Every Tuesday we’ll spotlight a current television show–and the books that you just might like if you watch it. Here are this week’s reading suggestions based on one of my favorites:
I saw the second season premier a week before it hits USA Network Friday, and what can I say, the show just keeps getting better. The quirky, witty female lead, complicated family and relationship drama, a pseudo-detective element, and fast pacing has me hooked. Kate Reed quit her job as a lawyer to become a mediator a the San Francisco law firm her late father started. Now she’s fighting the system (and her stepmother) one mediation at a time.
When it comes to books, Fairly Legal speaks to the part of me that wants to be entertained, particularly when reading to unwind into the wee hours of the morning.
Here are some of my favorite drama rom-com novels with strong female leads:
Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my go-to writer when I’m looking for some fun romance reading. And Dream a Little Dream delivers a punch to the gut when it comes to both drama and sweetness. Rachel returns to the town that hates her with an empty wallet, a smoking, stuttering car that’s doubling as her home, and a five-year-old son. And then there’s Gabe, a tough loner who’s buried his family. The last thing he need is a young mother with a child to bring back memories of everything he’s lost.
Of all of Phillips books, this is one of the heavier ones–but a lovely read all around. I’d also recommend It Had to Be You, Kiss An Angel, and Match Me If You Can for some light, romantic fun.
The Duke And I by Julia Quinn
What can I say, Julia Quinn does some great historic romance with a dashing of humor and whimsy. In this novel, Daphney and Simon have conspired to play at a courtship to free Simon from the attention of marriage-minded society mothers and their young daughters. But we all know where sham courtships and engagements lead, and sure enough, Daphne finds herself falling in love with the roguish duke. As with all of Quinn’s romances, they’re great distraction reads with the necessary adorable scenes and TV-show worthy s/he-doesn’t-love-me! drama.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Long before Hayao Miyazaki directed a movie by the same name, Howl’s Moving Castle was one of my all-time favorite young adult novel. I read it first when I was in sixth grade. I reread it in my first year of college. And then again after graduation. It stayed its very own sweet, wonderful adventure with a strong female lead that I could buy into no matter what age I was.
When Sophie is cursed by a witch, she knows she has two options. One, she can go on living the way she is, working in obscurity at her family’s hat shop. Or two, she can seek out the infamous Wizard Howl to see whether he can undo the curse. Mind, this is the same Wizard Howl who lives in a black, flying castle and is said to suck out the souls of young girls in his free time.
It is an inventive and wonderful story–part fairy tale, part quest, and all fun. What does this book have to do with Fairly Legal? Character, character, character. The novel has great personalities and wonderful relationship building. And even if it doesn’t have any lawyers, there’s an evil witch out there at the very least!
Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede
YA, Fantasy, Historic
Before Steampunk and Historic Fantasy made it big in YA, there was this fantasy Regency novel about Kim, a girl who grew up on the streets of London disguised as a boy. When a stranger offers Kim a small fortune to break into the travelling magician’s wagon, it’s the deal of a lifetime. But there’s one thing she doesn’t count on: this magician catches her–and he just may be the real thing.
Much like with Howl’s Moving Castle, this book gets a mention for the sheer light-fun-reading value it gives you as you breeze through. This book has everything I have come to expect from Wrede–humor, suspense, and plenty of adventure and character growth. Kim is an engaging character, and Mairelon is perfectly mysterious. I recommend this novel to young and not-so-young readers alike.
Beholder’s Eye by Julie E. Czerneda
Science Fiction, Space Opera
Esen, the youngest in her family of immortal shapeshifters, has finally earned a solo assignment unobtrusively observing a planet’s culture. Instead, she finds herself interfering in the world’s politics, rescuing a human, Paul Ragem, and inadvertantly revealing the existence of her kind.
Worse yet, another being–the Enemy–learns of her existence and will do anything to hunt her down, consuming ships and entire worlds as it searches for Esen’s kind. Pursued by humans who believe she is the Enemy, Esen must keep Paul safe and warn her family about the Enemy.
The story has the kind of delightful unpredictability that I love in my books (and shows) and it adds a very real element of suspense to the story. The minor characters are wonderfully three dimensional and undergo their own growth and redemption (not as boring as it sounds, promise). This book makes the list for the fun adventure and the strong, unconventional (sometimes tragic) female heroine.
Some other titles you might enjoy:
- The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (YA, Fantasy)
- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Paranormal, Romance, Vampire)
- Skin Games by Ava Gray (Modern, Paranormal, Romance)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (Memoir, Modern, Humor)
- Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (Space Opera)
And if you’re curious about the show, Fairly Legal, here’s a quick sneak peek of some fun scenes from its second season. Fear not, no spoilers:
Have you seen Fairly Legal too? Do you have any reading recommendations for me?
Next week, we will be featuring Supernatural. Are you a fan too? Send in your Supernatural-esque book recommendation and they might find their way into next week’s post!
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I feel like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice clearly belong on this list.
From my very vague school memories, I’m gonna say Jane Eyre is too dark to fit in here (the whole everything-is-tragic-and-then-even-more-tragic-and-then-TRUE-LOVE story-line, you know), but I can’t believe I didn’t think of Pride and Prejudice. (Me, I’ve never managed to get through chapter 1, but I’ve heard to many good things about it that I almost feel I’ve read the book.)
I love Fairly Legal (although as someone who lives in the Bay Area I am in constant awe of the travel-time [sic] continuum on the show). I also recommend Connie Brockway’s As You Desire as a rom-com drama with strong female lead if you haven’t read it.
I know how you feel–I’m the same way about any shows set in the DC area.
I’m delighted to find another Fairly Legal fan. Apparently the show isn’t doing so well? It boggles my mind why not, it’s such a fun little thing. I hope it stays on for a little while longer at least.
Your recommendation is dully noted and the book is on my library wishlist. Thank you for the suggestion! 🙂
I don’t know why, either! I think *both* female leads are amazing and their dynamic push-pull is one of the more compelling components of the show. I also love Leonardo and his nerdy gamer side. 🙂 Fingers crossed we get a full season at least – maybe even a third.
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