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July 24, 2017

July's Reading Round Up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

Updated: 7/31/2017:
I finished as couple more books last week so I thought I would update. Even without audiobooks I read 7 books. I did checkout an audiobook on Friday (the HVAC system was down at work and it was so completely silent in my office I thought I would go crazy!) I should finish it today. I'm really pleased with my reading progress this summer.

I have been reading 8 or 9 books a month, but this month it looks like I'm only going to read 5, maybe 6 books (I still have a week!). Work has been really busy with long hours on the computer which makes my eyes tired. Also, I haven't listened to any audiobooks this month. I'm on the wait list for 2 at the library (one is Victoria, which I started last month but then when on vacation and didn't get it finished before it was due back). Also, I've been listening to the lectures on Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction on It's been really enjoyable.

So here are the books I've read, am reading, and will read for the month of July. See if you can spot my summer reading trend (which was totally not planned on my part).

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.


In ebook...

Girl in the Snow
Girl in the Snow by Danya Kukafka
I got a jump on a number of review copies that come out August 1. Girl in Snow is an interesting read. It was a bit different kind of psychological thriller than I normally read. I didn't really feel get the thrill I usually do from a thriller, but the mystery was good and kept me guessing.

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.

Buy Girl in the Snow at Amazon

Links by Lisa Becker
I've had this ARC since May and I thought I had missed the release date for it, so I was happily surprised when I went to add it to my currently reading shelf at Goodreads that it doesn't come out until August 1st. I love serendipitous moments like that. Anyways, this is an adorable story and one of the best romantic chase stories that I've ever read. I didn't roll my eyes once!

Charlotte Windham, a nerdy high school prodigy who tutored classmates to earn money for college, escapes her geeky past to become a celebrated novelist. During a chance encounter at a Los Angeles restaurant 15 years after high school, she reconnects with her secret crush, Garrett Stephens, the popular star athlete and teen heart breaker. Garrett, still leaving broken hearts in his wake, is now a successful professional golfer who recently suffered a possible career-ending shoulder injury. As he and Charlotte spend time together, developing a friendship based on mutual respect and comfortable companionship, can Charlotte forgive the past and can Garrett reform his lothario ways for a chance at love?

Buy Links at Amazon

Southern Spirits
Southern Spirits by Angie Fox
I've been on a sort of cozy mystery kick lately and before summer started I went looking for cozy mysteries to read. I picked this one up from the top free ebooks list and then sort of forgot about it. I arrived early to a meeting and wouldn't you know it that my Nook was dead?! So I pulled out my phone (which I hate reading on) and pulled this one up. It sucked me right in with its lightness. A perfect cozy mystery.

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity put an end to the disturbances. But soon Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms.

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

Buy Southern Spirits at Amazon

A Sudden Gust of Gravity
A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris
I went into the depts of by ebook ARC vault and pulled this one out from 2015. I'm not very far into it as I've been focused on my book club book, but I really liked the opening and can't wait to get back to the story.

Christina Davenport, waitressing to pay the bills, has given up on becoming a magician—until she meets the mesmerizing Reynaldo the Magnificent. He offers her a job as his assistant in his magic and juggling show. She takes it, hoping she can revive her dream without cutting his giant ego in half.

Devon Park, a surgical resident escaping his own problems, visits the street performers in downtown Boston. But the young doctor worries that the bruises beneath Christina’s makeup go deeper than the training accident she professes.

Suspecting the doctor’s interest is more than clinical, the mercurial magician attempts to tighten his grip on Christina. Now she needs to decide—is the opportunity Reynaldo offers worth the price of admission?

Buy A Sudden Gust of Gravity at Amazon

In print...

As Chminey Sweepers Come to Dust
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
Several of my followers mentioned loving this series, and I think if I had started at the beginning I would have loved it too.  Unfortunately, I didn't start at the beginning and instead started with this one, book 7. I found it on the bargain shelf of my local B&N and picked it up as pool book (books I read in the pool and don't mind if they get a little wet). Books in series should be more clearly marked. But with all that in mind, I did enjoy the story. I loved the use of vocabulary in this middled grades novel. It felt a bit like an English Nancy Drew, though I don't think there were any secret societies that Nancy was a part of.

Hard on the heels of the return of her mother’s body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.

No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.

Buy As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust at Amazon

Death of a Policeman
Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton
I discovered M.C. Beaton when I checked out Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Quiche from the library several months ago. I absolutely loved the book and Beaton's fun storytelling. So when I saw Death of a Policeman on the bookstore's bargain shelf I quickly snapped it up for a pool book. Though I haven't read any other books in her Hamish Macbeth series (this is book #29 - do you see a trend this summer?) I loved it and can't wait to find more Hamish Macbeth books. M.C. Beaton is definitely one of my favorite new-to-me authors this year. I have one more book of hers in my summer reading pile.

Local police stations all over the Scottish Highlands are being threatened with closure. This presents the perfect opportunity for Detective Chief Inspector Blair, who would love nothing more than to get rid of Sergeant Hamish Macbeth. Blair suggests that Cyril Sessions, a keen young police officer, visit the town of Lochdubh to monitor exactly what Macbeth does every day. Macbeth hears about Blair's plan and is prepared to insure that Cyril returns back to headquarters with a full report. But Cyril is soon found dead and Hamish quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

Buy Death of a Policeman at Amazon

American War
American War by Omar El Akkad
There is a post-apocalyptic book club at a local library and I've always wanted to go to a book club. I enjoy dysptopian and post-apocalyptic novels so I thought this would a great one to try. I wish I was enjoying the book more. While the narrator introduced in the prologue does live in a post-apocalyptic era, the story itself (so far and I'm halfway through it) does not. Instead, it takes place during the 2nd American Civil War. This would be fine if the premise wasn't so thin. It seems like the author is just staying on the surface and there is so much more politically he could explore. 

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war – part of the Miraculous Generation – now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family’s role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

Buy Amercian War at Amazon

Currently Reading

In print...

Definitely Dead
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
My 4th pool book of the summer. I found this in a sorting through a stack of books I bought in the spring at the library book sale. I have a confession: I have never read a Sookie Stackhouse book. I'm not really into vampires or paranormal stories, but when I saw it on the table during the 'all the books you can put in a bag'  sale I thought "why not?". (I didn't watch True Blood either. I tried one episode when it came to Amazon Prime, but there was too much graphic sex for me that I didn't watch more than 15 minutes.) I started the book (of course, it is book #6) this weekend, and it is cute so far.

Since Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has so few living relatives, she hates to lose one - even her cousin Hadley, undead consort of the vampire Queen of Louisiana. Hadley's left everything she has to Sookie, but claiming that inheritance has a high risk factor. Some people don't want her looking too deeply into Hadley's past, or Hadley's possessions. And they're prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. Whoever it is, they're definitely dangerous - and Sookie's life is definitely on the line...

Buy Definitely Dead at Amazon

In audio...

As the Pig Turns
As the Pig Turns by M.C. Beaton
I noticed the digital library had added an Agatha Raisin title to its collection and I couldn't help but check it out. These are great to listen to. They are fun, but nothing too deep so I can keep working. The characters are wonderful and colorful so it is a little like listening to small town gossip.

Winter Parva, a traditional Cotswolds village, has decided to throw a celebratory hog roast to mark the beginning of the winter holiday festivities and Agatha Raisin has arrived with friend and rival in the sleuthing business, Toni, to enjoy the merriment.

But as the spit pig is carried towards the bed of fiery charcoal Agatha—and the rest of the village—realize that things aren't as they seem.

Buy As the Pig Turns at Amazon

To Read Next:

In print...

Dishing the Dirt
Dishing the Dirt by M.C. Beaton
This is my next pool book if I get to another pool book (you never know what August weather will be like so I might not get in the pool as much as we head in the latter part of the month). I picked this one up at the library sale in the spring and forgot I had it. It was a pleasant surprise when I re-discovered it on my bookshelf. It is part of her Agatha Raisin series (book #26 - how did I not discover her sooner?)

A therapist had moved into the village of Carsely and Agatha Raisin hates her. Not only was this therapist, Jill Davent, romancing Agatha's ex-husband, but she had dug up details of Agatha's slum background.

Added to that, Jill was counseling a woman called Gwen Simple from Winter Parva and Agatha firmly believed Gwen to have assisted her son in some grisly murders, although has no proof she had done so.

A resentment is different from a dislike and needs to be shared, so as the friendship between James and Jill grows stronger, the more Agatha does to try to find out all she can about her. When Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days' later, Agatha finds herself under suspicion - and must fight to clear her name.

Buy Dishing the Dirt at Amazon

In ebook...

The Big Dreams Beach Hotel
The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by Lily Bartlett
I'm on the tour in August so I will need to get to this book soon. If it follows all the other books that I've read by this author then it should take me more than a day as they are usually light, fun, and fast reads.

Rosie’s life isn’t exactly going the way she expected. Three years after ditching her career dreams in New York City, she’s still managing the faded Victorian hotel in her seaside hometown.

The hotel’s new owners want to turn the quintessentially English institution into a copy of their Florida properties. Flamingos and all. Cultures are clashing and the hotel’s oddball residents stand in the way of the developers’ big plans. To them, the hotel is both home and family.

That’s going to make Rory’s job difficult when he arrives to enforce all the changes. And Rosie isn’t exactly on his side. He might be charming, but he’s still there to evict her friends. What’s worse, she’s supposed to be helping him do it.

This is Rosie’s only chance to revive the career she’s always wanted. But how can she follow her dreams if it means ending everyone else’s?

Buy The Big Dreams Beach Hotel at Amazon

Did you spot my summer reading trend?

I intentionally set out to read cozy mysteries this summer and I have read quite a few. But what I didn't plan for was to start reading so many books in the middle of series. Counting the books I read in June, I have read 5 books that belong to series that I haven't read. Thankfully most didn't matter, like Death of a Policeman this month and On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service last month. But it did seem to matter for As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. It's too early to tell for the Sookie Stackhouse book.

Have you picked up a book only to later discover it is part of a series? Did you go back and read the others in the series?

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Book Date

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  1. Oooh! I have to check out As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley! Great wrap up!

    1. If you haven't read the books before it in the series, you might want to get them first.

  2. I'm always wary when I don't read book 1 in a series first. Will I understand the relationships? The in jokes? On the other hand, a series that is up to 29 books when I discover it is a little daunting. Come see my week here. Have a great week!

    1. I have those same thoughts. I notice more authors are creating series with stand alone books. I think if they are doing a series with 29+ books then it has to be that way because everyone is going to find a different entry point into the series.

  3. I am just starting Girl in Snow, and I'm very excited about it. Thanks for sharing your books, and enjoy!


    1. I hope you enjoy it. I think for me it was more a matter of timing. I'm such a mood reader and right now I just want light-hearted reads.

  4. I'm reading Girl in Snow right now and feel like it's okay, but not very exciting. I loved American War. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. I liked the last 80 or so pages of American War, but there were things that just didn't sit right with me. Maybe after discussing it at the book club I will feel a differently.

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble finishing an audiobook before it has to be returned. I'm in the frustrating position of waiting for two different books to cycle back to me so I can finish them.

    I would definitely recommend going back and reading the Flavia books in order. It's one of the few series I keep up with.

    1. I'm usually pretty good about getting it finished, but a week vacation with my niece and nephew in town didn't leave much time for listening to an audiobook.

  6. I have never read MC Beaton and now she will be my new series to try- love the cozy mysteries!

    1. I love her! I only discovered her recently and was like why haven't I read her books before?! I hope you enjoy them.

  7. Looks like you got a great bunch of books coming up. I haven't heard of any of them, but I hope you enjoy them. And hey, reading 5 books in a month is still great, because in the end your still reading. Enjoy your week!

    1. Reading 5 books in a month is great. I use to be lucky if I could get 1 book a month read.

  8. I love the Agatha Raisin series. I have to get back to reading it. I read about the same amount of books a month that you do. Hope you have a great week!

    1. I'm starting to feel on par with most other book bloggers these days. In the beginning, when I read 1 or 2 books in a month, I felt kind bad when I would see others reading 2 or 3 books a week.

  9. Sometimes it matters where you start in a series and sometimes it doesn't. Looks like you got both kinds!

    1. Outside the of the Flavia book I think it was okay that I didn't start at the beginning. I'm going to go back to the beginning the Her Royal Spyness series, because I loved it so much but I think if it is totally possible to enjoy that book as a stand alone.

  10. Interesting selection of books. The old place is nearly ready. Meanwhile, we're happily settled in our temporary apartment. Come see what I'm reading