Summer in my world, is a time to find some new books that you can enjoy by the pool, on the beach, or under a shady tree. July's book list has one underlying theme: Personal Growth. I decided on that as a way to tie these diverse stories together because summer is really the perfect time to focus on yourself without any major distractions or life stresses that you may find in the rest of the year. Enjoy July's top five!
#5: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
This novel totally surprised me. You think you know what's happening in the first part and then....BAM! Part two hits and it's almost like you're in an entirely different book. Luckily, the author makes the transition easy so you feel like you're still reading one book instead of two totally different stories. By the end, our main character, Daphne's growth shines through so much that you can't help but root for her. PS: You will have to read this book to see what the major twist is. Trust me, there are no spoilers anywhere online. I looked. Many times. I'm kind of impatient like that.
#4: Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
I absolutely loved this book! It's got some mysterious undertones (nothing murdery, don't worry) and historical references to years of war but it's really about (in my opinion) surviving a major loss and as the story progresses, how that loss shapes Alexandra's character development throughout the book. As you get into it, you'll see why she is going on this adventure, so to speak. What she's hoping to get out of it and why she's so driven to return a lost item to its rightful owner. That's all I'll say because it's just so good and you have to experience the entire thing without any preconceived notions or biased opinions. I will add this, though. It's set in Bulgaria so the author really plays up the verbal description in order for you to imagine it almost perfectly in your mind. Definitely pick this up if you can at some point!
#3: The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
This particular book is another where a part of history meets fiction. It's set in Little Rock, Arkansas during the mid-to-late part of the 50's and early 60's where racial segregation was still very much a normal part of everyday life. This book shows the resilience of two ten-year-old girls who, due to social and political views at the time, couldn't be friends because they didn't share the same skin color. It shows their struggles and how kindness and love really do change a person's view. This is a book that you should take some time to find and read because the lesson it teaches is worth it.
#2: The Other Side of Everything by Lauren Doyle Owens
Ok, so this one is a murder mystery but I had to do at least one of them because, well, you know me. However, not everything about this book is all bloody knives and a recurring loop of the Psycho theme going through your head. Behind all that are three people with very different backgrounds living in the same Florida neighborhood and they're all struggling with something. Whether it's getting back to who you really are after a recovery from a very vicious battle with cancer, reconnecting with old friends after being shut in your house from grief and a little bit of depression, or struggling to hold your family together after your mother decides to leave without so much as a goodbye. Shockingly, the murders is what connects these three seemingly random people together in the end and you see them come out on the other side when all is said and done. Take it from me, you will not want to put it down until the whole thing has been read.
#1: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci
The final book in this month's selection is a new favorite of mine. It follows FBI agent, Atlee Pine as she tries to solve the disappearance of a man from the Grand Canyon. The more she digs, the more confused she gets as people higher up on the chain of command try to shut down her investigation. Throughout political secrecy, she is also trying to come to grips with her twin sister's disappearance and likely death as a child, all while finding herself in the midst of a maybe relationship with one of the Canyon park rangers. From start to finish, it is a great read and Atlee by the end, is much more sure of things and the direction of her life.
That's it for this month's picks! I hope you love some of these books as much as I did. I'll be back in August for some of my favorite back-to-school novels!
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The Blog in a Nutshell
Hi! Welcome to Fashion Fun and Extra, a blog run by Caroline Hill. A wheelchair user, podcaster, little sister, writer, and more, Caroline's unique view on life allows readers to take a glance into something they don't experience everyday. Told with humor, realness, remarkable wit, and a special kind bluntness, no blog will fail to entertain!