow start but I stuck with it and wasn’t disappointed! The intrigue sucked me in, I didn’t see the twists coming, and now I have to wait a year for book two.

Books That Are Up Next

Non-fiction titles:

Mom Set Free

By Jeannie Cunnion

I’ve read Jeannie Cunnion’s first book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child, at least three times. It transformed how I viewed grace and set the tone for my parenting. I continually revisit sections of it as situations arise and my kids get older. Her second book continues the conversation, focusing on letting God refine our hearts so that we can reflect God’s hearts to our kids. I skimmed this when it first came out, but am excited to dig in and really mine the truths and apply them to my life. She’s a great Instagram follow as well, and one of her recent excerpts from the book has stuck with me on the days where fear sets in and I’m tempted to go into control mode: When we remember God’s faithfulness, we stop trying to write our child’s story and we become grateful God never gave us the pen.

Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest

By Leeana Tankersley

This is my first Leeana Tankersley book, but I have heard enough interviews and read enough of her blog posts to know that I will walk away fed and inspired. While nothing should ever take the place of going to the scriptures yourself, finding authors who write truth and share the gospel through their own stories can support your spiritual and personal growth in monumental ways.

Fiction Reads:

War Storm

By Victoria Aveyard

This is book four in a captivating young adult dystopian series. After the Hunger Games movies came out, YA dystopian novels flooded the market trying to capitalize on the interest. Unfortunately, many of these failed to even come close to the genius of Suzanne Collins’ series. In Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen books, she has taken on the dystopian formula but created an incredible story of kingdoms, deceit, powers, and revolution. There are murmurs about this becoming a movie as well.

All We Ever Wanted

By Emily Giffin

I’ve read all of Emily Giffin’s books to date, and with the exception of The One & Only, which was so cliche I couldn’t finish it, they have all been enjoyable and oftentimes heart wrenching. Emily explores the human heart and describes the gradual slide of relationship breakdown with genuine emotion and grace. If you are looking for a beach or pool read that goes deeper than most, give her books a try!

There it is! My summer in books. You’d be amazed at how much you can read in just 30 minutes a day. When I put my phone in a drawer and settle in with a book, I always walk away refreshed and inspired!

Want more book posts? Comment and let me know what lists and roundups you’d like to see and join me on Instagram for more recommendations and weekly library hauls.

Pamela Renee is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com


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