Books That Changed Me–Summer Edition

for blog summer edition pic

Happy Summer! It’s the season when air conditioners are running, swim holes are appealing, the BBQ is fired-up and the stars beg to be observed. There is the thrill of baseball games or the Fair when it comes to town offering food, rides, and farm animals. Then, there’s the quieter times to stretch out on the freshly cut grass watching a cloud or two float by, or roasting marshmallows around a campfire. The most important thing about summer is to remember that carefree child again.

Books have the same effect on me that seasons do. They can be renewing like spring or like summertime taking a journey to that special place remembered from childhood. That trip can be either in wonder or to that scary place that keeps eyes focused on the darkness instead of sleeping. All I know is I am never the same again after reading a great book.

Here is my second list of the year for the summer of books that have changed me by reading them!

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir 

by Karen Ingalls

outshine pic

Although, I have not had cancer, family members have– and I’ve dealt with many health issues over the years. This is a book that shines hope on a challenging situation and left me inspired and ready to face anything! It also reminded me of what is important in life.

Here’s my 5-star review:

“Outshine” is the journey Ms. Ingalls took when she learned she had ovarian cancer. This is a subject I’d usually avoid because the word cancer scares me, and I’ve seen what it can do to loved ones, but I was surprised how inspired I became as I read it. The author is a nurse who educated herself with all the facts once she learned her diagnosis. She dug deep into her faith and found ways to nourish her soul throughout the process. I loved all the quotes and the positive way she approached a very scary situation for anyone. She got the help back she had provided in her career two-fold. We were with her during her surgery, chemotherapy, when she lost her hair and her daily walks and prayers. I loved how she talked about sending a card and really meaning the message and how much it meant to her at this time. I was impressed how she learned to let her ego go when she lost her hair, how she embraced each day as a gift, and her husband’s unconditional love for her. These are good lessons for us in life whether we are fighting an illness or not. I ended reading this feeling more hopeful and inspired. This is a book for anyone dealing with cancer or any illness, but it is also for anyone who wants and needs to be encouraged. I highly recommend Ms. Ingalls’ book!

Tails (Silver Wishes Book 1)

by WJ Scott  (Author), John Helle Nielsen (Illustrator), Belinda Mellor (Editor)

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This may be a book for children, but it was the perfect read for me, too. I fell in love with the dog Buster-Boy and shed a tear or two over him, while Kywah’s bravery tugged at my heart. This has not only fantasy and magic (which I love) but it offers the reality of human nature.

Here’s my 5-star review:

“Tails” is a children’s fantasy book for the 9-12 age group, but is for adults, too. I’m already of fan of Ms. Scott, so I went into reading this with high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed!  “Tails” takes us to a place where magic is hard to come by, and the wizards have lost their power. That all changes when a hunter, Samsa captures Kywah, a silvertail and cuts his tail off which has magic in it. The silvertails were thought to be extinct and this renews the interest in ‘harvesting’ them. The hunters set out to find the pack, so they can sell the tails and fur to the wizards who want to recapture their powers. Kywah, who is considered handicapped among his pack, leaves on a journey to find the ‘Wise One’ to prevent the killing for greed and power. He does this without the senses his tail provided. I loved the relationships Kywah made along the way, especially with the dog Buster-Boy.  This is the first of the series–I can’t wait for the second book! If you love a story with magic, adventure, wizards, hunters, fairies, bravery, friendship and a journey you’ll love this book!  I highly recommend “Tails” and would give it six stars if I could.

Circumstances of Childhood

by John W. Howell

circumstances pic


The first time I read a book written by Mr. Howell his unique writing style surprised me then I quickly became a fan. His books are filled with action and humor and so was this book, but it went a step further. It added in some other-worldly depth and friendship that has stayed with me.

Here’s my 5-star review:

“Circumstances of Childhood” is written in the unique style of Mr. Howell and was a book that kept me up late into the night reading!  Greg and Keith are childhood friends and Greg ends up living with Keith’s family. They play football together creating new plays and plan out their future. Unfortunately, only one of them make it to live those dreams. When one of them is killed in an accident, the other one goes on to be successful–with a happily ever after. But, that happy ending is ripped away when money is stolen from Greg’s company and his life falls apart. Parts of the storyline are told from Greg’s prospective and the rest by Keith. I loved the bond created between the two, who were like brothers, that existed beyond death. Choices that are made can affect the characters for the rest of eternity.  This is a perceptive and an exciting read with a whodunit mixed in. It’s a skillfully written story with well-rounded characters that I couldn’t help but care about. The storyline kept me engaged until the last page with some unexpected twists. Although, this is a different type of story than Mr. Howell’s John Canon series, it is worthy of your read if you enjoyed that series like I did. This has become my favorite book from this author.  I highly recommend!

I had to add a book of short stories! Summer is the perfect time for a short story on the beach with umbrella drink in hand. When the story is done, it’s time to head into the water to cool off.

Summer Bonus Pick:

The Alternative 

by Suzanne Burke (Author), Rich Bowden (Editor)


This author has an amazing writing style and insight that I admire and I have always loved justice in a story–perfect combination. I really had a hard time picking between Ms. Burke’s two short story collections, but I think the Karma-theme tipped the scales for me. 

Here’s my 5-star review:

Ms. Burke wrote another amazing book of nine short stories. Each story had its own style of karma, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It would be hard to pick my favorite out of the bunch, so I won’t. There were parts where I found myself cheering out loud—other times cringing. The characters were well-written and the stories full of depth and emotion, along with some humor. If you love short stories with a dark twist, you won’t want to miss reading “The Alternative”.

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Next blog I’ll be revealing the cover for The Button, and sharing a poem from Just her Poetry.

Embrace your inner child by reading an amazing book this summer! D.L. Finn

40 thoughts on “Books That Changed Me–Summer Edition”

    1. It is:) I have expanded the genres I read and I’m fully enjoying it. Thanks Staci!

    1. Thank you Jan! I’m having so much fun reading! I’m running across amazing authors and talent that I never would have before RRBC:)

  1. Wow, Denise. I was stunned to see Circumstances of Childhood in your Summer Edition of Books That Changed me. I am ever so grateful for the fact that the book had some resonant effect. Also, I am humbled to be in the company of these other excellent authors.

  2. 🌹I am so delighted to find “The Alternative” included in this awesome collection of such talented authors. Thank you, Denise.

    1. Yes, you can’t go wrong with any of these authors. Wendy writes for children and adults and this story really tugged at my heart. Thanks, Sally hugs back xo

  3. Loved your selection, Denise. They are some of my favorites as well! Congratulations to each of the writers. ✨🎉✨

  4. Denise, I love your reviews. I’m heading over to check out this book by Suzanne. I enjoy her books. Congrats to all the fabulous writers. 🙂 xx

    1. Thank you, Debby 🙂 I’m sure you will enjoy it, and like you I love all her books. Happy reading xo

  5. Thank you for sharing these lovely reviews, Denise! Will catch some of the books, as in autumn there will be much more time to read. (hopefully). Have a nice weekend! xx Michael

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