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Posts Tagged ‘Jacqueline Kennedy’

‘Tis the season for summer reading – which for me typically means mysteries, YA and lush, immersive novels. But I’m also reading some thoughtful nonfiction, as always. Here’s the latest roundup:

Tokyo Dreaming, Emiko Jean
Izumi Tanaka’s new royal life in Tokyo is going all right – until her boyfriend breaks up with her and the Imperial Council votes against her parents’ engagement. She embarks on a campaign to change their minds, but will it end in disaster? I liked this sequel to Tokyo Ever After, though Izumi drove me crazy at times. Still a fun ride.

Hello Goodbye, Kate Stollenwerck
Hailey Rogers isn’t thrilled about spending part of her summer with her almost-estranged grandmother. But as she gets to know Gigi, they bond over music and books, and Gigi shares some family secrets. This was a fun YA novel set in Texas – the ending got a little wild but I loved the book’s sensitive treatment of complicated family dynamics. And Blake, the neighbor/love interest, is a dream. Out August 2.

The Paper Bark Tree Mystery, Ovidia Yu
Chen Su Lin is enjoying her work as a detective’s assistant for the Singapore police force, until the new administrator replaces her with a privileged white girl. When the administrator is found dead, Su Lin takes on some unofficial sleuthing, which becomes even more important when her best friend’s father is arrested. Third in a wonderful series set in 1930s Singapore; I’m learning a lot about colonial history, and I love Su Lin’s voice. She’s smart and capable (but still gets it wrong once in a while).

Barakah Beats, Maleeha Siddiqui
Nimra Sharif is nervous about starting public school in seventh grade – especially when her (white) best friend starts acting weird. But then Nimra gets invited to join a band made up of other Muslim kids. The problem? She’s not sure if making music goes against her beliefs. A fun, sensitive middle-grade novel about navigating friendships and faith, and being true to yourself.

Mirror Lake, Juneau Black
It’s autumn in Shady Hollow and the election for police chief (between two bears) is heating up. And then Dorothy Springfield, an eccentric local rat, becomes convinced her husband has been murdered and replaced by an impostor. Intrepid reporter Vera Vixen and her raven friend Lenore are on the case, of course. A charming third entry in this delightful mystery series.

Jacqueline in Paris, Ann Mah
In 1949, Jacqueline Bouvier arrives in Paris to spend her junior year abroad. Mah’s novel dives into the people Jackie met, the man she almost loved, her sobering trip to Dachau and the deep, lifelong impression France left on her. Compelling and engaging (even though I am a little tired of Kennedy stories). To review for Shelf Awareness (out Sept. 27).

Church: Why Bother?, Philip Yancey
My dad sent me this slim book detailing Yancey’s experiences with church and his musings on why it’s still worth it. I am not sure I agree, but there are some interesting insights here. (There is also a lot of older-white-man mild surprise that people different from him have something to teach him.) Frustrating at times, but thought-provoking.

The Emma Project, Sonali Dev
Naina Kohli wants nothing more to do with the Raje family after ending a 10-year fake relationship with its eldest son. But then youngest child Vansh comes back home, and he and Naina find themselves competing for philanthropic funding, as well as fighting a mutual attraction. This was way steamier than I expected, but a fun romance with great witty banter.

Most links (not affiliate links) are to my local faves Trident and Brookline Booksmith. Shop indie!

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vacation reading books

(Pictured above: my vacation reading.)

A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, ed. Laurie R. King & Leslie S. Klinger
I love Sherlock Holmes; I love Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell novels featuring him; and I love the BBC series Sherlock. So I loved this story collection by various authors, riffing on the character and methods of the great detective. Pure Holmesian enjoyment.

Persuasion, Jane Austen
I read Austen’s last (and quietest) novel some years ago, but had been hankering for a reread. I love Anne Elliot, though I wish she were more assertive (and I want to smack her whiny younger sister), and that letter from Captain Wentworth makes me swoon. Austen’s wit, as always, is biting and astute, and her characters are delightful.

An Old Betrayal, Charles Finch
I love Finch’s Charles Lenox mystery series, and this seventh entry was a treat. Lenox interrupts his Parliament career (again) to investigate a murder, gradually realizing that the Queen of England may be in danger. Some wonderful scenes with historical figures, including Benjamin Disraeli and Queen Victoria herself.

Paris Letters, Janice MacLeod
Frustrated artist leaves the corporate rat race for Paris and falls in love with her (Polish) butcher. To support her new lifestyle, she begins selling “painted letters” – paintings of Paris scenes with accompanying text. The painted letters are lovely, but the memoir fell flat. I’ve read better ones.

Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon
Jessica has raved about this mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, and this first book was excellent. When a famous opera conductor is found dead in his dressing room during intermission, Brunetti must solve the case. Evocative descriptions of Venice, and a well-plotted mystery.

A Mad, Wicked Folly, Sharon Biggs Waller
Victoria Darling longs to be taken seriously as an artist. But as a daughter of aristocrats, she’s only expected to marry well. After scandal erupts at her French finishing school, Vicky returns to London and finds herself caught up in the suffragette movement. Witty and fun, with a sweet romance. Hoping for a sequel!

Paris to Die For, Maxine Kenneth
Before Jacqueline Bouvier married Jack Kennedy, she went on a secret mission for the CIA…in Paris! This romp of a spy novel takes Jackie all over the city, often in the company of a handsome Frenchman. Too fun. (Inspired by an actual letter written by Jackie.) Found at Bay Books in San Diego.

Spy in a Little Black Dress, Maxine Kenneth
This sequel to the above takes Jackie to Havana, where she meets Fidel Castro and his band of rebels. Not as good as the first book; a bit too conscious of its own cleverness, but still fun. Perfect vacation reading.

Thrones, Dominations, Dorothy L. Sayers & Jill Paton Walsh
It’s no secret I adore Lord Peter Wimsey and his love, Harriet Vane. Walsh used Sayers’ unfinished notes and chapters to flesh out this novel, and it is well plotted and satisfying. I loved spending time with Harriet and Peter again.

A Fall of Marigolds, Susan Meissner
Two women – a nurse on Ellis Island in 1911 and a survivor of the 9/11 attacks – are connected by a scarf (which features the titular marigolds). Both of them must learn to move on from loss and open themselves to living again. Heartbreaking, sometimes frustrating, ultimately lovely.

Links (not affiliate links) are to my favorite local bookstore, Brookline Booksmith.

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