Reading: Sizzlin’ Summer Reads 2016

In early June Anbolyn and I gave a book talk on the books we think everyone should read this summer. 🙂 It was so much fun and we had about a dozen people come to the program. (That’s a success, if you ask me!) I think we presented a great mix of books — nonfiction, thrillers, apocalyptic, fantasy, contemporary, historical — no bias or anything.

We are presenting again in the fall and I am trying to read as many galleys as possible. I’m finding it difficult to find the time to read, so I thought I’d write up my thoughts from our last presentation with hopes I’ll find my motivation. 😉

Below are my picks (in order of publication date) — and visit Gudrun’s Tights for Anbolyn’s. There are a few we both enjoyed, like The Last One, Truly Madly Guilty, and Dark Matter — that means these books are REALLY good and you should go read them now!

The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales

Regional Office is Under AttackIn a world with amassing forces of darkness, one organization—The Regional Office—and its coterie of super powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation.

Review on Goodreads

Quick thoughts: ‘If Joss Whedon wrote a novelization of Die Hard, it would be like this.’

Perfect for fans of Joss Whedon, Lexicon by Max Berry, Minority Report, and fans of the Ex-Heroes series.

The After Party by Anton DiSclafani

The After Party1950s Houston socialites and a friendship that borders on obsession.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: I read it solely for the cover art — epitome of sultry!

Quick thoughts:  I felt like these characters were real people. I could easily sit around gossiping about these wealthy, glamorous Houston women for hours.

Perfect read for Texans and fans of books focusing on a friendship (think Summer Sisters). Also check out the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

city of mirrorsThe final installment in the Passage trilogy – reveals both the origin of the virus and concludes the story of the group of survivors we first met in 2010.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The author was inspired to write the series by his daughter

Quick thoughts: My favorite book of the trilogy.

Perfect for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, especially The Stand. If you like audio books, LISTEN to this series– Scott Brick is the narrator. ❤

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

gruntTackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them.

Review on Goodreads

Quick thoughts: My first thought when I picked this up was, “so military maneuvering? Umm….” But it isn’t that AT ALL.

Perfect for fans of random information and anyone that likes a little humor with their science.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

invisible libraryAn undercover Librarian is sent to an alternate reality to collect an important work of fiction, but by the time she arrives it’s already been stolen.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Perfect “binge reading” — quick publication schedule for US readers!

Quick thoughts:  A big mix of genres and complicated in the best way with fantastically complex world-building.

Perfect for fans of Jasper Fforde, Doctor Who, and bibliophiles. If you like the Parasol Protectorate books and (especially) the Thursday Next series, you’ll like this!

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

all is not forgottenA girl is brutally attacked and given a controversial drug to erase her memory of the assault. But does it work?

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Reese Witherspoon is a fan.

Quick thoughts: Read it FAST, but it’s left a lasting impression. Intense.

Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and The Kind Worth Killing.

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

last oneLines blur between reality TV and reality itself – and one woman’s mind and body are pushed to the limit in this story of survival.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The author’s last name is pronounced “all of a”, like in the phrase “all of a sudden”.

Quick thoughts: Amazing storytelling, fascinating concept. (And I love survival stories.)

Perfect for fans of non-monster post-apocalyptic tales like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Wool by Hugh Howey. Also great for Survivor fans and hikers. 🙂

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

hopefulsTells the story of a young couple who move to D.C. to follow the husband’s political dreams.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The author’s husband works for the White House and her best friend is the Vice President’s press secretary (at least according to the “inside scoop” from the publisher).

Quick thoughts: Loved the glimpse into the machinations of politics and the dynamics between the two couples was fantastic.

Perfect for fans of The West Wing and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

dark matterA fast-paced sci-fi thriller about a physicist that suddenly finds himself in the wrong world.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The film rights have already been scooped up!

Quick thoughts: My brain hurts. So fast, so deep, so science, so good.

Perfect for fans of fast-paced thrillers (like breakneck speed) and science fiction like The Martian.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

trulymadlyguiltySix responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend barbecue. What could possibly go wrong?

Review on Goodreads

Quick thoughts: I needed to talk about this book as soon as I finished it! Thank goodness Anbolyn had already read it!

Perfect for book clubs, secret-keepers (or tellers), and anyone that has enjoyed the author’s previous novels.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

city bakerAfter a disastrous party, Boston chef, Livvy, heads to a small bed and breakfast  to bury her misery in some delicious desserts.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The author was a pastry chef in Boston so she knows her baked goods.

Quick thoughts: I want pie. Not my usual read, but a nice change of pace.

Perfect for foodies, fans of feel-good stories or books about small-town life. Also, fans of Gilmore Girls — a small bed & breakfast, a small town, a pastry chef — it had me longing for days in Stars Hollow.

The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee

artofrivalryThe story of four pairs of artists whose intense relationships spurred and shaped their art.

Quick thoughts: It’s like reading four different mini-biographies of friendships gone screwy. I can admit that I recommended this one without finishing it, but that’s because I’m slow with nonfiction. The lives of artists fascinates me.

Perfect for biography readers and art lovers.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

beholdthedreamersA debut novel exploring the 2008 financial crisis from the point of view of a Cameroonian couple whose lives become entwined with that of a Lehman Brothers executive.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: LOTS of early buzz about the author’s BIG book deal

Quick thoughts: This book is so timely given the current political climate surrounding immigration. It will make you feel things about the characters and yourself.

Perfect for book clubs and anyone who likes to read about the immigrant experience.


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