“Beach” Reads and Roller Coasters

The term “beach reads” is a bit of a misnomer as torrential rain early in the week and then record-high temperatures later in the week limited beach activities during my vacation last week. And if anyone thinks rain means more time indoors and more time to read hasn’t been on vacation with 3 kids between the ages of 4 and 11. To avoid too much cabin fever at the cottage we made excursions to local caverns and children’s museums instead–fun places but not conducive to reading.

So I read only about half as much as last year but thoroughly enjoyed what I did get to. I am desperately trying to catch up with my fellow Riskies’ new releases. Though I couldn’t get a copy of Amanda’s A Notorious Woman (had to order it) I did bring along Janet’s The Rules of Gentility. A delightful spoof of a Regency (IMHO the best spoofs also show love for the subject) and had me laughing out loud a number of times. I couldn’t explain it all to my children, of course, but now they want to read it when they’re old enough. πŸ™‚

Next I picked up Pam Rosenthal’s The Slightest Provocation. I’m not surprised it finaled in the RITAs. The characterizations are deep and true, the sex is earthy and more real for not being perfect. Sorry, Pam, I know I’m not doing the book justice here but my brain is too fried to come up with better descriptions. Anyway, I recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

On the last day I picked up Loretta Chase’s lastest release, NOT QUITE A LADY. In the flurry of unpacking and such I still haven’t finished it but so far it’s got the classic Chase mix of angst and humor. I can’t wait for things to settle down so I can enjoy finishing it!

As to other vacation activities, I can’t resist talking about roller coasters. Tuesday we had the perfect day to visit Cedar Point: overcast and late in the season, lines were short to nonexistant. It was great fun riding the coasters I rode as a teenager–the Blue Streak, the Wildcat, the Gemini–and taking my kids on them for the first time. Because we had to deal with a lot of different ages in our party I wasn’t able to try some of the new, scarier coasters–like the Top Thrill Dragster, pictured right. I’m told the G forces are amazing. Maybe next year. Maybe.

Bringing this post back to relevance, I couldn’t resist checking out the history of roller coasters. I was delighted to learn that there even were two roller coasters built in France in 1817: the Les Montagues Russes a Belleville (the Russian Mountains of Belleville) and Promenades Aeriennes (The Aerial Walk). You can read more about them at www.ultimaterollercoaster.com.

I suspect it would not have been considered ladylike (particularly for an English heroine) to ride one of these French coasters but wouldn’t it be fun to work it into a story?

So before it’s completely over, what were your best reads and rides of the summer?

Elena, still wrestling mountains of laundry
www.elenagreene.com

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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14 Responses to “Beach” Reads and Roller Coasters

  1. So glad you enjoyed The Slightest Provocation, Elena. And I love learning about the French roller coaster — I might even stick it in my current w.i.p.

    I myself am terrified of them — I only tried it once, at Santa Cruz (to get myself over the fear of it, we thought), spent the whole ride whimpering with my eyes closed — Michael said he thought I might step off it permanently catatonic, but it seems I’m not.

  2. AndreaW says:

    I love roller coasters! I live near Atlanta, so we regularly visit Six Flags Over Georgia and my favorite ride is the new Goliath. Wow, talk about an exciting ride! That being said, I’ve heard so many great things about Cedar Point that my hubby, kids and I are seriously considering vacationing there in the near future.

    ~Andrea

  3. Cedar Point was my first and last roller coaster experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can’t summon up the courage to go through it all again. Like fear of anything, after the first few rides, you stop being as scared and the adrenaline carries you onward to scarier and scarier things.

    Elena: I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all the ones you mention: Pam Rosenthal, Loretta Chase, Janet Mullany, and Ammanda McCabe (twice!). Also read and re-read a couple Julia Quinns, Candice Hern, Karen Hawkins, Andrea Pickens, Jessica Bird, and many others. Thanks to National, I have a ton of books to read. Then of course, there are the new releases…

  4. Todd says:

    We went to Cedar Point a few years ago–it was a blast! The hot new coaster then was Millenium Force, which we had to wait in line hours to ride, but it was truly amazing. There are some good rides in So Cal as well, especially at Magic Mountain. But Cara knows it better than I do, since she grew up riding them.

    Hard to pick my favorite reads of the summer; but if I have to, I’d highlight The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner (really fantastic), and a book I found while reading up for our trip to France: Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals by Cornelia Otis Skinner, about fin-de-siecle Paris. It really reminded me amazingly of Regency London.

    And of course we can’t forget Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

    Todd-who-needs-to-stop-typing-and-start-reading

  5. Cara King says:

    I love roller coasters — went on my first real one when I was probably about six, and my first loop coaster at eleven or so…

    And much later, at Cedar Point, went on my first “hypercoaster”! (I think it was called the Millennium Force, or something similar — had to wait in line for three hours for it, even with the “fast-pass” equivalent! But the compensation — got to sit in the front! Whee! Insane.)

    When Todd and I lived in Pittsburgh, we had a lot of fun going to Kennywood, one of the still-around, hundred-year-old and in many ways delightfully traditional amusement parks…with lots of older as well as newer rides. And then we started watching various PBS features on roller coasters — it’s a very interesting world.

    Cara
    who reads too

  6. Oh ho, I’m a beach read! It’s official. Thanks so much, Elena, and I’m glad you like it. I saw a print of the rollercoaster on sale at ebay one time and was tempted to buy it, but didn’t.
    I don’t think I’ve ever been on a roller coaster. I could stay home and scream without spending the money…

  7. Georgie Lee says:

    I must get The Rules of Gentility. My sister is always teasing me about what she calls my “Polly prissy pants” obsession. Luckily I can laugh at my obsession.

    I’ve been enjoying Amanda Quick this summer. However, like Todd, Harry Potter was my favorite.

  8. Elena Greene says:

    Millenium Force was the one I wished I could’ve ridden. The line wasn’t bad, about 20 minutes, but like I said, we had to take turns having some adults ride and some watch the smaller children. Next year it’ll be my turn.

  9. Tracy Grant says:

    Pam, the Santa Cruz roller coaster was the first I ever went on and one of the last. I was rather excited (at the age of about eight) to have proved I could do it but didn’t see any particular need to repeat the expeience :-). On a trip to Marriott’s Great America in 7th grade I spent most of the day holding m friends’ coats.

    I just got back from five days at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival–lots of glorious theater–two shows a day most days–but not a lot of reading time. I think my favorite read this summr was Henry James’s “The Portrait of a Lady”, a book I’d been meaning to read for years. I’m still thinking about and how toward the end it took on the page-turning quality of a mystery, only the mystery I was trying to unravel was what drove the characters. I’m currently reading Candice Hern’s “Lady Be Bad” and totally absorbed in the wonderful world she’s created.

  10. Diane Gaston says:

    Sigh! I just do not “do” roller coasters. The last time I rode one was a brazillion years ago at Kings Dominion on The Rebel Yell (politically incorrect old style wooden roller coaster). I still remember a rational part of my mind saying, “When this is done, you never have to ride another roller coaster again.” I never have, even when at Busch Gardens a woman unknown to me begged me to ride a coaster with her. I had not accompanied my 11 year old son on the darn thing, why did she I’d go with her?
    Sigh…Pam’s book is another I want to read…

  11. Georgie Lee, I love that painting!

    I also don’t do roller coasters–too much a scaredy cat. πŸ™‚

    Tracy, I’d love to hear about all the plays you attended! (I’m a Shakespeare fanatic, LOL)

  12. Tracy Grant says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Great to talk to another Shakespeare fanatic! Veering off the blog topic, we saw As You Like It, The Tempest, Taming, of the Shrew, and Romen and Juliet . As You Like It was set during the Depression, which somehow made the running off to the forest and the dangers of cold as hunger and cold very real as well as having a lovely lyrcial quality. The Tempest was magical, with the Prospero/Ariel/Caliban dynamic particularly well done. Taming of the Shrew was fairly traditional by had a nice sense that Petruchio and Kate were turning the tables on everyone else. Romeo and Juliet had the adults in Renaissance dress and the younger generation in modern dress, which I wasn’t sure I’d like but worked beautifully in setting off the generational divide. The first act was quite brilliant (possibly best blacony scene I’ve ever seen), but I didn’t think Romeo and Juliet grew and changed enough in the second act. We also saw a brilliant production of Tartuffe and two new plays, Distracted (about parents coping with a kid diagnosed with ADHD, it was touching, thought-provoking, and quite funny) and Tracy’s Tiger (a musical based on a Saroyvan story, whimsical, echanting, and also very touching).

  13. Thanks so much for sharing, Tracy! I think it is so fascinating the variety of POVs directors and actors can take with Shakespeare (and how sometimes the “innovative” versions are brilliant, and sometimes fall totally flat!). I am totally envious of your vacation. πŸ™‚

  14. Lois says:

    About those roller coasters. . . I avoid them at all costs. Besides, I rather figure life is enough of one, so why go on one that breaks all the laws of physics (okay, not really, but still. . . LOL) πŸ™‚

    As for reading in summer. . . well, ever since we went to see Phantom, things have gone downhill from there, so I just haven’t been able to afford a trip to the bookstore for any of my August list or at this point, September list, so I’ve been catching up on other books and rereading. . .

    I now have finished all of Jane’s books and all the movies I have of the books. Sniff. . . I miss them already. LOL πŸ™‚

    the last book was a reread of Susan Kay’s Phantom. . . love that one. πŸ™‚

    I obviously haven’t gotten Lady Be Bad, but I am going to reread Her Scandalous Affair in a couple of books; loved that when I first read it when it came out. . . alas, since then, I don’t remember it! LOL πŸ™‚

    Oh, and I loved the Leslie Howard movie, so I really wanted to read the actual Scarlet Pimpernell (and also loving Lauren Willig’s books as well), and the book amazed me! Loved it! And was amazed that while the movie wasn’t exactly like the book, it was still a lot more than I expected and still think it was great. πŸ™‚

    And since I’m going off the top of my head with this and not looking up what I read, that’s all I can think of right now. πŸ™‚

    Lois, who will get The Rules of Gentility, promise! πŸ™‚

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