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December 06th, 2021

books spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


This summer has allowed me to get a lot of reading done, and throughout the summer, I was able to read through many different genres, making for an overall rather diverse reading list. In that spirit, I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on a handful of the ones I read through. 


Walk in My Combat Boots: True Stories from America's Bravest Warriors (James Patterson and Matt Eversmann)

This is one I’ve read more recently, and it’s a collection of stories from different veterans from the different branches of the U.S. military. The stories include a variety of personal combat/training experiences and shares some insight as to why these particular soldiers entered their respective branches. I really enjoyed reading it because of the variety – there are stories from every military branch, and no two stories are alike. I liked the balance throughout in that respect, and I also liked how there were also a handful of stories included about some of the negative aspects of having served (i.e. PTSD and other mental health issues, etc.) All the stories are also very quick to read, making for a very enjoyable reading experience. If you’re a military buff and/or a James Patterson fan, this is a good book to check out. 

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Malibu Rising (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

This is one I picked up earlier this summer and follows the four Rivas siblings as they throw their annual end-of-summer party, which ultimately ends up changing each of their lives in different ways. The book also flashbacks to the siblings’ childhood and shows how they grew up. Reading this book reminded me almost of an actually good soap opera, and I was definitely kept interested the entire time I was reading. Each of the siblings is given the spotlight, and each of them is given some good character growth throughout, particularly oldest sibling Nina. My only complaint about this book is there are some points where there’s a little too much focus on the smaller side characters who are ultimately never mentioned again – in my opinion, if you mention a character, they better have a somewhat substantial role. If you’re a fan of more dramatic reads, this is another good one to check out. 


The Four Winds (Kristin Hannah)

This is one I wrote a full review for earlier this summer, and it ended up being a particular favorite. The story takes place in 1934, the middle of the Great Depression, and follows Elsa Martinelli and her children as they move to California trying to find a better life after being driven away from their home in the Great Plains due to the horrific dust storms and other harsh circumstances. There’s so much great depth and description throughout the book, making for a very vivid portrait of the main family and the overall Great Depression period. I also really loved the writing style, and I liked how the characters were actually portrayed rather realistically. This was one I recommended to my mom very shortly after I finished reading it, and then after she finished it, she raved about how much she enjoyed it as well. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and/or Kristin Hannah’s other works, this is definitely a good one to have on your bookshelf. 


Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

This story following the lives of the four March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) is the oldest entry on this list, but I only recently got around to sitting down and actually reading it. I’d read a kids’ version of the story when I was younger, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading the unabridged book until rather recently. Overall, I found it a very charming story, and I enjoyed how each of the sisters had her own spotlight throughout the book. The characterization was also very well done and the writing helps with that a lot. My favorite sisters are Jo and Amy, mostly because they’re the ones who have the best character development throughout the book, and that development is written in a very realistic way. If you’re interested in the classics, this is a good one to check out. 


A Promised Land (Barack Obama)

This is one I’d checked out earlier this summer, and while it took me a little longer than I expected, I ended up enjoying it. The book follows Obama’s early life and his first presidential term. The book overall is very engaging, and it’s a good look into what Obama had to think about during his first term, particularly with the situations that were happening when he entered office. Obama is a very thorough writer (at some points maybe a little too thorough) and doesn’t leave out too much about what was going on in his mind during his first term as the leader of the free world. If you’re interested in presidential history, this is another good one to check out. 

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