summer reads: ready for romance

Choosing a favorite book is quite like choosing a favorite parent to me. I can’t do it! I love so many of them equally yet for a hundred different reasons, just as I do my complete opposite but both amazing, mom and dad.

So, as I set my own summer reading list – I currently have 8 holds at the library and check almost daily for new picks – I thought I would share with you the first books that come to mind when I think of good romance reads for the upcoming season.

While I am certain we all read romance throughout the year, no season seems quite as appropriate as summer to dive into worlds of hilarious meet cutes, awkward first dates, or heartfelt confessions. Whether it’s the dreamer’s dream of a whirlwind summer fling, or just the ease of reading something fun and carefree as you relax into the sun, I felt it fitting to kick off my summer suggestions with this heat for the heat category. Here we go…

The Upcoming Movie:
Me Before YouIf you have yet to pick this gem up, let it be the first on your summer reading list. I say this only because on June 6th it becomes a movie. So, you get two for the price of one (sorta) – you can also make a summer movie date night or girls’ night out of it too.

Me Before You chronicles the lives of Louisa, a somewhat stuck, colorful and zany twenty-something who finds herself as the caretaker for once-adventurous and successful Will, now a quadriplegic. It’s frustrating, hilarious, honest, and heart wrenching to follow these characters as they find their way into not only each other’s lives, but hearts as well. In somewhat of a race against time, Will aims to teach Louisa what it’s like to really get out and live life, while Louisa tries to show Will that there is still a life to live for.

I can guarantee you will not be a disappointed with this guy.

The Classic:
Who Do You LoveBy classic, I don’t mean one of the classics, I mean a classic love story. This is actually the first book that I think of when I hear romance novel. I read it last year, and liked it so much I sent it to my mom. I knew it was just what she was looking for as she lounged and laughed by the pool with her girlfriends…and it was!

Who Do You Love tells the story of Rachel and Andy, who meet when they are eight, in the most unlikely of places. Andy is growing up with a single mom, who is living pay check to pay check, and Rachel sees the world through the eyes of someone privileged and carefree. But we all know opposites attract! Told through a series of constant flashbacks, this goldie follows Rachel and Andy through the decades, as they find their lives continually weaved together, whether by luck or fate. Who Do You Love serves a good reminder that you don’t find love, often times, it finds you!

The Young Adult:
Eleanor and ParkAs far as fiction books go, this guy tells one heck of a truthful – what life is really like – story. Set in a time of decades past, where you traded cassette tapes on the bus, you waited around for your house phone to ring, and you kept in touch through postcards, you can’t help but root for this imperfect story of first love.

In the fall of 1986, Eleanor and Park are 16 years old and both misfits of their own kind. Eleanor is not exactly slim, she wears clothes from the thrift store, and she holds too many family scars and secrets for someone so young. With his all black clothes, his love for comic books, and his nonchalance for caring what his dad thinks, Park is just trying to blend in. This odd couple forge the most unlikely connection and learn too early that life is hard, often unfair, and usually very, very messy.

There are so many themes at work between these pages, that both your high-school and adult self cannot help but identify – bullying, self image, domestic abuse, parental approval, etc.

A must read for all ages.

If you find you like this book, check out other reads of Rainbow Rowell’s. I recommend Fangirl and Attachments.

The Quirky:
Twenties Girl
From the author of the Shopaholic series, this book brings the same wit and zaniness that make Sophie Kinsella books the fun, quirky stories they are.

In an already upside down, mess of a life Lara finds herself now hearing from ghosts. Well one in particular, her great – aunt Sadie. In order to silence, or rather make her bold, fun-loving aunt literally rest in peace, Lara must set out on journey to help her aunt. What starts off as disastrous (read:  hilarious), turns into lessons learned, love found, and family mysteries solved.

This is by far the most of out-of-the-box pick, but you find yourself laughing out loud and rooting for both Lara and her life teacher of an aunt. It’s light and whimsical, and pretty perfect for the pool.

If you find you like this book, check out other stand-alones by Sophie Kinsella. I recommend Can you Keep a Secret, The Undomestic Goddess, and I’ve Got Your Number.

Next up Memorable Memoirs…Cheers!

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a 90s kid reminisces.

Squeeze ItsWindbreakers. Nintendo 64. Ribbon Dancers. Walkmans. Fanny Packs. Aladdin. Squeeze Its. Pogs. Blockbuster. Trampolines. These took you back, right? Were you a Mario-Kart-er or a Donkey Kong-er? Could you burn your CDs or did your friend’s sister do it for you? Each of these speical items helped to define childhood memories I have to come not only deeply appreciate, but also desperately want for kids now.

If you have ever read a post about an early millennial missing the 90s this post will likely be no different. It’s simply my take on the decade of my youth. And don’t get me wrong there are many, many things that I covet now that have only come along in the last 16 years. The fact that I didn’t have to wait for a dial up connection to write this blog post for one. My Starbucks iPhone app that I use weekly, and my Netflix streaming service that I use daily also round out the top of that list. But, I feel an incredible fondness for growing up in the last decade of the 20th century and here is why.

LegendsWhen I think of after school as a 90s kids, I think of Full House, the Carmen Sandiego game show, finding a trampoline to jump on, or riding our bikes till someone called us home. In the summer, we would have laughed at staying inside. Who had a pool? Did it have a slide? A diving board? No pool. Where’s the slip-n-slide? Can we ride our bike to Burger King? Can we tie dye something? Then at night or if it happened to rain, we would hope that Legends of the Hidden Temple would be on Nickelodeon, and we would cheer on some kid our age to win a Super Soaker or some new Nikes. (The horror if a kid today won a Super Soaker! Ha!) No Legends? Do you have any of the Mighty Ducks movies?

CK and I watching The Mighty Ducks yesterday, for a snowy Saturday inside.

CK and I watching The Mighty Ducks yesterday, for a snowy Saturday inside.

It’s obviously the understatement of the year to say that kids in today’s culture have so many more distractions than we did. I am certain all of us have wanted to scream before at someone to get the tablet or phone out of a kid or teenager’s hand and show them where to find a book or a bike.  They have access to anything on the Internet – their favorite shows and movies and the newest music and games. Instant gratification literally a click away. And Oh, how much quicker that brings on growing up!

It’s also hit me, that while I was out knocking on someone’s door asking to jump on their trampoline at 10 years old, kids today can jump on a digital trampoline on their Wii. And while I would spend hours in my driveway or yard with friends making up dances to Grease, Britney, or the Backstreet Boys, wannabe dancers now can Dance Dance Revolution themselves inside all day, every day.

2015-10-31 19.14.23-2

CK and I last Halloween, as Heidi and Al from one of our favorite 90s shows – Home Improvement.

For me, it’s frustrating that kids/teens now have no idea what it is like to have to wait for a CD to come not or a movie to hit Blockbuster…and then to show up and it be sold out. They will never stand in line for concert tickets, or know what it is like to miss an episode of their favorite show and have no way to watch it, and heaven forbid you have to sit through the commercials. They will also never have to wait through a busy signal to talk to their friend, who they called on a landline, after waiting for their mom, dad, or brother to get off the freakin’ phone.

Maybe I am being overly pessimistic that these delayed gratifications of my childhood have made me more of a well-rounded, patient, and appreiative citizen than those of the non-brick Nokia generation. But I can’t help and feel lucky that I was a part of it. Hey, we all still figured out that blowing into your Nintendo game somehow made it work. We didn’t need social media for that…

So, this X-files junkie, Wilson Phillips lover, and indoor-mall goer is signing off. Glad for her email and Amazon 2-Day shipping, but still wishing that mall tours, Movie Gallery, and roller blading were cool.

Until Next Time…