What I Read on My Summer Vacation

As usual, I packed many books on my summer vacation and did not read as many as I thought I would. I still read a fair bit though. Spending 15 hours in a car in ONE DAY will do that. Here's what I read on my summer vacation.

at last jill shalvisI reread Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series and then read the newest book At Last. For those of you who don't know Jill you should. I'll be featuring an interview with her soon on BlogHer but in the meantime -- she's a best-selling (as in NYT best-selling) author of romance novels, RITA award winner, and funny as heck. She wrote three books set in Lucky Harbor, then her editor asked for three more, and she just announced that they've asked for another three Lucky Harbor books! One of the upcoming three will be about a firefighter. (Yes, I've already told Jenna.) At Last is about Amy, a waitress by day but secret artist in her down time. She hasn't had an easy life, leaving home at 16, and sometimes living on the streets. She ends up in Lucky Harbor because her grandmother went there and it was life changing. Everything is getting better now and she's starting to feel a bit more stable... except when sexy forest ranger Matt is around. Fun story. I like the Chocoholics but shhhh, don't tell Jill that I don't actually like chocolate very much...

summer rental mary kay andrewsLast summer I was sent an ARC of Mary Kay Andrews Summer Rental. I did not get around to reading it. (See, this is just how backed up my reading list is and why I really don't accept many review copies.) Fun book about a group of friends who rent a cottage for a month. Even more fun when you are reading it in a cottage that you rented for a week. My landlord, however, was not a former lawyer turned day trader who pees off his balcony. That's probably just as well. There were a lot of mosquitos at our cottage and I would not recommend exposing your more delicate areas to them. Fun summer read about friendships and what to do when it feels like your life has completely gone off the rails. I think I might check out some of her other books for some light summer reading. The Fixer Upper sounds like it might be my kind of book.

the sandcastle girls chris bohjalianI picked up The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian at BEA in June. I tossed it in my vacation reading bag thinking it would be nice to read it since it was coming out in July but didn't really think I would get to it. I settled down one evening in the cottage and read it pretty much in one sitting. It's one of those books that flips back and forth between present day and the past and I had to keep referring to the cover to verify that it wasn't a true story. I know next to nothing about the Armenian genocide -- aside from the fact that there was one -- so this book was a real eye-opener for me. I need to ping a college friend of mine who grew up in Boston but who now lives in Armenia and ask her what she's heard about it. I also want to check out some of Chris Bohjalian's other novels. He's a talented writer and I'll probably write more about this book because it deserves a post of its own. Has anyone read The Midwife?

unbreak my heart melissa walkerI'm probably going to make myself unpopular with a few of my friends (*cough*Cat*cough*) but I did not love Melissa Walker's Unbreak My Heart. It was fine, really, but it feels like it's going to be one of those books that will fade from my memory pretty quick. Clementine had a very bad, no good, end of the school year. Her best friend is no longer speaking to her. None of her friends are speaking to her. While this should be summer that she's relishing in the freedom of being 16 and able to drive, she's stuck on a boat with her family trying to work out everything that happened at the end of the year. She's sad and depressed and a shell of the former Clem. But maybe a summer on the boat -- and a certain other redheaded boater that she meets along the way -- can cheer her up. I really did enjoy the sailing bits. That was fun and not something I've read in a YA novel a lot.

see you at harry's jo knowlesOk, I have a bone to pick with y'all and it's about Jo Knowles' See You at Harry's. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME IT WOULD MAKE ME CRY? A LOT! I think Lee thought I was losing it because he was driving while I was crying my butt off in the passenger's seat and trying to make it look like I was not crying. Good grief. Somehow I missed the memo that this was a sad, sad book. Fern darned near broke my heart. I read the cover flap and while I'm kind of glad that the event that changed her family forever wasn't the event that I thought it was going to be (I thought it was going to involve her older brother) I was so NOT PREPARED for where the story went. Good story. Good characters. Fern had great friends. But omg how did I not know it was a sad book that would make me weep?!

the dressmaker kate alcottI've written about Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker before because I was fascinated by her publishing story and how the book was promoted as being written by a debut author and yet Kate is not. For those who missed it, Kate is a pseudonym for a previous published author who could not get this book published under her own name. Even her publisher did not know who she really was, though her agent did. Fascinating, really. It's even more fascinating now that I've read the book because The Dressmaker was a good read and I find myself surprised that it couldn't sell under Patricia O'Brien's name. It was timely with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic and it kept me turning the pages. It pulled content from the actual Titanic hearings, though it did take a few liberties here and there. I really enjoyed it and I appreciated that it showed what happened to people after the survivors docked and tried to get on with their new lives. It's not something we see a whole heck of a lot of in fiction as so many authors focus on the events on the Titanic. So yes, worth reading and reminded me that I really, really want to read some books about Margaret Brown.

So there you go, that's what I read on my summer vacation. How many books do you usually take with you on vacation? How many usually come home unread?