Some updates & reading recs

Mark your calendars! Nora’s travelogues start promptly tomorrow (Monday, July 3) morning. Stay tuned for the adventure.

Since it’s prime summer reading time in the Northern Hemipshere and snuggle-up by-the-fire reading time in the Southern, I thought I’d share what I’ve read recently.

First up, as to be expected, are Nora’s next three books. To be very honest, I read Payback in Death a while ago — so long that I’ll have to do a reread in order to share teasers in late August. I remember enjoying it — as I do every visit to Eve’s world. Payback is out September 5.

Inheritance — the first book in the Lost Bride Trilogy — is the final book of 2023 and I promise to share all my feelings about it when I open the discussion thread on release day. It’s one of those books that you caution yourself to read slowly, then hurtle to the ending. In a good way. Inheritance is out on November 21.

I’m not sure it’s always fabulous to be so far out on the schedule. Random in Death is the first release for 2024 and boy, is it a good entry. I’ll do a reread when it’s time for teasers but I’ll say this: a good case, some fun character updates. Random in Death is out January 23, 2024 from St. Martin’s Press.

I freely admit to asking for books from people I know when I’ve exhausted Nora’s. Several years ago I discovered (on my own) The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall about a woman who runs a business posing as a bridesmaid while making sure a wedding runs smoothly. (The text conversations from different weddings are hilarious.) Then she runs into the greatest Bridezilla of them all. Imagine my happiness when I realized Marissa of Team Nora works on Katy’s books! The Wedding Season was a lot of fun last year so I was very happy to grab and early copy of The Last Word. Two people with a tangled past working together in the present? Yes, please and thank you.

I’ve been a huge fan of Erica Bauermeister since reading The School of Essential Ingredients in 2009. Nora’s editor knows this well and sent me a very early copy of No Two Persons in 2022, even though it came out in May of this year. It’s a fascinating book about, well, a book and how it affects a variety of people from the author to readers in their reading lives as well as real lives. I’m not going to adequately explain the premise here because it’s sprawling, yet intimate. Isn’t that what reading is for all of us? NTP is available now.

Ages ago, the universe put Sarah Morgan in my path and I’ve been grateful for 12 years. If you don’t know by now, Sarah’s Christmas books regularly hit the London Times best seller lists. Her lovely summer books now make that list as well. The Island Villa is the story of a wedding on the island of Corfu that changes the relationships between a mother, her daughters and their personal stories of the past. I loved it. But then again, I love Sarah too.

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people through the years whether it’s connected to Nora, reading, conversations about So You Think You Can Dance — I like to talk and meet new people. I met Shauna years ago, then we had that SYTYCD conversation and things settled into place. She’s edited some of my favorite books over the years, including the newest one from Elissa Sussman Once More with Feeling (yes, Nora wrote a book with that title back in the early 80s, but titles are not copywritten). Broadway? Chapters in the past and the present? Antagonistic love story (aka enemies to lovers)? Yes please. Read it in one evening when it came out. Then had a lovely conversation about the book with my daughter.

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer was an unexpected delight (I found by myself, even though it’s a SMP release). It’s the story of a death doula who may have intimate knowledge of the process of dying, but needs to learn more about the process of living and loving. I read a sample and was immediately drawn in. It’s out now.

My new philosophical question: is it REALLY summer without a delightful book by Katherine Center? I’ll have to say no. Hello Stranger tells the story of an artist dealing with a “temporary” condition called face blindness. As Sadie deals with the condition while trying to still create her art, she learns that blindess can apply to many areas of one’s life. I read it in March (my pals Erica and Marissa have me covered on Katherine’s releases) and loved it. And look for Happiness for Beginners (another Katherine Center favorite of mine) on Netflix in late July.

Nalini’s US readers will get Resonance Surge earlier than expected on July 18. All I’ll say about Resonance Surge (other than I loved it, of course) is that your bear addiction is fully satisfied. IYKYK.

Ever since I read The Switch, I’ve been a Beth O’Leary fan. The Wake-Up Call — a September 26 release — is another entry that will stay on my shelf. I didn’t think I had a subject style, but this is another book with enemies who are coworkers falling in love. It’s also filled with a fun set of secondary characters who propel the story along (plus it’s an early Christmas gift).

A bit of a Christmas caper is The Takedown. I loved the holiday background to a story of Sydney Swift, a woman who’s kept distant from people and relationships to avoid being hurt. When her sister is about to marry into a Boston crime family, that distance dissolves. I’m not always drawn to books about spies, but this one was a lot of fun. Out October 3 from Berkley.

When my friend Erica described Raiders of the Lost Heart, how could I resist? And I learned a bit more about myself as I started another enemies-to-lovers story. (Reading is the key to the soul, and tropes, apparently.) Seriously though, from the cover to the archeology expedition in Mexico to solving the mystery, this was a lot of fun. And hey, a minor hint to where Nora will be on vacation! Raiders of the Lost Heart is out December 5 from Berkley.

Finally, we have Finlay Donovan is Killing it. It was actually released in 2021, but Leslie, Nora’s editor, thought I’d enjoy getting to know Finlay, a very stressed single mom trying to meet her writing deadline. Then, of course, things happen. I raced through it, laughed a lot and really enjoyed how Elle Cosimano built her world. And a ready made backlist? Yes, please and thank you. (This is the first book in the series — #4 will be out early 2024.)

And there you have it. What are you reading these days?


17 thoughts on “Some updates & reading recs”

  1. Thank you for this post! It was the perfect side to my morning coffee.

    Looking forward to the upcoming travel stories … I always love living vicariously through Nora’s adventures. And, new releases = excitement!!! What I look forward to with each year’s seasons, which I’ve always marked with Nora’s books! I enjoyed the bonus recommendations. My reading list thanks you.

    Thanks for starting my Sunday the best way! 🥰

  2. Thanks for the great suggestions! Definitely going to look these up.

  3. I love getting book recommendations! I’m adding theses to my “Want to Read” list. Thanks!
    Just started reading Night Wherever We Go.

  4. I’ve just finished Chronicles of The One and am now onto The dragon Heart Legacy while reading J.D. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

  5. Laura, thank you for all the suggested other books. They sound interesting. I have to rely on library, Libby, and Audible and sometimes what I want from Nora isn’t available. Just got Identity but having a hard time starting. A bit too on edge in my life generally so needed to set aside for a few days. Listening to Rise of Magicks again. Somehow that is calming. I know- no sense but the otherworldly feels like home. Glad for variety. Happy 4th to you all.

  6. Thanks for the recommendations. I’m so bad, I have your last summer recommended Emily Henry in my To Read Stack that I need to get to! But, it’s always good to have options—no matter how big that To Read Stack gets—kind of like Dana in Key of Knowledge. And, I’ve been dying for Travelogues—so excited to see where everyone is visiting this summer!

  7. Wow! Such a lovely variety of authors! Thank you for the comments. I will definitely try to expand my TBR list. I am looking forward to the Nora & J. D. books – my favorite reads of every year.

    I am currently reading Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire/1632 alternate history series. The town of Grantville, West Virginia plus some environs has been plunked down in Thuringia, Germany in the middle of the Thirty Years War. The effect the people of Grantville (from 2000) have on the seventeenth century is wonderfully explored as are the characters.

  8. I’m reading Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson. It’s quite possibly the most unusual book I’ve ever read! I’m enjoying the break from reality, as this book definitely requires an active imagination.

  9. Laura, thanks for the list. I loved Identity. My BFF and I were talking about it last night. Then she mentioned reading a new release of Sacred Sins., which I read back in the day— and was what started me on my quest to read every one of Nora’s books going forward from there. Thanks in advance for my Sept birthday present (Payback…) I am jealous that you have already that and read Resonance Surge— mine is on preorder since Nalini is one of my favorites. And I love that you love Sarah Morgan..She is also a favorite. After discovering her, I think I went and read her entire backlist.

  10. Hi Laura, is there an excerpt yet for Payback in Death? Thank you

  11. Hi Laura,
    I have a question: could you tell me if/when are we going to have an excerpt of payback in death?
    Thank you.

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