5 Good Reads for Summer ~ Including Heather Gudenkauf’s Novel ‘Little Mercies’ & a Giveaway

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I used to read.  All. The. Time.  And then life started getting in the way 😉  I say that jokingly, a bit… but between homeschooling, blogging and driving my un-licensed teenager everywhere she needs to go, the past few years haven’t given me as much time as I’d like for leisure reading like I used to.  Until now.

The homeschooling is done.  The teenager is on vacation from now until she moves into her dorm room in August.  So now I have time for the books I WANT to read, for pleasure!

Already this summer I’ve had a chance to read some amazing books that I’d like to share with you all.  5 of them in fact.  Get ready to book mark this post, or write down the titles because I hope there is at least one in the list that resonates as much with you as they all did with me. 

This post is sponsored by Harlequin.  Affiliate links are used in this post.

 1. Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf (Harlequin MIRA – June 24, 2014)

In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences…

Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

If that piqued your interest, you can read an excerpt of the book here: http://www.heathergudenkauf.com/little-mercies-excerpt/.  If you host or attend a book club there is also a book club kit to go along with the novel: http://www.heathergudenkauf.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Book-Club-Kit-for-Little-Mercies-by-Heather-Gudenkauf.pdf.

There is also a prequel to Little Mercies that is on my ever growining ‘to read’ list titled Little Lies.  I was so captured by the writing and story of Little Mercies, I now want to read more of Heather Gudenkauf’s books.

In this book, Ellen Moore is called in to assist in the police investigation when the body of a woman is discovered in a local park. Positioned beneath a statue of Leto, the goddess of motherhood, the crime is weighted with meaning and, Ellen discovers, remarkably similar to one from a decade past.

Ellen’s professional duty is to protect the child, but she’s not equipped to contend with a killer. As she races to connect the dots, she knows her time is running out. And the stakes are high: if she fails, another mother is sure to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Sounds like another riveting story, doesn’t it?

To learn more about Little Mercies and Heather Gudenkauf’s other books:

·         Watch the Book Trailer
·         Visit Heather Gudenkauf’s Official Site
·         Follow Heather Gudenkauf on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
·         Visit Little Mercies page on Goodreads

Check out the giveaway for Heather’s book titles after the other book suggestions.

2. The Invention of Wings by Sue Kidd Monk (Viking Adult; First Edition edition- January 7, 2014)

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

On Sarah’s eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

3. And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass (Pantheon; First Edition edition – April 1, 2014)

Kit Noonan is an unemployed art historian with twins to help support and a mortgage to pay—and a wife frustrated by his inertia. Raised by a strong-willed, secretive single mother, Kit has never known the identity of his father—a mystery that his wife insists he must solve to move forward with his life. Out of desperation, Kit goes to the mountain retreat of his mother’s former husband, Jasper, a take-no-prisoners outdoorsman. There, in the midst of a fierce blizzard, Kit and Jasper confront memories of the bittersweet decade when their families were joined. Reluctantly breaking a long-ago promise, Jasper connects Kit with Lucinda and Zeke Burns, who know the answer he’s looking for.

And the Dark Sacred Night is a tale about the youthful choices that steer our destinies, the necessity of forgiveness, and the risks we take when we face down the shadows from our past.

4. Los Angeles, 1968: Happy Ranch to Watts by T. Lloyd Winetsky (Pen-L Publishing – March 17, 2014)

Allen Greene, a directionless young white man who never intended to be a teacher, finds himself in a Watts classroom, standing before thirty black seventh-grade girls. After a trial-by-fire first day that includes run-ins with violent students and ominous warnings from faculty members, Allen doubts his ability to follow through on the whole venture.

He finds some encouragement from unexpected places: a teen mother who is unjustly accused of striking a teacher, a low-achieving gang member with an unexpected gift for poetry, and an elderly teacher with a commitment to social justice who takes Allen under her wing. As he builds a rapport with students as a tough-but-fair teacher, Allen’s outside-the-box approach evokes antagonism from some faculty members, especially his department chairman, whose has a vile secret that adds a mini-mystery to the plot.

As pressure builds both inside and out of school, Allen joins some students and teachers in peaceful protests while gangs and vandals run wild. After Dr. King is assassinated, the increased tension leads to dramatic showdowns for Allen, who finds both an unlikely savior and an unexpected calling.

5. Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock (Gallery Books; 1 edition – March 13, 2012)

This is a book I did not read this summer, but in the spring of 2012.  It left a big impression on me though, and it’s a book I often recommend to people.

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry.

Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work—and they put it all in writing.  Mickey promises to take his medication. Lucy promises not to blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, they have good days and bad days—and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.

An unvarnished portrait of a marriage that is both ordinary and extraordinary, Dancing on Broken Glass takes readers on an unforgettable journey of the heart.

One reader is going to win a summer reads prize pack. They will receive a Heather Gudenkauf book bundle including Little Mercies, The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden.

26 thoughts on “5 Good Reads for Summer ~ Including Heather Gudenkauf’s Novel ‘Little Mercies’ & a Giveaway

  1. The top of my list right now is Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. I've read the first two books in this series and want to read the final book.

  2. I am reading The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore, and then Letter From Paris by therese

  3. I am reading several books right now, some for pleasure, others for review. Little Lies & Little Mercies are on my list of "must read next."

  4. Crossing on the Paris, The Kitchen House, & now all the books you reviewed, because they sound amazing! Heather Gudenkauf is a fav of mine- I don't know how I missed these.

  5. The only book on my summer reading list right now is The Mirage Man. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I just finished reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon and The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. The next book that I plan on reading is The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming.

  7. I've been wanting to read the Game of Thrones series. Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

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