Some people, when they are stressed, go for the chocolate. I tend to bake. And read. In the months of June, July and August, I have baked cheesecake, cookies, baguettes, challah, and countless other treats that my skinny jeans are already protesting about. I’ve also read 42 books. Yeah. It’s been quite the binge. At least the reading binge won’t show up on my hips 😛
I’ve discovered some fantastic books this summer, and one that I’m going to give away. Read on for your chance to win.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Published March 2010 by Bantam
I adored this book.
Set in a quirky North Carolina town, these characters are as rich and tasty as the southern barbecue they all enjoy. Told from alternating viewpoints, the novel follows Julia, who left as a teenager and returned after her father died to run his restaurant, and Emily, a teenager sent to live with a grandfather she’s never met in a town she’d never heard of until her mother died. Secret pasts, mysterious lights and forbidden friendships keep the story moving along. But the beautiful descriptions and palpable emotions of every character made me slow down to savor each page. The touch of magical realism (and romance) didn’t hurt either.
Even though The Girl Who Chased the Moon is marketed to adults, I can see it having crossover appeal. And certainly, readers who enjoy paranormal YA will be more open to the fantastical elements of this story. One of my favorite books of the summer. I’ll be reading everything this author has written.
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Expected Publication October 2011
So much to love about this book!
Jessica Martinez does an excellent job of capturing the intensity of child prodigy musicians. Carmen is feisty, ready to push beyond the boundaries and expectations her equally intense stage mother has set. While she’s drawn to Jeremy, her own competitive streak pushes her to make hard choices.
I fell for these characters right away and sacrificed sleep to finish the book. It was incredibly readable and an exciting glimpse into the world of competitive classical musicians. I couldn’t give it the full five stars because a couple of turning points pulled me out of the story. Completely. But maybe that’s just me. And in spite of that, I still highly recommend this book. I’m looking forward to reading whatever Jessica Martinez publishes next.
The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Published May 2011
This is another book that I think has crossover appeal, though it’s not a YA. Told in alternating viewpoints in third person, I wasn’t sure if I would feel close to the characters from that distance. I did.
I loved seeing how much these characters evolved because of a short encounter that changed their lives. Beautiful story, beautiful writing. I loved everything about Beautiful Girl.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Published November 2010
I don’t know how I even managed to stumble across this book, but I’m so glad I did. Great characters with depth, great premise (Deaf girl managing a band? Hello!) and wonderfully realistic situations. To top it off, it’s set in one of my favorite places: Seattle, the birthplace of grunge and Jimi Hendrix (and both play an important part in the story).
Piper is a wonderful character, full of determination, pride, intelligence and humor. I love how the band comes together, how they grow together. Definitely made me want to plug in an amp and start wailing to Nirvana 😀
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Published March 2010
Another story featuring a high school rock band. (I must have a thing for these!) I checked this book out from the library and loved it so much I had to buy my own copy. The weird and wonderful characters aren’t just randomly odd for the sake being eccentric. These are fully realized people, delightfully complex and full of all the strange foibles that make us human. Set in Iowa, this coming of age story borrows philosophy from Buckminster Fuller and several punk rock gods. Yeah, it sounds strange. But trust me, the book is awesome.
This was Bognanni’s debut novel. I can’t wait to read what he comes up with next.
And now, the book I’m giving away my ARC of…
Ripple by Mandy Hubbard
Published July 2011
Lexi suffers from a curse, handed down for generations, that turns her into a siren on her 16th birthday. Unaware of the power of her voice, she accidentally kills someone and ends up shunned by all her former friends. Things start to change when a new boy shows up at school, and one of her old friends reaches out to her. Soon Lexi is torn between keeping her secret and walking away from love. Talk about a deadly love triangle…
You can read my full review at Shelf Awareness for Readers.
If you’d like to win my copy of Ripple, leave a comment. You have through August 29 to enter.
What great books have you read this summer? I’m off to bake some banana bread 🙂