It’s become a bit of a tradition for me, just before the start of summer, to share some of the best books I’ve read over the past year year. I hope that you will return the favor and let me know what I should add to my summer reading list! Here are the books I recommend this year…
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – Wow. What a read. I think this review sums it up best:
The muse of The Great Alone is clearly Alaska–in all its untamed, stunningly beautiful, dangerous glory. It provides the perfect backdrop for an equally dramatic tale, one that feels remarkably current for the 1970s setting. But Hannah’s latest also harkens to her mega bestselling The Nightingale: it highlights the heroics of everyday people, especially women. And it’s just a damn good read. –Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson – If you gave up on our aging hero, Alex Cross, this is the one that will bring you back into the fold. It’s reminiscent of the books that made JP a bestseller. Here’s the review I penned for Goodreads:
“I’ve been a long-time fan of Patterson, beginning with my first job as a librarian back in 1992, just as Along Came A Spider was hitting the bestseller list. Over the years, Patterson has written books for adults, children, and teens, ranging from police thrillers to romance to Christmas picture books. I’ve read most of them. However, lately I find myself disappointed in many of his offerings, and the reason is abundantly clear. I’m a writer, and I know what it would mean to be taken under the wings of a prolific, award-winning author, as Patterson has done with the co-authors of so many of his books. But when it comes down to it, his best books, by far, are the ones he authors himself. There is a distinctive flow, an energy, a torrent of action, dialogue, and characterization in his writing that simply isn’t there when the book is co-authored. The People Vs Alex Cross is a reminder of the brilliance that is James Patterson when he writes without the aid of someone else stringing his story together.”
Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller – I cannot say enough good things about this book. I laughed. I cried. I pictured, as I’m sure we all did, Karen Grassle in the role of Ma as she followed the man she loved across the prairie and back. Told from Ma’s point of view, we experience the sweet and innocent love that Caroline had for Charles. She knew he was far from perfect (Michael Landon, he was not), but she loved him fiercely and stood by him through thick and thin. Caroline is a book about love, heartache, adventure, and the American Spirit. It’s a deeply sentimental book that will leave you longing to go back and read Laura’s wonderful series again.
“I cannot stress exactly how much Caroline by Sarah Miller is a true treat. After reading the Laura-centric Little House books, I feel like that children’s historical series is also almost an adventure-series. This book has a quieter pacing, and it is very nice. This book very much carries the perspective of an adult-Caroline who was valued as the center of the home, who was beloved by Charles, who knew she had very little privacy with her husband but took advantage of that time anyway. Caroline was a wise women, and independent, and she had her own thoughts. She knew when she needed to share them, and when it was best to just lead her family by example.” –Ashley on Goodreads
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff – This is another book that will leave you breathless. I couldn’t put it down and loved every word, right down to the ending. Here’s what a Goodreads reviewer has to say about it:
“I had pretty high expectations for this novel, given the “hype” and the fact I’ve loved Pam Jenoff’s previous work. Happy to say this exceeded my lofty expectations. Jenoff is so skilled at writing stories with heart-poundingly high stakes and endearing characters. I don’t know how a WWII-era circus can feel so real and relatable to 21st century me, but that’s what Jenoff does. The characters, the setting, the message, loved every word of this fantastic novel. (And learned a few things too).” –Michelle on Goodreads
The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr is a summer read at its finest. I loved the dynamics between the mothers and daughters, the sisters, and the cousins. There were a lot of storylines beautifully woven into a timeless tale about strong women and how they got there.
“Once again, it is easy to see why Robyn Carr is one of my favourite authors!
The Summer That Made Us is a very touching story of mothers, daughters, sisters and cousins.
Every summer was spent at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The lake house was then closed for good. Many years later, one woman is determined to bring her family back together again. She sets out to make this happen at the lake house, to face the truth with no more secrets and lies.
A beautifully written unforgettable story!” –Wendy on Goodreads
For my non-fiction recommendation, I cannot say enough about Scott Hahn’s The Fourth Cup. It was a fascinating read from beginning to end and one of the few books I bought in print and in audio so that I could continue reading it no matter what I was doing (The Great Alone was another)! Michael, an Amazon Book Reviewer, said this,
“I really enjoy Scott Hahn’s books and presentations, and this book did not disappoint. It is amazing the depth of knowledge Hahn has of not only, Holy Scripture, but also ancient history and the Church Fathers. He explains salvation history in a way that is down to earth and understandable. These revelations of truth show God’s plan of salvation through Christ in a clearer light. It validates and confirms that God has been constantly and actively working his plan, and is currently doing so as well. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and his Resurrection are explained in a way that links the Old Testament and New Testament inextricably. People of all faiths, and non-believers alike should read this book. It leaves no doubt of God’s desire to bring all humanity to salvation.” – Michael on Amazon Book Review
And of course, I have to recommend my own suspense, Summer’s Squall!
“I was caught up in this story from the beginning. A detective from Maryland flies to Colorado to help solve a case for his cousin. The victim in this case is a beautiful woman who lives alone at the top of a mountain and is the sister of his cousin’s husband. This story contains lots of different aspects that make it interesting, a army veteran who is a paraplegic from war injuries, native Americans who have been displaced from their native lands, and glimpses into the Catholic faith. The army veteran shows us that a man in a wheelchair can be a productive member of society, the native Americans give us insight into their history and the victim demonstrates how her religious faith has kept her strong despite the current mystery as well as a traumatic event in her recent past. It also provides descriptions of some of the most beautiful scenery in our country.” –Nancy E. Morgan, Amazon Book review
What I was writing about this time last year: Oh, The Places You’ll Go (to borrow from Dr. Seuss)
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)