Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read In Summer


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Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Today, I’m showing off my summer book list. These are the books I’ll (hopefully) be reading in the next few months. What are you going to read this summer? Do you have any vacations planned? I don’t. Just work and books. Exciting life, right?


🌊  Summer Reading List  🌞





After The Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, A Daughter’s Search by Sarah Perry


Adult True Crime Nonfiction / Memoir


When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse of the sun, an event she took as a sign of good fortune for her and her mother, Crystal. But that brief moment of darkness ultimately foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine, just a few feet from Sarah’s bedroom.
The killer escaped unseen; it would take the police twelve years to find him, time in which Sarah grew into adulthood, struggling with abandonment, police interrogations, and the effort of rebuilding her life when so much had been lost. Through it all she would dream of the eventual trial, a conviction—all her questions finally answered. But after the trial, Sarah’s questions only grew. She wanted to understand her mother’s life, not just her final hours, and so she began a personal investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, taking her deep into the abiding darkness of a small American town.


Why I’m excited to read it: I’ve been searching the Internet for well-written true crime nonfiction, and I keep stumbling across this one. I’m intrigued that it’s a true crime memoir instead of a book written by a journalist. The author has more connection to the crime than a random journalist would. I’m interested in the personal angle. Also, this book has amazing reviews on Goodreads. I’m going to trust thousands of Internet strangers and give it a shot.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


Adult Romance

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?


Why I’m excited to read it: I can hear you saying, “Um, Aj, you’re a heartless witch. You don’t read romance. Why is this book on your list?” Well, summer is the perfect time to read a cute, escapist rom-com. I can’t read serious stuff all the time! This book is everywhere on social media. I want to know what the hype is about.


Buy it on Amazon

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Young Adult Contemporary Novel-In-Verse


Seventeen-year-old Joe hasn't seen his brother in ten years. Ed didn't walk out on the family, not exactly. It's something more brutal.

Ed's locked up—on death row.

Now his execution date has been set, and the clock is ticking. Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with his brother, no matter what other people think . . . and no matter whether Ed committed the crime. But did he? And does it matter, in the end?


Why I’m excited to read it: It’s been a long time since I read a novel-in-verse. I usually love them because they strip all the frilly stuff out of books and get right to the point. Sarah Crossan’s work tends to get positive reviews. I’m interested to find out what I think.


Buy it on Amazon

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Middlegrade Fantasy


After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year old Samantha and her older sister Caitlin are sent to live in rural Oregon with an aunt they've never met. Sam wants nothing more than to go back to the way things were . . . before she spoke up about their father's anger.

When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game called "A Game of Fox & Squirrels," Sam falls in love with the animal characters, especially the charming trickster fox, Ashander. Then one day Ashander shows up in Sam’s room and offers her an adventure and a promise: find the Golden Acorn, and Sam can have anything she desires.

But the fox is hiding rules that Sam isn't prepared for, and her new home feels more tempting than she'd ever expected. As Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, the line between magic and reality grows thin. If she makes the wrong move, she'll lose far more than just a game.


Why I’m excited to read it:  Goodreads says this book “explores the often thin line between magic and reality, light and darkness.” It sounds like this novel has the potential to be delightfully weird. I’m game. Let’s play.

Buy it on Amazon

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Young Adult Mystery

Natalie's parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it's only been a few short months since Natalie's boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.

Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he's gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn't have.

But why do her friends think she's crazy for wanting to make sure he's okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn't even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?


Why I’m excited to read it: Summer is the perfect time for a cruise! Well, not this particular cruise, but you know what I mean. It would suck to be the main character in this story. You meet a cool guy on a ship, and he jumps overboard the instant you turn your back. That can’t be good for your self-esteem. Anyway, this sounds like a compelling mystery. Also, I love the cover. Someone should replace that rope before unfortunate events happen.


Buy it on Amazon

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Contemporary Middlegrade Fiction


Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.


Why I’m excited to read it: My book friends love this novel. I’ve lost track of how many times it’s been recommended to me. It’s supposed to be a sweet story with spunky, realistic child characters. It’s set in Arizona. I love deserts! If I could handle the heat without turning into a raving psycho bitch, I’d move to Arizona.


Buy it on Amazon

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Classic Mystery


It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900.

Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared.

They never returned.


Why I’m excited to read it: Summer is a perfect time for picnics! Well, not this particular picnic, but whatever. I have to grab classics whenever I see them. I believe this mystery was first published in Australia in the 1960s. I don’t know if I’ve ever read an Australian classic. Most of my college classes focused on Brit Lit. This book got my attention because it sounds like it has an intense plot and a rural setting.


Buy it on Amazon

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Adult Horror / Mystery / Thriller


A trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers . . . and it wants them all.


Why I’m excited to read it:  It has been a while since I read a really good horror story. This book has been recommended for fans of Stephen King’s IT. IT isn’t my favorite Stephen King book, but I’m sold. Let’s see how they compare.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Adult Historical Fiction


There are many things twelve-year-old Clover Blue isn't sure of: his exact date of birth, his name before he was adopted into the Saffron Freedom Community, or who his first parents were. What he does know with certainty is that among this close-knit, nature-loving group, he is happy. Here, everyone is family, regardless of their disparate backgrounds—surfer, midwife, Grateful Dead groupie, Vietnam deserter. But despite his loyalty to the commune and its guru-like founder Goji, Blue grapples with invisible ties toward another family—the one he doesn't remember.

With the urging of his fearless and funny best friend, Harmony, Clover Blue begins to ask questions. For the first time, Goji's answers fail to satisfy. The passing months bring upheaval to their little clan and another member arrives, a beautiful runaway teen named Rain, sparking new tensions. As secrets slowly unfurl, Blue's beliefs—about Goji, the guidelines that govern their seemingly idyllic lives, and the nature of family itself—begin to shift. With each revelation about a heartbreaking past he never imagined, Blue faces a choice between those he's always trusted, and an uncertain future where he must risk everything in his quest for the truth.


Why I’m excited to read it: The main character's name is Clover Blue. That's a very summer-time name. The book set in a commune in the 1970s. Of course I need to read it! By the end of my life, I’ll probably have read every commune book ever written. I’m not sure how/why I keep attracting commune books to me, but this one is a welcome addition to my collection.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Young Adult Contemporary Fiction


How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her, an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometimes graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster . . . one who happens to be parading around as a saint . . . .


Why I’m excited to read it: I know this doesn’t look like my normal kind of book. It’s very . . . pink. And there’s a love story. Yuck. But, summer is an excellent time for love! I hope. I noticed that almost all of my favorite bloggers have read this book and given it high ratings. I thought I’d pick up something at the edges of my comfort zone.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository





Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?


  1. I love that you have a bit of a variety on here. I loved both Moonrise and Red, White, and Royal Blue.


  2. After the Eclipse does sound good!

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-books-on-my-summer-2021-tbr/

  3. What a variety! Red, White & Royal Blue was a lot of fun. I actually just finished McQuiston's second book, One Last Stop.

  4. I've had Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus on my radar for a while. Picnic at Hanging Rock...short, but thoughtful, with beautiful writing and an interesting premise.

  5. Moonrise sounds good and intense. Is it a YA book? As for my reading, I have been delving into poetry theory and the Poisonwood Bible...

    Enjoy your summer.

  6. I am surprised to see Ali's book on your list. I liked it a lot, recently read the sequel. I hope you enjoy it. The Ava Green sequel was great (love that kid!), and Moonrise was really emotional for me. Hope these are all winners for you.

  7. I hope you enjoy all of these!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/06/15/top-ten-tuesday-320/

  8. "Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus"??? What a great title! I'll have to check that out.
    Here's a link to my Summer Reading List.

  9. Red, White & Royal Blue was a fun read - hope you enjoy it!

  10. I hope you enjoy all of these. I read Red White and Royal Blue last summer and loved it so much. Saints & Misfits was one I enjoyed too.

  11. Great list of books! I especially loved reading Red, White, and Royal Blue so hope you enjoy it.

  12. YESSS to Cactus! That series is so awesome! I loved your explanation for Saints & Misfits, that cracked me up 😂 I definitely want to read Moonrise, I love Sarah's books. Picnic at Hanging Rock sounds really good, though I won't lie, the cover turned me off at first! Hope you get to all of these and enjoy them!

  13. Good list. I have not read these ... but I want to read Picnic at Hanging Rock ... good grief I still haven't read it ! Is that author's name really Dusti Bowling? a play off of Dust Bowl right?! someone is pulling someone's leg. I like deserts and the Southwest too ... Here is my summer book list - ha - https://www.thecuecard.com/books/summer-book-list/

  14. Ooh I read The Opposite of Here- hope you like it! Cruises and murder go well together, I feel.

  15. Been meaning to read Picnic at Hanging Rock after watching the movie version. Want to see if the book provides more to the mystery. Happy summer reading.