Posts tagged with: summer reading

Notes From a Virtual Tourist

It’s really quiet in the Lair.  Dismally quiet.  Roughly half of the banditas are in San Antonio at RWA.  They occasionally report in about how much fun they’re having. *sigh*

Sven, Demetrius, and Zach are rotating their guys for days off and doing basic repairs around the Lair.  Sven is polishing the silver.  I didn’t realize we had quite so much of it–platters, candlesticks, serving utensils, vases, even a soup tureen!

SAMSUNGAnd the Golden Rooster is griping because no one is paying attention to him in between his visits to our various buddies who’ve  graciously put up with, er, hosted him.

“We should have a party,” he said.  “There’s a women’s beach volleyball tournament in town.  They might want to come–”

“No,” Demetrius said flatly, popping into the kitchen after a sparring match with Marcus.  “You are not bringing women here.  We always have to stop you harassing them.”

The rooster squawked, and Demetrius’s eyes narrowed.  “Don’t push it, bird.”

So the rooster stomped off in a huff.

Meanwhile, our resident dragon, Ermingarde, is cruising the countryside and the rest of us are working on various projects.  I’m working on Will’s book, Warrior, for release this fall, and updating my website.

In between the projects, though, I’ve been traveling in the easiest, cheapest way possible, via books.  Yes, the trips are imaginary, but they’re relaxing and fun and do not involve airports, weather delays, traffic gridlock, sunblock, strange food, or odd noises from the room next door.

There are so many choices of destinations, too.  We can visit in our contemporary world or check out other places or times.  Or slightly altered versions of our world.

9781455503728_p0_v1_s260x420-250x403I enjoy visiting small towns that remind me of the one I grew up in. Only a small percentage of my reading is straight contemporary romance, but I love spending time in Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor.  The town has its share of eccentrics, but most of the people are good-hearted and look out for each other, even if things don’t always work out the way they intend.

This is the fourth book in the series, Lucky in Love.  It’s one of my favorites.  Its hero, Ty, is an Navy SEAL in town to recover from serious injuries.  He’s just passing through and not interested in getting involved.  Yet Mallory, a local ER nurse (and a member of the Chocoholics) who’s so busy looking after everyone  else that she doesn’t do much of anything just for herself, catches his eye, and one thing somehow leads to another.

They resolve not to get involved, to just have a fling, but, as the saying goes, “life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”  Sometimes love happens then, too.

Sometimes it’s fun to be in our contemporary world but spice it up with a hint of danger.  I would far rather have my danger vicarious (or virtual, when it’s an ebook) than actual.

midnightrescue-125x198I recently discovered Elle Kennedy’s Killer Instincts series.  This is the first book, Midnight Rescue.  Abby is assigned to go undercover and kill an arms dealer who also engages in human trafficking.  As so often happens, however, the operation takes a twist.  Abby must blow her cover to protect innocent victims.  Kane, an agent for a rival organization, is assigned to go in and rescue her.

The plot is gripping, the pace is fast, and the romance has both tension and heat.  I’m hooked on this series.

droppedImage_1Sometimes I want a break from our world, though.  Sometimes I want to go somewhere completely different.  Then I might reach for something like Kylie Griffin’s Light Blades series.  This is the first book, Vengeance Born.

The heroine, Annika, is the half-breed daughter of the demon king.  Scorned by the people at court, she uses her healing gift to gain access to a prisoner, Kalan, one of the feared Light Blade warriors.  Though he is reluctant to trust her, she convinces him to make a deal.  She’ll help him escape, and he’ll take her with him.

Kalan and Annika are brave, sympathetic, and reluctant to trust each other.  Yet when fate throws them together, they can’t help seeing each other’s good points.

This is a beautifully constructed world with humans, demons, and half-breeds.  War always adds an element of risk, and the story sets up future heroes and heroines.

beautybountyhunterSometimes I might stay on earth but escape to a different era.  There’s always Georgette Heyer.  I also like another series I recently discovered, Lori Austin’s Once Upon a Time in the West.  Set in the American West after the Civil War, the series is up to three books so far.  The first is Beauty and the Bounty Hunter.

On a quest to find the man who murdered her husband, Cathleen has become a well known bounty hunter, so well known, in fact, that the man she’s hunting has put a price on her head.  To stay alive, she has to return to her former lover, Alexi, a con artist and master of disguise who taught her all she knows.

Working together revives the attraction between them, but Cat can’t find peace until she avenges her husband, and Alexi carries emotional scars of his own.  The book has a dark cast to it, but it’s also a story of how these two wounded people help each other heal.

I figure readers are never bored.  We can go somewhere else, be someone else, anytime we want.  And without all the hassles of actual travel.

What are your favorite types of  book escapes, and why do you like these types?  Have you recently discovered an author to add to your favorites? 

Summer Reading

16158535Brrr! It’s getting cold here (for subtropical Queensland, Australia, that is). And yet all I seem to read at the moment are books that have “summer” in the title.

Maybe it’s my subconscious telling me I really need to spend July and August in the northern hemisphere 🙂

At the moment, I’m reading A HUNDRED SUMMERS, by Beatriz Williams, which I snapped up immediately after finishing her brilliant latest release, THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT.

A HUNDRED SUMMERS i a clever, beautifully written story about star-crossed lovers in 1930s New York, the lengths certain people close to them will go to keep their secrets, and the upheaval of the stock market crash. Much of the book is spent on the beach in the Hamptons with moneyed young socialites sipping martinis and smoking cigarettes. Sitting here in my ugg boots, sniffling into my hot chocolate, how I wish I was there!

15751752Judith Klinghorn’s THE LAST SUMMER is full of that Downton Abbey-style nostalgia for life among the English gentry and aristocracy before the Great War.

The book opens during that last precious, magical summer in 1914 before the world turned upside down. Life in the English country house would never be the same. Innocent Clarissa falls in love with the educated son of the housekeeper–seemingly an impossible choice, but war changes everything.

And finally, the lovely Lauren Willig’s THAT SUMMER, which is just out and highly recommended. You might know Lauren from her fabulous Pink Carnation series, or perhaps from last year’s brilliant launch into time-slip women’s fiction, THE ASHFORD AFFAIR.

thatsummerTHAT SUMMER flashes back and forth between the present and nineteenth century England. Julia, the present day American heroine, is left a house in England (don’t we all wish that would happen to us?) When she’s cleaning out the house preparing it for sale, Julia finds a lost painting by one of the pre-Raphaelites who had a personal connection to the house. As she delves into the love story behind the painting, she finds the key to unlocking her own memories of the past.

There are two beautiful love stories in this book, one in the present and one in the past. And of course, all the glory of England in the summer time.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, what’s on your summer reading list? If you’re not, what’s your favourite beachy or summer time read?

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 http://demo.ilona-andrews.com.  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.

 

 

Summer Reading

by Christie Kelley

One of my favorite things about summer is sitting outside (when it’s not 90+ degrees) and reading. The fresh air, sunshine, a breeze and a book…nothing like it!

A couple of friends recently told me their choice in books changes quite a bit in the summer. One friend loves romantic suspense, except in the summer when she switches to cozy mysteries. Another friend said she reads mostly historical romance, except in the summer when she loves to read contemporary romance.

I never noticed this trend in my own reading. In fact, as I sat down to write this blog, I realized that my choices are all over the romance genre map.

I just finished a wonderful Harlequin Nocturne, Poisoned Kisses, written by a friend of mine, Stephanie Draven. I read it one Sunday when it was too hot to even think about going outside.

Next up for me, is Do You Take This Cop by our own Beth Andrews. I can’t wait to start this book. I’ve loved all of Beth’s books so far.

After that, I’ll be reading an ARC of Season of Temptation by Theresa Romain. She’ll be joining us in October to chat about her debut book.

So what’s everyone reading or what’s next in your TBR pile? Do you find yourself choosing books that are lighter in the summer?

I’m in a giving mood today so I’ll give away a signed copy of my June release, One Night Scandal so one commenter today.

Summer Reading

by Christie Kelley

Yes, you read the title of this blog right. It’s time to be perfectly honest with you all. I read nothing over the summer. Nothing! Between real estate, writing deadlines, kids, busy vacations, etc., I did not read one single thing. And I really don’t think the newspaper counts.

I didn’t even get to a couple of my favorite authors who had releases this summer. This isn’t right! So now, I’m craving books. Craving romance! I desperately need to read something that I didn’t write.

Now that my copyedits for Something Scandalous are finished and Book 4, (Scandal of the Season) is almost done, I need to read. And I’m looking for guidance from you all.

Fall is coming, except for some of you down under who get to enjoy spring. I love fall. I almost think it’s a better time to read anyway. There’s nothing better on a cool fall day than a fire in the fireplace and a good book. Well, unless it’s raining out. I loooove that!

I started on Janet Mullany’s, A Most Lamentable Comedy two nights ago and will probably finish it tonight. It is a very quick, funny and delightful read. But do I read next?
I need suggestions! I read almost all subgenres of romance. Though, I prefer historical and contemporary. A little paranormal is okay too.

So, I need your help! What were the top five books you read this summer? What was the one book you couldn’t put down?