Kristen James

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Kristen James: Summer reading suggestions

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is reading. Every mom needs some time to relax and get lost in a good book, and summer (ahem, reading season!) is almost here.

You’ve probably come across Nicholas Sparks’ latest books, "Safe Haven" and "The Lucky One." Both are typical Sparks stories and great reads if you haven’t picked them up. I’ll skip the descriptions and instead tell you about a few books you might not have read yet.

One of my very favorite books is "Don’t Let Me Go" by Catherine Hyde. A little girl sits outside her apartment so someone will notice she needs help. The first person who sees her is a man who hasn’t left his apartment in years, so he crawls out on the balcony to talk to her at first. He was actually in showbiz years before, and she talks him into giving her dance lessons. Soon she has a full, “quirky” family taking care of her from all over the apartment building. It’s such a warm, beautiful story that I can’t do it justice here.

For romantic comedy, there’s "Our Husband" by Stephanie Bond. It’s a funny story of three different women who discover they’re married to the same man, who just had a heart attack. They’re very different but drawn together as they try to understand how this happened to them, and then they have a mystery to solve. I’ll stop there so I don’t give away any plot spoilers!

If you like mystery, and something different, you might like an author I discovered this year. I loved Alan Russell’s "Burning Man" and "Multiple Wounds." The first, "Burning Man," is about a detective that was burned tracking down a serial killer in a fire. His partner, a police dog, was with him and burned as well. The detective has secrets, such as his night terrors from the incident, which he keeps to himself so he can continue working. The story touched me on several levels. He loves his dog and treats him like a real partner. So the main character seems like a rough cop on the outside, but he’s very caring. The book is full of mystery, too, of course.

I really enjoyed "Multiple Wounds" with another detective and a young woman with multiple personalities. Is she a witness? The murderer? Or both? There’s several mysteries woven into the story, and I changed my mind over and over about who committed the crime.

I’ve run across "Moloka’i" by Alan Brennert several times online but never got the book. It looked intriguing, a historical set in Hawaii. It’s about a girl who contracts leprosy and is forced to live in a leper colony. (Later, they call the disease Hansen’s Disease, but the book is true to the times.) At first I didn’t get it, thinking the story might be too sad for me. A while later, I bought "Honolulu" by the same author and loved it – it was the story of a picture bride coming to America. After reading that book, I had to get "Moloka’i" too, and I’m so glad I did. The stories are amazing, the characters vivid and memorable, and the author went to great lengths to make everything historically accurate. He listed all the books he read in the back, and it looked like years of reading!

Maybe my list will give you some reading ideas. Happy reading!

Kristen James is married with six kids. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal site here.

Every mom needs some time to relax and get lost in a good book, and summer (ahem, reading season!) is almost here.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:29PM Published May 8, 2013 10:21AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.