I't's been 157 degrees in the shade here in southern Indiana for weeks now, which can mean only one thing for Marissa.
Hibernating inside in the air conditioning, or floating in the local pool while reading a book. ;-)
What pages have I been turning lately? Let's see....
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger
This book was getting rave reviews pre-release, so I was eager to read it, which I did almost entirely poolside. ;-)
Amina is a woman from Bangladesh, George is a man from Rochester, New York who meet on an international dating site and soon marry, with Amina moving to the United States. As you can imagine, this book is full of culture shock and miscommunication, the (sometimes false) expectations that Amina (and George) had about their marriage and each other, and a few puzzle pieces that raise some questions and make the reader wonder who knows what...
This is a great immigrant story told in arresting prose and with such authenticity and honesty that you believe you are part of the marriage of Amina and George. Towards the end, though, I found myself getting bogged down in the heavy paragraphs and *drama* of it all, and ended up skimming towards the end, which is rare for me. Not sure what it means, but...
Overall, though, an interesting read for the literary fiction set.
Born to be Brad by Brad Goreski
It's no secret that if you know me, you know I love me some reality TV, especially if it involves fashion (Project Runway, the Rachel Zoe Project, It's a Brad, Brad World). Brad is a fabulous stylist who learned under Rachel Zoe before splashing out on his own - this is his story of growing up small in Canada and making the fashion big-time. Fun, fast, interesting and entertaining - and worth just flipping through for the pictures!
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
This title may feature a vampire and a witch, but it's definitely NOT for the Twilight set! I've been saving this title for a long weekend to read on my Kindle, and ALA was the perfect time to tear through it (what with the flights to California and all)...
Rich with history, research, alchemy, romance, danger, education and a lot of high brow talk about witches and vampires, this is a fantastically told story (weighing in at 600 pages - and that's only book one of a planned trilogy!) about Diana, a dogged researcher at Oxford and witch who refuses to use - or even acknowledge - her powers. Enter Matthew, the 1500 year old vampire geneticist who saunters into her life and turns it upside down - and starting a war in the process when they begin to develop feelings for each other.
I don't want to give too much away, except to say this is a weighty, intelligently written novel that challenges the reader to keep up while still holding that edge of romance and suspense along the way. Diana can be a bit of a doormat and Matthew can be a bit of a Christian Grey, but I had no problem with either character or the development, despite some critical reviews read elsewhere.
In short, no one sparkles in this novel - but it's still a winner. ;-)
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
Here's what I'm saying about this audio edition - it's a lovely Regency story written by the master of Regency romances, and narrated by Richard Armitage.
Many of you may not know it, but Richard Armitage is my secret husband.
Don't tell anyone.
(Okay, there are a couple of others, but he's top three material, for sure.)
His narration is absolutely, perfectly spot on, and I smiled through the whole lovely story.
And I'm not just saying that because he's my secret hubs. ;-)
Making Piece by Beth Howard
Seven hours before he was to sign divorce papers, Beth's husband died suddenly, sending memorist Beth Howard into a tailspin which only pie could extricate her from.
This is a memoir of Beth's recovery from her husband's death, her love of pie making, her travels in an RV making a documentary about pie before settling down in Iowa in the house made famous by the painting "American Gothic". This is a sweetly told story with a lot of pie, but I found my attention drifting towards the end, and occasionally cringing at just how unable Beth is to, well, pull herself together a bit. Still, I enjoyed this unconventional memoir...
365 Thank You's by John Kralik
This is a short, easy to read but inspiring bit of non-fiction about the power of thank you, and how one man managed to turn his life around in a year by believing in the power of thanks - and the power of others. A read to make you feel good about humanity...
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
This is the first in a new trilogy for young adults (His Fair Assassin series). Much more about politics and murder than romance and giggling girls, this is a great "girl power" kind of hefty novel, featuring a memorable heroine, an interesting plot set in 15th century France (well, Brittany), a romantic hero shrouded in mystery and a lot of hallway whisperings and dealings. A great read!
The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Meideros
One simply doesn't need an excuse to read a fun story by a great writer featuring a strapping Highlander totally stealing another guy's bride on her wedding day and holding her for ransom.
Such fun! Love Teresa Meideros! Great poolside read!
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
Eh. I couldn't seem to get into it, though I did finish it.
Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods
I can't miss a Stone Barrington audiobook, even if this one was almost entirely about Herbie Fisher!
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