Do you ever forget you’re a person? Work and chores and obligations and parenting tangles you up so fiercely you forget how to relax? It happened to me this spring. The company I work for diversified over the winter, and the brunt of the extra labor fell on me. I was struggling in the weeds, juggling flaming chainsaws, and I forgot to be myself. I can’t even entirely blame external pressures, because I’ve been keeping up with my writing and editing as much as possible in the stolen moments. I was so twisted up, so tense, I let my passion add to my stress, when it’s usually my outlet.
Thank goodness for a mile long stretch of pristine beach along a noisy, gaudy boardwalk on the New Hampshire coastline. I spent a week by the ocean with my husband’s family, and aside from some re-entry pangs, I felt like a person again.
It took me a day or two of literally lying in my beach chair with the sound of the tide in my ear and powdered sugar from Blink’s Fry Doe on my nose to remember that I had books waiting for me.
To read. For pleasure!
Firstly, the fourth installment in John Dolan’s Time, Blood & Karma series. I cannot accurately describe my crush on David Braddock. So it has been for four books. Running on Emptiness returns to the format of the first two books, and we are treated to Mr. Braddock’s signature wit and troubled, mischievous philosophy as he navigates a suspicious suicide, the spectre of a man who once wanted him dead, a Thai gang war, and the emotional maze of his family life. Running on Emptiness is dark, sharp, and tender, and the ending left me breathless, wondering how David Braddock will go forward.
From the exotic chaos of John Dolan’s Thailand, I headed east to Hawaii, and devoured the two most recent Lei Crime Series novellas from Eden Baylee. SEAL of a Monk and Charade at Sea each return to Hawaii and the adventures of Lainey Lee. Eden’s novellas keep a crisp pace, and with each one, we learn more about Lainey Lee, a recently single mother of adult sons, whose beginning her life again after a long, unhappy marriage. SEAL of a Monk introduces compelling former Navy SEAL and security consultant Max Scott, with whom Lainey shares an undeniable chemistry, even as they team up to rescue a lost young woman dear to Lainey’s heart. Charade at Sea reunites Lainey and Max on a luxury cruise around the islands, and once again they join forces to solve a mystery while exploring their newfound passion. Ripe with Eden’s command of the sensuous, these sexy mysteries were a perfect read with my toes in the hot sand.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake ended up on my Kindle thanks to a promotion that I can’t recall, but I loved this delightful, light romance not only for the feisty, culinary heroine and the charming, awkward hero, but for the author’s unabashed devotion to all things Milwaukee. Having set a novel in a place I love, I understand that need to sing a love song to the sights, scents, and heart of a beloved locale. I devoured this one, all puns intended.
I finished a positively decadent week of pleasure reading with the first two novels in Laurie Breton’s Jackson Falls series. In Coming Home, Casey Bradley’s tumultuous love affair with rock and roll singer Danny Fiore whisks her away from home. Fifteen years and a lifetime of hard, fast living, joy and grief bend Casey’s road home to the life she was always meant to have in Jackson Falls. Sleeping with the Enemy picks up a family thread introduced in Coming Home and ties it neatly back into the tapestry of Jackson Falls. While I loved Casey’s journey in Coming Home, I thought Sleeping With the Enemy was a tighter, better paced story.
Guess what happened then? I drafted these paragraphs and forgot to post them, and fell right back into the nonsense and marvel of day-to-day. You cannot imagine the cobwebs in my WordPress dashboard this evening.
Have you read any of my belated summer reading picks? Id love to hear your thoughts.