What I read: The Summer Sisters by Sara Richardson
Why I picked it up: I got this out months ago and returned it without reading, then picked it up again before realizing it’s the second in a series. (That I have now discovered wants to be read in order.)
How I read it: On paper at dinner, before bed, and before work. So quickly!
What it’s about: It picks up six moths after the previous novel with Dally having moved to Juniper Springs with her kids, Rose renovating the Inn so they can reopen the week of Sassy’s 70th birthday, and Mags just having had her little baby. There’s a lot of healing and restoration and love. It wrapped up nicely but could also have another book in the story.
What I liked: I want to visit this inn, to spend a week there with no worries for a delightful summer.
What I disliked: I don’t think any of them handled Maya’s anxiety about her mother dating very well.
Genre: Family saga, sisters, closed door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and as a follow up to the first, yes.
What I read: The Enemy by Sarah Adams
Why I picked it up: A friend recommended it awhile ago and I finally found it on Hoopla.
How I read it: On audio in just a couple of days at 2x speed.
What it’s about: Ryan and June have been mortal enemies for over a decade and they’re reuniting at their friends wedding for the first time. It goes nothing like June thinks it will, but that’s okay because this version of Ryan is so much better!!
What I liked: It’s a delight, so full of sass and sarcasm and multiple points of view and it’s even chaste, which is always a delightful find on audio. Oh and there’s a delightful epilogue!!
What I disliked: I wanted more.
Genre: Chaste romance, enemies to lovers.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and what a delight!!
What I read: Home for the Holidays by Sara Richardson
Why I picked it up: I got the second in this series weeks ago from the library and decided to read number one first.
How I read it: On paperback in just a couple of sittings.
What it’s about: Three flowers, three sisters: they’re invited to their aunt’s inn out in Colorado for Christmas and each say yes for a different reason. A rough engagement, a holiday when her ex has the kids, a broken heart for a baby that just won’t come. They reconnect with their aunt and each other.
What I liked: There are some aspects of a love story here but it’s really about the sisters, which I loved.
What I disliked: Their mother never redeemed herself, and that made me sad. I’m sure she and the one daughter’s fiancée will find much to complain about together.
Genre: Sisters, family saga, Christmas.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, even in July when Christmas is months away!
What I read: Provenance by Carla Laureano
Why I picked it up: Someone I follow on Goodreads read and love it.
How I read it: On audio at 2x while walking, mowing, and driving.
What it’s about: Kendall grew up in foster care and at 18 set out in the world on her own to make something of her life, which she did. She apprenticed under a great interior designer and ended up starting her own business. Now she finds out she’s inherited a plot of land and 5 houses from her grandmother, who she never even remembers meeting. It’s set in small town Colorado and made me want to go live in the new village they’ve designed!!
What I liked: The mayor was a delight!! The way he was true to himself and his faith was really a great read. I also love that he gets his own great family story.
What I disliked: Kendall ended up in foster care because the computer system to communicate lost children was defunct. If society had done a better job, she wouldn’t have had the suffering she did. That made me sad because I know it’s true life for so many.
Genre: Christian romance, foster care, adoption.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely!!
What I read: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Why I picked it up: Recommended by a friend.
How I read it: On paper in less than 24 hours once I actually picked it up.
What it’s about: It’s told from alternating perspectives of mom, Morgan, and daughter, Clara, as they navigate life after their husband/father dying in a car accident. Turns out the accident isn’t the worst thing that happened that day though. Clara is a typical teenager who expresses her grief through rebellion, but her story ends up sweet, nothing nothing like and everything like her mother.
What I liked: Jonah’s story was a surprise for me. I really liked it.
What I disliked: Jenny was also a surprise, but hers was awful. So many bad choices.
Genre: grief, mothers and daughters, first love.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!
What I read: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni
Why I picked it up: It’s our July book club pick.
How I read it: On paper over just a few days even though it’s more than 400 pages.
What it’s about: Sam Hill was born with a rare eye disorder that colored his eyes red. His mother, a strong Catholic, told him God made him extraordinary and this was God’s Will. The story follows him through Catholic School, bullying, adult life as an eye doctor, caring for the children of the world, and becoming a father himself.
What I liked: I cried the entire way through Part 7! The faith was so real during that part, like I was reading a person account. It felt like the author’s experience of conversion. Slow and steady!
What I disliked: There’s a lot of discrimination from the members of the Church portrayed which made me frustrated. I was afraid this would end up a Catholic Church bashing book, which isn’t a genre I like. But instead it’s real and shows both positives and negatives.
Genre: Fiction, disability, conversion.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!! Bring your Kleenex!
What I read: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Why I picked it up: A few friends from book club and I went to an author event this week. A woman at our table said how great this audiobook was so we downloaded it and listened on the way home.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed over a couple days.
What it’s about: A book club, a vampire, and a lot of doubt. There are a couple of vicious attacks, some book club meetings, a bit of racism, awful husbands, and a lot of manipulation.
What I liked: The ladies finally come together in the end, but there’s no happy ending.
What I disliked: The men were the worst!! The way she spoke down to their wives and children, as if they knew nothing about the world, really irritates me.
Genre: Vampire, books about books.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I don’t know. This isn’t my regular genre, and I don’t really want to read more of it.
What I read: Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
Why I picked it up: I loved this author’s debut so I knew the second one would be for me too.
How I read it: On Kindle.
What it’s about: Laurie has been designated to go through her Aunt Dot’s house after her death. Hundreds of letters, photos, and more await her as she lives the last few months of her 30s in her first hometown. There’s a bit of an antique dealer heist and a reunion with her high school boyfriend. A lot of digging into the past!
What I liked: Laurie felt like she could be me. Her age, her independence, even her body type. I like seeing myself in a story without too much rearranging.
What I disliked: She’s incredibly independent, which is not what I disliked, but more so how I saw myself there. She couldn’t even really think of a world where she and Nick married or lived together. She wasn’t willing to give up everything for their relationship. And I thought about how hard it would be for me, at this stage in my life, to give up my house or my city or my independence, I still struggled that she was struggling too.
Genre: Finding oneself, friendship, older protagonist, closed door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely. This is a good one!
What I read: One Day on the Island by Josie Silver
Why I picked it up: I’ve read and loved her before so I decided to read her newest one.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed over a couple of days. I went to bed with 20 minutes left last night!
What it’s about: Cleo is a magazine writer who shares about her dating adventures to find her flamingo (I can’t remember the significance of the flamingo…). Now she’s headed to Salvation Island to consciously marry herself on her 30th birthday since she is still single. Only problem is that the cabin she booked (the only rental on the island) was also booked by Mack.
What I liked: The ending isn’t what you expect from a romance novel. I appreciated that nod to the single life even if it’s ridiculous to think that turning 30 and being single is a sign that the world is ending.
What I disliked: They spend a lot of time hating each other.
Genre: Romance, slightly open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think so.
What I read: Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker
Why I picked it up: I’ve been thinking of using this analogy in an upcoming presentation, and I wanted the full explanation from the person who I heard it from.
How I read it: On audio in just a few hours. It’s short.
What it’s about: Attacking the root of an issue. Instead of sweeping cobwebs every day, kill the thing making the cobwebs. This is Carlos’ account of learning this from his father and applying it to his life.
What I liked: I appreciated the teaching and his openness in sharing about applying it to his life. I follow Carlos on Instagram and know some of his story, but this was much deeper than any of that and I appreciated that.
What I disliked: I might have liked to know some time frames for things. I know he didn’t conquer this all in a 5 day therapy retreat, but sometimes it felt like he did.
Genre: Self-Help, Christian
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think it’s worth a listen.