Posts tagged with: Jacqueline Winspear

The 2014 Summer Reading List

Did you participate in a summer reading program as a kid?  I did.  Our local library passed out green, lined cards.  We wrote down the books we read and turned full cards in for new ones.  Whoever read the most books got a certificate.  I never did, believe it or not.  There were people who read even more, and faster, than I did.

PecanTreeAs summer approaches, I always remember those reading cards and think of what I’ll read in my spare time when the hot weather forces me in doors.  I can tell that time is coming.  This Memorial Day has been hot and muggy.  The only thing missing from the trifecta of outdoor summer annoyances is the mosquitoes.  They haven’t arrived yet.  When they do, sitting outside to read will become a mere memory until the fall.

Some people prefer lighter books, ones that require less focus, during the summer, especially if they’re going to the beach.  That doesn’t make a lot of difference to me, as I have trouble reading in the glare on the beach and would be appalled if I got sand in a book (Yeah, I know that’s weird.).  

Summer’s arrival doesn’t change my preference for books in that have happy endings, stories where good triumphs over not-good.  It can be HEA romance or bad guys getting their just desserts in other genres.  The muggy, hot, mosquito-y weather does encourage me to stay inside, where it’s air conditioned, which leads me to make an exception to the TE (triumphant ending) rule by  reading history or other nonfiction.

Like most of you, I have a towering TBR mountain.  I’m always on the lookout for new titles, though.  So let’s talk summer books.  These are the ones on my list.  I hope you’ll look at them and then share some of your prospects.

Clean-Sweep-Cover-Small-e1397775212366I’m having a new reading experience because of fantasy author Ilona Andrews, whose Kate Daniels books I love.  This husband-and-wife author team is writing a serialized novel on their website.  I bought the first book in this series about an innkeeper with magical powers because it as complete by the time I discovered it.  I love it so much that I’m reading the sequel online, something I haven’t done before.

In this universe, inns are neutral ground for all the non-human races, and innkeepers occupy as special position of respect.  Andrews puts a unique, science fiction-based spin on vampires and other shifters that quickly captured my imagination.  The books also feature strong, sometimes steamy, romantic elements.  

Y’all may remember that I don’t read a lot of vamp or shifter books because they don’t generally call to me.  These–and the Kate Daniels books–are different enough that they do.  For info or to check out the sequel, to  Or click the cover at right and read the blurb on Amazon. 

kate1lgIf you like shifters, vamps and magic and enjoy continuing characters, you really should check out the Kate Daniels books.  I totally love them and was ready to cheer over certain romantic details I won’t reveal lest I spoil things for you.  It’s best to read them in order.  The first book, Magic Bites, is pictured at left.

The next Kate Daniels adventure (with Curran, the were-lion playing, a biiig supporting role, I hope), Magic Breaks, will be out July 29.  You can find info at the Ilona Andrews website.

Pure-Heat-300Already out and available is M. L. Buchman’s Pure Heat.  I loved Buchman’s military RS series about the Nightstalkers helicopter crews.  

This is the first in a new series based around wildland firefighters.  I didn’t think it was coming out until next month and was delighted to see a May release date on his website.  I’ll be reading this one soon, and there’s a sequel coming in a few weeks.

For more on Buchman and his books, check out his website.

 9780425270172_CL-250x403Jill Shalvis’s next Animal Magnetism release, Then Came You, is coming July 1.  As with the other books in the series, this forthcoming one involves the vet clinic in Sunshine, Idaho.  It involves a vet who comes to the clinic to fulfill a scholarship obligation, only to find that her new boss is the same sexy guy she had a one-night stand with at a conference.  Oops. *g*  

I’m so looking forward to it.  

Shalvis has a busy rest of the year ahead, with several scheduled releases, including three in the Lucky Harbor series, featured on her homepage.

Since today is Memorial Day, it’s a fitting time to talk about my new reading project.  This year marks the centennial of the beginning of the First World War.  The Great War, as it was known until a conflagration even broader ripped across the world a couple of decades later.  The men who returned from this conflict helped usher in America’s Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties, a favorite era of mine.

So I’ll be shuffling novels and nonfiction about the Great War into my reading list. 

This hasn’t been a popular period for romance writers.  It’s too far in the past to be relatable, some people say, yet too modern to be historical.  Mystery readers and writers have been much more welcoming.

nogravesyet_usAnne Perry deserted Victorian England to write a five-book series on the Great War. The first, No Graves as Yet, will be start my fiction reading.  Opening before the start of the war, it features two brothers, a college professor and a British intelligence officer, who become involved in espionage and a blackmail case while investigating their parents’ deaths in a car crash.

I enjoyed Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries and read the first couple of William Monk ones before I drifted away from reading mysteries so much.  Both of these series are installed on my keeper shelf, though.

The blurb on Perry’s website indicates that No Graves as Yet is about the runup to the war and then about its early days.  The final book in the series is about the last days of the war.  I suspect this series is another that should be read in order.

A friend introduced me to a mystery series set in London in the years immediately after the War.  Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs, a former housemaid, was a nurse on the western front.  Now the war is over, but the man she loved is a tragic casualty.  Maisie must build a life for herself and so starts her own investigations agency.

maisie-dobbs-2014I’ve read two of the ten books in this series and will be reading more this summer.  One of the other bandits likes this series–I think it may be Anna Campbell–and I understand Maisie finds a new love as the series progresses.

Winspear weaves her stories around the war’s aftermath for the people in London, using the losses and resulting social changes to enrich the mysteries Maisie solves.  Her website has a moving essay about her visit to the battlefields at The Somme and Ypres.

Those are a few highlights from my summer reading plan.  What categories of books do you enjoy in the summer, and which particular books do you plan to read this year?

Donna and I will be at the Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together in West Chester, Ohio, June 5-8.  If you’re there, stop by to say hello.