I don’t know about you, but I look forward to summer for more than just freedom from school, sunshine, and relaxation–while all these are on top of my list. I love to take my summers to catch up on my reading list. While I read year-round, the school year pushes this hobby to the back of my priorities as homework builds up. This summer, I found myself diving into titles I had read before, as well as a few new ones that I could add to my ever-growing list. For all my fellow bookworms out there, I would like to present the top five books I read this summer.
“The New Birth-Order Book” by Dr. Kevin Leman
Dr. Leman wrote this study as a follow-up to his previous “The Birth-Order Book” which he wrote in the 1980s. His sequel followed in the late 1990s, and while celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday, Dr. Leman’s research brings to light truths that are still seen today. The book outlines the study of why birth order plays such a big role in one’s personality and how this can shape who you are as an adult. In my own life, I can see this theory proven in many of my friends and family, despite having its own flaws, just like any scientific theory. I highly recommend this book to just about anyone, but especially those interested in family functions and/or psychology.
“Bridge to Haven” by Francine Rivers
Easily one of my favorite books of all time, Rivers brings to light a story of fame, forgiveness, and redemption.
The setting is the town of Haven in Northern California in the 1950s. Abra Matthews was abandoned as a baby and raised as a pastor’s daughter until his wife’s death. She spent her school years in a loving, Christian home in the same town but never felt like she belonged to anyone. She jumped at the first opportunity to leave, only to find herself used and abused. After selling her identity to become an actress in hopes that fame would satisfy her empty soul, Abra realizes that all she ever wanted was the love that her adoptive parents and pastor told her God could offer. But there seems to be no way back home to Haven, and she doesn’t expect anyone to love her after what she’s done.
This novel is a longer read and definitely a romance but worth the journey. It beautifully explains the reality of God’s undying love.
“The Chosen: Come and See” by Jerry B. Jenkins
“The Chosen” novels are based on the TV series of the same title. The series was created by filmmaker Dallas Jenkins, who took the story of Jesus directly from the Gospels in the Bible and brought them to life onscreen for viewers around the world. His father, renowned author Jerry B. Jenkins–co-author of the “Left Behind” series and writer of over 200 other titles–adapted his son’s work into a book series.
“Come and See” is the second installment of “The Chosen” novels, taking place in the first steps of Jesus’s earthly ministry. Following His calling of His first disciples, Jesus showed this small, motley crew firsthand the glory and might of the God they knew would one day live among us.
For fans of the TV series and those who have never even heard of it before, this book is captivating from start to finish as Jenkins allows us as readers to experience the miracles of Jesus through the eyes of simple humans like ourselves.
“Sunset” by Karen Kingsbury
Kingsbury is the author of over twenty novels about the Baxter family. The novel “Sunset” is the final installment of her third series about the family before she went on to a few stand-alone titles for the same characters.
The plot centers mostly around John Baxter, the father and grandfather, and his remarriage after the death of his wife several novels prior. We also see struggles in the marriage of his youngest son, his daughters, and their growing families, and Kari Baxter’s working to forgive the girl who caused a spiral of events that ultimately led to the death of Kari’s first husband.
While I wouldn’t offer the book a glowing rating, it was a fairly easy read with a Hallmark-movie-esque plot and had everything neatly wrapped up by the final chapter.
“The Clue of the Velvet Mask” by Carolyn Keene
I’m not sure I believe that Nancy Drew is “just” for middle and high schoolers. Published in 1953, Keene brings to life yet another mystery for the amateur teenage detective as Nancy sets out to solve the case involving jewel and antique thieves in her hometown. Highly nostalgic and lighthearted yet still a page-turner, Keene’s books are my personal preferred reading for a hot, lazy afternoon on the patio.
As a book lover, I’m always on the hunt for something new to try. Even if none of the books listed here piqued your interest, I highly recommend doing a deeper dive into any of the authors to see if there is anything to their name worth trying. I know I will continue my reading as the school year marches on, and I encourage you to do the same!