Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not Your Usual Beach Reads

Like movies, books follow a seasonal pattern and you can count on the more popular and "big" authors (e.g. James Pattersonand Janet Evanovich) having major releases to try and grab the title of "best beach read of the summer."   While these best sellers do provide some undeniably good mind candy, I like to look for books that do not quite make it to the top of the New York Times list. Little hidden summer reading jewels, here are a few of my recent favorite discoveries.

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney.  Delaney is an exceptional Irish storyteller, who usually writes massive and sweeping tomes. This book has big themes of 1930’s Irish politics, tragedy, lost love, and revenge but the time scale is much more compressed and it gives the book a more intimate and personal feel.  If you like sweeping epics, try any of Delaney's other titles or Roses by Leila Meacham-this one took me back to some of the happy reading I did in the 1980s.

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth.  A cross between a political thriller, with lots of conspiracy fun thrown in, and a vampire tale, which are all the rage these days.  Yes this book features a vampiric 140-year-old secret service agent, the President's Vampire.  It is much better than this might sound-never thought I would seriously recommend a vampire book!  For more supernatural fun, zombies this time, try World War Z by Max Brooks.

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin.  First book in a new series by the author of the Blackbird Sisters mysteries.  While the premise of this book could be dismissed as Stephanie Plum in Pittsburgh (and with a dog instead of a monkey or rodent), Martin brings a edgier and more earthy feel to her heroine Roxy Abruzzo.

Venus Envy by Shannon McKelden. After numerous trangressions, the goddess Venus is sent to earth, where she is sentenced to "fairy godmother community service", specializing in extreme life makeovers.  While the books ending is a foregone conclusion for veteran romance and chick-lit readers, the journey from beginning to end is hilarious and enjoyable with some unusual and highly entertaining characters.  This book was published several years ago but we just got a copy - so while it isn't newly published, it is new to us and I had never read it before.  If you like the concept of the Olympic Gods come to Earth, check out Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. 

Happy Reading,

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