by Molly Greene
It was crazy hot here in the mountains of Southern California nearly the entire month of June, so I rode the couch and alternated between working on my WIP, Midnight at Half Moon Bay, and reading (hey, it’s research). I found an interesting theme woven through my various choices: human kindness. Here’s a sampling of the best of the stuff I devoured.
Successful self-published author Toby Neal is well-known for her great fiction, but I’ve been riveted to her blog for a couple of weeks now. She and her husband, photographer Mike Neal, have worked their way through Alaska and Canada (she often mentions the kindness of Canadians), and are now in Montana. Toby’s writing a travelogue of the trip. If you’re a travel buff and/or you read or write memoir, you don’t want to miss this. Toby’s telling it like it is – good, bad, near meltdowns and all, she not holding back. Based on this body of work, I can’t wait until her own memoir comes out. If you’re not yet reading along, start at Day 1.
Like everybody else, I’m always cruising BookBub and Amazon for freebies in search of new authors, especially self-pubbers in my genre. Just last week I came across Stiff Arm Steal, by an author new to me, A.J. Stewart. Is it perfect? No. Is it good? Yes. It’s written kind of old-style, and the main character is tough (and kind!), and the dialogue is fabulous – authors, read it just for that, if nothing else. It’s not fast-paced and there are lots of sports references, but I’m three-quarters of the way through and still turning the pages of my Kindle, which says a LOT. I’ll try another of his books. It’s free (when this post was written). Pick it up and make your own decision.
I read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help years ago, but read it again last month and I’m glad I did. It’s funny and sad and awful and inspiring and uplifting, and perfect for the times we find ourselves in. Good for each of us to get a glimpse of how hard others have it. Gave me a dose of compassion, reminded me to treat others with kindness and dignity, and made me appreciate my life. Yeah, baby, I’ve got it good.
In Her Shoes was Jennifer Weiner’s debut novel, published back in 2002. I loved the movie with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, so when I saw it on the library shelf I took it home. Glad I did. It’s a little long in parts, and it turns out I preferred the plot treatment in the movie. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Women’s fiction at its best – fast and not sappy. And authors, this is interesting: there are tons of exclamation marks sprinkled throughout the book! Something we self-pubbers are warned against time and time again! So it’s good to be reminded that the rules get tossed a lot!
One of my favorite authors of all time, Susana Kearsley, published A Desperate Fortune in April, and I just got my hands on it last month. As usual, she does a spectacular job of weaving two stories together, one historical and one contemporary. In this book the main character has Asperger’s, and it was a little difficult to connect, which is something people with Asperger’s grapple with in real life. Was it intentional on the author’s part? You be the judge. Overall a fabulous read, and I am – and will remain – a Kearsley fangirl forever.
That’s the best of the best readers. Now, what have you been reading so far this summerr? Please leave a comment and share the best of the best!
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