July 4, 2017
Note From Rochelle
Happy Independence Day to my US readers!
I became a reader long before I set out to write anything. My reading practice forms a key part of my writing life. Books support, encourage, nurture, and challenge me. Today Jeanette Hurt, author of many books including Drink Like a Woman, joins us to talk about her top summer reads.
The Write Now! Coach
My Favorite Summer Reads
by Jeanette Hurt
Growing up, summer meant two things: swimming and going to the library. Summer still means both things to me, especially the latter.
While I mostly publish in the nonfiction realm—once a journalist, always a journalist—most of my summer reading tends to be fiction, and the more escapist, the better. As far as genres go, I’m all over the board, but here are a few reads worth savoring on a chaise lounge by the pool or in the shade of a tree in a park.
IQ by Joe Ide A blend of noir, Sherlock Holmes and definitely urban detective, this is the first of what I hope will be an interesting series by Ide. Isaiah Quintabe solves crimes in his corner of L.A., sometimes for little, sometimes for a lot—basically, what people can pay—and while the main mystery wraps up nicely, there’s a little cliffhanger that promises more.
Joni, Underway by Kelly Oram and Jonathan Harrow. Joni’s brother dies, so she unexpectedly takes his place in an overseas sailing trip, working as part of a misfit crew. The story is, of course, about journeys, and the meaning of life and love and other things, but it’s eloquent, believable, and you feel good after reading it. I’d love to see more collaborations by this husband and wife duo.
Just about anything by Amy Harmon makes a good beach read, but I especially like Making Faces. Ostensibly, it’s a romance—how small town hero Ambrose eventually discovers the beauty of wallflower Fern, but it’s also a retelling, in a way, of Beauty and the Beast…and how Ambrose, who loses his buddies in war and comes back disfigured, discovers what true heroism and true beauty are.
Brittany Cavallero has only two books in her Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson YA trilogy—A Study in Charlotte and The Last of August—but I’m eagerly awaiting her third installment in this retelling of Sherlock Holmes and James Watson—in the form of their descendants.
I love me some Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher (Storm Front is the first in the series) and the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. Armstrong’s (mostly) moved on with some very interesting tales in her Cainsville novels, starting with Omens, but I’m particularly taken with her Rockton mysteries—about a town you can’t find on a map, filled with residents who are all running from something or someone. City of the Lost is the first installment, with A Darkness Absolute, following. This Fallen Prey won’t make it in time for my summer reads; alas, it comes out next year.
Ilona Andrews – a husband and wife duo – made a name for themselves with their Kate Daniels series, but I really am looking forward to the sequel to Burn for Me, aptly named White Hot. It’s a romantic detective series set in a paranormal world, and it’s fun with a likeable cast of crazy characters. I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading it on a beach. Or maybe, by a pool.
Any Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich. My husband can always tell when I’m reading a Stephanie Plum mystery—mainly because I’m usually snorting with laughter. I don’t think I’ve come across another author who can describe an absurd situation in such a deadpan manner. Some of the books in the series are better than others, but, if you’ve got a series going on 24 books—plus some side short novels in the series—that’s to be expected. I haven’t yet read Turbo Twenty-Three, but Tricky Twenty-Two had me choking on my coffee—Grandma Mazur is catfishing using Stephanie’s identity. And Lulu ends up adding bling to flea collars. That’s really all you need to know.
While most of my reading list in warm weather trends fiction, one nonfiction book I adored reading was Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt. If you liked the movie Hidden Figures, here’s more on the (practically secret) women of NASA.
Jeanette Hurt is the award-winning writer and author of eight culinary and drink books, including Drink Like a Woman, The Cheeses of California: A Culinary Travel Guide, which received the 2010 Mark Twain Award for Best Travel Book, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine and Food Pairing. As full-time journalist, Jeanette has written about spirits, wine, and food for TheKitchn.com, Four Seasons Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, entrepreneur.com, Esquire.com, and dozens more publications. When she’s not writing, traveling, cooking, or shaking up some concoction, she can usually be found walking along Milwaukee’s lakefront with her husband, their son, and their dog. Visit her online at her website http://www.jeanettehurt.com and on Twitter.