Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Reading Recommendations

Hi Strangers! No, I didn't fall into a Black Hole - although that would make for some interesting conversation. In between editing my next book and taking short jaunts around the country (vacation and track meets), I've been reading.

Since Kindle allows you to sample books before purchasing, it's rare that I buy a book anymore that I don't finish, simply because I don't punch the 'Buy Now' button until I've reached the end of the sample and am still hooked. Seems like ever since I got my Kindle this past spring, I've been finding more great reads than ever. Which is why I like to share my finds with all of you.

So check out these blurbs, sift through the reviews if you'd like, and download a sample. If they're to your taste, buy and read the whole book - then be sure to share the ones you liked with your friends. Word of mouth is very powerful.

Here's my summer reading:

The Last Letter, by Kathleen Shoop

I can't say enough great things about this book. I tripped across it on the Kindle Historical Fiction Bestseller Top 100 list when it was just entering the rankings. At 99 cents, who could resist? (Although I certainly would've paid far more.) It's now in the Top 10 there - and deservedly so. It reminds me vaguely of Anne Weisgarber's lovely The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, in that both books detail the struggle of young mothers as pioneers on the prairie as they battle the unforgiving elements of nature and reach for the strength within themselves to stand up to husbands who domineer or disappoint.

The Last Letter is at times stark and gritty, but seething with emotion and startlingly realistic. It takes place in the late 19th century on the Dakota prairie and alternates between the viewpoints of the daughter, Katherine, and the mother, Jeanie Arthur. You can read my full review here at Historical Novel Review. I'll remember this book for a long time, it was that powerful. (Price $.99)

Jack: A book about a dog where the dog doesn't die at the end, by Ray Braswell

I'm a huge, HUGE fan of both The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and A Dog's Purpose by Bruce Cameron, but they can both leave you a little heart-heavy if you've ever loved and lost a dog - which most of us have.

This is where Jack comes in at an entirely different angle. Humor is hard to capture on the pages of a book, but if you know the general personality of Labrador Retrievers at all, this book nails it. I was laughing my head off in bed at midnight while reading this. Whatever you do, don't skip reading the footnotes. They're just as hilarious as the rest of the book, which portrays tidbits of Jack's puppyhood from the perspective of his owner, who Jack refers to as Tall Guy, and Jack himself. (Price $2.99)

Broken Laces, by Rodney Walther

Don't be fooled - this is not just a book about baseball. It's a heartfelt story about a father trying to salvage his relationship with his son after a tragedy strikes and turns their world upside down.

In trying to move forward, Jack Kennedy does so many things wrong. Just about when you think he's going to be okay, he finds a way to mess his life up. What makes this story believable is that you just know Jack is only human and his intentions are wholly good. (Price $2.99)

Waiting For Spring, by R.J. Keller

Briefly, I'll say this was one of the most emotive books I've ever read: raw, sometimes gut-wrenching, layered, and yet imbued with traces of hope. From the outset, I cared what happened to Tess and those around her. I almost feel like I know her in person now, she was that real, albeit imperfect. Without a doubt, I am looking forward to Keller's next book with great anticipation. (Price $2.99)

I'm going back into writing/editing mode now, but I'll be sure to share more great reads once I compile another list. Up next, a few excellent references for the indie writers out there.

Happy reading,


Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you the Medieval Madness Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

Go to and pick up your award.

Ferreh Hiatt said...

Thanks for the list! I'm so addicted to my Kindle and I'm able to sneak in reading time so much easier with it. The first book you mentioned sounds right up my alley.

N. Gemini Sasson said...

Thanks so much for the award, Deirdra! Very neat!

Hope you like it Ferreh! One of those books I couldn't wait to get back to, but didn't want to end. And I never run out of something to read with my Kindle on hand, either. One of the best inventions - ever.

Sverige said...

In "The Last Letter" is the first book in a long time that captured my attention so much that I was up reading late into the night. The characters come alive on the pages and you feel that you know each one personally. It fits into many categories: historical fiction, character study, women's issues, intrigue, the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship. It gives insight into a way of life long past, but shows that some of the emotional issues we face today were present then, too, and that there were strong women then who forged their own futures, even when the social structures of the time made that difficult. I have always loved historical fiction, and especially such fiction set in the pioneer days of our own country. This book is satisfying on so many levels.

N. Gemini Sasson said...

Thanks, Sverige! It was an excellent book. If you look stories about pioneering women, I recommend Ann Weisgarber's The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, also.