Although summer is time to enjoy outdoor activities, travel, and go sightseeing, I’m still planning on saving a week or two to sit by the ocean with a book (or e-reader) in hand. Summer is usually when I’m able to find longer stretches of uninterrupted reading time, so I try to mix in a few longer books (think Anna Karenina) or binge on series like Harry Potter. This year, I’m looking forward to enjoying a selection of YA and adult novels, authors I’ve read before and some debuts. Here’s what I have on my summer reading list:
An Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. My friend Audrey and I went to see Judy Blume during her recent book tour and it was a thrill being so close to a writing legend. After hearing Judy talk about her latest adult novel, which took five years to write, I’m looking forward to savoring every word!
The Ruins by TH Hernandez. This second book in The Union series is out this month. Penned by my critique partner, I’ve lived with this book in various stages of development and I’m so excited to finally dig into the finished product. If you’re in the mood for YA romance, futuristic adventure, excellent world building, and a hot guy named Cyrus, then definitely give it a try.
Life in the No Dating Zone by Patricia B. Tighe. I love “friends to more” YA romances because they really do happen frequently in high school. Plus, the characters in this book are ones I’d like to have as friends – the shy guy and the sweet girl who always stays true to herself. Just the cover of this book was enough to draw me in – it looks like a perfect sunny, summer read.
How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo. I had the privilege of reading an early version of this book about family, friendship, and living with an autistic sibling. I’m usually a pretty stoic reader, but this story pulled tears from me. I’m looking forward to reading the final version when it releases later this summer and crying all over again.
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert. This recent release by the Freshman Fifteens debut author group focuses on choices we make that define the rest of our lives. Based on the reviews I’ve read, this is one of my most anticipated summer reads. I can’t wait to delve into this story, which The School Library Journal described as “a poignant look at the messiness of love, faith, and humanity.”
The Funeral Singer by Linda Budzinski. When a 17 year-old funeral singer’s rendition of Amazing Grace goes viral she must cope with the issues related to insta-fame. With social networking and You Tube posting so much of our lives, I love the concept behind this book. The idea that anyone can become famous overnight feels so realistic and I welcome the chance to get inside a character’s head and find out how they deal with it.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Billed as a “novel of shocking narrative energy and power,” this book has been on my TBR shelf for a while and I’m waiting for the right time to read it. All 771 pages of it. Will The Goldfinch be my Anna Karenina read this summer? I’m hoping yes.
Check back with me this fall to find out if I met my summer reading goals. You can also connect with me on Goodreads to find out what I’m currently reading.
I’m so excited to share T. H. Hernandez’s cover reveal for the second book in The Union series. If you like adventure and YA romance set in the near future, then this is a great series for you!
The Ruins, Book 2 in The Union Series releases on June 16, 2015! Check out this fabulous cover by award-winning graphic artist and fellow San Diegan, Mark Sgarbossa. And to help celebrate, you can pick up The Union on Amazon for free through Saturday, May 16. See below for details.
Heartbroken, grief-stricken, and wracked with guilt, seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor returned to the Union, leaving behind the boy she loved.
Now, she and her friends must find a way to do the impossible – warn the citizens of the Union about an impending rebel attack without alerting the government and risking retaliation against her friends in the Ruins.
When every move Evan makes is thwarted, it soon becomes clear she’s being watched.
Faced with a daily fight to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, she returns to the Ruins. But life in the Ruins has its own dangers, and soon she’s fighting a different battle – to stay alive long enough to discover the truth.
THE RUINS is the second book in THE UNION series, a young adult romantic adventure set in the near future.
Lisa opens the door still in her pajama pants and a tank top. Jack’s behind her in nothing but a pair of sweatpants. I raise an eyebrow in silent judgment. How could she have Jack spend the night with Colin here?
“Where’s Colin?” she asks, looking past me.
“What do you mean, where’s Colin? Isn’t he here?”
“No. He never came home last night. I thought he was with you.”
“You were with me.”
“No, I mean after we separated. I figured he showed up at your place.” Her cheeks turn bright red.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” My hands ball into fists of anger at my sides. “You can’t really be that…” I bite off the words. It’s not my place to share how Colin feels about her.
“He probably left with one of those girls we saw him with,” she says.
I push into her apartment and find Colin’s duffel bag on the floor where it’s been since he began camping out on her couch last week. “So, he just blew off his train?”
“Maybe,” she shrugs.
“Not likely,” I say, stalking back outside, unease gnawing through my stomach. If all this other shit wasn’t going on, I could chalk it up to Colin getting laid, but I can’t shake the feeling something isn’t right. I’m halfway to Bryce’s before I realize that’s where I’m headed. Hopefully he takes me seriously.
My fast walk turns into a jog as I cover the remaining three blocks and two flights of stairs down to the apartment he shares with Jack. I’ve only been here once before, but I think I remember which one it is. I lift my hand and knock on the pale blue door then pace the small empty concrete porch. Thirty seconds pass before I knock again, louder and longer this time. Still no answer. I’m beginning to think he’s not here when the lock clicks and the door cracks open.
Bryce swings the door wider, and my eyes zero in on a bare chest. My gaze drifts from his firm abs and pecs up to meet a pair of gray eyes, squinted against the morning light. Confusion fills his features as he stares at me.
“Colin didn’t come home last night,” I blurt out, my voice breaking.
His gaze rests on my face for a moment before circling the room, reminding me we’re being monitored. “I’m sure he’s fine, but let me get dressed, and we’ll look for him.”
Stepping inside, I close the door and bounce on the balls of my feet while I wait for him. The place is decorated in neo-classic guy. A fireplace and hearth runs the length of the front of the apartment, and opposite that is a solid glass wall overlooking a weedy, overgrown garden. The limited furniture is a jumble of chairs, a couch, and a couple of mismatched tables littered with empty beer bottles.
Bryce dresses in record time and takes my hand, pulling me outside. He leads the way to the depot to catch a train back to the nightclub. “I want to retrace his steps after we left,” he says. “He might’ve just found some company for the evening.”
“That’s what Lisa said, but I think there’s more to it.”
“It’s no secret how he feels about Lisa. He might’ve just wanted to get away for the night.”
“But his bag is still at her place. He would’ve had to come get it before catching his train.”
The nightclub is deserted with the exception of a handful of staff still cleaning up. Bryce walks up to a lanky guy pushing a broom. “Can I talk to the manager?”
A woman in her mid-thirties approaches us a few minutes later, wiping her hands on an apron. She sweeps a chunk of blond hair out of her face with the back of her wrist. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I’m Detective Cooper,” Bryce says, flashing his credentials. “We’re looking for a friend. He was here with us last night, but we’re not sure what happened to him.”
She glances between me and Bryce. “Did something happen to him?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out. Can we take a look at the security feed from last night?”
“Sure,” she says, inclining her head. “Come on back.”
We follow her past the bar and into a small office beyond the kitchen. “Here,” she says, indicating a chair in front of a display screen.
Bryce sits and she shows him how to move through the video files. Bryce locates the one time-stamped from when we were here and forwards through frame-by-frame. I see us leaving for the night and Colin dancing with the girls, getting another drink, dancing some more, then about an hour later, Colin walks toward the exit alone. A guy in a sweatshirt, hood pulled up, hands shoved into his jeans pockets, approaches Colin. They appear to exchange words. Colin nods before following the guy out the front door.
“What the hell?” I ask. “Who was that guy?” Terror sweeps through me, turning my blood to ice. “And where the hell is Colin?”
“I don’t know,” Bryce says, reaching over to squeeze my hand. “But we’ll find him, I promise.”
After global warming and a second civil war devastated the former United States, two different societies rose from the ashes – the Union, a towering high-tech utopia, hugging the perimeter of the continent, and the devastated, untamed midsection known as the Ruins.
Seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor has an easy, privileged life in the Union. What she doesn’t have is any idea what to do with the rest of her life. She only knows she wants to do something meaningful, to make a difference in the lives of others.
When she’s kidnapped and taken into the Ruins as a pawn in a dispute involving her boyfriend, Bryce, her ideal world is turned upside down. What she learns while in the Ruins shakes her faith in everything she’s ever known, from Bryce, to her family, and even the Union itself.
Now Evan must choose whether to stay with Cyrus, the sexy, resourceful survivor who believes she’s in the Ruins for a reason, or return to the only life she’s ever known.
But when she stumbles upon a dangerous plot that threatens both worlds, her decision could tear her apart.
About the Author
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in San Diego, California, with one husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. In addition to her day job as a writer and editor, she writes young adult fiction and reads and blogs about books.
She particularly loves the young adult genre with the intensity of teen emotions and the way they’re still figuring out life.
When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a book, playing Plants Vs. Zombies on her iPad, or binge-watching Doctor Who with her kids. She’s obsessed with pumpkin spice lattes, Comic-Con, microbrewed beers, Bad Lip Reading videos, and the San Diego Chargers.
About the Artist
Mark Sgarbossa is an award-winning artist from San Diego, California. A partial list of his clients include Jason Mraz, Target Stores, Tony Hawk, Franz Ferdinand, Major League Baseball, San Diego State University, Snowboarder Magazine, 3 Doors Down, and AC/DC.
In addition to art, Mark is a talented musician. He played rhythm guitar and sang vocals in the indie band The Shirlies as well as playing synth and singing in the live electro duo ROTATOR.
Are you looking for new authors to read in 2016? I’ve recently joined forces with 15 other awesome YA and Middle Grade debut authors. Get ready to take the Sixteen to Read challenge and read all of our books in 2016! Can’t wait? Read along with me in 2015 as I page through the 15 books of The Freshman Fifteen.