#BookLover - Summer 2015 Reading

Summer may mean bikinis and flip flops to some. For me, it’s the best time to stock up on juicy reads for days off. I like my summer books to be the equivalent of a nice light snack – like champagne and popcorn. Nothing too serious, thank you very much! Here are a few of my favourites from Summer 2015:

CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND There's rich (millionaires), and then there's China Rich (billionaires and up, up,up). So don't think that author Kevin Kwan is exaggerating about the out-of-this-world lifestyles his Hong Kong characters brag about u2013 private jets decorated like resorts in Bali taking off for weekends in Paris, or entire magazine runs purchased to destroy a gossipy story. Not so, says Kwan, who based his wild and crazy group on true life Hong Kong-based socialities and celebrities. Start by reading his first book, Crazy Rich Asians, to get an introduction to the main characters. Youu2019ll need to read both fairly quickly (not a problem, theyu2019re frothy reads) to keep track of the ridiculously decadent antics of these high flyers. Lisau2019s take: Pack it for the plane and then pretend that youu2019re on a private jet heading to your private island.
THE KNOCKOFF As a former Editor-in-Chief, I couldnu2019t wait to read this novel about the power struggle between a former assistant, now digital guru, and her glossy magazine boss. The story line went off the rails a little too fast u2013 one character gets cartoon wacky, the other remains calm and collected u2013 but it was a fast-paced read with plenty of played-up stereotypes and the occasional flash of insightful brilliance. Predictable? Yes. Empty? Like a fat-free brownie. Entertaining? Of course! Lisau2019s take: If you're heading to New York for a shopping spree, pack this too. It's set in the Big Apple and won't take up too many brain cells.
KILLING MONICA Author Candace Bushnell became a global celebrity and fashion phenomenon when her New York Observer columns called Sex in the City were adapted into the smash television series of the same name. Bushnell insists that her latest novel, Killing Monica, is not autobiographical but, seriously, give me a break. The novel's main character Pandemonia James Wallis (Bushnell) bemoans the runaway success of her autobiographical character Monica in four books and four films. It's time to stop writing about Monica (Carrie Bradshaw) played by actress Sondra Beth Schnowzer ( Sarah Jessica Parker) and write a serious book. From a promising start, the story line falls apart into a messy tale of deadbeat husbands, mistaken identities and just plain foolishness. One can only imagine that Bushnell had a corporate movie executive twisting her arm to turn out one more project to support the aging Carrie Bradshaw storyline. I feel the same way about Killing Monica as I do about the second Sex and the City movie which should never have been made. Lisau2019s take: Skip it and download a season of Sex in the City on your iPad to watch by the pool.
CIRCLING THE SUN I'm a big fan of author Paula McLain and her newest novel about the strong-willed fearless young horse trainer and world-famous aviator, Beryl Markham, will draw you in from the prologue. McLain takes you inside her characters - Beryl is equal parts courageous, prickly and bloody-minded. Based on a true story, Beryl is an independent fierce woman who leaves a trail of broken characters in her wake. One can't help but think that she was born a few generations before her time. She crashes the relationship of writer Karen Blixen and big game hunting guide Denys Finch Hatton who was the heart of Blixen's memoir Out of Africa. This book is begging to be made into a movie. I can picture a young Cate Blanchett in the role of Beryl. When you've finished this book, pick up McLain's other biography The Paris Wife - it's equally terrific. Lisa's take: Save this for a long weekend. You won't be able to put it down.