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Summer Reads {including my current obsession with Lin-Manuel}

By August 29, 2016 June 20th, 2019 10 Comments

What I love about summer? More reading time. One day I told Paige we were having a reading hour right in the middle of the morning. We laid on my bed for a whole hour and read. It was quite blissful and I vowed to make a daily habit. It wasn’t, but I encourage you to lay aside tasks and chores and television for more words and books.

Paige finished the 7th Harry Potter book – a huge feat for a 9-year-old, but especially gratifying as this was my child who did not care much for reading; it was too hard! But then she discovered Harry. She was in mourning for days with a beloved Harry book to read, but I pushed Laura Ingalls and she’s enamored with a whole other world once again.

I just love good books. Here are my summer reads: what I loved and what I didn’t.

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: Covers WWII in France and serves as a warning of how insidious Hitler’s type of evil can spread. Hard to read at times as it deals with the choices mothers and fathers are forced to make during wartime. Really well written and definitely worth the read! And it will make you cry and pray for peace.


2. The Book of Mormon: I read this often, almost everyday, and always learn new life insights. It’s changed my life. And it’s free 🙂


3. Food Matters by Mark Bittman: Terrific, easy, unprocessed food and recipes.


4. God Wants a Powerful People by Sheri Dew: Another life-changing book. Empowering.


5. The Self-Care Solution by Julie Burton: Julie reached out to me and asked if I would read and review her new book. It was terrific, a read mothers should read, study, and heed. I’ve got a copy to give away to the first person who asks! I’d love to send it your way. Congrats, Julie!


6. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: I resisted for months – who dares to complicate or cast a shadow on my favorite of books, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD? Alas, I opened the book and was quite delighted with Scout, all grown up. There’s so much controversy over the discovery of this manuscript (Google it – fascinating!), but I’m most intrigued by the fact it was the first draft of what would become her great classic. It shows the great power of an editor!


7. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo: I just love that DiCamillo, whatever she writes!


8. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: I loved this. The movie is coming out in September and Cope and I will be first in line! A great love story. How far would you go for the one you loved? Would you let your wife keep a baby that wasn’t really hers – even under serendipitous circumstances? What would you do if someone tried to take away your only child? The writing is tremendous – and you will cry! My favorite type of book 🙂


9. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty: My BFF librarian, Gail, ordered Moriarty’s new book and personally handed it over as soon as it came in. What a gal, right!? As always, Moriarty nails character. She always makes me laugh and think. I didn’t love the plot as much as her other books, but I still enjoyed the read.


10. Hamilton, The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter: This book is the score, with footnotes on how each original Broadway cast member was cast, and the long road of writing such a brilliant work of art. Hamilton, the Musical is now an 11-times Tony-award winning hip-hop musical on broadway. Don’t like musicals? Put that aside. This is unlike anything you’ve ever heard or listened to.

Have you ever wondered how a tiny band of scholars and mercenaries defeated the greatest superpower in the world? And then went on to write a Bill of Rights and Constitution, something never before seen or heard in the world?

Do you know anything about Alexander Hamilton? “Every other founding father’s story gets told. Every other founding father gets to grow old.” Lin-Manuel has put Hamilton’s extraordinary life to music in the form of a rap: “How does a rag tag volunteer army in need of a shower, somehow defeat a global superpower?”

I’m OBSESSED with the genius of it all. Back story: Lin-Manuel Miranda was on vacation reading ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Rob Chernow. He was struck by the brilliant, young, ambitious founding father and told his wife, “I think this could be a hip-hop musical.” She didn’t laugh. Instead: “That would be cool.” And so it began. Chernow’s book is on my list. The girls and I don’t drive anywhere without blasting and rapping Hamilton lyrics (to Nelson’s great embarrassment). There are a few expletives…beware. It will make you grateful for America, it will make you want to “rise up!”, and it will make you cry. It’s SO GOOD!


Bestsellers I read and didn’t like:

The Swans of 5th Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (was there even one redeeming character? Maybe one.), and Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.

What I didn’t like and didn’t bother finishing:

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, but reading was a priority…and now we are plunging into the fall. But wait, what did you read and love? Do tell!



  • Jennifer Goulet says:

    I would love a copy. Thank you for offering and can I borrow your Sheri Dew book, Please.

    • Jennifer Goulet says:

      I have read Faith to Slay Goliath. I cannot find the book at this moment to tell you the Authors name. It is a book about people who have horrible childhoods or problems like dyslexia and using the challenges in their lives to make something of themselves. It is a book that is inspiring and reminds me, it is not how people treat me that decides my future but what I choose to do with what life has handed me that decides my future.

  • Julia says:

    I would love a copy of the self healing solution!! Also for Paige Caddie Woodlawn is a great series.

  • I’m currently reading books in a series by an indie author whose other works I have truly enjoyed, but this one is just not grabbing me. It’s trying to deliver the same formula that worked in her other books, but it’s lacking enough substance to hold me and includes enough repetition of old material that I roll my eyes. I want to like it. But … it might end up being a DNF.

  • Nina says:

    Yay! So glad you read Julie’s book! 🙂

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    The mom healing book sounds great – a good idea for a gift book too! I got The Nightengale for Christmas but haven’t read it yet… maybe soon. I’m almost done reading What Alice Forgot (love Moriarty’s blend of funny and thought provoking ) and listening to The Storied Life of AJ Fikrey. Fikrey started slow for me (I almost tweeted you about it… WHY did you like this book?), but now I’m at the end, in the midst of all the homage to language and books and relationships, tears streaming down face as I drive the highway. (Luckily 14 yo daughter had ear buds in and was napping, or I’d have surely earned another eye roll.) 😉

  • Kate says:

    You’ve been a busy reading bee! I managed to read a little bit here and there, but then I started my Dare to Write Summer Writing Challenge, and I got over 15 submissions from bloggers! I was really psyched, so that’s how I spent most of my reading time in August. I’m still plowing through, as I received a couple of novels in the mix.

    I’m loving the Hamilton soundtrack too. I want to see the musical on Broadway, but oh boy, are those tix expensive! It’s all the rage. I’m glad when a quality story gets the limelight!

    How are things going for you on the lit agent front? Anything to report, good, bad, or ugly? 🙂

  • Dana says:

    I am also obsessed with Hamilton! I listened to Chernow’s book and have just started the Revolution book. It’s been sitting on my dresser untouched because I want it to last longer! (Irrational, I know, but I get that way with a good book.) I’m seeing the show next month and I cannot wait.

    I think you’ll like the Light Betweens Oceans movie – I won tickets to an early showing, and I thought it was a great adaptation of the novel. Bring your tissues!

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