That said, most of these books were pretty good.
"Everlasting Desire" by Amanda Ashley
For our anniversary in May, Matt and I decided to gift each other books to fit into the first-year "paper" theme. As part of my gift, he got me this vampire romance novel, and as he gave it to me, he commented, "This looked like a winner."* Well, for a "winner," I'm a little embarrassed that I really, really enjoyed reading this book. The plot was entertaining, the writing was decent and it didn't have annoyingly passive female leads. There's lots of drama and terrible nicknames and marriage proposals and backstabbery (har har). Megan works the late shift at a high-end celebrity retail boutique, and one night 500-year-old vampire Rhys enters the store and basically falls in love with her on sight. But Rhys can't devote his full attention to her, because there's a dracula even older than he is that is killing humans and other vampires all over the country, and is headed toward Rhys' territory.
*I have a long history of enjoying stupid dracula romance novels. In college, a few friends and I would buy the really poorly written ones and annotate them for giggles.
"Pilikia is My Business" by Mark Troy
This P.I. novel was written by a local author, and was my book club's choice for September. I thought it was a quick, fun read, though for a detective, investigator Val didn't seem to have a very good grip on what she should be doing at any given point. She made up for it in snappy quips and general badassery, so I liked reading about her. Anyway, Val is hired by Brian Macgruder, a lawyer who has taken on a case in which his client, Jean, has hidden away her teenage son Nathan. Jean claims that her ex-husband abused the boy, and also that she does not know where he is hidden so she can't be forced to turn him over. It's Val's job to find and protect Nathan, amidst death threats and murder attempts. In the process, she uncovers a host of angry Macgruders, who value their money and success more than the truth, and who want nothing more than for Nathan to remain missing forever.
"Before I Go To Sleep" by S.J. Watson
I literally had trouble putting this book down. I loved, loved, loved reading it, and everyone should go read it right now. In "Sleep," Christine wakes up every morning not knowing who she is or where she is, thanks to a head trauma more than 20 years earlier. The man sleeping next to her tells her he is her husband, and helps her to re-create her life every day. Then one morning, she is contacted by a doctor, who says he's been working with her for weeks and that she has been keeping a journal that records the things that are happening in her life so she can try to remember. Every morning, Christine reads her version of her history and tries to add more so she can know who she is and where she comes from, but the more she writes, the more she discovers she cannot trust her husband to tell her the truth. (Recommended by Mrs. Fournier.)
"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
I know everyone else on the planet read this three years ago when it was A Big Deal, but I'm a little late to the party. I felt so, so sad the entire time I was reading this book; it was like my heart was just crumbling from page one. Amir and Hassan are best friends; at least, as much as they can be, as Hassan and his father work for Amir's Baba in Afghanistan. Hassan would do anything to make Amir happy, but Amir proves repeatedly that he is not worthy of Hassan's friendship. After witnessing a vicious attack on Hassan — and doing nothing to stop it — Amir tries to silence his guilt and pretend nothing has happened. But their friendship is never the same, and Amir's ghosts will continue to return over the course of three decades, until he can atone for and forgive himself for his transgressions.
"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho
Apparently "The Alchemist" is really popular among celebrities, according to the introduction. It's a simple story of a boy searching for his Personal Legend. The boy has chosen to forego his education for a life of travel as a shepherd. He travels back and forth across Spain with his flock to sell wool, and has recurring dreams about finding treasure in the Egyptian Pyramids. On one of his trips, he encounters an old king, who encourages him to follow the omens and find his treasure, as everyone has a Personal Legend they must fulfill. But once he sets off on his journey, he encounters many obstacles that threaten to prevent him from completing his Personal Legend, and wonders if it's worth finding the treasure and leaving the comfort of the life he knows.
What are your guilty-pleasure books?