Monday, 10 February 2014

TBR | Contemporary

Last month I shared with you the Classics I'd most like to try and cross off my TBR shelf this year. This month I thought I'd share with you some of the lighter reads I'd like to read this year, because Spring is on the way!

There are less books on this list than my previous one because I don't tend to read an awful lot of Contemporary, but whenever I do read it I always find I've stumbled across it at a time that I've really needed to read something fun and heart-warming. You tend to find books when you're ready for them, don't you?

by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Last month I mentioned this book in my Booket List as the Contemporary novel I'd most like to read this year. I've heard nothing but good things about Rainbow Rowell's novels so it's really about time I got around to reading one of them - Fangirl is my novel of choice simply because it sounds more cheerful than Eleanor and Park. I've heard wonderful things about the latter, but when it comes to Contemporary I usually prefer the books that are going to make me smile to the ones that are going to make me cry.

Then again maybe there's something huge and emotional waiting for me in Fangirl that I don't know anything about...

by Elizabeth Noble

Natalie and Tom have been best friends forever, but Tom wants them to be much more. When Natalie's longtime boyfriend walks out on her just when she thinks he's going to propose, Tom offers her a different and wildly romantic proposition. He suggests that they spend twenty-six weekends together, indulging in twenty-six different activities from A to Z, and at the end of that time Tom's convinced they'll be madly in love. Natalie, however, is not so sure.

As Natalie's touring the alphabet with Tom, her mother's going through her own romantic crisis—while Tom's unhappily married sister-in-law, Lucy, struggles with temptation. And over the course of six amazing months, three generations of passionate dreamers are going to discover that, no matter how clever they are, love—and life—is never as easy as A, B, C . . .

Contrary to what I was just saying about books that won't make me cry, one of my favourite Contemporary reads is Elizabeth Noble's Things I Want My Daughters to Know, which follows a family of four daughters after their mother passes away. Since then I've been eager to read something else of Noble's and Alphabet Weekends has been waiting on my shelf for a while now.

I don't read an awful lot of Chick Fiction, but I've enjoyed most of what I've read and I think it's a strand of Contemporary that often gets looked down upon by readers who think they're above it, and that's a real shame. Like any genre some of it can be trashy and awful, but there's a lot of Chick Fiction out there that's fun to read and just nice.

by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

You can't go wrong with a road trip story. Usually this wouldn't be my kind of thing at all, but since the release of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour I've heard nothing but good things about it, so I might just see if my local library has it and read it this summer - summer's always the best time of year for a road trip, after all!

by Gabrielle Donnelly

With her older sister, Emma, planning a wedding and her younger sister, Sophie, preparing to launch a career on the London stage, Lulu can’t help but feel like the failure of the Atwater family. Lulu loves her sisters dearly and wants nothing but the best for them, but she finds herself stuck in a rut, working dead-end jobs with no romantic prospects in sight. When her mother asks her to find a cache of old family recipes in the attic of her childhood home, Lulu stumbles across a collection of letters written by her great-great-grandmother Josephine March. In her letters, Jo writes in detail about every aspect of her life: her older sister, Meg’s, new home and family; her younger sister Amy’s many admirers; Beth’s illness and the family’s shared grief over losing her too soon; and the butterflies she feels when she meets a handsome young German. As Lulu delves deeper into the lives and secrets of the March sisters, she finds solace and guidance, but can the words of her great-great-grandmother help Lulu find a place for herself in a world so different from the one Jo knew?

Little Women is one of my favourite Classics, and one of the only American Classics, aside from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Edgar Allen Poe's works, that I've actually liked. No offence to the American Classic, but there's only so many times I can read about the futility of the American Dream.

When I first came across The Little Women Letters on Goodreads I was a little worried that someone had taken one of my favourite Classics and ruined it, so I was actually relieved to discover that this story is about Jo March's descendents rather than the original "Little Women" themselves. I'm a sucker for stories about sisters, so hopefully I'll read this book this year!

by Bailey Cates

Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer...

Okay so technically this book might fall more into the Fantasy or Mystery genre, but it just sounds adorable, doesn't it?

I love an epic Fantasy or Crime story just as much as the next person - nothing gets me excited like The Lunar Chronicles or one of the Shardlake novels - but sometimes it's nice to sit down and enjoy something cute too, and nothing sounds cuter to me than a Cozy Mystery set in a bakery that's run by witches. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy of this in time for summer, I think!

What Contemporary books are on your TBR shelf? Are there any in particular you'd like to read this year? Feel free to let me know down below!

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