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Chick-Lit novels with recipes

International bestselling author Jenny Colgan writes delicious little books that I consider total chick-lit. Similar to author Sophie Kinsella, most of Colgan's novels are set in England or France, and are fun reads filled with terms like "bugger" and "sod" that make the stories that much more engaging to me. The books I have read so far are Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and Sweetshop of Dreams. Each story is unique, and all contain recipes guaranteed to make your sweet tooth tingle.

This is where you find the book that the movie was based on

This Is Where I Leave You is now a movie playing in theaters, but before it was a movie, it was a book by Jonathan Tropper. In the book, main character Judd Foxman’s father Mort has just died and his marriage to Jen has fallen apart after Judd caught her having sex with his boss. Now Judd finds out that his father wanted the family to sit shiva, a Jewish custom in which the family receives condolences at home. He joins his family at the family home in a New York suburb.

Dogs and humans are alike in many ways

The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances by Ellen Cooney was definitely a change from my normal reading. Seeing the word dog in the title of the book is what initially caught my eye, but once I started reading I soon realized this was not a cute little dog story, but a tender story of broken people and broken dogs and how they help one another. It took a few chapters to get into the book, but I soon discovered that dogs and humans really are very much alike.

The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer

The mathematician in the debut novel Mathematician’s Shiva is Rachela Karnokovitch, a fictional professor at the University of Wisconsin who was a Polish-born Soviet defector and formidable woman of intellect. This is an enjoyable book for those who like to read humorous and heartwarming stories with a Wisconsin connection. The story is told by her son Sasha as he looks back on the time in January 2001 when she died, and the family observed shiva, the Jewish custom of 7 days of mourning.

One last beach read for the summer

Summer is winding down and beach season is almost over. In a feeble attempt to hold on to those last days of summer I grabbed On the Rocks by Erin Duffy off of the new fiction shelves. The cover picture displays what looks like a tranquil afternoon spent on the beach, but this book was anything but tranquil. On the Rocks is a well written and highly amusing look at one woman's attempt to put her life back together after a very public breakup - via Facebook.

Don’t read this book while drinking a diet soda

Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark is a satirical debut novel about the food additives industry. In 1973 David is a young flavor chemist or flavorist hired by a big company to research an artificial sweetener called Sweetness #9. He notices that the lab rats and monkeys being fed Sweetness #9 are becoming obese and showing behavioral problems. Before he gets very far with his concerns, he is fired.

The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry

Being a true Southerner means keeping up appearances at all costs. As a result, many Southern couples put on pretenses and sometimes lead double lives. In The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry, Eve and Cooper Morrison are that golden couple, seemingly leading the ideal life as the cream of Savannah society. But, things are not always as they seem. This powerful novel about the value of truth focuses on the Morrison family and the one night that changed the dynamics of their family forever.

The Objects of Her Affection by Sonya Cobb

Here’s a debut novel for people who liked The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and the TV series Breaking Bad. As in The Goldfinch, The Objects of Her Affection is set in the world of art and priceless antiques, and as in Breaking Bad, the main character turns to illegal activity to get money for her family. The story starts in 2005 and ends in 2007. Main character Sophie is married to Brian, a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Beekeeper’s Ball by Susan Wiggs

The family saga first introduced in The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs continues in The Beekeeper's Ball, the second installment of the Bella Vista Chronicles. Former celebrated chef Isabel Johansen is opening a destination cooking school focusing on local produce and products at Bella Vista, her family estate in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel. Isabel is a reserved, organized woman and seems so together, but when renowned journalist Cormac "Mac" O'Neill arrives on the scene he certainly shakes things up.

J. K. Rowling writes great mysteries too

Last year Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith was published and received great reviews. Then it was revealed the Galbraith was really J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling has shown that she can write mysteries as well as fantasy with the Cormoran Strike series under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The next book in the series after Cuckoo’s Calling is Silkworm and was recently published. This is a traditional hard-boiled procedural mystery. London P.I.

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