Sharing the books I read in June and if I’d recommend adding them to your collection!
Hi friends! I hope you’re having a wonderful week! I’m so happy you liked the Anniversary Sale picks. While there’s not as huge of a selection as they’ve had in previous years, there’s still lots of good stuff!
For today’s post, I wanted to share a recap of recent reads. I haven’t been reading quite as much as usual since I was so focused on finishing IHP2, but I’m back in reading action with a mix of fun fluff + more educational fare. I’ve added so much to my list over the past month, so I’m looking forward to diving into some new ones on the list.
Here’s what I read in June!
(Dress on sale here)
June 2023 Book Recap
Mistress of Rome
I love Kate Quinn and am on a mission to read all of her books. It was pleasantly surprising to find out that this book is part of a 4-part series, and I’m already on the second book. It’s more a slow burn than some of her previous novels I’ve read (The Huntress, Rose Code, The Diamond Eye, The Alice Network), but it gradually builds until a crazy, satisfying ending. Since I typically read more WWII era historical fiction, it was a treat to read about an entirely different time period, and also learn a lot about what it might have been like in first-century Rome. 9/10 recommend and it lined up perfectly with our trip and the ability to see the Coliseum again in person.
First-century Rome: One young woman will hold the fate of an empire in her hands.
Thea, a captive from Judaea, is a clever and determined survivor hiding behind a slave’s docile mask. Purchased as a toy for the spoiled heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea evades her mistress’s spite and hones a secret passion for music. But when Thea wins the love of Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator and dares to dream of a better life, the jealous Lepida tears the lovers apart and casts Thea out.
Rome offers many ways for the resourceful to survive, and Thea remakes herself as a singer for the Eternal ’City’s glittering aristocrats. As she struggles for success and independence, her nightingale voice attracts a dangerous new admirer: the Emperor himself. But the passions of an all-powerful man come with a heavy price, and Thea finds herself fighting for both her soul and her destiny.
Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of Rome’s most powerful man lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.
Every Summer After
I wanted to like this book a little more than I did, but still blasted through it during our flight so I could find out what happened. This follows the story of Percy and Sam, who have been friends (and a little more than friends…) since their teenage years, until a mysterious event totally changed their relationship. Percy ventures home following Sam’s mom’s funeral, and the pieces of their relationship are slowly revealed, along with what happened to tear them apart. I’d give this one a 6/10.
They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.
Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.
For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.
When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.
Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic story of love and the people and choices that mark us forever.
Alleviate Dry Eye
Since I’ve been dealing with the eye saga, you can bet your booty that I’ve been a reading and researching machine, especially since trips to multiple doctors have failed to give me a lot of answers or a true action plan. (I’m seeing my regular eye doctor + a specialist this week. The good news is that my eyes have healed!!! But I’m trying to figure out WHY this happened so I can prevent it in the future and also a path to wearing contacts again, since my doctor told me I still needed to wait. I can’t function in my glasses forever.)
I stumbled upon this book and while it’s intended to be an 8-week action plan, I read it in one sitting. (I took a break every 20 minutes and did blinking exercises, too, lol.) It’s filled with tangible action steps and favorite products if you suffer from Dry Eye or Meibomiun Gland Dysfunction. I’m still not sure if I actually have either of these things, or if I’m allergic to something in the environment that triggered all of this. Either way, these steps have absolutely continued to help. You can get a copy on Amazon and also download a free workbook that accompanies the book. The author also has a lot of free resources on her site.
Love Stories of the Bible Speak
I haven’t finished this one yet, but have read snippets of it each night; it’s the perfect pre-bed reading and fills my heart with warm fuzzies before I drift off to sleep. This book explores the various love stories in the Bible, including romantic relationships and deep friendships. I love this book and also feel like it would make a great gift. 10/10
The Bible is full of “love” stories. But the Biblical idea of love is so much bigger than we imagine.
Love is at the heart of the Bible. From the moment Adam declared Eve “flesh of my flesh”…to the sacrificial love of Joseph for Mary…to the deep friendship of David and Jonathan…to the abounding and never-changing love of God: The Bible is a love story. But it also redefines the way the world tells us we should think about love.
The Bible reveals not just butterflies and broken hearts. In Scripture, we see God’s beautiful design for the partnership of marriage. We witness friendships that cross all boundaries. We watch as families navigate the many seasons of life. Our guiding example for them all is the deepest, most abiding, foundational love ever known: God’s unconditional love for His people.
In The Love Stories of the Bible Speak, Shannon Bream draws lessons from the good, the bad, and the ugly of Biblical romances, friendships, and families. She shows how God’s love is often very different from ours, turning upside down our assumptions about life, relationships, and each other.
The Love Stories of the Bible Speak reminds us that, no matter where we find ourselves, God’s unwavering love will sustain and guide us. These insights into biblical relationships will uplift and encourage you, and reveal new dimensions to the most central Christian duty: to love God and your neighbor.
The Circus Train– DNF
While the premise is promising, I found the writing to be slow and dull. I read 50 pages before calling it quits. There are so many other books I have on my list, so I’m not going to force myself to read something that I’m not totally into. It has excellent reviews, but just wasn’t my fave.
When all is lost, how do you find the courage to keep moving forward?
1938. Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the circus, even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Theo. Brilliant and curious, Lena—who uses a wheelchair after a childhood bout with polio—yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, her mind stronger than the limitations placed on her by society. Then her unconventional life takes an exciting turn when she rescues Alexandre, an orphan with his own secrets and a mysterious past.
As World War II escalates around them, their friendship blossoms into something deeper while Alexandre trains as the illusionist’s apprentice. But when Theo and Alexandre are arrested and made to perform in a town for Jews set up by the Nazis, Lena is separated from everything she knows. Forced to make her own way, Lena must confront her doubts and dare to believe in the impossible—herself.
So, tell me, friends: what have you been reading lately? Any favorite summer reads?? This is still my #1 of the summer so far.
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today and I’ll see ya soon!