What I'm Reading This Summer

So many people are coming out with their summer reading lists, so taking a page out of Tracie Banister and Laura Chapman's blogs, I'm going to list the books I'd love to be able to get through this summer.

Reading is pretty far down on the list most days...it's something I indulge in at bedtime, when I'm not falling asleep as soon as I crawl in. My "day job" is being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) and most days find me running the littles around to school, practices, games, dance, scouts...along with taking care of the house. When I'm not doing all that - I'm either hanging out with my hubby or sitting at my desk to write, write, write. I'll admit that my muse has been a little absent lately. She tends to take a vacation when I finish writing a book and am in the process of getting it beta-read, edited and published. So while I had planned to be much further along in rewriting my third novel, I'm nowhere near where I wanted to be at this point in the year. And because of that, I fear my reading time this summer is going to be even more elusive than usual.

I'm going to list the 5 books I hope to get through this summer. I'm also going to list another 5, in the hopes that being prepared means my muse won't be MIA all summer!

These are in no particular order (and do not include the books I've promised to read for reviews):

1. The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

Why I Want to Read: I love history and I love books that give an account of history mixed in with a little fiction. I've always been intrigued with the tragedy of the Titanic and this book sounds like it would be full of history and a gripping story.

Book Blurb: Inspired by true events,The Girl Who Came Homeis the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic—a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the lucky few passengers in steerage who survives. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that terrible night ever again.

Chicago, 1982. Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Amazon Link:  The Girl Who Came Home

2. The Collector by Nora Roberts

Why I Want to Read:  Anyone who knows me knows that my author hero is Nora Roberts. She has many trilogies and series, but I find her standalone books to be just as well thought out and pleasing to read as her trilogies. I like that this book is a mix of what makes her great - mystery, intrigue and romance. In my opinion - no one does it better.

Book Blurb:  When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . .

Amazon Link: The Collector

3. Better by Carey Heywood

Why I Want to Read:  This book has been all over the place lately and it's gotten rave reviews. Normally I'm not a bandwagon reader, but once I read the blurb - I knew this book had to be added to my TBR list.

Book Blurb:  ** inspired by actual events **  Aubrey is embarking on a bucket list trip around the world, the last wish of her Aunt Ally. It was supposed to be the trip Ally would take when she got better. Now it's just a chance for Aubrey to say goodbye.

Adam escapes in his solo trips overseas, working just enough to fund the next one. When the opportunity to circle the globe falls in his lap, he can't refuse. The only catch, he won't be traveling alone this time. 

Unable to hide from each other, Adam's overprotective nature thwarts Aubrey's desire to find her own way. Can they move past initial assumptions to find something better?

Amazon Link: Better

4. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Why I Want to Read:  One of my favorite books is WINGS OF A DOVE by Elaine Barbeiri and it's a story of two orphans who ride the train to the Midwest hoping to be adopted. When I read the blurb for this book, it brought back those memories and I knew I had to read this book. I know it won't be at all the same - this is a totally different book - but I love reading other author's takes on a similar situation. Another reason I want to read this book - Molly is a Penobscot Indian and being from Maine, well, that's a part of my state's history!

Book Blurb:  Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Amazon Link: Orphan Train

5. Good Intentions by Kathryn Biel

Why I Want to Read:  This blurb just reached up and grabbed my attention. It has all the hallmarks of a book that will enter into my Top Reads list: bad men, bad luck, tragic pasts and a tragedy that pulls the main characters apart.  What else do you need? 

Book Blurb:  Plain and ordinary Maggie Miller has had more than her fair share of bad men, bad luck, a tragic past, and would really like to buckle down and start her new life in Boston as a pediatric physical therapist. But Ryan Milan, also starting his new life in Boston, is in the way of the low-key life that she has planned for herself. 

Ryan shows Maggie that, despite her misgivings, he loves her for her. Ryan and Maggie could have the perfect relationship—could—but tragedy pulls them apart after a fateful night, and a long-term separation leaves them at a cross-roads.  

When Ryan finds Maggie seven years later, he is shocked to find the life she is living. Now that Ryan's back, will her life take her in a direction she’s not willing to go? Can Maggie stay true to herself while finding true love?

Amazon Link: Good Intentions

Here are the other five:

1. Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Why I Want to Read:  An arranged marriage - arranged by a company and not parents - and arranged at the behest of clients, rather than tradition. It just sounds like such a good book, doesn't it? I've always been intrigued by the arranged marriage custom and I have some friends who practice this custom. I think this will be a fun read!

Book Blurb:  Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can't seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she's engaged, Anne can't help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn't a dating service; it's an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it-and the company's success rate-the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn't it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out-until Anne learns that Jack, and the company that arranged their marriage, are not what they seem at all.

Amazon Link: Arranged

2. Finding Emma by Steena Holmes

Why I Want to Read: I'm kind of a sucker for books about Moms and missing children. It's a deep-seated fear of mine - that something will happen to my children and I always try to put myself in the mother's places (not that I ever could, fully). It's sad and heartbreaking and terrifying - but I'm drawn to these types of books.

Book Blurb:  A mother’s near-obsessive devotion to her missing daughter threatens to destroy more than one family.

Megan is the harried but happy stay-at-home mother of three little girls living in a small town. Her life implodes when her youngest daughter, Emma, disappears on her third birthday.

Two years later, Megan is preparing to commemorate Emma’s birthday and the anniversary of her kidnapping, compelled to keep her name alive in the minds of her community and her family. Her commitment to Emma, however, borderlines on obsession as she follows the families of little girls who look like the daughter she lost.

Her obsession with finding Emma has distanced Megan from both friends and family. Her two older daughters are resentful of her relentless and fruitless search for their sister, and her husband pleads with her to accept that Emma is gone so that the family can move on with their lives.

Meanwhile, in the same small town, Jack is beginning to question his wife’s secrecy about their adored granddaughter, Emmie. As Dottie slips into dementia and becomes increasingly protective over Emmie, he can’t help but wonder if there could be a dark secret that Dottie is keeping from him.

Jack and Megan’s worlds finally intersect at the town carnival, when Megan snaps a photograph of a little girl on her grandfather’s shoulders.

Amazon Link: Finding Emma

3. The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

Why I Want to Read: So I'm embarrassed to say but I started this book last year and never finished it. It's my goal to finish it at some point as I hate leaving things unfinished, especially books. This is now a series, so I'd like to move on in the series too.

Book Blurb: Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play.

Amazon Link: The Hangman's Daughter

4. The War in Heaven by Kenneth Ziegler

Why I Want to Read: I read HEAVEN AND HELL - and loved the book. It was a strong story with an immense amount of detail. The story gripped me from the first page and I stayed up late, many nights, to read and finish it. I'm hoping this second book will be just as much of a page-turner as the first! This is also part of a series with five books total.

Book Blurb:  Satan and his minions have declared war on the most beautiful planet in the universe his purpose is to depose Michael the archangel and become second only to God in command of all creation. Standing in Satan's way are a scattered and disorganized host of angels, a group of inexperienced saints, a small band of humans, and some angelic rebels in Hell. Armed with faith full power, Abaddon the Destroyer creates a formidable army to challenge the evil targeting Earth.

Amazon Link: The War in Heaven

5. The Alice in Deadland Trilogy by Mainak Dhar

Why I Want to Read:  I love zombies. And I love authors who put a new spin on a classic. This has both and it's been in my TBR for months. The problem? I don't have time to read it and do it justice. 

Book Blurbs:  

Alice in Deadland - Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it's legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived- hordes of undead Biters. 

Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases. 

What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill. 

A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland- a book called Alice in Wonderland.

Through The Looking Glass: Alice in Deadland Book II - More than two years have passed since Alice followed a Biter with bunny ears down a hole, triggering events that forever changed her life and that of everyone in the Deadland. The Red Guards have been fought to a standstill; Alice has restored some measure of peace between humans and Biters; and under Alice, humans have laid the foundations of the first large, organized community since The Rising- a city called Wonderland.

That peace is shattered in a series of vicious Biter attacks and Alice finds herself shunned by the very people she helped liberate. Now she must re-enter the Deadland to unravel this new conspiracy that threatens Wonderland. Doing so will mean coming face to face with her most deadly adversary ever- the Red Queen.

Off With Their Heads: The Prequel to Alice in Deadland - A few months before Alice was born and fifteen years before the dramatic events depicted in Alice in Deadland, there was The Rising. A few days that destroyed human civilization as we know it, reducing much of the world to a radioactive wasteland teeming with hordes of undead Biters and controlled by a shadowy Central Committee.

Off With Their Heads brings to life the final harrowing days of The Rising through four shorts, each depicting events through the eyes of one pivotal character in the Alice in Deadland series. See how Dr. Protima became the Queen of the Biters; feel the pain of a young man's sacrifice as he becomes the bunny-eared Biter whom Alice later follows down a hole; follow the rise of Chen from a conflicted young Chinese Army officer to a General in the Red Guards; and finally share in the dramatic escape of Alice's parents from a city overrun by Biters.

Amazon Link: The Alice in Deadland Trilogy


What are you reading this summer? Please share in the comments!



Hi, Heather! Do not be embarrassed about not finishing The Hangman's Daughter. It took me a while too, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! My reading list is soooooo long for the summer. It has been fueled by our awesome Chick Lit 99 cent sale a couple of weeks ago. :) I will be reading In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister, Doubting Abby by Samantha Tonge, A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March, Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman...I could go on for a few more PAGES. I am also hoping to get my hands on a copy of your book soon! (Do I get to take a sneak peek?)

Glynis, your list is awesome too! Tracie's INOT and Samantha's Doubting Abbey are "very" good. You'll love them. I need to put the other two you mentioned on my list too. If only reading full-time could be a career. ;)

Oh, gosh. I hadn't heard of Alice in Deadland - I have to check that one out. I cover women's fiction on my book blog - but I also love apocalyptic fiction. Great titles, Heather. You're going to have a great summer of reading. Love your list!

Julie, if you get to it before me...I'll be anxious to hear what you think! I'd love to take a week and do nothing but read it! Maybe when I'm at the beach this summer, instead of writing like I planned, I'll take the time to read it!

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