I love summer reading! So many extra sunny hours in the day to lounge around, read, and catch up on the TBR pile that is becoming as tall as me. I also think summer is the best time to get back into reading, if you've been in a slump or a longer hiatus. I often find that it takes me about 50 pages to invest in a story, and during the summer I love sitting on my patio after dinner, with the last few remaining hours of sun, to dive into a new book. I've complied a list of my favourite summer reading books, with psychological thrillers, mythology, and chick lit.
1. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
2. How To Walk Away by Catherine Center
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.
*Photo pictured above
3. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
4. When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
5. Circe by Madeline Miller
6. The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon
I really enjoyed Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. Sometimes I go into a book without reading the synopsis, and this is one of those examples. With a quick glimpse at the back reviews by B.A. Paris, Riley Sager and Amy Engel (all favorites’), I had a feeling this was a psychological thriller, but had no expectations going into it. I really loved the premise and found it unexpected and unique. I don’t want to say too much in fear of giving away the mystery at the heart of the novel…which is what is ‘in the water?’ I will say that it took me about 100 pages to feel really invested in this story, but the build-up and character development is important to the narrative. As many of you know, I absolutely love morality tales, and this one is the perfect mix of bad decisions and thought-provoking scenarios. The perfect summer/beach read.
Robyn Harding has quickly become one of my favourite authors...and she's from Vancouver! I read The Party last year, and the Advanced Reader Copy of Her Pretty Face in March. This new book releases on July 10th and is on my list of Most Anticipated Summer Reads, and is part of the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge with BookSparks. Her books are suspenseful, shocking and raw, grabbing the reader from the first page and not letting go until the shocking conclusion. Her Pretty Face explores reinvention, grief, and retribution, leaving you wondering if people can truly change. She has also written four works of humorous women’s fiction, a YA novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband, two kids, and a seven-pound, toothless dog named Ozzie. With my very first Q&A, thank you Robyn for participating!
A few questions about writing:
1) What is your writing process like?
When I start a novel, I create a loose outline. I was a screenwriter for several years and it taught me a lot about structure. I find that writing toward the next major plot point keeps me from getting lost or overwhelmed by the story. I also create character profiles before I start writing, giving them a backstory that may or may not make it into the book. Knowing the characters inside and out, really helps inform their behaviors and actions.
2) What advice do you have for writers?
Write, write, write. I recently saw David Sedaris speak, and he said he wrote for seven years before he showed anyone his work. It took him that long to be good enough! The other advice I’d offer is to enjoy writing for writing’s sake. I’m incredibly grateful to be published, but once writing becomes a business, it’s a different experience.
3) What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I love how supportive authors are of one another! I’ve made so many incredible connections to authors all over the world, mostly through social media or e-mail. I recently had dinner with Lisa Genova here in Vancouver and she inspired me to dream big and to go for it! I have regular lunches with YA writer Eileen Cook who is very smart about the business side of writing and gives great advice. And fellow thriller writers Roz Nay and Chevy Stevens have offered great insight into the genre. All these women are also hilarious!
4) I loved Her Pretty Face. What did you edit out of this book?
Thank you so much! I did a HUGE edit after the first draft. Originally, I had a documentary filmmaker following the women around, and it was he who revealed which of the women had the murderous past. My editor felt that this storyline distracted from the meat of the story, and I had to agree. It was a big re-write but it was worth it.
5) If Her Pretty Face graced the big screen, who do you see cast in the main leads? (Frances and Kate)
I’d like to see Amy Adams as Frances and Charlize Theron as Kate!
Some book-ish questions:
6) What is the first book that made you cry?
7) How has the bookstagram community impacted you?
I love the bookstagrammers I have connected with (including you)! It is such a fun and supportive environment. Every day, I learn about new books and see amazing photos. And I am in awe of how fast you all read!
8) An upcoming release you're most looking forward to?
I am so behind! I still need to read last summer’s new releases. But I’ve seen a lot of buzz about “Baby Teeth”. It sounds original and creepy-good!
Descriptions from Goodreads.
For Mystery & Thriller fans:
The Disappearing by Lori Roy
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
For Fans of Chick Lit:
When Life Gives You Lululemons
For Fans of Fiction, Feel-Good, and Romance:
How To Walk Away by Katherine
For Fans of Fiction & Sports:
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
For Fans of Psychological Thrillers:
Her Pretty Face
For Fans of Young Adult & Retellings:
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
“When you don't know what to do for yourself, do something for somebody else.” I adored this book, both deep and complex, I smiled through the entirety. It’s rare that I give a book 5 stars, especially when it’s not a psychological thriller, but I loved the message of this book: We are not our circumstances. What a great feel-good novel about overcoming adversities. “I know better than to look backward. I know how to try, and how to fail, and how to try again. I know how to live from the inside out. I know to savor every snuggle, every morning swim, every tickle, every meal, every warm bath, every moment when somebody makes you laugh. More than anything, I know that you just have to choose to make the best of things. You get one life, and it only goes forward. And there really are all kinds of happy endings”.
“We don’t fix everything, but we sure do make things better. That’s really become my whole guiding philosophy. I would never tell you that the life you wanted couldn’t have been exactly as great as you planned. But you have to live the life you have. You have to find inspiration in the struggle, and pull joy out of hardship. That’s what we try to do – counterbalance the suffering with laughter, fuzzy blankets, hugs, sing-alongs, sunny-day picnics, chocolate chip cookies, and wildflowers. Because that’s all we can do: carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savor the joy we can.” For fans of 'Me Before You'.
He did it again! An atmospheric thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last page. This one includes all of my favourites: Unreliable narrator, family secrets, red herrings, gothic undertones and a complex plot, filled with psychological suspense. This is the perfect summer read!
The Last Time I Lied is one of those stay up all night and read no matter how early you have to get up in the morning for work. I was lost in the pages of this haunting story that spans generations. As we learned from Final Girls, Forests + Riley Sager = a terrifying experience.
Releases in July.
Thank you @duttonbooks and @riley.sager.
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
I just finished Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella.
“Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating. And so…not an achievement, my dear. Rather, a privilege.”
Witty, emotional, and extremely entertaining, I loved the message at the heart of this story: marriage is work, marriage is commitment, and marriage is putting your spouse before yourself. I laughed, I got emotional, and I smiled…a lot. This is the perfect Spring/Summer read, and as I’ve found, Kinsella never disappoints. Let me know what you think! Thank you @penguinrandomhouseand @netgalley for this ARC.
I am a HUGE fan of Mary Kubica. I have a copy of all of her books, and was so excited to receive an ARC from @netgalley and @harlequinbooks. I was immediately invested in When The Lights Go Out. I really enjoyed Pretty Baby, which came out in 2015, and this story follows the same theme of motherhood. I loved the plot, and the unreliable narrator, which provided the same riveting suspense and stress that The Woman in the Window and Girl on the Train provided. The storyline was amazing, with alternating POV’s which kept me furiously flipping pages well into the night, trying to uncover the “bizarre case of stolen identity.” When I finally got to the ‘twist’ I was really disappointed, and actually flipped back to re-read because I was so surprised and unsure if I read incorrectly. I felt that my questions were never answered and wish the ending had gone in a different direction. I’ve read some very positive reviews with 5 stars, so maybe I am in the minority here. Excited to see what the bookstagram community thinks!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A woman is plunged into a bizarre case of stolen identity in this ambitious and riveting thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that forces her to question everything she’s ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key.
I just finished Bone Music, and my initial thoughts are 'Wow, this has all the makings of a great Netflix series!' This book is the backstory of Charlotte Rowe, which reminds me of why Marvel is so successful. A thriller that is both vivid, intelligent, and intensely moving, with a strong female protagonist. There is LOTS going on, and I don't want to give anything away. The book synopsis really doesn't do this book justice. Superhero, meets vigilante, with a mix of sci-fi, murder mystery, and the supernatural. It's LONG. I'm talking 450 plus pages long, and at first it deterred me from starting this. But with many hours to spare yesterday and today due to an unexpected knee injury, I was able to finish it in a few sittings. When I first saw the cover of this book, the title threw me off. But after getting half way you understand that the title refers to the symptoms of a powerful drug - "the shaking hands, the throbbing in her bones." What I loved most about this book, was the reason the drug was created in the first place - to wipe out sexual sadism. rape, and domestic violence. A unique approach to the thriller genre. It will not disappoint!
Usually, when a book has adaptation deals before before its publication, you assume it will be good. In fact, exceptional, especially when Kerry Washington is involved. I was really excited that The Perfect Mother was part of Book of the Month's May selections. I've seen a few of my favourite Bookstagrammers post about it, and read positive reviews. So I will say that I seem to be in the minority here. I found this book to be the complete opposite of the genre it's been marketed to. It claims to be a "riveting", and "fast-paced" thriller, but I found that it ultimately fell short. I wouldn't categorize this as a thriller, nor fast-paced. The plot sounds intriguing, especially when a missing child is involved, and you're taken through the various character's point of view of what actually happened that night. I had a difficult time keeping track of the assortment of mom's, and found their storylines weren't clearly separated. I didn't connect to any of them, which often has me losing interest quite quickly. When I finally did get to what happened to baby Midas, I just didn't care. I have a feeling the movie will be better then the book (first time I've ever said this), because the storyline is appealing.
Photographing books, one day at a time.