I always think authors have the most interesting book recommendations, and while I’m not sure I fall into that camp just yet, I thought I’d share a few of my recent favorites. This was intended to be a spring reading list, but hello, almost summer.

From memoir to mystery, there’s quite a variety. I’d love to hear about your current favorite books!

I’m a big fan of audiobooks, and yes, I think that counts as reading. What’s your preferred reading format? Do you like a book you can hold in your hand, ebooks like Kindle or Nook, or audiobooks? No strong feelings one way or the other? Let me know in the comments.

First, some fun news.

Milspouse Matters Award Finalist

My new book, Milspouse Matters, is a 2024 Foreword Reviews INDIES Finalist! This is an ​industry-accredited award​, and thousands of books are entered annually. I’m so humbled and honored!

Now, on to my Summer 2024 recommended reading list. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite for your summer beach read!

Jen’s 2024 Summer Reading List

​Remarkably Bright Creatures​ by Shelby Van Pelt

On multiple bestseller lists over the last couple of years, I am late to the game on this one and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I’m not a big fan of dual points of view, but it really works here (even though one of them is from the POV of an animal!). A little bit of mystery, along with an exploration of loneliness, how our past affects us, and the hope that comes from relationships. (P.S. The audio version of this book is incredible!)

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

This one was recommended on a podcast I listen to, and I’m always intrigued by other people’s daily routines, especially people who make time to do what I constantly feel like I “don’t have time for” (ahem, like writing). With profiles of 160 great artists, composers, thinkers, and writers, their routines range from the truly eccentric to the near mundane. Entertaining!

Next Time by Randy Brown (pre-order)

This book releases in June 2024, but I’ve read the Advanced Reader Copy of this time travel romance. It’s not typically my genre, but I was game since my brother wrote it! It’s interesting and intriguing. Snatches of stolen moments as one of the main characters randomly jumps through time, shadowy government figures, and an improbable love story make it a great beach read!

Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters by Jean Shepherd

Written by the creator of the stories that inspired the movie A Christmas Story, this is a classic slice of Americana and satirical fiction taken from experiences during the author’s growing-up years.

Heartfelt, poignant, and so, so funny. Jean Shepherd was a genius writer.

Unbound Feet by Kim Orender

This is a memoir by an American who spent five years teaching at a university in China. Kim explores what she learned about herself, her discoveries concerning her faith and priorities, how she connected with her students and families, and what she learned about people (spoiler: we’re all pretty similar, whether in communist China or in the U.S.). Through both humorous and uncomfortable moments, she never takes herself too seriously. I love this author’s writing voice and sense of humor!

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Joanne Fluke is the queen of the culinary cozy. If you like mysteries without the gore, you’ll enjoy her books. This is book 16 out of 30 in the Hannah Swensen mystery series. Each story features Hannah solving a murder in her small Minnesota town while she runs her cookie shop, handles family relationships, and tries to decide between the two men vying for her attention. But at the end of the day, Hannah is something of a hot mess who’d rather stay home with her faithful cat. Actual recipes (with humorous tips!) for all the goodies mentioned throughout the book make it even more fun.

The Mitford Series by Jan Karon

I revisited these old favorites the past few months, and immersing myself again in the village of Mitford with Father Tim is like a warm hug. Karon is amazing at character study and setting and describes the good folks of Mitford facing both challenges and good times with a humorous warmth. I just noticed the Kindle version of the first book, At Home in Mitford, is currently only $2.99!

Being Elisabeth Elliott by Ellen Vaughn

This one was an interesting one for me. I’ve always been a big fan of Elisabeth Elliott, and I still am in some ways. This book covers her later years, long after the years with Jim Elliott she’s so well known for. Elisabeth was instrumental in shaping how I felt about being a stay-at-home mom in the 1990s and even some of my philosophy. Learning about some of her struggles and even somewhat problematic last marriage was eye-opening. I find myself wishing she’d been more transparent about those issues when she was living, as I think she might have even had more impact. It’s a good reminder that even our heroes are human and no one has all the answers, as “together” as they seem.

I’m reading a lot of writing craft books lately as I work on my current WIP, my first cozy mystery! Here are some books I’m referencing often:

A Note About Local Bookstores

Local Bookshops!

view of bookshelves in front of indie bookstore

I love indie bookstores! Do you have one in your area? Please support them when possible, as they are invaluable resources and an alternative to big box stores. Indie bookshops support and promote local authors, provide one-on-one assistance, and host book clubs and author events.

As a local author, the number of book orders determines whether these small stores will still carry them in the future, so I truly appreciate your support.

My books are now carried in the Twig Book Shop at the historic Pearl in San Antonio! What a great little bookstore, and it’s a super fun area to visit. Please stop by, and if you’re in the area and would like to support them (and me!), here are my books at the Twig! (Paperback only.) They can also ship book orders.

Here’s a glimpse of the inside of the Twig from my Instagram!

For those in the San Antonio area or nearby, how willing would you be to attend an author signing or event where I’m appearing? Let me know!

That’s it for my summer reading list! I’d love to hear what you’re currently reading or some favorite books of yours.

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