5 Book Recommendations from My Mid-Year Favorites

5 Book Recommendations from My Mid-Year Favorites

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to read two books a month. I started with a list of titles I wanted to read. Along the way, I picked up book recommendations from my sister, my friends, and a few writers I follow. The number of books I want to read far exceeds the amount of time I have so I appreciate others’ endorsements to help me narrow the list down a bit.

We are at the half-way point of 2016 and half-way through the summer. It seems like a great time for mid-year book recommendations. A few of my favorites made appearances in previous posts (click to read more: Breaking Busy, Looking for Lovely, Giddy Up, Eunice). I love to share great book discoveries with friends and since we are friends, let’s talk about what is on our bookshelves!

In the spirit of good conversation, I have five book recommendations for your different paces and preferences. I hope you find something to fit your time and interests. (My full reading list is at the bottom of this post.)

5 Book Recommendations from My Mid-Year Favorites

When you only have time to read while the kids are in the tub: The Mother Letters, Amber C. Haines and Seth Haines

Seth and Amber Haines put together The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy, Struggles, and Hope, a beautiful collection of letters from mothers of all ages and in all stages.  It is a treasure of wisdom, humorous musings, and “me, too” moments. You can read one or two letters while the children play in the bubbles. The small bites of inspiration will be just what you need to make it to bedtime.


When you want to get lost in a not-so-simpler time: The Kitchen House, Kathleen Grissom

One of the ways I get through my weekly to-do list is with the help of audiobooks. I grab a book off my wishlist from our local library or through Audible. The ear buds go in, and I start cleaning. The day I started The Kitchen House, I didn’t want to stop cleaning. Grissom sucked me into the plantation life of pre-Civil War Virginia. I became so engrossed in the story, I talked out loud to the characters (with my hands, no less). When you are ready to get lost in a book, The Kitchen House will not disappoint.


When you need to know you’re not alone: Surprised by Motherhood, Lisa-Jo Baker

Lisa-Jo is a master with the “me, too” pen. She shares her unexpected journey to motherhood in this well-written memoir. The anecdotes from her own home will make you feel better about the crazy in your own life. I plan to read this one again soon—it’s just that lovely.

When you want to read the Bible but don’t know where to start: Open Your Bible, Amanda Bible Williams and Raechel Myers

While this is technically a Bible study, I found it to be an excellent book to help us get past the fear and uncertainty of how to read the greatest book of all time. The girls of She Reads Truth inspire us with the importance of reading the Bible. They don’t stop there. Open Your Bible gives practical steps and know-how to help both the experienced and inexperienced Bible reader. This book works for both individual and group study. (Companion videos are available for download at Lifeway.)


When the news makes you sick and you need to be reminded of the good in people: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Between the election and the hateful violence we see in the news, we all need a reminder of the good in people. Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a poignant southern novel that takes an honest look a the best overcoming the worst in people. Atticus’ integrity offers a salve for the nasty rhetoric, while Scout’s child-like love inspires us to be kind to others. Even if you read it in high school, it is time to read it again.


#FridayFive Link Up

What are you reading? Favorite books? This is one of my favorite past times and favorite topics. Please share your book recommendations in the comments or using the link up button below.

Friday Five July

Next week: Things I wish I’d known.

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Recommended Resources

If you haven’t tried reading with your ears, Audible makes it easy with a 30-day free trial. It includes two free books with your trial, a perfect opportunity to try one of the recommended books from today’s link up. If you don’t want to subscribe (one book each month for $14.95/mo), simply unsubscribe at the end of your thirty days.

The Mom CreativeHow Busy Moms Find Time to Read (Jessica Turner)

In the survey I conducted for my book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, I asked women what they would do if they had more time. The number one answer? Read. (Continue reading here.)


My 2016 Mid-Year Reading List

Agnes Grey, Anne Brontë (free on Kindle)
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery (free on Kindle)
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery (free on Kindle)

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
Return to Me, Lynn Austin
The Bronte Plot, Katherine Reay
Keepers of the Covenant, Lynn Austin
On this Foundation, Lynn Austin
The Advocate, Randy Singer
Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers (This one will be on the “classic” list one day.)
All the Light We Cannot See, Antony Doerr (Historical fiction at its best.)
Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes (I thought about this one for days!)
Longbourn, Jo Baker (Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey)
The Kitchen House, Kathleen Grissom
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows (Fabulous writing!)

Surprised by the Healer, Dr. Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow (Read my review for Hollywood Jesus here.)
Breaking Busy, Ali Worthington
The Miracle of Morning Pages, Julia Cameron
Come with Me, Suzie Eller (Online Bible study starting July 25!)
Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey (A wonderful, pleasant surprise.)
Open Your Bible, Amanda Bible Williams and Raechel Myers
Giddy Up, Eunice, Sophie Hudson (Please, if you read only one book, read this one.)
1776, David McCullough

My Southern Journey, Rick Bragg (Southern humor at its finest.)
Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs
Surprised by Motherhood, Lisa-Jo Baker
The Mother Letters, Amber C. Haines and Seth Haines
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, Sophie Hudson (Southern writers are the best, y’all!)

Currently on the Nightstand (or in the earbuds)
Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
Four Letter Words, Krista Wilbur
Play with Fire, Bianca Juarez Olthoff (available for pre-order)
A Different Beautiful, Courtney Westlake (available for pre-order)
Breathe, Priscilla Shirer


Product links are affiliate links.

Photo credit: Eli Samuelu via Unsplash.


  1. Great idea on the audio books! I’m going to look for the kitchen house soon! #booktwin

  2. I’m immersing myself in silly fiction right now – Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code.

  3. I’m about to become an audible lover as I’m changing up what I do on my long commute 🙂

    • I usually do fiction as I prefer to interact with non-fiction. Even still, I often have to pause the fiction books to write down a quote.

  4. I love your 2016 list. I will be recommending the BIble study book on my church page. And Lee has been on my nightstand for a while . . . .have to move it up.

  5. I was going through so much stress for a while there that I read the first four books of the Swipe series Evan Angler, Christian youth fiction. Now I just need to talk to the church librarian and find out if there is a fifth book.

  6. BY Evan Angler, that is

  7. Great list! I’m impressed you’ve read so many books already this year! I read Leaving Time a while ago and enjoyed it. Some other books I’ve enjoyed this year are Anything by Jennie Allen, Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee, which I’m reading at the moment. I was hoping to post today but not going to have time but I’ll hopefully link up again soon.

    • Those are all on my to-read list. Carly, I think I may have found another book twin! Many of my “reads” were audio. I can easily get through one book a week while I cook, clean, and drive. Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. Thanks Kelly! I love good book recommendations although the nightstand is overflowing already, I’m going to grab a few more of these to add to the pile!

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