July 1, 2021
Whether you're heading to Florida for vacation or just want to feel like you're in Florida, these 10 books will give you a great picture of the Sunshine State.
(Amazon links are used for your convenience. If a purchase is made through one of my links, I will be minimally compensated at no expense to you.)
Books Mentioned in this episode:
1. A Suite Deal by Kay Sisk - Romantic Comedy/ Orlando
It's not enough that the perky redhead has been in his way from Dallas to Orlando, but now a hotel suite mix-up has David White sharing a living room with her, her mother and her niece. How's a man supposed to conduct business at the convenience store convention and still have time to prep for a job interview with WOTs-New-Now's president? Somehow wanting to jump ship from his dead-end job has him jumping through hoops for her instead.
2. Paper Towns by John Green - Realistic Fiction/ Christmas, FL
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo.
After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.
3. Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard - Noir Crime / West Palm Beach & Miami
This book is set about a not-altogether-blameless flight attendant on the run from her vicious gun-running sometimes employer who sees her as a troublesome loose end.
This book was adapted for the big screen in Jackie Brown, which was directed by Quentin Tarantino and starred Pam Grier, Robert DeNiro, and Samuel L Jackson! But, if you’ve seen the movie, be prepared because there are some big differences between the book & the movie!
The second book in a two-book series. The first is called The Switch about a kidnapping that went wrong.
4. Beyond Risk by Connie Mann - Romantic Suspense / Ocala Forest
Former Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte "Charlee" Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to the wilds of central Florida would provide a safe haven-until she learns the death was no accident, and she's the intended target.
Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau loves his new job as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he's not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Charlee won't sit by and let anyone else die for her.
As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter's attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide if she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.
5. Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen - PI/Mystery - Miami
The first sign of trouble is a Shriner's fez washed up on a Miami beach. The next is a suitcase containing the almost-legless body of the local chamber of commerce president found floating in a canal...
The locals are desperate to keep the murders under wraps and the tourist money flowing. But it will take a reporter-turned–private eye to make sense of a caper that mixes football players, politicians, and one very hungry crocodile in this classic mystery.
6. A Secret in the Keys by Hope Holloway - women’s fiction / Coconut Key
The last thing Beck Foster wants to do is attend a party for her estranged aunt in the Florida Keys. One month earlier, Beck’s seemingly ideal existence imploded when her husband of thirty-four years announced he was leaving her. Now, she has to sell her house, get a job, and somehow put her broken heart and life back together. She can’t do all that if she runs off to visit a woman she barely remembers.
Or can she?
Accompanied by her grown daughter who also longs for an escape, Beck heads to Coconut Key, where she’d lived the earliest years of her life. There, she forges a life-changing relationship with a woman she never really understood, dips her toes into the waters of a new romance, and begins the process of starting over.
But when a secret kept for nearly fifty years comes crashing down on them, all of Beck’s dreams are once again threatened. Can she forgive the lies that have shaped her life, or will the past ruin her chance at a new beginning in Coconut Key?
7. The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton - Key West/ historical fiction
For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.
After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship but her life.
Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.
8. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow - Disney / SciFi Fantasy
Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies...and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.
Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now in the care of a network of volunteer "ad-hocs" who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches.
Now, though, it seems the "ad hocs" are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents and is replacing its venerable audio-animatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself.
Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It's only his fourth death and revival, after all.) Now it's war: war for the soul of the Magic Kingdom, a war of ever-shifting reputations, technical wizardry, and entirely unpredictable outcomes.
9. Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
Five young teens tapped as models for theme park “guides” (using a new hologram technology developed by the Disney Imagineers) find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Featuring a new cover design and additional content!
10. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
While not set in Florida, you can head to Universal Studios and ride the Hogwarts Express, visit Hogsmeade & Diagon Alley, and of course, Hogwarts.
Links from this episode:
The Literary Escape Society
Books Set in Florida blog post