Saturday, 20 August 2016

Books for Beaches, Pools & Gardens .... 

More Summer Reading Recommendations

Day Shift (Midnight Texas #2) : Charlaine Harris 

I am a big fan of Charlaine Harris' writing - I was devoted to the Sookie Stackhouse novels, [perhaps you have watched the True Blood series? this was loosely based on these books]  and I was desolate once I had read them all.  

Happily CH is a prolific writer!  So I began to read about Harper Connolly  (she can tell where dead bodies are, and the cause of their death).  Here again, the central character is an outcast due to her 'gift', but when she is hired in by someone to uncover the truth, it seems unjustified that pretty soon
the townsfolk   are treating her as if she's the threat -  because Harper always uncovers more than they are bargaining for;  and the folk in these small southern towns seem very wary of what her 'powers' really stem from.

Liking to jump about between book series, I'm also  reading the Midnight Texas novels, which start with Midnight Crossing - this is very different from the Sookie Stackhouse series, it introduces the inhabitants of the tiny town of Midnight  gradually, without spelling out 'what' they are other than the front they show the world.  It is a book of secrets very slowly revealed, so far I have encountered a witch,  a vampire and a psychic but there are 'other natured' inhabitants who I still can't 'label', and this is beguiling.  

Day Shift  (book #2)begins with the redevelopment of a long-closed hotel, bringing new inhabitants to the town, something it seems the original residents of Midnight want to avoid at all costs.  When this is followed by a client's death, suddenly Manfred, the psychic, is a suspect for murder and jewel theft, and needs a high-class lawyer.  There is plenty of danger and suspense interspersed with moments of humour as the tale plays out, and (for Sookie fans) there are a couple of cross-over characters taking cameo roles. By the end of this novel I know the nature and a little background for some more of Midnight's residents, but they don't all know about each other and I'm intrigued to fill the gaps - guess I'm going to need to read  Night Shift book #3!

Fangirl : Rainbow Rowell   
I was blown away by this book - not totally unexpected (having earmarked Eleanor & Park by the same author as a favourite book because I found it the most touching love story I've read so far).

I was a bit of a "newbie" to the arena of fan fiction, which is a major topic in this  story of socially-anxious teenager Cath, in her first year at college. Her sister Wren is attending the same college but, is determined to break away from the twin mould - so Cath is on her own for the first time ever.  Cath's family life is fairly troubled and her relationship with her father and her sister pull her in different directions, she is also inexperienced with boys, so making friends and partnering guys for her writing class are hurdles she must learn to navigate.

What Cath has no doubts about is her ability to be a Fan - O yes she aces this!  She is devoted to Simon Snow fiction (a set of teenage wizarding books - think SS as  Harry Potter), but to increase her fan status, she writes very popular Simon Snow fan fiction and has an internet following which holds its collective breath for every up-date of Cath's imagining of how the story would pan out if Simon (the hero) allowed himself to fall in love with his arch-nemesis!

Can Cath balance the demands and deadlines imposed by:  her classes, regularly up-dating the fan fiction blog, watching over her sister's dating & drinking antics, getting along with her grouchy room mate and room-mate's ever present boyfriend (who is as friendly as the room mate is prickly) and keeping her Dad from getting too manic?

The book deals with the issues of growing up, social awkwardness, first love and family loyalty.  The characters are beautifully drawn and the dialogue has great humour (fans of TV programme Gilmore Girls will definitely hear an 'echo' back to their banter).  The book also contains many of the 'fan fiction' posts written by Cath, and some exerpts from the fictional books themselves - which are fabulous in their own right, and made me wish I could read more of them too (being an HP fan myself!)  I totally recommend this book - Rainbow Rowell is a new favourite author of mine.

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