3 Steamy Reads to Heat Up Your Summer
Even though we’re experiencing one of the hottest summers on record, there’s no reason that we don’t want to get even more steamy when it comes to what we’re reading. Grab one (or 3) of these great books, and head to the beach.
Just make sure to bring a water bottle with you. Things are about to heat up.
Toxic, by Kim Karr
If you’ve ever wondered if the one that got away, the one that made you melt, was the one you should have held on to, then Kim Karr’s new steamer, Toxic, is just the one you want to pick up.
Taking us into the world of New York’s elite (think the cast of Gossip Girl in their mid-20s), Toxic is compelling and ultimately readable, and hopefully a bit relatable too.
Meet Phoebe St. Clair. She’s stressed, worried, and full of regret. Her father is in jail and she’s trying to save the family’s hotel business. This young CEO and reluctant socialite is engaged to the heir to one of New York’s big families. But is he the one for her? Why can’t she get her teenaged love, the brooding, sexy boy-from-the-other-side-of-the-tracks Jeremy McQueen out of her head?
When Jeremy pops back into her life he consumes her—mind, body, and soul. But Phoebe is so afraid he might leave again that she finds it hard to trust him. Can they make it work? Or are they just toxic.
My take: There are some holes in the story, but the chemistry between Phoebe and Jeremy is compelling. And Carr has thrown in a few great plot twists to keep us hopping. If you like a good dirty book, you’ll like Toxic.
Jackie Collins, The Santangelos
When I was 13 years old I thought my contraband Jackie Collins books were pretty smutty. The queen of Chick Lit before it was a thing, Collins gave us a heroine who was larger-than-life, even in the era of Dallas, Dynasty, and big hair. Lucky Santangelo, that feisty daughter of a mobster, had it going on. We just couldn’t get enough.
And now, she’s back in THE beach read of the summer. The Santangelos picks up in real-time: The kids, pretty much grown up, are up to their own antics, and Lucky’s daughter Max is a chip-off-the-old diamond studded block. While the eldest, Bobby, gets himself into a heap of trouble, Lucky has her father’s murder to contend with. There are no surprises here, and in fact, the villain isn’t as crazy and nasty as Collins’ usual antagonists are.
It’s actually not surprising that our original rebel chick has stood the test of time. Unlike the main characters of other women’s fiction of the time, Lucky’s happiness is not based on her man. He just augments it (if you know what I mean). Besides, nobody can give us a bird’s eye view of the lifestyles of the rich and famous with such accuracy as this Grand Dame.
My take: While The Santangelos won’t make you smarter, you’ll have a good time reading it. A worthwhile pursuit to let your brain rest during summer vacation.
Breaking a Legend, Sarah Robinson
This is the first in Robinson’s new series, Kavanagh Legends. We’re introduced to the Brothers Kavanagh, a bunch of street tough, handsome and loving Irish guys who dominate a Woodlawn, a Bronx neighborhood. Literally part of the Fighting Irish, these guys are the stuff romantic novels are made of: big, burly, sexy, and with hearts of gold.
Breaking a Legend is the love story of former MMA star Rory Kavanagh. Injured in his last great fight, this champion is fighting pain, an addiction to his pain meds, and an existential crisis. He falls instantly for the sweet Clare, a tiny girl with a secret. They start off as friends, but you know that they’re bound for each other. They’ve both got secrets, and they both need a bit of healing too.
My take: A light and easy read. At no time did I want to give either Rory or Clare a shake while yelling, Are you BLIND? These are two characters who can save each other, which is nice, and what’s also great is that Robinson has slowed the sexual tension down a little, letting them get to know eachother a bit first. . I would have liked a little more character depth, but that’s my usual complaint in this genre. I can tell I’m going to enjoy spending time with this family.