Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pamper yourself with paperbacks to beat the summer heat

Summer time these days is a tricky thing,as we go from one heat wave to another with the most viable cool spot around is right in front of whatever source of a/c is available to you.

Since a spot ought to be reserved for some good reading and I've always found that paperbacks do well for warm weather relaxation, there's a trio of softcover books that should keep my spirits quite refreshed this season.

At the moment, I'm in the midst of Veronica Henry's How to Find Love in a Bookshop, a story that's giving me wonderful Maeve Binchy vibes indeed. The bookshop of the title is called Nightingale Books, located in the small English village of Peasebrook and run by single father Julius to one day hand over to his beloved daughter Emilia.

Sadly, Julius has passed away sooner than expected and Emilia does want to keep the store going but she may need some help. Her father wasn't the best business man and already making an offer for the place is Ian Mendrip, a slimey real estate owner determined to buy the shop by any means necessary.

However, Emilia is determined to honor her father's memory as well as maintain the love of books that has been the hallmark of the shop. Plenty of folks are more than willing to assist her even as a few sneaky characters are lurking about,including a fella sent by Ian to influence Emilia any way he can:

Nightingale Books,as it turns out, has other stories to tell with customers such as Henrietta, a shy cooking teacher who is learning to find her voice and perhaps love, Sarah, the local lady of the manor who had a more intimate relationship with Julius than anyone else knew and Bea, a bored wife and mother who may find purpose in helping the shop survive.

The writing is both compelling and lulling, with a sure steady hand at the storytelling wheel. This is Veronica Henry's US debut(she has a good number of novels in the UK) and she makes a very good impression and then some here.

I love how Henry brings her characters to vivid life, from young people working out their life and love situations to older folks reflecting on their affairs of the heart. Nightingale Books is a vital character as well, serving as the emotional nexus point of Peasebrook as well as the ideal bookstore you'd love to get lost in for a few hours. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is great all year round reading but for the summer, it's a sweet treat that you want to last as long as possible:

Once I do finish that, I plan to engage in a little risky reading at The Dirty Book Club. When M.J. Stark moves to Pearl Beach upon the disappointment of missing out on a promotion at the New York magazine she worked at, the last thing she expected to do was join a book club with her new neighbor Gloria Golden.

Turns out that M.J. is meant to take Gloria's place, along with a trio of other ladies who were chosen by the original members of the reading club. While the feisty founders go off to Paris, M.J. and her new set of book buddies learn to bond over risque literature, not to mention a few shared life experiences.

I'm not familiar with Lisi Harrison's writing style(she's best known for her YA novels) but I do like the concept of a multi-generational book club with a specialized taste in reading material. Should be good fun with maybe a couple of book recommendations to boot.

Speaking of book recommendations, I was inspired to get this novel for my TBR due to Food Network Star. One of this season's culinary contenders is Jessica Tom, who wrote Food Whore, which is subtitled "a novel of dining and deceit."

Our leading lady is Tia, a recent culinary school graduate looking for a prime opportunity on the New York food scene. When approached by top restaurant critic Mark Saltz to be his ghost eater(he's lost his sense of taste) and writer, she takes him up on it,especially when one of the perks allows her to update her wardrobe with style.

However, the pressure of keeping this secret and the other complications that arise from this dubious gig causes Tia to lose her appetite for the foodie life. The vibe of this book sounds like The Devil Wears Prada While Going to Dinner and that sounds like a great recipe for a tasty read to me:

Summer reading ought to fun, first and foremost and I think this set of three should do just that. With all of the extra stress out there right now, it would be nice to have not getting ice cream on my current read be the biggest concern in my life. Yet, I still feel that you can have your summer book fun and eat ice cream safely,too(just maybe not a cone):


Jess Tom said...

Thanks so much for the mention, Tara! Hope you enjoy Food Whore. Let me know what you think!

Carolyn Miller said...

I just finished reading Love in a Bookshop - what a lovely read! I really enjoyed this; it reminded me somewhat of another fave book of mine, The Little Shop of Happily Ever After by Jenny Colgan.

lady t said...

Thank you,ladies-sorry I didn’t reply sooner (technical issue) but do appreciate the comments! Carolyn, I read that Jenny Colgan book as well( under the US title of The Bookshop on the Corner) and loved that one, too!

Jess, I really enjoyed Food Whore and bonus points for referencing my home town!