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I spend a lot of time looking for reading lists on Pinterest to give me ideas of what to read next. Because, you know, the bazillion of unread books in my bookcases aren’t enough. I admit it, I have a book
hoarding collecting problem. I love the look and feel of books. I love the idea of diving into a story and living in someone else’s world for a little while. Mostly, though, I just like to discover new authors. When I look on Pinterest for book ideas I tend to find that many of them are chick lit, science fiction, or sappy fiction but I like suspense, thrillers, and even some horror (depending on your idea of horror). I don’t see a lot of those books represented on blogs and Pinterest so if you like them too, this list is for you, with a couple of exceptions.
This summer I have decided to finally tackle some of my pile of unread books, both paper and electronic and read a book a week. If I’m being honest this is a lofty goal because while I can usually carve out some time to read, the only time that I can concentrate on a book is usually while I’m in a bed. Some of the books on my summer reading list are in my usual thriller genre, but some are a bit of a departure from that to keep it interesting.
So without further ado, my summer reading list. Hopefully, you will find something that sparks your interest as well.
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks.
I am already about halfway through this book and while I think the vampire thing is so overdone these days, this book is quite different from any other vampire book I’ve read. Buehlman’s writing style is witty and entertaining without being cliche.
The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx
In one of the most unique memoirs of addiction ever published, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx shares mesmerizing diary entries from the year he spiraled out of control in a haze of heroin and cocaine, presented alongside riveting commentary from people who were there at the time, and from Nikki himself.
Since I usually have more than one book going at a time, I am currently halfway through this book as well. (update: read my review). As a young teenager, Mötley Crüe was my everything and while I’m probably dating myself, Theatre of Pain was the first tape that I ever bought with my own money when I was twelve. You remember that old relic, the cassette tape don’t you? I also have always had a bit of a crush on Nikki Sixx so this book has been on my must-read list for quite a while. It is written in late 1986-1987 during the recording and touring of Girls, Girls, Girls (which also happened to be my first concert that I went to without a parent. Hey, it was the ’80s). It’s an interesting look at addiction and how quickly it can spiral out of control. Even if you’re not a fan, I would recommend checking it out.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Something is out there . . .
Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?
I’m not sure how I came upon this book. I hadn’t heard of this author before but it came up in some kind of search and sounded pretty spooky and weird and I can’t wait to dive into it.
Joyland by Stephen King
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.
Yet another book that I am halfway through. I must admit that at this point it has almost a Scooby Doo feel to it even down to the dog mascot costume that one of the characters wears at the amusement park. I’m waiting for Mr. Smithers to be unmasked as the killer. I’m not saying that it’s a bad book because it’s not, it’s just not what I expected so far but it’s Stephen King so I will reserve judgment until the very end.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
I have been a longtime fan of Stephen King. The first book of his that I read was The Shining when I was probably eleven or twelve years old followed by Carrie at about the same time. To this day, Salem’s Lot may be the scariest book I’ve ever read. I haven’t read a whole lot of his work in my adult years because let’s be honest, while usually great, his books are long and with work and kids the size of his books is intimidating. Now with the invention of the e-reader I, am less overwhelmed by their size. I read 11/22/63 (which I highly recommend) a few years ago and it was quite a bit different from many of his other books, but it reminded me of just how great of an author he is. After hearing that Mr. Mercedes is more like vintage King I had to download it.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
This is a departure for me. Not only is it not a subject that I would normally read about, this is also a YA book. Other than Harry Potter, I don’t think I’ve read a YA book since I was a teenager. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with them because many YA books are fantastic and very well-written, the subject matter just isn’t usually my norm. I look forward to reading this one as I’ve heard great reviews and I can also pass it along to my teenage son to read when I’m done.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…
Speaking of not being my usual genre. If you look at the rest of the books on this list, this one shouldn’t be here. Liane Moriarty writes chick lit and I don’t read chick lit. Okay, I don’t usually read chick lit. But I have recently read both Big Little Lies (after seemingly everyone recommending it to me) and The Husband’s Secret and I enjoy her writing. Shockingly I liked Big Little Lies a lot. The Husband’s Secret? Not as much. The description of this book sounds interesting so I am giving Liane Moriarty another shot to win me over.
The Forgotten Girls by Alexa Steele
In an elite suburb of New York City, girls are dying. That doesn’t happen in Greenvale, with its immaculate lawns, exclusive yacht clubs and multi-million dollar mansions. But behind its perfect façade, its trimmed hedges and luxury cars, a darkness lies. Girls, dependent on Adderall, outmaneuver each other to get into top colleges, while the mothers’ need to live vicariously only makes it worse.
Bella DeFranco is one of the Bronx’s top SVU detectives. At only 37, she disarms everyone with her stunning good looks, yet she is as tough as most men—and a lot smarter, too. Yet when is summoned to Greenvale, she finds herself getting lost in a case that even she can’t comprehend. She stumbles into a land of secrets, a place where husbands hide their pasts from their wives, where friends are not what they seem, and where no one wants to know too much. As she digs deeper into layers of suburban dysfunction, she comes to learn that, behind all the fake smiles, there is a subtle violence–rivaling even her crime-ridden streets of the Bronx.
This book came up as a free suggestion from BookBub (if you’re not a member, you really should sign up!). I downloaded it for free on my Kobo Glo e-reader but even so, it’s normally only 99 cents. It sounds good and has 4.5 stars with over 700 reviews on Amazon so what do I have to lose?
Game of Thrones (Book 1) by George RR Martin
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Unless you live under a rock I’m sure you’ve at least heard of the Game of Thrones series on HBO. I was late to the Game of Thrones thing as I am currently about to start season 3 (or is it 4?) of the series because SciFi/Fantasy isn’t really my thing. That’s The Husband and Red’s genre, but I was curious about all of the GoT love I’ve been hearing over the years. It’s violent, sexually explicit, and often disturbing but it’s very good. I saw the Kindle version of this book on sale for $4.99 and said, what the heck? At 720 pages, this book is long though so I probably won’t fit it into my book a week goal but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll save this one for the end of the month.
December Park by Ronald Malfi
In the quiet suburb of Harting Farms, the weekly crime blotter usually consists of graffiti or the occasional bout of mailbox baseball. But in the fall of 1993, children begin vanishing and one is found dead. Newspapers call him the Piper because he has come to take the children away. But there are darker names for him, too . . .
Vowing to stop the Piper’s reign of terror, five boys take up the search. Their teenage pledge turns into a journey of self-discovery . . . and a journey into the darkness of their own hometown. On the twilit streets of Harting Farms, everyone is a suspect. And any of the boys might be the Piper’s next victim.
This book was another BookBub find. It was only 99 cents and has a 4.5-star rating on both Amazon and B&N.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
Gillian Flynn seems to be the literary it girl right now with the huge success of Gone Girl. Like many others, I’ve read it and have seen the movie (both very good) and read Dark Places which was also very good. So it comes as no surprise that I want to read this one as well. My husband gave it to me for Christmas and I am finally going to read it.
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.
Styled similarly to an IKEA catalog complete with diagrams and drawings, this book is quirky and weird. I like quirky and weird. From the second I saw it I knew that I had to read it because it combines two things that I love: horror stories and Swedish furniture stores.