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July 02, 2010

Summer Reads

The TLC Summer Reading Discussion

led by Nancy Martin  Go to fullsize image

It's Friday! And a holiday weekend!  If you're not busily baking brownies and making potato salad for the big picnic (and I'm looking for a light dessert recipe involving blueberries, please) what better way to spend the next couple of days than sipping iced tea and reading a good book on the back porch? I put the finishing touches on my own manuscript this week, so suddenly I'm gulping books like mad. I like to stay current, so what I'm reading is--for the most part--books that are recently published. Your results may vary.

Last week I finished THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender, which I picked up because.........the cover was nice.  Shallow me, right?  I must be one of those readers of Women's Day magazine who always responds to a cover showing chocolate cake, too. But this book is a terrific read--especially if you like magical realism, which is new to me, but I liked it.  Told from the POV of a kid with a strange gift, it's an emotional look at a typical family that turns out to be majorly, deliciously screwed up.  Loved it. Product Details

GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen is not new, but it's a bewitching sisterly tale of love and magic that's adorable and romantic and a little other worldly.  The gushing clerk at Barnes & Noble practically carried this book to my car for me, so I gather fans of this author are avid and rabid. I'm really liking it, too.

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WANNA GET LUCKY by soon-to-be guest blogger Deborah Coonts is a hoot of a peek into the back hallways of a Las Vegas casino with more wacky characters than . . . a Las Vegas casino.  It's a fun caper--is that still a bad word among publishing insiders, but readers still love?  Pour romance, mystery, suspense and a lot of laughs into a cocktail blender and give it a whirl.

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For the writers among us, try SEVEN STEPS ON A WRITER'S PATH: THE JOURNEY FROM FRUSTRATION TO FULFILLMENT by some lady by the name of Nancy Pickard as well as psychologist Lynn Lott. It's a new way of looking at the creative process that anyone who likes THE ARTIST'S WAY will appreciate. Totally new ways of thinking about writing.

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And, hey--what's a summer without a new Janet Evanovich title?  I read SIZZLING SIXTEEN in one sitting, and I gotta hand it to Janet--she always delivers.  Big fun for Stephanie Plum and loyal fans.

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Next up for me is Sophie Hannah's LITTLE FACE.  Why?  I met her Tuesday evening at her bookstore appearance and fell madly in love with her.  She has that snappy British sense of humor, although her books sound like terrific suspense reads.  I can't wait to dig in.

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So?  What are you reading, TLC fans?  And what's on your nightstand for this summer? What do you recommend for the rest of us? Dish!

(Sorry for the posting glitch, dear regulars.  Without Margie in the office, we're muddling through.)

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Coincidentally, I'm going to the public library book sale this morning. The Cincinnati area has one of the premier library systems in the US, and for the last 30 years they've had phenomenal success every summer by selling de-shelved and donated books to the public. They now have some dozen sales around town. It's my chance to try new writers without breaking the bank, or filling in backlist titles in my favorite authors' series that might be hard to find. It's not a big expenditure to buy a $2 paperback, but I've found some really good authors this way.

They also sell videos, DVD's, and audiobooks, just in time for summer road trips.

I just read two Robert Parker books that featured Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall. I might even like this series better than the Spenser books. But on my nightstand: A Pair of Blue Eyes, by Thomas Hardy (yes, of Far From the Madding Crowd fame). He's one of my favorite authors. This title is pretty obscure; in fact, I'd never heard of it until I spotted it at a used book sale. But it's pretty good. The other book I'm reading is Peter Mayle's Provence A to Z, which is making me yearn to go to France. Someday.

If you have not read Craig Ferguson's American on Purpose, hie thee to the bookstore. It's very good, and surprising. Plus he will make you incredibly proud to be an American. Love that dude.

Off to the sale!

Here's a summer suggestion......how about reading the whole backlist for some of the newest TLC sisters? Just go to www.mysterylovers.com and insert author's name......click on "series" and you will have the sequence of any series. Good times with new friends!
PS Signed Sohpie Hannah, Elaine Viets, Hank Phillipi Ryan and Nancy Martin books available there also.

Oooo, Karen, I am so jealous that you're going to that book sale!

I'm reading Sophie Littlefield's second Stella Hardesty book, A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY. Sophie is a goddamn genius, I think. Then it's on to Juliet Blackwell's A CAST-OFF COVEN. I loved the first book in that series, SECONDHAND SPIRITS.

Holly--! The animation at the bottom of the right column is adorable! (But the reader needs to give a huuuuge sneeze.) Thanks for the plug, honey. ;-)

I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is a delicious gulp of a book. I can't believe it's her first.

Nancy, I'm glad to have your reviews of a couple of those, because I've been dithering about whether or not to try them.

I recently finished THE LONELY POLYAMIST by Brady Udall and lovedlovedloved it. I can't recommend it too highly It's sweet, funny, troubling, heartbreaking, and smart,and I absolutely could not resist the characters, especially one young boy named Rusty. Udall writes in a non-judgmental way that lets readers come to their own conclusions, and he's a fabulous writer overall.

Last Friday, a friend dangled a free pomotional ebook under my nose--HER MAJESTY'S DRAGON. I tasted that first bit of crack and I have now read four of that series since then!! If you think you might like your Napoleonic Wars with a bit of dragon in them, this is for you. I call it Dr. Doolittle meets Horatio Hornblower meets Harry Potter. (There's a very Hogwarts setting in the first book.)

Speaking of Napoleonic War novels, last night I downloaded Eileen Dreyer's new book, BARELY A LADY, partly because I think Eileen's a wonderful writer, but also because among the rave and starred reviews there is one that praises the incredible emotional depth of the book. I'm really enjoying it, although I keep waiting for the dragons!

Waiting in the wings: THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF KAVELIER AND CLAY by Michael Chabon and everything anybody on this blog has ever written.

p.s. Thanks, Nancy.

I am almost done with "Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko. It is a young readers book. I tend to preview books before the children read them. For the Holiday weekend I am delving into oldies but goodies, The Federalist Papers. You know them guys might be pretty good writers with a bit of tweaking. Alas, I have finished all of my TLC books for the time being. They tend to arrive in the house, get read in way to short a time and then carefully shelved.

A question for this highly literate gang. Princess one starts third grade in August. It is hard not to say "in the fall", but I can't call August fall. We will be taking her to see "The Sound of Music" in a few weeks. Is she to young for "The Journey That Saved Curious George : The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey"?

Ooh, Kavalier and Clay! Like THE HELP, it's one of those books I'd be happy to read again for the first time. And if ever there was a mash-up--Doolittle/Hornblower/Harry Potter must be it!

Al Capone, huh? Alan, I am no help with the princess recommendations, but other experts here will volunteer.

Cornelia, I'm also reading Sophie LIttlefield, but the first one---can't think of the title at the moment--and her writing is terrific, isn't it?

HER MAJESTY'S DRAGON--is on my nightstand, too! My husband adored it--and he's a big fan of Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian, too.

Loved KAVALIER AND CLAY. And I just urged someone to buy IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER, by Italo Calvino. (Susan, I hope you're liking it as much as I did.)

I'm reading a good good mystery/thriller called THINK OF A NUMBER by John Verdon. Funny--it's so impossible to figure out how the murderer's scheme would work that I asked my husband to just TELL ME what happened so I would stop turning the pages so fast. He refused, but I insisted. Even knowing, the book is still a very orginal puzzle!

You know I'm still reading THE PASSAGE--and I'd love to chat with you about it. At about page 270, it changes, again, completely, and it's stll wonderful but it's different. And I was so--what, scared? disturbed? unsettled?--reading it, I had to stop a bit.

And guilty pleasure, I'm looking forward to Nelson Demille, and to Lynne Griffin's new one, SEA ESCAPE.

And thanks, Mary Alice! (I'm so happy with DRIVE TIME..I hope everyone is enjoying it..)

I'm so glad it was just the computer gremlins that caused the glitch this AM. I thought maybe I was living in the Twilight Zone (the original, not the vampire-werewolf-bella one)

I just ordered L-M-N-O PEAS from Mary Alice's wonderful shop. I know it's a child's book and I have a 3 year old b-day party on the 11th, so the timing was perfect. I absolutely love clever Alphabet Books.

I don't know how much reading I'll actually get done this weekend. I don't get Monday as a holiday (I get an additional personal day which I'm using to take current husband -- can you tell he's on my #$%^&*@ list -- for his 5th surgery in the past 18 months.

I did start A FIELD OF DARKNESS on the bus this AM. It's gonna be hard to keep from sneaking peeks, so I'll put it away until I go home tonight.

I'm also going to get some of the newest bloggers books reserved from the library -- unfortunately hubby isn't working right now (but I am, so that's why he's still breathing) so I use the public library.

I also get to spend *quality* time with my family on Saturday. It's on a beautiful lake and only an hour from home, but I can really do without the drama that goes with having almost everyone together. Hubby is staying home since he can't really do anything anyway so there is one less thing the meds have to deal with.

Thanks for letting me rant. Hope everyone enjoys their weekends and happy reading.

Garden Spells was wonderful! I listened to it on one of my many treks across Kansas 2 summers ago when I was moving from Western KS back to Eastern KS.

I'm currently reading Honolulu by Alan Brennert. It's a book about a Korean girl in 1914 during the Japanese take over of Korea that becomes a "picture bride". So far so good! The terminology is difficult but the author tells you what the words mean in Korean. A few times he doesn't so luckily my boyfriend is half Korean and that was his first language so I just ask him.

I'm also getting ready to read Brennert's first book Moloka'i. It's a book about a young girl with Leporsy in Hawai'i.

I'm also working on The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.

Recently finished The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.

I just finished P.D. James' The Private Patient. And now am reading Ellen Byerrum's Hostile Makeover. Next up is a Dick Francis book my husband found for me in England in a used bookstore. I could have sworn I had read all his books but this is a new one for me. When I finally broke down and read the Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone books of Robert B. Parker, I found I liked them better than the Spenser books as well. Maybe it was because I had read the Spenser books and these are a nice change but not a big change. And besides there are little references in those books to all of his other characters. Very clever tie ins that kinda sneak up on you.

Summer and reading go hand-in-hand. I have a fab recipe for lemonade pie, Nancy. It calls for raspberries in a slub mixed into the top before popping into the freezer, but I think blueberries would be even better. Holler if you want to try it. It is easy and wonderful.

j

Alan, the Al Capone book is great. I did it with high school book group years ago, and it was a lot of fun.

Have not read the Rey memoir. The age recommendation is 9-12.

Oh, Hank, Italo Calvino! His book, INVISIBLE CITIES.electrified me and opened my eyes to the endless possibilities for originality and invention in fiction. It was so inspiring. Coincidentally, that same year I read OVERNIGHT TO MANY DISTANT CITIES by Donald Barthelme, and it had a different but equally profound effect on my view of fiction.

Recently I picked up the Calvino book and started it again, but the magic wasn't there for me this time. Some books are like that--deeply meaningful the first time, and only then.

AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld. Not only is she an amazing writer, she's young and now has a toddler and she is a kind, friendly, wonderful human being. I haven't been this in love with a book in a long, long time.

We're all friends here, so it's truth time. I've already read all the Tart books, and I'm dealing with a ton of transitions in my life, so I am reading total escapist books this weekend. These books are not for the puritan or someone who is looking for James Joyce- thought provoking-serious literature type stuff.

Here is the thing - these authors sell lots and lots of books - meaning I'm not the only one who enjoys them. SO - if you've already read your Tart books, and you want something good, paranormal and racy, try Lora Leigh's Breed Series, J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, Christine Feehan's Dark Series, Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series - you can order any or all from Mystery Lovers Bookshop (that's where I get mine!). www.mysterylovers.com.

Well, aside from the obvious good reads from the wild TLC bunch, I suggest:
the hilarious Spencer Quinn Chet and Bernie mysteries. They are narrated by Chet, a big, sassy dog detective. Start with Dog On It, next is Thereby Hangs a Tail, in Sept.--To Fetch a Thief. Another dogcentric, heart tugger is A Dog's Purpose by Bruce Cameron. I also enjoyed the suburban thriller Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern, a nice escape romance--Fortunate Harbor by Emilie Richards...some books I read from last year that were really good...B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras, Tainted by Brooke Morgan and The Witch Doctor's Wife by Tamar Myers...and of course, everyone's gaga over Justin Cronin's epic vampire novel...and so many others!

Sarah Addision Allen has two more besides GARDEN SPELLS: THE SUGAR QUEEN and THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON -- both lovely.

I've been reading the mystery series by Carrie Bebris, who uses Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy as her sleuths, and her plots are a continuation of various other Austen novels. Lovely tart and sparkling conversations and mordant observations.

I have SIZZLING SIXTEEN waiting to be savored.
In the meantime I read Nora Roberts' SAVOR THE MOMENT..is all about wedding cakes and fondant and lots of love.
Robert B Parker's ROUGH WEATHER has me wanting to read more and collect all of his novels.
I finished HALF-PRICE HOMICIDE by Elaine and picked up KILLER CUTS this week.
I purchased all of Hank's novels.
I have all of Nancy Martin's books.
I love Harley's books
I also have read Sarah's novels.
I am reading Susan Donovan's sexy, witty treats.
All in all I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Andy Williams' biography is waiting in the TBR as is Jennifer Crusie's WILD RIDE.
There are many more suggestions from new friends on this blog that I would like to order. Thanks, Nancy!

Am I a reading fan or fanatic..it sure seems that way. Reading, crocheting a baby blanket and talking a lot about reading is making the days fun.
Have a Happy Fourth, Everyone!!!

MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson - I loved it and hope she writes more.

I loved "Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko when I read it. Just had "The Help" recommended to me by my manicurist. She'd just finished it and thought it was very good. Currently reading the 2nd book in the Wheel of Time series, "The Great Hunt"; "The Scent of Rain and Lightning"; and C.F. Roe's "A Relative Act of Murder."

Hank, I just finished The Passage and basically agree with most of the reviews I've read. Let's do chat about it!

I just finished Anne Lamott's essay collection about finding grace (it's upstairs and I can't remember its title). She writes about her own religion and spirituality with such humor, depth, and poetry that I found a bounty of food for thought, even though I am not traditionally religious.

I'm reading Dennis Lehane's The Given Day and am wondering why I've not read him before. This book is historical fiction set in Boston right after WWI, with lots of unionizing, strikebreaking, influenza pandemic, race relations and more, all just gorgeously written.

On the iPod is my latest Elvis Cole by Robert Crais (whom I've adopted as a fave go-to when I want a fix of awesome male detective types).

Still in the stack are Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna and Malcolm Gadwell's Outlier.

Please keep the suggestions coming! I just got the Book Crawler app for my iPod and can finally build a convenient TBR list!!

Nancy, I just purchased a second copy of The Artist's Way after passing on my first copy.
A man saw me reading this book and asked me what the book was about. He was intrigued by the artist's brush on the cover.
I described some of the inspiration that I have received. He and his wife are artists. Then I learned that he suffers from dyslexia but he was determined to read this book.
Thanks to your recommendation. I feel good. I am also reading Julia Cameron's A YEAR OF CREATIVE LIVING which teaches me the connection between creativity and spirituality. It also give me the courage to post here.
Obviously. I think a lot of readers adore their authors.
Thanks again for everything.

Melissa, I am so interested in what you think of Tamar Myer's THE WITCHDOCTOR'S WIFE. Tamar is a friend of mine, and that was her "book of the heart," and I thought it was a terrific change of pace for her.

Mary Eman, tell more about Major Pettigrew! I am unfamiliar, but I see it in stores.

Debrasue, I don't know how you'll keep your nose out of FIELD OF DARKNESS today. Good luck with that!

My agent says I should read THE THREE WEISSMANS OF WESTPORT. Has anybody tried it?

I'm thoroughly enjoying Maisie Dobbs (I want to BE her!) -- thanks Jacqueline, for a wonderful series -- great characters, lovely writing, interesting insights!

(I wasn't as impressed with S. Sixteen, which surprised me).

I also just watched Avatar and I really want to go to Pandora and ride those flying creatures -- though trail riding in Colorado as Karen is doing would be nice, too.

Nancy - it's a nice story about Major (Ret) Ernest Pettigrew and Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the traditional English village they live in, and what happens when they become friends.

It's a nice comfortable read.

I just finished Sizzling 16 and to me Evanovich phoned this one in. Stephanie and Lula must be eating lead paint chips because they seem to be getting dumber with each book.

Leave a high bond dangerous felon stunned in the backseat two blocks from the police station so Lula can go get something eat for like the 12th time that day? Please. Lula can't wait 15 minutes till the guy has been locked up and Stephanie gets a big enough fee to pay her rent for a year? Come on.

I like the between the numbers series much better with Diesel instead of the worn out love triangle with Morrell and Ranger.

I'm looking forward to reading First Thrills: High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller Authors, the anthology being published by ITW. This week is Thrillerfest in NYC, btw. Is everyone going?

Rod, I think that your reasons concerning Sizzling Sixteen are the very ones that I have been stalling about the read..I feel that I might be disappointed.
I loved One for the Money and was not disappointed until the later releases.
All the Best!

I just finished the latest Harry dresden novel, "CHANGES". It is, as we say here in NorCal, hella good.

Last night I started the thrill a minute book "Rodales Garden Answers: Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs". It's riveting, I tell ya.

As always, my nightstand has a stack of books by P.G. Wodehouse, Robert Benchley and Patrick F. McManus, for those times I need a light chuckle or a long laugh before sleeping.

I, unfortunately, also agree that Sizzling Sixteen seemed phoned in. Geez, pick a guy already, go straight to the police when you catch someone and grow up.

I am starting One Shot by Lee Child today. Since I have been sick and recovering I have found myself re-reading books or sticking with very familiar authors (like Lee Child) as my brain is still a bit muddled and I can't focus on anything too new or serious.

Just re-read the entire Sookie series by Charlaine Harris, I watched the first couple of shows of True Blood and needed to re-read the books to wipe that crappy show out of my brain.

I am thinking about reading Robert Parker's books over again as well.

Marie, honey, I also lost my copy of THE ARTIST'S WAY by passing it along to someone! Did you know there's a lot of stuff online now?

In the TBR pile I also have the 9th book of the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine, Kiss of Death. Yes it is a YA series, yes it has vampires but the characters actually grow, develop and work through things. I stand by the series!

For some reason, my Google Reader account didn't pick up on the new post yet . . . but I was checking in, anyway, so found it, yaaay!
Nancy, LOVE 'Garden Spells'--looking forward to more from that author!

Ladies and Gents, after having told you yesterday I have to watch my mouth with patients and public because of not wanting to offend current or potential patients, I caught myself this morning just as I was wavering on the precipice of a big WTF on Facebook . . . . I blame all of you for my dirty mouth today. Backed off just in time to say a milquetoast 'Geeze', instead. Holly will know where I said it.
Love reading everyone's comments, but have hidden all means of pen and paper from myself just now so my TBR list doesn't completely overwhelm me!

Who am I kidding? All the authors and titles y'all have mentioned will be rolling around in my head for every subsequent trip to B&N and local independents. My only hope is that watching the World Cup matches will distract me from pulling out the credit card . . . .

Nancy: Point taken. I shall retreat to my cave and from this point forward keep my opinions to myself.

FYI: Here is a review I did of your book under one of my AKAs.

http://yoursinglesourcefornews.com/book-review-our-lady-of-immaculate-deception/338/

XXX

Rod/Nancy: I have mixed feelings about griping about authors who clearly depart from the quality of earlier efforts, particularly when the same characters or ambiance are promised in a new book. On the one hand, yes, as Ramona's article points out, beware the impact on one's own audience. But, on the other hand, if I were a series author sincere about writing and not just crassly trying to keep the money machine cranking, then I would want to know if I were disappointing my readers. We all have low days or seasons (new baby, sick kid, job lost, vulnerable parents, big transition) when we can't meet our own standards for any amount of love or money. But, at those times, if possible, we should step back from publishing until we recover enough to deliver a good product. Easier said than done, when the rent needs paying . . . but still.

My 15 yr old DGD just informed me she really likes medieval history so I got her the Kindle version of The Conqueror: A Novel of William the Conqueror,by Georgette Heyer and I snagged myself a used copy. The reviews said it was really well researched and lacked the usual Heyer bodice ripping. I think we will have a good time discussing it and then I can show her the family tree that links us back to him.

A friend sent me Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. She said it was one of the most well written books she had read in a long time and is about the reign of Henry VIII from Cromwell’s POV.

Then there is Nancy’s latest book which Tom loved. And the few tartly books I haven’t yet read.

I also have on order from Mystery Lovers Book Store, Philippa Gregory’s The Red Queen. It’s the story of the mother of Henry VII (that’s 7, not 8). I will then send it to my Wolf Hall friend and we will have merry discussions. She’s done a lot of research on this Margaret Tudor over the years and suspects that Margaret is who killed the princes in the tower.

I just discovered that the last woman arrested for witchcraft in Salem is my ancestor, so I may have to do some more reading and research there, too. More stuff to share with the DGDs.

I finished "Sizzlin' Sixteen" 2 days ago and last night polished off Tess Gerritsen's new "Ice Cold". Now there's one with some twists you see coming and some that will just flatten you with cognitive disconnect.

Mary Lynn if you DGD wants an interesting take on history the book 1632 is a pretty cool read. It is about a US town in the 1990's that gets thrown back in time to the year 1632, yes the whole town and the land that surrounds it. The subsequent books aren't as interesting but the first one is great. Primarily written by Eric Flint. A fascinating look at modern era people and 1632 era people having to deal with each other. A whole other kind of survivor . . .

The TBR pile is topped by a Fathers' Day gift about grilling chicken creatively and building good menus around the grillin's.

After that . . . we're in earthquake country, and a guy could get buried alive with the size of that batch of books.

I recently read "Wanna Get Lucky?" and I can't recommend it enough. I love, love the book. I've been buying it for friends for their birthdays. I even send Deborah Coonts an e-mail telling her how much I loved the book and can't wait for the next one.

I also read Sizzling Sixteen and wasn't impressed. All I could think of was same old, same old. I'm beginning to think that Janet Evanovich is getting stale.

I was brought into this discussion, so feel the need to comment. With the many, many books out there to praise and recommend, why go the negative route? Why did this go from what to read to what not to read?

Obviously, if an author is continuously popular, s/he is doing something right.

I have trouble respecting an author who disses a colleague. If an author's work disappoints you, speak with your wallet. It's more effective and polite.

I finally discovered Ian Sansom's book mobile series, set in Northern Ireland, and just love the wry humor. Also recently finished Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon, which you definitely don't read for the humor. Fascinating-- lots of strands of story that all come together in a creepy way.

Hi, Nancy! Thanks for the heads up on The Artist's Way online. I had memorized a lot of the book content and was happy to catch up with the online site.
Take care!
Marie

I thought of this after my original post (and hey - I'm back to typing with all 10 fingers after getting my stitches out and splint removed - whoo-hoo!) -- Ariana Franklin's "Mistress of the Art of Death" series is amazing. Historical fiction set in England during the reign of Henry II, featuring what amounts to a female forensic pathologist. She was orphaned, then raised and trained in Italy/Sicily, and sent to Henry II to help him solve a murder. Much mayhem ensues.

The research is fabulous, the characters are wonderful, the mysteries intriguing and the writing is excellent. Our Heroine is a feminist, a scientist, a mother, a good friend, and someone who is trying very hard to reconcile herself to being stuck in this strange, new, backward place. Great stuff.

I'm currently reading Jamie Freveletti's Running From the Devil, a thriller set in Columbia(and I hope the first of a series...haven't checked) after finishing A Map of True Places (fantastic!). Before that was In the Shadow of Gotham, an historical mystery set in 1905 by Stefanie Pintoff...good read and the sequel is sitting near the top of my pile. I'm also waiting for Mockingjay, the third in the Hunger Games trilogy and still reeling from Lee Child's 61 Hours! And for those days when I want short, I have Delta Blues, edited by Carolyn Haines and including the likes of James Lee Burke, Grisham, and Charlaine Harris. If I wasn't trying to work on my own book, I'd pull out my hammock, slather on some sunscreen, pour the lemonade and read the summer away! Now I have to figure out how to get all your suggestions down on paper! Have a great holiday weekend! Go Red White and Blue!

Gaylin, I have Lee Child's ONE SHOT in the house..gotta give that a try.

On a different note I must say that there are so many good suggestions here today.

Before reading William of the Blog's tribute to Robert B Parker I had not read his novels.
However, after reading three of Robert Parker's books I must say that William nailed Spenser's character very well.
I appreciate all the honest critiques here today. I know that many readers will agree that hero worship of authors can make us elated or let down depending on the story.

I'm working my way thru the last bag'o books my brother brought me. Finishing CUTTING EDGE by Allison Brennan, then have 3 by James Swain TBR.
Karen - thanks for reminding me of the library book sales! I need to get away from serial killers for awhile!
Troy library has 2 sales a month. (I just have to remember which Saturdays they are. CRS strikes again!)

I both love and hate the days when we recommend books on TLC. I have found some amazing authors from recommendations here (Louise Penny, Jeff Cohen) but I always end up with an even longer list after reading these suggestions.

I have a ton of books I haven't read yet: among them are the aforementioned Major Pettigrew and Garden Spells. Maisie Dobbs is currently on her way from MLB, along with Annette Blair's Death by Diamonds, and Night of the Living Deed by E. J. Copperman (aka, the hilarious Jeff Cohen). I also recently bought the 2nd Flavia de Luce story, The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag. Next weekend, I'll be at Turn The Page Books for Nora Roberts' signing, and I'll pick up her newest, The Search.

Sorry, Kathy - I can't read vampires, but I did just start Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly series, and I'm really enjoying it.

I was looking at the Lemon Cake book too - I'll have to check it out. Based on your description, I'll also be looking for Sophie Hannah. Your description of "snappy, British sense of humor" is definitely my cup of tea. :)

Jonathan Maberry is my new fun find. I loved Patient Zero and am laughing my way through The Dragon Factory. Zombies and albino Nazis. Who knew?

I just finished Sizzling Sixteen, and enjoyed it.

I think Janet E. is writing exactly the kind of story she wants to write. No favorite characters will ever die, Rex the hamster will live forever, Stephanie will never get good at her job, no one ages, and Steph's just not interested in picking one or the other guy just yet - the author herself has said this. I like her style of humor (not as a full-time diet, of course, but as a occasional dessert, it's great), and I think she has really mastered it. I also think she has found a comfortable and appealing style for her romantic scenes, especially in the later books. I look forward to her new releases, and wasn't disappointed at all in this one.

Laura (in PA), I also can't read vampires, but like Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly series. I also like her "Shakespeare" series with Lily Bard - they are grim but satisfying (no paranormal elements at all).

Oh, and I never made it to the summer jobs blog, but I am also a former Dairy Queen employee (three years!), and I can still make that trademark curl. :-)

I'm rereading THE THIRTEENTH TALE. Actually, I finished it at 3:30 this morning, which was a big mistake. I tried getting up at 8 only to mutter something to my sig other about "please feed the dogs I'm too tired" before crashing again. I didn't see daylight until noon.
I love that book! I don't usually reread, but it's for my neighborhood bookclub which will be at my house this week and I need to be ready to lead the discussion. Love the Gothic flavor of the story and the writing and the "what's really going on?" suspense that runs throughout. Now I'm turning to an ARC I need to blurb. Hope it's half as good.

I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale too, Diane.

Not that any of these books are new, but they are new to me. I love books that are series. All of Janet Evanovich-even her pre-Stephanie Plum books are delightful, and I've read some twice. Wicked Attraction, a new series by Janet is due out Sept. 14 and stars Diesel-the gorgeous Unmentionable from between the Plum books. Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble series are a good read. Jennifer Crusie- her older books (1992 and later that I have found) are a delight-a little racy, great if you like that! The Bubbles series by Sarah Strohmeyer is my newest find and I am on the second book. I loved the Blackbird Sister Mysteries and would love Nancy to write more of those. I hope the manuscript you were working on was the new Roxy book! Can't wait to read that.

Just finished "Invisible Boy" ...could NOT put it down; read it in one day...I have been a huge Madeleine Dare fan since I read Ms Read first book.

Also recently read "Little Face" by Sophie Hannah. I enjoy her books so much I am the first person on the wait list at my library for her new one.

Looking forward to reading some of these others listed as well!

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