About novelrambles

Retired after 41 years of working in a public library. Future plans include traveling in our trailer, reading, and sleeping in past 6:00 a.m.

Catching Up on Reading Matters

No one wants to sit inside during such nice weather (yes, I think 90 degrees is wonderful) so I’ve been spending hours outside reading. And it’s been glorious. But right now it’s 101 degrees on our back deck and much cooler at my computer so it’s time to get caught up on various reading matters.

LibraryReads for Augustlibrary_reads_logo_website

The list for August is here and has a few books of note.

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Vox by Christina Dalcher is receiving rave reviews from fellow librarians, many saying if you like Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll like this. Trust me, though, it’s very disturbing.

Louise Candlish’s Our House is a “wowzer” of a book with a “gasp-worthy” ending. For me, it dragged a little in the middle but for the most part, it’s a heck of a psychological twister.

Rust and Stardust is a novel based on the true story of the kidnapping of a young girl that “inspired” Nabokov to write Lolita, but there is also a nonfiction account of the kidnapping being published in September titled The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman. Both are compelling and if I were to recommend which to read, I would say read both and in whatever order you prefer. Me, I prefer to read the fictionalized version first, then see how close it was to the actual incident.

Early readers have said Meet Me at the Museum is a very uplifting novel, and sometimes we just want something “nice,” right? Might be a good palate cleanser after reading Vox and Rust and Stardust.

My Recent Reading

iPiccy-collage recent readsI’ve been reading some terrific titles over the last few days. They are:

Field of Bones by J. A. Jance. This is the 18th entry in the Joanna Brady series set in SE Arizona, and while I still prefer the J. P. Beaumont mysteries, Jance has truly hit her stride with Brady’s character. I haven’t reviewed it yet but if you’re a fan, watch for it in late August.

Those of you know me are probably aware of how much I love a good celebrity memoir and I was looking forward to Todd Fisher’s “tell-all” about his life with mother Debbie Reynolds and sister Carrie Fisher, My Girls. I didn’t expect a whole lot but I was completely engrossed. Check out my complete review on Goodreads.

Linwood Barclay is a master at taking a seemingly impossible to solve domestic incident and wrapping everything up with a big bow. A Noise Downstairs was a bit of a departure but it was every bit as compelling as his previous books. This comes out in August.

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read and perused is Charles Phoenix’s Addicted to Americana. Doesn’t the cover just scream, “You’re in for a good time!”? addicted to americana

Latest Library Stack

It was so high I had to split it into two photographs. I’m excited about A Life Less Throwaway and Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage. I’ll expand on both in future posts. In the meantime, I am working on a post listing my favorite books of 2018 (so far).

Stay cool and happy reading! 

Facebook Challenge: Favorite Titles

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Over on Facebook, I was challenged to post the covers of seven of my favorite books from years past. Well, I’m sure by now you know I’m a bit of an over-achiever, plus, really, I don’t know how anyone could expect me to be able to limit my favorite books to a certain number, so I rebelled and chose ten. Here is a collage of what I posted over the past ten days.

Coming soon: My favorite books (so far) of 2018.

fave collage

 

True Confession Time

Vacay Reading

ipiccy tahoe tripWell, this is embarrassing. Here I boasted about all of the books I was planning on reading during my vacation, and guess what, I only read one of the listed books. I’m offering no excuses except I was distracted by that beautiful lake and the aggravation of the roar of the generators from nearby campers (why don’t people just stay home if they feel the need to sit inside and watch movies on a beautiful day?).

For months I put off reading Chris Bohjalian’s Flight Attendant but after hearing a few friends whose opinions I respect say it was soooo good, I started it and couldn’t put it down. It definitely has more of a slow-burn pace, almost literary in its style, but it had a heck of an ending.

Last year I loved Matt Goldman’s entry into his Nils “Shap” Shapiro series set in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Gone to Dust, and anxiously awaited his next book, Broken Ice and it didn’t disappoint. My only minor quibble was that the ending had a few too many loose ends that were tied a little too quickly, but I adore the character of Shap and the author’s at times wry writing. Those who like Sue Grafton’s style, take note.

Tahoe Hijack by Todd Borg was the only book I read from my touted list and as usual, it was fun returning to the world of Owen McKenna and his “largeness,” Spot the Harlequin Great Dane. My only issue was when the author inserted a dead body into my favorite Tahoe location, Tallac Historical Site.

However, next up on my list is the new Linwood Barclay, A Noise Downstairs, so stay tuned.

 

LibraryReads library_reads_logo_website

Just before I left, the July LibraryReads list was posted, so here is a link to the list. All are worth checking out, especially the new Ann Tyler, The Clock Dance; A. J. Pearce’s Dear Mrs. Bird (friends say this is a wonderful and “feel-good” read); and the deliciously creepy Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. If you like a compelling fairy tale retelling, try Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and her earlier book, Uprooted.

ipiccy library reads

 

Latest Library Stack

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Happy summer reading! 

Ever Notice Book Jacket Trends?

Have you ever noticed how the art design of book covers seems to follow a certain style for a while? One time it was rain boots on women’s fiction, another time it was just women’s legs on “chick lit,” or another time it might have been a certain bright color or graphic. Here is a very interesting article on the latest literary novel trend.

Are you drawn to this kind of design?

For the record, I loved The Immortalists and Fates and Furies, and now because the other books have the same types of covers, I might be tempted to read a few more on the list.

“Readcation” Selections

For years, whenever I mentioned going on vacation the first question wasn’t “Where are you going?” but “What books are you taking?” Of course, it may be that since we usually go to the same place every year (South Lake Tahoe), the one who asked probably felt like it was a redundant question. So since I’ve already told you where we are going (not that you asked), here are the books I plan on reading while lazing in the campsite or on the (we hope) sunny beach.

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I mentioned Glass Ocean in my Sandy Covers blog and this trip will be perfect timing to read it. In the same post, I also mentioned Linwood Barclay’s A Noise Downstairs, along with Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of Her (and no, that title doesn’t refer to a dismembered body although it wouldn’t surprise me with Slaughter).

The Dreamers is by a Portland, Oregon, author and I’m anxious to read as I loved her first book, Age of Miracles.

An Anonymous Girl by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks is due to be published in early 2019, and since I loved The Wife Between Us, I’m looking forward to this new psychological thriller.

Another thriller by an author I like is I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan. Her earlier book, What She Knew, was terrific.

And I figure since we’ll be camping in the wilderness, it’s good to have Bear Grylls around, and no, he won’t be camping with us, but at least we’ll have his new book, How To Stay Alive–OK, so we will be only 3 miles from a grocery store and 1 mile from the nearest ice cream shop, but one never knows; there could be a forest fire or landslide that keeps us away from the brownie sundaes!

E-Reading

But wait, there’s more! I also have a “priority” collection on my Kindle and the following are also in the queue.

When we make our yearly trek to South Lake Tahoe, one of my “go-to” authors is Todd Borg who writes a terrific series set in the same area featuring Owen McKenna, a retired San Francisco detective, and his faithful companion, Spot, a Harlequin great dane. This year I am on the ninth book, Tahoe Hijack. If you want to try these, start with the first title, Tahoe Deathfall.

I also love G.M. Ford and I was excited to see a digital galley of his next book, Soul Survivor, available for download from NetGalley. This is the 11th in the Leo Waterman series set in Seattle but start with the first, Who In Hell is Wanda Fuca?

borg ford

Both of these series fall into the “manly men doing manly things yet also sensitive who treat their women as equals” trope and are good bets for fans of J. A. Jance and even Sue Grafton.

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Others on my list include Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. Her first book, The Magician’s Lie, is one of my favorite twisty literary mysteries, and I also enjoyed Girl in Disguise, the fictionalized story of Pinkerton’s first woman detective.

Last year I read Nora Roberts’ first entry in her new paranormal fantasy series, Year One, and while I’m not a big fan of dystopian novels with weird stuff going on, it kept my interest. The next book is available for me to pre-read, Of Blood and Bone, so I may give it a try.

Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things, was a terrific twisty mind-bender of a book, which wasn’t for everyone but I thought it was very cleverly constructed. I hear his next book, Foe, may be even better.1000

And I just received the stunningly compiled book, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich, and it appears to be a “must” for occasional perusing. Be sure to purchase a copy when it comes out in October.

So will I get them all read? Somehow I doubt it as my usual total for a two-week trip is six books, but who knows. Stay tuned…

Wednesday Library Pile

You know, my intention for posting my library check out piles was to post the photo without words. But guess what. I can’t do it. And it’s not fair to you, right? I’m sure you want to know which books might tantalize and which are brought home because they jumped off the shelf and into my arms. So to be fair, this my library haul from yesterday with words.

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I had Oregon Beaches: A Traveler’s Companion on hold and if you are a coast traveler, it appears to be the perfect book to keep in your car. I haven’t delved into it so can’t tell you much more but I’m sure GoodReads can. I will say the description of “400 miles of coastline” makes it sound daunting, and while on a summer weekend it can feel like 600 miles, the mileage on highway 101 is 337 from the northern tip of the coast to Brookings. It’s still a long slog if you try to do it in a day, so don’t if you can help it.

Tiffany Haddish has added her name to the growing list of new celebrity memoirs told in the form of essays (with varying degrees of success). She is a funny woman so I’ll see if I read The Last Black Unicorn cover to cover or skip around. And like many of these kinds of memoirs, they are usually best “read” in audio as long as narrated by the author.

Jillian Medoff’s This Could Hurt was met with raves when it was published and from what I hear is also good if one works in a Human Resources department.

I don’t know much about the rest of the titles (84K, The Little Clan, Girls Burn Brighter) as they are the book that jumped off the shelf and into my arms, but they all are intriguing.

Now it’s back to packing for our camping trip. I’m almost to the most important part of the planning and that is selecting my books to be read while sitting in the campsite and on the beach. That post will arrive soon.

 

SANDY COVERS: Summer Reading

 

beach shelfWhen I used to empty the library bookdrop, finding a returned book with sand between the Brodart jacket protector and the book cover would always cause a bit of frustration. It wasn’t because it was a pain in the a$$ to remove the cover and shake out the sand, but more the realization the book had been somewhere I wasn’t at the moment, because in my world there’s nothing better than settling down in a low-slung beach chair (I’m too old for beach towels) on a beautiful day and pulling out an eagerly awaited book or bringing it up on an e-reader. The plot may be as substantial as a soft serve ice cream cone on a 100-degree day and have the same amount of empty calories, but we know there’s nothing wrong with that.  So load up your tote with books or download the following titles on your e-reader and don’t forget the snacks, hat, and sunscreen, and head out to the sunshine, even if it’s just in your backyard.

Beach-Worthy Titles

read beach“Beach Reading” is such a popular topic that I created a list of “beachy” titles on GoodReads (it’s here). And yes, summer reading can be whatever you want it to be (maybe even “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace, a book not one single patron I know of has ever finished), but books with bright and colorful jackets that scream “take me somewhere fun!” are most likely to land in my tote, and having an actual beach on the cover adds to the appeal. So here are a few of my recent favorites. (Note: I realize many of these aren’t yet published, which is why I gave an alternate title which is readily available.)

Late Bloomers’ Club by Lousie Miller (July) is a wonderful feel-good story of self-discovery (even after the age of 40) and also try the companion book, City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. Both have appealing and likable people along with scrumptious food descriptions.

A similar happy read is Miriam Parker’s The Shortest Way Home (July), an engaging story about “following your bliss” set in the Napa wine country of California. I had an ear-to-ear grin when I finished it.

Every June I eagerly await Elin Hilderbrand’s newest title in the “Nantucket” series, and while they tend to run the gamut from wonderful to “meh,” the newest, The Perfect Couple (late June), was almost, well, perfect. One of my earlier favorites is The Blue Bistro.

Wendy Francis’ The Summer Sail was a quick and breezy read, and while it didn’t add anything new to the topic of female relationships, I enjoyed the cruise ship and Bermuda settings.

After reading Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams, you may find yourself peering at Google Earth to find the east coast island that was the inspiration for the setting of this book. If you can’t wait for the publication date of July, try one of her other books such as Cocoa Beach or Secret Life of Violet Grant. I’m also anxious to read Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White, but it’s a bit of a wait until the publication date of September.

Next up for my beach reading pleasure is California Summer by the prolific Anita Hughes who has written a slew of novels set near water. This book features the appealing setting of Montecito, the exclusive community near Santa Barbara, California.

Did you know there is a new Liane Moriarty book being released? That’s the good news. The bad news is Nine Perfect Strangers doesn’t arrive until November. However, if you are anxious to read a new Moriarty title, try her sister Nicola’s newest book, Those Other Women.

beaach to read

Chillier Reads

If books fraught with female family and friendship dynamics aren’t your thing, perhaps a book that will give you thrills is more up your alley. Don’t worry, there are plenty of those to choose from, too.

One of my “go-to” authors for a taut plot is Linwood Barclay (and he’s also good for those who like Harlan Coben) whose next book, A Noise Downstairs (July), has been receiving raves from librarians. I’m anxious to read it but am trying to hold off until we are on our camping trip. If you’ve never read any of his domestic suspense thrillers, try one of my favorites, Never Look Away.

Not only is Anthony Horowitz an esteemed adult and children’s books author, he also has a long list of TV writing credits (he wrote for the series Foyle’s War). His earlier mystery, The Magpie Murders, was a twisty take on the locked room and country house themes and is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie. His latest book, The Word is Murder, is more of a linear mystery but with the added twist of adding himself as the main investigator.

David Bell has been around for a while but has always flown under the radar. I remember patrons would always enjoy his psychological suspense books and Bring Her Home is definitely a barn-burner. His next book, Somebody’s Daughter, is due in July.

The Last Time I Lied by new-ish author Riley Sager is more of a serial-killer type thriller and librarian pals have been raving about it. It is a sequel of sorts to Final Girls but I understand it’s not necessary to read it first. This author’s books appear to be good “readalikes” for those who like Karin Slaughter and maybe even Stephen King.

And speaking of Karin Slaughter, her next book, Pieces of Her, a stand-alone thriller, is due in August.

iPiccy-collage thrillers

I hope those reading my blog found a few of these titles enticing enough to add to your summer reading list, but if your thing is to read more literary type stuff like Infinite Jest, please let me know so I can boast that I know someone who actually finished it.

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P.S. If readers find this post a little too fluffy and think “beach-reading” is a silly and meaningless term, here is a fairly elitist thoughtful opinion I found while looking for suitable images.