This has been the summer of the book.


Books are the BEST.

I’ve been all in on reading since Pa and Ma and Carrie and Mary and Laura started out in the big woods and went to Plum Creek and then took a wagon across the prairie.

And since then?

I’ve never looked back. There’s just something about the wonder and excitement and satisfaction found between the front and back cover of a really good book.

But this summer has been extra special.

I’ve discovered some new authors.

And found some stories I couldn’t put down.

So I wanted to share what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading and what books are sitting here on my bookshelf waiting for me to finish the books I’ve already started.

Here are eight books I couldn’t put down and what I’ve been reading lately.

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo


If you like old Hollywood and glamour and a story that you can KIND of figure out, but then you really discover that you have no idea where it’s going?

This. Is. The. Book.

It’s narrated by (not Evelyn who is glamourous and mysterious and has a hair color that I want to have when I’m 72) but by a young magazine writer called Monique.

Evelyn chooses her to tell her life story too.

It is SO GOOD and you can read more about it here.

2. The Scarlet Thread

Normally I don’t like books that have two stories—one a present day and one from another era.

But you kind of forget there are two stories when you are reading.

It starts when Sierra discovers an old quilt and journal of her great, great, great some kind of relative who travels the Oregon trail, Mary Kathryn.

It’s all about how their lives are super similar and the lessons that Mary Kathryn learns are the same ones that Sierra needs to understand.

I love anything by Francine Rivers, but this is one of the my favorites.

You can see it here.

3. It Ends With Us

This book is the BEST love story EVER.

It’s written in first person by Lily (who is so sweet and from a small town with a fun sense of humor and I would TOTALLY be friends with her).

She meets Ryle who is handsome and smart and (a little bit full of himself).

They get together.

And then?

Her old boyfriend Atlas shows up.

I’ll let you figure out the ending. 🙂

You can see it here.

4. The Nightingale




If you only read one book this summer? This is the ONE.

It’s historical fiction set during World War II and it tells the story of two sisters and how they endured the occupation of France by the Germans.

I could NOT put it down. I learned so much and I cheered them on and hoped for them and then I cried for them.

Such, such, such a good book.

You can see it here.

5. The Four Winds

I loved the Nightingale so much that I ordered The Four Winds next.

It’s really good, too (although I like the time period of the Nightingale better).

It’s set in the dust bowl in Texas (a time I didn’t know that much about) and it’s the story of Elsa Martinelli and her will to survive.

It was so intriguing to me because I didn’t know that much about this period in history and the challenges that so many people went through.

I was cheering her on every step of the way.

You can see it here.

6. Where the Crawdads Sing

There’s a reason why this book has a zillion five-star reviews.

It’s that good.

A reader recommended this to me last year and it does NOT disappoint.

Where the Crawdads Sing is so beautifully written and tells the story of survival and love and beauty in the midst of poverty and loss.

It will make you cheer and cry and wish it would never end.

7. The Perfect Couple

This was one of our book club reads and IT IS SO GOOD.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand is a page-turner.

I love a book that you can’t figure out the ending until it surprises you in the end.

It’s a mystery that takes place at a wedding on Nantucket. The maid-of-honor is discovered dead and everyone is a suspect.

Spoiler alert. It’s NOT who you think it is.

This book is such a good read.

7. A Gentleman in Moscow

I haven’t started this one yet, but I’ve heard it SO GOOD.

Almost 33,000 reviews on Amazon and TONS of reader recommendations can’t be wrong.

A Gentleman in Moscow looks so interesting because it’s based on the story of an aristocrat who is sentenced to house arrest in the attic of the Metropol hotel.

The characters and the scenery are incredible as the story unfolds during this tumultuous time in Russian history.

It’s also about to be made into a television series.

And there you have it.

What I’ve read.

What I’m currently reading.

And what I’m about to read.

All coming to you from my reading nook at the top of the stairs.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you think or if you have a book I need to read.

I have a little bit of summer left. 🙂

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    1. Image for Sandra Davis Sandra Davis

      Ms Hilderbrands newest release is very different from the other ones I have read but is wonderful. Golden Girl. Great.

  1. Image for Rhonda Rhonda

    I'm saving your list for a rainy day, BUT what I really love is your cozy, comfy reading spot!! I'm glad you have some time in your busy life to relax and read! Such a fun "hobby"!!!

  2. Image for Alissa J McGough Alissa J McGough

    It's just...could you be any CUTER with the toes and denim and the yummy sunlight?! I scarf up books quicker than cookies, and would you believe I haven't read a single one of these...yet?! Going to change that ASAP. Thanks for the recs!

  3. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    I want to read The Scarlet Thread because the cover is so lovely (and because you recommend it)! I so love book recommendations! I'm among the many who loved Gentleman in Moscow. I need to give Where the Crawdads sing another chance. At first try I found it too sad, but I've since been told I should hang in there! Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. Image for Robbie hale Robbie hale

    I've read most of these, but got a couple of good recs. Thank you! But you HAVE to read A Gentleman in Moscow. That one and The Nightingale are the best books I have read 8n the last 5 years. So, so good. Thanks for all your hints!

    1. Image for Toni Toni

      I so beautifully written....I often would reread sentences in A Gentleman in Moscow just because of the beauty of how his words communicated a thought. The Nightingale I couldn't put down!

  5. Image for Amy Amy

    The Nightingale might be one of the best books I've ever read. I also really liked Where the Crawdads Sing. I didn't love A Gentlemen in Moscow- just not my cup of tea. I love anything Elin Hilderbrand. I just finished The Guncle by Stephen Rowley- very funny. Thanks for the recommendations and Happy Reading!

  6. Image for Mary Kay Mary Kay

    I have read most of the books you mentioned and made a note to re-read The Scarlet Thread again, it has been years. If you haven't read All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, I would recommend it highly. Especially since you loved The Nightingale, it is of the same era and I loved them both. Love your Blog by the way but have a question....why do you have the books on your bookshelf backward and isn't it hard to find a particular book? I see it as a trend in decorating, but don't understand it all, it doesn't even look that great.

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Ditto on the All the Light book. One of my all time favorites. I may have mentioned this before, but I have discovered the Maisie Dobbs series as well as the stand-alone book by the same author, Jacqueline Winspear, called The Care and Management of Lies. She writes more about WWI than other authors if you want to delve into a different time period.

  7. Image for Rhonda Doyle Rhonda Doyle

    Great list...can't wait to start a new book ! Thanks for the tips. BTW is your bookcase an antique ? It's beautiful and I've been on the hunt for a good one. You look fantastic...what is the secret to losing weight ?

  8. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    You look fabulous and so relaxed! Thanks for adding to my reading list :) Have read half of them already and I agree they are so good.

  9. Image for Carolyn Carolyn

    Just curious. It appears that all the books in your bookcase are turned spine inward. How do you find a book without the titles facing you?

  10. Image for laura laura

    OMG! I am reading 4 winds! i loved Gentleman in Moscow. i loved the idea of creating a home and life in a hotel. The others are on the list to read.

  11. Image for Anna Eberhardt Anna Eberhardt

    Thought A Gentleman In Moscow was unique. For a fun read try my book Something Wild by Anna Eberhardt...a mystery about a lifestyle expert that involves a chase from Chicago to the Hamptons. You can find it and my other books written under the aka Tiffany White at Diversion Books. If you like suspense my friend Sandra Brown has a new one out called Blind Tiger. Love your reading nook.

  12. Image for Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy

    I read 7 of your 8 and agree with you completely. Let me add a couple for you: one is the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams for a powerful love story.. I love all 15 of her books. This one begins in WWII. Also you might want to read The unbreakables by Lisa Barr. It’s a story of friendshIp, love, motherhood, art, and betrayal. Better it takes place starting in the Chicago suburbs, then on to Paris, and finally the Rivera. The heroine, narrator is wonderful. Many surprises here. I’m pretty sure you’ll both of these books. Happy reading.

  13. Image for Joan Joan

    I've read a number of Kristin Hannah's books, including The Four Winds and The Nightingale. I loved them both, and I also read and enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing. Several books I enjoyed this summer were The Great Alone, This Tender Land and The Book of Lost Friends. All very different, but very engaging and worth reading. Right now I'm into Canadian author, Louise Penny's murder mystery series. I've never been a fan of murder mysteries, but my sister (who is) talked me into giving them a try because the characters are so great. I'm on my ninth book! Btw, I agree with Mary Kay, backward books on a bookshelf are silly, especially in a library setting:)

    1. Image for PJ PJ

      Joan, I want to live in Three Pines! I have read all of Louise Penny's books and loved them. This from a person who would not usually choose mysteries.

  14. Image for Sherry Duff Sherry Duff

    Just finished The Nightingale and half way through Where the Crawdads Sing. Loving both of them!! Ended up getting a library card so that I can check out the actual book and return. instead of downloading to my tablet or buying. I am adding the others you mentioned to my list to read.

  15. Image for Janet Arden Janet Arden

    I thought A Gertleman in Mosow is one of the BEST BOOKS EVER and Evelyn Hugo was a surprisingly great read. I also really loved Crawdads, but I think Kristin Hannah is just a little too much "romance" for me. This is quite a list! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Image for Diane N Diane N

    Thank you for the recommendations. I have book club tonight and I will print this out and bring along where the crawdad sings on the list. We read office of gentleman in Moscow I loved loved it I really loved it plus I’ve been to Moscow so it was quite interesting to me. I wonder who they’re going to make as the characters? That’s my favorite thing to ask a book club because I love movies. I always ask who in your mind where the lead characters or who would they be in a movie?

  17. Image for Ann C Ann C

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Great book. Tugs at my heartstrings often but then I find myself laughing out loud. Not done yet but it’s hard to put down. And because you enjoyed CRAWDADS you’d really enjoy This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. If you turn your books around so you can read the titles you will have more time to read!🤪🥰😂

    1. Image for Sandy Hinds Sandy Hinds

      LOVED Eleanor Oliphant - so well written and as you said, sometimes laugh out loud funny@ I read about 100 books a year and this one was a standout for me!

  18. Image for UMZ UMZ

    Love the book recs, and will order a couple of these....but more important than books....when are you going to tell us how you lost all that weight? You look amazing!!! What's the secret?

  19. Image for Pamela Smith Pamela Smith

    I've read The Seven Husbands and Nightingale. Loved them both! I am picking the next book in my book club, so I think I will chose either The Perfect Couple or A Gentleman in Moscow. Both sound great!

  20. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    I’m SO hooked on Elon Hilderbrand I went to Amazon and bought every title they had of hers! What a great summer of reading! Thanks to Elon- and Kari Anne of course!

  21. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    I don’t think I typed “ Elon” for her name but if so, it’s ELIN! After ordering/ reading all her amazing books I need to do her justice at least!👍😘

  22. Image for PJ PJ

    Is there anything better than a post about books? I don't think so! I have read four of your eight choices and agree completely. I have added the remaining four to my ever-growing "to read" list. Thank you, KariAnne.

  23. Image for Cathy Cathy

    This summer, I read The Moonflower Vine written by Jetta Carleton in 1962. It's a well written book about family relationships as told through the lives of a Midwestern couple and their four daughters. It spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list and was published in 8 other countries. While The Moonflower Vine is the only book published in her lifetime, you will wish for more once you read this book. It reminds me of "A Tree Grows Brooklyn" by Betty Smith--another timeless classic.

    1. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

      I reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn last year and honestly think I loved it even more all these years later. Will definitely look for your recommendation now!

  24. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Big readers in our family, as well. Where the Crawdads sing was terrific. A Gentleman is Moscow is so full of rich details. Such a man of integrity. I read it and then my husband read it. It was fun to compare our. Take always. Keep us posted on how the girls do. I feel like they are nieces! What a wonderful, but also bittersweet time for you and your husband. However, you will blink and they will be back with boyfriends in tow. Enjoy - and share what they will let you. Best to you, as always.

  25. Image for Mildred Hoppe Mildred Hoppe

    I’ve read all but 2 of the books on your list. Crawdads is my favorite. The victim in The Perfect Couple is the maid of Honor, not the Bride. Had to go back and look at your backward books…I didn’t even notice🤪

  26. Image for PattiC PattiC

    I LOVED A Gentleman in Moscow! I really think you will, too. It’s one that’s hard to put down. By the way, I’ve been on Optavia for 4 weeks and have lost 20 lbs! I have a ways to go but I think I can do it. Thank you for all the things you share.

  27. Image for Jan Jan

    There's a wonderful series by Diane Moody called the War Trilogy, the first book is called "Of Windmills and War" I think you'd really love it, I sure did. Thanks for all the great suggestions, I'm anxious to read them all. Loved The Scarlet Thread or anything by Francine Rivers. Blessings, Jan

  28. Image for Marion Marion

    Karianne, You recommended Nightingale and I took your recommendation. It was the fastest 500+ page book to read! I was like you and could not put it down! Thanks for recommending!

  29. Image for Tina Phillips Tina Phillips

    I'm saving this post! I have "Where the crawdads sing" but haven't opened it yet. So many awesome recommendations here and in the comments!!

  30. Image for Denise Fonda Denise Fonda

    Karianne, we seem to have a similar taste in books. I love Kristen Hannah and if you have not read Winter Garden, rush out to get it. It is truly one of my favorite books ever. I could recommend so many. Another great read is 44 Charles Street, by Danielle Steele. Now I have to read the other comments to look for suggestions 😀.

  31. Image for Carol@BlueskyatHome Carol@BlueskyatHome

    I’m an avid reader too. Never without a book. I think I’ve read 5 of the books on your list. The Nightingale is amazing. I cried at the end. You have to read The Gentleman in Moscow. It’s original and intriguing and funny and sad.

  32. Image for Rachel Harper Rachel Harper

    KariAnne, I love to read and The Nightingale is one of my absolute favorites. Thanks for sharing some that I haven't read. I love getting recommendations. I'd like to share a link to this post for my Sunday, Dirt Road adventures if that's ok.

  33. Image for Linda Rattie Linda Rattie

    Hi there…..first time reading your blog. Thanks for all the reviews. Glad you are enjoying them. I have a question though. Why do you put your books away in the library without the Titles showing? I would be so confused.


    So agree with your reading list! The Nightingale, Where the Crawdads Sing - such good reads!! If you liked Kristen Hannah, a suggestion to read is The Great Alone. Thank you for all the recommendations!!

  35. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Read "Crawdads" when it first came out & it is one of my all time favorites!!! Almost finishing "The Book of Lost Names" by Kristin Harmel and it is so good. Put it on your list! Weather is so horribly hot here in Idaho this Summer that I'm finally getting to my goal of at least reading 12 books a year! LOVE BOOKS!

  36. Image for AnnTN AnnTN

    I didn't read through all the comments to see if this book had been mentioned If you like a murder mystery with a shocking ending then you need to read "A Perfect Marriage" by Jeneva Rose. It was a page turner for me and I actually gasped out loud at one point. I've read "Where the Crawdads Sing" and though I liked it, it was a hard read for me. Some books I can breeze right though. This one wore me out. HA! I'd read a few pages then put it down for a few days and then pick it back up. I liked the story better towards the end. I've read a lot of Kristin Hannah's books, but it has been a long time. Her books, to me, are heavy and sometimes depressing. Yet, they are good, if that makes any sense. Her book "Firefly Lane" has been made into a Netflix series. The first season was added to Netflix in February, I believe. So, read the book then watch the first season of the series. I've read the book, but I don't remember anything about it. I think I read the book early in my Kristin Hannah book reading, years ago. Now I've got a few from your list that I'm going to check out. :)

  37. Image for AnnTN AnnTN

    I'm back to add one more book to the list. It's "Educated" by Tara Westover. It's about a girl (true story) that was kept out of school and went on to earn her PH.d from Cambridge University.

  38. Image for Angela Koontz Angela Koontz

    The Things We Cannot Say: A Novel SO, SO GOOD! ❤️

  39. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    The Nightingale is such a special book! I love all her books but historical fiction is where this author really shine. Like Patti Callahan Henry's Surviving Savannah. Love your book nook! Working on at least thinking about where I want a library in the house.. kind of everywhere now. As well as trying to decide where to hang in this house after living here over 8 years now. I know.. Blessings to you and yours! Hugs from Kentucky!

  40. Image for Maria Maria

    I read every one of th0se Little House books and would read them again. I'm hoping my grand children will one day read them too:) Thanks so much for your list!!!

  41. Image for Sue Sue

    So many great books being recommended here! I loved Educated by Tara Westover, All the Light We cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Where the Crawdads Sing, and all of Louise Penny's books. I'll be checking out some of the other books on your list now. KariAnne, the photo of you reclining on the sofa had me doing a double take because you looked SO much like your girls! Way to go on the weight loss -- you're looking great!

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