10 Sizzling Summer Books You Must Read Now

Summer has arrived. For many of us that means a good book. I read so many books in a row that  I am very picky about my recommendations.

Here are my picks for 2017. In no particular order, here are the 15 books that you need to read this summer.

Fiction Picks

A House Divided  by Donna Hill 

Families always have secrets. And secrets have the power to heal—or hurt. Now beloved author Donna Hill’s enthralling novel explores the wrongs we do for the right reasons, and the ways we struggle to reconcile the truth.

Journalist Zoie Crawford had to leave New Orleans to finally make her own life. Her grandmother, Claudia, inspired her to follow her dreams—just as her mother, Rose, held on too tight. But with Claudia’s passing, Zoie reluctantly returns home, where the past is written in the lonely corners of the bayou and the New South’s supercharged corridors of power. And there she discovers a stunning, painstakingly kept secret—one that could skyrocket her career, but destroy another woman’s—and change both their vastly different lives, for better or for much worse.

Zoie has always put the truth first. Now, as the line between the personal and professional blurs, and she tries to understand her relatives’ deception, she must face some tough questions. Is there a way to expose the truth and save those you love? And at what cost? Heartfelt, emotional, and revelatory, A House Divided is an unforgettable tale about making the hardest of choices, coming to terms with all you could lose—and finding what forgiveness and family truly mean.

Critique: This was a good read from start to finish. The characters are well developed and the story takes you on a ride. Interesting enough, in many contemporary books in recent times the male characters have been depicted as unfeeling uncaring people. The men in the book seem determined to help. It is a quick moving story that is relatable.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

Critique: You would think that something written thirty years ago would seem dated. But that wasn’t the case for me. If anything, I think there are so many things imagined in the book which have become more possible today instead of less. In a sense, this is a cautionary tale that a large art of the population ignored or misunderstood.  I will suggest that you take your time to read and savor the words on the page. I hope folks who watch the Hulu show read the book.

Here is a first for me. I have never picked  more than one book from the same author  for one of my book lists, but this year I have. Mary Monroe  is the distinct winner for this honor.

Every Woman’s Dream introduces teen best friends Lola Poole and Joan Procter concocted a scheme to escape their boredom, pass the time between boyfriends—and bring in some money. It all started when they got in the habit of corresponding with lonely, unsuspecting—and generous—older men. In return for their “love letters,” the teens were rewarded with checks. The fun only ended when their swindle nearly got them killed. Now they’re grown, but they’re still longing for every woman’s dream of love and excitement…

Joan is unhappily married, while Lola is done with putting her life on hold for her selfish relatives’ demands. As girls they were looking for money, but as women they have other needs they want satisfied. And thanks to online dating and a parade of lovers, they’re getting all the sexy fun they missed out on. It’s a downright addictive game. But games can’t last forever—and someone has to lose… books just blew me away.

Never Trust A Stranger reintroduces you to best friends Lola Poole and Joan Proctor-Riley who have finally found the love and excitement they’ve always longed for. Online-dating an endless line of wealthy, no-strings-attached lovers is the perfect escape from their unfulfilling lives. And between Joan’s selfish husband and Lola’s hateful, demanding relatives, the hotter these ladies’ secret activities get, the more they crave—and the more reckless they become. Soon, they’re taking ever greater risks to pursue their desires. When rugged trucker Calvin Ramsey comes into Lola’s sights, he’s a surprising answer to all her  prayers. He’s kind and responsible in his everyday life—and delivers sexual healing like she’s never known. What Lola doesn’t know is that Calvin loves women to death—literally. And every caring moment and seductive promise this killer gives her draws both Lola and Joan deeper into his inescapable, fatal fantasy.

Can You Keep A Secret hey couldn’t be less alike—except for their restless spirits. Lola came from a loving home, even though it included her father’s live-in mistress. And Joan is a secret wild child chafing under her mother’s watchful eye. So when Lola’s quiet world shatters and her hopes seem out of reach for good, Joan has the perfect consolation in mind.

But the besties will soon discover that boyfriends, money, and good times are no real escape from their families’ ever-scandalous drama. Soon, with demanding stepparents, conniving relatives, and simmering secrets closing in, they’ll have to watch each other’s backs and use their quick wits to save their lifelong dreams…

Critique: It’s just a great  read. I men all  the way around it’s a great read.  I suggest you get them all. I appreciate Mary’s settings and delivery of social issues. She does not treat the reader like an imbecile. Some urban writers forget their audience has a certain ‘street intelligence. They are great reads.

The next power duo books meets the category summer words Hot with new vigor

Aya De Leon delivers heat with these sexy, heart-stopping tales, of smart, sizzling women who stand up to  the rich and protects the undefended from being exploited. Both books are part of a new series called ‘ Justice Hustlers‘. In ‘Uptown Thief‘ Marisol Rivera barely survived being abused with nowhere to turn. So there’s nothing she won’t do to keep her Lower East Side women’s health clinic open and give disadvantaged women new lives. Running an exclusive escort service for New York City’s rich and powerful one percent is the perfect way to bankroll her business—not to mention the perfect cover for robbing corrupt CEOs. And when times get even tougher, pulling a heist on a mega-billionaire will secure the clinic’s future—and her gorgeous crew’s—for good…

There’s just one problem: Marisol didn’t anticipate bad news even more dangerous than her curves. A seductive ex-cop who’s too close for comfort, and a powerful thug with a score to settle, are turning Marisol’s precise planning and seductive fail-safes into insidious traps. Now this beautiful modern-day Robin Hood will have to play some lethal wild cards without rules or limits to save those she loves—and live to steal another day…

In  ‘The Boss’ we revisit the setting with new leadership in place.

Tyesha Couvillier will never forget the rip-offs and brutal treatment she endured as a sex worker. So as the new director of the groundbreaking Lower East Side Women’s Health Clinic, she’ll take on the Ukranian mob and corrupt strip club bosses to stop local exotic dancers from being pressured into selling sex. And if she and her crew can pull off an elaborate heist, the evidence they steal could upend this vicious game—and give exploited women a chance at justice…

But suddenly Tyesha’s traumatic past and high-drama family are back on the scene—and turning up the heat to explosive. With a notorious celebrity ex-lover out to win back her heart, and a drug kingpin from her Chicago past in the mix, crucial scams go dead-wrong, and buried secrets bring wrenching betrayal. Now this fiercely compassionate beauty must gamble on tricks she never dared to protect those she loves—and survive to carry on the fight.

Critique:  The books made me laugh out loud, cheer  and want to fight for the ladies featured on the pages.I loved these books.When I first started reading, I knew this would be a great read because the introduction is just like a movie. You are sucked right in to life in New York City’s real world.  

History Picks

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Chronicling General Lafayette’s years in Washington’s army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War.  Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way.

Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.

While Vowell’s yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past—and present—her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people.  Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette’s sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore.  As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction.  He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what the founders hoped this country could be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing, singular past.

Vowell’s narrative look at our somewhat united states is humorous, irreverent and wholly original.

Critique: A good, insightful book of America’s favorite frenchman.  Last summer, I read the Hamilton biography by Chernow and this summer  I continued my Revolutionary War.  After immigrating from France to America, Lafayette was only 16 years old when he was made a general in the Revolutionary War, and he went on to make a continuous impact on our country. Sarah Vowell tells his story with a characteristic snark that promises to delight. Vowell finds plenty of opportunities to relate the struggles of the Revolutionary period to American politics today, pointing out that many current ideological divisions and tendencies have an origin, or at least an analog, dating back to the founding of the country

Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull Uncensored by Mary Gabriel 

She was the first woman to address the U.S. Congress, the first to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street, and the first to run for president. She’s the woman Gloria Steinem called “the most controversial suffragist of them all.” In this extensively researched biography, journalist Mary Gabriel has written a comprehensive account of one of American history’s most unusual and fascinating women, who, in an era of Victorian morality, was the loudest and most radical voice for women’s equality. This is a great woman’s empowerment read.

Critique: Sit yourself down in the 19th century. Think of the first woman to run for office — Victoria Woodhull. Now imagine a brilliant black man as her running mate — Frederick Douglass. Fireworks? You bet. Now imagine two women who had the first woman-owned seat on the stock exchange. Victoria and her sister. An uproar? Indeed.The story provokes public awareness of the historical and continuing denigration and subjugation of gender prejudice.

Christian Fiction

The Guardian by Robbie Cheuvront, William Reed When she’s appointed as the guardian of a 2,000-year-old scroll, Anna Riley wonders if her faith is strong enough to save herself—and humankind. Her protector, Jason Lang, fears his love for Anna might cost them their lives.

With only a few human and angelic allies, will they unlock the mystery of the scroll in time?

Critique: If you want an on the edge of your seat  book this is it .This book was “unputdownable” for me! From the moment I started reading, I was on the journey with Anna. I felt her successes and her losses. The story is well written and the characters seem real. The Epilogue was a thrilling point of expectation and promise for me! I recommend this to all readers. Groups will find discussion questions at the end with many other points of discussion throughout the book. This will make a great movie.

 

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2 comments

  1. Great list! I am starting to realize that I must stop picking books based on their tantalizing descriptions. I’m totally taken in by promises of betrayal, passion, war! But they are always total shit. Must bring myself to select books promising slow neighborhoods in the dust bowl where the hero finds a spoon and learns a valuable lesson.

    Like

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