Friday friday favorites

A Book Nerd’s Must Read Book List

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this a time or six hundred, but I am a total BOOK NERD! I absolutely love to read and decided to share my must read book list with you all! My summer reading time is slipping away quickly as I prepare to head back to teaching third grade reading! For those of you who aren’t teachers, however, you have another month of glorious summer left to enjoy a good book. So without further adieu, I present to you

Mrs. Pennington’s Summer 2017 Must Read Book List

*There are affiliate links throughout this post. If you click them and buy, I get a tiny kickback! Opinions of books are strictly my own. I am not compensated for my opinions in any way!

Trailer Trash by Denise Grover Swank 

Denise Grover Swank is probably my favorite author of all time! A few summers ago I discovered 28 and a Half Wishes as a free download on iBooks. I couldn’t put the book down! Then I realized there were sequels! Let’s just say I was zombified for at least a week. I highly recommend the Rose Gardner Mysteries series as a starting point. My favorite of this summer, though, was Trailer Trash. This story’s main character is a leading character in the Rose Gardner series. Neely Kate take the spotlight in this book (first in a new series by DGS!). I loved this book because it was so real and raw–a real story of facing a less than perfect past!


The Magnolia Story 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard about “Chip and Jo-Jo”! Chip and Joanna Gaines are stars of the HGTV hit show Fixer Upper. The show title says it all! The husband and wife duo flips homes for clients in the Waco, Texas area. There is beauty in every home they flip, but their story is also a beautiful one! This was such a great book full of love, family, humor, and real life! I especially loved all the color photos in the hardback copy that I bought!

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

This book came  across my Amazon Prime reading suggestion list and I downloaded it without actually reading the synopsis. Once I opened it on my phone and began reading, I couldn’t stop! This book is full of twists, turns, emotions and mystery. Join main character Aimee on her mysterious quest to overcome the grief of losing her beloved fiancee. Plus, what amazing book doesn’t have a great sequel?! I have yet to read Everything We Left Behind, but it’s the follow up book and is next on my list!

Wives of War by Soraya M. Lane

Set in 1944, this courageous story of friends Scarlett, Ellie and Lucy is my current page-turner! I’m about 50% through this book currently and can.not.stop.reading! These three unlikely friends join the war effort for many different reasons. Their determination and courage keep them close. I’ll update on this one as soon as I finish!

*Update–this is one of my favorite reads ever! Be ready for all kinds of twists and turns. That’s all I’m going to say.


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Don’t even be thinking, “Oh, I watched the movie.”! This book is an oldie but goody for me. I’ve read Water for Elephants 3 times! I’m a sucker for elephants, for one, but this story is full of adventure, thrills, romance, and more! Every time I read it I want MORE! And because I love Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, you have my permission to watch the movie, but the book is ALWAYS better! Read it first!

Last, but definitely not least, I’d like to throw in a shameless plug for my sister-in-law, Danielle Haas! She’s written a beautiful 3 book series that I was honored to beta read and just could not get enough of, and is working on her fourth novel! If all goes well, you’ll see her published work one day soon! Until then, check out her blog!

mrs. pennington-book list-danielle haas
                      Danielle Haas, Author

This summer was full of more vacations than usual, so less reading than I like to admit! I have plenty for in my line up, though! Be sure to grab a few of these and let me know your thoughts! Keep your eye out for my list of favorite books for middle grades, as rated by my little guys Max and Charlie!



What are your “must read” books? Share in the comments! I’m always looking for new material!



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  1. Elvis Cosmos says:

    The books judging by your analysis seem to be mind blowing, i’ll surely give them a shot.

  2. Brittney says:

    I will be honest, I don’t read much outside of sports illustrated, ESPN and the occasional autobiography of a Rockstar and their drug problems (weird, I know). With that being said, I’m really interested in reading the Magnolia Story. I love Fixer Upper & I love Chip and Joanna; I think their book would be a great, seamless read!

    • Jessica Pennington says:

      It really is! I seriously just heard their voices telling the whole story while I read. It’s a great read!

  3. Megan @ Lush to Blush says:

    Yesssss, I love a good book list! I usually read about 2-3 books a month (audible is life-changing!). I think I saw the Wives of War on the Amazon Kindle First list recently. I like your selection of books here. My top preferences are mystery/thriller and nonfiction, but I also like historical fiction (your post just prompted me to order one I had been considering – so these all seem like books I’d like! I’ve actually never read or seen Water for Elephants, but the fact that you’ve read it 3 times has totally convinced me that I need to check it out!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica Pennington says:

      Megan! It finally posted! haha! I did get Wives of War from the Kindle First list! I’m still reading it and loving every second! I’ll have to download A Beautiful Poison! If you like mystery and can tolerate a little bit of romance rolled in, you should definitely check out the Denise Grover Swank Rose Gardner books (they are all the” __& a Half ___” titles). I love her stuff tons! I’m actually traveling to Nashville this weekend to do a meet and greet with her! I’m super fangirl giddy! haha!

  4. Trish says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I’m always looking for new books to read. I’ve heard great things about Water for Elephants, but have never read it for some reason.

  5. Sosi's Mom says:

    I am such a fan of reading lists…mine seems to be never ending! Your review of Wives of War has me intrigued…

  6. Laurel says:

    Water for Elephants is one of my favorites!

  7. Ally says:

    As a closet book nerd, I’m always looking for more books to read! Definitely going to try some of these out! XO

  8. vedina says:

    Wives of War and Water for Elephants caught my eyes the most. I’ve never read any of the books listed here yet but I’ve been reading a lot recently so I’m definitely going to give some of the books here a shot. Thanks for sharing this list.

  9. vedina says:

    Wives of War and Water for Elephants caught my eyes the most. I’ve never read any of the books listed here yet but I’ve been reading a lot recently so I’m definitely going to give some of the books here a shot.

  10. Jane | Daily life talk says:

    I am definitely going to read “Everything We Keep” looks like my kinda book..

  11. Amber says:

    I love reading! I’ll have to check these out!

  12. Amanda says:

    I am ALWAYS looking for a new book to read. Adding these to the list!

  13. moumita says:

    I am not so much of a book reader but really want to explore this space as much as possible.

  14. Megan | Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest says:

    I have become addicted to Chip & Joanna!!! I have that one on my TBR. Total book nerd here, too 🙂 I will be looking forward to your middle grade list too! I read YA, middle grade, romance, and we read lots of kids books in our house (I have a 1 and 3 yr old).

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