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9 Books You Will Actually WANT To Read This Summer

One of my favorite past times (yes, because having a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old qualifies anything done at a leisurely, quiet, enjoyable pace as a thing of the past) is reading. Those that know me probably think, “um…you’re an English teacher, don’t you read ALL THE BOOKS?” I’d love to say yes but…nope. I’ll be honest, at the end of a loooooong day of life, reading isn’t what I default to in order to unwind anymore…and it breaks my heart. So, I’ve made a goal for the summer: I’m going to finish a book. Yup. AT LEAST ONE BOOK, Y’ALL!! I will NOT be the disappointment at book club this summer! Shoot, I might even host one night! Okay okay, I won’t get ahead of myself. Baby steps.

If you’re like me and you struggle to find that “perfect read” for fear of being disappointed, worry no longer mamas. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites {but seriously, I had a bazillion more I wanted to add…} in various genres, for your whiplash of moods or plans these next few months. Whether you need a beach tale, a couch adventure, or a life changing story, pick at LEAST one and escape for a few hours as long as you can before your children find you!

Saving Wishes (Book #1 of the “Wishes” series) by G.J. Walker Smith

              Let’s start with an easy read. I stumbled upon this series by accident one day while browsing, and have been hooked ever since. There are 7 books so far in the series (some are short “character” novellas) and none have disappointed me. Sure, it’s a Young Adult romance-y type, but so is the Twilight trilogy and prettttyyy sure we ate those up. Oh….just me? Liars! You know you love this genre, even if you don’t want to publically raise your hand;) This series has a little bit of everything for everyone, great for a vacation read. 

PUSH by Sapphire

               Diving right on into the heavy, ‘life-changing’ stuff. As a teacher, this is quite honestly one of the books that made me want to “save the world” for my students. It is heartbreaking, disgusting and mind-blowing on so many levels. It was made into a movie a few years ago, but this is one of those books that I refused to watch a film adaptation of. Why? Because I knew it would not even come close to capturing the true beauty of the literary masterpiece itself (although…it did win a lot of awards). You will most likely need tissues for some ugly cry moments, then you’ll kiss your babies and try to force your teenagers to watch Disney classics while begging them to never leave the safe bubble for which you’ve created in their honor. I’m telling y’all…gut wrenching, but you won’t be able to put it down.

This Man (book #1 in the trilogy) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

                Okay, enough with the heavy, let’s get back into some “fun mama” story time. This series will NOT be found in the YA Fiction section…I hope. This series is A-D-D-I-C-T-I-N-G, ladies. Think: 50 Shades, but with a MUCH better storyline and written by an author who can actually…well…write. These books probably fall under the “couch adventure” tab mentioned above, especially if you’re a prude like me who can’t even read Cosmopolitan in public without blushing. Oh, these books are also HILARIOUS-English women just write with a flair for the dramatic!! However, if this isn’t your cup of tea for genre, don’t bother…there’s just as much boom chicka wow wow as there is laughter. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

                You know I had to throw a classic in here! This book is actually one that I often give as gifts to those I know appreciate a great work of literature. It is so beautifully written, and absolutely not what I expected. I groaned when I saw it on my British Lit reading list in college, but once I finished it I was in awe. This is not “light bedtime reading”, as you’ll want to get into the flow of the old syntax, but I promise that if you’re a true lover of language such as my nerdy self, you’ll be so happy you took the time to finish. Advice: get the cheapo edition that has the ‘hard’ words in bold with the corresponding dictionary in the back. Otherwise, you might miss hidden themes in the story!

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

                   I have a weird obsession with twins. I have no idea where it stems from, or why, I just DO. I’m not so much into ‘ghost stories’, but a touch of paranormal adds the perfect twist to this plot. Throw in that some of it is set in London and the trifecta is complete. If you’ve read Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, be prepared for this book to be nothing like it. I actually thought it was better:) 

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

                   A beautiful retelling of the story of Hosana from The Bible, this is one of the few Christian authors I thoroughly enjoy. While it is historical fiction (a genre I’m not generally interested in), I gave this book a shot after a particularly devastating breakup in my mid-twenties. My little sister told me “it would help” and while I was skeptical, I can honestly say that my outlook on all forms of love was forever changed. You don’t have to be going through a hard time in life to enjoy this story, I’ve re-read it several times and gain beautiful insight to different things each time I have finished. 

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

                    I’ll admit it…JP is my ‘guilty pleasure’ author. I LOVE how much research goes into her books, and that I can never figure out the crazy plot twist that ALWAYS comes in the end. This novel was difficult for me to swallow as a mom–even as a public school teacher–since it centers around a high school student who goes on a shooting rampage after enduring years of bullying. I was shocked to find out how much my heart wept for him, and that I was also able to see so many different sides to one story. An amazing read from start to finish, be sure to grab your tissues!

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

                       Another work based on historical fiction, this is a fantastic telling of Hadley’s 5-year marriage to Ernest Hemingway, narrated by ‘her’. Full of things I never expected, sprinkled with a few things I already knew from having read his own works, this layout of their love story covers the bad, the worst and the uber ugly moments…with some happiness sprinkled here and there. A must read.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini

                       After reading his first novel The Kite Runner, I knew I had to read ALL of Hosseini’s books…which involved a lot of waiting, as he tends to go years in between publications. He only has 3 in print, all of which I adore, but for some reason, this one has always stuck with me. I will say this: they are ALL completely worth the wait it took for me to get my hands on them. He is an Afghan-American writer and the ‘worldly knowledge’ of this culture that I felt I gained by reading his works has truly opened my eyes and heart to so many things other than just war. Beautiful settings, charismatic characters, and intertwined storylines made this book a page-turner for me.

Okay, y’all! Get to reading!! Will you pick something from this list, or do you have any feedback on one listed that you’ve already read?? I’d love to hear your choices!!

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