Wednesday, June 12, 2013

10 Favorite Fiction Reads: Summer 2013

So I got sidetracked by an impromptu bathroom makeover and a maiden voyage into Hot Yoga.

Y'all.  Y'ALL.

There was a Groupon for $39 and a rumor that Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Nicole Kidman were regulars at this particular studio.  My experience so far has proven that to be untrue.  However, there are a lot of mommas and a youngish man with a flowing head of hair and a penchant for practicing yoga in a speedo.  So, basically the same thing except not really at all.

Anyway, my duties as a taxi driver, food preparer, and yogi and a general attitude of laziness have kept me from getting this post finished.  But I've been reading.  Oh, have I been reading.

Today I have a list of fiction titles that I plan on reading in the next couple of weeks.  Tomorrow I'm going to post some recipes and snack foods that we've been living on since summer break started.  We're in beast mode here in the kitchen.  Lean and clean because in the words of Kaci, my yoga instructor, "a tight body is a light body."

1. Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

I am reading this one right now.  It's been compared to The Help and To Kill a Mockingbird.  It was highly recommended by Jen Lancaster over on her blog.  I haven't finished yet, but I agree so far with her assessment.  The story is told from two different points of view.  It also alternates between present day and 1938.  The story is always in the contrast isn't it?  

Amazon says it is "a soaring debut interweaving the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930's Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship."

Do novels about cooking make you want to cook?  Remember when Julie and Julia came out in theaters?  Coach still doesn't like to talk about it, but suffice it to say we ended up with a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and a string of less-than-stellar forays into the world of Julia Child.

Here's hoping this book doesn't spark some sort of cooking frenzy.  But don't you just love a story that involves love AND food?  It sounds like a season of Cheers.  Except dignified.  And without beer.  Or Norm.  So, really not at all like Cheers.  

So, basically there's a restaurant, a restaurant owner, a group of regulars whose lives mix together to create a symphony of drama and food.  

Who can't get onboard with that?

I finished this one a couple of weeks ago.  If you haven't read Firefly Lane, you must do that before you read Fly Away.  

Fly Away is a sequel.  So.  

If you have already read Firefly Lane, then I don't need to tell you how good this is.  TullyandKate.  You know what that means.  Kristin Hannah does for the Northwest what Dorothea Benton Frank has done for the Low Country.  

It starts:
"Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . ."

And listen.  It doesn't disappoint.  

The cover says "fans of Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this rising star in women's fiction."  I think "strongly appreciate" is an oddly-worded phrase for a book cover, but I do love both Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin.  

from Amazon:
"An all-expense-paid week at a luxury villa in Jamaica—it’s the invitation of a lifetime for a group of old college friends. All four women are desperate not just for a reunion, but for an escape: Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie is shattered by the news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband an unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage.

Languid hours on a private beach, gourmet dinners, and late nights of drinking kick off an idyllic week for the women and their husbands. But as a powerful hurricane bears down on the island, turmoil swirls inside the villa, forcing each of the women to reevaluate everything she knows about her friends—and herself."

Jamaica...old college friends...reunions...escapes...languid hours on a private beach...  What's not to like?  I feel like I might spend a few languid hours at a noisy neighborhood pool reading this one.

Another book about food and relationships.  Y'all, I swear I will not put weight on this summer.  If. It. Kills. Me.  But I am going to read about other people's culinary conflicts with wild abandon.

This one is about "friendship, fine dining, and learning life doesn't always turn out quite how we expect it to."

Yeah, no kidding.  If things turned out the way we expected them to I'd be living in the Blue Ridge Mountains practicing pediatric medicine while raising my blond twins.  

So far my experience has been that reality is usually so much better than expectation, so I feel like this will be an uplifting novel.

Okay, I don't even know how I heard about this one.  Southern Living maybe?  Or maybe People?  I'm very sophisticated in my periodical subscriptions.

All I know is there is a salt farm and a family's secrets and betrayals.  I feel like I can't really lose with this one.  And a friend told me one of the characters could be me.  She wouldn't tell me which one, so now I have to read it for obvious reasons. 

It's like when we took the girls to see Gone With the Wind and I was assuming the entire time that they would say that Melanie reminded them of me.  Instead they said that I acted just like Mammy.  Coach's response was that it could be worse, they could have said I was most like Scarlett.

Clearly, no one in my family understands Gone With the Wind or me. 

Can you really go wrong with a book that has a yellow dress on the cover?  I really don't think you can.  

Here's what I know.  There's a grandmother, vintage couture, and it takes place in North Carolina.  Seriously.  I don't think you can go wrong with this one.  Oh, and I'm pretty sure there will be some sort of romantic plot as well.

Hello, swimming pool?  I'm heading your way with a loaded Nook and a big floppy hat.

I have loved her since the Shopaholic novels.  Her stories are fun and the British turns of phrase make me smile.  British and Southerners are really the only two groups of people that are asked to talk on command just so others can hear the accent.  I wonder how Siri handles British accents because the Good Lord knows she doesn't understand Southern.  That's another day though.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say there is a wedding somewhere in this story.  Actually, from what I've read about the book the protagonist's boyfriend doesn't propose as quickly as she likes, but an old friend does.  Apparently she and said friend made a pact that they would marry if they were still single at 30.  They are 30 and very much unmarried.  So....

I feel like this will get complicated.  I also feel like I know exactly how it will end.  But I will love it anyway because of all the Brits and love and stuff.

I just realized that this is the third novel that includes eating in the title.  Have I told you all that I've given up carbs for the month of June?  The Lenten season was really stressful at our house and I didn't participate.  I'm making up for it now.  And, well, cellulite is a never-ending battle.  

So, while I'm not actually eating cupcakes and other food items right now, I have absolutely no problem reading about them.  

And yes, I realize I am probably the only person that hasn't read this novel.  I'm getting to it.  Sometimes it takes me a long time to board the train.

 Amazon says:

"The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness."

I'll be back tomorrow with regular Momsense and some recipes.  

See Y'all!

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