Book Notes

Greetings from the Cranky Publicist desk.

And Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who’s a mother of the heart in any way, shape or form.

I know you’d all prefer a Kentucky Derby post, especially after that amazing race yesterday evening, but Nora and Bruce opted not to attend this year due to the crowds and continuing Covid risks. Griffin is still too young to be vaccinated and there’s a family vacation in June, so they want to keep him safe. Let’s hope for next year.

It’s 3+ months out from the hip replacement and I’m increasing my distance in walks, can do most yoga poses, am back to building strength in the upper body. So, I’m well on the path full movement – including dancing at my son’s wedding next weekend.

I’ve planned this post for a while. Right before surgery I pre-ordered a ton of books, then reached out to my pals in publicity at St. Martin’s Press and Berkley to beg for reading material. I just KNEW I’d spend days reading when I wasn’t doing PT.

Turns out that was not correct.

You know what I did during recovery? Work. Kept up with the social media, answered emails. The stuff that makes up a day. Fortunately, I did have evening time and dove into my little treasure trove of books already out, or coming soon. (Yes, ARCs are a reward for answering FAQs with kindness.)

I know a lot of you claim to only read Nora and JD Robb. Much as I love both of them, I do like to explore outside this universe and if you’re interested in some new material/authors, take a look.

Of course, I have to start with Nightwork. It’s Nora’s perfect summer read about a gentleman thief with some really high standards. It’s out May 24. I seriously know you’ll love it. Can’t wait to open the discussion thread!

Oh, and I may have read this:

Desperation in Death – out September 6

but we’ll discuss that later. (Loved it.)

The Christie Affair came out February 1. It’s an intriguing look at the time Agatha Christie went missing. It’s based on a true – strange – story: In December 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in southern England. When her abandoned car was found, it began the biggest manhunt in British history for a missing person. Eleven days later she was found in a northern spa town claiming to be the victim of amnesia.

Nina de Gramont writes from the point of view of the other woman – Agatha’s husband’s mistress. If you are a fan of mystery, star-crossed lovers, revenge, pick this one up.

The Suite Spot came out in March from St. Martin’s Press. I hadn’t read the first book in the series – Float Plan — but I didn’t need to. In this contemporary romance, a young single mom moves to a very tiny island in the Great Lakes to take a job at a hotel. The hotel owner is a grump but naturally they fall in love! (Ok that last sentence is from Marissa of Team Nora who loves both books, but it absolutely applies.) BTW, if I’m a sucker for anything, it’s a strong heroine who picks herself up and finds her path.

Ever Summer After (May 10, Berkley) is a second chance story about a couple who fell in love as teenagers over the course of six lakeside summers, but then it fell apart in one moment. Twelve years later, the two are reunited and they have to confront what separated them and decide whether their love is stronger than their biggest mistakes. My pal Erin at Berkley said this book’s happy ending was so hard won and beautiful she couldn’t recommend it highly enough! And I have to agree.

I’ve adored Katherine Center’s books since I read How to Walk Away and proceeded to purchase her back list in quick order. This was BEFORE I met her at a TTP signing in fall 2019 when I ended up loving her even more. The Bodyguard is out on July 19, from St. Martin’s Press. For me, it’s another joyful Katherine read with humor, family (blood and non) shenanigans, and a woman who can kick anyone’s ass learning about her other strengths. (BTW, Katherine’s newsletter is always a happy email that brightens a day.)

Last summer I devoured Beach Read by Emily Henry so I was looking forward to Book Lovers – just out from Berkley. A book about book people? Oldest sister responsibility (I’m the oldest of seven if you couldn’t tell)? Families breaking in order to heal? And really, two people good at what they do changing careers to do what they love? I devoured it.

BTW, if you haven’t read Beach Read — honestly one of the best head-to-head confrontations of genre and literary fiction — do yourself a favor and pick it up. You’ll find humor and fear and love all in one place.

You all know how much I love Nalini, right? Storm Echo – out in June — takes us back to San Francisco. We catch up with some familiar faces plus there are sightings of many favorite characters, including bears. I love Nalini’s bears. Even if they are far away. But there are also cats and a few wolves. And I’ll bet you love Ivan and Lei.

The only person I know with an output close to Nora’s is Nalini. And thank goodness for that — it fills in my Nora gaps. Nalini makes time to step away from the Psy-Changelings and Guild Hunter series to share her New Zealand Noir (see A Madness of Sunshine and Quiet in Her Bones) or to revisit the gang in the Rock Kiss and crossover Hard Play series. She surprised me with a get well ARC of Kiss Hard — Catie and Daniel’s story. It’s just released and a really wonderful outing with the Esera clan. Friends to lovers romance – done well — can be such a satisfying story.

Some of you may know of my love/competition with Lucy Score. We met at a TTP signing in February 2019 and have been pals ever since. She deserves a special place in my recovery reading for consistently making me laugh when I least expect it.

Maggie Moves On is Lucy’s first release for Grand Central, out June 21. What happens when a You Tube star who never stays put, starts a project in a town next door to a man fully rooted in that place? In Lucy’s hands, the project hits bumps, Maggie collects people who care and gets an eyeful of that nieghbor without his pants — among other adventures. Plus there’s a dog. Books about finding one’s place are also personal catnip and Lucy never fails to hit that kind of story out of the park. To fireworks. You can order a signed copy of Maggie Moves On From TTP.

I also loved Lucy’s Forever Never and Things We Never Got Over but I’m beginning to run out of space.

I couldn’t wait for Sarah Addison Allen’s first book in a long while and Other Birds (out September 13) completely delighted in every way. It’s pure SAA – love and magic and stories about the people who live in The Dellawisp on Mallow Island. When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment there she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. As one does. It’s a book I’m sad to have finished. If you haven’t read Sarah Addison Allen, start with Garden Spells. And thank me later.

What’s Nora reading? Well, when she’s deep in writing (in this case, next year’s single title) she relaxes with TV shows and movies. Then, at the end of March she was slammed by vertigo — took six days to feel back to herself.

During those interminable days she watched all the Oscar nominated Best Pictures she had interest in, and was thrilled with CODA’s win. Lovely, lovely movie according to Nora. She also loved Belfast and thought Kenneth Branaugh deserved the award for best original screenplay.

Streaming-wise, she counseled me to watch Julia (her wisdom never ceases to amaze, it’s lovely). In turn I told her to watch Moon Knight (she is) and in return she told me to watch Outer Range. “Modern-day Western meets X-Files with a visit from Fringe,” she wrote. “Josh Brolin. I’m completely hooked.”

I know there’s more, but these are the most recent.

And there you have it, entertainment in all forms.

Coming next? Girls Spa for Nora, wedding for me. We’ll catch you up as we can.


PS. Wait, there’s one more: Lessons in Chemistry showed up everywhere I turned in April, so I finally heeded the Universe and purchased. And I love it.

27 thoughts on “Book Notes”

  1. Currently re reading the Three Sisters Trilogy before diving into Legacy. Then I’ll check out a couple of the books you recommended so thanks!

    1. Thanks for the read list. It’s always exciting for me to find new authors so this is a great start. Much appreciated.

  2. Being a kiwi, Nalini Singh is the only author on your list that I have met, and she is lovely, but you have now given me another huge pile of authors to go on my TBR pile. Have a lovely wedding

  3. Thank you Laura! Happy you and Nora are doing well. Congrats on the wedding, enjoy! Looking forward to exploring your book list.

  4. I’d wondered yesterday if Nora & all were there but thought probably not, esp with the latest surge building. Yes, quite a race! I was on the phone with a friend & when I saw that horse’s listing, 81-1 odds at the time, I laughed that we should have put money on him–and hope he wins! And then he did! That was an amazing race! And to think he was entered on Friday at the last possible moment! WOW!
    Laura, I’m glad you’re doing so well with recovery! A friend of mine had a hip replacement last Tuesday & I think she’ll do just as well!
    I thank you for the list of titles but I’m so far behind in reading new ones, as I reread more titles again…I reread the Inn Boonesboro series a couple weeks ago…I did put the Trish Dollar in my Amazon list of “need to buy”…I think that list has almost 300 titles in it…at least!

  5. I read all types so I love the recommendations!! Thank you!! I just finished Remarkably Bright Creatures (a read with Jenna pick) and absolutely LOVED it! Highly recommend.

  6. I’m always on the lookout for new books! Unfortunately, my only option is whatever the MD library has on offer with e-books. Which, unfortunately, isn’t that great. (They’ve even let at least one ID title expire!!) I haven’t seen Julia (can’t afford the streaming service), but I’ve heard nothing but positive comments. And Sarah Lancashire never disappoints. My favorite series of hers is Last Tango in Halifax (either Netflix or Prime in the U.S.,I forget which). “Quirky” is a good word to describe it. 😊

  7. I just read Lessons in Chemistry in a day and a half. I couldn’t put it down (except for work.😏) It was fabulous and I’m already recommending it to others.

  8. Loved Beach Read-thanks for your shout out. Just got the new one-can’t wait. Patiently awaiting Nightwork! Enjoy the wedding.

  9. Love love love your reviews! Laura, you have given me a list of books to read after my upcoming minor surgery. (Did my hip last year). Thank you and hope you dance often at your son’s wedding!

  10. I just got a couple of new ones from Mary Kay Andrews. Hello, Summer and the Newcomer. She is usually good for a beach read. We’ll see.

  11. Thanks for the recommendations. Guilty- im 1 of those who only reads Nora & JDRobb. Between my work & life, that’s all I have time for. Im keeping your list for the day that changes.
    Im happy your hip is healing well . And a huge Mazel tov on your upcoming wedding. There’s nothing like a child’s wedding to bring out the waterworks.
    I’ve mentioned this here before re vertigo. My husband suffers from this for the last 9 years. He had the Brandt maneuver done at the NY Eye & Ear Hospital. But it came back. He gets dizzy on escalator or heights. Also tilting his head back. The only thing that helps was recommended by a top doc. Its vitamin B12. 5 thousand mg. He takes it every morning without fail. It can’t hurt for Nora to try it.

  12. I don’t blame Nora in the slightest for giving Derby a miss this year. I had the please of meeting her several years ago at Unbridled Eve and I was thinking of volunteering at the event this year, but thought next year may be better. I watched the race on TV as usual as I an not generally a big crowd fan and I have no desire to be in one quite yet.
    Glad you hip is healing well Laura. Reading is the perfect pastime during recovery, between keeping your hips moving!
    I am sure I will get chance to read lots over the next months as my job is going away.. an opportunity to volunteer more and do more travel as the world opens up hopefully. Looking forward to more Nora books.. I think I have read almost all. I was trying to inventory what I had to look for gaps I think maybe 3 or 4!

  13. Hi Laura! Thanks so much for the recommendations! Always like trying out new (to me) authors. So glad your rehab is going well, and you’ll be kicking up your heels at the wedding. Was happy to read Nora and BW skipped the Derby, very wise. I have about half a dozen other people I’m waiting to hear from that normally go. The monster’s not done with us yet. I’ve put myself on the library list for Garden Spells, since there’s a waiting list of 17 for her newest. Definitely will find The Christie Affair. I read Agatha years ago – and they didn’t do too badly with the movie – and have always been fascinated with the mystery. After reading The Rose Code, I couldn’t wait to read The Diamond Eye, by Kate Quinn, but it’s not ‘talking’ to me, if that makes any sense. Well, that’s why there are so many books in the world, right? Hope your son’s wedding goes perfectly and you don’t sprain anything. Take care.

  14. Thank you so much for the list! I plan to look some up now. You write really good reviews.

  15. I adored How to Walk Away by Katherine Center! I’m looking forward to The Bodygaurd!

  16. Laura and Nora,

    My mom has a very small part in Outer Range! She plays a church lady named Evelyn in Episode 6, called The Family. I haven’t seen it yet, so can’t tell you exactly where, but she’s someplace in the church scene. LOL


  17. Thank you for the recs! I’ve been busy with Mary Balogh’s Westport series and Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles series.

    I’m curious what Nora thought of The Power of the Dog. I’d read the book and thought the movie was a brilliant adaptation.

  18. So happy that your recovery is going so well. Kudos to you. I will have to check out some of the books you read although I am currently in a rereading frame of mind just finished rereading Sarah Woodbury’s After Cilmeri series.

  19. Thanks for all the great book suggestions. I’ve added them all to my TBR list. As Spring is finally upon us in the Midwest, I can’t wait to sink into the hammock and read. Much love to you and Nora.

  20. Thanks Laura, I just made a lot of library holds with some new to me authors. Katherine Center hooked me with “Things you Save in a fire”

  21. You bringing up other authors that you like to read, I’m with you, I do like reading both Nora and J.D., but after awhile you get kinda bored and crazy just reading the same thing over and over again.

    It’s why I like to mix things up and read other genres, but for the record I still like the occasional thrillers like Dennis LeHane’s work and Jon Land’s work on Caitlin Strong.

    But I’ve also been reading Michael Anderle’s The Kurtherian Gambit, Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and I’m currently on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick. For the record, I’m not saying that Phillip K. Dick was a driving influence for the Eve Dallas/Roarke series, but I think I’m gonna find a lot of similarities between that novel and J.D. Robb.

    The point I’m trying to make is, if you want to follow one novelist, that’s fine and all, but make some room to read other stuff and broaden your horizons.

  22. Thank you Laura
    I am always looking to try new authors
    I am glad you are feeling better from your surgery

  23. Laura, I think you might be my book twin! I have three of those on my take-to-hospital pile for next week. And I *think* it was you who put me onto Sarah Morgan. Hope the wedding goes brilliantly!

  24. When you’re right, you’re right. I also seek out literary works to fill the gaps between Nora/JD publications. Whenever I find a great story, I tend to devour the author’s entire collection.
    Your suggestions are welcome [and I have added Nalini to my list].
    Thanks, Laura.

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