Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl
As the new food critic at the New York Times, Ruth Reichl can no longer eat out anonymously. So she invents half a dozen disguises – including a timid divorcée, a warmhearted hippie, and her own mother – to fool the waitstaff at NYC dining spots. Each disguise teaches her something about herself (and I love how none of them fazed her young son). Delicious, moving and entertaining.
Mrs. Pollifax on Safari, Dorothy Gilman
Mrs. Pollifax is off to the wilds of Africa, to take photos of animals and track down a fugitive assassin. Of course, nothing goes as planned – she gets kidnapped by Rhodesian terrorists. A little weak, plot-wise, but still a fun ride.
Parnassus on Wheels, Christopher Morley
New England housewife Helen McGill is surprised when a traveling bookstore shows up at her doorstep – and surprises herself, by buying the bookstore and taking to the open road. Utterly charming and packed with adventure. Highly recommended by Anne.
Small Blessings, Martha Woodroof
Tom Putnam, mild-mannered English professor, has resigned himself to a quiet, dull life. But then his wife dies, he learns he has a son (who then shows up on his doorstep), and he falls in love with Rose, the new woman on campus. Predictable but entertaining, with a cast of (sometimes overly) wacky characters. (I received an ARC; this book comes out Aug. 5.)
Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins
Lola Nolan, budding costume designer, is happy with her life in San Francisco – until her former crush moves back in next door. Lola is sweet and funny, though not very self-aware. A fun, offbeat YA love story (though I liked Anna and the French Kiss a lot better).
The Angel of Losses, Stephanie Feldman
An odd, mystical family saga, linking Jewish folktale with modern-day scholarship and the European ghettos of World War II. Interesting concept, so-so execution. (I received an ARC; this book comes out July 29.)
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, Jenny Colgan
After being laid off, Isabel Randall decides to take a leap of faith, opening the titular cafe in north London. A delicious story (with recipes) of friendship, pursuing your dreams, and a bit of romance. Classic and highly enjoyable chick lit.
Enemies at Home, Lindsey Davis
Private informer Flavia Albia takes on a complicated case: a double murder and robbery, possibly committed by slaves. A fun, snarky (if at times confusing) mystery set in ancient Rome. To review for Shelf Awareness (out July 15).
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station, Dorothy Gilman
Mrs. Pollifax goes undercover again – this time into China, to help smuggle a man out of the country. Twisty plot, interesting characters and a happy ending. Perfect.
Links (not affiliate links) are to my favorite local bookstore, Brookline Booksmith.
What are you reading?