I’ve been doing a lot more reading lately. James and I moved to Arlington from Alexandria 2.5 years ago, but I just recently got around to switching my library card. Since the library is back to being a 6 minute walk rather than a 15 minute drive, I have more access to books. I have a terrible habit of not reading anything for two weeks and then devouring a book in 24 hours. There are worse habits, right? Below are two recent reads that, while very different, were both wonderful!
Still Me by JoJo Moyes
I must admit, when I first heard that Moyes was writing a third book in the series that was never intended to be a series I was a little upset. One of the worst things that an author can do is take a story that was a brilliant moment in time and stretch it out for too long. However, this was exactly what we readers needed.
The first book, Me Before You, is still one of my favorite books of all time. You can read all about why I loved it here. I reread it, along with the second book, three years ago at a conference. I was supposed to be paying attention to a speaker but I had the book in my lap and was doing that silent-sob thing the whole time.
While the second book disrupted the storyline of Louisa with all kinds of complications, the third allows for character development that finally helps readers feel settled. When readers met the heroine, Louisa, in the first book she had a great deal of growth to do. She was completely stalled in her life and her relationship with Will forced her out of the stalemate. In the second book readers saw her regress, settling once again for a life that was easy, where she didn’t have to worry about challenging herself. The third book, however, shows Louisa finally finding her voice.
In this beautiful final book (hopefully, please, hear me, Jojo!) readers have the supreme joy of watching Louisa discover what we already knew: that her greatest talents come from her judgement free heart, her creative mind, and her strong desire to help others. Her work ethic knows no bounds and for the first time she works for herself, and in the end, we are left knowing that she is finally who she was meant to be.
Deadly Summer by Denise Grover Swank
This book was such a delightful surprise. I’ve shared on here before that I do, indeed, judge books by their covers. I can’t help it, and I have no desire to change my practice. I picked this book up 100% because of the cover and I am so glad that I did! Based on the bright colors and blonde cartoon woman drawn on the cover, I assumed that this would be a happy, pithy book that I could file into what James calls my “pool trash.”
And, technically, it was. It had all the hallmarks: a female heroine, glamour, an unrequited love (who happens to be kind and hunky at the same time. Yes, you must use the adjective “hunky” when talking about pool trash. Handsome simply won’t do). But this had something more: a tripe murder mystery.
Summer Butler has suffered a classic tragedy: she is a washed up former teen movie star with no money left, debt looming over her, and a desperate need to work. Grasping at straws, she unintentionally pitches the idea of working as a PI for a “reality” television program. Capitalizng on her family drama, the producers send her to her hometown of Sweet Briar, Alabama where her estranged family and all kinds of unfinished business live.
While the show is initially “reality,” Summer finds herself at the center of an investigation involving a high stakes drug ring, three murders, and a massive coverup. Normally mystery novels leave me scared, as I am a naturally spooky person. However, the reality television spin kept this particular mystery light enough that I enjoyed every second of it! Deadly summer is deadly – to your to-do list! You won’t put it down!