2020 Reading Challenge: June Recap

This summer is just flying by! I’m pretty sure I’m going to blink, and July will be over and we’ll be starting school again. I admit, I thought I was going to accomplish a lot more blogging and writing over the summer than I actually have, but this is just the season I’m in right now. I’m trying to accept it gracefully and just keep plugging away. Reading was down a little bit this month, but I still finished twelve books. I do a lot better at popping in and out of books around the kid interruptions than I do writing projects, apparently. 😉 We just keep reading!

The Books of June
  1. Sweet Boundless by Kristen Heitzmann. I was looking for some light historical fiction, and this sort of fit the bill. Carina Shepherd is trying to make a home for herself and her new husband in a small mining town in Colorado. Unfortunately, her husband refuses to speak to her and she’s not sure why. Left to her own devices, she finds a way to build her own business while hoping to draw him home. This ultimately was not my kind of book. Too much drama, not very realistic, and not that much to anchor it in history. I realized after I read it that it’s technically the second book in a series. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read the first book, but I doubt it. It wasn’t terrible, if it’s a genre you like to read but for me it was a 2.5/5 stars read.
  2. The King’s Justice (Maggie Hope #9) by Susan Elia MacNeal. I have been not-so-patiently waiting for this book to be available at the library since it was published earlier this year. It did not disappoint. Maggie Hope is a secret agent/detective during WWII in London, and this series has been delightful. In this book, Maggie is facing down a serial killer and her own personal demons. We learn a little bit more of her back story, and more questions are raised, but few are answered. 5/5 stars, but definitely read the other books in the series first.
  3. Trim Healthy Mama Plan by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. I’ve done THM off and on for 6 years, alternating between it and a keto/low-carb diet. I just keep coming back to it as a balanced approach to eating that makes my body feel good. I wish they provided more supporting scientific articles–this book is not very scientific at all–but they get their point across, and you can’t argue with results. (Okay, you can, but I’m not going to.) 4/5 stars.
  4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. My 16-year-old self is probably dying of mortification right about now, but the truth of the matter is that I probably would have loved these books as a teen. Fantasy, with elements of Shakespeare and other classic fiction, and a long series… that was my jam, you guys. That said, I didn’t love it just now–it felt long winded and a little tedious through the middle–but I liked it enough to think I’ll probably read the rest of the series. 3/5 stars
  5. Please Understand Me: Character and Temperment Types by David Keirsey. If you’re interested in personality types/differences, this is a fantastic book to delve into. It explores personality through the Myers Briggs test, and it was really insightful. 4/5 stars.
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. Still reading through this series. The Harry Potter series is all on audiobook though–it’s my cleaning/cooking listen. I love listening to a book when I can’t be actually reading one, but it’s just kind of mindless work– definitely makes all the mundane jobs more enjoyable!
  7. A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler. This book is really hard to explain without giving anything away. It explores some really serious topics involving racism and abuse. It reminds me of Kristin Hannah’s book The Great Alone just because of how stressed out it made me, waiting for the worst to happen. Suffice it to say, Fowler does an excellent job of building suspense. The quality of the writing/storytelling was excellent, but it was not a genre I enjoy. 3/5 stars.
  8. Courtship after Marriage by Zig Ziglar. This book was so encouraging and full of practical tips to help your marriage always be improving. I love Zig Ziglar’s style; he is probably the single most motivating person I can think of in the last hundred years. He is excellent at making you remember how blessed you are and feel like you can go out and do just about anything you set your mind to. Including, but not limited to, being the Best. Wife. Ever. for my man. Highly recommend! 5/5 stars.
  9. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. Daily Rituals is basically a series of short chapters detailing how different artists, writers, and musicians accomplished their creativity. It was really encouraging to me. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’m really struggling to find time for writing in this particular season of life, but there were plenty of people who were really prolific writers who also had to fit it into small amounts of time. Very interesting! 4/5 stars.
  10. Dreams of Falling by Karen White. My favorite fiction read of the month. This atmospheric, discovery oriented novel swept me into the south in the 50s. I loved everything about it–from the dual timelines, to the family secret/mystery element, to the romance. It was the perfect summer read, and I’m now doing my best to read every other book Karen White has written before the end of July. Stay tuned. 5/5 stars.
  11. The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood (The Incorrible Children of Ashton Place #5) Another excellent installment in this series. I highly recommend this series as a read aloud for any family, with or without kids. We have Josh hooked on it now too, and we are all enjoying it immensely. 5/5 stars.
  12. On Folly Beach by Karen White. I warned you. There’s a lot of Karen White reading in my future! This book reaffirmed my desire to seek out more of her writing. Emmy Hamilton is encouraged by her mother to buy an old bookstore in the small town of Folly Beach, as she reels from the death of her husband. She hopes it will be a distraction from her loss, but as she learns more about the people who owned the bookstore before her, their story begins to ripple out into her life, telling a tale of love lost and betrayal, she finds herself unable to avoid finding her way along the path to acceptance and the rest of her life. Another fantastic book with dual timelines and really interesting historical detail. 4/5 stars.

And that’s a wrap for June! I have one more month of easy reading in me before we start school again and I’m determined to soak it all in. How is your reading summer going?