Need a little holiday spirit? Is the hustle and bustle of this time of year getting you down? Try reading a good book with a holiday theme to make your spirit bright. Two of my favorites this year are A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans, and Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber. Newly released, and just in time for the holidays, both of these quick reads touch on the true meaning of caring, sharing, family and forgiveness.
Fans of Stuart Woods might enjoy reading the latest novel by Randy Wayne White titled Gone. The greatest similarity between the two authors is the Florida setting, followed by the smooth flowing dialogue. Known for his Doc Ford novels, in which Ford is a marine biologist and sometime investigator, this new novel by White introduces a stunning new character, Hannah Smith. She is a descendant of the legendary Florida Smith women - Sarah, known as the 'Ox Woman' and Hannah, known as 'Big Six'.
Like so many other authors, Karen Robards decided to follow the popular paranormal route in her latest novel, Last Victim. Charlotte "Charlie" Stone is a psychologist studying serial killers for the Department of Justice. She is definitely qualified for this profession because as a teenager she was the only survivor of a killer known as the Boardwalk Killer. Having witnessed her friend's family brutally murdered, Charlie has since dedicated her life to finding out what makes these killers do what they do.
Another great story by one of my favorite authors. As with her other books, reading Porch Lights made me long to visit the South Carolina Lowcountry, specifically Sullivan's Island, the setting for most of her books and where the author was born and raised. The way she describes the grasslands, amazing sunsets, and the gentle ocean breezes make it sound like paradise.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a must-read for those who enjoy stories with a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end. To be honest, when I read the first few paragraphs I did not think I was going to like it. Seriously. In the first few paragraphs a man is talking about the shape of his wife's head and how when he first saw it he thought she had a "finely shaped head". OK. Next, he describes how he could picture himself opening her skull, un-spooling her brain, and sifting through it.
Parodies are meant to poke fun at things and Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (aka Andrew Shaffer) does just that. It doesn't just poke fun at the popular erotic series; it takes aspects of the first in the erotic series, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James, and raises them to a whole different level - of absurd and outrageous – and outrageous is putting it mildly. I will admit it. I did read James's Fifty Shades of Grey. I wanted to find out what all the commotion was about, and I would have to say I am still not quite sure.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson is one of the strangest, funniest, and yet, saddest stories I have ever read. Growing up poor in rural Wall, Texas, and spending her whole life being pegged as "that weird girl", the author shares her life story in her own unique, rambling style. Once I started reading I just couldn't stop. Living surrounded by people who were just as poor, her childhood did not seem all that weird. Her parents never said they could not afford things, just that they did not need them.
If you like your romance with a paranormal/fantasy twist this is the book for you. Sweet little Annie Lou Riddle left Mississippi and headed to New York with high hopes of breaking into the fashion industry. Little did she know that to get her dream job at Hot! Magazine she would have to literally sell her soul to the devil. Now Annie is stuck working as assistant/personal slave to Finola White, the owner and chief editor, and an impulsive and arrogant demon.
Maybe it was all the hot, humid weather we had been experiencing, but as I was browsing the Lucky Day shelves the other day I took one look at the pretty green gingham patterned dress on the cover of the new novel by Joshilyn Jackson, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and it just seemed like the perfect summer read. I love reading books about the south and this one takes you right into the heart of Mississippi and its unique culture. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty is about 3 generations of women: Big (Ginny), Little (Liza), and Mosey Slocumb. Every 15 years they are cursed.
The Singles is a quick, funny read by Meredith Goldstein, Boston Globe "Love Letters" columnist. In this debut novel, the wedding saga begins with Beth "Bee" Evans stressing out on how to fit her five friends, who decline to bring a guest to her lavish Chesapeake Bay nuptials, into her seating chart. She dubs them the "Singles".