Summer reading. Until about 5 years ago, I did not know that this was an actual thing. There are endless posts and articles by various bookish organizations and social influencers. So, I couldn’t let this summer go by without a little compilation of summer picks for us here at Rocket City Mom. We asked some of our local contributors what they are reading this summer.
If a title below catches your fancy, just click on “More Details” to purchase a copy from an awesome Huntsville bookseller! #ShopLocal
Thrones of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Melissa Parden Lee says, “It’s a re-read for the 1000th time. It’s got everything: action, romance, mystery, the supernatural, a strong female and male leads. It’s five stars and the best part? It’s a part of a series!”
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Helen Lien plans to reread this book “because Noah deftly balances heavy topics and humor while illuminating a culture so very foreign, yet similar to my own.”
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Melissa Davison plans on rereading Harry Potter because, she says, “I need some comfort reading.” Don’t we all? She’s also looking forward to digging Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews and Blue Marlin by Lee Smith.
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
Stephenie Walker, our editor at Rocket City Mom explains, “My teen son and I are reading it together this summer. It will be his first time. It’s got all my favorite things… adventure, magic, great characters, romance, epic friendships, and mystery. I’ve been waiting until he was old enough to enjoy it and now he finally is!”
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. Releasing August 4th
I’m planning on reading what Anne Bogel described as “a literary mystery full of surprises”. The story is about a perspective journalist living in the New York Public Library. Eighty year’s later, under a new NYPL Curator, valuable manuscripts start disappearing. She suspects the theft trace back to her grandmother, a renowned journalist. Two time periods, centering around books and writing? I am always game for that.
Snail on the Wall Book Picks
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Vampires, book clubbers, and polite Charleston society don’t typically mix, but when they do, you’ve got to read about it. This novel isn’t like any you’ve read: it’s funny, irreverent, frightening, gross, and serious about some things to do with power, social hierarchies, and southern life. One local reader described it as Never Have I Ever meets The Lost Boys, a description I think hits the mark.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
This novel focuses on a woman firefighter who loves her job above all else. Over the course of the story, she learns to let go of her tough facade enough to forge new relationships, and that’s when life (at home and work) gets interesting. Things You Save in a Fire isn’t your everyday rom-com; it tackles real issues—misogyny in the workplace, terminal illness, forgiveness—and yet it’s funny and uplifting in a way that will bring a smile to your face as you read. Author Katherine Center has given Ted Talks on resilience, hope, and the power of storytelling, and she pours all of that into this must-read, available in hardcover now or paperback in July.
The Holdout by Graham Moore
Graham Moore, author of historical fiction favorite Last Days of Night, surprised me with this legal thriller filled with crazy twists and turns. Main character Maya Seale is currently a criminal defense attorney, but before becoming a lawyer, she sat as a juror on one of the most high-profile murder cases in modern American history. Now, ten years later, that jury reassembles for a documentary about the trial. When one of the former jurors winds up dead, Maya becomes a suspect, giving rise to a wild, page-turning series of events.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
This debut novel by Kiley Reid was the first book I read in 2020, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It deals with race, class, and relationships in a real and riveting way, and with a story you absolutely can’t stop reading. The one response I hear from readers is “I couldn’t put it down!” Emira, a young black woman working as a babysitter for a white family, is confronted in a high-end supermarket and accused of kidnapping the toddler she’s being paid to watch. The incident seems to blow over that night, until the paths of her boss, her boyfriend, and all their social circles collide. As it all unfolds, you’ll have a mixed bag of feelings—from pity to revulsion to empathy—for these flawed people and a mess that keeps getting messier.
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
If you’ve come to The Snail for recommendations lately, no doubt I’ve mentioned This Tender Land or its predecessor, Ordinary Grace. They’re about the same characters but can be read as stand-alones. This Tender Land is a sprawling epic that follows young brothers on a journey to find family, faith, and home. It has a classic feel that will appeal to women, men, and readers of mystery, history, or plain old good stories. An excerpt from the opening pages sums it up: “The tale I’m going to tell is of a summer long ago. Of killing and kidnapping and children pursued by demons of a thousand names. There will be courage in this story and cowardice. There will be love and betrayal. And, of course, there will be hope. In the end, isn’t that what every good story is about?”
A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos
Don’t read this food lover’s romance while you’re hungry, because it is filled with delectable dishes (and a few recipes!) that you can almost taste. Chef Lumi Santana is not only gifted in the kitchen, cooking inspired food from her Dominican heritage, but she also has the gift of synesthesia—she can perceive a person’s emotions just by tasting their cooking. After her own Manhattan restaurant venture fails, she reluctantly goes to work at the French restaurant of Chef Julien Dax, a good-looking chef with a bad attitude. She wants to resist him and his cooking, but everything changes when she finally tastes one of his dishes. You’ll have such fun following the romantic tension simmering beneath the surface of this one-of-a-kind novel.
South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber
Cincinnati author Heather Webber says she’s adopted Alabama as her second home, and we’re so lucky because she writes wonderful stories that capture the magic of our state. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, set in the fictional town of Wicklow, Alabama, was a favorite last summer and our most recent book club pick. And now we have this new novel to look forward to in July. It’s set in a small town called Buttonwood, named after a special wish-granting tree that grows there. When Blue Bishop finds a newborn baby under the tree, her life becomes intertwined with another woman and the long-held secrets of both their pasts. I’ve gotten an early peek, and it’s another beautiful, magical story for fans of southern novels.
At Rocket City Mom Book Club this summer, it’s BYOB – Bring Your Own Book. Take your pick from one of these options or pick something you’re excited about reading (or rereading). We will meet on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 8:30 PM CT to discuss them all together. It’s going to be fun!
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Shannan Moore Malone squeezes in the time to write while taking care of the Buddy Man. As you already know, she loves books but she also loves great movies, running, and is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a foodie. Though generally more on the quiet side, you can get her talking by mentioning living authentically, the importance of clarity and organization, and enjoying life, which she occasionally writes about on her blog her blog and posts about on Instagram @shannanenjoyslife.