Summer reading. Does it get any better than that? After spending last summer on a few beaches, I decided Southern beach novels were a-okay with me. My February 2011 release, Save the Date, is set in Charleston, SC. The burden of research meant I had to go and check out Charleston and the surrounding beach towns.
This summer I am super excited to read Southern chick Mary Kay Andrews’ latest, Summer Rental. (Sidenote: I mis-typed and initially said “I am super excited to read Summer Renal!”) I love Mary Kay’s sense of humor and her Southern sass, her quirky characters, and rich detailed settings, written in such a way, you feel like you’re right there. And since most of them are near a beach, who wouldn’t want to be transported into her settings? I also love her way with a light romance.
One of my favorites of Mary Kay Andrews is Fixer Upper. I like the story a lot, and I ADORE the cover. What I like about MK is that she writes about the Savannah and Tybee Island area. I actually read Fixer Upper on my first (and so far only) trip to Tybee Island last summer. Sat right on the beach and read it. Turned the pages while keeping one eye on my mother and aunt doing face plants in the ocean thanks to some crazy strong island waves. Read the book while my aunt got stung by jelly fish near her crotch then made a young Lifeguard apply some de-stinging ointment. Anyway, Mary Kay has a summer home on Tybee and you can see some of it HERE. Prepare to be jealous.
I’m also excited to FINALLY, FINALLY read Lisa Tawn Bergren’s first dip into YA, Waterfall. I’ve heard such great things about this book. I really need to catch up on my YA. And despite the fact that I’m a little Morelli-Ranger weary, I might pick up Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich. (Team Ranger). Here are some recommendations of books I’ve read in previous years that you had better read before September knocks on your door.
1. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. One of my favorite books of all time. If you don’t love quaint, character-driven books, heart-warming tales, and humor, stay away. This book is so freaking clever, it’s the book that comes to mind when I think about what I wish I had written. It’s like one big ol’ hug. This book is a little confusing initially, but you MUST keep reading. I promise you will be glad you did. Any time I give someone this advice for this book, they are like, “Exactly!” I don’t read slow books, so I promise it doesn’t stay confusing and slow for long.
2. The Help. Enough said. Read this one before the August movie. Their choices for the “maids” cast are absolutely brilliant. I’m withholding judgment on Skeeter.
3. Invention of Hugo Cabret, middle level YA. Beautiful, deceptively-easy read.(Side note II: Every time I recommend this book, I called it The Invention of Hugo Chavez. I do not get many takers, but know no matter what I call this thing, this book is NOT about a Venezuelan president.) A movie is also on the way.
4. A Year Down Yonder, also middle-level YA, but everyone should read this. Everyone on the planet. Richard Peck is a genius. I can’t tell you how many adults I’ve made read this book.
5. A Girl Named Zippy, nonfiction by Haven Kimmel about her life growing up in Indiana. Sounds absolutely, mind-numbingly dull. My agent sent this book to me a few years ago and I’ve bought it for countless people. The story is good, but her writing will make you want to slap someone. It’s that excellent.
What about you? What are you excited to read or recommend? I’m always ready to add to my To Be Read list!
Jenny B. Jones is an award-winning author who writes romantic comedies for both women and teens. When she’s not writing, she’s living it up as a high school speech and creative writing teacher. When she’s not educating the masses, she’s binge Facebooking and financially/nutritionally supporting Ben and Jerry’s. Her next release, There You’ll Find Me, a YA from Thomas Nelson, releases October 2011.