July 28, 2017

Posted By Ashley in

I’ve always been a book girl. The Pizza Hut Book-It program was 100% my jam in elementary school. I loved the challenge of reading as many books as I could in a short period of time and expanding my knowledge through various stories and plot lines. My love for books has only grown over the years but my dedication to reading has ebbed and flowed through the seasons.

My favorite time to read is during the summer. There’s nothing better than sitting on the beach or by the pool with a good book in hand. One with a plot line that completely consumes you and you can’t bare to put it down (literally my favorite thing ever). Needless to say, this is the time of year when I read the most. So in that regard, I set out to give myself a good little challenge this year.

Picking out the books for this list was so much fun. Limiting myself to only five books in each category really helped me diversify my reading list, which I’m actually excited about! If I’m being honest, Christian Life books are usually my go to. However, in an effort to expand my horizons, I also included some fiction (new fave), business, and memoirs/biographies to the line up! I’ve already gotten a great start on some of this summer and can’t wait to read the rest! It’s going to take a diligence and dedication over the next 8 weeks to get through all of these but I can do it! So without further ado, here’s what I’m reading/will be reading!!


Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

I just finished this one on our trip home from Tampa last week. I started it earlier this year but just couldn’t get into it. However, this go around I could NOT put it down. It tells the story of three mothers all at different crossroads in life. With a touch of mystery and murder, this mindless read will definitely leave you with so many questions! 

The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

I just started this one this week. It’s about a woman who finds a letter from her husband while browsing around in the attic that’s addressed for her to read after he has died – except that he’s still very much alive when she finds the letter. The letter is about to change everything for her, and people that she doesn’t even know. I’ve just finished the first chapter but I’m already hooked!

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake – Celeste Fletcher McHale

My sweet friend Rachel recently read this one and her review of it intrigued me enough to put it on my list!! This books tells the story of three good southern friends and the life they live together through friendship, forgiveness, trials, and joy. It paints the picture of their lives together and the lengths they go to maintain their relationships. 

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

This book has been recommended to me more than any other book. SO, I knew it had to make the list. I’ve heard it’s similar to “All the Light We Cannot See” which I just could not get in to. I think it was the constant bouncing back and forth of the story line that threw me off. But, hopefully this one will be a little bit more intriguing to me! This book is set during World War II and tells the story of two sisters and their efforts for survival during the Nazi occupation of France.

This Is How It Always Is – Lauris Frankel

This is another one that my good friend Rachel read recently. She raved over it so I knew I had to read it too! It offers a different perspective to family life when two parents are faced with keeping their child’s sexuality a secret or letting him thrive in the identity he carries. I feel like this topic is so taboo in our world right now and I’m excited to explore more and super eager to read! 


Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo

This is another one of those books that I’ve previously started and never finished. I’m super intrigued by the Ted Talk movement and I’m excited to learn more through this read! Carmine breaks down the steps to overcome the fear of public speaking and creating a persuasive, engaging, and memorable talk. Here’s to hoping I actually finish it this time!!

The Leadership Gap – Lolly Daskal

Y’all know I’m a personality type fanatic. Well, in this book Lolly helps you identify your specific leadership type and it’s shadow. Using her research and insight into the business world she gives you perspective in being the leader that you’ve always wanted to be. I’m super excited to dig into this one! 

Bored + Brillant – Manoush Zomorodi

I stumbled upon this in the “customers who bought this item also bought” section on Amazon the other day. It actually hasn’t been released yet. But pre-orders are live!! September 5th is it’s release date!! I was intrigued by this one because Manoush challenges the idea of boredom and how it actually pushes our creativity and productivity. She also challenges the idea of our gadget use to live better and smarter in a technological addicted age. If you’ve ever listened to her WNYC podcast “Note to Self” you’ve probably heard about the experiment she led in 2015 that challenged listeners to unplug from their devices to jumpstart their creativity. I seriously can’t wait for this one to be released so I can snag it up!

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – Travos Bradberry

I’m a full-blown rollercoaster of emotions so this book has been on my “must read” for a while now. I’m excited to dive into it! It walks through the four core emotional quotient skills – Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. Bradberry shows you how to reach your fullest potential while understanding your emotional limits. 100% a book for me!

Profit First – Mike Michalowicz

I actually just heard about this book yesterday from a fellow creative, Kathryn!! I had one more spot to fill on this list so I decided to add it in!! Michalowicz flips the traditional accounting business model of Sales – Expenses = Profit to Sales – Profit = Expenses. He pushes the idea that entrepreneurs can transform their businesses by taking profit first and dividing what’s left for expenses. Thus taking their business from “cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows”.  I think I’m going to love this one!!

Christian Life

Anonymous – Alicia Britt Chole

I also finished this one on our flight home from Tampa. It is SO different than any other book I’ve ever read but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Alicia explains that we all experience seasons of “hiddenness” where our “potential is unseen and abilities unapplauded”. But that those seasons are often the ones that we should pay the most attention to because they often produce the greatest growth moving moments and character building experiences. 

Never Unfriended – Lisa-Jo Baker

I LOVED this book! It was the first book that I finished this summer and I can’t recommend it enough! She challenges the idea of friendship with the thought of “what if we could never be unfriended”. She asks practical, heart moving questions, that force you to dig down deep into what you believe to be true about your own friendships and encourages you grow deeper and cultivate harder, rather than simply checking out when relationship building gets hard! I can’t recommend this one enough! 

Cultivate – Lara Casey

I love everything that Lara Casey does and thoroughly enjoyed this book! Lara uses lessons that she’s learned by growing and tending things in her garden. She encourages readers to truly cultivate what matters right where we’re planted and enjoy the season that we’re in. Another great one!

Love Does – Bob Goff

I’ve had this in paperback for a while now, but actually listened to it on audiobook as I got ready in the mornings. I love Bob Goff and his radicalness to live a life that’s fully surrendered to God. This book tells much of Bob’s story and his belief that love simply isn’t just a feeling but that love actually is an action that does! I loved it!!

Reading People – Anne Bogel

This is another book that I heard about from my sweet friend Rachel. She cued it as a “must read” on her Goodreads account and when I saw that it was about personalities, I knew that I had to read it too!! It’s also another one that hasn’t been released yet. It’s set to launch on September 19th which means it will probably be the last book I read this summer!! Anne uses various personality assessments, personal stories and experiences, to show how knowing our personality can revolutionize how we live, think, and view the world. I seriously can’t wait to read this one!! 


The Long Goodbye – Patti Davis

I’m a big memoir/biography fan and I love them even more when they are written by a loved one in honor of their family member. I just picked this one up from the library this week and I can’t wait to read it! Patti writes about losing her father Ronald Reagan to alzheimer’s disease and the flood of emotions that come along with saying goodbye to him in stages. I have a feeling this one is going to be extra emotional for me. 

Where Am I Now? – Mara Wilson

I loved Matilda and and Mrs. Doubtfire growing up. A lot of that had to do with Mara Wilson’s character in both of those. She’s just so lovable!! I’ve always been drawn to the “I wonder what they’re doing now” thought about child stars, which is what initially drew me to this one! I’m excited to read more about Mara’s journey from child star to present day life! 

The Glass Castle – Jennette Walls

This is another one of those books that has been recommended to me numerous times! It tells the story of a family through alcoholism, dysfunction, negligence, and poverty as they fight for one another through the difficulties of life. The story is a true depiction of the author’s life. Another one that I can’t wait to read. 

The Color of Water – James McBride

I found this one in a “memoir” search on Goodreads. The rave reviews initially intrigued me! In this book McBride shares his own experiences as a mixed-race child through bouts of poverty, experiences with drugs and violence and his eventual professional success. He tells his mother’s story of being a white woman, marrying a black preacher and how that story intertwines with his own.

I Wasn’t Born Bulletproof – Maci Bookout

Honest bus, MTV was a frequently watched channel in our house when I was growing up. Maci’s season of “16 and Pregnant” was the first season I ever watched of the show. So in some ways, I feel like “I’ve grown up with her”. Having walked through teen pregnancy with family members of mine, I’ve always been interested in learning more about this topic. So I’m excited to read this one!

And there you go friends!! This might be the longest blog post I’ve ever written, but I hope you found a great summer read for yourself somewhere in this list!! If you’ve made a summer reading list, what are you reading?!

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Meet Ashley

A true sweetheart from Southwestern VA, Ash spent many Sundays after church sitting around the table with her grandparents, listening to stories about the “good ‘ole days”. A talented visionary with a true heart for people, she’s likely to be found reading, writing, and planning away.

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