May 21, 2012

Melissa's 2nd Annual Rad Summer Book List

Hey Peeps! I want to preface this by saying I have read NONE of these books – I like to fly wild like that – I often suggest things I haven’t actually read yet because a jacket cover alone can totally sell me on a book. So shallow. But I’m super intrigued by ALL of these books and I’ve listed the ones I’m going to be trying to get my hands on this summer. I have a strong bent towards the supernatural, so if that’s not your gig, you may not like my picks. But I loved fairy tales when I was young and I basically want to read grown-up fairy tales now that I’m older.

Really excited for ‘Shadow of Night’. I adored ‘A Discovery of Witches’ last year and can’t wait for this sequel, which drops into bookstores on July 10. It’s like ‘Twilight’ goes to Oxford with Ph.D professors. Hey, that appeals to me.

I’m FINALLY going to read ‘Your Voice In My Head’. I’ve heard glowing reviews about it for over a year now and I just haven’t gotten to it. The book supposedly addresses the author’s real life relationship with actor Colin Farrell, although he is never named. I’m excited for the movie being made, which is going to star Emma Watson. No word yet on who plays the narrator’s ‘Gypsy Husband’ (cough, Colin.)

I’m almost embarrassed to have ‘Divergent’ on this list, since most everyone has probably read it already and is ready to move on to ‘Insurgent’, which was just released. I, however, have not read it yet so I’m going to be the stoked one who gets to read the first book and then immediately go on to the sequel. This was also my technique with ‘Downton Abbey’ – I waited a year before getting into it and then I only had to wait a week until Season 2 came out! I’m so clever. The plot? Dystopian society in which people must choose which virtue they will embody for the rest of their lives. COOL.

‘Sorcery & Cecelia, Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot’ has been described as Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. I’ve seen so many books described as a cross between something and Harry Potter. THAT’S OK WITH ME. I’m fine with that. So I am totally going to read this Regency-era romance that focuses on a girl attending a College for Wizards. Yes, indeedy!

‘Everybody Was So Young’ by Amanda Vaill, is a book I own, but haven’t finished. I started it about six years ago and then something happened…not sure what…oh yes…MISS JULIA. Somehow the book was put down amidst all the I-have-a-baby-what-do-I-do-with-her-also-I-am-very-tired. So I need to finish it! Sara and Gerald Murphy served as the real life model for the married couple F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about in ‘Tender is the Night’.

The Murphys were artistic souls. Totally in love with each other. They threw mega parties extraordinaire in Paris. Served as inspiration for Picasso, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and Dashiell Hammett, among others. Gerald Murphy supposedly created the idea of vacationing at the French Riviera. They personified the glory and artistry of the 1920’s. You know, just ordinary folks.

I really love the writing style of Sarah Addison Allen. I loved ‘Garden Spells’. Her books are sweet, swift, breezy books that usually focus on someone’s romantic life in the South, with a sprinkle of supernatural intuition thrown in. ‘The Peach Keeper’ came out earlier this year, and is an old-fashioned gothic mystery set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina, focusing on a run down bed & breakfast that harbors long-buried family secrets. Well of course! Is there any other kind?

After reading the first of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, I’m ready for more historical time travel stories. Isn’t everyone down with historical time travel?? Which is why I really want to get my hands on ‘The Rose Garden’ by Susanna Kearsley. A woman living on the Cornish coast of England, who somehow travels back in the past to the 1770’s, and meets the original owner of the present-day house she was living in. Apparently mystery and romance ensue. I’M SO THERE. I also want to read Kearsley’s other book, ‘The Winter Sea’.

So there you have it, my lovelies. This is what I’m going to be trying to wade through in the coming months. Also, if you haven’t read this book yet, we’re officially thumb war wrestling. What about y’all? Have any great books to share? If you want more summer reading inspiration, check this out.

(And here's last year's list, for those who want to take a peek.)


  1. Sounds like an amazing list of books to read this summer!

    1. Thanks Shannon! I'm wondering where to start. I think with 'Divergent'.

  2. divergent is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read it, along with about a thousand other books. Right now I'm reading book three of the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. It's very good and from your list here I think you'd like it too.

    1. Those sound awesome Robyn! More books to add to the pile....:)

  3. I read Everybody Was So Young a few years ago. I had read the Dorothy Parker biography What Fresh Hell Is This?, and between it and the movie De-Lovely, I was excited to read more about the Murphys. Their lives took such a sudden turn from charmed to sad.

    The Emma Forrest memoir is one I've been meaning to check out. I read her novel Namedropper years ago and enjoyed it. I'd forgotten to check the library, though, until I read this... So thanks! :o)

    1. My pleasure Miss D! I want to read a Dorothy Parker bio now -- I don't know that much about her and I feel like I should.