…’cause there’s a new book club in town! I have been so wrapped up in a new book series that I’m reading on my Kindle that it’s all I can do to tear myself away to write today’s post. Those of you out there who are fellow book lovers will understand, and those of you who don’t particularly like to read may not find today’s post very interesting…because it’s all about books!
I literally just eat books up, and ever since I got my Kindle as a Christmas present and linked it to my credit card I’ve been armed and dangerous. Thousands of books at my beck and call, all within the push of a button. Love it! Today I want to share with you what I’m reading now, what books are on my Kindle, and what authors are always a good read (in my opinion, of course.)
Heather’s Recommended Summer Reading List
*The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins (Book 1: The Hunger Games, Book 2: Catching Fire, Book 3: Mockingjay)
Where to begin, where to begin. This is the current series I’m all wrapped up in. I’ve finished books 1 & 2 and started 3 this morning. What I find so intriguing about this series is the way Collins intertwines a very raw/primitive/crude setting and people with a very futuristic/advanced/outlandish setting and people. It makes me think of other books I’ve read like “Lord of the Flies” and “The Lottery”…and if you understand that reference then you know that this isn’t a sweet read. It’s full of anguish & bloodshed, with such strong depictions of characters that you can’t help but grow attached to some and want to kill off others. The basic plot of the trilogy is this: People living in a post-apocolyptic America are under the rule of their capitol. At one point in their past there had been an uprising against the capitol that was squashed, but now once a year the people must pay / remember the consequences by sending a set number of children into the arena for the “Hunger Games.” Once in the arena, the tributes (as they are called) must survive deadly threats put in place by the gamemakers and must hunt / kill one another to survive. Ultimately this leads to another uprising…and even I don’t know what happens at the end. I’m just not there yet. 😛
Anyway, it’s definitely a gripping read. I found the official website for the book, and although it’s kind of weird, it will give you more information. I am excited to see that it’s being made it to a movie, because I was thinking just this morning how good it would be! Anyway, check it out…http://www.thehungergames.co.uk/home
*Author Alex Flinn, Books: Beastly, A Kiss in Time, Cloaked
To me, all of these are just an absolute MUST READ!!! What you’ll love about these books is how they remake/modernize fairy tales (some of which you’ve heard of, some you haven’t!). The book that does this most directly is “Beastly,” which is a modern version of “Beauty and the Beast.” In case you are feeling like this sounds familiar, it’s because the movie for this book was released back in the spring. I’ve seen it, and it’s definitely worth Redboxing…but the book is better! The other two books have nods toward more unfamiliar fairy tales, so it’s fun to see if you can figure out which ones she’s referencing.
Another thing to love about these books is that they are written specifically with a junior-high audience in mind. That means several things. A) They are good, clean reads. B) They are easy reads. C) They are just fantastical and fun. If you’ve got older children these would be fun for ya’ll to read together, and you’ll find lots of great life-lessons to discuss as you go.
Seriously, check out her sight, read the book summaries, and trust me…you’ll enjoy any of the 3 you pick up! http://www.alexflinn.com/
*Author: Francine Rivers, Books: Her Daughter’s Dream, Marta’s Legacy, The Last Sin Eater, Redeeming Love, “Mark of the Lion” Series: A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As sure as the Dawn & soooo many more
Now here is an author that I could go on and on about! The main thing you need to know is that Francine Rivers writes Christian novels within a historical context. Her writing has such historical accuracy and detailed descriptions that she literally transports you to another time. You will fall in love with her characters as you walk through their struggles, learn more about the love of God the Father & how he never moves, never changes, despite the craziness of life, and you will find strength in Him, just as her characters do.
“The Mark of the Lion” series is just absolutely fantastic, but if you are looking for a stand alone book she has plenty of those as well. When I think about Francine what I love most is how I’ve been introduced to her by so many friends recommending or letting me borrow her books. Too many people have told me “You’ve GOT to read her books” for her to not be anything but excellent, and now I’m passing that decree on to you. Read her, read her, READ HER! http://francinerivers.com/
*Author Emily Giffin, Books: Something Borrowed (made it to a movie that was released not long ago), Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One Your With, Heart of the Matter
Something Borrowed and Something Blue should be read in order, and although some of the characters are mentioned again in other books, I don’t think it totally matters if you read the others in order. These books are more about the crazy relationships between men & women and women & their girlfriends…definitely take on a lighter note than my first recommendation! They aren’t like the raunchy romance novels, but they do have some language & nods to adult content. I’d say these are a good beach read…http://www.emilygiffin.com/index.php
*Author: Jodi Picoult, Books: Sing You Home, Handle with Care, House Rules, My Sister’s Keeper
I’ve read many other books by Jodi Picoult, and she always delivers. What you need to know before you pick up one of her books is that she always chooses a controversial social or cultural issue for her characters to work through, so her books end up leaning more toward gut-wrenching than heart-warming. On occasion they even come in conflict with your own views, and the material they present challenges your opinions and why you believe the way you do. It’s not that there’s no good, no sweetness to her storylines…she just gives you a very meaty, realistic, somewhat jaded viewpoint. You’ll probably need the tissue box handy before it’s said and done, but if you want a book you can really sink your teeth into then she’s got it for ya. http://www.jodipicoult.com/
Also, for those of you who saw the movie “My Sister’s Keeper” when it came out a few years ago…it didn’t do justice to the book. If you thought the movie was emotional, the book takes it to a whole new level. The book is so much more intense, in fact, that they completely changed the ending for the movie. So don’t think that because you’ve seen the movie you shouldn’t read the book…it gives me shivers just thinking about it!
*Author: Nora Roberts, Books: Happy Ever After, Bed of Roses, Series “The Bride Quartet” (Book 1: Vision in White, Book 2: Bed of Roses, Book 3:Savor the Moment, Book 4: Happily Ever After)
The books I’ve read of Nora’s are just good ol’ fashioned girly books…full of romance and friendship and flowers and fun. They are also probably full of more “romance” than anything else I read or recommend…if you catch my drift. After reading these 6 I kind of got my fill on all that and moved on to a new author, but if you are looking for a generally light-hearted, quick/easy read then she’s got it for ya. As I browsed through her website it looks like she also has some that would go more in the thriller/mystery direction, but since that’s not generally my cup of tea I can’t speak to any of those books. (I like to sleep at night…and I wouldn’t if I was reading scary books!) http://www.noraroberts.com/index.html
*Water for Elephants, By Sara Gruen
I did read this book before I saw the movie…and as usual I preferred the book! (Although I did think the movie was pretty accurate in most parts…not everyone agrees with that statement though…) To really get into this book you have to accept the context in which it was written. Not everything is wrapped up in a pretty little bow, and there is some ugliness to contend with. Animal cruelty, rough living, drinking/gambling/carrying on…it’s got it all.
What I liked about it, as opposed to the angle the movie took, is that you go back and forth between the old man in his present day and the memories he has of being a young man. So again, definitely worth reading even if you’ve already seen the movie.
When I was in college, this series of books became my bread and butter reading when I came home for the summer. Sometimes when I read I don’t want to think, don’t want to work at it, don’t want anything other than to just absolutely eat up book after book after book. That’s what the Heartsong series did for me…I could go through one in an afternoon and still have time for a nap. Here’s why…1) they are Christian romance novels, 2) they are formula books, so you know exactly how the plot will go, 3) you are guaranteed a happy ending, 4) they all have the same number of pages (well actually there are two different page numbers, so they all have one of the two). When I found their website just now I noticed that they have a “Book Club” where you can even receive their books in the mail…but I’d recommend that you check your church library, because they might already have a set of them stocked up. http://www.heartsongpresents.com/
So that should keep you busy for a few weeks right?! 😉 I have tons of other books that I reference or read professionally, and personally to learn more about how to be a better wife, Christian, etc…but we’ll save those for another day. Right now I’ve got a book to finish & you’ve got to make your wish list for your next visit to the library!
KEEP CALM & READ ON!
P.S. – What are YOU reading? I need a good book to start on when I finish the Hunger Games!