My backlist books challenge is going well. June and July were busy months for me. I got a lot of reading done but never got around to sharing my June reads. Since it is now August, I decided to combine my June and July reads into one post.
I read sixteen books in June and July. I haven’t felt like I had a great summer when it comes to reading, so I was very surprised when I realized that I had read that many books.
Since this list includes sixteen books, it is longer than normal, but I hope you find a book or two to add to your to-be-read list.
The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry
The Bookshop at Water’s End, published in 2017, includes romance, summer vacation, the beach, the river, a bookstore, and complicated families. That pretty much sums up a good summer read.
You can read my full review of The Bookshop at Water’s End here.
The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs
The Lost and Found Bookshop is a modern-day fiction story published in 2020. It starts with a tragedy and ends with love. At the center of it all is a bookshop and building that has been in the family for years.
If you love books about books, this is a great one. Click here to read my full review.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
My husband and I read The Grapes of Wrath for a family book club. Since it was just the two of us though, it ended up being more of a buddy read. Since it was published in 1938, it made a great book for my backlist book challenge.
My husband and I had totally different opinions of The Grapes of Wrath. I can see why it is a classic, but I did not like it at all. My husband really enjoyed it and was so glad that he read it. You can read a few more of our thoughts here.
We Gather Together by Denise Kiernan
I picked up We Gather Together at Powell’s bookstore when we were on vacation visiting family earlier this summer. I enjoyed reading The Last Castle by the same author, so when I saw this one used, I knew I wanted to get it.
We Gather Together was published in 2020. It is a nonfiction book that is part story of Thanksgiving and part biography of the woman who helped Thanksgiving become a national holiday. You can read my full review here.
Even In Our Darkness by Jack Deere
I love reading memoirs, especially ones about dysfunctional families. However, this one wasn’t my favorite.
Even In Our Darkness is a Christian memoir published in 2018. The author shares a very honest and raw account of his extremely difficult childhood. He also shares the struggles that he, his wife, and his kids went through.
I wanted to like this book mainly because it is hard to say that you don’t like someone’s story, especially when they share it so honestly. My main issue with this book is that it is a Christian memoir, and I felt it focused too much on the author and not enough on God and the work God had done in his life. I feel like he missed a lot of opportunities to point people to Christ while sharing his story.
Kopp Sisters On the March by Amy Stewart
Kopp Sisters On the March is the fifth book in the seven-book Kopp Sisters series. I love this series but this is my least favorite of the series so far. When I read the author’s notes, I realized why I probably didn’t enjoy this one as much.
This series is historical fiction. In this book, the author took a lot more liberty with history than in the other books. I could feel that in the book. The other books felt more like a real story, but a lot of this book seemed unrealistic to me. However, I like the series enough that I will keep reading them.
Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker
Lakeshire Park is a proper romance book. In other words, it is a romance book with all the graphic details. It is clean.
After a stressful week, I needed an easy quick read. I wanted a book I could just sit down and read for a few hours. This book was just that, but the story of this one was not for me. It has great reviews on Amazon, so I guess I am in the minority on this one, but the plot, the characters, and the storyline were just too crazy on this one.
My American Dream by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
I loved this book! My American Dream was published in 2018. It is the story of cookbook author and television host Lidia Bastianich.
You can read my full review of My American Dream here.
Quentins by Maeve Binchy
I have had Quentins by Maeve Binchy in my TBR pile for a while. It was published in 2002, so it worked great for my backlist book challenge. This is the second book by Maeve Binchy that I have read, but the first one that I finished. The other one was a DNF for me.
I think Maeve Bincy might not be for me. I like her writing style. Her setting and descriptions are great, but this book felt a little disjointed and disorganized to me. It all centered around a restaurant, but it was all over the place. According to several things that I read, this is considered a stand-alone book, but I think it might have made a lot more sense if I had read other Maeve Binchy books.
I have another Maeve Binchy book in my pile that I might pick up, but I might just skip it and pass it along to someone else.
Somewhere Inside by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling
I picked this book up when I was at a bookstore in Texas. I remember the story well from when it was in the news. The book was written by two sisters, both of who are journalists. It was published in 2010.
You can read my full review here.
Beach Haven by T.I. Lowe
Beach Haven was published in 2019. I had never heard of the author T.I. Lowe, but when I saw a couple of her books at a book sale, I picked them up.
I really enjoyed this one. An artisty, free spirit meets a former marine. It was a fun, clean romance. It was predictable but good. I can’t wait to read the other books by this author that I have in my TBR stack.
The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs
The Oysterville Sewing Circle was published in 2019. It is the second book by Susan Wiggs that I have read. I really enjoy her writing style, although her books are a little more PG-13 than I like. I really enjoyed this one and you can read my full review here.
Kitchen Confidential by Anothy Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain wrote Kitchen Confidential book in 2000. It was the book that helped make him famous. I have never liked a book so much that I am so hesitant to recommend it.
I loved the behind-the-scenes look at the food and restaurant world. I won’t look the same at my restaurant meal again. However, this book was a tough read because of the language and rough content in it. It shares a raw look at the food world. It is raw and real. And at times I would consider it pretty R-rated.
Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich
Stars of Alabama is a fiction book published in 2019. This book was a three-star book for me. I love Sean Dietrich’s writing. This book is set in the South during the Depression. It has great characters and descriptions. However, part of the storyline deals with odd mystical healing that I found a bit too unrealistic for me.
Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn
Becoming Elisabeth Elliot was published in 2020. It is a modern biography written about a Christian author and speaker that many are familiar with.
I have read a lot about Elisabeth Elliot, but it has all been written by Elisabeth Elliot. I really enjoyed this book because it was written from a different perspective. Ellen Vaughn did a ton of research for this book, and it shows in her writing. She shares part of Elisabeth Elliot’s story that I don’t think Elisabeth Elliot was able to share.
If you love Christian biographies or want to learn more about Elisabeth Elliot, this book is a good one. I think it will help bring Elisabeth Elliot to a new generation.
Lucy’s Little Village Bookclub by Emma Davis
I got Lucy’s Little Village Book Club for just a couple of dollars when the ebook was on sale. This was a fun summer read for me. A book club and library play a large part in this book, so it is great for book lovers. There was some language in the book, but overall I enjoyed it.
7 thoughts on “Backlist Books Challenge June and July Reads”
What I’m currently reading:
1. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (I started in February and am only halfway through. It’s good, but I enjoy it most when I have an hour or two of uninterrupted time. Not a quick pick up/put down kind of book).
2. Inductive Bible Study by Richard Alan Fuhr Jr. and Andreas J. Kostenberger
3. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
4. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Reading aloud with my kids)
5. For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin (I just started this one)
I forgot one . . .
6. About Your Father by Peggy Rowe
I read No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin and really enjoyed it. But you are right her books are not quick reads. Team of Rivals has been on my shelf for several years. I need to read it!
I have Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, but have not read it yet. It looks really good.
I have never heard of For the Love of Physics. I just looked it up and I am going to have to get that for my math science-loving husband and son who is in college majoring in mechanical engineering. It sounds like a book that both would enjoy. I am so glad that you mentioned it.
I am currently reading “Ten Words To Live By” by Jen Wilkens. Just finished “Tales From The Mud Hole; Why Pigs Are My Friends” by Vally Mulford (I read this one because of the fun title and I’m a country girl at heart). I recently read Peggy Rowe’s first book about her mother ( I forgot the title). The pig book and Peggy’s book were fun reads.
I have several Jen Wilkin’s books in my TBR, including Ten Words To Live by, I need to read them. I have heard great things about her books.
I just looked up Tales From The Mud Hole and it sounds really interesting and fun. I might have to get that one because I live in the country and we used to raise hogs!
Thanks for sharing your reads! I always find great books when readers share what they are reading.
I love your reviews!
I agree with the above comments about Jen Wilken.
Me and the Kopp Sisters are not friends – I have put down book 1 TWICE! I think I’m going to pass it on to someone else.
I’m glad that you had Susan Wiggs on your list – some that I have read, I’ve like; others are definitely not my style.
I am glad to know that so many like Jen Wilken.
I can see why some might not like the Kopp Sisters series. It is kind of a western style book and that isn’t for everyone. Don’t waste time on a book that isn’t for you. I just recently stopped reading a book at about 100 pages in. So many people loved it and raved about it, but I didn’t like it at all. I struggled to like the characters and I have too many books in my TBR to waste time on a book that I do not enjoy. So pass the Kopp Sisters on to someone else who will enjoy it more. 🙂
Which Susan Wiggs book are your favorite? I want to read more of her books and would love some recommendations.