Summer Reads by Brohgan Dieker


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It's the Fourth of July, and I leave on vacation later this week. For me, rest and relaxation would never be possible without a big stack of books on the nightstand ready to be plowed through during the cracks of busy summer life. As mom, those afternoons of lazy beachside reading seem way out of reach, but I still find myself reading late into the night, sometimes hiding the light so I don't wake anyone else up. It makes me feel like a kid again!

Included in this list are cookbooks, fantasy, Christian fiction and non-fiction.  This is a LONG list? Can I get through them all??? I don't know, but I'm sure going to try!


This trilogy was part of my Christmas present from my husband, and I'm loving it! Currently on book two. This book is perfect if you enjoy reading sci fi or fantasy books and are a fan of the Lord of the Rings but uncomfortable with some of the content in the Game of Thrones series.

If I were to have a conversation about this trilogy in a college literature class, I would have quite a lot to say about the treatment of women in this book.


By Aimee, the editor of Simple Bites. This book has been on my to read list ever since it came out, and I snagged it when I noticed it displayed in the Children's section of our public library last week. It's a gorgeous book! Description via Amazon:

"Aimée’s rural homestead upbringing,  years working as a professional chef and everyday life as  a busy mom led to the creation of the hugely popular blog  Simple Bites . Raising three young children with husband  Danny, Aimée traded her tongs and chef whites for a  laptop and camera, married her two passions—mothering  and cooking—and has since been creating recipes with  an emphasis on whole foods for the family table, sharing  stories and tips and inspiring readers to make the family– food connection on the Simple Bites blog."


Description via Amazon:

"Perfect for fans of the growing locavore movement and those who are empowered by the idea of "putting up" their own preserves, this book will inspire readers to start their own jam sessions as soon as the year's bumper crop of fruits and vegetables becomes available. Can anybody join the movement? We sure can!"


It's been AGES since I've picked up any Christian fiction, but Terri Blackstock has produced several enjoyable reads for me. A friend recommended this, and I'm expecting it to be very thrilling (and possibly end on a cliffhanger...).


I can't get over the fact that this book reads like it was written by my mom! I think it is because Alsup is an algebra teacher, just like mom! :D This book was sent to me by the publisher to review on the blog, and I'm about half way through it.


Also sent to me by the publisher. Description below via Amazon.

"When talking about race, it helps to have something specific to talk about―a story we can all wrap our heads around. In Meals from Mars, Ben Sciacca provides that story: two men from different worlds forced by circumstance to see and hear and consider one another. It is a novel that demonstrates the social challenges and relational potential for racial reconciliation."


I'm reading this with a couple of friends. I initially borrowed a copy, but ordered it half way through the first chapter because I wanted my husband to have a chance to read it too!

"Rejecting rigid rules and checklists that don't work, Dr. Kimmel recommends a parenting style that mirrors God's love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator for behavior. As we embrace the grace God offers, we begin to give it-creating a solid foundation for growing morally strong and spiritually motivated children."


I used to work with international students at a large university, I am very aware of the importance of imparting a global perspective in my parenting! While Kansas doesn't exactly sound like a diverse place to live, when my son and I attend Baby Rhyme Time at the local library, as white US citizens, we are typically in the minority. Our neighborhood houses the majority of international peoples in our city, and I want to make sure that we are doing our part in keeping our eyes open and in creating a safe and welcome environment for our neighbors and community.  I'm really appreciating this book, and I'm already feeling stretched outside of my comfort zone in many ways!

"Give Your Child the World includes more than 600 children's book recommendations from around the world. Reading lists are organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Each listing includes a brief description of the book, its themes, and any content of which parents should be aware.

Parents can introduce their children to the world from the comfort of home by simply opening a book together. Give Your Child the World is poised to become a bestselling family reading treasury that promotes literacy, develops a global perspective, and strengthens family bonds while increasing faith and compassion."


I'm so excited that this book exists, and I can't wait to read it! Gary Moreland has been extremely influential and encouraging in my writing life. Description via Amazon.

"'Gary Morland is a gifted communicator who has learned many lessons the hard way.  He grew up in a dysfunctional family and went down that road himself, bottoming out as a confused alcoholic with a wife, two daughters, and no idea how to change. God transformed Gary's life through his grace and the practical advice of wise mentors. Those lessons are passed along in this powerful and insightful book.'--John Fuller, cohost of Focus on the Family"


I followed Tsh Oxenreider's blog as she, her three kids, and her husband packed their lives into 5 backpacks took a year long trip around the world. Now she has published a book about this experience, and I know it will be a wonderful read! Description via Amazon.

"At Home in the World follows their journey from China to New Zealand, Ethiopia to England, and more. They traverse bumpy roads, stand in awe before a waterfall that feels like the edge of the earth, and chase each other through three-foot-wide passageways in Venice. And all the while Tsh grapples with the concept of home, as she learns what it means to be lost—yet at home—in the world."


Last but not least, this book arrived in the mail yesterday, and I am SO EXCITED! I am on the release team for this book, so I get to review it before it is officially released on September 5. While you are waiting for the book to be released, check out Erin's blog, The Humbled Homemaker. Description via Amazon.

"When you're trapped in a cycle of financial frustration, and you feel like you've tried everything only to end up with more month than money yet again, More Than Just Making It is your promise and pathway to thriving again.

Take it from someone who's been there. Erin Odom grew up in the private schools and neatly manicured lawns of Upper Middle Class America, but was thrown into low-income living during the economic crash. She was a stay-at-home-mom, her husband was supporting the family on a teacher's salary, and despite the fact that they had no debt to their name, they were scrambling to make ends meet. Suddenly Erin found herself standing in line for food stamps, turning down play dates because she couldn't afford the gas, and ultimately walking into bankruptcy court in the eighth month of her third pregnancy.

More Than Just Making It tells the story of their breaking point, as well as the triumph of their comeback. It took hard work, creativity, and faith in God’s provision to reset their bank account as well as their hearts, but ultimately they found a new way to thrive and freedom from financial anxiety. You can do the same. Learn how Erin and her family saved enough money to put $30,000 down on a home, buy a minivan in cash, and begin sending their daughter to private Christian school. More Than Just Making It will encourage readers to rise above their circumstances, empower them with money-saving tips, and reimagine the good life as God designed it outside the myth of the American Dream."

It's the Fourth of July, and I leave on vacation later this week. For me, rest and relaxation would never be possible without a big stack of books on the nightstand ready to be plowed through during the cracks of busy summer life. From cookbooks to fiction to non-fiction, check out my "to reads"" this season!

3 Cookbooks to Save Time in the Kitchen by Brohgan Dieker


As much as I love to cook, I do have a few cookbooks which remain on the shelf gathering dust. Here are some of my FAVORITES over the years! I own all of these suggestions, and I am recommending them to you!

Most of these I own a physical copy, but I've started buying the Kindle version instead! Why?

  1. With the invention of Pinterest, I am always cooking from my phone or my ipad. Why not keep my cookbooks there too?
  2. It saves space. I have a small kitchen!

The following post uses affiliate links, which means that at no added cost to you, I get a small percentage of every sale. This allows I do not endorse anything that I myself would not use. You can view my full disclosure policy HERE. Thank you!

These cookbooks have saved me tons of time in the kitchen!

  1. I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening! Over 150 Ridiculously Easy Recipes for the Super Busy (affiliate)

Also available on Kindle. (affiliate)

Despite the buzzword laden title, this book could be found open on my kitchen counter from the years 2010-2013 (when I had finally memorized our favorite recipes by heart). The Mexi Mac-n-Cheese and the Scoopy Joes are still in rotation. The author, Devin Alexander, is both a nutritionist and a comfort food lover.

What I like:

  • It's full of recipes for healthy comfort food! What's not to love??
  • All of the recipes take less than 20 minutes to make, in my experience.
  • Ingredients are simple and commonly sold in most stores.

What I don't like:

  • Not every recipe is pictured. That always bugs me a little.
  • Occasional use of processed ingredients. I'm fine with this once in a while, but I try to keep it fresh whenever possible.

Another book by her that I own and have used many times (but not as often, personal preference) is The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook (affiliate).

2. Dinner: The Playbook (affiliate)

Also available on Kindle. (affiliate)

I know, I keep recommending this book over and over! I reviewed it once already (bonus recipe!) But, as a busy parent, it is WORKING for me. It is the new book that lives on my countertop, and I have loved every recipe so far!

What I like:

  • It's so strategic and easy to follow!
  • I really appreciate how this book is organized! It contains both quick and easy recipes and more challenging recipes. Each type are contained in their own section, so there's no getting mixed up!
  • I just appreciate Jenny's voice. She's sarcastic yet encouraging, and it's really keeping this dinnertime thing going on difficult/impossible evenings.

What I don't like:

  • The pictures. I like that they're included with every recipe, but they look like polaroids from the early 90's. They're not really mouth-watering to me. (I'm really just being super picky here! I genuinely like just about everything in this book.)

Another bonus book by Jenny Rosenstrach is Dinner: A Love Story (affiliate). This book is also working well for me right now, and it has a special place in my heart, but it's just not getting used as often. I think it's because of the way it is organized. The Gameplan is much more "down to business."

3. The Southern Pantry Cookbook (affiliate)

Also available on Kindle. (affiliate)

This is another book that I use often (and reviewed here). This cookbook very much inspired my own FOREVER Grocery List, as it sticks to a pantry list of ingredients.

What I like:

  1. It has both simple, delicious dinner recipes AND special holiday recipes. I already know that I will be pulling it out around Christmas to make the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars for my family!
  2. The southern-style recipes are introducing my family to some new flavors and styles of food! I love when cookbooks inspire you to try new things!
  3. It reminds me of my grandma's cooking.

What I don't like:

  1. Not all the recipes are quick and easy. In fact, some take quite a bit of time.
  2. Many of the recipes are very much "stick to your ribs" style food. Definitely not diet friendly and intended to be enjoyed in moderation!

What did I miss?

Do you have a favorite time-saving cookbook that isn't mentioned here? Mention it in the comments below!