Summer is officially underway and, for the first time in my life, I live within an easy driving distance of the beach. I plan to take advantage of this and, naturally, my thoughts turned to what I’m going to read while I’m there. Today I’m going to highlight some of my favorite, lighter books from over the years in case anyone out there is also looking for a great beach read, whether it’s actually at the beach, beside the pool, or curled up on the couch.
Middle Grade: Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach
Rory Landon has spent her whole life being known as the daughter of a famous movie star mom and director dad. So when she begins a new after-school program and no one knows who her family is, Rory realizes something is different. After she ends up fighting a fire-breathing dragon on her first day, she realizes the situation is more unusual than she could have imagined. It turns out the only fame that matters at Ever After School is the kind of fame earned from stories Rory thought were fictional. But as Rory soon learns, fairy tales are very real—and she is destined to star in one of her own.
YA Contemporary: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.
Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.
When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they?
YA Historical Fiction: The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.
Historical Fantasy: Sorcery and Cecelia: or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season.
For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There’s also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he’s not doing a very good job of it–so just what are his intentions?) And then there’s Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is.
Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren’t having so much fun!
Mystery: Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
Three Weddings…And a Murder
So far Meg Langslow’s summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she’s maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones–each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the lawn. Only help from the town’s drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors.
And, in a whirl of summer parties and picnics, Southern hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests’ closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she’s found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents–some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg’s to-do list extends from flower arrangements and bridal registries to catching a killer–before the next catered event is her own funeral…
Also, Summer of the Dragon by Elizabeth Peters
A good salary and an all-expenses-paid summer spent a sprawling Arizona ranch is too good a deal for fledgling anthropologist D.J. Abbott to turn down. What does it matter that her rich new employer/benefactor, Hank Hunnicutt, is a certified oddball who is presently funding all manner of off-beat projects, from alien conspiracy studies to a hunt for dragon bones? There’s even talk of treasure buried in the nearby mountains, but D.J. isn’t going to allow loose speculation — or the considerable charms of handsome professional treasure hunter Jesse Franklin — to sidetrack her. Until Hunnicutt suffers a mysterious accident and then vanishes, leaving the weirdos gathered at his spread to eye each other with frightened suspicion. But on a high desert search for the missing millionaire, D.J. is learning things that may not be healthy for her to know. For the game someone is playing here goes far beyond the rational universe — and it could leave D.J. legitimately dead.
Science Fiction: Promised Land by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice
It has been fifteen years since Delanna Milleflores set foot on Keramos. Now her mother has died, and she has returned only to settle and sell her estate. But Keramos has some surprising laws. To sell her farm, Delanna must first live on it for one year. And along with her land comes one Tarlton Tanner, heir to the adjoining farm.
A man who, at the moment of her mother’s death, became Delanna’s husband…
What about you? What are some of your favorite beach reads? What recommendations do you have for people (ie, me) who are looking for something to tote along and read on the sand?
Enjoy your summer and happy reading!
Jenilyn Collings loves to read and write things that are humorous or romantic (preferably both). She has worked as a dental researcher, a florist, a martial arts instructor, and a tracker at an alternative high school (she’ll leave it to your imagination what that entailed), but she’s now focused on writing and child wrangling. A long time resident of the Mountain West, she recently moved to New England with her family where she is gaining an appreciation for umbrellas, fall colors, and turning lanes while driving.