Perfectly mowed backyard – $25
Handmade hammock, bought in Mexico – $40
Pina Colada – $5
A perfect book to spend a summer afternoon with – PRICELESS!

In the spirit of lazy summer afternoons (and morning and evenings), I’d like to share a list of books I loved reading or look forward to indulging in this summer!

What’s on your reading list this summer?


Hidden Wives, by Claire Avery

What to expect: 15-year-old sisters, Sara and Rachel, live in a Fundamentalist Mormon compound, and are about to be married off to much older men who received “testimonies” from God for the girls’ hand in marriage. Sara is promised to her uncle, while sixteen men clamor to add beautiful Rachel to their hordes’ of wives.  Sara is determined to escape from the years of abuse, but Rachel’s religious beliefs may be too strong to break through…

What’s the fuss? Hidden Wives was hands down my favorite book this year! Full of suspense, romance and characters that you can’t help but sympathize with, it’s a gem that will make you forget the summer heat.

The One That I Want, by Allison Winn Scotch

What to expect: Not only did Tilly Farmer marry her high school sweetheart Tyler, but she also works at a guidance counselor at the high school both she and Tyler attended. Following a reunion with a childhood friend, Tilly begins having futuristic visions through contact with photographs from the past. Soon, the visions begin coming true, leaving Tilly to re-evaluate the meaning of “happiness”. (read our full review)

What’s the fuss? Allison Winn Scotch has a knack for exploring people’s wishful thinking – going back and choosing a different path in Time of My Life, and being able to see the future  in The One That I Want. Either way, it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge your what-ifs fantasies!

Bonobo Handshake, by Vanessa Woods

What to expect: In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and joined him on research trip to the bonobo sanctuary in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa’s self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings (adapted from the publisher’s synopsis).

What’s the fuss? Vanessa Woods writes with the polished prose of a seasoned fiction writer, affectionately sharing her intimate encounters with bonobo in the Congo. This is memoir writing at its finest, and a strong new voice from which I’m eager to hear more. (written by Jennifer J.)

Red Hook Road, by Ayelet Waldman

What to expect: A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. (from the publisher’s synopsis)

What’s the fuss? Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) wrote that Red Hook Road was “a thoroughly gripping and elegantly written story about love, grief, friendship, and the unexpected ways in which disaster brings families together”.  Such praise from one of my favorite authors is reason enough to give this book another look!

The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen

What to expect: The beautiful young Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, rule Manhattan society. Or so it appears. When they discover their status is far from secure, everyone—from the ambitious socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker, to the Holland’s dour maid, Lina Broud—threatens the girls’ golden future. (from www.theluxebooks.com)

What’s the fuss? I’ve had my eye on the Luxe series for a while (other books include Rumors, Envy and Splendor) and plan to finally dive into the drama and pretty dresses of 1800’s Manhattan this summer. Every now and then, I need some light hearted reading in between more serious literature, and I think The Luxe fits the bill perfectly! Best of all, the paperback is available on Amazon for $4.00.

The Leisure Seeker, by Michael Zadoorian

What to expect: Well in their eighties, Ella Robina suffers from cancer and has chosen to stop treatment, and her husband John has Alzheimer’s. Yearning for one last adventure, the self-proclaimed “down-on-their-luck geezers” steal away from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery. (adapted from the publisher’s synopsis)

What’s the fuss? If you’re looking for a book that combines, wit, humor, tenderness, love and a unique perspective on aging, eternal love and the fragility of the human body, then this little gem of a book is a must read. A brilliantly written tale of marriage, life and aging and choices. Think Romeo & Juliet meet Archie & Edith Bunker. Priceless & life changing. (written by Claudia R.)

Where’s My Wand?: One Boy’s Magical Triumph over Alienation and Shag Carpeting by Eric Poole

What to expect: From the age of eight through early adolescence, Poole sought refuge from his obsessive-compulsive mother, sadistic teachers, and sneering schoolyard thugs in the Scotchgarded basement of his family’s suburban St. Louis tract house. When a series of tragic events tested Eric’s longstanding belief that magic can vanquish evil, he began to question the efficacy of his incantations, embarking on a spiritual journey that led him to discover the magic that comes only from within. (from the publisher’s synopsis)

What’s the fuss? Where’s My Wand? has been compared to Augusten Burroughs’ and David Sedaris’ memoirs, and sounds at once humorous and entertaining, as well as sad and touching.

The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva

What to expect: A man is killed. A Rembrant is stolen. Again. Gabriel Allon is asked by a friend to try to find it. Gabriel finds a lot more than he bargained for: the history of this painting is soaked in blood and it’s future is not looking to bright either.

What’s the fuss? The Rembrandt Affair is a story of international intrigue, and a history lesson on the Dutch participation in the Holocaust. Most importantly, it’s a great read that’s keeping me on the edge of my seat. (written by Caleb S.)