Hi everybody! Today I thought I’d do a quick little post about some of my favourite books that I really think everybody should read. As I said in a post last week, I’ve been finding myself in a bit of a book slump recently. I’m really picky when it comes to my books. Often, if I find myself reading a book I don’t like, I’ll set it aside and possibly never look at it again. As I type this, I keep glancing over at the ever-growing pile of such books sitting on my bookshelf…This is part of the reason why I’ve been checking out more and more books from the library recently rather than buying them.
That being said, when I find a book that I really love, it’s kind of heartbreaking to finish it, and I constantly find myself staring longingly at the spine as it sits on my bookshelf wishing I could go back to that time when I was immersed within its pages. Don’t you just love it when a book is so deliciously good that you think about it for years afterwards? I’ve been missing certain books as I trudge through this book slump, and I thought I’d share some of those titles with you today.
- A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore
This book is amazing, you guys. I read it a couple of years ago, so my description of it may be a bit foggy (and I always hate putting up the publisher’s description—that’s what Goodreads is for, right?), but basically the book is about a young woman named Jude who is an auction house appraiser. Early in the book, she escapes a loveless relationship and heads out to the English countryside to appraise antiques that are being sold out of Starbrough Hall. She meets Chantal Wickham, the estate’s owner, and a friendship instantly blooms between them as they discover that they have something in common: they are both widowed. But Jude’s past haunts her. Her husband’s death, the strange relationship he had shared with Jude’s sister, Claire, and her niece, whose father is unknown, begins to have strange nightmares that are inexplicably linked to Starbrough Hall—all of these things pester Jude as she unearths the estate’s interesting past. Then there’s Euan, a gypsy man with a caravan parked in his backyard who works for Starbrough Hall. He’s interesting and serious, and as Jude works with the past she begins to piece back together her present as well…
I really loved this book. It flips back and forth between past and present as Jude reads documents found at Starbrough Hall, which is a feature I don’t normally enjoy in books, but it worked well here. A mystery, ghost story, and romance all in one, this book was incredibly absorbing. The writing style is spot-on. I didn’t feel dragged through the story, but like I was a part of it. The descriptions were fantastic. Overall, it was just an amazing story. This is also the only novel by Rachel Hore that is for sale in Canada. I wish more of her work was over here. She’s such a great writer.
- The Starcrossed Trilogy by Josephine Angelini
Wow. This series, as I was reading it, actually took my breath away. I’ve rarely been this excited to read the next books in a series, outside of something like Harry Potter, so it was such a thrill to come across the first book in this series, Starcrossed, and know there were more to come. In order, this trilogy features Starcrossed, Dreamless, and Goddess. The basic premise is that a teenager named Helen has lived on the island of Nantucket her whole life with only her father as family—she’s never known her mother, only that she broke her father’s heart. A strange family moves onto the island and instantly, Helen wants to murder one of the sons, a boy her age named Lucas. Coupled with a few of her strange traits that she’s always tried to keep hidden—such as her super-human speed—Helen begins to realize that her existence is far from ordinary. As the series progresses, Helen realizes that she’s a demigod and, as the relationship between her and Lucas thickens, they all must fight to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. After all, Lucas was supposed to be named Paris.
These. Books. Rock. I don’t know how else to say it. I’ve read another of Angelini’s books and it just doesn’t compare. She really struck gold with these ones. My heart pounded as I read. It broke a few times. There was nothing that could pull me away when I held one of these beauties in my hands. Angelini loves to tease. She makes the reader fall hard for the romance in the book and dangles it in front of our faces. It’s one tiny aspect that I do find frustrating (and perhaps a little patronizing) in her writing. News flash—seventeen-year-olds know what sex is! At that age, as I was reading, I wouldn’t have been surprised or scandalized to read a sex scene. I wish more YA authors got this.
Even still, this series is one of my all-time favourites and was so incredibly satisfying to read. Ugh, I wish I could go back and read them all anew. Can someone please find me a time-turner? That’d be great, thanks.
- Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer
So, I really love books that take place on Nantucket. This book is about three sisters who, after not seeing each other for years, gather back into their childhood home on the island after Emma is dumped by her fiancé. The youngest, Lily, is concerned that the woman renting their guesthouse is looking to move in on their father, who was widowed by their mentally-ill mother many years ago. As the sisters band together, they discover their similarities but also their differences, and at times it is a struggle to work around those. They pick up a few odd jobs around the island, which brings them into contact with new people from all walks of life but, most importantly, new beginnings. Set in the hot summer on the island of Nantucket, this novel—told from four different perspectives—features friendship, sisterhood, and steamy romance in such a beautiful story that I yearn for it nearly every day.
It’s often difficult for me to find romance books—or books written in this style—that feature characters my age (21). Many of the romance novels in my library are written by older women about older women, so I have a really hard time getting into them. Not so with Beachcombers. Lily is in her early twenties, and Abbie, the oldest, is just around thirty. Even still, the setting and writing are so breathtaking that I was lost in this book. I never wanted it to end. As I read it out in the sun in my backyard, I could almost smell the sand and the salty ocean air. One thing I did notice with this book was that Lily, the youngest, was written to seem immature because of her age, but had the maturity of a thirteen-year-old. I don’t know a single person my age who is as immature as Lily was written to be. The book was still delightful. I would highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a good beach read as the weather gets warmer and summer fast approaches. It’s definitely worth the time spent slathering on sunscreen and laying out the towel on the sand.
-Ember Book Reviews xxoo
Check out these books on Goodreads: A Place of Secrets, Starcrossed, Dreamless, Goddess, Beachcombers
Purchase these books on Amazon: A Place of Secrets, Starcrossed, Dreamless, Goddess, Beachcombers