The 4 Books I Finished in June

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In June I read two books I loved, one book I liked, and one not-so-thrilling thriller. Not a bad run, eh? I’m going to jump right in with the four books I finished in June.


No One Knows  by J.T. Ellison

My Thoughts: This was the not-so-thrilling thriller. Aubrey, whose husband disappeared the night of a friend’s bachelor party, is still struggling five years later after he is eventually declared dead and, through various encounters with suspicious people, wonders whether her husband is really gone. It is a page turner, but I was hoping for a big payoff at the end, and I felt let down. I know a few people who have really enjoyed this book, so I would recommend it with the caveat that it’s a good story but not a thriller. I liked it better than The Girl on the Train (which I didn’t like much at all) but not as much as The Good Girl and Gone Girl (both of which I really liked). If you have any thriller recommendations, please send them my way … I like this genre, but my thrill threshold is high!

Length: 368 pages

When I Read It: May 31-June 10, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it at Gibson’s Bookstore; read it the old-fashioned way.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My Thoughts: I resisted reading this book for a while, even after hearing people I trust gush about it, because I didn’t love Rowell’s big hit Eleanor & Park, so I thought her writing just wasn’t my style. Well, I was WRONG. This book is absolutely delightful. I found myself smirking, giggling, and swooning over the story of Cath, an awkward but lovable fan fiction writer, her twin sister Wren (Get it?), and the characters they meet during their first semester at college. This is a perfect book if you need a pick-me-up or want something light but well-written to take to the beach. It’s one of my favorites of the year. And I won’t hesitate before giving Rowell’s other books a try.

Length: 445 pages

When I Read It: June 10-21, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Placed a hold through the Overdrive app; read it on the Kindle app on my phone.

Memorable quote: “There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.”

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You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

My Thoughts: When this book went on sale for $1.99 on the Amazon Kindle deals, I snatched it up. I’d heard it was a flying-under-the-radar great book, and I really enjoyed learning more about Eleanor Roosevelt and pondering her nuggets of advice. It’s a very short book and not an amazing literary work, but still, I’d highly recommend it. There’s some great wisdom to soak up.

Length: 211 pages

When I Read It: June 10-June 26, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it from Amazon; read it on the Kindle app on my phone.

Memorable Quote: “I wish with all my heart that every child could be so imbued with a sense of the adventure of life that each change, each readjustment, each surprise–good or bad–that came along would be welcomed as part of the whole enthralling experience.”

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The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See by Richard Rohr

My Thoughts: This is the second book I’ve read by Richard Rohr, and I’ve come to realize he’s one of the great religious thinkers living among us. In The Naked Now, Rohr shows us how we can move beyond our typical human issues into a higher level of spirituality. I turned down many pages of this book to mark my favorite passages. (I would have used a highlighter, but my kids take them and wreak havoc.) I can’t wait to read more of Rohr’s work. I need to space them out because it’s pretty heavy reading that takes some time to process.

Length: 187 pages

When I Read It: May 31-June 29, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it at Gibson’s Bookstore; read it the old-fashioned way.

Memorable Quote: “The enormous breakthrough is that when you honor and accept the divine image within yourself, you cannot help but see it in everybody else, too, and you know it is just as undeserved and unmerited as it is in you. That is why you stop judging, and that is how you start loving unconditionally and without asking whether someone is worthy or not.”

I mean, really. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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My Favorite Place To Browse

“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” Lady Bird Johnson

My favorite place to browse for books is the Staff Picks section at my local library. Although tastes can differ, a good librarian won’t recommend a book that is poorly written. Most (I’d venture to say all) librarians are serious readers and see hundreds of books come through the library doors. They get the latest scoop on what’s hot off the presses and are typically knowledgeable about the best books in all different genres. There’s no incentive to recommend bad books because they’re not making any money from sales, so their recommendations can be trusted to be books they truly loved.

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I’m sure the caliber of staff recommendations varies depending on the library, but there’s an easy way to tell if it’s a top-notch selection: Check to see if any of the best books you’ve already read are included on the shelf. When I spotted Wally Lamb’s The Hour I First Believed as one of the staff picks, I knew I’d hit the literary jackpot. Since we moved to our town a year and a half ago, I’ve read six Staff Picks books. Five of them were great, and one of them was well-written but not my style.

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff – A very interesting novel that flashes back and forth between the stories of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, and a young man exiled from a fundamentalist Morman group in the late 20th century.

Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart – Apparently Megan Hart is known for writing erotica, but this book is not that. It’s a dark, suspenseful cabin-in-the-woods novel that would make a great beach read for any woman, particularly a mother, who doesn’t mind dark stories. A page turner.

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon – An excellent collection of fictional stories about military families on the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas. I was a military spouse for almost three years, and the characters rang true for me.

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes – A very dark and graphic suspenseful novel that I could not put down. It’ll have you checking the locks on your doors and maybe even hiding under the covers. Much more suspenseful than some more recent disappointing bestsellers which shall remain nameless at this time.

A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler – This is the one I didn’t like. It’s a bleak story about a broken marriage. I can understand why it was recommended, though, as the writing is very good.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin – As I shared in my last post, this book is a gem and one of the best novels I’ve read in a while. The small town Mississippi setting and complicated characters are so well done. My favorite, so far, of the Staff Picks.

Then there’s these three, the Staff Picks checked out to me at the moment.

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I’m not sure I’ll love them, but I’m pretty confident they’re worth a read.

What’s your favorite place to browse?