“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.


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!


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.

roberts reid macallister.jpg

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.


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.


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.




Library Stack: No Words

OK, so maybe I do, but only this one time. Every once in a while I will post a stack of books I checked out from the library (Salem Public to be exact). It is usually a mish-mash of different kinds of books and most are newly published or published within the past year. I’m always glad to hear comments or questions about what’s in the pile.

So here is today’s toppling to-be-read, or usually, to-be-perused pile.




Book Birthdays for May

“Book Birthdays” is the term used for a book’s release day and have you ever noticed all new books are released on Tuesdays? Why not Monday? Good question and there are various reasons which can all be found here.

So today is Tuesday, and in honor of today’s “book birthdays,” I’m going to mention a few new books released during the month of May. My goal is to have a list of notable “book birthday” titles every Tuesday but until I can figure out exactly what I’m doing, this will do for the time being.

As usual, links on titles will take you to either my review on GoodReads or the title entry.

Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. Today is the release day for this terrific death mrs westpsychological suspense novel that will keep you glued to your sofa. It is very reminiscent of my beloved gothic novels but with an updated twist. I’ve enjoyed Ware’s other novels, Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood, but I think this was her best. Reserve it quick as holds at the library are building fast.

Another good psychological suspense thriller released during May was The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy. This is perfect reading for a warm afternoon on the patio.

Circe by Madeline Miller is based on the mythic Circe, the sorceress who turned Odysseus’s men into swine, and it is receiving a terrific response from readers. I haven’t dipped into it but I loved Miller’s previous book, The Song of Achilles.

For more literary fare, Sarah Winman’s Tin Man was stunningly written and is a perfect choice for book groups.

Michael Koryta is not very well known but librarian friends adore him and his books are a good bet for those who like Karin Slaughter and Dean Koontz. His newest book is How It Happened, but give his earlier books a try. They can easily be found on library shelves.


For nonfiction fans, Damnation Island by Stacy Horn is about the early days of New York’s Roosevelt Island and anyone who is drawn to anything about “asylums” will want damnationto grab this one. My library copy is ready for me to pick up and I can’t wait.

Another intriguing nonfiction book I heard about today is The Feather Thief by Kirk W. Johnson. It was published in April and appears to be a good book for anyone who likes a good narrative nonfiction title such as The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean or The Lost City of Z by David Grann.


Happy Reading!

What To Do? And Quote

I finally got this blog going and now I want to spend all of my time working on it. So what’s my problem? I’m retired, right? Well, the problem is I’m still trying to figure out a structure or focus, if you will. I want to talk about what I’m reading along with future titles I think readers will want to know about, plus there is so much literary information I’ve collected over the years to share. Here’s a partial list of what would be fun to talk about–at least I think so!

  • Beach Reads (coming soon since the season is almost here)
  • Thriller Thursdays
  • New Book Tuesdays
  • Mishmash Monday
  • Websites for Readers
  • Armchair Traveling
  • Disaster/Survival
  • BioFic (novels about real people)
  • Food in Fiction & Nonficton
  • Reading Moods, aka “Reading Slumps”
  • Reading Disappointments
  • Psychological Suspense Novels
  • BoBs (Book of Books, aka Reading Logs)
  • Gothic Novels
  • Oregon Authors

So that’s my plan anyway, but for now, there is no structure or formal plan, just whatever pops into my brain.

Since I was a bookmobile librarian for 20 years, this made me laugh.


Reading Everything on Your TBR Listtoo many books

I ran across this quote the other day and since I know I will never ever finish reading everything on my TBR (to-be-read) list, it made me feel rather melancholy.

“I’m a real self-educated kind of guy. I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! … I look around my library some nights and I do these terrible things to myself–I count up the books and think, how long I might have to live and think, “F@#%k, I can’t read two-thirds of these books.” It overwhelms me with sadness.” — David Bowie, quoted in the Daily Beast in a 2002 interview


What I’m Reading Now:


Latest Reading and Backyard Previewing

Joys of Reading Outside

Yesterday was the perfect day to take a stack–OK, stacks, of advance reading copies outside to peruse while enjoying the warm weather. Unfortunately, the neighbor’s lawn maintenance staff had other ideas and I had to wait for their leaf blowers to cease before heading outside (by the way I absolutely hate those frickin’ things). So here’s the stack that I got about halfway through before the end of the afternoon.  img_20180522_145108637

The ones I’m most looking forward to reading are Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance (July), Gary Shteyngart’s Lake Success (September–a friend said this is amazing), Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of Her (August), Gilly Macmillan’s I Know You Know (September–I loved her earlier book, What She Knew), and The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash (December, –I always love a good novel about family dysfunction). I also hear Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey is quite good but I didn’t get that one previewed.

Recent Reading

Last week I read Our House by Louise Candlish, an August release that kept me interested until it bogged down about halfway through the book. You can read my thorough review here. A newly released thriller that did keep me interested was The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy. It wasn’t perfect (the characters weren’t quite as developed as I would have liked) but it kept me engrossed the entire time I read it.

Fans of cozy mysteries set in Oregon will enjoy Ellie Alexander’s clever Bakeshop Mysteries set in Ashland but be prepared to throw your diet out the window. Ellie (also known as Kate E. Dyer-Seeley, author of two other series set in Portland) incorporates not only the day-to-day business of running the pastry shop, Torte, but also has fun with the Shakespearean atmosphere of Ashland. Till Death Do Us Tart is the 8th in the series and as is my usual advice, start at the beginning with the first in the series, Meet Your Baker. Yummy recipes are included.

blog sw bookI’m a huge fan of travel guides and read just about any I can find if it pertains to where I plan on traveling. A new guide for the Southwest has just been released titled RoadTrip America’s Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips. If you plan on vacationing down south, do yourself a favor and buy this guide to take along.

My Reading Life

My next blog post will be my reading life story. I thought it would be fun to chronicle the development of my love of books.

So what have you been reading?




So Here We Go…

I have been threatening to write a book blog for years and last fall announced on my other blog (Novel Rambles) that something would be coming soon. Well, by “coming soon,” I meant eight months because that’s how long it’s taken me to finally get something together.

My plan is to write a regular blog, and by “regular” I’m not sure if that means weekly, monthly, or whenever I feel I have something to say, which if it’s about books would be just about every day. I will talk about books and reading, particularly what I’ve loved (or liked) and what I’m excited to read, or write a “theme” column. For those of you who don’t know me very well, I am active in reading advance reading copies (although now it’s more in the digital format) and often read books before they are published, sometimes up to nine months ahead of time. That means what I talk about will most likely be titles you won’t be able to get your mitts on quite yet but sometimes having something to look forward to is half the fun.


I don’t want to blather one for much longer, so just be assured that I will work on passing on lots of good book information, some of which you might not see anywhere else–for a while anyway.

Also, I’m kinda bad at not finding typos until after something has been published so be forewarned there may a typo or grammar error now and then. Not pointing them out would be appreciated. 🙂

And the appearance and layout are still a work-in-progress and will eventually be tweaked, but getting hot book into the world info may trump those efforts.

Housekeeping: Please note the menu on the right side includes a “Follow” button so you can enter your email and be notified when a new blog is posted. Don’t worry, though, I won’t be sharing email addresses.

And the GoodReads widget shows what I’m currently reading. If you aren’t a GoodReads member, consider creating an account as I will often refer to my current reviews.

So here we go!