Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Anytime Reads

Hey'a, everyone! I'm officially back from my hiatus! And just in time for summer too . . . well, sort of. Y'know, since unofficially, summer's been here over two weeks, but officially it starts in a few days. Either way, it's the perfect time to talk about summer reads- but not in the sense of books releasing during summer. Instead, today's post is all about the books I'd recommend for reading during the summer for one reason or another.

Summer Anytime Reads

1. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. If there's one book that I'd say contains the essence of a wonderful summer, it's The Penderwicks. It's lighthearted and fun, yet touching, and the Penderwick sisters are each wonderful, both in their own rights and in terms of their relationship with each other and their father. The style, too, is lovely, giving this story the feel of a classic despite being set in our modern day and age. On the whole, the story is sweet without being fluffy, playful without becoming meaningless, and entirely perfect as a companion on a warm summer afternoon.  
If you liked The Penderwicks, try:
Entwined (for the sweet sisterly relationships) or The Summer of Cotton Candy (for a lighthearted contemporary story set in summertime).

2. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Howl is, of course, a good book to read at any time of the year. But it does feel like a very summertime book to me: lighthearted, amusing, classic. Pick it up on a sunshine-y morning and enjoy meeting Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, and the rest (whether for the first or hundred and first time), or save it for a rainy day and let Howl's antics and Sophie's misadventures in dealing with him make you forget all about the gloomy weather.  
If you like Howl's Moving Castle, try: Jackaby (for the, how shall we say, eccentric? male lead and amusingly bickering main pair), The Chrestomanci Chronicles (for more Diana Wynne Jones and the closest character to Howl I've found so far), or The Hollow Kingdom (for the feel of the book).

3. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Sometimes, though, you don't want something lighthearted. Summer's the most free time any of us have, usually, and we might as well make the most of it by tackling something big. And The Stormlight Archive contains two of the biggest and best books I've ever read in my life- and if you're reading it for the first time, you'd better make it during the summer. Try it during the school year and you'll need a great deal of self-discipline to keep it from taking over your life. Summertime, though? No worries- you won't need to put it down, which is good, because you won't want to.
If you like The Stormlight Archive, try: The Blood of Kings trilogy (for epic adventures and a pretty awesome world), The Wheel of Time series* (for massive books and lore-rich worldbuilding), or the Queen's Thief series (for incredibly twisty plots).

4. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. Basically, anything Discworld is probably a good choice for the summer- they're hilarious, if not quite lighthearted, but still fairly substantial. (Not as substantial as The Stormlight Archive, no, but what is?) But if I'm going to pick just one book to recommend from the series for the summer, Going Postal is the obvious choice. It's a bit less outright weird than some of them, while maintaining all the Discworld charm, and Moist van Lipwig is definitely a summertime sort of character.   
If you like Going Postal, try: 
The League of Princes series (for unlikely heroes and fantasy send-ups) or The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (for fun fantasy send-up; read it straight through or flip around at will).

5. The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. These books are neither lighthearted nor especially substantial, but they still feel like a quiet summer afternoon, especially The Goose Girl and River Secrets (first and third, respectively, in the series). The romance is sweet, the stories are both classic and original, and the writing style is the sort you want to take the time to savor.
If you like The Books of Bayern, try: Wildwood Dancing or Five Glass Slippers (for fairy-tale retellings), The Merchant's Daughter (for a romance without too much fluff), or Orphan's Song (for fairly short books worth reading slowly).

What are some of your favorite summer reads? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 

*Note: I have only read the first three Wheel of Time books. Those three books, I can recommend as being good, especially the third one- mostly because Rand ceases to be an idiot and Mat gets to be awesome. I can't vouch for the rest, but I have a friend with excellent taste in reading material who says they're good.


  1. I remember reading Going Postal. I liked it, and I plan on reading some more Terry Pratchett some time.

    1. Definitely do! Making Money, the next von Lipwig book, is good, or else you could try the City Watch subseries (which is basically my favorite subseries in the entire Discworld-'verse).

  2. I feel very proud of myself now, because I've read ALL of these books except for Going Postal. Now I have to check that one out. *nodnod*

    // katie grace
    a writer's faith

  3. Oh oh I want to read some of these! Particularly Howl's Moving Castle because I hear people mention it a LOT and I haven't read it?!? Like what have I been doing with my life sheesh. And I want to read ALL THE SANDERSON...eventually. XD His books are kind of terrifying though ahahah, ahem. I'm finishing up the Steelheart trilogy and then I'm going to finish Mistborn! :D

    1. YESSSSSS You must read Howl's Moving Castle and you will love it. Mostly because HOWL but it's just a wonderful book. And I agree that Sanderson's books are long and that can be scary . . . but as I told a friend, they have to be so long or else they wouldn't be able to hold all the AWESOME.

    2. *sneaks in* YES read Howl's Moving Castle! I recently finished it and joined the group of HMC lovers :D.

      I've seen so many people raving about the awesomeness of Sanderson's books. I really should try one *nods*.

    3. Yaaay! Another Howl-fan! :D

      Yes, you definitely should. :D If you need ideas of where to start, I'd be happy to help.

    4. I'd love an idea of where to start! I know nothing about his books except that a ton of people love them :D.

    5. Awesomesauce. :D

      There are three potential places I'd recommend to start. My number one recommendation is to begin with the Mistborn series (first book: The Final Empire). Its premise is "What if the Chosen One didn't win- what if the villain won instead?" The story actually starts several thousand years after the Chosen One didn't win, and it's terrifically heisty and exciting and full of suspense and amazing action scenes and epic twists. It's the best place to start, in my opinion, because it gives you a really good idea of just how epic Sanderson can get in storyline, worldbuilding, and characters, but it's short enough to not be too intimidating. (Or, the individual books aren't. The series itself is Sanderson's longest, with six books and a novella released so far.)

      If you like intimidating, though, try the Stormlight Archives that I mentioned here. They're massive books- about a thousand pages each- but they're packed full of epicness and awesome- and also politics, mystery, epic battles, cryptic hints about who knows what, and Wit. (Yes, the capital W is significant. You'll understand why when you read the book.) Oh, and Words of Radiance holds the double honor of being one of the only books that I had to actually put down because I was so sad over a plot twist and THE ONLY book that has ever made me literally dance around my room (because of a related plot twist).

      On the other hand, if even Mistborn is too intimidating for you, try the Reckoners trilogy (first book: Steelheart). It's very different from a lot of his other works- it's set on an alternate version of Earth, not in the Cosmere, and it's an action-packed superhero-type storyline rather than an epic fantasy. However, it's still awesome, with supervillains (the big bad of the first book is basically evil Superman) and hilariously quirky characters (David is such a nerd; don't let him tell you otherwise) and Sanderson's trademark jaw-dropping plot twists.

      So, in short: my top recommendation is to start with Mistborn and move on from there. But The Stormlight Archive and the Reckoners trilogy are both good starting points as well.

      Hope that helped! Let me know what you think of whatever you decide to read!

    6. Thank you SO much, Sarah! This was super helpful, I love it when people give me book recommendations :). I just requested The Final Empire from the library, and I'll tell you what I think of it when I finish reading it! Thanks again!

    7. You're welcome! I'm glad I could help, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Mistborn!

  4. Hello, Sarah. Going Postal sounds like a good and interesting read. I do like the occasional light read (though I prefer the adrenaline-inducing mystery stuff for the most part).

    1. I can certainly understand a love for exciting mystery-type stories. :) I like those too now and then. (And I love a good, exciting fantasy adventure!) But it's good to have some variety . . . anyway, if everything I read is all edge-of-your-seat thrills, I'd never get any sleep. xD Thanks for reading!


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