Big Books of Summer 2021

I have said many times that I am not a reading challenge person. In fact, the only one I normally do is the Goodreads challenge, which is nothing more than how many books you read in a year.

Well, buckle in folks, because I AM DOING ANOTHER CHALLENGE! Every year, Sue at Book by Book does her Big Book Summer Challenge, which I’ve always followed but never really felt the urge to join in. I think this is mostly because “summer reading” isn’t really a thing to me. I don’t read any differently during the summer than I do in the winter or spring (I do read differently in the fall, though). This year, however, I felt called to join in.

The rules of the challenge are simple and you can read them on Sue’s blog post. As for me, my plan is to read 3 long books, with a hope to read one a month during the summer. I used a very scientific method to choose my three books: I went to my TBR bookshelf and pulled off the 3 longest novels. I had toyed with the idea of reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but I have that on e-Book and, right now, I’m concentrating on making inroads on my print TBR. I’ll be reading these books in addition to my regular reading, which is why I’m planning to spend a month on each title. There is a chance that I will finish these early and, if that happens and depending on when it happens, I may add a fourth book.

These are the books I’ve selected. Descriptions come from Goodreads.

No Angel (The Spoils of Time #1) by Penny Vincenzi (626 pages)

No Angel is an irresistibly sweeping saga of power, family politics, and passion-a riveting drama and a fervent love story. Celia Lytton is the beautiful and strong-willed daughter of wealthy aristocrats and she is used to getting her way. She moves through life making difficult and often dangerous decisions that affect herself and others-her husband, Oliver, and their children; the destitute Sylvia Miller, whose life is transformed by Celia’s intrusion; as well as Oliver’s daunting elder sister, who is not all she appears to be; and Sebastian Brooke, for whom Celia makes the most dangerous decision of all.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan (509 pages)

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruth Sepetys (512 pages)

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Are you interested in tackling some big books this summer? If so, you can sign up for the challenge here.

5 thoughts on “Big Books of Summer 2021

  1. What a great selection of books—all of these look like fascinating reads for the challenge! I just signed up yesterday, so I’m trying to take a look and see what books other participants will be reading. Good luck with the challenge, and thanks for the great post!


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About Melinda