Thursday, June 20, 2013

Iced Tea and a Good Book: The Writer's Alley on Great Summer Reads for Writers

What better diversion than a book to enjoy poolside on in the rusty hammock in your backyard with a glass of lemonade...or a well-made cup of iced coffee?  Or maybe you'd prefer a glass of sweet tea.

Either way, if not working on their latest tome, you're likely to find an Alleycat curled up with a good book. And since we're a diverse group of readers, I thought today we'd share some of our favorite summer reads. Whether gushing over a great love scene or holding our breath while reading unstoppable suspense we believe these summer reads may keep you awake on a sweltering night.

Here are some Alley Cat favorites:

Not your typical light, summer read but Swimming Through Clouds by debut author Rajdeep Paulus is a spell-binding and somewhat terrifying story about a young girl tiptoeing around her father's abuse, trapped in a world where small mistakes have devastating consequences. Though an intense read, Paulus weaves a beautiful and charming tale about kindness and love covering even our deepest scars.This heart-rending YA novel for all, will suck you in, bond you irrevocably with the incredibly resilient Talia and the boy, Lagan, a Christ-like hero, whose patient friendship coaxes her out of her misery and into a world of hope with something as simple as a post-it notes. A wonderful reminder that even the smallest pebble of grace can create a ripple strong enough to change someone's life. Even save it.

If you have ever felt like that "freak-out woman", whether it be screaming in the carpool line or building walls of resentment in your closest relationships, Lysa Terkeurst's Unglued is a must read! Lysa offers every woman wisdom and hope with a twist of humor, sharing her own personal experiences and insights. Learn how to focus your emotions in a way "to experience life, not destroy it," in the midst of God's grace and mercy. Summer is sure to be brighter after this brilliant and inspiring read!


Just finished My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade and have Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck on order.


Julie Lessman's latest, Love at Any Cost, is sure to have you reaching the lemonade to cool your parched throat. The perfect patio read (or if it's too hot, great in front of the osculating fan in your living room), the characters will entertain you. Stepping back in time will leave the worries of today behind you and the love story will keep you entertained as only a Lessman novel can.


I recently finished several books that I enjoyed. If you like nonstop suspense, Mike Delloso delivers in Frantic. Just try to put this book down to fall asleep, it will keep you turning pages late into the night. I have also been enjoying the conclusion to Sarah Sundin's Wings of Glory series, Blue Skies Tomorrow. Sarah brings you straight back to a beloved period of American history, World War II with a delightful romance and her meticulous attention to period detail.

On the nonfiction front, I read a delightful book for the discouraged and overwhelmed mother (is there any mother who doesn't find herself in one of these categories on a semi-regular basis) . Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson would make a great small group discussion book, I met with a few friends over coffee and discussed it. It is like sitting down with a mentor through the pages of a book.

I also reviewed Candace Calvert's Rescue Team for Title Trakk and highly recommend it.


My choice: Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

The simple, magnetic beauty of the writing and realness of the characters drew me in right away. This is no light-hearted read: set in Depression-era Mississipi, Cantrell portrays the struggles of a young girl dealing with a violently abusive father and a mother who seems barely there. Tragedy falls hard upon Millie's young life, and I became so emotionally invested in her story that at times I had to set the book down, breath catching, an ache in my heart. But even in the darkest moments, there is hope. Millie is increasingly drawn to a group of gypsy travellers, and as she discovers capabilities within herself she never dreamed of, she comes to a place of decision where the yearnings of her heart are put to the test. A rich, nuanced, evocative read - highly recommended.


I just finished Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, so that'd be a good one.
Ones I WANT to read that aren't already mentioned are DeeAnne Gist's It Happened at the Fair...Kaye Dacus' Follow the Heart...
OH! And I just finished Rachel Hauck's Once Upon a Prince and liked it! I mean, come on... it's about a PRINCE. Can't get much better than THAT!!!! (although Becky's cowboy is a close one!!)


I recommend Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer.
Karen successfully pulled off the surprise ending that is truly satisfying.
Karen successfully landed each pov so clear. My favorite: the gun slingin' bandit, Silas.
For a full review from Mary head to Let's Talk.


I recommend Jody Hedlund's A Noble Groom (no surprise)
This book may not transport you to the beach, but it will definitely leave you with the rewarding wave of a happily-ever-after ending. This is hands-down the best Jody Hedlund book, in my opinion and it is on my 'rereads list'. Not only does it swell with historical detail and crashing conflict, the hero is amazing! The relationship between the hero and heroine is a delight to watch unfold, and the touches of humor sweeten the deal.


It's not a new release and is only offered in digital format now, but it is one that I like to reread from time to time.
The Crown of Eden by Thomas Williams
"When a simple blacksmith unearths the lost crown of Eden, he is torn between his love for a beautiful maiden, who is promised to marry a tyrannical prince, and his duty to honor a 100-year-old prophecy. To deliver the crown is to lose her. To hide it will forever doom the already decimated empire of the Seven Kingdoms. He must choose, but how?" How indeed? This story is an epic medieval fantasy...a mixture of C.S. Lewis and Tolkein, breathing truth and light through every word. This creative tale holds romance, adventure, mythical creatures, humor, and the age old battle of good and evil. Not your typical light summer reading, but it is a story that will stay with you and make you think.



Unknown said...

FUN stuff ladies! :) Agree with so many of your choices--Once Upon a Prince, A Noble Groom, Undeniably Yours, Stealing the Preacher. I also recently read Beth Vogt's Catch a Falling Star and Susan May Warren's Take a Chance on Me...both fabulous! And I've got Raj's Swimming Through Clouds on my Kindle waiting...can't wait to read it!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Wow! I see my TBR pile growing by the second! Karen, I loved Into the Free! I also loved My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade. I've heard so much about A Noble Groom, I'll definitely be reading it this summer. Thank you all for the suggestions!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I'm with Jill. My TBR pile is growing. I LOVED Rachel Hauck's Once Upon A Prince. LOVED it. A number of other books on your ladies' list are on my Want To Read list. Thanks for adding a couple to that. I think. ;)

I'm just beginning Susan May Warren's Take a Chance On Me. I saw Melissa's comment. I also LOVED Catch a Falling Star. :)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Last night I finished Becky Wade's "Undeniably Yours" and LOVED IT! One of my faves ever. Are there real men out there like Bo? Seriously!

Others on my summer reading list are: Beth Vogt's "Wish You Were Here" and "Catch a Falling Star", Katie Ganshert's newest "Wishing on Willows", Karen Witemeyer's "Stealing the Preacher".

I've already read Julie Lessman's "Love at Any Cost" which was great.

Happy reading!



Susan Anne Mason said...

Oh, and "A Noble Groom" was awesome, too!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

So much fun! My TBR pile is growing and growing. I don't think I will ever have enough time to get everything read that I want to.

Beth K. Vogt said...

I am reading Jody's Noble Groom right now -- and I love the symbolism hidden in the title of that book! I'm hooked! Take a Chance on Me & Once Upon a Prince? Both wonderful novels -- I read Rachel's book while on deadline. (Don't tell my editor.)
Everyone's answers have both confirmed the selections in my TBR pile -- and increased them.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great choices! Take a Chance on Me was one of my spring favorites, too. Great choice and can't wait to visit with the Christensen family again.

Rajdeep Paulus-Writer of Young Adult Fiction said...

Amy! Julie! And of course, Melissa! For the shout-outs to Swimming Through Clouds!! It's been a whirlwind of a ride and so excited to start hearing all the feedback this first month! And so awesome to have some new titles to reward myself with this summer!!

Happy Summer Reading All! <3 -raj

Lorna said...

How exciting to find out your're giving away When Love Calls! Thank you, Julie and the other Alley Cats.

What a great collection you've all shared. I've read some, but not all of them. My TBR pile just keeps growing.Thanks for the recommendations.

Anonymous said...

So many of the books that I have recently read and loved are ones you listed: Once Upon a Prince, A Noble Groom, Stealing the Preacher, Undeniably Yours.

I have quite a few books on my summer list. A couple of them are It Happened at the Fair and Barefoot Summer.

Thanks for the chance to win!

Brittany McEuen

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh, I love this list!!! So many great books to read, so little time!

Sharon Timmer said...

I am reading Undeniably Yours, and next on my list is It Happened At The Fair

Patty said...

I have several of these on my TBR list, and have not read When Love Calls, so I would love to win a copy!


Wanda (A Book Lover's Retreat) said...

My favorite read so far was Stealing The Preacher by Karen Witemeyer. Fantastic book! I found Lorna Seilstad recently and read her Lake Manawa series. She is a favorite now and I'd love to read When Love Calls. Thank you for the chance!

Wanda Barefoot

Beth said...

Recent faves were A Noble Groom by Jodie Hedlund, The Ryn by Serena Chase and Isle of Skye by Carla Laureano

On my summer to-read list is...

It Happened at the Fair
Undeniably Yours
Gone South
Stealing the Preacher
Trouble in Store
One Glorious Ambition
Roses Have Thorns
And more!

Thank you for the chance to win When Love Calls - it's on my list too! :)


Becky Wade said...

Thanks Alley Cats! It's such fun to get a peek into your book stacks. I'm hoping to read many of the novels you mentioned. Here's to a summer of good reads!

Karen Witemeyer said...

I'm thrilled to have made the list with Stealing the Preacher. Thanks, Mary, for the mention. All of these suggestions are fabulous. They are giving me a few ideas for my own summer reading. Why is it that no matter how many books I read, my TBR pile never seems to shrink? :-)

Anonymous said...

Just finished A Noble Groom & loved it. *sigh* Stealing the Preacher is up next on my TBR pile, then Sky Beneath my Feet. Love finding new authors to read. Thanks for the book lists. :)
Karen R.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Becky and Karen, can't wait to read your novels they've been mentioned so often by the Alley Cats.

Karen, I'm a big Lisa Samson fan, too. Can't wait to read her latest.

Beth, your list sounds great.

karenk said...

There are so many fabulous novels to read this summer....I can't chose just one!!!

kmkuka at yahoo dot com