Books for your Beach Bag, TBR Summer 2023

Support independent authors this summer by adding these books to your TBR! There is a vast world of indie books to explore, and there is no better time than right now amidst the warm, sunny days of July and August to sit back and relax with a good book. So, check out this curated list of both fiction and non-fiction works that have attracted approval and high praise from readers and critics.

Baseball: The New York Game by Anthony Morante

(History, United States / 19th Century)

Baseball is recognized as America’s pastime for a reason. If you look closely enough, you will realize that baseball history and American history are deeply interconnected. In this intriguing book, Anthony Morante explores that connection in a fascinating way.

The book is organized as a linear narrative of facts and events that marries America’s illustrious history with the rich background of baseball – from the early 19th century until the present. The narrative includes many watershed moments that illustrate the importance of baseball during many crises and global conflicts – including the aftermath of September 11th, 2001. Well researched and thoughtfully written, the book tells the story of how American history and baseball intertwined as an integral part of our popular culture.

The Rocketeer’s Daughter by Clinton Aldrich

(Fiction / Historical)

This ambitious historical fiction novel takes you back to the volatile wartime years of WWII. It successfully captures the intrigue and danger of its time in a riveting tale where family, friendship, young love, and world domination collide.

The protagonist is a sixteen-year-old girl named Marga Toth. She attends school, takes violin lessons, and belongs to the League of German Girls at Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea, where Nazi Germany secretly develops their infamous V2 rocket. Marga also has a gift—one capable of disrupting the world’s balance of power and one the Nazis and Allies will kill for—forcing her into a dangerous game of survival. The Rocketeer’s Daughter is thrilling from start to finish and is rich with complex characters. If you are a fan of historical, wartime fiction, then I highly recommend you add this book to your reading list.

The Voyage of Willie B. Lovd by Cary Steffens

(Fiction / Literary)

If you knew you only had a few months to live, how would you live your life? The Voyage of Willie B. Lovd poses this existential question to readers. I found this to be a memorable, heartfelt, powerful story in which all readers can find meaning.

The novel tells the story of a successful businessman named Willie who seems to have it all until he receives a terminal diagnosis. This captivating book depicts how he struggles with his impending demise and his reflections on his life – both past and present. Throughout the book, you will meet an interesting array of characters who Willie has known in his lifetime, along with many who he will encounter after his death.

Willie lived his life concerned that he did not make enough of a positive impact on the lives of others. He was also concerned that he did not have time to restore his estranged relationship with his children. Miraculously his afterlife voyage manages to do both.

Psalms of the Lost Sheep by Antonio Ribaya Sr.

(Biography & Autobiography / Motivational)

Psalms of the Lost Sheep blends the self-help and autobiography genres with beauty and harmony. The book serves as a reminder that second chances matter – and healing is possible even after you completely lose your way.

Told by Antonio Ribaya, the book is a testimony of an inner-city kid from Southwest Baltimore who was looking for all the right things in the wrong places. He grew up to be a man who had to face his innermost fears – drug addiction, enlisting, divorce, homelessness, incarceration – on his path to find his purpose. His story is a remarkable account of faith and redemption.

With vulnerability and courage, Ribaya shares his life’s comeback story and how he healed and emerged from what once seemed like permanent darkness. 

One Full Trip Around the Sun by Glenn W. Herpst

(Biography & Autobiography / Military)

For the history buffs looking for a great summer read, this one’s for you. One Full Trip Around the Sun recounts a young man’s journey flying helicopters during the Vietnam War from May 1968-May 1969.

Told by Vietnam veteran Glenn W. Herpst, the book is both historical and deeply personal. It expresses the intensity, horror, sadness, and even joy from the events during that long year. Readers will develop an understanding of what it was like to fly with the soldiers of the 116th Assault Helicopter Company “Hornets”. Throughout the story, you will come to understand their trials and tribulations as young flyers in an ongoing war. For those who make it to the end of their tour, they will return to a much different world from the one they left.

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