I spent most of last month’s quiet moments reading and then rapidly requesting more books because nothing makes me more nervous then having no books on the go. A quiet toddler who shouldn’t be quiet also makes me nervous but it’s a different sort of nerves.
I relied heavily on Anne’s Summer Reading Guide (if you haven’t accessed it, go now!) for filling my library requests. This is my favourite guide yet and I discovered some really fun authors. I can count on two hands the number of hot days we’ve had thus far to sit by the beach and read. Most of these books were read with a cup of tea and a blanket and had me dreaming of summer days.
Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
I read two of Jenny Colgan’s books and this one was my favourite. Slightly predictable storyline but with enough twists to make it interesting. Rosie is asked to go and help her elderly aunt who has some health issues. Rosie lives in London with a ho-hum boyfriend and a ho-hum job as a nurse. The countryside is not where she thinks her dreams come true but after assisting the local doctor with a couple of cases and working on her aunt’s sweet shop (when not trying to get her to eat and sleep properly), Rosie re-evaluates her entire life. The book has delightful references to candy in other literature (Roald Dahl, of course) and the descriptions of the candy store may make you want to have a good selection of your favourite sweets on hand.
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
This was my first Jenny Colgan novel and it was a fun read. I don’t have a big sweet tooth but both of her novels made me want cupcakes and candies or at least to visit a cupcake cafe. Issy has a terrific life, a terrific boyfriend and many people who love her for her baking. Until she loses her job and the only thing she has left is her baking. She takes a gamble, opens a cafe and starts to invest both in her local community and in the lives of others who don’t fit normal jobs. Each chapter opens with a recipe from her Grandpa, the man who raised her and taught her to bake, it’s very sweet. If you have ever wanted to open a cafe, make a huge difference in a short time and have happily ever afters- this book is for you. If you wanted to escape to England and read about cupcakes and love- this book is for you.
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I typically steer clear of Young Adult books for what reason, I’m not sure but I read several this month and loved them. I especially like to read a couple books by an author to understand their writing style and see if it’s me or just that book that I love or dislike. Morgan Matson is a delight to read and I want to read everything she’s read and relive being 17 minus all the angst and emotions. Emily is a quiet girl, happy to follow her best friend’s lead until her friend leaves town unexpectedly. All that is left to explain the absence is a list of things for Emily to do over the summer- some because Sloane knows Emily’s fears and some well, just because. Emily meets new friends, discovers how to be herself on the outside and the inside. It may be written for teenagers but as a twenty-nine year old, I loved it.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
This book was one of my favourites for a very personal reason- last summer my family and I went on our own epic (totally planned) road trip. Our route followed a very similar route to the route in this book and so while I was reading of their experiences at the Grand Canyon, in Louisville and just how much of Kansas there is, I was re-living our own trip. For anyone who has done a long road trip across the States, wanted to do a long road trip or worked through major relationship stuff while with strangers- this book is for you. Plus the cover art is just well done.
Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
I’ve read all of Lisa Genova’s previous novels and knew I wanted to read this one as soon as I could get it from the library. One of Lisa’s purposes in writing is to draw attention to neurological diseases that don’t have cures or obvious causes. Inside the O’Briens addresses Huntington’s Disease, one that I actually didn’t know anything about before reading. It’s a hard read but like all of her other books, it’s a good read even if you may have to weep a few times while reading it. Not the best beachside read. Joe is a 40 year old police officer, in love with his wife and happy with their weekly Sunday dinners as a large, Irish Catholic family. Their life is turned upside when he is diagnosed with Huntingtons’, the story follows his progression with the disease and how the different family members deal with the reality of a genetic disease. The book is set in Boston, one of my favourite US cities and so I recognize places referenced in the book.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This book is everywhere right now and for good reason. I chose this as my book for ‘the book that everyone has read but you‘ in the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge and it did not disappoint. I will admit that it took me awhile to get into the style of story telling and to follow the story but it is worth it to stick it out. It is the story of two children who grew up as World War II happened- an orphan genius of a boy who was given a chance to see Europe as part of Hitler’s army and a blind French girl who experienced a full life through her thoughtful father. Their stories are intermingled around a radio broadcast and the desire to experience life as fully as possible. The book took ten years to write and it is one to be savoured, occasionally reading the sentences out loud, if you’re a full on word nerd like me.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
This book sat in my library bin for a week until I finally opened it and then promptly devoured it. The story alternates between a seventeen year old foster child and a elderly woman who was on the Orphan Train as eight year old. I loved the contrast and comparison of the heart wrenching stories from the Orphan Train and the foster care system. Neither one is perfect, both are filled with people who are in for the wrong reasons but there is good and this story shows some of the good from the then and the now.
Do you read more in the summer? What are your latest good reads? Head over to Modern Mrs Darcy for many more short reviews!
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