Every Boy’s Got One by Meg Cabot
(Pan Macmillan, 2005, 328 pages)
I hadn’t read any Meg Cabot before, and when I saw this title in my ebook browsing, I thought I would give it a try. Jane Harris is the friend of Holly who is eloping with her boyfriend, Mark, to Italy. The book begins as a travel journal that Jane intends to keep for them so they can remember their elopement. The rest of story is told as conversations in emails, handwritten notes, texts, and some private journal entries.
Mark’s best friend is Cal—he and Holly are acting as witnesses to the wedding. There is an immediate disdain between Cal and Jane at the airport, which further progresses as they fly across the Atlantic and get settled in at their villa in Italy. Jane is fully supportive of this elopement as she believes Holly and Mark are perfect for each other, while Cal doesn’t think so because he has been burned by love before. Jane is determined to make sure Cal doesn’t ruin anything for Holly and Mark’s special day as their families have been less than supportive.
I found this book to be a fun and humorous read, especially the arguing between Cal and Jane. I liked it so much that I am planning to read the rest of the “The Boy” series. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys chick lit.
Vintage by Susan Gloss
(William Morrow, 2014, 320 pages)
Vintage is a heart-warming story about love and loss where three women’s lives become entwined: Violet, April, and Amithi. Violet is a late-thirty something vintage dress shop owner who came to Madison, Wisconsin to get her life on track. April is an unwed soon-to-be 18-year-old mother, who becomes her intern and is somewhat of a math savant. Amithi is a customer who comes to the shop to sell some of her saris and other silks she owns. Each of their stories influences the others and helps them to grow as friends. I found this book to be endearing and couldn’t put it down as it was easy to become involved with the characters. Another plus is the descriptions of the clothing and other items in the store. For someone who has an interest in vintage things, it made reading the book all the more satisfying. A great summer read!
Secrets from the Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford
(St. Martin’s Press, 2013, 368 pages)
Readers of Secrets from the Past get a glimpse of how war can change people, specifically those who are covering the frontlines for the news. Serena Stone is a “retired” and renowned photojournalist who followed in her father’s footsteps by going into war zones. Her decision to leave war behind is because of her father’s death—she missed being there when he passed because she was stuck in Afghanistan. She also ended things with her significant other, another war correspondent, Zachary, because she blames him as one of the reasons they didn’t get out of Afghanistan in time. However, they are reunited as she is informed that he is suffering from PTSD after all of the war coverage and she tries to help.
This book seems to have two different stories happening: 1) Zachary’s recovery and 2) a family secret that Serena stumbles on while going through her father’s belongings. I found this book to be a quick read and would recommend it for anyone who wants a story about family secrets and love loss and gain.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
(Penguin, 2003, 374 pages)
Thursday Next is a literary detective in London who seems to have a penchant for trouble. Her basic job is to find missing/stolen manuscripts. While this is all fun for a day’s work, she finds herself working back in Swindon, her hometown, after a close encounter with Acheron Hades, a wanted criminal. While back in Swindon things keep happening such as running into her ex-fiancé, Landen Parke-Laine, and, you know, killing a vampire. It seems that Thursday has her hands full from day-to-day until her aunt and uncle go missing, and then characters from books go missing such as Jane Eyre. Thursday is convinced that Acheron Hades is involved, and she is determined to stop him even if that means jumping into the novel Jane Eyre and becoming good friends with Mr. Edward Rochester.
This novel is fun to listen to because it is a mix of fantasy, classic literature, and mystery. Fforde sets up an excellent first novel for the Thursday Next series in that the backstories and the fantasy England he has created are extremely intricate. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery with some fantasy and a bit of romance in between.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(HarperCollins Publishers, 1999, 323 pages) *audiobook read by Sissy Spacek*
On a recent road trip, my husband and I listened to To Kill a Mockingbird because it had been years since either one of us had read it. The story of Jem, Scout, and Atticus is a delightful journey paired with humor and social consciousness. Reading this as a young adolescent, I was aware of the civil rights issues that were raised, but was more focused on the adventures of Jem and Scout, and how Scout seemed to be too smart for her own good. After listening to it as an adult, not only to did I appreciate all of Jem and Scout’s adventures, but the way Atticus parents his children, by showing them the consequences of their actions and allowing them to make their own decisions. If you have never read this book, it is a must read! And, if you have read this book, I highly recommend listening to Sissy Spacek’s narration of it.
The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy by Sara Angelini
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 2009, 338 pages)
If you are looking for a fun, modern twist to Pride and Prejudice, then you must read this book! English-born Judge Fitzwilliam Darcy is bored with the day-to-day dealings of the court room in the San Francisco area until in walks attorney Elizabeth Bennett. True to P&P form, Elizabeth finds Judge Darcy arrogant and rude, especially after she overhears him say that she is only somewhat attractive. Of course as time goes on, Darcy seems to develop feelings for Elizabeth as he sees her almost every day in the court room. Their happenstance meeting at Pemberly starts a romance with lots of ups and downs. This is a great read for anyone interested in reading Pride and Prejudice spoofs or fan fiction, though keep in mind it is a bit more steamy than the original. 😉
Hotshot by Julie Garwood
(Dutton Adult, 2013, 368 pages)
Peyton Lockhart has just returned to her home in Texas after a disastrous job in Minnesota. She is hoping things will turn around when she attends her old childhood neighbor’s wedding, then she runs into his brother, FBI agent, Finn McBain. Their brief reunion takes a bit of a turn when Finn realizes that Peyton has bullet holes in her car, recently made bullet holes. Peyton feigns some excuse and goes on her way, but Finn won’t let it go and follows up with her the next day. What happens from here on is a story of suspense and romance of trying to keep Peyton alive and successful in her new adventure with her sisters, which is a renovation of their uncle’s resort in Florida. If you are a fan of Julie Garwood you will enjoy this book—a fun and quick read.