Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog today, Babette! I’m currently celebrating the world-wide release of my newest novel, My Kind of Crazy, a contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press. I’m so glad it’s a summer release, because it truly is what you’d call a “beach book.
It’s set on Cape Cod (a place I know well since I live here year round) and is a fun, light read sprinkled with comedy, mystery, and a dash of sizzling romance, all with the backdrop of beautiful beaches and endless blue skies.
Several readers and reviewers have called it a “perfect beach read” – but what is it that actually makes a good beach book? Is it having a “beach” as part of the setting? Or is tone more important? Or do you prefer to have a book that you’re able to put down at the end of a chapter, and stuff it into your beach bag to pull out again the next day?
I was an English major in college, and very serious about my literature for a long time. I was one of those people on the beach with thick, sleep-inducing tomes, and a pencil to make notes in the margins. You know, Shakespeare for fun. Even my “light” beach reading wasn’t as light as it could be – I remember reading The Grapes of Wrath and The Lost Weekend one summer vacation in Hilton Head. Not as cheery as it could have been.
When the kids were young, we spent countless hours next to the ocean, making sand castles and playing in the waves. I still read books on the serious side – Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bojahlian had me in tears (and other beach goers wondering what was wrong with me.) One day at the library getting new books for the beach bag, my younger sister coaxed me into checking out a Jennifer Crusie book, Bet Me. “It’s summer,” she said. “Lighten up and read something just for fun.”
Fun, fast, flirty, smart, sexy, sizzling… the book gave me a whole new perspective on what I could – and maybe should – read at the beach. I went back to the library. I took out a stack of Crusie books. Jennifer Weiner and Charlaine Harris followed. My love affair with smart, sexy heroines and feisty female authors had begun.
The main point of reading at the beach, I’ve decided, is to relax and get away from everyday life. It’s more fun to read something lighthearted than something dark and dreary. An element of surprise always helps to hold my interest – whether it’s a dash of mystery or adventure, imaginative plot twists or paranormal characters.
Now, I like to think of myself as one of those feisty female authors. Hopefully, My Kind of Crazy is the first of many more “beach books” – books that are both set at the beach and perfect to stuff into your beach bag.
So, what makes your perfect beach book? And what’s in your beach bag this summer?
Whether it’s heavy, light, romantic or paranormal (or all of the above!), happy summer reading!
Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce.
Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle’s business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He’s not looking for anything complicated – until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls.
Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it’s the kind of crazy that she can live with… for the rest of her life.
She turned to find the stranger from the corner table on the sidewalk next to her. He was much taller than she’d guessed, maybe six feet or a little more, with long legs and wide shoulders. “You left these on the counter.” He held out her sunglasses. “I thought you might need them.”
She looked from the glasses up into his smiling face, and felt her knees go a bit weak. Up close, his eyes were the most brilliant shade of green Kendall had ever seen. Her stomach tightened into a knot and the air around her seemed to disappear, making it hard to breathe. Laugh lines radiated from his eyes and the small creases of dimples in his cheeks as he smiled.
Kendall exhaled, and reminded herself that it didn’t matter how breathtakingly cute he was. The guy was having an affair with a married woman. “Umm, thanks, I guess.” Her voice sounded as awkward as she felt. She reached to take her glasses, and realized that both hands were full with the coffee cup and bakery box. She juggled to balance the large box on top of the cup’s plastic lid to free up a hand.
“Here, let me help.” He stepped in even closer. Instead of taking either the box or the cup out of her hands, he slipped the sunglasses on her head, sliding them through her long curls and into place over her ears. This close, the clean scents of soap and citrusy shampoo wafted from his still-damp hair. Major sparks tingled throughout her entire body, his hands lingering for a moment in her hair before he seemed to catch himself and take a step back. “My name’s Jon, by the way. And you are?”
You can buy My Kind of Crazy at:
Katie O’Sullivan lives with her family and big dogs next to the ocean on Cape Cod, drinking way too much coffee and inventing new excuses not to dust. A recovering English major, she earned her degree at Colgate University and writes romance and adventure for young adults and the young at heart.
Living next to the Atlantic influences everything she writes. Her YA mermaid series begins in Nantucket Sound with SON OF A MERMAID, and continues the undersea adventures with BLOOD OF A MERMAID, coming from Crescent Moon Press in May 2014. Her latest contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press is MY KIND OF CRAZY, a Cape Cod story of second chances and starting over.
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8 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Beach Read? – Guest Post by Katie O’Sullivan, Author of My Kind of Crazy”
Absolutely love Jenn Crusie! The Greek’s had two masks representing theater for a reason – we need to balance between drama and comedy to keep us sane, I think. Great post!
Great observation about balance – totally agree and I’m still an omniverous reader. But on the beach? I try to keep it light 😉
Thanks for stopping by!
I so agree with you about light reads on the beach. My book moods change with the weather…literally. I’ll read something heavier at night, darker during a storm, etc…
One thing I try to keep in mind, when writing; We’re writing for busy working women these days. They often have kids and short spurts of time to enjoy a good book. I try to keep my chapters on the short side and keep the energy level high.
Again, good luck and great sales on My Kind of Crazy!
Thanks, Sandra! And I didn’t mean to imply I don’t read dark or heavy books – I do. But I’ve grown to truly appreciate how a fun, flirty book can brighten a mood!
Love reading light, flirty books during the summer. It’s like a snow cone on a hot day no matter what age you are. Great blog!
Exactly! Just how I feel about beach books now! Thanks for visiting!
Whats not to like about Jenny Crusie? You’ve posted an intriguing excerpt-guess i’ve added another to my TBR pile. Thanks
I can really appreciate this post, Katie, because I used to be the same way–I always read literary classics, even at the beach or pool. But now I mix up my books quite a bit and reading is more enjoyable. I like to think I’m an equal opportunity reader. Your book sounds delightful and I loved the excerpt.