The Mountains of Instead

Championing fiction as an escape from pandemics, politics and bad TV.

Top Ten Tuesday Summer Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is run by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it's the top ten books on my summer reading list.  It was a tough call as I have many brilliant books to read over the next few months, but I think these are the ones I'm most interested in.  All blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.

 Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater 

"Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?"

I have been lucky enough to net an ARC of this from BEA (thanks, Janice!) and can't wait to follow Cole's story.  And not just because he's all hot and tortured.  Well, perhaps a little bit because of that... but also for Maggie's haunting storytelling.

Burn - Monica Hesse (Spoilers for Stray in the blurb)

"Lona Sixteen Always is about to become Lona Seventeen Always, but she isn't feeling much older or wiser. Unlike Fenn and the rest of the Path strays, she is struggling to move on with her life. How can she look to the future when she knows almost nothing about her past? Lona feels like everyone's pressuring her to become 'normal' - even her beloved Fenn - and on top of this, she's been having strange, violent dreams. It almost feels like someone's trying to send her a message... Lona's dreams turn out to be memories - clues hidden inside Lona by her mother, who Lona always assumed was lost to her forever. But she isn't lost at all: she's being held captive by Harm - emotionless, psychotic, murderous Harm - and she's desperate for Lona to find her. In the bid to find out who she really is, Lona will fall headlong into a trap far more dangerous and cunning than she could ever have imagined. The Path was just the beginning."

Stray was one of my favourite books last year and I've had Burn on my TBR for months now.  I want to take the time to re-read Stray first and have no doubt that Monica Hesse has followed her spectacularly original debut with an equally strange and enthralling tale.

Perfectly Good White Boy - Carrie Mesrobian

"Sean Norwhalt can read between the lines.
'You never know where we'll end up. There's so much possibility in life, you know?' Hallie said.
He knows she just dumped him. He was a perfectly good summer boyfriend, but now she's off to college, and he's still got another year to go. Her pep talk about futures and "possibilities" isn't exactly comforting. Sean's pretty sure he's seen his future and its "possibilities" and they all look disposable. Like the crappy rental his family moved into when his dad left. Like all the unwanted filthy old clothes he stuffs into the rag baler at his thrift store job. Like everything good he's ever known.The only hopeful possibilities in Sean's life are the Marine Corps, where no one expected he'd go, and Neecie Albertson, whom he never expected to care about."

I'm already reading this one, but it's summer now (isn't it?) so that's OK.  I loved Sex and Violence, Carrie Mesrobian's 2013 debut and am thus far loving her authentic boy teen voice and very real world writing just as much in Perfectly Good White Boy.

Joyland - 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." 

A friend lent this to me ages ago and it looks pretty awesome.  I'm a long time Stephen King fan and plan on reading this before moving on to Mr. Mercedes later in the summer.  Also, that cover is just phenomenal.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy - Kate Hattemer

"Witty, sarcastic Ethan and his three friends decide to take down the reality TV show, For Art's Sake, that is being filmed at their high school, the esteemed Selwyn Arts Academy, where each student is more talented than the next. While studying Ezra Pound in English class, the friends are inspired to write a vigilante long poem and distribute it to the student body, detailing the evils of For Art's Sake. But then Luke—the creative force behind the poem and leader of the anti-show movement—becomes a contestant on the nefarious show. It's up to Ethan, his two remaining best friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save their school. Along the way, they'll discover a web of secrets and corruption involving the principal, vice principal, and even their favorite teacher."

I'm a sucker for anything set in a liberal arts school and the fact that this combines reality TV, vigilante poetry and such a delightful monikered gerbil makes it a clear choice for summer reading.

The Bees - Laline Paull

"The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut. 
Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous. Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden... Laline Paull's chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, The Bees is the story of a heroine who changes her destiny and her world."

Normally I would shy away from this level of anthropomorphism but the premise here sounds so thrilling that I can't wait to read this.  I know several people who are currently reading it and have yet to hear a bad word said about the story nor the world it is set in.

Pointe - Brandy Colbert

Theo is better now.
She's eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn't talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn't do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she's been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

This one has been on my radar for a while.  I love a mystery and adore ballet books and plan on reading this alongside Bunheads sometime soon.

Clariel - Garth Nix

"Clariel is the daughter of the one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most importantly, to the King. When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, there are rumors that her mother is next in line for the throne. However, Clariel wants no part of it—a natural hunter, all she ever thinks about is escaping the city’s confining walls and journeying back to the quiet, green world of the Great Forest. But many forces conspire against Clariel’s dream. A dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she discovers hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?"

This is actually next on my list to read because I just can't wait any longer.  The Abhorsen trilogy is one of my favourite pieces of fantasy ever and I have no doubt that Nix will have created yet another thrilling set-piece in his richly imagined world.

Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

"For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams. And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now. Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.
Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.
By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run."

This sounds utterly ridiculous and also pretty fantastic.  Like a mix between the movie My Little Eye and any number of the Point Horror books that I tore through as a young teen.  Awesome nonsense, I am sure.

What I Thought was True - Huntley Fitzpatrick

"Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is."

Because summer and islands and star-crossed romance etc etc etc.  This is by far the summeriest summer read I have on my shelves and i've been saving it for my very own island sojourn next month.

There are many more that I hope to read, not least Megan Abbott's intriguing The Fever, Tahereh Mafi's entire Shatter Me series and Dreams of Gods and Monsters but I think that the above are a good start... Happy Summer - may it be filled with sunshine, lollipops, rainbows everywhere and excellent books!


Alex Brennan said…
I really like Maggie Stiefvater's style of writing. Though I haven't read her Shiver trilogy yet, Sinner will definitely appear somewhere on my list of books. Perfectly Good White Boy sounds rather intriguing - I might have to put that on my list too. Great list!

Alex @ The Book Banner
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