A “Rags to Riches” Story

A “rags to riches” story can be found in  Jen Calonita’s Belles, the story of a girl from the supposed wrong side of the tracks. This is the first book in the Belles series, so if you enjoy this book, you should check out Winter White, the second book in the series coming out in November. It is fast-paced, dramatic, and a genuinely enjoyable read.

Belles is about Isabelle, a 15 year old who loves living near the boardwalk of Harborside and cares for her grandmother with Alzheimer’s. She loves swimming, is a member of her community center swim team, and taking surfing lessons from a boy named Brayden. Her life is changed forever though when her social worker tells her that her grandmother will be going to a nursing home, and she is sent to live with an uncle she never knew existed in the wealthy town of Emerald Cove.

Adjusting to life in Emerald Cove and trying to get along with her popular 15-year-old cousin Mirabelle is difficult, but she joins her new private school’s swim team and copes with rumors and gossip about her from her cousin’s friends. When she joins Mirabelle’s Social Butterflies group and is assigned to help plan a fall dance, she deals with backstabbing from her cousin’s best friend who is out to get her because she is friends with her boyfriend.

The lives of Mirabelle and Isabelle are transformed forever though when her uncle reveals a family secret. If you want to know more, you should read the book to find out. This author has also written the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series.

Want to take a “Reality Check”?

Are you in the mood for a great mystery? Look no further than Peter Abraham’s Reality Check. It is fast paced and keeps you guessing to the very end.

The story begins at the end of Cody Laredo’s sophomore year of high school in the small town of Little Bend, Montana. Cody is very much into playing football on the school team and is ready to enjoy the summer with his girlfriend, Clea Weston. They may come from different worlds, but that doesn’t really seem to matter to them. Their plans are changed, though,  when Clea goes away for the summer to see her uncle in Hong Kong. She is then sent off to boarding school in Vermont, leading to their breakup.

The real mystery begins when Clea goes missing from her school. Cody wants to get to the bottom of her disappearance and heads out to Vermont to help with the search. He discovers while there that he may be good at something more than playing football.

I’m not going to ruin the book for you; but I think that if you enjoy a compelling story with exciting plot twists, then this is a book for you. If you like this author,  he also has written the Echo Falls series and many other books as well.

A New Series Worth Trying

Are you interested in starting a great new series this summer? Look no further than the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. This series begins with A Discovery of Witches with the second book,Shadow of Night.

The first book is about Diana Bishop, an academic working at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. She is also a witch reluctant to embrace her magical abilities. While looking through alchemical texts she encounters an enchanted manuscript, “Ashmole 782”, that she is able to open but recalls back to the shelves. What she doesn’t realize is that opening the book will change her life.

The book is valued by different types of beings, including fellow witches, daemons, and vampires, for the knowledge it is said to contain. One of these vampires is Matthew Clermont, a 1500 year old, who meets her in the library and ends up helping her try to figure out more about the book. Along the way a romance develops between the two and they plan to take drastic measures to learn more about the secrets of the book.

If you enjoy books that make history exciting, books in general, or books that contain elements of fantasy and romance, then these books are for you. They may be long but they’re definitely worth reading. I promise you won’t regret it.

Interesting Summer Reads

Are you looking for some interesting summer reads? There are many books both new and old that would be great to try this summer. My picks are from different genres and include both fiction and non-fiction so you should definitely check them out. I promise you won’t regret it.

1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post–(Emily B. Danforth; fiction): This is the story of Cameron Post’s adolescence as she comes to grips with her attraction to girls. Her conservative aunt discovers that she has kissed girls and tries to have her problem fixed by sending her to a reeducation center that tries to rehabilitate those who have committed the alleged sin of homosexuality.

2. Oh the Glory of It All–(Sean Wilsey; nonfiction): This is one of my all-time favorites for any time of the year. Sean’s parents divorced when he was ten and his father married his mom’s former best friend. Sean’s mother turns into a humanitarian and takes him around the world to meet different leaders to advocate for peace. Along the way he is sent to a number of reform schools after failing out of a Massachusetts boarding school. He is a great storyteller and really makes you relate to him.

3. On the Road–(Jack Kerouac; fiction):  This is a classic road trip novel about the relationship between Sal Paradise and the elusive Dean Moriarty. Dean keeps taking him on adventures to places like Mexico to have his divorce papers filed or across the US to San Francisco. Along the way, Sal, a writer, begins to almost idolize Dean and changes into someone just as restless and eager to see the world. It’s a novel about romance, friendship, adventures on the road, and defying the conventions of the 1950s.

4. The Future of Us–(Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler; fiction):  Imagine you’re in 1996 when the Internet’s still a baby but you get an AOL CD-ROM and put it into your computer, you’re on a website that hasn’t even been invented yet. That’s what happens to Josh and Emma who find that the CD takes them onto Facebook and shows them what their lives will be like 15 years in the future. Every time they change something in their lives today it alters their future lives as well. It’s a great look into how the past and present collide.