Hello, summer fiction! I go through a LOT of books! I always mean to post reviews, but before I know it, I’m pages into the next title. Here’s a wrap-up of some recent reads – I thoroughly enjoyed all but one! I did mention a couple of these in my recent happy list, but I thought I’d give more perspective here. Happy reading!
Official summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain. An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.
My thoughts: I didn’t know what to expect, I love Sophie Kinsella other books (except for the Shopaholic series!), but wasn’t sure if YA would work for me and it did! Sophie has such a sharp way to coloring in the characters and everything they do comes back around into play by the end of the book. Main character, Audrey dealt with a case of anxiety after being bullied at school, but she handled it with charm and grace. She was very likable, vulnerable and smart. I loved how her brother stood up for her when needed, and the mom was hysterical, but also multi-layered with her own extreme motives for guiding her family to perfection. not as easy as she planned. The opening scene – brilliant! It was one I related to, I went through something similar with my son when he was in high school. I really enjoyed this book a lot! I read it in one day! Brownie points: I tweeted to Sophie and she replied!
Official summary:Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.
Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.
Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget.
My thoughts: I sooo wanted to love this book – I bought it because Entertainment Weekly suggested I’d like it. And I love all things Entertainment Weekly! ** spoiler alert ** It was fast-paced, but I just couldn’t connect or feel for the main character. She seemed soooo self-absorbed and downright selfish and icky. And when her past issues were brought up that seemed to lead to her current actions/hardened exterior, it didn’t help. If felt like an info dump in the middle of the book to justify her actions. Maybe if there had been some foreshadowing or something, but it felt a little forced. But I did read all the way through and I didn’t like her partner much either, but at least they ended up with a positive vision for the future to make things work.
Official summary:Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
My thoughts: I fell in love with this book right from the start. Set in the 80s era of Walkmans and The Smiths, it centers on two teens forced to sit next to each other on the bus and over time, sparks ignite between them. This book does a great job including different ethnicities without being obvious, it’s a very natural read that covers society classes, music, pop culture, school angst and more. I absolutely loved both Eleanor and Park as characters, their thought process, their kindness and personalities. What a great story to show teens the positive impact of a deep, old-fashion friendship-turned-courtship. I really do hope for a sequel. I hear the movies rights have been purchased, hope to see it on the big screen soon!
Official summary: Welcome to Mahalia’s Sweet Tea–the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy “they’ll make you want to slap your Momma,” owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery. . .Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young cousin, Wavonne, from getting too sassy with customers. Having fast-talking entrepreneur Marcus Rand turn up in her kitchen is annoying enough when he’s alive–but finding his dead body face-down on her ceramic tile after hours is much worse. Marcus had his enemies, and the cast iron frying pan beside his corpse suggests that at last, his shady business deals went too far. Halia is desperate to keep Sweet Tea’s name out of the sordid spotlight but her efforts only make Wavonne a prime suspect. Now Halia will have to serve up the real villain–before the killer returns for a second helping. . .Features delicious recipes from Mahalia’s Sweet Tea, including Sour Cream Corn Bread and Sweet Corn Casserole!
My thoughts: Even though it revolves around a murder, it’s uplifting and funny. Oh, my gosh, the food and recipes add so much “flavor” tot he story and characters. I really felt like I wanted to visit this restaurant. And I loved that the comedy wasn’t forced, very natural and clever. LOVED this book, silly fun with heartwarming characters! It by one of my favorite authors and friends, Patrick Sanchez. He is using an alias name for his new title, Murder With Fried Chicken and Waffles – it’s a hilarious mystery that takes place in a soul food restaurant. And it comes with recipes too, you will laugh and it will make your mouth water!
Other books I read: Girl on the Train – It kept me captivated, a few nail biting scenes, but I forgot about it soon after I finished.