Bestseller Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal is a good novel for foodies and for people who are familiar with the Twin Cities. If you like food—church basement suppers, high-end locally sourced gourmet ingredients, or county fair bake-off bars—this is a tasty treat. If you are familiar with the Twin Cities you will enjoy references to St. Paul’s Farmer’s Market, First Avenue, Loring Park, and Seward Co-op.
Hopeless romantics everywhere will want to add Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas to their reading list. It is a wonderfully romantic story guaranteed to warm your heart. Although this might be the fourth book in the author's Travis Family series, it still does well as a standalone and proves that you don't always need high drama to keep things interesting. It has been years since I read the last one but with back stories perfectly woven in I had no problem catching up with the Travis clan.
Last Bus to Wisdom is a charming, funny, heartwarming, and autobiographical novel set mainly in Montana and briefly in Manitowoc. Donal is an eleven-year-old orphan living in Montana with his grandmother who is a cook on the Double W ranch. In the summer of 1951, his grandmother needs surgery, and Donal is sent on the Greyhound Bus (which he calls the dog bus) to Manitowoc to stay with his Great Aunt Kate and Great Uncle Herman.
What a wild ride! Author Jackie Collins is an expert at creating a perfect blend of sex, ambition, drugs, alcohol, mayhem and murder, and she delivers exactly that in her latest novel, The Santangelos. The characters are strongly developed with lots of flaws and faults (and scandals). Collins is known for giving her readers an unrivaled insider's knowledge of Hollywood and the glamorous lives and loves of the rich, famous, and... infamous!
The Finnish Girlis an absorbing tale of loss, regrets, and secrets that highlights the little known history of Finns in Wisconsin. The novel opens in 1983 on a farm in far northern Wisconsin as fourteen year old Danny discovers that his mother Lempi has committed suicide. The story then backtracks to Milwaukee in 1967 when Lempi is thirty-four years old and working at fictional Bremen College. Her mentor, Pauline, from her hometown of Clover helped her get a job there.
The title may sound like a typical beach read, but Summer Secrets by Jane Green is a rich, well developed story about how alcohol and its related disease and addiction can impact generations of a family across an ocean and on two continents. Anyone reading this book will relate to something as it deals with the heart and soul of society and real life issues. It is a sensitive and honest account and the author has made it as true as anyone could make it.
The Cherry Harvestby Lucy Sanna is historical fiction set in 1944 in Door County. Thomas and Charlotte have a farm and cherry orchard. Son Ben is fighting in Italy, and daughter Kate is looking forward to going to the University of Wisconsin. The family is struggling with rationing and with finding people to help with the upcoming cherry harvest. Charlotte’s life is all about the farm and her children.
Chris Harrison has been the host of ABC's hot series The Bachelor since 2002 and has spent his career helping men and women find their soul mate. Who better to write a romance novel? The Perfect Letter is Harrison's writing debut and, I have to say, this guy really knows his romance. Not bad for a first attempt. Light and easy, it is a must-read for Bachelor fans and hopeless romantics everywhere.
Go Set a Watchman, the novel that Harper Lee wrote before writing her beloved prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird, was finally published July 14 with much interest and excitement. I just finished reading the book, and it was well worth it. I felt transported back in time to the South with its mindset, culture, and way of life. Go Set a Watchman is set in the 1950s when Jean Louise (Scout) returns to her hometown of Maycomb from New York.
Are cowboys and sweet romance your thing? The Sweet, Texas series by Candis Terry is full of hot cowboys and good old fashioned romance guaranteed to satisfy. I just finished book number three, Something Sweeter, and highly recommend this author to those who enjoy authors Robyn Carr or Jill Shalvis. Once you meet the Wilder family from Sweet, Texas in book one, it won't take long until you feel like you are one of the family – and what a family they are!