Melissa’s Summer Reading List

Suspense, thrillers, and crime novels dominate Melissa’s summer reading list.

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Publication Date: July 11, 1960
Publisher: Warner Books 

What’s it about:

Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus’s children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930’s.

Melissa’s Comments: Well, this one wasn’t required reading for high school, so I never got around to reading it. However, I’ve heard fantastic things about To Kill a Mockingbird and with Go Set a Watchman releasing soon, I want to catch up.


fearlessFearless by Mike Dellosso
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Realms

What’s it about:

A child mysteriously appears in the lives of Jim and Amy Spencer. Will her presence be a blessing…or a curse?

When a nine-year-old girl named Louisa mysteriously appears in the middle of a house fire with no memory of how she got there or where she came from, Jim and Amy Spencer agree to take her in. Wrestling with the recent loss of their own child, Amy is hurt and angry while Jim is just trying to make it through each day and hold their marriage together.

For Jim, Louisa is the daughter he always wanted, but Amy isn’t as comfortable with her. The girl has a special gift, and soon that gift will unknowingly push them all into contact with a serial killer who has been terrorizing the small town of Virginia Mills. Only by uniting can Jim and Amy save themselves and Louisa before it’s too late.

Melissa’s Comments: Normally I read Mike’s books as soon as they are released. However, this one was published during a very busy time for me and as a result I didn’t have a chance to read it. But I love the cover and I’ve been wanting to work it into my TBR stack for some time. So this summer, I am going to read Fearless.


Paradise SkyParadise Sky by Joe Lansdale
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Mulholland Books

What’s it about:

A rollicking novel about Nat Love, an African-American cowboy with a famous nickname: Deadwood Dick.

Young Willie is on the run, having fled his small Texas farm when an infamous local landowner murdered his father. A man named Loving takes him in and trains him in the fine arts of shooting, riding, reading, and gardening. When Loving dies, Willie re-christens himself Nat Love in tribute to his mentor, and heads west.

In Deadwood, South Dakota Territory, Nat becomes a Buffalo Soldier and is befriended by Wild Bill Hickok. After winning a famous shooting match, Nat’s peerless marksmanship and charm earn him the nickname Deadwood Dick, as well as a beautiful woman. But the hellhounds are still on his trail, and they brutally attack Nat Love’s love. Pursuing the men who have driven his wife mad, Nat heads south for a final, deadly showdown against those who would strip him of his home, his love, his freedom, and his life.

Melissa’s Comments: Every now and then I’m in the mood for something different and a good western often satisfies this feelings. An unconventional hero and a wild west adventure captured my attention. I have finished this book and I did enjoy it. It has a bit of a pattern to it, so the overall suspense is lessened and it’s hard to get attached to many characters, but overall it was a satisfying read that met my desire for something different.


ad 30A.D. 30 Abridged Edition by Ted Dekker
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Center Street

What’s it about:

New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker offers an exclusive, ebook original novella in this abridgment of A.D. 30, the epic historical novel about a woman who rises to lead her people after meeting Jesus.

Maviah, the outcast daughter of a powerful Arabian sheik, is called to protect the very people who rejected her. When enemies launch a sudden attack she escapes with the help of her father’s warriors. Their journey is fraught with danger and takes her to a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must form an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.

But her path also leads her to Yeshua, who offers her a way of life more powerful than any kingdom. Though following him may present an even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.

Melissa’s Comments: I read the unabridged version of this book when it was released last year. However, much like when a book is made into a movie, I’m curious to see what scenes were cut and how things were rearranged for the shortened version of A.D. 30. It will also be a good refresher since the sequel, A.D. 33, is releasing this fall.


Last WordsLast Words by Michael Koryta
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

What’s it about:

Markus Novak just wants to come home. An investigator for a Florida-based Death Row defense firm, Novak’s life derailed when his wife, Lauren, was killed in the midst of a case the two were working together. Two years later, her murderer is still at large, and Novak’s attempts to learn the truth about her death through less-than-legal means and jailhouse bargaining have put his job on the line. Now he’s been all but banished, sent to Garrison, Indiana to assess a cold case that he’s certain his boss has no intention of taking.

As Novak knows all too well, some crimes never do get solved. But it’s not often that the man who many believe got away with murder is the one calling for the case to be reopened. Ten years ago, a teenaged girl disappeared inside an elaborate cave system beneath rural farmland. Days later, Ridley Barnes emerged carrying Sarah Martin’s lifeless body. Barnes has claimed all along that he has no memory of exactly where — or how — he found Sarah. His memory of whether she was dead or alive at the time is equally foggy. Tired of living under a cloud of suspicion, he says he wants answers — even if they mean he’ll end up in the electric chair.

But what’s he really up to? And Novak knows why he’s so unhappy to be in Garrison – but why are the locals so hostile towards him? The answers lie in the fiendish brain of a dangerous man, the real identity of a mysterious woman, and deep beneath them all, in the network of ancient, stony passages that hold secrets deadlier than he can imagine. Soon Novak is made painfully aware that if he has any chance of returning to the life and career he left behind in Florida, he’ll need to find the truth in Garrison first.

Melissa’s Comments: Michael Koryta is one of my favorite authors. His attention to detail combined with excellent storytelling skills makes his books some of my most anticipated each year. I’ve finished Last Words and it is every bit as good as I expected. Great plot, interesting characters, nice suspense all wrapped up in a complex, well written story.


Hiding PlacesHiding Places by Erin Healy
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

What’s it about:

Eleven-year-old Kate Whitby leads an invisible life, the youngest member of her odd family. They live in their historic small-town hotel, where she is an expert at keeping everyone’s secrets: her sister’s a thief, her great-grandmother isn’t as crazy as people think, her mother lives in the past, and her beloved grandfather might have killed his best friend.

Devoted to the people she loves—more than they have ever been to her—Kate vows to protect each one.

Charlie Fuse has lived on the streets since his alcoholic father threw him out. When Charlie’s powerful street family tests his loyalty by demanding that he kill the son of a rival gang leader, he refuses. They frame him for the murder, forcing Charlie to run.

When Kate finds Charlie injured and penniless, she hides him from his enemies and her uncharitable relatives, unaware that he has a connection to her family as old as the hotel itself.

The murderous gang tracks Charlie down. To flush him out, they take the clueless family hostage and threaten young Kate. Even then, Kate keeps Charlie hidden, putting all her childlike faith in one terrible hope: that the family who has never been able to protect her before might learn how to do it now.

Melissa’s Comments: Erin Healy has one of the most beautiful storytelling voices I’ve read. Her unique blend of elegance and melancholy perfectly suits her stories and style. Hiding Places will be her first book that does not include supernatural elements. I’m quite curious to see what one of her books will be like without the supernatural.


The Killing KindThe Killing Kind by Chris Holm
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Mulholland Books

What’s it about:

A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up a target himself.

Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he’s not so bad a guy.

Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life–and beloved fiancée–and set out on a path of redemption…or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.

Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts–he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he’ll make sure whoever’s coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living–but a great way to make himself a target.

Melissa’s Comments: A book about a hit man that only kills hit men just sounded fun to me. So I decided to give it a try. As expected, this really is a fun story. It not exactly complex, but it makes for quick purely fun reading.


EmbersEmbers by Ronie Kendig
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Enclave

What’s it about:

Kaelyria Celahar, heir to the throne and princess of the Nine Kingdoms, is the only hope for Seultrie and its people against the powerful Poired Dyrth, a leader whose fire-wielding gift far outbursts the king’s, and even Feilyn’s.

Now he’s coming for her. And the kingdom.

Poisoned and crippled as a young prince, Haegan Celahar is temporarily transformed by his sister, a feat that costs Feilyn—and the kingdom—far more than anyone expected. Embroiled in her plan to usurp their enemy’s plot to overthrow Seultrie, Haegan becomes a fugitive when their father-king believes Haegan is the traitor responsible for Kaelyria’s failing health and the loss of her gift.

Much on the planet has lain dormant in anticipation of the return of Abiassa’s Fire. As Haegan fights his way north to find answers and help for his sister, he is confronted by horrors, legendary creatures, long-forgotten races, and a truth more powerful than all the Flames.

Melissa’s Comments: Isn’t this cover amazing?!  I’m not sure this one will be available in time to read during the summer, but if so, it will be pushed high up on my list. I love Ronie’s military suspense and cannot wait to see what she does in the fantasy genre. Should be awesome!


ad33A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Center Street

What’s it about:

They call her the Queen of the Outcasts. Maviah, a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world-unwanted, illegitimate, female, a slave-subject to the whims of all. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. She found strength in his words, peace from the brutal word around her. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert, wielding an authority few have seen. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves, leaving her reeling as a slave once more. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death.

Enter a story full of intrigue, heart-wrenching defeat, uncompromising love and staggering victory-one that re-examines everything you thought you knew about the heart of Jesus’s stunning message and the power that follows for those who follow his easily forgotten way.

Melissa’s Comments: One of my favorite parts in A.D. 30 is how Ted writes Jesus. Instead of trying to create a character and personalize Jesus, Ted left things more open and allowed the reader to develop their thoughts about Jesus. I’m looking forward to continuing this story, though I do hope there is less need to suspend disbelief and the ending drama is significantly toned down.


The CrossinThe Crossing by Michael Connelly
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

What’s it about:

Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. The murder rap against his client seems ironclad, but Mickey is sure it’s a setup. Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch takes the case. With the secret help of his former LAPD partner Lucia Soto, he turns the investigation inside the police department. But as Bosch gets closer to discovering the truth, he makes himself a target.

Melissa’s Comments: This is another one I’m not sure the ARCs will be available in time for me to read this summer. I sure hope so as Michael’s books are great summer readers. Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller are teaming up in this one and I am looking forward to see what kind of trouble these two can stir up.

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