July Reading

IMG_1991I read some great books this month and would highly recommend A Place For Us, Next Year in Havana, and The Summer Wives.

The Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata is a short little book about a woman that works in a convenience store in Japan. It was interesting to learn about the Japanese culture. The woman is socially awkward and only feels at home in the convenience store. The author did a good job developing this character.  The main character reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel is an older book about a man that finds out that he may have a child with his high school girlfriend. He hits rock bottom in his career and moves back to Florida to find his daughter. He discovers the truth about his ex-girlfriend and why she ran away and never told him about the child. There is some mystery in this book.

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han is the second book in the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy. I enjoyed the first one more, but these books are a nice light summer read. I loved her other series, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams was a July Book of the Month selection. This was a great summer read about an island where people vacation for the summer. The story was told during a few time periods surrounding one woman and her family. I really enjoyed this historical fiction book and look forward to reading other books by this author.

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey was a slow book for me to get into. I enjoyed the writing style of telling two different time periods. The setting in the 1920’s in India was also interesting. If you enjoy mysteries and historical fiction than this would be a good book for you.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This YA book was about an Indian American girl who goes to a camp for the summer to work on her coding. While there, she meets Rishi who is also Indian American. He tells her that their parents want them to meet to possibly get married when they are older. She opposes the traditional customs for Indian women and wants to focus on her future career. It was a good YA book and  I plan to read From Twinkle With Love soon since I bought it in my OwlCrate.

Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert was about a woman who decided to try and play poker to spend time with her husband. It turns out that she loves the game and she starts to play on her own. She has to decide what is truly important in her life and what she wants for her family. I really enjoyed her new book, The Optimist’s Guide To Letting Go.

The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor was a great summer read. A young woman was bitten by a shark as a child and it gave her a love of sharks. She became a marine biologist and studies sharks. She comes home to encounter her former fiancée and his daughter. She has to come to terms with her past and discover what she wants for her future. I was curious to read a book by Ann Kidd Taylor because I loved two books written by her mom. They are The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick. In this thriller book, a couple on their honeymoon find something that changes their lives. It had a good twist, but also had some unrealistic moments that seem to happen in most thrillers.

True Feelings by Carolyn Mahaney is a Christian book that I read with some women at church. It was encouraging and had some new insights into emotions. I listened to it on audio.

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser is a mystery/thriller book that I listened to on audio.  I do not know if it was because I listened to it instead of reading it, but it was a letdown of a mystery. A woman and her children go missing and the last people to see them was their neighbors. Her estranged husband is the main suspect in their disappearance. The story is about how the neighbors learn the truth about their disappearance.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton was a beautifully written story of historical fiction.  The story is written in 1958 and 2017 telling about the Perez family in Cuba and how they came to the United States. Personally, this story was special because my in-laws are from Cuba. They came to the United States over 50 years ago and have never returned. It gave me a glimpse of what they experienced there. I highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys historical fiction.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han was a good summer book. This YA book was a nice light read.  A teenage girl nicknamed Belly goes to the beach every summer with her mom and brother. They stay with friends and there is typical teenage behavior with crushes on boys. The writing style was good and moved between different time periods in the girl’s life. I read it because I loved the series, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris is the third thriller book I have read of hers. They are not my favorite thrillers because they seem unrealistic, but if you like the genre, these are pretty popular. In this book, a woman goes missing and her boyfriend moves on with her sister. Mystery and suspense abound as clues appear indicating that she might be back after being gone for twelve years. A thriller I enjoyed lately was Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza was a book that needs to be savored. The story has a slower pace and the writing is so beautiful. Part Four told from the father’s perspective was so touching and brought tears to my eyes multiple times. This will definitely be one of my top favorites for 2018. In this book, an Indian family grows up Muslim in America. The family has two daughters and one son. The story is told from different perspectives mostly focused on the impact of their son on the family. Fatima writes in such a deep and beautiful way that shows a talent unique for someone so young. I understand all of the buzz of this book and highly recommend it. Have you read this yet? If so, please share your thoughts in the comment section.
If you enjoyed this story about a Muslim family, I would suggest Home Fire by Kamile Shamsie.

Books Mentioned in this post:




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Jasmine Toguchi: Flamingo Keeper



Jasmine Toguchi: Flamingo Keeper by Debbi Michiko Florence is the newest book in the Jasmine Toguchi series. Our family has enjoyed all of these cute books. Jasmine has always wanted a pet flamingo. When her Japanese grandmother sends her a Daruma doll, she uses it to wish for a pet flamingo. She learns about flamingos for a school project and how they may not make the best pet. We have enjoyed learning about Japanese culture in this series. See a previous post here about the other three books in this wonderful series.

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Reading Style

IMG_1979Hitting 100 books so far for 2018 and I wanted to share some ways that make reading easier in my life. What tips do you have for reading in your life?

When do you find time to read?

This is a question that I hear a lot these days. It is my hobby and what I find time for. After the kids go to bed is when I read the most instead of watching TV all the time. I always carry a book with me. I can find time while kids are at practices or lessons. You can even squeeze in a few minutes waiting in the carpool line instead of scrolling through Facebook. Another way to get reading time in is listening to audiobooks. It makes cleaning and chores a lot more enjoyable. Also, you have to have books and audiobooks available so you do not run out of stuff to read or spend all of  your time looking for something to read.

How do you track your Reading?

Goodreads is an easy way to track books that you want to read and ones that you have read. You can rate books up to 5 stars. I like to track when I start and finish books. Also, it keeps count of your reading for the year and you can set a yearly goal. I also like seeing the ratings on books before I read them. I look for around 4 stars.

I also track books on Pinterest and have done this for a couple years now.

I use my Happy Planner to write the books and use different colored pens to categorize them into fiction, non-fiction, and audiobooks.

Where do you find book recommendations?

Goodreads will suggest books based off of what you read. I like seeing ratings of books before I read them. The higher the rating 0-5, the better. I prefer 4 or higher ratings.

Book recommendations on Instagram since the Bookstagram community is really active and fun. You can follow me there @readingthemes.

Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and What Should I Read Next podcast has great book recommendations.





Amazon Prime Deals

For Amazon Prime members, there are lots of deals for Prime Day. If you need a Prime membership, you can sign up here for a free 30 day trial.

  • Use PRIMEBOOKS18 to save $5 off $20 book purchase.

I went to Whole Foods for the promo to spend $10 in store and then get $10 loaded into my Amazon account for Prime Day. I highly recommend doing this.

Sign up here for Kindle unlimited for only 0.99 for 3 months of unlimited access to over 1 million books.
Explore a rotating selection of popular magazines.
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Read anytime, on any device with the Kindle app.
We’re excited to offer you 3 months of unlimited reading for only $0.99. Redeem before 11:59 p.m. (PST), July 31, 2018.

  • Deals on Kindle tablets here.
  • Deals on Fire tablets are here.


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Jasmine Toguchi Series


Jasmine Toguchi by Debbi Michiko Florence is an adorable series for kids. My kids love this series about a Japanese American girl and her family. We were so excited to find mochi at Trader Joe’s after reading about Jasmine’s family making mochi in Mochi Queen. In Super Sleuth, Jasmine and her friend try to solve a mystery about her neighbor.  Drummer Girl is about Jasmine trying to discover her talent for the school talent show. She learns how to play taiko, a traditional Japanese drum. We are looking forward to reading the new book, Flamingo Keeper.

If you enjoy these books, I would highly recommend reading Cilla Lee Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire  by Susan Tan.

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Give Your Child the World

4B8B8633-6D72-4AFA-9E8E-BE53AC8BE32EGive Your Child the World by Jamie Martin is only 99 cents right now for Kindle. This is an amazing deal on the book. I bought it two years ago and think it is a wonderful reference for choosing good books for your kids based on country. It is also divided by age ranges for book selections. It would be great to use to prepare for a trip or using it for homeschooling. There are over 600 book titles in the book which is a great list and makes it convenient for you. Please check the price on Amazon before ordering since the prices can change quickly.


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How Do Dinosaurs Learn to Read? by Jane Yolen is the newest book in the How Do Dinosaurs series. This book show the proper way to handle books and fall in love with reading. There is humor and a lesson in this enjoyable read aloud book.

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything by Elise Broach is about a little boy that runs errands with his mom. While at the bakery, he receives a real dinosaur. At the barbershop, he receives another one. He takes the dinosaurs home and they settle in. This book is fun and humorous. We also love her other books like this:


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Next Year in Havana


“Black beans, rice, maduros-sweet fried plantains-and roast pork await the tourists seated outside, and judging by the mouthwatering smell emanating from the kitchen, they’re in for a treat.” -p84 Next Year In Havana

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton was a beautifully written story of historical fiction. The story is written in 1958 and 2017 telling about the Perez family in Cuba and how they came to the United States. Personally, this story was special because my in-laws are from Cuba. They came to the United States over 50 years ago and have never returned. It gave me a glimpse of what they experienced there. I highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys historical fiction. Now I am highly anticipating her next book about the same family to be  released in 2019.

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Before I Let You Go-Kindle deal


You can get this for only $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle until 7/9/18.

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer was wonderful. This story was so moving and honest. Two sisters have a special bond after the oldest sister takes on a parental role after their father dies. The mother has trouble coping and moves the girls to a sect. The girls are miserable there and after leaving they go to college and start their careers. Over the years, the younger sister develops a drug addiction. After getting pregnant, she calls her older sister. The story shares the hardships of drug addiction and how it affects everyone in the family. I have added her other books to my TBR.

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Dog Themed Books


Here are some adorable new books about dogs. A great read aloud to me is one that I enjoy reading over and over again. Also, one that my kids request to read over and over again. I hope your family enjoys these as much as we do. Any favorite books about dogs in your house?

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings is a such a creative book about a dog that mails letters to find a home. He sends letters to all the houses and businesses on a street until he finds the perfect human to be with.

A Dog Named Doug by Karma Wilson is an  adorable new book about a dog named Doug that digs holes all over the world. My kids loved the humor of the story and the illustrations are creative. Karma Wilson is a favorite author in our house.

The Great Puppy Invasion by Alastair Heim is about a town that does not allow fun and cuteness until the puppies invade the town. The puppies cause the townspeople to have fun  and they decide to change the rules so the puppies can stay.

Other books by Karma Wilson:


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