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10 Fast-Paced and Upbeat Novels to Perk Up Your Day

Posted 12 months ago by April S

Recently, I attended a very interesting Readers' Advisory (RA) training session that was led by Becky Spratford, author of the popular blog RA for All. During one of the interactive exercises of this RA course we broke into small groups to share memorable aspects of one of our favorite books. Many of the people were great storytellers, which made me a bit envious. Then later many others surprised me by concentrating on why a certain book was their favorite, how it made them feel and why they remembered it almost 20 years later in some cases. After thinking about the concepts we discussed, I started to think about the books I've read over the years - why I loved them, what was memorable and why they left a lasting impression in my mind.

The RA course covered quite a bit, but there were some really good takeaways. While most people enjoy a decent plot, well-developed characters and good storylines - it's how a book makes a person feel that is often the most memorable aspect of a really good book.

Librarians often struggle with RA (Readers' Advisory) or helping people find "good books" to read. After all, we all have different opinions about what makes a book good. What I never really considered before was this - just let people tell you about their favorite books. Take the time to really listen to the other person. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Enjoyable, Fun Books to Read Anytime

Below, you'll find some really good fast-paced and upbeat novels. Each selection includes 3 descriptors or reasons you might like the book. This is part of our appeal series, which is designed to help our readers find a good book to read.

Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

1. Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

Working to humanize a sophisticated AI, a London software company employee falls for an equally lonely aspiring writer in Connecticut before discovering that their match has been arranged by her AI charge, a situation that is further complicated by a hostile adversary.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Quirky / Relatable Characters
  2. Amusing / Upbeat Tone
  3. Robots with Emotions (theme)

Campaign widows : a novel / Aimee Agresti

2. Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti

Thrust into Washington, D.C.'s most influential circle when her fiancâe runs for office, Cady Davenport finds an unlikely group of friends in the spouses of other political candidates who have been left behind for the election trail.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Character-Driven Storyline
  2. Engaging Writing Style
  3. Families / Friendships (subject)

An unsuitable match / Joanna Trollope

3. An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope

A second marriage between two people who are head-over-heels in love with each other is tested by the challenges of their blended family, from a daughter who resolves to protect her mother from harm and young twins who need constant attention to two grown children who need extra love and support through difficult times.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Well-Developed Characters
  2. High-Drama / Upbeat Tone
  3. Families (subject)

Mr Gandy's grand tour / Alan Titchmarsh

4. Mr. Gandy's Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh

Timothy Gandy has kept his lifetime's ambition secret for forty years. Now, suddenly (if tragically) released from the hen-pecked tedium of his ordinary existence, he is unexpectedly free to realize his dreams. He will embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, following in the footsteps of the aristocrats of the eighteenth century. He anticipates high art, culture and pleasant weather. He never expected to encounter new friendships - and possibly even love - along the way. It seems that Mr Gandy has embarked on the journey of a lifetime.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Likeable / Quirky Characters
  2. Road-Tripping (theme)
  3. Self-Discovery (subject)

Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris

5. Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris

Series: Aurora Teagarden mysteries, book 10

Stricken with flu while Robin is on a business trip, Roe accepts the help of an in-home nurse who goes missing on a stormy night at the same time a body is found outside the house.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Cozy Mystery
  2. Plot-Driven Storyline
  3. Small Town Life (subject)

The Dead Ringer : An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton

6. The Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton

Series: Agatha Raisin Mysteries, book 29

Agatha Raisin investigates the murder of an identical twin and co-manager of Thirk Magna's bell-ringer team, a demise that questions the innocence of bullied co-workers and a fed-up lawyer.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Cozy Mystery / Gentle Read
  2. Cotswolds, England (location)
  3. Amusing Tone

Lady cop makes trouble / Amy Stewart

7. Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart

Series: A Kopp Sisters, book 2

The best-selling author of Girl Waits with Gun returns with another adventure featuring the fascinating, feisty, and unforgettable Kopp sisters.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Historical Mystery
  2. Compelling Writing Style
  3. First World War era

A Gift of Bones by Carolyn Haines (Sarah Booth Delaney mystery)

8. A Gift of Bones by Carolyn Haines

Series: Mississippi Delta mysteries, book 19

A much-needed break during the holiday season in Zinnia, Mississippi, is upended when a friend begs Sarah Booth for help rescuing a pregnant estranged family member.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Cozy Mystery / Gentle Read
  2. Plot-Driven Storyline
  3. Atmospheric / Amusing Tone

The bags of tricks affair : a Carpenter and Quincannon mystery / Bill Pronzini

9. The Bags of Tricks Affair by Bill Pronzini

Series: Carpenter and Quincannon mysteries, Book 6

With two con games being run by two deadly villains, Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon are forced to split up, but when Sabina's life is in danger, John realizes just how much she means to him.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Historical Mystery
  2. Intricately Plotted Storyline
  3. Strong Sense of Place

The year we turned forty : a novel / Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

10. The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned 40 -- the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small -- in turn get the opportunity to change their future.

3 Reasons You Might Like This Book:
  1. Female Friendship (subject)
  2. Engaging Writing Style
  3. Time Travel (theme)

Related Toledo Library Blog Posts

How to Find a Good Book to Read

4 Laugh Out Loud Domestic Fiction Novels

5 Reasons to Read Everyday

10 Genuinely Funny Funny Fiction Books You're Sure to Love

10 Entertaining Novels That Will Put a Smile on Your Face


We hope you enjoy the selections featured in this blog post. However, if you're looking for something different - try our Give 3 Get 3 service.

What's "Give 3 Get 3" you ask?

Basically, you fill out a form telling us a little about 3 titles you have enjoyed in the past and why (reading, listening or viewing) and our librarians on staff will send you 3 more recommendations based on the information you provide.

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