Ready for summer reading? On a hot day I like to sit in my trailer with the air conditioner turned on (if it gets too hot) and read books. Yes, this seems to be working for me. I do my outdoor work in the morning then spend the afternoon reading.
Word of the Month
Bible Verse of the Month
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremian 29:11
Quote of the Month
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
— Emily Dickinson
This month’s reading diary is at the bottom of this page, after the book list.
My Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/lindajm
☆ – I own the book and am ready to read.
★ – I’m reading it.
✓ – I finished reading it. Yay!
⇗ – Still reading at the end of the month.
DNF – I did not like it or finish it.
∅ – Stalled – I started but didn’t finish.
↓ – I didn’t even start. Complete fail!
My Personal Challenges This Month
My June reading goals are
1. Continue with the VT Christian Reading Challenge.
2. Make priorities… three books at a time: one Kindle read, one audiobook, and one physical book. That’s all. Focus.
3. Stay on track for my California reading and writing challenge. I’ve made myself a schedule so I can finish this by the end of the year.
Audiobooks I want to listen to in June
✓ Christian Historical Fiction: A Castaway in Cornwall, by Julie Klassen
This is a group read on a Facebook reading group – and I’ve already started it. I love the cover. I’m not so happy with the characters in the book. The main character, Laura, is okay. Not so sure about the rest of them, and the audiobook reader makes them sound very creepy…. some more than others. I think I’d like the book better if I were reading text rather than listening… but even so, this is not a deep or life changing kind of Christian fiction, so far as I can tell so far, and I’m more than half way through. – Finished June 2. Not my favorite Christian fiction ever but I liked the cover. I thought it lacked a meaningful Christian message or story of spiritual transformation, though some of the characters were Christian. Here’s my review. Three stars.
✓ Christian Memoir: American Familia: A Memoir of Perseverance, by David A. Morales
I have an audio copy of this recently published memoir… received from the publisher, so it is a priority. – UPDATE – Finished June 6. What a heart-touching, emotional memoir! It was written by a father for his sons. It starts by telling he was born in Illinois, USA, but his parents soon decided to move back to their homeland, Puerto Rico. There they lived in extreme poverty, so they eventually made the move back to the USA, this time settling in Massachusetts. Unfortunately they had to live in a ghetto and the memoir tells about how the author handled that during his high school years. I recommend this memoir for anyone of any culture or ethnicity – but especially for teenagers. Here’s my review. Five stars.
✓ Cultural Heritage Fiction: The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
I borrowed this from Overdrive. UPDATE – I finished reading this on June 10. It was disappointing to me on several levels. Here’s my Goodreads review. Two stars.
✓ Christian Historical Fiction: The Prayer Box, by Lisa Wingate
This will be my second time to experience a Lisa Wingate novel. I just downloaded this from Overdrive. – UPDATE: I finished reading this in the early morning hours of June 12. What a great book! This one has a unique format and I don’t want to give spoilers by telling you about it, but I really felt this book is wonderful and worth reading. Here’s my review. Five stars.
SOFT DNF – Christian Historical Fiction: Until Leaves Fall in Paris, by Sarah Sundin
I’ve seen this recommended by several people on Booktube. UPDATE – I had to do a soft-DNF this on June 12 because I don’t like listening to the audiobook narrator. She sounded okay at times, then sometimes sounded like an automated voice like how my Kindle would automatically narrate. I will return to this book (hopefully) when I can get hold of a Kindle or physical copy.
✓ Christian Historical Fiction: A Daily Rate, by Grace Livingston Hill
This looks so interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Grace Livingston Hill before. She lived from 1865 to 1947 and wrote over 100 books. UPDATE – What a wonderful book – it is the author’s first novel, published in 1900… and she is credited with being the one to start the Christian romance genre, so this must be the book that started it all. I very much enjoyed reading this book full of Christian wisdom. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
✓ Christian Fiction: Last Family Standing, by Jennifer Allee
Oh my – I need to read this. It is about a mother and daughter on a reality TV show… and the mother gave the girl up for adoption 25 years earlier and has never met her before. And it is Christian fiction – so now I’ve got to read it. I do love reality TV show watching/binging. UPDATE – I finished reading this on June 15, and very much enjoyed it. Here’s my Goodreads review. Four stars.
DNF – Memoir: Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
Can’t say I’ve been looking forward to reading this, but the time has come and the fact that it took place in Idaho does intrigue me. UPDATE – Had to DNF this on June 17 because it is too controversial and I feel like I don’t completely trust the narrator’s version of events. It bothers me that she’s so disrespectful of her grandmother and parents. How could I review something like that? I don’t want to review it. Plus, she made it sound like she was in some kind of backwoods poverty situation near the Weaver family in Northern Idaho, and no, I located her family’s land and it is in Southern Idaho and not in a place I’d call “The Mountains.” It is more like farming country with some low hills nearby. And her family doesn’t seem to be all that poverty stricken. Her father owned a salvage business and her mother has a very well-developed herbal products business as well. She disagrees with her father’s political views and accuses him of being undiagnosed bipolar. I really can’t read this… I lack respect for what she’s done in attacking her parents this way.
✓ Christian Fiction: The Fence My Father Built, by Linda S. Clare
I just love this. It is Christian fiction. The main characters are Native Americans of the Nez Perce tribe living in rural Oregon. This is the first time I’ve seen Native Americans in Christian fiction, and I’m intrigued because it is different, and because I live in a town dominated by a Native American tribe. Also, that fence her father built is made of oven doors. Very creative! I love that kind of yard art. UPDATE – I finished listening to the audiobook version on June 25. I love the characters in this novel (most of them) and that they are Native American. I’d love to see more Christian fiction featuring Native Americans, their issues and culture. Not all Native Americans want to be Christian, but some do, and it is interesting to hear about why they might make that decision. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
✓ Juvenile Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: The Last Cuentista, by Donna Barba Higuera
This is the 2022 Newbery Medal winner. I borrowed this from Overdrive in audio format. UPDATE – Wow, nothing like what I expected. Better! I finished this on June 27. It is post-apocalyptic sci-fi with Mexican storytelling folklore. What an amazing story! A young girl boards a spaceship with her brother and parents, headed for a planet far away, which they’re expected to colonize as Earth will soon be no more. They’re put in suspension for the journey of several hundred years and when she wakes up nothing is as she was told it would be. Great book, and I’m glad it won the Newbery Medal this year. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
SOFT DNF Christian Fiction: Of Literature and Lattes, by Katherine Reay
Looks like a good book complete with a Latte and some Books! I’m in. I borrowed this from Overdrive. Lucky me. UPDATE: I couldn’t listen to this audiobook because of the narrator. She had a strong English accent with a voice very crisp and irritating. Strange they hired this narrator since the book is set in Illinois, not England. I couldn’t understand or follow a lot of what she said, so I decided to soft-DNF the book until maybe someday I can get a Kindle version.
★ Immigrant Fiction: Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin
I hope I like this book about an Irish young woman who immigrates to the USA.
I normally have an audiobook to read at all times, usually fiction, so I’ll be adding to this section when I decide what I want to read!
For my California reading and writing challenge
1. Write about a California travel experience.
2. Read a gold rush memoir.
★ History: The Shirley Letters, by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
I’ve wanted to read this for years, so the time has come.
Kindle books I’m ready to read
✓ Memoir: San Francisco During the Eventful Days of April 1906 , by James Burgess Stetson
This was a very short free Kindle book and I finished reading it on June 1. Great little memoir written by a man who woke up due to an earthquake in his town on April 18, 1906, at 5:13 AM. He lived on the west side of Van Ness so … lucky him, that’s pretty much where the fire stopped except for a few notable exceptions like the interior of the Spreckles mansion. As he was a business man he immediately walked downtown to his office to retrieve documents from his safe there – and good thing he did, because the office building was incinerated in the fire after the earthquake. The whole book (or booklet?) was interesting… short, but well worth reading. Here’s my review at Goodreads. Five stars.
✓ Christian Juvenile Fiction: Hear No Evil, by Mary L. Hamilton
I’m reading this now – really, a very nice story for tween boys! UPDATE – Finished June 2. I loved this Christian juvenile novel. Great action, great characters, a dilemma, suspense, and a meaningful Christian message. A young boy is taken to a Christian summer camp by his mother where he will spend a week. Unfortunately, just as she drops him off she reveals that she won’t be picking him up. She says she doesn’t want him living with her anymore and that his father, from whom she’s divorced, will be the person he lives with after camp ends. The boy is very distressed; he’s used to being with his mother and doesn’t think much of the way his father is more focused on work obligations than on his family. The camp is a refreshing and wholesome atmosphere but the situation with his mother hangs over him all week, producing a lot of suspense since we readers don’t know why she made this dramatic decision. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
✓ Christian Historical Fiction: Come Down Somewhere, by Jennifer L. Wright
I’m looking forward to reading this novel… I’m seeking out Christian fiction to review, and this is by a writer I’ve never heard of before. I have an advance reader copy. – UPDATE – I finished this on June 5, and had a very positive reaction to it which in a way surprised me as I initially didn’t like the two main characters. They were both young women, one a teenager, and they were both very angry and resentful. However the novel tells their story with such sensitivity it is soon clear they both have good reasons for their bad attitudes… and then they get together and clash! This novel is set in a very problematic time and place – it starts in 1944 on a ranch north of Alamogordo, New Mexico, where one of the girls is being evicted and separated from her family due to a World War II eminent domain situation. Then there’s another timeline in 1952 with the other girl coming back to Alamogordo after having been away for seven years. I very much recommend this book. It has a great Christian message. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
✓ Christian Epistolary Fiction: Things We Didn’t Say, by Amy Lynn Green
I saw this featured in a Goodreads group and am being drawn in by the cover. I got a copy from Overdrive. UPDATE – Wonderful epistolary novel, set during World War II in a small town in Minnesota. I’m a big fan of epistolary fiction and this novel is one of the better ones I’ve read… consisting completely of correspondence and other documents given by a young woman to her attorney who was hired to defend her from treason charges. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
↓ WWII History: The Boys on the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
I saw a review of this on Booktube and was impressed, so I got a copy from Overdrive. UPDATE – I decided not to read it as I have too many other books in progress right now. I’ll try again another time.
✓ Christian Historical Fiction: Where the Road Bends, by Rachel Fordham
I am so excited to be reading this. A young woman, about to be married, discovers a gravely injured man on her property and drags him into her home to nurse his wounds. Perhaps a big mistake. UPDATE – I finished this on June 23 not long after midnight. It took me three or four days to read. It is a heartwarming romantic novel of life in the 1880’s in Iowa. Though it is classified as a Christian novel it wasn’t preachy at all – it was the kind of novel that shows lives being transformed. Multiple people suffered from early life survival issues, and eventually moved on in their lives to better circumstances. I enjoyed reading it very much, mainly because I liked the author’s writing style. This is the first time I’ve read her work, and she does have other novels already published. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars. (Apparently I like Christian fiction, even the romances!)
✓ Christian Fiction: The Sea Glass Sisters, by Lisa Wingate
This is the prequel to The Prayer Box which I read earlier in the month. I’d like to read the entire Carolina Heirlooms series. UPDATE: I finished reading this novella on June 27. It was a short but inspiring novel about two sisters ironing out their differences while riding out a hurricane in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Bad weather, but a good story. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
★ Christian Fiction: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, by Sara Brunsvold
I have no idea what this is about, but it is some kind of Christian fiction, and I’m about to read an advance copy of it, thanks to the publisher via NetGalley. I’m kind of excited to find out who Mrs. Kip is, and I love the cover!
Checked out from the library
★ Native American History: Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, by Susan Sleeper-Smith
Last month I read The Pioneers by David McCullough about the settlement of Marietta, Ohio. There was friction with Native Americans. This book tells the history from the Native American point of view. I requested that the library buy this book, and they did! I’m so grateful that I get a chance to read it.
☆ Native American History: We Are The Land: A History of Native California, by Damon B. Akins & William J. Bauer Jr.
Another new book about Native Americans – published by the University of California Press. I’m so happy I get to read this.
☆ Urban Planning: San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, by Michael Shellenberger
This is written by a progressive Democrat, so I guess he would know. I’m reading it because I’m still trying to figure out what’s gone wrong with San Francisco, a city I once lived in, that I love.
★ Art: Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic, by Lisa Congdon
Well obviously, I like to read about creativity, so this library book came home with me.
∅ Juvenile Literature: Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon, by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
This won the Newbery Medal in 1928. The title refers to the iridescent colors shining in the neck feathers of his pigeon. I started reading this in April and want to finish it now. I’m on page 118 out of 190. UPDATE – Currently stalled because I had to give the book back to the library. I will check it out again soon, to finish it. It isn’t a page turner, but I’m reading it anyhow because I want to read all the Newbery Medal books.
★ Naturalist Memoir: Forests, Fires, and Wild Things, by Bob Gray
Another book I started in April and haven’t finished. I probably won’t be able to finish this one before it is due at the library on June 15, but I’ll give it back and then check it out again another time when I’m ready to try to finish it. UPDATE – I found out I have a copy of this book, and I’m reading it still, just a little bit each day, so this will be a long term read. I’m currently on page 76. Great fun, learning about forest service life around McCloud, CA in the 1940’s.
Physical books I started reading last month
∅ Nonfiction: The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
This is a rather intense nonfiction book about all things “library” but it is focused on the arson burning of the Los Angeles library on April 29, 1986. I’m 60 pages into it at the beginning of the month. I like it – except where the author inserts herself with long paragraphs about how much she adores libraries – that gets rather tedious after a while.
∅ Christian Fiction: Her Mother’s Hope, by Francine Rivers
This is the last book I need to read to complete the Christian Fiction Reading Challenge.
∅ Christian Nonfiction: No More Faking Fine, by Esther Fleece
I need this. I’m having an emotionally difficult time with events in my life, right now. I need to lean into God and find my comfort there. The Lord is so good to us. While relatives may be insensitive to my grieving process, God will suffice. He heals my broken heart. It all makes me remember I can trust God (my rock). Later – I’m stalled… not far into it. I will get to it soon I hope but right now, I have other reading priorities.
✓ Juvenile Fiction: Watercress, by Andrea Wang
Only 32 pages – I read this picture book on June 28. It won the Caldecott Medal in 2022 for the watercolor illustrations by Jason Chin. It also was named a Newbery Honor Book for 2022. Nice story, lovely pictures. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
My June 2022 Reading Diary
June 1 – This is a special day for me – my youngest child’s birthday.
My three priority books right now:
Audio – A Castaway in Cornwall, by Julie Klassen
Kindle – Hear No Evil, by Mary L. Hamilton
Physical – Indigenous Prosperity & American Conquest, by Susan Sleeper-Smith
And because I’m incorrigible about reading too many things: San Francisco During the Eventful Days of 1906 – also on Kindle … it is only 26 pages so hardly even a real book.
Bible: Numbers, 2 Corinthians
Later, same day – I finished the book (or booklet?) about the San Francisco earthquake. Here’s my review at Goodreads. Five stars.
June 2 – I gratefully finished reading A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen. Here’s my review. Three stars.
Also finished today: Hear No Evil, by Mary L. Hamilton. Great tween novel. Loved it. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
A new list of three priorities:
Audio – American Familia: A Memoir of Perseverance, by David Morales
Kindle – Come Down Somewhere, by Jennifer L. Wright
Physical – Indigenous Prosperity & American Conquest, by Susan Sleeper-Smith
June 3 – Today I’ve been listening to the American Familia audiobook and am very impressed… it is a memoir and I love the writing style, the narrator, and the development of the story.
June 5 – Yesterday I got involved in a novel to the degree that I couldn’t put it down long enough to write something here. It happens. The novel is Come Down Somewhere, by Jennifer L. Wright. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
New priorities……… well, I’m replacing just one, the Kindle priority.
Kindle – Things We Didn’t Say, by Amy Lynn Green
I looked at the NetGalley website this evening and discovered I’ve earned two badges for my blog now. I just reactivated this account recently, and at this point have reviewed 14 books there.
June 6 – I finished audio-reading American Familia: A Memoir of Perseverance, by David Morales. Great memoir, highly recommended especially for teenagers. Here’s my review. Five stars.
Now, a new audio-priority: The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
June 10 – Well, that was a bust. I didn’t love the novel… didn’t even like parts of it. Here’s my Goodreads review. Two stars.
New audiobook: The Prayer Box, by Lisa Wingate.
June 11 – Wow – I am really loving this novel – The Prayer Box – it is amazing!! I’ve been doing some art work today while I listen to the audiobook.
June 12 – The Prayer Box turned out to be a fantastic novel. Here’s my review. Five stars.
Next audiobook: Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Susan Sundin.
Well, soft-DNF on that one… the narrator sounded automated at times and it was soooo distracting and annoying. I will look for a Kindle or physical copy as I’d still like to read this book.
Try again – next audiobook: A Daily Rate by Grace Livingston Hill.
Who knew? Grace Livingston Hill was the mother of the #christianfiction genre. She wrote over 100 novels. Right now I #amreading her first novel – A Daily Rate, published in 1900. It is a great story. Very #christian … #books #readingcommunity #readingforpleasure pic.twitter.com/LLcJR6XRfQ
— Linda Book Lady (@lindajomartin) June 13, 2022
June 14 – I finished A Daily Rate about 1 in the morning – and loved it. Phenomenal – the first modern-era Christian romance novel. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
Next audiobook: Last Family Standing, by Jennifer Allee.
June 15 – I finished Last Family Standing quickly. Fascinating! Here’s my Goodreads review. Four stars.
Next audiobook: Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover – borrowed from Overdrive.
June 19 – I had to DNF Educated: A Memoir because it was triggering me; the narrator was so disrespectful of her parents – at least, that’s how I saw it. Today I finished reading Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green – a great epistolary novel. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
Next audiobook: The Fence My Father Built, by Linda S. Clare
Next Kindle book: Where the Road Bends, by Rachel Fordham
June 20 – I just started reading The Shirley Letters because if not now, when? There are only 10 days left in the month and I want to get this done, or at least started. I’m still reading the first of 23 letters so it is doubtful I’ll finish by the end of the month.
June 23 – I finished another Christian romance novel, Where the Road Bends, by Rachel Fordham. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
June 25 – Today I finished reading a unique Christian novel with very little romance – but the main characters are Native American, and I found that unique and thought provoking… the novel is The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
A new list of three priorities:
Audio – The Last Cuentista, by Donna Barba Higuera
Kindle – The Sea Glass Sisters, by Lisa Wingate
Physical – Find Your Artistic Voice, by Lisa Congdon
June 27 – What a great book! I finished The Last Cuentista today. Really loved it. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
New audiobook: Of Literature and Lattes, by Katherine Reay
Also on June 27 – I finished reading a novella, The Sea Glass Sisters, by Lisa Wingate. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.
Next Kindle book: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, by Sara Brunsvold
I DNF’ed Of Literature and Lattes because of the audiobook narrator.
Next audiobook: Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin
June 28 – I read a picture book! Watercress, by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Jason Chin. Here’s my Goodreads review. Five stars.