Top 10 Riveting Reads This Summer

- Jun 19, 2020 -

Ever wish you could travel but don’t have the budget for a plane ticket? Do you need a little escape from reality? Have you considered hopping in a book and letting it take you away? Did you know that reading can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and fight depression symptoms? This list goes on and on. While you are at the beach, this summer don’t forget to pack one of my top 10 riveting reads! Let’s dive in!

*Links at bottom


You Are Free by Rebekah Lyons encourages you to be who you already are.

“Hold these pages like a burning flame, in the palm of your hands, like a bit of glowing sun that will grow you into freedom soaring on the wind.”-NYT

Christ doesn’t say that you can be or maybe or will be free. He says you are free. Dare you believe it?

“How many of us try to manage our stress with some method of numbing ourselves? The problem with pain management is exactly that; we are managing. What if we are called to acknowledge our pain, to confess our inability to beat it? What if we’re called to admit our weakness and declare that only God’s strength is sufficient? This kind of healing could bring you into one of your richest seasons, but make no mistake about it; when you confess that God is the strength in your weakness, things may seem worse for a time. Why? Because when you find yourself on the cusp of strongholds being released, the enemy marches in double-time.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of feeling that kind of freedom!


A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman asks the question do you desperately fear you have nothing to offer the world but secretly hope you’re wrong?

“You want to know the meaning of life? This is your highest calling: you are called into the dynamic co-creation of the cosmos. This breath is your canvas and your brush. These are the raw materials for your art, for the life you are making. Nothing is off-limits. Your backyard, your piano, your paintbrush, your conversation, Rwanda, New Orleans, Iraq, your marriage, your soul. You’re making a living with every step you take.”-Jon Foreman

What does that do to you? Does it give you hope? I hope so, lovely.

“I don’t believe we have to have pain to make beautiful art–but when pain comes, an artist knows she must face it. Greif does deep, important, sacred work, we have to pay attention to what grieves us and be willing to be fully human, both in what makes us come alive and in that has the capacity to shut us down. What breaks our hearts reminds us of what is deeply important to us. It is often from this place that our most beautiful, honest, generous art comes. As we move into the world as who we most deeply, fully are, our art has the capacity to be a gift for others, and in this, we see hints of the resurrection life.”

I just want to sit and slowly soak up what all this entails for me personally and also for my business. It’s amazing how she weaves something as personal as grief to fuel us to a place of deeper impact. Now would be the time I would sip my tea and continue to dive in.


New Release!!

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

Follow the story of three strangers who grow close throughout the summer while sharing secrets and burying lies. You won’t want to miss when they are forced to decide what they value most and what they are willing to give up.

I wish I could show you how giddy I am about reading this one next!

**Bonus New Release Children’s Books**

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris 

This book is based on a true family story about my aunt and mom that I heard all the time growing up. I wanted to memorialize it, not only for my daughters but also for all children. I think we can all learn something from Kamala and Maya, in real life and on the pages.”

Gracie’s Garden by Lara Casey

“Good things grow little by little and the rewards don’t just come in the harvest; they come in the wait if we’re willing to look around us. When we do, we notice growth and daily miracles.”

A talking squirrel named Nutty joins the cast along with three kiddos trying their little hands at gardening.

Releases July 14th everywhere books are sold. 

Both children’s books include sweet colorful illustrations that will keep your kiddos entertained!


A true classic must always accompany any good reading list, so of course, I am choosing Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  If you look closely, you will see it’s by my side in these images because I am currently reading it. I never read it in high school (I know shocker, right?), but it sucked me in immediately. At times my brain struggles with the Quaker terminology, but luckily my version has a translation at the bottom of the page for extremely unfamiliar words. It’s embarrassing for me to admit this is my first time through it, so there is a truth bomb for you!

Also, as soon as I started reading Moby Dick, I saw it everywhere, including in shows I was watching or Youtube videos. Weird, but cool. (I would love to know if this happens to you after reading this list!)

If you are looking for a book to propel you toward your dreams Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines will NOT disappoint! Not only does he weave sweet details about his marriage to Jo throughout, but it also makes you fall in love with his unorthodox business techniques. It makes me immediately want to try them on my own business. He’ll encourage you to grab the bull by the horns and make you think it was your idea all along!

Although this isn’t a new release, I found these words of his to resonate today…

“The reason I’m so passionate about this topic is that fear will literally ruin every single facet of your life: it cripples everything. You know how hurt people hurt people. Well, scared people scare people. And thus the cycle of fear continues on…If we let every potential threat out there dictate how we feel. There’s a decent chance we’ll curl up into the fetal position and never leave the house. Sometimes too much information is immobilizing.”

“I vote that instead of fretting about the problems in this world, we all become part of the solution. This happens through our willingness to make small, brave decisions. No one is born a hero. It takes a lifetime of courageous choices to get there. So quit dodging the hard things. When you make the choice to duck left to avoid something scary, you miss a beautiful opportunity on the right.”

One more from Chip just because it’s so relevant!

“These battle lines down the center of our country’s soul seem to be costing us our humanity. We stereotype and mock entire people groups merely because they think differently or look differently than we do. The oversimplified strokes with which we paint perfect strangers isn’t just hateful; it’s ignorant. If we could get a handle on what is “team of rivals,” is all about, we just might become formidable in a way that this world has never seen.”


If you are looking for something to transport you to another world…


Love Beyond Time by Bethany Claire the first in the Morna’s Legacy Series transports you to Scotland nearly four hundred years from the present day when a kindergarten teacher unknowingly triggers a time travel event fulfilling a magic prophecy. She finds herself as wife to the Laird of the castle and must change his people’s fate while simultaneously breaking the spell to return home.

Are you as intrigued by this adventurous tale as I am?

The dialog dials up a notch between the modern women and stubborn husband, which leads to a power struggle. And what of love? If she does find a way home, will she take it?



Outlander, this series speaks for itself; Diana Gabaldon writes it. If STARZ picked it up to recreate her vision, it’s worth your time. The story follows James Fraser and Claire Beauchamp, who are arranged to be married for safety’s sake. The adventures that ensue are intoxicating, heartbreaking, and spellbinding. The plot, the locations, the beautiful characters you can’t help but love their Scottish ways: their language, bravery, and heart will keep you entertained!

You might forget all about your responsibilities!

Watch/Read responsibly. Eighteen years and older recommended. 



Need a story to STICK. WITH. YOU? 

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn 

“Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice.” – Stephanie Dray

I found myself thinking about this intricately woven story months after reading it, wondering if these characters could be real people and how they are currently coping with life.

This book took no time at all to become immediately immersed!



The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is no small feat topping out at a whopping 548 pages; however, it didn’t stop me from devouring it in 3 days.

People magazine said, “Morton excels at creating absorbing mystery. This tale, like the maze in the garden of the title, is a fine place to lose yourself.”

The story began in 1913 when Nell was shipwrecked; later, she discovers she was adopted, which shatters her world, but her journey of self-discovery transcends her death through her granddaughter. The pieces of the puzzle come together in the end to form a beautiful image you won’t soon forget.


If the Gilmore Girls were here…

That’s right I’m a huge fan and when Rory said, “I live in two worlds, one is a world of books. I’ve been a resident of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann’s Way. It’s a rewarding world.” I fell deeper in love with the show right then and there.

They referenced 339 books over the course of their 7 seasons, so how in the world could I narrow down that number for you?

I can’t. So I too will mention one she touched on in her speech, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

It’s life lessons can be applied more than just during your adolescence. There seems to be so much more to unpack.

Whew! We made it through the list! Thank you for reading until the end, lovely friend!

If you have suggestions or want to know more about any of these titles, I would love to chat in the comments.

I couldn’t forget a few honorable mentions!

Where the Crawdads Sing

Little Fires Everywhere

The Margot Affair

Camino Winds

The Turn of the Key *thriller

The Girl on the Train

The Women of Brewster Place 


Happy Reading,

Xoxo, Klassic Photography



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