Top Ten Tuesday May 31: Beach Reads Week

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May 31: Beach Reads Week — top ten great beach reads, ten books I plan to read on the beach, ten beach reads for those who don’t like typical ~beach reads~, ten authors who are my go-to for beach reads, etc.

You had me at “beach” and “read”. When I think of beach reads, I think of books that are engrossing and have me turning the pages quickly. Here is my list….

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1. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves is contemporary romance set on a beach, and I think it is a great summertime read.

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day….

 

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2. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz  became an instant favorite. This is juicy erotic fiction that makes for a great beachy read.

Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.

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Jane’s Melody and Jane’s Harmony by Ryan Winfield

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source: purchased
title: Jane’s Melody
author: Ryan WinfieldTwitter
pages: 232
published: 2013
rated: 4 out of 5
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genre: Contemporary Romance
first line: The day after the funeral, Jane came back to the island cemetery and sat in her car, watching rain fall on her daughter’s grave.

Blurb:
WHAT BOUNDARIES WOULD YOU CROSS FOR TRUE LOVE?

That’s the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter’s death—only to find herself falling for him. A sexy but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane’s Melody follows a forty-year-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone.

Sometimes our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain. And now Jane must decide if it’s too late for her to start over, or if true love really knows no limits.

My Thoughts:
Jane’s Melody is actually a re-read for me as I first read this one in 2014. I have been meaning to read the sequel, Jane’s Harmony, so I decided to read the first book again since it has been a while.

In this story, Jane is a forty year old grieving mother. She lost her only daughter Melody to drug abuse.
What stood out again in this one was Jane’s pain and feelings of helplessness at the loss of her child. The drug abuse took hold of Melody at a young age and spiraled out of control until Jane got the phone call that her daughter had passed away.
Throughout the story, Jane’s grief is real and jumps off these pages. She goes to group therapy and is trying to work through her pain. There is substance abuse in her family so Jane is familiar with the struggle of loving an addict. The author tackles this sensitive subject with heartfelt compassion.

She let herself weep. In a way she was crying more for that little five-year-old girl who had died long ago than she was for her twenty-year-old daughter who had died just recently.
p.55, Jane’s Melody by Ryan Winfield

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Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

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source: free ARC via AmazonVine
title: Stars Over Sunset Boulevard
author: Susan Meissner/Twitter
pages: 383
genre: fiction/historical fiction
published: January 5, 2016
first line: Christine unfolds the tissue paper inside the pink striped hatbox and the odor of lost years floats upward.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:
In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.

My Thoughts:
When I read the 1930’s LA and Gone With the Wind film set setting of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard I was immediately sold on this one. Gone With the Wind is one of my all time favorite films and novels, so I was excited to see how it would be woven into the storyline here.

The story starts off in 1938 when Violet Mayfield leaves Alabama and comes to LA to find secretarial work in the big city. Audrey Duvall is an aspiring actress working as a secretary at Selznick International studios, which is currently filming GWTW. Audrey has been working for several years in LA and is still waiting for her big break. She lives in a beautiful home she inherited from her aunt. Audrey and Violet become roommates and good friends when Violet gets a secretarial job at the studio. A young man named Bert works there as a wardrobe assistant and is friends with both ladies.

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Carrie by Stephen King

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source: personal copy/purchased
title: Carrie
author: Stephen King
published: April 5, 1974
genre: horror
pages: 290
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Stephen King’s legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.

Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be a normal and go to her senior prom. But another act–of ferocious cruelty–turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.

my thoughts:

Carrie is Stephen King’s first published book. At the heart of this dismal and terrifying epistolary novel, is a teenager named Carrietta White, who has had the odds stacked against her from day one. There are flashbacks as we read character interviews and statements about the infamous Carrie, her mother, fellow classmates and prom night.

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The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

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source: free review copy via NetGalley / Open Road Media
title: The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton
published: April 5, 2016
pages: 340
genre: poetry

Blurb:
The collected works of Anne Sexton showcase the astonishing career of one of the twentieth century’s most influential poets

For Anne Sexton, writing served as both a means of expressing the inner turmoil she experienced for most of her life and as a therapeutic force through which she exorcised her demons. Some of the richest poetic descriptions of depression, anxiety, and desperate hope can be found within Sexton’s work. The Complete Poems, which includes the eight collections published during her life, two posthumously published books, and other poems collected after her death, brings together her remarkable body of work with all of its range of emotion.

With her first collection, the haunting To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton stunned critics with her frank treatment of subjects like masturbation, incest, and abortion, blazing a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented four years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. The Awful Rowing Toward God, the last book finished in her lifetime, is an earnest and affecting meditation on the existence of God. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires in order to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art.

My thoughts:

I find that Anne Sexton’s work is painful, beautiful and uncomfortable all at once. This is a nice collection for those especially who enjoy her poetry. This contains the complete collection of her work in the order that she wrote it, ending with the poems that were published posthumously.

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