Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. This week’s prompt is Books That Make Me Smile (For any reason! Maybe tell us why? Submitted by Julia @ pagesforthoughts)
Hello Readers! I’m pretty sure I’ve shared all of these books at one time or another, but with today’s prompt, I wanted to focus on books I own, pulling them right off my shelves. It’s the books that I keep and buy physical copies of (even when I own the ebook) that are truly the ones that have made me smile. 🙂
One For the Money by Janet Evanovich
Synopsis: You’ve lost your job as a department store lingerie buyer, your car’s been repossessed, and most of your furniture and small appliances have been sold off to pay last month’s rent. Now the rent is due again. And you live in New Jersey. What do you do?
If you’re Stephanie Plum, you become a bounty hunter. But not just a nickel-and-dime bounty hunter; you go after the big money. That means a cop gone bad. And not just any cop. She goes after Joe Morelli, a disgraced former vice cop who is also the man who took Stephanie’s virginity at age 16 and then wrote details on a bathroom wall. With pride and rent money on the line, Plum plunges headlong into her first case, one that pits her against ruthless adversaries – people who’d rather kill than lose.
If you saw my Top Ten Tuesday from last week, Janet Evanovich made my list of top read authors. And this is the book that started it all. I smiled and laughed so much while reading One For the Money.
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Synopsis: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.
Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.
As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.
This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper’s most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not.
This is Where I Leave You made Jonathan Tropper an auto-buy author for me. I’m still trying to work through all his other books. And this book has been adapted into a film starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, which I thought stuck pretty close to the book. But read the book first! 😉
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Synopsis: David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother’s wedding. He mops his sister’s floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn’t it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives — a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.
I’ll let my review speak for itself: “The first three essays in this collection had me cry-laughing. And I’d read two of them before in Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice. Then I proceeded to read them out loud to my husband over breakfast when I began cry-laughing again and he had to finish for me. While all the selections in this book are not laugh-out-loud funny, they are poignant and thought-provoking, and will have you looking at the mundane things of life with a new light. And when I grow up, I want to write like David Sedaris.”
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Synopsis: A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
If you’re a follower, you’re probably tired of me sharing Beach Read. But if ever a book made me smile, it’s this one. I’m determined to convince every one to read it. 😉
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Synopsis: There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…
Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.
But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.
Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…
I’ll let my review speak for itself again: “I love books about vineyards. If I knew anything about grapes or wine or growing things outside, I would love to own a vineyard. I guess you could say it’s my dream occupation. But since I’ll probably never own a vineyard, I can live vicariously through books about them. Eight Hundred Grapes is a lovely little novel about love and life and how having one doesn’t mean the other will be easy.”
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Synopsis: In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
While I own the hardback, I listened to the audiobook. I also highly recommend her other book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? But I think listening to them made them even better. I was laughing out loud.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Synopsis: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.
But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.
As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
I love this entire series, and I just finally finished it this year. I don’t know what took me so long. Lots of warm feelings and smiles while reading this one. <3
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Synopsis: Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
While the subject matter is a very serious one, I smiled so much during this book. It was the book that started my love of Katherine Center, and everything I’ve read from her has made me smile. (Her most recent book, What You Wish For, is available today!)
The High Season by Judy Blundell
Synopsis: “A wry, often hilarious story of a woman trying to keep it together when everything is going so, so wrong.”–Real Simple
No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Located by the sea in a quiet Long Island village, the house is her nest egg–the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.
It’s Memorial Day weekend and the start of what Jem calls “the summer bummer” the family’s annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. Adeline Clay is elegant and connected–and will never need to worry about money. Before long, she demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie’s life. Is Adeline just being her fabulous self, or is she out to take what she wants?
When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie’s old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same–least of all Ruthie.
From my review: “This book gave me all the feels. I love books that masquerade as simple beach/chicklit books, but under that eye-catching, gorgeous cover they’re really books that will make you take a step back and examine yourself and the world around you—while also being the entertaining beach read you crave.”
Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
Synopsis: Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.
Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
Okay, so this is my current read, but I’ve been smiling since I started it. Admittedly, I think I’m a little old for some of the slang, but I’m having fun anyway. I’m not sure the author intended it to be satirical, but that’s how I’m reading it. I’m not thinking too hard about it, just enjoying it.
Have you read any of these? What book has made you smile the most? Let me know in the comments!