A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
As I type this it isn’t exactly sunny and bright outside my window. The British summer is one that really calls for a good book (today it’s one you can curl up with … on a sofa under a blanket).
So here are some of my favourite reads that I think would be great for a British Summer’s Day.
I am a big fan of Sarah J Maas and she has a new series. The first book was out last year: A Court of Thorns and Roses and the second has just come out: A Court of Mist and Fury.
The first book was good, I really enjoyed it, as I enjoy all of her novels; it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a far more kick-ass heroine, Feyre, who has to go to the faerie world in return for killing a Fae. There she falls in love with the lord who has her imprisoned.
But the second book … I was blown away. In it Feyre has to deal with the fall-out from the life-changing events at the end of book one (trying not to give away too many spoilers here). It’s great to see an author of a supernatural series looking deeply into the emotional core of her heroes. Instead of just having them shrug off their experiences in time for the next book, she shows how broken they are. This book is about Feyre’s emotional journey, her healing from book one and becoming stronger. But it isn’t boring, oh no. This book takes the story of Beauty and the Beast and sorts it out. No, Stockholm Syndrome isn’t a good starting point for a relationship, no, it’s not good to be with a man who wants to control you, but can’t control his own violent side. It’s a comment on the nature of abusive relationships. And boy, is the new hero sexy! Some amazing sex scenes, some super fight scenes, some real emotional depth. I loved this book. You will too.
Sticking with both romance and fairy tale retellings (and good sex scenes), I am going to recommend Bet Me by Jenny Crusie. It’s a modern day Cinderella, a feisty (overweight) heroine, a handsome man with a shoe fetish and a cruel bet – who could want more for a day out (especially if, like me, you aren’t quite bikini ready)?
But if you happen to be by the pool or on the beach, burning in one of our rare British heat waves, you definitely need chick lit with more of a kick. So I’m going to recommend the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series – which is crime / romance. My favourite of hers’ is perhaps Three to get Deadly, the hilarious characters will have you laughing out loud and you can imagine yourself in the sticky heat of a Jersey summer.
I can’t do a list of my recommended reads without including Terry Pratchett – so how about Snuff. It’s not my favourite of his, although it is about my favourite of his characters – Sam Vimes and it is perfect for a holiday. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policemen taking a holiday would barely have bad time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse’.
Finally, just in case you’re somewhere with wonderful historical surroundings, how about a historical novel? A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly is a murder, mystery, romance and historical fiction set in early 1900s North America.