What I’m Reading Right Now

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.


Used with permission, © Mike Neal Studios

Used with permission, © Mike Neal Studios

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.


Stiff Arm StealLike 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.

TheHelpIn 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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15 Responses to What I’m Reading Right Now

  1. Kayla Dawn Thomas July 6, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    I’ve been glued to Toby’s blog too. So inspiring and beautiful. It’s like being in the backseat of their van.

    Currently I’m reading Ilsa by Shanna Hatfield. She’s one of my go too’s when life is overwhelming me. Sweet and uplifting. Before that I revisited Watership Down. I also read Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich in the last few weeks. Another go-to authors. She never fails to make me laugh out loud!

    Grabbed Stiff Arm Steal. Looks right up my ally.

    • Molly Greene July 6, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

      I KNOW, Kayla, Toby’s latest post is the first thing I look for every morning, and I’m always disappointed if she hasn’t posted that day. Such a pleasure to be taken along!! I agree about Evanovich, but Stephanie Plum is getting a little tired now – what is she, Number 19? – and I hope Janet does something to re-invigorate her. I just checked out Shanna Hatfield on Amazon, her “Heart of Clay” is free so I’ll download & give her a try. THANKS!!!!

      • Kayla Dawn Thomas July 6, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

        I think there are 21 Stephanie Plums now. Agreed, they are quite formulaic. That’s why I like them when I’m stressed. I know what I’m going to get. LOL!

        I haven’t read Heart of Clay yet. So far, Shanna’s Pendleton Petticoats and Thimbles and Thimbles and Thistles series have been my favorites of hers.

        Toby has inspired my blogging this summer, though it doesn’t hold a candle to hers. We shall see if my upcoming trip inspires anything awe inspiring.

        • Molly Greene July 7, 2015 at 7:00 am #

          Ohhh, you get to blog about your travels, too? So excited for you, Kayla. Have a wonderful trip!

  2. Belinda Pollard July 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    It’s the dead of (sunny) winter here in Brisbane, so I can’t talk about summer reads.

    However, I had a laugh at your “exclamation mark” comment. Last week I was signing a copy of my book Poison Bay for an editor, and the personal note I was adding really needed an exclamation mark… but I felt pressured not to include an EXCLAMATION MARK in a comment for an EDITOR! Haha, I just told him that, and then inserted the exclamation mark. 😉

    Here’s a few to keep spare for later: !!!!!!!!

    • Molly Greene July 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

      Ha! I actually added a couple of exclamation marks to my WIP, just to try them on and see how I felt about it. Makes me feel like a real rebel, breaking the rules. Obviously, though, if a publisher is interested in an author’s work “as is,” the rules no longer apply. So there! Be bold! Write the way you want to! 🙂

  3. joybelle2012 July 7, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    Hi Molly , -thanks for another amazing blog.
    I picked up your freebie from Amazon and I’m looking forward to reading it. -There is just one thing I’d like to know please, -how does one go about getting Amazon to offer a freebie for just one or two days? Do you change the price manually and then reset to normal price later, or is it something one has to ask them to do?
    I am curious because I have two new books coming out shortly and I think I’d like to offer them as freebies for the first couple of days.
    Thanks again and happy writing,

    • Molly Greene July 7, 2015 at 7:03 am #

      Hi Joybelle, and thanks! As for Amazon, my series is all in KDP Select, which makes scheduling freebies simple. If you’re not in Select, this BookBub blog post explains how to price-match on Amazon, works the same for a short-time promo or permafree. Good luck!

  4. Mo Walsh July 10, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    I’ve been commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, since I a lot about that era. I got turned on by Eileen Dryer’s fabulous blog on her Waterloo 2015 tour, which starts here: http://eileendreyer.com/2015/06/page/3/. I’m supplementing that with “Sharpe’s Waterloo” by Bernard Cornwell, “An Infamous Army” and “A Civil Contract” by Georgette Heyer, and a nonfiction book, “Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle that Saved Europe” by Gordon Corrigan. I have to admit to skimming over the mind-numbing details of commanders’ names and military units in Corrigan’s history and focusing on the fascinating tidbits that get left out of encyclopedia entries.

    • Molly Greene July 10, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      You are a brave woman, Mo! Thanks so much for sharing – I think you’re delving deeper than any of us this summer.

  5. Sue Coletta July 15, 2015 at 2:43 am #

    Better late than never, eh? In the last month I’ve read All Good Deeds by Stacey Greene (self-pub), Pressure Points by Larry Brooks (trad-pub) and it was one of the best books I’ve EVER read, so I went on to read Darkness Bound (still reading), Brandilyn Collins’ Sidetracked, and then I got roped into participating in a crime blogroll for Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Which I am starting today.

    • Molly Greene July 15, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      Hi Sue!! I just ordered Pressure Points from the library – thank you so much, and have fun with your blogroll!

  6. Granny B July 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    Is there a book #7 for Gen Delacourt Mysteries

    • Molly Greene July 31, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Not yet, but I’m working on it and hope to have it out sometime in October. Thank you so much for asking!