Summer 2015 Reads

I haven't been able to read as many leisurely books as I'd like to this summer since I've been supplementing with some pregnancy reads. Those are interesting, to be sure, but these books are a few of the ones I've really enjoyed! 

The Girl on the Train: A Novel
by Paula Hawkins


This book is about a girl on a train. Ok, so besides that, it's about a girl who has a bit of a troubled past and has definitely hit rock bottom a time or two. I related to her character a lot because I can be a self-destructive hot mess, too. She finds herself watching a couple from her seat on the train every day (they live just off the tracks). They seem like the absolutely perfect couple. However, something very suspicious goes on when the woman from the couple goes missing. There are definitely some huge twists that you won't see coming. 

30 Pieces of Silver: An Extremely Controversial Historical Thriller (The Betrayed Series Book 1)
by Carolyn McCray


Before I even get into the meat of the story, let me first say that this is a piece of controversial historical fiction. It's about Christ's crucifixion and the 30 pieces of silver Judas received to betray Him. Other than that - this is NOT religious novel. Don't read this and expect to learn all the truths about Christ's days before dying on the cross. Don't get offended by all the craziness in the story. Don't worry if things don't completely add up with what you know from Sunday School.

Ok, rant over. 

This book is a great, as it says in the title, thriller. It's a very fast, easy read that can get you through even the most sweltering of summer days. The book takes place both in present times and in the times before Christ's death. We see the relationship between Judas and Christ in a different light than I've heard of before. You begin to sympathize with Judas as you read up to the disaster you know that's coming in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the present day, we follow Rebecca, an archeologist who specializes in biology. She must be rescued (very often) by a very good looking special-ops beau, Brandt. Rebecca, Brandt, and crew are all searching for clues that would link Christ's DNA to that of all the other descendants of powerful civilizations. For example, the Huns in China, the Romans, Mayans, etc. She has a hunch that these groups of people have special biological markers that link them to their success. These same markers could be in Christ's DNA if only they could find his remains...

West of the Moon
by Margi Preus


This book is geared more towards the young adult audience, but as an "adult" I enjoyed it all the same. It was a very, very fast read (less than three days). The story weaves myth and truth as it describes the challenges before the heroine, Astri. It takes place in about the 1800's in Norway and details the experiences Astri goes through trying to find her way to America. She finds strength in herself and eventually even manages to save her sister from their evil step family. The two struggle to find their way to the ship as they battle trolls, evil masters, and strange goatmen. 

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak


I'm way behind in just now finishing this book. It was one of those that took me about 8 months to get through, but I was working full-time and in grad school full time. Reading wasn't an easy thing for me! 

This book is a beautiful, gut-wrenching story of Liesel Meminger, a German girl in the midst of Nazi Germany in 1939. It details the side of Germany we don't hear much about - the non-Jewish side. It discusses the things the German people went through and the things they did to survive. It is a beautiful story told from the point of view of Death. It's one of the most well-written stories I've ever read, and the unique narrator really makes a poignant impact. Liesel is a true heroine who stays true to herself, family, and friends despite horrible tragedies. The title stems from the fact that Liesel steals books in some of the most important times in her young life. The movie is actually one of the best novel-to-screen adaptations I've seen. I would definitely recommend reading the book first though, as there are so may details you'd miss from the movie!

All photos credited to Amazon

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