Beach House Book #10 – Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

The surprise was all mine! This book was listed on Southern Living Magazine’s The Best New Books of Summer 2017, so I never ever considered that an adult was not exactly the audience that Welch had intended.  I was halfway through  Love & Gelato, when I flipped it over and saw the words “visit us at simonandshuster.com/teen.”  Now I know why I thought that it was interesting (i.e., odd) that the main character of the book was a teenager and the plots lacked the depth of other novels I had read this summer.  Now I know.  I was not the intended reader.

Despite not being the intended audience, I enjoyed the story, I truly did.  Meet Lina, a teenage girl, whose only parent that she has ever known dies.  As result of her mother’s wishes, she moves to Italy for the summer, to live with a stranger, her Mother’s old friend,  named Howard.  Within a few short days of living in Florence, she unlocks the untold secrets of her mother’s past and unravels the beginnings of her own existence.  This book wraps up with a nice big bow of a multiple happy endings with Lina coming to terms with the loss of her mother and gaining love in multiple capacities in her life.

I have to applaud Welch, and any adult authors for that matter who write stories aimed at a teenage audience.  How difficult it must be to put aside your adult experiences and tell a story through the eyes of a teenager.  I imagine, for an adult, it must be like trying to create a piece of art with playdoh or coloring a dog magenta, in a coloring book.  I find it difficult to find my inner child and take things, as an adult, out of true reality.  There are no magenta dogs so you cannot color them magenta.   I find reality skews my own perspective…what we know or have experienced changes the way we are able to see things. Although I enjoyed the story, it was really difficult to read a book written for teenagers, from the lenses of my 40+ year-old eyes.  I found it difficult to replace the cynic of my older, wiser self, with the hopeful, faithful wonder of a teenage girl…to believe that such happy-ending outcomes exist for the long-term.   My lens has become jaded by what happens after the perceived happy ending.  Maybe my lesson from this innocent read should be to strive to live in such wonder of being present and enjoying the moment, to reconnect with my teenage self, where everything and anything is possible.

Related Posts:

I Will Judge a Book by its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Beach House Book #4 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

Beach House Book  #6 – The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

Beach House Book #7 – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Beach House Book #8 – The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Beach House Book #9 – Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

 

 

Beach House Book #9 – Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

“Hello, Sunshine” was listed on Southern Living’s Best New Summer Books of 2017.  Much like “Eight Hundred Grapes,” Laura Dave kept me entranced with her book, “Hello, Sunshine.” I LOVED IT!  Oh, and if you have not read “Eight Hundred Grapes,” by all means…add it to your reading list as well.  You will not be disappointed.

Even with having a million things to do, errands to run and lunches to pack, I managed to finish this novel in about a day.  It was a page turner that unfolds with Sunshine Mackenzie. Sunshine Mackenzie is living the modern-day dream.  A bartender, who serendipitously turns You-Tube celebrity chef, has won contracts in her apron and the hearts of her fans.  She is the latest and greatest foodie phenomenon…a real “Food Network Star.”   Her followers not only love her recipes, but they equally love her success story.  That is, until her real story is leaked and her sunshine (sorry I couldn’t help myself) is masked by darkness.  This is the age-old tale of the ultimate betrayal, with an interesting twisted game of “who betrayed whom?”

But most importantly, “Hello Sunshine” is the story about identity…and often times identity theft…but not identity theft as we most commonly define it with stolen card numbers and passwords.  Instead this novel reveals a different type of identity theft…that of becoming what others expect us to be…of not being true to ourselves…of living to fulfill someone else’s agenda…a life chasing another’s dreams for us.  One of my favorite passages from this book is, “...these women, in their efforts to become the women they thought they should be, sometimes lost sight of the women they used to be-the women they truly were.”  So weaved amongst the interesting twists, is actually a story of  self-betrayal…a story of “who am I?”…a question Sunshine faces as she reconciles her own identity, and her past with her present…a question each of us faces or have faced in this lifetime as we have pondered our own paths.  Have we reconciled the person that we are, with the person that we were, to become the person that we want to be?  Are we living the life that we dream…or one that has been dreamed for us?

As you ponder these questions, I’ll leave you with Sunshine’s remarks, “…I think it’s a good thing to know what you want.  If you do, you have a chance of getting it.  If you don’t you have a chance of getting only what someone else wants you to have.”

Related Posts:

I Will Judge a Book by its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Beach House Book #4 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

Beach House Book #6 – The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

Beach House Book #7 – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Beach House Book #8 – The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

 

 

Beach House Book #8 – The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

From death comes life…from darkness comes light…and from the ashes the Phoenix bird, too, will rise.  The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick was featured on Southern Living Magazine’s list of the Best New Summer Books of 2017.  It lightened my heart to read that it was Patrick’s first novel.  So bravo dear Phaedra. Congratulations!

Typically, unless it is a suspense or mystery novel, the books I select almost always have a female perspective and point-of-view.  So as the summer is winding down, a male perspective was quite refreshing.   Meet Arthur Pepper, our hero in this story.  He is a senior citizen, a widower, living almost a hermit’s life in York, England.  And before I speak further about dear old Arthur, let me say, having lived in the UK years ago,  I found myself reading silently, not in my inherited southern accent, but in my own contrived British accent and loving the nuances and stylistic differences that are ever so apparent between the Queen’s English and our own American use of the language.  But before I digress and begin reminiscing about my own adventures in that lovely little country, let me get back to Arthur.  Arthur’s tale begins similar to many of the chapters in our own lives.  Essentially his story begins at the end of one of life’s chapters, in a state of loss, from having lost a loved one.  On the anniversary of his wife, Miriam’s, death, he begins to sort through her closet only to discover a 40-year old secret…an elegant charm bracelet she has hidden amongst her belongings.  And so his adventures begin as he unravels the truth behind each of the charms.

Arthur is so relatable through this story.   As we would all be in this precarious situation, he is saddened by the secrets and the stories of his Miriam’s past…stories she never confided in him.  As such, his insecurities abound about his own place in her life and about their life together.  But he continues, fearlessly chasing the truth.  Through his quest, he not only discovers the history behind each charm, but he receives an answer to a greater, more haunting question…an answer to the riddle of his life and his purpose.  Indeed, Miriam’s charms may have initially breathed life into his essence, but in the end he breathes all on his own.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick is such a lovely read.  Go grab yourself a copy and enjoy with your next spot of tea.

Cheers!

Related Posts:

I Will Judge a Book by Its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Beach House Book #4 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

Beach House Book #6 – The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

Beach House Book #7 – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Beach House Book #4 All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Wow!  And I’ll say it again! Wow!  If you own a beach house, this is definitely one to stack on your shelves and share with your guests!  I grew up in a small town in the South where one of the highlights of summer was the county fair and let me tell ya going home was never this exciting (nor would I ever desire it to be).   This book is amazing and its no wonder that Southern Living had it ranked as #1 in its list of Best New Books of Summer for 2017.  I finished this book in very little time…the story is gripping to say the least. If you are like me,  you’ll take a copy everywhere just to find out “who done it” and “what the heck happened.”  Be careful though, I am afraid I am going to be fined by my local library because my copy is waterlogged from reading in the pool.

This book is set in rural North Carolina and the main character, Nicolette, comes home to face a mystery that haunts her from her past…and a new mystery that will define her future.  It’s a suspenseful story based on repercussions of decisions we make, loyalty that we choose,  and the desperate measures we take to protect the ones we love.   One of the most intriguing parts of this story is that Miranda wrote backwards in time…so you read the ending of the story and work your way back to the beginning, which basically spans a 15-day period.   If you are one of those people that like to read the end of a book, before the beginning, to find out how it turns out…well you just have to start at the beginning like everyone else.  This presentation was very clever.  All of the assumptions I made about the characters and what I thought happened,  changed as I continued to read so you have to pay attention to the content in the earlier chapters (the end of the story) because they may be conclusions to things that happen in the later chapters (the beginning of the story).  For me, the only remaining mystery of this story is… how Miranda wrote it…from beginning to end (back to front) or end to beginning (front to back).   I think I’ll have to read it twice…starting from the back this next time around just to see if I pick up on anything new.

Don’t hesitate on this one! Summer will be over before you know it!  All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is a must for a summer Beach House Book!

Related Posts

I Will Judge a Book by its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

 

 

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Have you ever contemplated the two simple words, “what if?”  Have you ever felt grateful or regretful because something so seemingly innocuous changed the course of your life and “if only” or “what if” rang in your conscience because those moments altered everything?   Well unlike my favorite “choose your own adventure” books from childhood, you can’t always see how things turn out if you made a different choice.  Reality is the hand you are dealt…

Fortunately, my reality had my toes in the water basking in the Florida sunshine while I read, Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty  on the water, on the beach, on vacation.  This beach house book read was listed as #3 on Southern Living’s list of Best New Summer Books of 2017.    This page turner evolves out of the complexities of a relationship between childhood friends, their spouses and an innocent invitation to a barbecue.   Moriarty contemplates the “what ifs”and “if onlys” in our lives and the emotions that we often endure silently and, perhaps often, incorrectly…our reactions of shame, guilt and misunderstanding as we deal with our own interpretation of reality.

Moriarty keeps you on your toes (even if they are buried in the sand) and your eyes on your children, as the events of the mysterious barbecue only reveal themselves halfway through Truly Madly Guilty.  Only after the introduction of each character and their unique perspectives does she reveal the binds that tie them and you turn the pages even more quickly.

This book was the perfect beach house read.   I loved the suspense, the relationships and the characters, especially Vid, and his Tony Soprano-esque personality and love of food.   I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Add Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty to your own personal beach house library now!

 

Related Posts

I will Judge a Book by its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

Beach House Book #4 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

 

 

 

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

For Beach House Book #2, I reached deep into the back of my closet where my book shelf is and pulled out this little forgotten gem…an old, classic, paperback, printed well before they changed what paperbacks looked and felt like.  This paperback, indeed, was reminiscent of one I would find in a beach house.  Albeit, this version was in better shape…not battered by ocean water, wind, salt and sand.   Any Luanne Rice book that is held in my hands comes from my mother, loved by her before it is passed along to me. I’ve known this book has been with me for awhile; however,  I didn’t recall that it has been sitting on my shelf for 14 years…in multiple homes, in multiple states and even different countries.  This book has mileage. It was time I read it.  After I all it did meet my beach house book blog criteria.   I dusted it off and looked at the cover…”Perfect Summer” with its idyllic, peaceful setting of a house sitting on the coast.  Just by looking at the cover, I can feel the breeze that would blow through the windows of this house on a summer evening.  I can hear the laughter of children run outside to play after dinner before bath time as people sip ice tea or lemonade from a porch.  I can feel simple times.

Situations like this prove that I am guilty of judging a book by its cover and being wrong!  Perhaps you can imagine my shock and delight as I curled up on my couch, delved into this book,  expecting to begin a story just about old friends or an old flame and, instead, I became immersed in a mystery…some unexpected suspense, which ensured I did not put this book down.  I devoured the first half of this book one morning over a few cups of coffee.   The title of this book is definitely misleading to one that judges a book by its cover, but I promise that you will enjoy losing yourself in this story.  The Perfect Summer is set on the coast off Connecticut, and it is about what I originally suspected…old friends and an old flame, but it is also about deception, betrayal, lies, forgiveness, hope, and love.  It is a story of a family torn apart by greed, competitiveness and the desire to win at all costs.  It is the story of “what if” and the one that got away.  It is a story of hope, renewal and happy endings.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.  You won’t put it down.

And yes, thank you Amazon...it is still available for purchase as a perfect beach house paperback.

Related Posts

I will Judge a Book by its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Beach House Book #4 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Mirana

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

 

 

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

If you’ve ever sat around on a beach or by a pool or in a restaurant and paid quiet attention to those around you…made assumptions or wondered about the lives of those sharing your space than this book is for you.    After all, everyone has their secrets.

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer was listed by Coastal Living magazine, in its June 2017 issue as one of the “50 Best Books for the Beach This Summer.”  I was immediately intrigued.  Who isn’t intrigued when the title contains the word “Secrets”.  If this book was listed as the #1 book on Coastal Living’s list of recommendations, well then, it must be the first beach house book for me.  I kicked off my beach house book summer, splurging on this hardback, because holding the book and smelling the pages is the only way to begin my escape…in this case, to Nantucket.   This story is perfect and light…just right for a chaise on a beach or by a pool.  The story has enough depth and intrigue that it keeps you interested, but not enough drama that it tears your attention away from everything else or should I say everyone else around you.  If you delve into this gem, you’ll realize that a large part of the story is actually about just that…paying attention to what is going on around you…paying attention to what is going on inside you.

The story revolves around the summertime adventures of the main character, Darcy, and her varying and often complex relationships, including her relationship with her self and her own internal struggle.  The story maintains a modern twist on relationships, both Darcy’s and those of her neighbors and loved-ones, emphasizing wisdom and companionship that spans generations.  Thayer honestly conveys the various challenges within modern relationships, the impact of our past on our present, our feelings of insecurity in our relationships and acknowledging the impact that we have on others and alas, that they have on us.

Just like me, you can purchase this book easily through this link at Amazon!

Related Posts:

I Will Judge a Book by its Cover

Beach House Book #1 – Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Beach House Book #2 – Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice

Beach House Book #3 – Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Beach House Book #4 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Beach House Book #5 – In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch