Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cooling down with some sizzling July/August reads

The first day of summer begins tomorrow, with plenty of time still left to make your pop culture plans for the season.

With most of your favorite TV shows on hiatus and not every big blockbuster movie at the multiplex being to your taste, catching up on that ever growing pile of TBR titles is the perfect excuse to avoid the rising temperatures and curl up next to the AC.

 While you may have a tidy bundle of books to choose from, there's always room for more and here are a few soon to be hot off the presses picks for your literary delight:


Fans of M.D. Waters' debut sci-fi suspense novel Archetype will not have to wait much longer for it's follow-up adventure, which arrives in July.

 Prototype  finds our heroine Emma still on the run after learning the truth about her supposed husband Declan as well as twisted science being used against women in this Stepford Wife society. She takes refuge with the resistance movement, whose underground activities are more focused on than ever before due to the huge reward offered by Declan for her return.

 In addition to that, Emma's longing for family reconnection is being firmly rejected by Noah, who resents this new incarnation of his beloved and wants to move on with not only his life but that of their daughter's as well. Can Emma ever achieve a balance in her new life or must she change the game in order to survive?  I know that I enjoyed the emotional thrills of Archtype last winter and am happy to have this smartly written sci-fi  sequel sooner than usually expected(July 24):

Thanks to Stephen Colbert, Edan Lepucki's California has made a nice impact in the pre-sales arena but even without such great help, the plot of this post apocalyptic novel has a very attractive story telling allure.

Cal and Frida have left the shattered ruins of what was once Los Angeles to seek as peaceful a life together as they can. When Frida discovers that she's pregnant, they decide to find any form of civilization that's still out there in order to care properly for their upcoming child.

Upon joining "The Group", however, things are not as serene as they seem. With a number of secrets and lies surrounding them, Cal and Frida have kept the arrival of their expectant child to themselves but leaving this new community before the baby is born may be the safest bet of all. Yes, I do have this book on pre-order and am eager to explore it's frightening wonders for myself and highly doubt that I'll be disappointed(July):


Another highly anticipated debut novel this summer is The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, which has already been sold to the movies and said to have Harry Potter star Emma Watson cast as the lead.

That leading lady is Kelsea, the heir to a throne set in a world of the distant future that has been reset in a medieval times style. For nineteen years, she grew up in hiding not only to escape attempts on her life from her uncle, the corrupt Regent, but the Red Queen of Mortmesne, an enemy with dark and mysterious powers.

Armed with loyal guards, a sapphire necklace with strange abilities of it's own and bookworm skills, Kelsea seeks to undo the grim treaty her foolish mother made long ago that bears a heavy price upon her people as well as manage to stay alive long enough to claim her throne. I'm reading this book right now(and should have a full review by next week) and with this book being the first part of a trilogy to come, I have to say that I'm glad to be at the start of such a beautiful literary friendship(July):

Suspense author Chelsea Cain launches a new detective series with One Kick, introducing us to Kit "Kick" Lannigan, who was kidnapped at age six and rescued by the time she was eleven.

At twenty-one, Kick is determined to use her unique insights and special defense skills to help other abducted children and she's given a major assignment from John Bishop, a former arms dealer turned private security man, who needs her aid in locating two kids who were taken within weeks of each other.

Despite her suspicions regarding Bishop, Kick takes on the case but finds that there is one enemy standing in her way that she has trouble facing and it's within her own mind. Cain has proven to be an amazing writer in this realm and any new additions to the dark detective ranks by her are welcome indeed(August):


 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries webseries was very meta to begin with,doing a modern take on the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice that earned it legions of fans as well as an Emmy award last year.

Now the circle is complete as the videos have become a book entitled The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet written by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick(who also created LBD online).  This companion piece offers a deeper look into the mind and heart of Lizzie as she struggles with the pangs of love between her sweet sister Jane and new neighbor Bing Lee, along with some romantic troubles of her own and not to mention her wildstyle sis Lydia.

Whether you want to introduce someone to a fresh look at an Austen novel or recapture the fun of the web series for yourself, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet should offer plenty of delights and perhaps a surprise or two(July):


In Sally Beauman's The Visitors, two young girls have their friendship tested by one family's connection to the search for King Tut during the 1920s.

 As Lucy goes to live in Egypt upon the untimely death of her mother, part of her healing is due to Frances, the daughter of an American archeologist who is involved in the excavation of the tomb that holds the treasures of the boy king.

Even on the fringes of the discovery, the girls find much to entertain them as the inside scoop on a local scandal sharpens their observations on the power clashes between the main men involved to claim the tomb. Other intrigues both home and abroad separate Lucy and Frances for a time but a reunion is soon hoped for but how certain is it?  Those seeking some engaging historical drama need look no further(July).

Thrity Umrigar showcases an unexpected friendship in The Story Hour, as therapist Maggie decides to go beyond her regular boundaries of doctor and patient with Lakshmi, a troubled young woman trapped in a loveless marriage with a man who limits what little contact she has with the outside world.

As Maggie and Lakshmi grow closer, even to the extent of having their sessions at Maggie's home office, they share confidences that change each other's lives but whether for better or worse, it becomes difficult to say.

Umrigar's novels may seem to be more seriously suited for fall reading but good writing is always in season and should not be missed(August).

Hopefully, the heat this summer will only serve to encourage people to stay cool by reading(and I don't mean using the pages to fan yourself with,either!) and that none of us fight over who has the better reading list.

While it is good to use what free time you have on hand to catch up on some classics or tackle those hefty bestsellers everyone else seems to have read and discussed at length already, you have to decide what's best for your mental menu this summer.

Sure, a book battle might be fun if done the right way but true readers know that when any book is opened up, we're all winners in the end:


Thaddeus said...

Thank you so much for this post! I mean to return to casual reading sometime soon, and this will allow me to pick one or two and be ahead of the pack for a while.

I'm really surprised that that the one author appeared on Colbert? how was it that he came to be a guest on the show? is he already a big shot, or is Colbert a fan?

Or is the book about killer bears in the future?

lady t said...

The author with the Colbert connection,Edan Lepucki, has not yet appeared on the show. Her debut novel is published by the same company as his,which is having trouble with pre-orders and such from Amazon(due to both corporations in a dispute over pricing).

As a form of protest,Colbert encouraged folks to order California from Powell's Books(an indie book chain) and it's done very well there so far. I do hope she makes an appearance on the show by the time the book comes out next month,killer bears not withstanding:)

Thaddeus said...

Holy Crap, that's so cool of him! Good for her...