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Tag Archive for books

Summer Beach Reads

As I was working on our beach trip pack list, I went online & reserved some summer beach reads for myself. Yes, I was maybe a bit over confident that I’d have time to myself to read. But between car rides, marathon nursing sessions, & sneaking away time without babies on the beach, I managed to finish four books in the last two weeks. I shared my thoughts One Thousand White Women Monday.

IMG_20130707_145908Mary Kay Andrew’s Spring Fever was first. Spring Fever reminded me immediately of the other Mary Kay Andrews’ books I’ve loved. Her writing voice is exclusively her own. I was half way through when I realized the title doesn’t fit the book IMO. I’m not sure what I would’ve called it, but Spring Fever doesn’t exactly match.

The characters in this novel are southern charmers & I’m not saying this because they’re set in a {fictional I believe} NC town not far from where I live. The soda referenced so frequently throughout Spring Fever {Quixie} does remind me so much of Cheerwine which fellow NC’ers will know as a delicious cherry soda you probably grew up drinking.

Spring Fever tells the story of two friends & the brother/ex-husband they have in common. It weaves together friendship, family, employment & the history & love they all share with lots of laughs, drama & a lil romance thrown in for fun.

IMG_20130707_150043I’ve been excited about reading The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner since I discovered & finished Swim {her short story prequel about the same characters}.

I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were fun & funny. I wanted to be friends with the main character, a struggling writer-turned TV show runner in LA, & her fabulous grandma.

Like other books by Jennifer, this was a great, light read. While it might be ‘chick lit’ & doesn’t have a super heavy subject, it was still good & kept me engaged until the very end. Actually after the end too as I was left hoping we’d get more of the story!

where we belongIn full disclosure, I read Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong exclusively once we were back from the beach. But I’m including it here because I group Emily with the other authors as perfect beach read novelists.

I laughed when I realized Where We Belong also featured a main character, Marian, who was a NYC based TV writer. That took a bit to keep Marian’s character straight from my last read.

But pretty quickly, I became engrossed with this story. The author chooses the write in two voices Marian & Kirby, the now 18 year old who Marian gave up for adoption at birth. I loved that we got both the adult & teenaged perspectives of all the action. I was cheering & wishing well for them both.

I loved the emphasis placed on fathers in Where We Belong. And I admit I was a bit swoony over Conrad.

While I told my mom I might not recommend these for a weighty book club discussion, they are perfect for deliciously light, fun summer reading. Anytime I’m looking for something I know I’ll enjoy without my brain exploding, these authors {& yes, these books} are good picks!

One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White WomenOne Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus was July’s book club pick. I’d never heard of it until Jackie mentioned it back when we were choosing book a couple months ago.

The novel {a first work of fiction by the author} is set in the late 1800s/early 1900s first in the north east then out west in mostly Nebraska territory.

Based on the actual event of the Cheyenne Native American chef asking to trade 1000 white women for 1000 horses {in hopes of their children bridging the cultures}, the story takes off as fiction from there. It reads as the diary of May Dodd, a fallen-from-grace lady from a wealthy, proper family chosen to be part of the first group of white women delivered to the Native American tribe.

As you can guess, the story is pretty wild. One Thousand White Women tells the story of these ‘Brides for Indians’ {the author does a good job creating & painting for us readers vivid characters} traveling cross country, seeing Native Americans for the first time & attempting to assimilate into their lifestyles & families.

My book club’s {& my} complaint is that the book reads like an event list. This happens, then this & this & this… We’d have loved more depth on certain subjects. And we wondered if a man writing from a women’s perspective caused that issue.

Without giving a spoiler but knowing {a bit of Native American} history, you can guess that the story doesn’t end especially well for these characters. But overall I still enjoyed the book. It’s one that will remain memorable & I think would work well for a variety of book clubs to read & review.

Code Name Verity

Jamie from book club recommended Code Name Verity to us. I sadly hadn’t quite finished it for book club last Wednesday night. My follow book nerds kindly didn’t spoil it for me & I will do my best to act on turn.

Code Name Verity is of the young adult genre {I’m turning into a bit of a #YAbooknerd right now}. But the subject matter & story aren’t of the cheesy YA variety. This historical fiction novel takes place mostly in the 1940s following two English/Scottish girls during WWII.

Their roles in the war & it being from a British perspective were new ones for me. I loved hearing a war story from a strong female perspective {actually two perspectives}. I loved the friendships. And I loved that the author really tried to be as authentic as possible & she even describes just how so in the afterward.

My book club has read a good deal of WWII novels. Code Name Verity is now up there as one of my favorites. {I say one of because the memoir Unbroken will be hard if not impossibly so

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to top.} I’m actually looking forward to re-reading this {& I never reread} to search out & understand more of the beginning & also discover foreshadowing I know I overlooked. Code Name Verity was really good. It was another quick read that I had a hard time putting down. I actually am thinking about the characters days later & missing reading their story. That’s a sign of a well written & enjoyed book.

Divergent

DivergentDivergent by Veronica Roth has been recommended to me for a long time. I threw it on my library wish list a couple months ago & instagrammed recently when I picked it up. Over & over, friends said, you have to read it! NOW! {I should have listened to them sooner.}

I decided to bring it with me to OIB. And while I didn’t have much relaxing beach reading time {hello, babies’ first day at the beach & afternoon in a baby pool!}. Lucy & Zach chilled on the car trip home & napped at the house Monday long enough for me to finish Just One Day & start reading Divergent Monday night. Y’all, I had all 400+ pages finished by Wednesday night. It was too good to put down. And Insurgent better come quick from the library as I can’t wait to read more of Tris’ story!

Divergent is of the YA genre, so it’s an easy, quick read. It might remind you of Hunger Games & Matched in that it’s a story based in a future, dystopian North America {Chicago area}. There’s PG rated teenage romance that’s sweet & cute. And crazy drama & action that makes you glad to be living now.

Before I was finished, I saved the date {10/22/13 for those interested} when then third book, Allegiant comes out. If you’re looking for a cant-put-it-down, addicting read that isn’t “light” in the story but won’t make your brain explode from thinking too hard, find these novels.

Defending Jacob, Bloom & Just One Day

Defending JacobHoly cow! I read Defending Jacob by William Landay quick. Sitting for hours awaiting potential jury duty helped me finish it & proved a great background for reading about a murder trial.

Defending Jacob reminded me a bit of a Jodi Picoult novel in the sense that it was told from past/present in first person. Also it left you hanging on your seat til the end. I’m looking forward to discussing it for my book club in a couple months. I think there are some great law, parenting & sociological themes developed in this novel.

This one I’d recommend to men & women alike. I think it’ll stick with me for a while & I can see why it was a best seller.

BloomBloom by Kelle Hampton has been on my wish list for a while. If I had room on my book shelf, I’d have purchased it if not for the photos alone. I’ve followed Kelle’s blog since shortly after Nella’s birth.

I am familiar with her story, yet I still enjoyed & got into the ugly cry reading her words of the unexpected joy & discovery made during Nella’s first year.

Any blog follower of Kelle, photography lover or parent of a special needs child would enjoy Bloom. But so would anyone who likes memiors or has had a dream that came true in a way there weren’t expecting. I found myself nodding along so many times as she described the first days & weeks & months of motherhood.

Just One DayAfter enjoying Gayle Forman’s If I Stay & Where She Went last May while on bed rest, I was excited when her latest, Just One Day, became available for me at the library.

It was a wonderful beach read. Light YA lit about a girl about to go off to college who has an experience with a guy she just met in Europe that changes her future. 

Just One Day made me wish I’d traveled in Europe as a young adult. I liked it enough that I’ve already starred the sequal Just One Year on amazon to remind me of it’s Oct ’13 release.

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