Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reading Ahead: June 2015, part 3

The best part of summer, for many readers, is the influx of beachy reads. Family sagas, light contemporary fiction, romances, chick-lit... If any of that (or all of it!) sounds good to you, read on!

Wicked Charms, by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton. Evanovich and co-author Sutton are back just in time for summer with a new Lizzy and Diesel novel (following Wicked Appetite and Wicked Business). For those new to the series, it's classicly funny Evanovich, but with a supernatural twist, featuring treasure-hunting partners Lizzy Tucker and Diesel (a character from Evanovich's between-the-numbers Stephanie Plum books). While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this particular hunt, for the Stone of Avarice, is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine. Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest; Wulf, Diesel's charming, treasure-hunting cousin is also after the bounty...and Lizzy. If you're looking for fun and adventure, this is the ticket.

Killing Monica, by Candace Bushnell. Readers may be familiar with Bushnell from some of her other work: 4 Blondes, Lipstick Jungle, oh, and she also helped create the iconic HBO series Sex and the City. And it's premise starts out sounding more than a little familiar. Pandy "PJ" Wallis is a renowned writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films. After the success of the Monica books and movies, Pandy wants to attempt something different: a historical novel based on her ancestor Lady Wallis. But Pandy's publishers and audience only want her to keep cranking out more Monica-as does her greedy husband, Jonny, who's gone deeply in debt to finance his new restaurant in Las Vegas. When her marriage crumbles and the boathouse of her family home in Connecticut goes up in flames, Pandy suddenly realizes she has an opportunity to reinvent herself. But to do so, she will have to reconcile with her ex-best friend and former partner in crime, SondraBeth Schnowzer, who plays Monica on the big screen-and who may have her own reasons to derail Pandy's startling change of plan. This is pleasure reading at it's most decadent, perfect for vacation reading this summer.

A Perfect Heritage, by Penny Vincenzi. The House of Farrell - home of The Cream, an iconic face product that has seen women flocking to its bijoux flagship store in the Berkeley Arcade since 1953. At Farrell, you can rely on the personal touch. The legendary Athina Farrell remains the company's figurehead and in her kingdom at the Berkeley Arcade, Florence Hamilton plies their cosmetics with the utmost discretion. She is sales advisor - and holder of secrets - extraordinaire. But of course the world of cosmetics is changing and the once glorious House of Farrell is now in decline, its customers tempted away by more fashionable brands. Enter Bianca Bailey, formidable business woman, mother of three, and someone who always gets her way. Athina and Bianca lock horns over the future of The House of Farrell, but the company's dark past may get in the way any possible future.

The Rumor, by Elin Hilderbrand. Nantucket writer Madeline King couldn't have picked a worse time to have writer's block. Her deadline is looming, her bills are piling up, and inspiration is in short supply. Madeline's best friend Grace, is hard at work transforming her garden into the envy of the island with the help of a ruggedly handsome landscape architect. Before she realizes it, Grace is on the verge of a decision that will irrevocably change her life. Could Grace's crisis be Madeline's salvation? As the gossip escalates, and the summer's explosive events come to a head, Grace and Madeline try desperately to set the record straight--but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it.

In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume.Yes, you are reading that right. Judy Blume has returned to adult readers for the first time in nearly two decades (Summer Sisters, 1998). In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on. I have very high hopes for this one.

All the Single Ladies, by Dorothea Benton Frank. Through their shared loss of a dear friend, three women forge a deep friendship, asking critical questions. Who was their friend and what did her life mean? Are they living the lives they imagined for themselves? Will they ever be able to afford to retire? How will they maximize their happiness? Security? Health? And ultimately, their own legacies? A plan is conceived and unfurls with each turn of the tide during one sweltering summer on the Isle of Palms. Frank's novels are filled with friends, laughter, and triumph, making them great and uplifting books for easy summer reading.

I'm back Thursday with more great beachy reads to look forward to (no beach required). In the meantime, happy reading!

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