Reading: Super Summer Reads 2017

Hi again! I’m back! For a moment.

I’m going to be honest, the past few months have been really rough. My Darcy dog died at the end of March. Bookending the loss of my companion of the past decade, both of our cats died or went missing (week before and week after). It’s been rough. I’ve been depressed and anxious. I deal with these things in a variety of ways — one of which is collecting (remember my red lipstick and butterfly collections when planning our wedding?). So I’ve adopted four kittens. Jesse says I’m not allowed to have any more.

The bright spot though was that I did two successful presentations with my friend and former co-worker Anbolyn. We presented a version of our “Sizzlin’ Summer Reads” presentation for a group of librarians at the biennial “Back to the Beach” Readers Advisory program that MCLC and (I think) the State Library sponsor. This was my second time sharing my love of books at this program, the first was in 2014 when I shared some of my favorite “Books About Books”. Funny…I never shared that list. Anyway…

A few weeks later we presented to our “fans” at the Sunset Library. It was fantastic. I really love doing this presentation. I LOVE my current job, but I really miss sharing and talking about books on a daily basis. These programs are my way of staying connected.

We are presenting again in the Fall so if you’re in the Phoenix area, come talk books with us!

Here are my summer picks!

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman


A young widow takes on a gardening class in this surprisingly funny debut novel

Review on Goodreads

Quick thoughts: I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. One of my favorites of the year so far.

Interesting tidbit: Each chapter starts with fantastically snarky gardening tips.

Perfect for novice gardeners, fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, and anyone looking for a great book club pick.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

eleanoroliphantAn out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose oddities and wit will make you love her

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Reese Witherspoon is a fan! (It’s been all over her RWBookClub Instagram account and I get such a kick out of having similar book tasted as her :-D)

Quick thoughts: It reminded of some of my favorite “broken boy/man” stories like The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving and The Silver Linings Playbook, but instead of a dude, it’s a wonderful early 30s woman who is still learning to navigate life and all the confusing bits that come with it while also learning to love herself and embrace her past and just BE in this life.

Perfect read for social misfits and fans of quirky characters.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins


Days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help. Now Nel is dead.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Second novel from author of The Girl on the Train.

Quick thoughts: If you’re looking for another Gone Girl or GOTT, then this isn’t your book (read Ill Will instead). But this is a solid second novel from a promising author.

Perfect for fans of small-town mysteries, multiple perspectives, and anyone that enjoyed All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

holdback.jpgTrapped in the vast void of space, Carys and Max have only ninety minutes of oxygen left.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: A debut novel with over twenty international editions already!

Quick thoughts: Maybe In Another Life meets Gravity meets One Day.

Perfect for fans of YA, romance readers, and (again) Taylor Jenkins Reid readers.

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

richpeople.jpgThe final installment of the “Crazy Rich” series!!!

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbitCasting has started for the film adaptation of the first novel!

Quick thoughts: Perfect read for days by the pool — you can pretend your actually on your private island and wearing pearls while scuba diving.

Perfect for fans of The Wangs vs the World, people that enjoy snark, and readers of big intertwining family sagas.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

A young woman is pressured by a father she barely remembers to help lead a rebellion she does not believe in against the king who virtually raised her…and all using a magic whose existence she had repressed for years.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The author is a certified harp therapist.

Quick thoughts: Beautiful fantasy novel with a strong leading lady.

Perfect for fans of series and anyone that enjoyed Uprooted, The Queen of the Tearling, or The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory


A generations-spanning family of psychics must use their powers to save themselves from the CIA, the local mafia, and a skeptic hell-bent on discrediting them.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Author will be at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale July 20th, 2017

Quick thoughts: A lovely character-driven family novel that introduces the reader to a heartbroken patriarch, his down-on-their luck children, his quirky grandchildren, and all of their varied psychic abilities that attracts the attention of the CIA, the mafia, and unrelenting skeptics.

Perfect for fans of multi-generational family stories and for YA readers looking for something a little different.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

finalgirlsThe lone survivor of a horror-movie scale massacre is thrust back into the spotlight after another “Final Girl” is found dead.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Riley Sager is a pseudonyn…I think for Todd Ritter/Alan Finn

Quick thoughts: Mystery meets horror movie and kept me guessing until the very end.

Perfect for horror movie fans.

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza


One woman’s attempt to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose 30lbs through naked yoga, clay diets, and cultish workout classes.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Sykes once fell off a bike with her feet still in the pedals during a Soul Cycle class and no one helped her.

Quick thoughts: Laugh-out-loud funny look at the fitness industry. Naked yoga really exists, y’all.

Perfect for fans of Jane Green and Jennifer Weiner or anyone that finds Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop a little ridiculous.

The Stars in Our Eyes by Julie Klam

Stars.jpgAn exploration of celebrity: why celebrities fascinate us, what it means to be famous today, and why celebrities are so important.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Julie Klam worked for VH1’s Pop-up Video – she wrote the pop-ups!

Quick thoughts: Klam weaves together interviews, her own observations on Celebrity, and quick stories from people who have had interactions with celebrities to bring us a fascinating and entertaining read.

Perfect for nonfiction fans looking for something a little lighter for poolside reading and great for readers of People or Us Weekly 😉

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

marriagepactAfter receiving an odd gift at their wedding, newlyweds Alice and Jake find themselves initiated into a mysterious organization known as The Pact.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: The author’s husband is an FBI agent.

Quick thoughts: This ending. I need more people to read the book so I can talk about it!

Perfect for fans of twisty, psychological suspense novels or Liane Moriarty readers.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

classmomA year in the life of a kindergarten class mom.

Review on Goodreads

Interesting tidbit: Laurie Gelman (aka Laurie Hibberd) is an entertainment reporter and is married to Gelman of LIVE with Kathy Lee/Kelly/Regis/Michael/Ryan

Quick thoughts: SO FUNNY. And has me dreading Evie going to Kindergarten.

Perfect for fans of snark, irreverent humor, relatable charatcters, and anyone that enjoyed Wife 22 or Maria Semple‘s novels.

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