Summer Reads is a new meme featuring several books, each with quickie reviews, that would be great for summer relaxation reading.
How to Knit a Wild Bikini by Christie Ridgeway
Nikki's bad knee has ended her career as a chef, and she has switched to being a personal cook for a journalist of a very popular men's magazine. Jay Buchanan needs a cook for one month, and no more. He has sworn off women for the rest of the year (due to women being so darn complicated) and is hesitant to hire a female cook. Desperate to get the job and pay the bills, Nikki claims to be a lesbian so he'll hire her and not be worried about his "year-without-women" coming to an end. Jay agrees, as long as she pretends to be his girlfriend… to get the clingy girl-next-door to give him some space. Nikki is now a girlfriend-fake-lesbian-chef-with-some-benefits. Emphasis on the some.
Nikki is pretty sure she can handle one month of cooking for a rich, stuck-up, spoiled, gorgeous man, as long as she keeps their relationship strictly professional, and keeps up her facades. But she doesn't take into account the idea of Jay falling in love with her… and her falling right back. But Nikki has some ghosts in her closet. Can she let go of them and learn to love Jay?
How to Knit a Wild Bikini was a cute, slightly sappy, yet enjoyable read. The characters were likeable—definitely likeable, in Jay's case—and the pacing was good. The writing wasn't horrible but it wasn't anything spectacular.
I gave it an extra half a star because it was addicting! I couldn't put it down. The title and cover could have been better, since there was no knit bikini, only the mention of one. I wouldn't read the sequel, but I did enjoy this one.
It was, in some ways, unrealistic. Nikki had a lot of stuff in her past, and her reactions weren't always in line with them. It surprised me how much the author was able to put into this story. There were a lot of little "mini-stories" woven into it… it almost felt ridiculous, but then again it was still fun to read. Sometimes, for a summer read, you just need a book that let's you goof off. This is one of them.
There was a fun combination of an untouchable free spirited woman, a stuck-up but slightly desperate sexy man, and hand-painted knitting needles. This one is perfect for an afternoon on a couch with a pair of knitting needles (If you're talented enough to knit and read at the same time. It does take skill.)
Content/Recommendation: Some language and sex. Ages 18+
Staring Into the Sun is a collection of poems that focus on love. Some of them were really sweet and cute, but others were hard to figure out. It's written so that the first line is one speaker, and the second line is the second speaker, but you're not really sure which is which until about the middle of the poem. At one point, it got confusing, and I wasn't sure if the person in the poem was straight or gay, and it threw me. I liked the poems, though. They felt like casual dialogue sometimes, and other times more intense confession. Staring Into the Sun is a light fast read (there's only about 40 pages).
Tall, Dark and Wolfish by Lydia Dare
Genre: Werewolf romance, historical
Published: May 4th 2010 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Lord Benjamin, the youngest of the Westfeld brothers, is a broken werewolf. He can no longer change in the light of the full moon. Horrified at himself, he seeks out a healer—a witch, although he isn't sure he believes in them—and comes across the beautiful Elspeth Campbell. But in order to let Elspeth heal him, he has to tell her everything. And spilling his guts to a beautiful Scottish girl isn't the easiest thing in the world.
Elspeth isn't quite sure what to think of Lord Benjamin… especially when her sister witch, a seer, claims that he will take her away from them forever. She vows not to leave them, but when she meets him… she begins to have second thoughts. Falling in love with him hadn't been part of the plan.
Tall, Dark, and Wolfish was really cute. I adored Elspeth: she was a fun, stubborn, slightly sarcastic character who was strong in herself. And Benjamin… poor broken Benjamin who lost his wolf-ness. I loved their interactions and I loved their dialogue. I especially liked the interactions between Ben and Will, his brother. They're just… great.
The writing was satisfactory… but the accents were great. Elspeth and her witch sisters spoke in their Scottish accents, and it was written with the accent. Although it was a little hard to read at first, you can catch onto the sound of their voices quickly, and it adds to the character.
I was pleased at the plot: at first I was wondering how Dare would stretch the limited romantic plot into a full length novel, but there were a lot of aspects and sub-plots that were woven in, making it an exciting fun story.
Although, all things considered, it was just a tad sappy. But not enough to make me put it down. I think I read it through from beginning to end in about four hours.
Content/recommendation: some language, some sex. Ages 18+