Ready, Set, Beach!!!!

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I’ve determined that I am a beach bum.  The beach is my happy place be it the height of summer or the dead of winter.  There is something calming about the sound of the waves and sand between my toes.  It is a place where I can “hear myself think”.  Given the Zombie Apocalypse of 2020, I’m finding it to be my remote work refuge.  A place to contemplate and work and, better yet, the view is amazing!

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With the upcoming holiday, I am setting the week aside as vacation.  It’s time for some pleasure reading, beach walking, and general out of office time.  I’m packing the beach bag with goldfish for a snack, my kindle loaded with beach reads, my iPod with audiobooks and a playlist and I’ve ordered a case of sunscreen from Amazon.

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2020 beach reading list (no reviews as I’m just set to start my reading binge)

  • Feels Like Falling, Kristy Woodson Harvey
  • Hello Summer, Mary Kay Andrews
  • Chanel’s Rivera,Anne de Courcey
  • Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan
  • Drawing Home, Jamie Brenner

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2020 audiobook playlist (no reviews as I’ve just started listening and walking)

  • The Summer House, James Patterson
  • The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel
  • Firing Point, Tom Clancy
  • Resistance Women, Jennifer Chiaverini
  • All the Ways We Said Goodbye, Beatriz Williams
  • True Evil, Greg Iles

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Packing list for the beach bag

  • Sunscreen – 30 and 50.  My go to is Coola but I couldn’t find the unscented this year so I’m opting for Supergoop.
  • Beach towel – I’m still using monogrammed bath sheets I ordered from Neiman’s years ago but I keep eyeing the ones from Weezie.  I love their makeup towels.
  • Tech – iPod, kindle and AirPod Pro (the pro are amazing at noise reduction.  I highly recommend)
  • Cooler with drinks and a spray bottle of Evian to cool you down
  • Goldfish
  • Hat

Summer Reads Audible Style

Is listening to an audiobook “reading”?  While not “reading” in the traditional or neurological (due to different processing in the brain) sense; but an excellent alternative when you are driving, exercising, otherwise engaged in an activity where you are unable to “read.”

As an avid reader, I often have several books started at any given time and one of them is likely to be an audible book.  This summer I’ve listened while painting, weeding, exercising, and driving.  As confession is good for the sole, I confess I’ve listened to some excellent books and then there are the duds.  My summer thumbs up / thumbs down list follows.

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Those on the thumbs up list all share common features.  They had an engaging plot, likeable characters and were well written.  Park Avenue Summer and Down River are not to be missed.  They are excellent!  So, thumbs up for:

Park Avenue Summer

Down River

The Mulberry Tree

The Spitfire Girls

The Malta Exchange

The Girl From Berlin

Single Malt Murder

Honorable mentions to :  The Mother in Law and Berlin Calling

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Those earning a thumbs down also shared certain characteristics including a wandering plot, need for a good editor, and characters who were not rootable. Both The Golden Hour and Wunderland held so much potential.  Yet, they both fell flat.  I kept thinking get on with it!

 

Summer Beach Reads

It’s that time of year again!  With Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer I think of the beach, pool, and nights playing tennis.  I also think of what I’m going to load to my kindle or iPod to “read” at the beach or pool.  These are some of my recent favorite reads!

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Kristy W. Harvey is my new favorite author.  If you like Alice Monroe or Dorothy Benton Frank, you will love Harvey.  Her Peachtree Bluff trilogy is can’t put down.  I love the mix of the southern beach town with a hint of New York City thrown into the mix.  The story of strong women facing and overcoming the challenges in their lives.  Run, don’t walk to grab these for your beach bag.

 

 

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I devoured the Discovery of Witches trilogy.  It was different, fun, compelling and historical – even for someone who doesn’t run to stories of vampires, witches and demons.  This is the latest.  It is Marcus’ story and it does not disappoint.  All my favorite characters are back in the mix, Diana, Matthew, Baldwin but the focus is on Marcus as Matthew’s son and his upcoming marriage.

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If you enjoy that WWII suspense, espionage book, this and the Alice Network are books for you  I “read” (listened) to both with the audible versions.  I highly recommend the audible version for a long car trip (say to the beach!).  The Alice Network is set in occupied France while the Huntress takes a slightly different turn moving back and forth between post war Boston, post war Austria, and the Eastern front.  Both feature the work of brave women in the war.  The Huntress takes an unusual turn by featuring a woman as a sought after Nazi war criminal.

 

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If you’ve not found the Maisie Dobbs series yet, now is the time. The series began with Maisie in WWI and we’ve now progressed to WWII and the London blitz.  The latest, The American Agent, provides wonderful insight into the beginning of WWII and America’s take on a new world war.

 

More recommendations to come!  I think this is going to be a huge reading summer.

The Beach Reading List

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Did I mention how much I love to read? As a child I was seldom without a book. My Mom introduced me to the Bobbsey Twins and Boxcar Children. When I was sick with chickenpox, My Aunt read Secret of the Old Clock to me creating a Nancy Drew fan in the process.

I am an eclectic reader. If I have to choose, I would say mysteries are my favorite. There is something appealing about trying to guess whodinnit before the reveal. I also love to read stories set in local and far away places. The ability to escape into someplace familiar or, in the alternative, foreign and be carried away by the story is a characteristic I look for in a good book. Historical fiction, cookbooks, biographies and design books round out my reading list.

Needless to say, I read and read a lot. For vacation, I look for a good story. So what is on my summer book list?  Since it’s still the first of summer, here are highlights from the list. It’s a long list . . . .

Jackie’s Girl by Kathy McKeon

Written by a former personal assistant to Jackie Kennedy, this is a compelling story of life post Camelot at Jackie’s residence in New York known as 1040. The true story of the writer’s immigration to the United States from Ireland and her life as a peripheral member of the Kennedy Clan pays homage to the former first lady and a particular time and place in history.

Mondigliani Scandal by Ken Follett

My introduction to Follett was through the Cathedral series with Pillars of the Earth. He weaves wonderful intricate plots with compelling characters. The Mondigliani Scandal is a bit of a departure from his norm but still has the intrigue of Eye the Needle. A fun read with a surprising albeit predictable ending; it is well worth the read.

On the Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett

Another oldie but goodie by Follett. This is the story of Ross Perot and the Iranian Revolution. A true story that reads like a work of fiction. I found it fascinating and educational.

Dead Ringer by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter

I love vintage Mary Higgins Clark. If I did not know otherwise, I would swear this book was written by Ms. Clark. A great mystery which leaves you guessing to the end. Extra points for weaving Klimt and Nazi stolen art artfully into this present day mystery in a manner that brings awareness to the issue.

The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby

The latest in Crosby’s Virginia winery mystery series, this one delivers again. Light and fun, part mystery and part romance, this is simply a fun read. I recommend the entire series .

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

This is the story of two families intertwined by history and regular vacations at Isle of Palms. Ms. Frank writes stories set on the islands off the South Carolina coast. They are light and fun and she makes it so easy to get lost in the trials and tribulations of her characters. She is one of my go to authors and her latest does not disappoint.