Ahh, summer. Vacations. Time off. A chance to escape work-a-day worries and lose yourself in a good book. Given that our blog is “Romancing the Genres,” it’s not surprising that several of my fellow genre-istas have named spicy romances as favorite summer reads. And I wholeheartedly agree that a hot novel is très apropos for lounging on a sunny beach. Yet what’s summer without laughter? That’s why humor is a must for my top-of-the-list escapist reads.
Even better, I can have my cake and eat it, too, since romance and humor co-exist quite nicel. My favorite escapist reads add supense/thrills to the humor, romance combo. Janet Evanovich has the formula down pat with her Stephanie Plum series. How can you not laugh at the image of Stephanie’s sidekick Lulu on the Atkins diet, her pockets stuffed with pork chops (I think I remember that correctly) being chased down the street by dogs? Along with the giggles Evanovich delivers not one but two hunks—the mysterious Ranger and the sexy Joe Morelli—and ample suspense.
Other romance authors with comedic gifts include
Cindy Sample, Ann Charles and Jennifer Cruisie. Sample’s Dying for a Date features a single soccer mom with a knack for going on blind dates with men who soon become stiffs (not in a good way). Charles' debut Nearly Dead in Deadwood is a hoot, again with a single mom trying to make a living and manage romance despite dead bodies and ghosts. Sample and Charles both have continued the hijinks with fun follow-up titles. Cruisie’s Faking It is another of my favorites. It features a hero and heroine who meet in a closet while breaking into a house to steal (for noble reasons, of course). I also need to put in a plug for Blue Ridge Fear by Robin Weaver, scheduled for release later this year. I had an opportunity to read an advance copy and loved Weaver’s ability to blend her main character’s witty observations with real suspense.
I need to tip my hat to some male authors as well. Carl Hiaasen, Donald Westlake, and Dave Barry know how to make me chuckle every time.
So what books do you pick up when you want a summer pick-me-up that includes laughs? I want to keep as many of those authors around as possible.