I hope your book stacks have been high and your coffee cups overflowing this summer. We are looking forward to a family holiday this week so I will be turning off the phone for the week and soaking in loads of unplugged time with my family. You can guess that if I’m not grabbing my phone, I’m grabbing a book so I am hoping I will have lots more recommendations to share with you next month.
Sorry to miss your messages, comments, and emails, but when this girl vacations, she does it unplugged! This request was also made of my kids! We have a stock-up trip to make to the library today, but we did just get the first three books in the Serafina series in the mail, for my daughter, so I’m hoping that she gets sucked into those the same way I did into my series books when I was a kid.
It was just three weeks ago I was chatting about what I read in May so I was a little nervous I wouldn’t have very much to talk about this month. As luck would have it, the rainy and cooler weather lead to loads of reading in my little she shed. Yup, it’s my favorite place to be! This reading gadget (the stand that I use to pair it with is over here) has been SO wonderful too for enjoying books outside on windy days, completely hands-free.
Just as a reminder, I read many more books than are just featured here, but try to feature the ones that are my absolute best picks. If you want to see more of what I am reading, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there too! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.
Today I will be announcing our next selections for our MomAdvice Book Club so please stay tuned for that! You can join our FREE book club to discuss what you are reading, ask opinions on books, and join in a monthly discussion of a really great read! It’s so awesome!
Here are 7 must-read books that I tackled in June!
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
I’m a big fan of Lisa See and have read every single one of her books. I have to admit, her earlier books were among my favorites, but I felt like her latest novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane had some of that old magic and sparkle that drew me to her writing when I first discovered her.
This novel is set in a remote Chinese mountain village where Li-Yan and her family work as farmers of tea. Li-Yan is unlike most girls because her parents do encourage her to go to school and believe that she is smart enough to concentrate on her education rather than farming. When Li-Yan becomes pregnant with a child, out of wedlock, she decides to give her child up for adoption because it is tradition in their culture to kill these children. Li-Yan now finds the course of her life has changed so much and the love of her life is not as he has appeared. She courageously must forge a new path for herself and continues to buck tradition by becoming educated and cultivating her own business while never giving up hope on finding her daughter again.
I learned a lot about how tea is farmed and, in particular, a lot about the Akha people and their traditions. See always has a way of storytelling that is both informative and captivating. I enjoyed this one start to finish and think it would be a great intro book to her writing if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her books before.
Reading Challenge Category Completed- A book about a culture/religion you are unfamiliar with
4 Out Of 5 Stars
The Dry by Jane Harper
The Dry is a well-crafted debut mystery that kept me guessing from start to finish. I have shared before that police procedural books are rarely a favorite of mine, but every so often I will pick one of these up and be sucked in to the story enough to plow my through the investigative aspect of these books.
This fast page-turner did just that as it explores the shocking murder of a mother, father, and child in a small town. Federal Agent Aaron Falk grew up in the town, returns for the funeral, and then finds himself helping on the case by the request of the victim’s family. The problem is that Falk has been harboring a few secrets of his own on another death that happened in the town and he is not welcome or trusted by most of its residents.
The reader is left to wonder how these two cases may be intertwined as Harper takes you down the whodunit path that will leave you guessing up until the last few pages.
3 Out Of 5 Stars
White Fur by Jardine Libaire
The first thought that popped into my head when reading White Fur is… well, this was unexpected. Turn up that A/C and plan on steaming up the room with this dark and gritty love story.
Jamey is the stereotypical rich white kid with a large trust fund, Elsie is a rough uneducated girl from the wrong side of the tracks which basically means, never the twain shall meet…
Until they do.
And then they fall in love.
It’s an unsettling love story as though each person is pushing the boundaries to try and prove their love for one another. They constantly test the limits with each other and with their family and it leaves the reader questioning if it is love or their own path of self-destruction that bring these two together.
This will not be a book for everyone. Many passages are graphic, the sex scenes are disturbing, and it pushes the envelope A LOT.
Yet, when the writing is on it is ON.
It is promising, interesting, and is all the glam and glitz of NYC in the 1980’s. If you enjoy this one, consider this book option for a slightly tamer selection with the same feel.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Liz & Lisa joined me for our Sundays With Writers series when launching their book, The Status of All Things. I am always intrigued by writing duos and how that process works, and these longtime chums seem to really have a knack writing together.
The Good Widow is the first thriller from the dynamic duo and it was a fun 24-hour escape reading about a wife who has lost her husband in a car crash and then discovers this crash happened with another woman in the passenger seat. Yup, this guy has been leading a double life and she never even knew it.
Nick, the fiancée of the other passenger, reaches out to the widow (Jacks) to try to replicate the couple’s trip and final days to see where this accident happened, and get clues from locals on their behavior together as they try to understand how they both could have been so in the dark.
As a seasoned thriller reader, it was a nice escape that held my interest all the way through. Liz & Lisa deliver on a light & twisty beach read that is perfect to read poolside!
3.5 Out Of 5 Stars
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
The Light We Lost is the first book club selection for the Skimm #skimmreads partnership with Target stores. I know I have mentioned it before, but I love this 5-minute newsletter to keep in tune with headline news. My favorite element though, is their Friday newsletter that shares a great book to read. I couldn’t wait to dig into this one after reading the synopsis.
If you are looking for a beautiful love story, this is definitely the book you should be reading this summer. Lucy & Gabe fall in love in college after witnessing the aftermath of 9/11 in NYC. This tragedy is the start of their relationship and the reader gets to hear all of the ups and downs of this relationship through Lucy’s eyes. When Gabe gets a job in the Middle East, the two go their separate ways and find love in other places.
The thing about real and true love though is that you always wonder what your life would have looked like if you had stayed together. Santopolo takes you on this thirteen-year odyssey that is filled full of beauty and the exploration of fate. Fans of One Day will really embrace this love story!
5 Out Of 5 Stars
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
I got a little burnt out on historical fiction, but A Piece of the World is a book that I kept hearing such good things about that I thought I would try to dive back into this genre. You may know Kline from her #1 New York Bestseller, Orphan Train.
One of the author’s favorite paintings is Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. In this book she explores the story of Christina, Wyeth’s muse in many of his paintings, and what Christina’s life might have been like since the painting is so haunting. This well-researched account of Christina and the disability she lived with was so beautifully told. The reader gets a full portrait of this woman from her childhood until her older years and many of the hurdles she went through in her life.
While, perhaps, not as heart-tugging as her first book, Kline’s astounding amount of research on the true story of Christina makes this a captivating read. Be sure to read the author’s notes because it really showcases the effort that Kline took to capture Christina.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Darktown by Thomas Mullen
Darktown is the book that was selected this month for the MomAdvice Book Club because I had heard such great things about it. Mullen’s book builds upon the true story of the first eight African American police officers that served in the late 1940’s in Atlanta. I was completely oblivious to their stories and trials that they faced in these roles and Mullen’s tells an unflinching portrait of the daily challenges that these men faced, racially and in their roles at work.
When a black woman is murdered in their town, the white officers start covering up their involvement while the black officers are limited in how they are able to investigate the case. The book is told from alternating perspectives from the officers on each racial side as the book builds a story of corruption and racism that will leave the reader guessing until the final pages.
Thomas Mullen happens to be a white male author and, apparently, submitted this manuscript without his name or picture attached. When it crossed the desk of one of the top black editors in publishing history, it was selected for publication. The acclaim has been so great that it has now been optioned for a television series. Fans of True Detective, are sure to love this one AND learn a lot about this time in history.
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4 Out Of 5 Stars
Read With Me This Year:
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