What I Read This Summer

So this summer I took a “buy local” approach to my reading and read only books written by people I knew. Books written by authors from my writing groups and from conferences I attended. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

Here are my four favourite reads from the summer:


Learning To Speak God From ScratchLearning-to-Speak-God-from-Scratch-3D-cover

by Jonathan Merritt

I have had the pleasure of having Jonathan Merritt as a writing mentor through the Write Brilliant course. Just as Jonathan is thoughtful and authentic and innovative and funny in real life, he translates this essence into his new bestselling book. When I learned JM was writing about how to revive our faith language, I was excited but nervous. I spend most days shaking my head as I look at people posting pictures on Instagram of things and using #blessed. I believe deeply in Jesus and Grace and my own failings, but I have no idea how to have a meaningful discussion about these concepts with anyone who does not already go to my church. Could this book live up to its promises? Well, I spent many hours of my vacation curled up in bed devouring this book. The nerd in me loved the first few chapters on the research and statistics of how we speak about faith in current days. But my soul rejoiced as I went on a journey with Jonathan Merritt reclaiming and reframing some of our most sacred words in the remainder of the book. If you too struggle to speak about the things that mean most to you and wish you could find a way past that, click on the book icon and order now. You are welcome.  

Big Fresh Faith

by Lisa DeVries

BFFdownload.jpg I also met Lisa DeVries through the Write Brilliant writer’s course. She was the person in my cohort that I looked up to. She was always inspiring me to do my best, to keep working at getting the book done and out there. So, of course, I rejoiced when Lisa’s Bible Study was done and out there, and not just because she had realized all of our goal, but because I had come to know her as a wise and compassionate soul. Every bit of Lisa’s wisdom and compassion made it into her fresh off the presses six week Bible study. You even get to see her lovely face and hear her soothing voice in the videos that preface each week’s segment. But don’t let the Canadian kindness fool you. Lisa takes her readers on a deep dive into Scripture that does not shy away from the hard stuff. Her daily reflection questions in the course workbook will have you scouring the depths of your soul. But as if often the case, when we dive deep, we find the good stuff. Readers brave and committed enough to take the journey will find a renewed intimacy and reverence for God that will make every step of the way worth it. If you are looking for a Fall Bible Study for your small group or for your personal use, this study will awaken your soul with the freshness of the piney Canadian wilderness from which Lisa penned it.  


by Kristen Hogrefe

I met Kristen at a writer’s conference where she was leading a session. At first, I was surprised that this petite young woman who is full of Florida sunshine had written a young adult dystopian novel. Could someone so happy write about struggle and conflict? Yes. Yes, dear reader, she can. Quite well. I have been telling friends this book is like a cleaner version of Divergent with a bit of Christian values and early American history thrown in. My teenage son and I actually read The Revisionary for our “who can read a book the fastest” contest this summer. He finished in two days and I finished in three. Both of us were happy to spend the time taking the twists and turns this book so adeptly provided. And the good news is, this book is the first in The Rogue series. So if you are looking for a few fun young adult dystopian reads, click on the icon and enter the world Hogrefe has created for us.  

Among the Poppies71K8zDEk5RL

J’Nell Ciesielski

I have never actually met J’Nell, but we both are represented by Hartline Literary Agency. Confession: I do not read every new release that my agency advertises. But when I saw J’Nell’s book on our agency’s Facebook page I immediately clicked over and bought it on my Kindle so I  read it ASAP. Friends, I love a period romance. And I love a gritty heroine. So imagine my delight when I dove into this historical romance set in World War I Europe featuring a heroine who drives and repairs ambulances. I ate this book up like a French woman eats croissants for the first time at the end of the war. It was entirely delicious and satisfying. And it was a clean romance, with some faith elements on the edges which I appreciate. Also, J’Nell is currently working on a book that is referred to as “the clean Outlander.” Write faster J’Nell! I’ll have some shortbread cookies waiting to eat with your next release!]]>

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