Welcome to Episode 2 of my personal 2015 reading challenge! As a refresher, I’m doing the PopSugar challenge (click the link) and my main rule is that a book can only count for one entry. And so, sans further adieu…
A mystery or thriller
Big Boned (Heather Wells Mysteries) – Meg Cabot
I’ve read all of the books in this series; this one was the last for me but not the last in order. I’ve recently rediscovered a long-forgotten love of mysteries and the Heather Wells ones are lighthearted, girly, cute, and funny (as opposed to some others that are not quite so amusing – I am sure one or two will crop up on the list before I finish the challenge).
Heather is a size 12 to 14 ex-teen pop star (think Tiffany) who has recently split with her long-term boyfriend who was in a boy band (thing NSync) and has since gotten a job as the assistant director of a large dormitory at a fictional college in New York City. This particular residence hall, as Heather herself would remind us to call it, is such a frequent location for murders that people associated with the college, the media, and even the local police call it “Death Dorm.” In this episode, the dead body pops up pretty early and Heather, despite warnings to do otherwise, puts herself on the trail of the murderer.
I enjoyed this book, and the rest in the series. Meg Cabot has a light-hearted writing style that fits well between more serious books. I’m working on only reading two books at a time (currently I have five active), and I will choose a light and sweet book like this after the heavier reads like Life After Life (see my last post). Well, that’s assuming I can wean myself down to two at a time. A girl’s gotta dream, right? Anyway! I found the Heather Wells mysteries sort of brain palette cleansers and nice, quick reads. I don’t imagine this book or any others in the series would ever win any sort of award, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re fun to read.
The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy – Nora Roberts
This trilogy sort of continues in the light-read vein. They’re romances set in the town of Boonsboro, which is a lovely and fictional small town set in northern Maryland, near the border with Pennsylvania. Each book features a new love story where the girl is one of three very best friends and the guy is one of three brothers. A couple sub-stories run throughout the trilogy: an awesome ghost and revitalizing this sweet little town.
Because they span three books, the six main characters all get to be rather well developed, perhaps more so than I would expect to find in a beach-read sort of romance. They overlap and interweave, they all have a nicely developed character flaw, each gets to run into some sort of obstacle on his or her way to true love. They are, in short, sweet people whom I found myself rooting for by the end of each book.
I’m not a big romance fan, generally. I have this odd, almost Puritanical, thing where I can’t actually stand to read the steamy bits and have to skip them, so I’m not a fan of the type of romance that is all sex, all the time. I’ve read Nora Roberts before and have found her to not to write those types of books, so when the first of the series showed up on my recommended books on OverDrive, I thought sure, why not? And then I found myself wondering what the deal was with the ghost, how the grumpy brother was going to work into things, and what was going to happen with the bakery (among other things) and just read the next two to find out. If you’re curious, and I am sure you are, I read the second book and half of the third in an afternoon. In other words: quick, light, and fun.
Seems I’m on a bit of a not-so-serious kick, doesn’t it? Well, just wait for number three…
A book by an author with your initials
The Lake of Dreams – Kim Edwards
With another nod to Barb and Tracie, this book is chock full of family secrets. It’s also about three feet up the serious ladder. Let’s call it a day and a half read.
Lucy, the main character, goes home to the town where she grew up, Lake of Dreams in upstate New York, after she learns that her mother had a bit of an accident. She’d been living in Japan with her long-term boyfriend, was unemployed, barely spoke the language, and was seriously stressed by the several-a-day minor earthquakes that were shaking up her little house. When her boyfriend suggested she go home for a bit, she jumped at the chance.
She arrived with a sort of flayed soul and started seeking a way to heal it. She soon stumbled across a gigantic secret; a hidden great-aunt. This was a major discovery because her family was all about their personal history, the third-generation family business, inter-generational connections, etc. As Lucy starts unraveling the truth of this long-lost relative, she uncovers some hidden truths about herself and about her father’s untimely death. Everything unravels all at once, and in a very short period of time, but in the end it is all drawn back together in a way that left me, as a reader, feeling really good about the story and the time I invested in reading it.
The language of the book is just lovely; often things are so well-described that I felt like I could see and feel them. Lucy, the only character we know well, is perfectly real. She’s telling the story in first person and she never hides her own issues and foibles. She makes many mistakes and totally owns them, in other words. She’s sometimes an idiot, sometimes terribly brave, and always likable (even though I felt the need to tell her aloud, more than once, that she needed to back the **** up).
I really liked this book. It’s one that will, at the end of the challenge, make me glad that I did it – otherwise I might never have found it.
I’m currently reading:
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
- Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
- One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
- A Year Across Maryland by Brian MacKay
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton