Have you ever had those reading moments when you know you really need something light and funny? That’s how Summer at Castle Stone, by Lynn Marie Hulsman fell into my Read List. Something about the synopsis caught my eye, and next thing you know I had it on my ereader.
This summer, lose your heart in Ireland…
Shayla Sheridan’s a New York native born into big city luxury, but she’s never really fitted in with the “it” crowd. Desperate to make it as a writer and to finally step out from her famous father’s shadow, Shayla decides to take on a tricky assignment across the pond…
Swapping skyscrapers and heels for wellies and the heart of the Irish countryside, Shayla must go about ghost-writing a book of recipes by the notoriously reclusive and attractive head chef of Castle Stone, Tom O’Grady.
The only problem? He has no idea that she’s writing it.
Shayla Sheridan is eking out a living as a ghostwriter. She has her principles, though, and refuses to make use of her father’s literary fame to get her the writing stardom she craves. So she ends up undercover in Ireland, trying to get on the good side of dishy chef Tom O’Grady.
A ghostwriter! And there’s food and cooking! Not to mention the lushness that is Ireland! Some really good combinations here.
This was a fun, entertaining read. And when I got to the last third of the book, I couldn’t put it down—which I found interesting, because I usually associate “can’t put this down”-itis with thrillers and mysteries and such.
Shayla gets into a lot of scrapes, most of them of her own doing, but it didn’t hit the type of silliness that made me want to put the book down. And there was, of course, the classic moment of miscommunication thing (in this case, it was the “I should really tell him, I really should, oh, here’s a good moment to tell him, oh, but I really can’t now … yikes, it’s TOO LATE, the damage is done” thing—I trust this isn’t spoilerish because of course it’s the expected narrative arc in this type of plot, right?). But Lynn Marie Hulsman pulled it all off quite well, I thought.
So, yes, a fun read. One caveat, though: this book could have used a lot more editing than it got. And I mean A LOT more. Which was surprising, considering this one comes from HarperCollins, a major publisher. So if things like that take you majorly out of a book, this might not be a great read for you.
Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:
Crossed Wires, by Rosy Thornton
This is the story of Mina, a girl at a Sheffield call centre, whose next customer in the queue is Peter, a Cambridge geography don, who has crashed his car into a tree stump.
Despite their differences, they’ve got a lot in common – both single, both parents, both looking for love.
Could it be that they’ve just found it?
This is a story about the small joys and tribulations of parenthood; about one-ness and two-ness; about symmetry and coincidence; about the things that separate us and the things that bring us together.
First line: ‘Autocare Direct Motor Insurance. My name is Mina, how may I help you?’
Received from: The author
My initial thoughts:
It’s funny what makes a person decide on a book sometimes. Lately I’ve really been cutting down on the number of review books I’m accepting; but in the case of Crossed Wires, I took a look at Rosy Thornton’s website and immediately thought to myself (perhaps it was that first line, “Hello, I’m Rosy and I appear to be a novelist”), I really like the way she writes.
Books and Movies, one of my favorite book blogs, recently reviewed Crossed Wires and wrote: “Thornton’s writing reminds me some of Alexander McCall Smith, although (and don’t hate me if you’re a total Smith fan) I think Ms. Thornton’s characters are more authentic, less caricature.” If I hadn’t already been sold by Thornton’s writing on her website, this would have done the trick (I enjoy McCall Smith’s writing very much).
Crossed Wires is one of the books I will be bringing with me when I go on holiday at the end of this month. This list is my “short list” of must-reads, as I’m not able to load up the van with books, as much as I would like to; I am really looking forward to reading this book while relaxing on a cool Maritimes beach.
Related Links and other Fun Stuff
“Books Should Be Books!” by Rosy Thornton In this tongue-in-cheek essay, Thornton talks about the mystifying distinction that is made between “Literature” and “Fiction” and offers up her own Utopian solution.
Where to buy Crossed Wires:
Looking for reviews?
Mystery: Bones, by Jonathan Kellerman. I have read all of Kellerman’s previous Alex Delaware books, and I’m definitely looking forward to this latest one – I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to come out in paperback (which it did before my turn came up for the hardcover version at my local library). Kellerman’s mysteries are complex and intricate, and since I know they’re difficult to put down, I’m waiting for a nice chunk of time when I can sit and read this one from cover to cover. (If I don’t, and give in to impulse, I’m almost guaranteed a 3 am bedtime as a result, and I’m getting a little long in the tooth for that kind of thing these days.)
Romance: Married in Seattle, by Debbie Macomber. I actually bought this book by mistake. I’ve been meaning to read Jodi Picoult, but I couldn’t remember her name (that long in the tooth thing again) and when I saw the name Debbie Macomber, I thought, that must be who I was thinking of. Only it wasn’t.
Mystery: In a Dark House, by Deborah Crombie, via Bookmooch. I just finished reading this a few days ago – the review is on my to-do list. I read the first Kinkaid/James mystery last summer and enjoyed it, and after stumbling on a few reviews of other books in the series, I decided to pick up In a Dark House – and I am extremely glad that I did! I am determined now to read all the books in the series. Yes, it was that good.
Update: Forgot this one (not sure why, since I’m actually in the middle of reading it – oh wait, that long in the tooth thing, again, right?): Chick Lit: It Would Be Funny … If It Wasn’t My Life, by Lisa Dow. This one’s a fun one, so far.
This is a bit late, but I have an excuse, since I wasn’t actually here after Christmas to write this post and Disney, incredibly enough, actually charges a daily fee for online access, so I also have an excuse for not writing this post while I was away on holiday. Not that I need an excuse, of course – but then again, I’m suffering from an attack of blogger’s guilt.
I was actually quite surprised at the reading spoils under the tree for me, because I handed my wish list to my nearest and dearest quite late in the game, and if they went online they risked my presents arriving after the big day. Despite this, they managed to find a lot of my requests at our nearest Chapters.
Here’s what I received:
Thriller: The Fire, by Katherine Neville. I know I’ve had this in my TBR pile, but it’s a library copy so I was very happy to return that copy and replace it with my very own!
Historical romance: The Darcys & the Bingleys, by Marsha Altman. I know I’ve mentioned that I don’t like reading historical fiction, but Pride and Prejudice happens to be one of my all-time favorite books, and when I first read about this book, it really intrigued me.
Mystery: The Private Patient, by P.D. James. I am a huge P.D. James fan, and it’s a delight to have the latest Adam Dalgliesh book in hardcover, rather than having to wait for it to come out in paperback (or my time in the long wait list at the library to come up).
Young adult: The Squad: Perfect Cover and The Squad: Killer Spirit, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I can’t remember the blog where I first read a review of The Squad: Perfect Cover but it sounded like a great read: a computer geek girl who is a rebel and an outsider gets an invite to try out for her school’s cheerleader squad. Definitely NOT high on her list of things to do, but they manage to entice her to check it out – and she discovers that the cheerleading squad (known as the God Squad at her school) is actually a covert CIA group of operatives.
How could I resist putting both of these on my wish list? And I read both of them while at Disney, and they were both delightful (full reviews coming soon).
All in all, I am extremely happy with these new additions to my TBR pile – huge thanks to my family for putting these under the tree for me!
It’s Mailbox Monday again, and here’s what arrived in Ms. Bookish’s household this past week:
Mystery/Thriller: The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer.
Chick Lit/Mystery: Big Boned, by Meg Cabot
General fiction/Holidays: The Christmas Train, by David Baldacci
Young adult/Fantasy: The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson
Thriller/Suspense: The Fire, by Katherine Neville
Romance: Sundays at Tiffany’s, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Graphic novel/Children’s book/Mystery: Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook Volume 2, by Liam O’Donnell and Michael Cho
Children’s book: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look
Mystery: Santa Clawed, by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
Chick lit/Romance: Daring Chloe, by Laura Jensen Walker
Mystery: Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell
Children’s book/Fantasy: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
I suspect I’m going to have to start reading just a little bit faster to get through my TBR pile. Reviews on each of these will be upcoming as I get through them.