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Even though many us still have to work (unless of course you're a teacher!), I hope you're able to squeeze in some vacation time, even if it's just a weekend away, or hanging around town using some of these cheap and FREE activity ideas.
Either way, it's the perfect time to try and squeeze in more reads, and in the honor of my favorite season, I thought it would be fun to dig out some of my old favorites for fun summer reading.
I've been keeping track of all the books I've read since about 4 years ago (although I've been an avid reader for much longer than that!), and these fiction and non-fiction reads landed as my top 5-star picks. Grab a copy from the library, then settle in for an afternoon of fun and relaxation!
1. Baxter Family Series by Karen Kingsbury
Anyone I've talked to about Karen Kingsbury either over-the-top loves her or doesn't really like her books at all. I fall into the former category (at least for her original titles — now that she's moved to a different publishing company, I haven't been as thrilled).
However, the Baxter Family Series is my all-time favorite and actually extends over 20 books. You should plan to start with Redemption, and then see if you can get through all the rest of the books before summer ends!
You will be in love with this family as much as I am by the end of it. Those characters are real, I tell you!
2. Glenbrooke Series by Robin Jones Gunn
Another one of my favorite series is a set of 8 books surrounding the sweet small town of Glenbrooke, starting with Secrets. Robin Jones Gunn outdoes herself with making this town SO real, you want to move there too!
These books are a really easy read and shouldn't take you long at all to get through. And if you have a tween or teen girl at home, you can even pick up a book of hers for them too. The Christy Miller Series is very wholesome and just plain good!
3. You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren
I guess I have this thing for small towns, because You Don't Know Me is set in the quaint harbor town of Deep Haven, Minnesota. It's also very well-written! Even though this is technically Book #6 in the Deep Haven series, it's still very much a stand-alone novel, and in my opinion, the best one yet of Susan May Warren's.
While this book is most definitely a love story, it also has its fair share of suspense and intrigue too. The main character is part of the Witness Protection Program……but her husband and children don't know that yet.
4. A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
Last year, I was in a bit of reading rut. Every fiction book I picked up felt like the same old story, and I needed a new author to give me something new and exciting. Julie Lessman was the key!
I had never read a book of hers before, and have since been voraciously reading the rest of this series, starting with A Passion Most Pure. I became so involved with the characters (they are both strong and deep!) and I could NOT predict the ending at all! There's also a prequel that came out after the series, but you can read it before or after.
Warning: Even though this is a Christian book, it does get a little spicy…
5. The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman
Beth Wiseman is a brilliant storyteller (I really enjoyed her Amish Fiction series!). But I was super impressed by a more modern setting in The House that Love Built.
This story follows a young widow who falls in love with a man who moves to town and buys an old mansion that needs fixing up — and also holds a few secrets! The thing that I loved most about this book is the 3 different story-lines all woven together so seamlessly. It made for a really interesting and fun read!
6. Restoration Series by Terri Blackstock
I don't enjoy mystery and suspense as much as I do historical fiction, but the Restoration series from Terri Blackstock is a notable exception. I flew through this series in less than a week!
Starting with Last Light, a family tries to survive after an EMP hits earth knocking out all the power; everyone is left in a pre-technology era. It's very apocalyptic in nature (I didn't realize how much I loved that genre), like Dystopian fiction for adults. You will be on the edge of your seat for this one!
7. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
Despite the main character's shining example of his in-laws, his wife is falling out of love with him, and he is desperate to win her back. It's so romantic and sweet, and despite some of the unexpected endings of most Nicholas Spark books (spoiler alert) this one has a happy one.
8. The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle
Even though summer would still be loads of fun with all these fiction reads, I thought it would be fun to throw in a few non-fiction titles, too!
Let me tell you, The Antelope in the Living Room was a literal LOL book. Every time I started giggling, Joseph would look over at me and ask me if I was reading that marriage book again and what was so darn funny. Of course, I had to read some of the stories aloud and we then couldn't help but laugh together.
I had never read a memoir before and Melanie Shankle has some serious storytelling talent. I saw myself and my husband in so many of these marriage situations, and it was refreshing to know that we are not alone!
9. The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet by Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead
If you need motivation for weight loss this Summer (aka bathing suit season!), The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet: 10 Minute Fixes to Get the Body You Want and a Life You'll Love is probably the best book you can read on this topic.
The authors run FitBottomedGirls.com, and do not beat you over the head with do's and don'ts. Instead, they gently guide you into a different kind of thinking so you can be conscious of what you eat and find a vigorous activity you'll actually love. They even focus on overall well-being, such as emotional health and how to be happy too!
10. Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst
Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions was my first book by Lysa TerKeurst and definitely won't be my last. In fact, I was so grateful to actually meet Lysa and tell her how much her words meant to me at a conference last year!
I usually finish books fairly quickly, but this is one to savor and I found myself rereading certain sentences and paragraphs to make sure I didn't miss a thing – there were so many truths to be found in this little gem!
Now it's time to tell me in the comments what books have made the biggest impact on you, or what you're picking out to read this summer! I'm going with Home of Our Hearts, which is an extension of the Christy Miller series I mentioned above. For non-fiction, I've already started reading Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails. It's actually really interesting!
Here's to a happy summer, full of good books!
What books do you plan to read this Summer?
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