Friday, June 12, 2009
Summertime and the Reading is Easy!
Summer Reading Roundup
“Staycation” – staying at home instead of going somewhere for vacation” is the buzz word for this summer. And what better way to while away the already sizzling temperatures than to spend the day with a cool drink and a great book.
Trade-size volumes, those books that are still paperback but bigger than a “pocketbook,” are the latest trend in women’s fiction, featuring titles varying from the ever popular “otherworldly” tales to sassy chick-lit stories. Here are a few of my favorites so far this season.
“Serendipity,” by Louise Shaffer (Ballantine Books; $14), is a quirky fast-paced tale of a matriarchal family whose members are just as fierce in their love for one another as they are in their bitterness. Carrie Manning is the daughter of famous parents, but who never reaped the benefits of being a celebrity. Alone after her mother’s death, Carrie becomes determined to discover the secrets of her mother’s estrangement from her family, and finds out that her grandmother and great-grandmother were loving, gutsy women who had passed down their strong, independent genes and were always there for Carrie, each in their own way.
“Busy Women Seeks Wife,” by Annie Sanders (5 Spot Books: $13.99), is an uproaring and endearingly funny look at a modern woman, Alex Hill, who doesn’t have time to take care of herself, her apartment, or her ailing mother. So in desperation, Alex takes out an ad in the London paper seeking someone to help with her predicament. In short, a wife. Not to marry, just to clean and go for groceries and take care of her mother for a short time. What Alex didn’t bargain for was the handsome applicant in the form of actor/turned house-cleaner, Frankie. Perhaps Alex doesn’t need a “wife” at all.
Annie Sanders, which is actually a pseudonym for two British authors, delivers a fun, lighthearted look at today’s busy woman. And who knows, maybe this “wife” thing might not be so bad after all!
With the dice game of Bunco being so popular among women’s groups these days, it was only a matter of time before a book featuring the game came along.
“Bunco Babes Tell All,” by Maria Geraci (Berkley Books; $14), is the lively story of the Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay, Florida, and their adventures in life and love.
Kitty Burke is the only single gal in the group, and she is trying desperately to get her life together. A real estate agent, she is living in her mother’s beach house and trying to scrape together enough money to buy the prime location from her mom. When a choice deal comes along that needs her brokering hand, Kitty jumps at the chance, but soon finds out that the “great deal” might not be so wonderful after all.
On top of her business problems, Kitty frantically needs a handyman in her life, and finds one in the form of hunky Steve Pappas. But as in business, Kitty’s love life threatens to take a tumble as well as she finds out Steve has a few sneaky cards up his sleeve, too. With the help of her friends Pilar and Shea and the rest of the Bunco Babes, life in Whispering Bay might never be the same again. A fun book, and the beginning of what promises to be a delightful series from Geraci.
If “otherwordly” stories light your literary fire, then “Red Kiss” by Deidre Knight (Signet Eclipse; $7.99) is definitely your match. The second in her “Gods of Midnight” series, “Red Kiss” is the story of Spartan hero River Kassandros and modern day Emma Lowery and their quest to help River’s brotherhood of immortal Spartans battle the evil god of war Ares. Set in Georgia, this tale features lots of blood and love, and enough spiciness to light a house a fire. Cool water recommended with the reading of this adult novel.
And keeping with the theme of things not possible, Canadian author Lynda Simmons’ latest book, “Getting Rid of Rosie,” (Berkley Trade; $14) features the ghost of an ex-boyfriend’s wife, a ghost cat and feisty grandma who is determined to send both entities to the “light.”
Delivering a decidedly light romantic comedy, Simmons captures her readers’ attention with the delightful story of Samantha “Sam” Marcello and her quest to recapture her ex-boyfriend Michael’s attention, to the chagrin of Rosie, said man’s decidedly dead wife’s ghost. Only Sam can see and communicate with the deceased Rosie, and the two former best friends have a ball as each tries her best to get rid of each other and have Michael all to herself. One of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time.
And last but not least, one of the most heartfelt books I’ve come across is “Entertaining Angels” by Judy Duarte (Kensington Books; $12.99).
What would you do if you knew you were speaking to an actual angel? Would you act differently or go about your way as if it were nothing? The folks who lived around Mulberry Park could have been entertaining an angel amongst them in the form of Jesse, a homeless man with an unusual talent for knowing and saying just what a person needed to hear.
Pregnant and homeless teenager Renee needed to know there was someone out there who would love her and care for her and her child. Single mother Kristy needed to hear she was doing a good job caring for her disabled grandmother and her small son. Newly-minted pastor Craig needed to know he had chosen the right path for his life. And beautiful Shana needed to know she was making the right decision about the man in her life. In his own unique, quiet way, Jesse brings all these folks together with ties that would bind them as a warm, loving family. Miraculous indeed.
The second novel in which Durate features Mulberry Park, “Entertaining Angels” is a soul-lifting delight. I hope she continues this inspirational series.
So, that should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Enjoy the summer, and have a great read!