Michille: Beach Reads 2020 (and before)

His Lady to ProtectI’m a week late to post for the start of the summer season with the holiday weekend behind us wherein lots of folks (idiots) in my area and around the country headed to the beach. For our non-US friends, Memorial Day in the US is a federal holiday for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is currently observed on the last Monday of May, which means a lot of Americans have the day off (and head out of town or have a cookout).

With beaches on the mind (or currently in my imagination), I was thinking about beach reads for this summer. I’m not heading out anytime soon because having 100,000 Americans die of COVID-19 (that we know of) scares the crap out of me, especially since I was dog sick in January just after returning from a 2-week trip to China. Pneumonia makes me one of those ‘vulnerable population’ folks. But I will probably have some time to put my nose in a book despite the new crazy workload created by this pandemic (and I’m just so incredibly thankful that I have a job that I can still do [albeit 12 hrs a day]).

Last year at this time, I was knee deep in Crazy Rich Asians, which was entertaining, clearly written by a man, with very few parallels to the movie, and I’m a total book to movie snob. I shout at the screen regularly – THAT NEVER HAPPENED IN THE BOOK!!!. An interesting side note: on the plane to and from Beijing, a large percentage of the Chinese nationals were watching that movie. But I digress. Here are some recommendations for Summer reads from me and others.

Some of my recent reads that I can recommend are:

Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James. It was good. Not great. The two mains don’t really meet until a third of the way in. In reality, they actually ‘met’ quite early and aren’t aware of it and it sets up a ‘just have an f-ing conversation sideline’. But I’m big on character arc and Viola and Devin have wonderful arcs. They both really grow. I think this is one of Eloisa James’ strong suits.

Hideaway by Nora Roberts. I just started it. Literally. Today. Chapter 1. I don’t read her J.D. Robb stuff because I don’t like the future thing. I read the first of her Chronicles of One series and it’s not my cuppa, but I usually like her mainstream stand-alones and series so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Of course, our own Jeanne Oates Estridge, Nancy Yeager, Jilly Wood, and Justine Covington each have fabulous series out (or coming soon). They’re wonderful books with strong heroines, character arcs, worlds built, and conflict locks.

However, you might want some other opinions to consider. Oprahis still recommending Crazy Rich Asians. Last year, she recommended The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory, and The Kiss Quotient (read both and they’re good). Popsugar, which I’ve posted here in previous beach read posts, has a bunch of recommendations that I’ve never heard of, but previously recommended The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem, and The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. Good Housekeeping recommends a Jasmine Guillory story Party of Two and a bunch of other titles I didn’t’ recognize. All three of these lists had lots of repeats (which is why I’ve included them here). However, I must have had my head buried in the sand since March 13, or maybe since January 22 (re-entry date from China) because I don’t recognize most of these titles.

What’s the beach read you’re looking forward to this summer?

12 thoughts on “Michille: Beach Reads 2020 (and before)

  1. I just finished Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher, and although I got *very* nervous during the trial, I was pretty sure it would come out okay, and it did. 🙂 I loved the two main characters–a warrior who knits, isn’t that great? I’d already read Minor Mage by Kingfisher, so now I think I’ll just read all her books.

    I’ve also started a Loretta Chase, although I can’t remember the title off hand. It isn’t my favorite—the heroine is a bit over the top, I think—but I always enjoy Chase’s dialogue and writing in general, and this one is no exception. (Is there a bad Loretta Chase? I haven’t found it.)

    Beach reads, I hear you. My “beach” this year is my sofa.

    • My beach is my sofa as well. I’m not storming capitol buildings screaming about my rights. I’m hiding behind my mask (and not for others like you see on social media – I’m wearing a mask for ME [don’t you give that #% to me]).

      And I agree on Loretta Chase. Anything. Miss Wonderful is a funny one. The hero is so resistant and she is so sunny.

      Enjoy the safety of your sofa. Being an introverted writer was training for this, right?

    • I loved Paladin’s Grace. If you haven’t tried Summer in Orcus, Kay, I’d pick that one next. I loved it.

      I’m with Michille on Miss Wonderful. I love that one because it’s set in Derbyshire (Matlock), a place I know well, and Loretta Chase nails every detail, from the landscape and weather to her choice of conflict. It really makes me appreciate her skill. Matlock is also about eight miles from Bakewell, where Kay and I spent a mini-road trip a few years ago. Fun memories!

  2. Thanks for the shout-out Michille!

    I just read a quick novella that I unfortunately can’t recommend (as my mom taught me, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all).

    I’ve started reading Stacy Reid. My Darling Duke was great (although I listened to the Audible version and really didn’t gel with the narrator; however, the story was so fricking good that I made myself listen to the rest of the story…that’s high praise coming from me, because I’m pretty picky on narrators).

    I’m also listening (’cause I’m a listener) to Sidney Jane Baily (Lord Despair and Lord Anguish, working my way through the others) and they’re good, entertaining reads. I also just started a Scarlett Scott book last night (Duke of Depravity). I suspect, given the language at the beginning, it’s going to be a steamy read, which is fine, but I’m an hour into listening and already I’m thinking “get to the effing monkey.” Now, that may be because I’m listening, not reading (can’t skim), so I’ll give it some more time. But I need something to happen besides hearing the main character’s thoughts on what he wants to do with his cock and how much more liquor he wants to drink. LOL.

    I haven’t read Crazy Rich Asians yet, but will give it a go. I heard a lot about it. I’m joining a book club in August with some other school parents and because our kids go to a “Classical school,” we’ll be reading Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, and some other “classics,” including 1984 and (I hope) Catch-22, which I never made it through the first time I tried to read it. Definiltely not beach reads, but we’re not starting until August, so it’ll be past beach season anyway.

    Not that my beach isn’t going to be any more than the backyard pool. In 110F weather. UGH. Not pleasant.

    • That Stacy Reid one looks good. I’ll have to read that one. I’ve never gotten through 1984 either. I”m not sure I want to with what is going on in this crazy world now. I’m happy for you that school is out. I would have been a terrible home-school mom.

  3. LOL, I never go to the beach, at least not to read. The last few times I’ve gone was to photograph jewelry ice, when it was effing freezing degrees. Even in summer, that beach isn’t really one you want to lounge on and enjoy the sun while reading a book. It’s one where you put on a fisherman’s sweater (yes, even in late-May-almost-June) and gaze out at the waves and brood. I am pretty sure if I went out there today, social distancing would be NO problem. I doubt I’d see three people out there.

    BUT, I love the idea of the beach, and maybe this is the year I’d recreate it at home. NO SAND. Maybe a picture of sand on the TV, or a poster. Lounge chair set up in the shade. Lemonade at my elbow, book (a real book) in hand, and a floppy hat.

    I just finished Book 2 of the Fred the Vampire Accountant series. The love interest is strong, but not the main point of the stories. The main point is transforming oneself from one thing to another, without buying into all the media hype (“Vampires are cool”), and just being true to oneself. I really love that they are a series of short stories that connect — I can easily read one, go mow the lawn, and then reward myself with another hour of fun reading.

    I really like Crazy Rich Asians and the two sequels. I should check out what he’s doing this year. My TBR list is pretty long, though.

    • I don’t go to the beach either, at least I haven’t for years, so maybe I should call it Summer reading. Right now, I’m reading the new Nora Roberts book, Hideaway. It’s pretty good. And I can’t say I’ve ever read about vampire accountants. Sounds . . . interesting?

      • My sister is an accountant, so some of the inside jokes are really fun. Fred makes some of the same complaints and comments my sister does. It’s a lot of fun. Fred’s a good sort of vampire; buys his blood from a blood bank, if I remember right. Fights crime.

        It’s always fun to see summer reading lists! And “beach book” is just fun to say! I love the idea of reading on the beach; just have been able to work out the logistics.

    • Michaeline, I’ll take a cold beach or a hot beach. Doesn’t matter. I don’t mind at all getting wrapped up in a fisherman’s sweater, surrounded by blankets, and sitting on the cold sand. I just love the rhythmic sound of the waves crashing. That is my own personal heaven.

      • (-: I come from landlocked Nebraska, so I do like a beach, too. You make it sound so cozy! Maybe next time the temps go up, I’ll take a beach day. (I could always stay in the car if the sea breeze is too much after half an hour. Pop out for frequent breathing breaks, LOL.)

  4. I am sooo late to the party. Sorry, but I do have the advantage of seeing all the other Ladies’ lists since I waited.

    I’ve been binging Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones series, and Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper books in an attempt to get a better sense of what readers in my subgenre expect. Between the two authors, I’ve now read 9 or 10 books and I think I’ve gotten my surfeit of carnage.

    It hasn’t been especially helpful because, although I’ve enjoyed the books, I don’t have any interest in writing mass slaughter with lots of fight scenes.

    Which probably means I should think about changing genres.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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