Monday, July 7, 2014

Penelope's Fun, Different, Quirky, Not the Same Old-Same Old Summer Reading Recommendations

After reading my 3rd "summer reading recommendation" list and falling asleep, I decided it was time to offer something a bit different, instead of the same old-same old authors/books.

Here are some of my favorite recent reads, in a variety of genres, that would all make fabulous "beach" reads this summer. They run the gamut from sultry, sexy, romantic to scary-as-crap, hilarious, bittersweet, charming, fascinating, and finally...hipster.

I like my summer reading to be light, quick, and fun for the most part. Most of these fit the bill.

Work on your tan, and fall in love with these delightful books!


1. HORROR/DARK FANTASY: Waking The Merrow by Heather Rigney

If you're looking for something unexpectedly funny, scary as hell, incredibly well-written, and chock full of history and suspense, I highly recommend this debut novel.

READ IT IF YOU DARE! Here is my review.

2. COMEDY: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This is such a cute, quirky, adorable, fun, and romantic story. It's one of my favorites this year. I can see you reading this on the beach, while sipping a frozen mango margarita, and laughing out loud.


3. HISTORICAL ROMANCE: The Pirate's Secret Baby by Darlene Marshall

Ms. Marshall is just a fabulous historical romance writer. She has the perfect combination of excellent writing, romance, and storytelling. She also has a real knack for fun banter and larger-than-life characters. A lovely, lusty book, perfect for a summer read.


This "vintage" Harly (1995) was so sweet and adorable. I think it was recommended on the Amazon message boards, and I took a chance on it. I was so happy I did! It has a super sexy hero and a very romantic storyline. I have been heartily enjoying Harlies recently, and this one is a fav.

5. QUIRKY HIPSTER ROMANCE: Geek With The Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir

This book is a little gem of a story. Beautifully written and balanced and fun (cat's POV included!) and filled with old-fashioned romantic moments. I also highly recommend the first book in the series, Girl with the Cat Tattoo. Here is my review. Theresa Weir is a supremely under-appreciated author. Her work is flawless and wonderful.

6. MYSTERY: The Gamache Series by Louise Penny

Best. Journey. Of. Your. Life.
You. Must. Read. These. Books.
On a beach. On a plane. On your porch.


7. HARLEQUIN PRESENTS: Marchese's Forgotten Bride by Michelle Reid

Thanks to Lexxi Callahan, I am now hopelessly addicted to Harlequin Presents! It's such a fun addiction. I have read about 100 of these books in the last month. It was difficult choosing just one HP for this list, but I think Marchese's Forgotten Bride is a good one. It includes amnesia, betrayal, and secret babies for the win! Warning: HPs include overbearing heroes, wispy heroines, lots of bad behavior, and extreme groveling. It's all about the grovel!

Here is my review.

8. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Sweetened with a Kiss by Lexxi Callahan

Speaking of Lexxi, here's another perfect summer read. This book made my list last year, and it's up here again. For a good reason. It's sexy, sultry, steamy, set in New Orleans, with amazing chemistry between the hero and heroine. Sex-ay, baby! 


I read this collection of short stories on the beach in Florida and I loved them. Each one is beautifully crafted and written, thoughtful, bittersweet. They are snippets of life, set in Maine, and Anderson's writing is truly inspiring and lovely. Highly recommend this collection.

10. CULINARY ROMANCE: The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand

This new-to-me author has a gift for blending the deliciousness of Paris, gourmet chocolate, and romance. It's a heady treat. The hero in this story is such a wonderful mix of vulnerability and cocky-alpha male French chef, I couldn't get enough. And he ROARS when he gets angry. SO AWESOME! Like an angry French lion. LOVE IT! This book is currently free...guaranteed, it's the best freebie you'll download this summer. HURRY!


JAWS by Peter Benchley

Yes, the film is extraordinary. But this novel is fun, too, and quite different from the movie. It could be the perfect beach read. Unless you want to go swimming.

So, there you go. A nice mix of romance, mystery, horror, lit fiction, and comedy. Try one of these books and spice up your summer reading.

Happy Reading!