It's 1935 in the Florida Keys, a community impacted by the Depression and the remains of war. Many veterans have returned to Florida or are newly arriIt's 1935 in the Florida Keys, a community impacted by the Depression and the remains of war. Many veterans have returned to Florida or are newly arrived to the Keys due to a government job to build a bridge. There's Missy, an African American nanny to the wealthy Kincaid family, who although wasn't formally educated, she read encyclopedias for fun and now possess a wealth of knowledge. She is a nanny for Nelson and Hilda Kincaid, a prominent, but very unhappy couple. Hilda struggles with her weight and has haunting memories of her former life (Miss Palmetto) before she had her son and married Nelson, who takes every opportunity to cheat on her. Then there's Henry, an African American veteran, who has returned home to the Keys after the war as he is going to work on the bridge. There's also Dwayne, the town sheriff, who has to deal with racial tension amongst the locals as well as the veterans who often drink too much and get out of line. Each person in this novel has to deal with some major conflicts and all of this get magnified once a hurricane is heading right towards Heron Key's shores. Vanessa Lafaye's debut, Under a Dark Summer Sky, highlights racial tension in the south as well as what life was like for people living in the Keys during the 1930s, especially when disaster strikes.
Iris has found herself at an important crossroad. She has been married for many years to her husband, Paul, and has three lovely kids with him. ThingsIris has found herself at an important crossroad. She has been married for many years to her husband, Paul, and has three lovely kids with him. Things with Paul haven't been great for years, but she didn't see it coming when Paul announces he wants a divorce. Iris finds herself going through the motions of her life and living it in quite desperation. On a whim, she decides that a summer at her parents' farm on a beautiful lake is exactly what she needs as well as the children. Plus, she has to be up there in a few weeks to help plan her sister's wedding, even though they haven't talked in a few years. She is going to spend a few weeks without her children as they are at camp and then they will meet up with her at her childhood home. Things aren't that simple for Iris though. Once she gets to the farm, she realizes that she had no idea what kind of operation her parents as well as her sister, Leah, had going on and it has become a rather successful business. She also can tell something is going on with Leah, but no one in her family will be straight with her. To Iris, it appears that Leah has jumped into this marriage with a man that she just met and to top it off, Leah acts strangely from time to time. It doesn't help that Iris's teenage crush, Cooper Woods, is working on restoring her parents' barn, so she is constantly running into him and an unlikely friendship forms. The Lake Season by Hannah McKinnon is an entertaining debut that examines the complexities within families, but also the ups and downs of moving on with your life. The idyllic setting makes for a great summertime read.
Emily Donovan seems to have it all. She's got an amazing job in Manhattan, she has a boyfriend, and two very good girlfriends. This all changes thoughEmily Donovan seems to have it all. She's got an amazing job in Manhattan, she has a boyfriend, and two very good girlfriends. This all changes though when she finds out her estranged half sister, who happens to be a movie star, died in a tragic accident. She has left her six-year old daughter, Juliet, to her, which absolutely doesn't make sense since they haven't spoken in years. But there's nothing Emily can do about it now. The paparazzi are ruthless and Emily realizes she needs to take Juliet somewhere off the beaten path and with the help of her best friend, Brittany, she stays at her inherited house on Puffin Island, where they used to summer as college friends. This sounds like a perfect solution, except for the fact that Emily has a serious fear of the water. To make matters worse, everyone on Puffin Island is curious as to why she is staying at Castaway Cottage and who exactly they are. Brittany sends over her friend, Ryan, to check on them, but it's unsettling to Emily as he is asking too many questions; plus, there's the fact that she is attracted to him. One thing is for sure, Emily and Juliet's stay on Puffin Island will change them both for the better. First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan is a happy romance with a gorgeous beachside setting; this book is essential spring break reading.
Emmy Nelson, an eighteen year old girl from Minnesota, has her life planned out by her parents and she has no say in her own life. It's 1958, and herEmmy Nelson, an eighteen year old girl from Minnesota, has her life planned out by her parents and she has no say in her own life. It's 1958, and her parents rule her world; in fact, they have plans to marry her off to Ambrose Brann, a family friend, whom she has known her whole life. This would be all well and good, except Emmy's family has recently moved to a town and she realizes there is so much more to life than being a farmer's wife. One teacher in particular has inspired her to reach higher and she realizes that not everyone lives the way she does with smothering parents and oppressive rules. As Emmy's horizons expand, she is able to go on her first date, go to a party and even get her first job at the switchboard for her local newspaper. Also, as Emmy's learns more about herself and life, she then remembers at the end of this she is to marry Ambrose. Ambrose was an ok guy when they were kids, but now he is a much older man that has strange notions. Not only is he extremely conservative, he is sexist, racist, and violent at times. Emmy wants more for her life, more than Ambrose and his farm, but what can she do? How will she get out of this cage her parents created? A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe is an entertaining glimpse into rural conservative life in the late 1950s as well as a captivating coming of age tale. I was on the edge of my seat with worry for Emmy and was desperate for her to spread her wings and fly far away from it all.
Sophie has always made all the right decisions in life. She supports her husband and his successful career; plus, she takes care of their two childrenSophie has always made all the right decisions in life. She supports her husband and his successful career; plus, she takes care of their two children. Their family has always been blissfully happy together or have they? Sophie finds out her successful architect husband, Zack, has been cheating on her and now wants a divorce. He's in love with his younger colleague and instead of being devastated by this huge blow, Sophie wants to know how it will impact the children. Maybe things weren't so great between them after all? One things she knows is that she needs time to sort this out and thanks to a friend, she is renting a house on Nantucket for two months this summer and bringing along her kids. The beach fixes everything, right? Once she gets there, someone else is renting the large house as well. A man named Trevor and his young son, Leo. There's been a mixup with the rental agreement and since both families would be crushed to leave, Sophie and Trevor maturely decide to share the house since it's a McMansion anyway. Plus, how could they decide who stays and who goes if neither party has a rental contract? Trevor is also trying to escape and give an idyllic summer to his fragile son, Leo. You see, his wife has died (drug overdose) and this has left Leo deeply saddened. Trevor is hoping this vacation will help Leo heal, but little did he know it would help him as well. Two broken families find solace at the beach this summer and possibly even love in Nancy Thayer's The Guest Cottage.
Cat is in her late twenties living the life in London during the late 90s. She has a good job, friends, and many parties to attend. She stays out tooCat is in her late twenties living the life in London during the late 90s. She has a good job, friends, and many parties to attend. She stays out too late, drinks too much, and often finds herself in compromising situations, but this is the time in her life when she is supposed to do this, right? Before she settles down? Cat refuses to think she has a problem until one time she blacks out and finds herself in a strange man's flat. The man, Jason, is a successful and very good looking TV director who is showing an interest in her both romantically and personally, as he is a recovering alcoholic himself. He convinces Cat to attend some AA meetings and get on the right path. Cat seems to be on the right path, until she gets some life-altering news from her mother. Her mother tells her that her father is not the man who raised her. Instead, it's a man her mother met in Nantucket when visiting her aunt. For Cat, this explains everything about her childhood and after talking with her new found father, she is excited to visit him in Nantucket and meet her two half sisters, Ellie and Julia. Cat is hoping this will be the missing piece of her puzzle. Things go really well in Nantucket, that is until they don't, thanks to Cat's alcohol abuse. Many years later, Cat is faced with an opportunity to make amends in Nantucket with the family she blew it with, but can they forgive her? Jane Green's Summer Secrets is surprisingly dark for a summer read, but in true Jane Green fashion, I couldn't stop reading it. I had to know how it was going to end for Cat and I desperately wanted her to find happiness in her second chance at life.
War is looming in France and the year is 1940. Viann has to say goodbye to her husband as he is off to fight against the invading German army. She hopWar is looming in France and the year is 1940. Viann has to say goodbye to her husband as he is off to fight against the invading German army. She hopes that he will return soon to their provincial life on a small farm in the Loire Valley. They have one daughter together, Sophie, and Viann leads a rather average life as a schoolteacher. This all changes when her estranged sister, Isabelle, shows up from Paris, along with many other people fleeing from the Germans. Their father has sent Isabelle to live with Viann as Paris is no longer safe, but Isabelle isn't your usual girl. She has been thrown out of many prestigious schools, is feisty, opinionated, restless and not easily controlled. This becomes a problem as Viann's town has been taken over by the Germans. In fact, a German officer has to stay in their house, which makes things rather dangerous for the two women. Isabelle realizes that she can't sit by and watch horrible things happen to her country and her people, so she becomes a part of the Resistance. This puts her sister and niece in a precarious situation, so she knows it is time to leave them and head back to Paris in order to play a stronger role in the Resistance. Although Viann doesn't play a very active role in the Resistance as Isabelle, she too has many important decisions and sacrifices to make during wartime. The two women's journeys stayed with me long after I finished the novel. Weeks later, I am still thinking about this book. Kristin Hannah has hit a home run with The Nightingale. It's a powerful and important read about what life was like during World War II and how many women played important roles in the war, but often their stories go untold.
Emmy and Oliver have been best friends for as long as Emmy can remember. They were next door neighbors, playmates, and pals at school, that is until oEmmy and Oliver have been best friends for as long as Emmy can remember. They were next door neighbors, playmates, and pals at school, that is until one day Oliver is kidnapped by his father at age seven and taken away from everything and everyone he knows. Emmy is sort of left with this hole in her heart as well as a physical hole left by his absence. Things move on though, but Emmy does think about Oliver from time to time. Where is he? What does he look like? He shows up ten years later; the police found him in New York City with his father. He is returning home finally, but how will things be between Emmy and her former best friend? Robin Benway's snappy dialogue and beautiful setting of a beach town make Emmy & Oliver a delightful summertime read.
The Silver family lives a very posh life in Los Angeles, but their world is turned upside down when their parents' work schedule forces them to spendThe Silver family lives a very posh life in Los Angeles, but their world is turned upside down when their parents' work schedule forces them to spend three weeks at their Aunt Sunny's in Pruet, Massachusetts. The timing isn't good for the eldest Silver sister, Marigold, because those years of acting classes have finally paid off. She just landed an agent and hopes to fulfill her dream of auditioning for the latest teen movie. Zinnia, the middle sister, lives in her sister's shadow and just wants Marigold to notice her, and the littlest Silver sister, Lily, simply doesn't want to leave her nanny behind. But their time spent in Massachusetts, although initially challenging, will prove to be beneficial for all the girls. It's an idyllic beach town filled with clam bakes, gorgeous days at the beach, and no cell phone coverage. By the time their three week visit is over, all three girls will have blossomed beautifully. Leila Howland's The Forget-Me-Not Summer is an adorable beach read for middle grade students. I wish I could have read this when I was a tween; I would have feel in love with it instantly.
Every year Kelsey and her family spend their summer vacation in Newport, Rhode Island. The summer before her freshman year of high school, she meets,Every year Kelsey and her family spend their summer vacation in Newport, Rhode Island. The summer before her freshman year of high school, she meets, in an unexpected way, her next door neighbor, David. They hit it off instantly and their summer friendship becomes a full-time friendship when David and his dad move to Norwood, Connecticut, where Kelsey and her family live. Everything was great between them until something happened to Kelsey, which resulted in her being bullied at school. To further complicate matters, both David and Kelsey start to have feelings for each other, but the timing wasn't right. After a traumatic freshman year, Kelsey's father has a job opportunity in Newport, so they decide to move there. Kelsey is actually happy about it, because this is a chance for her to move past things and sort of reinvent herself. It's senior year now and Kelsey is a popular girl, with many friends, a good looking boyfriend, a new haircut and a new outlook on life; however, her world starts to crumble when she sees David walk through the doors of her high school. Now Kelsey's past secrets collide with her new life in Rhode Island and obviously, Kelsey has some important decisions to make. Gina Ciocca's debut, Last Year's Mistake, is filled with angst, teenage drama and romance, which make it a fun book for vacation this summer.
Dara and Nick are two sisters that couldn't be more different. Things change for them when both girls are involved in a car accident leaving beautifulDara and Nick are two sisters that couldn't be more different. Things change for them when both girls are involved in a car accident leaving beautiful Dara scarred. Nick has always been the sensible sister and Dara has always been the kind of girl who throws caution to the wind and even though both girls are very different, they are sisters and can never escape that. Nick tries to smooth things over with Dara, but she has distanced herself since the accident. Things get serious when Dara ends up missing (is she just playing a prank on Nick?) and to top it off, a nine year old girl in the neighborhood goes missing as well. Lauren Oliver's Vanishing Girls is a well-written and entertaining psychological thriller. I loved how the story was told, but in the end, it felt too familiar for me to completely fall in love with it.
Ravencliffe picks up where Blythewood left off; readers know that Ava is a half-breed Darkling, which means she is dealing with the fact that not onlyRavencliffe picks up where Blythewood left off; readers know that Ava is a half-breed Darkling, which means she is dealing with the fact that not only is her unknown father a Darkling, but the huge problem that the school she attends would never approve if they found out the truth. On top of it, her wings are starting to be a problem to hide. Just when she thinks that's her only problem, more issues arise at Blythewood. Young girls are mysteriously disappearing and they think that van Drood is behind it. Ava and her friends realize they have to stop him, but what if they find out the truth about her? Ravencliffe is another action packed fantasy by Carol Goodman. If you love fantasy, you should definitely check out this series.
A married couple, Ellis and Maddie, live a very privileged life in Philadelphia during the year of 1942. Basically they are socialites and a whole lotA married couple, Ellis and Maddie, live a very privileged life in Philadelphia during the year of 1942. Basically they are socialites and a whole lot of nothing other than spend nights attending parties, drinking too much, and hanging out with their best friend, Hank, and his flavor of the month. On New Year's Eve at a high society Philadelphia party, they embarrasses themselves by drinking too much and causing a scene. Of course, this gets back to Ellis' father who has had enough with his son and uses this as the catalyst to throw him out along with his wife, Maddie. Hank and Ellis should be serving in WWII; however, both, conveniently have been exempt for medical reasons. Ellis is color blind and Hank is flat footed. This, again, embarrasses Ellis' father, a former Colonel, to no end. Ellis realizes that in order to gain back his father's trust, he has to do the one thing that his father failed at years ago: capture a picture of the infamous Loch Ness monster. He feels this will restore his family's honor as well. Hank, Ellis and Maddie travel to Scotland in the middle of WWII and what occurs will change all three of their lives forever. Sara Gruen's At the Water's Edge is an atmospheric historical tale that examines love, friendship, and the sacrifices people make during wartime.
Julie Crawford left everything behind in Fort Wayne, Indiana to make it big in Hollywood. She has to deliver an important message to David O. SelznickJulie Crawford left everything behind in Fort Wayne, Indiana to make it big in Hollywood. She has to deliver an important message to David O. Selznick, the producer of Gone with the Wind, but gets distracted by the epic burning of Atlanta scene which she witnesses enroute to deliver the message. Selznick is a no-nonese kind of guy and fires her for the delay, but instead of packing her bags to shamefully head back home, she is introduced to a fellow Fort Wayne native, Carole Lombard. Carole Lombard is one of the most famous actresses of the time and is the girlfriend of Gone with the Wind's Rhett Butler, other wise known as Clark Gable. Carole sort of takes Julie under her wings and hires her as her personal assistant. The two become fast friends. Julie also meets the assistant producer, Andy, on set and they start to casually date. Things are starting to come together for Julie, especially now that she is focusing on her dream of becoming a screenwriter. Things on the set of Gone with the Wind are always dramatic as well as problematic, which makes for a bumpy ride. Kate Alcott's A Touch of Stardust depicts Old Hollywood beautifully as well as the production of Gone with the Wind. If you love this time period and are a Scarlett and Rhett fan, you will absolutely love this book.