Faro’s Daughter, by Georgette Heyer
A reread. I’ve only read this Heyer once before. It is, of course, a fun read, but not terribly memorable. The heroine in this one has fallen on hard times. Her aunt, to make ends meet, has opened a gambling hell in their home, but it isn’t doing very well. Deborah, our heroine, is one of the main draws of the den and a young man has fallen in love with her. His fabulously wealthy cousin, Max Ravenscar, is sent to dissuade Deborah from marrying the young man. Deborah has no intention of doing so, but is so outraged by Ravenscar’s interference that she doubles down saying she won’t give the cousin up, all the while setting up a more suitable match for him while falling for Ravenscar.
Murder is Easy, by Agatha Christie
I listened to this one. It’s one of Christie’s few mysteries that didn’t star Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. I really enjoyed both the story and the production. It’s funny, I saw this story as a BBC mystery a few years ago, but it had been turned into a Miss Marple story and was HORRIBLE. The original mystery is a lot of fun, with a romance thrown in. I don’t think I’ve read an Agatha Christie where the main characters have a romance and it was quite well done. The story follows Luke Fitzwilliam who has just returned to the U.K. after working as a police officer overseas. On the train to London, an older woman tells him that she believes there to have been a string of murders, staged as accidents, in her village and she is on her way to Scotland Yard. Luke doesn’t believe her until a few days later, he reads her obituary and finds that she was accidently killed only a few minutes after leaving his company. He decides to investigate. The mystery is very twisty, but overall satisfying—as all good Christie mysteries are.
Dress Coded, by Carrie Firestone
This is a middle grade novel that I think any tween, boy or girl, would benefit from. Molly Frost is nearing the end of 8th grade and preparing for high school, but she is fed up with the dress code at her middle school—especially since boys and girls like her (underdeveloped) are never dress coded. When a friend is unduly humiliated by the male principal, Molly starts a podcast to tell the world about the unfair dress code being forced on them. She gets a lot of support from her friends and even high school girls who were subject to the code, and a movement is started to get the dress code removed. This book has a lot going for it; great characters, subplots that are important, but that don’t take away from the main story; characters that learn how to stick up for themselves and their friends (boys) who learn how to be allies. It’s a light story but has a lot of subtext that I think tweens would really relate to.
The Boyfriend Project, by Farrah Rochon
Another listen (three this month!). A lovely romance featuring characters of color. Samiah is a successful IT programmer who is catfished by a three-timing loser. While the guy is a jerk, the women he chose are awesome and the three ladies become fast friends. They’re all in the same place—career-minded but looking for love. They decide to take six months off dating to take care of themselves. Unfortunately for Samiah, this vow coincides with a sexy new coworker. This a is a lovely story about the importance of friendship, putting yourself first, and opening yourself up to love. Just enough tension so that the happy ending feels deserved.
Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
I love Diana! This may not be my favorite book by her, but it is still so full of magic and delight that I know I’ll read it again. 19-year-old Polly is packing to head back to university after summer holidays. But a niggling of a memory comes to her and she realizes she has two sets of memories that diverge when she was ten. In one, she lives a normal life. In the other, she has a friend named Tom Lynn—a man who befriended her when she accidently crashes a funeral. In those memories, she and Tom are fast friends. We read along as the memories come back to her to find out their whole history together. There is dark magic afoot, and now that Polly remembers Tom, she realizes he is in great danger and must try to save his life. Quintessential DWJ. Can’t go wrong reading this book.
Aurora Blazing, by Jessie Mihalik
A reread. After reading the third book in the Consortium series, I wanted to read the second one again. The first time I listened to it—and loved it—so I wanted to read it to get a better understanding of how it ties the first book and the third together. Still an awesome space-princesses-that-kick-butt series.
Big Summer, by Jennifer Weiner
My third audio book of the month. I’ve never read any Weiner before, but I know she is very popular, writing books about women and their relationships. This may not have been the best book to start with as it seems to be a different format than what she usually writes. I liked it well enough. Probably not enough to read more of her books. The story follows Daphne, a plus-sized influencer, as she reconnects with a high school friend that treated her badly before they stopped speaking six years before. When Drue asks Daphne to be in her wedding, she reluctantly agrees and we find out how badly Drue treated not only Daphne, but everyone. The first half of the book is about understanding the relationship between the two girls. The second half is about Daphne trying to understand Drue. There is a murder in the middle, followed by an investigation, but that seemed really forced in order to get Daphne and her two friends to the place to have a Big Ending. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea. I did enjoy parts of the book about how Daphne began to appreciate herself and create a life independently of Drue.