Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.
The Summer Reading Guide is here, which means it’s time to catch up on not-so-new titles I’ve been eager to read. This is the time of year when I enthusiastically embrace both backlist selections and bona fide classics—but you know I can’t resist dipping into the new releases as well, as you’ll see below.
I hope you have read some good books lately! Please tell us all about your recent reads in comments.
What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable
I don't read much historical romance, but I am so glad I picked this one up at the urging of my friend Leigh Kramer! The plot revolves a marriage of convenience: Cassandra has seen her husband only once—on their wedding day—and both husband and wife are perfectly pleased with this arrangement. They live separate lives in separate towns, and don't even recognize each other when they meet socially in London. But then they're forced to get to know each other for the sake of appearances, and go from strangers to friends to something more. The stellar sense of humor made for a delightful reading experience; I couldn't get enough of their witty banter. Heads up for some open-door moments. More info →
I was craving a sweet, fast-reading story so I borrowed this book from my daughter's bookshelf. This book contains so many elements that appeal to both teen and adult readers: friendship, love, loss, and books I must admit it was the books that really caught my eye: the story is set in and around a family-owned bookshop called Howling Books, and its special room called the Letter Library, where patrons exchange messages in the pages of the secondhand books. (Psst—you'll hear me discuss this book in next week's episode of What Should I Read Next!) More info →
Black says her imagination was captured by a historical moment: in October 1939, Adolf Hitler visited Paris and stayed in the city for a mere three hours. In this novel, Black imagines what might have happened while he was there. To do this, she invents heroine Kate Rees, an American markswoman with a tragic past who is recruited by the Allies for a formidable assignment: to assassinate Hitler while he visits the City of Light. But when the plan goes awry, Kate is suddenly running for her life, with only her wits and her tiny bit of training to rely on. I thoroughly enjoyed this new WWII story; I listened to the audiobook through Libro.fm. More info →
Since I completed the Summer Reading Guide, I've been catching up on nonfiction I've been putting off. I appropriately picked up this book last fall at Books by the Banks, the Cincinnati literary festival Abbott and I both attended. At the time, I didn't realize the book was set in the area! In this true crime tale, Abbott sets out the story of George Remus, a teetotaler who built a whiskey empire during Prohibition, and was so successful that at one point he controlled 30% of the liquor consumed during that time. I felt like I was reading about a real-life Jay Gatsby. A truth-is-stranger-than-fiction epic from the Jazz Age. More info →
A friend gave me this book back in the fall and it was the first novel I turned to when I finished the Summer Reading Guide. The setup is this: the author asserts that she discovered old journals of Jane Austen, in which it is revealed that Austen was once an amateur sleuth (who had a bad habit of stumbling into crime scenes). In this first installment, Jane's dear friend Isobel marries a much older man who tragically dies shortly after their wedding. It is subsequently revealed that his death was not natural, and that his nephew and heir had also engaged the affections of the young widow. I enjoyed encountering familiar Austen themes in this wholly different genre, and the way the author incorporated fragments of her novels in the mystery. This is the first title in a long-running series. More info →
What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or share the link to a blog or instagram post about them—in comments.