Carrie’s Summer Reading List

Can I just first of all say that this is merely a microscopic drop in the bucket that is my TBR continent.  Yes, I realize I’m mixing all kinds of metaphors there but that’s how crazy my list of books I want & need to read really is.  AND I LOVE IT!! I am determined to read all of these books soonsoonsoon – if not this summer, then for sure by the end of 2016.

CinderCinder by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: January 3, 2012

What is it about?
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Carrie’s Comments:  Cinderella has been my favorite fairy tale since I was a kid, but I’ve been hesitant to read this retelling because science fiction is not my favorite genre (to say the least). I just couldn’t wrap my head around a cyborg Cinderella – or see how I could possibly enjoy such an adaptation. BUT, during this past year of blogging, I have heard so many wonderful things about this series that I’ve decided I really just need to bite the bullet and read it anyway. And I’m actually fully expecting to enjoy it.  Stay tuned…


Jilted by Varina DenmanJilted by Varina Denman
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 1, 2016

What is it about?
Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

Carrie’s Comments:  While I’m sad to see this series end I really can’t wait to read Lynda’s story. I adore Varina’s writing style, and I’m looking forward to discovering Lynda’s voice as well. Her character, her backstory, intrigues me – as does the promise of what could be in her future. This is one I will read when I can curl up and settle in and not have to put it down until I’m finished!


No Other will do by Karen WitemeyerNo Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: June 7, 2016

What is it about?
Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

Carrie’s Comments:  Karen Witemeyer is one of my go-to authors for Western romance. Ever since she absolutely captivated me with Short-Straw Bride, I have read every book – every novella – she’s written and wait with overeager and impatient anticipation for each new release.  She could probably write a phone book and I would find it both hilarious and romantic. No Other Will Do promises to be both as well, and even though my TBR continent threatens to overtake me any day now, I will absolutely find time to read this one!


No Way UpNo Way Up by Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: July 5, 2016

What is it about?
When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately. 

Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don’t live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike. 

Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath’s desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds. 

Carrie’s Comments:  I really should just say “Mary Connealy” and be done with it here. But… I’m a book blogger and stopping there would be almost a sacrilege. Part of the credentials are being able to talk incessantly about your favorite books and authors, after all.  Like Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy is another of my go-to authors for Western Romance.  And her writing voice is absolutely HILARIOUS. I adore how she lets us into the characters’ thoughts as a natural extension of the narrative – this adds to both the humor and the romanticalness (yes, it’s a word. I declare it so.) of the story. Added bonus? No Way Up starts a new series, so it will help assuage some of my grief over all the other series that are ending this summer.


From Winters AshesFrom Winter’s Ashes by Amy Leigh Simpson
Publisher: WildBlue Press
Publication Date: June 7, 2016

What is it about?
Hopelessly unlucky in love and a target for tragedy, Joselyn Whyte hardly leads the charmed life you’d expect of an heiress. When she becomes the mark of an arsonist, the last person she expects to ride to her rescue is her nemesis—the man who sealed her fate as a frigid and lonely “Snow Whyte.”

Firefighter Finn Carson might talk a big game, but behind the swagger and the dimples is a man tormented by a mistake that cost a life. When a force stronger than his stubbornness pulls him off the bench and into a 5-Alarm fire for a miraculous save, Finn decides the key to his redemption lies with the Ice Princess he loathes. But the price to freedom from the guilt and nightmares might be too steep if it means bartering with Joselyn’s father by posing as her boyfriend—her safety and the ruthless billionaire’s Senatorial campaign hanging on the combustible edge of a decade old grudge.

When secrets from the past resurface, the ruse and reality collide and threaten to thaw their heated rivalry—turning hate into something that terrifies them even more than the cunning predator with a bent sense of justice.

Carrie’s Comments:  Yes, I realize this isn’t a summery title BUT this matters not to me because I was raised in the Great White North of almost-Wisconsin Illinois and I thrive on cold.  So even in the summer I need a reminder that winter is coming again. Amy Leigh Simpson writes the kind of books I love to read – romantic suspense with some witty sass for good measure. And her hero is a firefighter with swagger and dimples.  I’m sold!!


Forever SafeForever Safe by Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Northern Lights Press
Publication Date: June 1, 2016

What is it about?
Race Point, Massachusetts, 1876

Will she ever be able to stop running, even when she believes she’s finally safe?

Heiress to a vast fortune, Victoria Cole has everything she wants, including the perfect fiancé. Having left two other men at the altar, Victoria is sure that now she’s found her true love and will finally live happily ever after. As her wedding draws near, however, Victoria’s life is threatened. To keep her safe, Victoria’s father hires a bodyguard.

Tom Cushman’s number one priority is protecting his clients, which means no personal entanglements. But he’s never guarded someone as beautiful and winsome as Victoria. After a near-kidnapping, the wedding is cancelled, and Tom hides Victoria at Cape Cod’s Race Point Lighthouse until her attacker can be found. Appointed as assistant light keeper with Victoria posing as his wife, Tom believes the isolation of the lighthouse will keep her safe.

As Victoria struggles to live without familiar luxuries, her heart betrays her with growing feelings for her protector. Determined to help Tom stop fleeing from his haunted past, can the runaway bride learn to face her own fears? With the attacker closing in, will both of them ever be able to stop running and find the safety they long for?

Carrie’s Comments:  Jody Hedlund continues her Beacons of Hope series with this independently published fourth installment.  I have it on good authority that this one will for sure make my next KissingBooks 101 post, so that automatically sends it to the top of my TBR pile for the summer! Everything Jody writes is captivating, and I’m really excited to see what she does outside the umbrella of traditional publishing.


The Things We KnewThe Things We Knew by Catherine West
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 12, 2016

What is it about?
After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in. 

Carrie’s Comments:   This book promises to have ALL THE FEELS, so it automatically belongs on everyone’s summer reading list! A little suspense, a little romance, the Nantucket setting … all perfect ingredients for a poolside read (or in my case, sitting inside under the air conditioning). Early reviews for The Things We Knew are fantastic and point out how Catherine addresses real life issues with mercy and grace. Yes! Cannot wait to dive into the deep end!

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