Summer Reading: Mini-Reviews

I have begun reviewing books to a small group, mostly womem, at our condo. For the next review, I picked what we call a “Beach Book,” something you can read that isn’t heavy or scientific or deep, so you can put it down and jump in the water and come back without forgetting what you were reading. So here are a few titles, a couple of which may be a little more serious than a beach book, but still easy reading. Enjoy!

Angelo, Maya. Mom & Me & Mom:Random House, 2013. This 200 page small (in size) book is an intimate “portrait” of Maya Angelo’s mother, Vivian Baxter, told in what I call a conversational tone. I could almost hear Ms. Angelo in my mind while reading it. Her mom’s life was almost as fascinating as Maya Angelo’s and is worth learning about this part of the famous writer’s early andlater life. Maybe not her best writing, but still enagaing.

I was leaning on the book while doing the cryptoquote the other night and lo and behold, the quote turned out to be by Maya Angelo and mirrors the auto-biographical information in the book. Here is the quote:

My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.   Right on, Maya!



Baldacci, David, One Summer, Grand Central publishing,NY, 2011.  Most of the books by David Baldacci are “thriller” books, but after reading his book, Wish You Well, I realized his range was more far-reaching. One Summer is a tear-jerker novel about a young father dying from an incurable disease. His wife goes to the drug store to get his meds in bad weather and is killed in a car accident. The father miraculously recovers and learns how difficult raising three children is.  There are many mini-crises and a custody battle and teenage trauma, but he manages to overcome the obstacles and even fall in love.  Purely a beach book, but engaging reading.


Davidson, Diane Mott: Crunch Time, Avon Books (Div. of William Morrow). 2012. THis is one of many culinary mysteries, with caterer Goldy Schulz stepping in as a savvy sleuth without the training of her non-complaining hubby Tom, a certified policeman/ detective. This mystery involves a young Mexican woman and friend who is working with Goldy. Crafty Colorado caterer Goldy unravels the mystery of their mutual friends’ murder. Like all her books, Davidson puts caterer Goldy in impossible situations which may lead to cuts and bruises. Of course, she is key to solving the mystery, while all the while whipping up cakes and main dishes for her catering business. Recipes at the end reflect dishes she makes in her food gigs. (I made the Crunch Time cookies and they were very good, but too much sugar! es)



Davidson, Diane Mott: The Whole Enchilada, Avon Books (Division of William Morrow), 2014.  A sequel to Crunch Time (Davidson has written more than a dozen in this series.), this book is about the sudden death of a dear friend, and Goldy’s frantic need to find the murderer. Gulping down double shot espressos and with the help of her friend Marla, she does of course, solve the mystery. All her standby characters are in the book: her son, her husband, her neighbors and friends. Marla is especially close. Both she and Goldy had been married to an abusive husband who dies in a previous book. Glad he and his abuse are out of their lives, Marla and Goldy are really good friends. Davidon’s descriptions of the weather and landscape in Colorado are authentic, since the author spends part of the year there. The book can get very convoluted, because Davidson has mastered the art of combining recipes, mystery, and non-stop events in all her books. Definitely a fun beach book!

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