Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Romance

Summer… the time for fun, sun, and also the time for romance.  Now that summer is officially here, it is the perfect time to gently laze around in a hammock under the shade from a huge tree or relax in a lounge chair down at the beach.  A summer romance book is the perfect complement to either scenario; fiction romance is that soft breeze that blows on a hot summer day.  If you are in the mood for romance, try one of these wonderful summer reads.

One of the best “what if” romances is Jude Deveraux’s SummerhouseThree women who met for one day on their 21st birthday are reunited for a week’s vacation in Maine for their 40th birthday.  At 21, they were filled will hopes, dreams, and ambitions.  Life has not worked out exactly as they had planned.  Leslie, who dreamed of dancing on Broadway, is now a suburban housewife with 2 children who take her for granted and a husband who is having an affair with his secretary.  Ellie, who wanted to set the world on fire with her art, is now a famous novelist but has just been through a nasty divorce.   Madison, who dreamed of being a model, is now an embittered, thin, ugly woman and has also lived through a horrible marriage.  All three are offered the chance to relive three weeks of their lives.  At the end of those three weeks, they can choose the life they have now or the one they would have had if they had made different choices.  What three weeks would you relive, and what choice would you make?

The new novel Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews  is a good fun, light hearted, summer read.  It actually starts on the same premise as the book before.  Three women go on vacation to sort out their lives.  However, the tone in this book is much lighter with laugh out loud moments.  Ellie has just been downsized (laid off, fired) from her job at the bank.  She plans (and over plans) this trip with her friends; she keeps bugging the landlord of the rental with requests, questions, and demands.  Her friends Julie and Dorie arrive.  Julie is trying to decide whether to marry to her lover of many years.  Dorie has secrets and troubles of her own.  Enter Ty Bazemore (the secret owner of the rental) who lives above the garage; the house is about to go into foreclosure if he does not come up with money quick.  Yes, it’s predictable, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Another good romance is Sweet Hush by Georgia author Deborah Smith. Any book that starts with a rotten apple being thrown at a fictitious First Lady is bound to be fun.  Hush McGillen, widow and single mother, runs a successful apple business in the mountains of North Georgia.  Her Harvard attending son upsets the apple cart when he elopes with the daughter of President of the United States and takes her home to escape the First Lady’s wrath.  The President sends his “killer” nephew Nicholas Jacobek to “take care” of the situation.   Full of southern charm and the small town way of life, this romance proves that good Southern values can beat Yankee politics anytime; bless their hearts.

Sometimes a good book will touch your heart and sear your soul.  Get out your hankies for debut Georgia author Jeffrey Stepakoff’s Fireworks over Toccoa.   The novel begins with the drought of 2007.  Lakes dried up and parts of Georgia were exposed that had been covered for fifty years.  Two boys racing their bikes across a dried up lake bed near Toccoa, Georgia found something lost since 1945.  In 1945, Toccoa is preparing to welcome home the soldiers with a fireworks display like no other.  They hire Jack Russo, a troubled WWII vet, to create the fireworks.  Lily Davis is preparing for her husband’s return from WWII.  She married him only a week before he shipped out; though she has had occasional letters, she is not sure she still loves him.  A chance encounter between Jack and Lily in a star-lit field challenge all they believe about love, honor and fidelity.  Does love really conquer all, including honor?  What if you meet your soul mate too late?
Other Recommended Titles:


  1. I've read several other summer romance books and would highly recommend them as well. Midnight Sea by Colleen Coble continues the story of Leia Tagama and her recent blindness. She finds love and solves a 30 year old mystery. Loving Libby and Speak to Me of Love by Robin Lee Hatcher are two books set in Idaho and Wyoming in the 1800's. It's so nice to travel back in time and enjoy the simplicity and wholesomeness of that age. Love blooms in the most unusual circumstances.

  2. I've read a few of Robin Hatcher's books. I really enjoyed her women's west series. Haven't tried Colleen Coble, but may have to put it on my reading list.

  3. Lenee Bookhardt6/30/2011 4:36 PM

    Ooh, a new Mary Kay Andrews book! I enjoy her witty-style of writing. I can't wait to read it.

    I have read Jude Devereaux's "Summerhouse" book and it was great.

    I like knowing about the Georgia authors. I sometimes only have a few moments to run in with my children and don't get the luxury of browsing, so now I have 2 new ones to add to my list.

    Bartow Bookworm, I have been stuck on (lovingly) Robin Lee Hatcher books and also Melody Carlson. I have enjoyed RLH Wild West-type series and I just finished up "A Vote of Confidence" and "Fit to Be Tied". I can't wait to read the next in the series.

    And, I enjoy your blogs. :)

  4. Lenee, glad you're enjoying the blogs. We have a bookmark of Georgia authors available at all branches; just ask the next time you're in.

  5. If you have an ereader, there are several really good romances out there by smaller publishers as well. Cindy Spencer Pape write wonderful romances ranging in genre from paranormal to westerns to steam punk. Sandra Cox has one of the best western romances I've read called Silverhills. Jean Hart Stewart has a wonderful series called A Garland of Druids with a paranormal twist.

    I enjoy romances and I'm disappointed that so many romance readers keep their genre preference as a guilty secret. There is nothing wrong with loving to read happy -ever-afters where the relationship between two people is the focus of the story. I also like that romance has something for everyone with all it's sub genres and degrees of open or closed bedroom doors.

  6. Jacqueline, as an avid romance reader I agree with you that too many people hide the fact that they read romances. However, it is the genre that sells the most, so even if they hide it people do read it.

    I like western romances so I'll have to give Sandra Cox a try.

  7. My favorite summer author is Rosamund Pilcher. (Her son's books are almost as good as hers, too.) She writes novels set mostly in Scotland & Cornwall, England in a time when most things were much slower than today. I especially enjoy her descriptions of "getting the house ready for company." Reminds me so much of my childhood and my mother. Good characterizations, too.

    I've just finished reading an intriguing romance called Wizard's Daughter set in 1835 England -- just barely the Regency period. A young man has dreamed of a young girl since his early childhood but never met her. A young girl has no memories from her 1st 8 years of life -- including her name -- but knows a strange song no one else has ever heard. The 2 meet -- obviously, or it wouldn't be a romance -- and have an adventure together. Very unusual plot for a Regency romance.

  8. I read Fireworks Over Toccoa. Very well-written. Sad story though of how the character was not true to her husband a fated call that she missed ended up in a tragic airplane accident which ultimately ended her husband's life. However, it was really neat to see so much history of this Northern Georgia area as I am new to the area. Lisa Evans 7-5-11

  9. Thank you for the gift of a paperback in the adult summer reading packet. "Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right" was a wonderfully light read with a clever plot and intriguing characters, especially the strong female lead. I am looking forward to discovering more books by Kieran Kramer. VK 7-6-11

  10. Lisa,
    If you like Fireworks over Toccoa, Stepakoff has a new book out this month, The Orchard. We should be getting it at the library soon. I also liked the history of Georgia!

  11. VK
    You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed your book!

  12. Lenee Bookhardt7/06/2011 11:44 PM

    I agree with the above blogger about the freebie book. I am currently reading a book that quite honestly, I would have never picked off of the bookshelf. It is not even a genre that I like, but I find it quite interesting thus far.

    It is titled "Fire Ice" (The NUMA Files) by Clive Cussler. Very interesting read. I plan on passing it off to my hubby when I am finished.

    I also enjoy Rosamunde Pilcher :)

  13. Lenee, I love Clive Cussler! Yes, he's probably primarily considered a man's author, but I find his books fun, fast-moving, and engaging. I particularly like the Dirk Pitt stories, but the others are good too.

    As for the Pilcher's, I just finished "Starting Over" by Robin Pilcher, Rosamund's son; and it was very good. This is the second of his books I've read and really enjoyed. As a younger man, his are more contemporary perhaps than his mother's, but the characterizations and location descriptions are equally good.

  14. This wasn't a romance, but it was a fun summer read. I've just finished my gift from the library, "The cat who blew the whistle," part of the cat who series, and as usual it was great fun. Aside from the obvious mystery, the descriptions of events in a small town and the antics of the two cats are just delightful. Braun has a great sense of humor and a good eye for characters and a good ear for dialogue.

  15. cville reader7/23/2011 1:43 PM

    This was not a romance, but I enjoyed this book a lot. This is normally not my kind of read but it kept my interest. I like all the history that was thrown all thoughout the book, I would definelty read something else by Jude Deveraux.