Category Archives: beach reads

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

book coverIf you’re a fan of old Hollywood glamour, you would probably enjoy this fun, beach read. On the surface I took it to be just that, a beach read, but as you move through the story, you’ll find that the main theme runs a bit deeper. Evelyn Hugo is an Elizabeth Taylor-esque Hollywood icon, and now finds herself to be a bit of a recluse in her old age. One day she seeks out a relatively unknown writer and offers to give her a tell-all book about her amazing and scandalous life. To accomplish what she did, Evelyn was willing to do anything, including marrying seven different men over the course of her life. But at the heart of the book is discovering what really matters to each of us at the end of the day. There were definitely a few surprises I wasn’t expecting, regarding Evelyn’s loves and why she chose Monique for the assignment. After reading “Malibu Rising” earlier this summer, also by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I would have to say that while I enjoyed it more, this one has many of the same elements/themes I enjoyed in that book.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14
Rating:  Recommended
Challenge: A book with a number in the title

Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín

book cover
Young Irish Eilis can’t find suitable work in her small town, so her vivacious sister and a priest friend arrange her travel to Brooklyn, work there in a department store, and lodging in a boarding house. As she slowly finds her way, Eilis must make many difficult and life changing decisions. I watched the movie, then ironically found the book two days later in a mini free library while biking on Kent Island. The movie is nice, but the book was a delightful beach read.

Availability: COSMOS, SMCM, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Maggie D. Brace ’82
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: Book to film

Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry

book coverIf this wasn’t likely the final book I will review before the Summer Reading program ends, I wouldn’t post yet another set of comments on the same series as before. But, I might not finish my next book in time, so I will just repeat my comments that this set of books shows how murder can be presented and solved in a “clean” and decent way, with wits and observations instead of with high-tech devices. Vexing at times because of the reliance on characters reading so much into the most subtle expression, the book does bog down part-way through. But the ending makes it all worthwhile. Enjoy (she said, with her eyebrow raised ever so slightly)!

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Highly Recommended

Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier

book cover

 

 

A light and fun read that seemed particularly pleasant in the hot summer. I will seek out more (older) books in this series.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended

 

One Fatal Flaw by Anne Perry

book coverAnother good read in the new (to me, anyhow) Anne Perry series that features Daniel Pitt as the main character. A fascinating glimpse into the early 20th century when women were just starting their (on-going) struggle for equality and rights. Painfully slow in its progression to the end is what kept me from recommending it more highly; I think I’d have screamed if another meaningful glance was described or yet one more reading of an unspoken message was being told by eyebrows. I guess when forensics was in its infancy, body language spoke louder than it does in today’s murder mysteries.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended

 

Twenty-one Days by Anne Perry

book cover

 

This is the first in the new series that features Daniel Pitt and it was delightful! Crispy, interesting, and just so well written, like all of Anne Perry’s books. I look forward to reading more in this series.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Highly Recommended

 

No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark

book cover

If it helps with the recommendation at all, I actually realized within the first few paragraphs that I had previously read this 16-year old book by Mary Higgins Clark before, but kept re-reading it! (And that’s just not something I usually waste my time doing–too many books to read in life to spend time re-reading one!) There are enough twists and turns in this murder mystery to keep you guessing until the end. Not really dated at all, despite the 2005 copyright. Great summer read!

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended

Fatal Tide by Iris Johansen

book cover




Violence against women seems to be the theme throughout this awful book and it was enough to ruin even the faintest hint of interesting story line. Toss this one back with the fishes.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Not Recommended

 

Cave of Bones by Anne Hillerman

book cover

 

Anne has picked up the series where her father left off and does a great job of maintaining the characters and weaving an interesting story of murder and native lore.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Highly Recommended

 

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

book cover


Written entirely during lock down, this next-in-the-series featuring Dr. Ruth Galloway was truly a summer treat. As a recovering archaeologist myself, I am fascinated with how British archaeology differs from how we do it, but the end result is still interesting and a great read. Characters are realistic, situations aren’t contrived, and the act of reading one of these books is one of life’s pleasures. If you pick up the series, DO NOT READ THEM OUT OF ORDER! This might be one of the few series I’ve ever read in exact order and it makes all the difference in the world–not in the individual murders solved, but in the development of the recurring characters. Happy sigh! Though it does sadden me that I will now likely have a full year’s wait until the next book is available…

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: Published in 2021

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell

book cover

I had missed this book in the Kay Scarpetta series, so it was interesting to fill in some voids. More frustrating than most books about a team, this one had everyone withholding information from each other. Frankly, the book could have been a 20-pager if everyone had just shared. But that’s not the way things work. Make your way through it to a mostly satisfying end.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended

The Target by Catherine Coulter

book cover



A good read with a few twists and turns. If you’ve read any of Coulter’s other books, you’ll recognize some of the characters. Not great, but not bad, either.

 

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended