Friday, June 30, 2017

Favorite Summer/Beach Reads 2017!

What A Great Season for Reading! 😀

When the temperature soars and my to-do list has been checked off for the day, there is nothing I find more relaxing than chilling-out with a favorite summer book.

The books featured below are some of my personal favs, when it comes to summer reads.

And please DO share a title or two of any beach/summer reads you particularly enjoy. 

I'm always on the lookout for new books to read and to review too.

Happy Reading and Happy Summer Too! 

The cover and title of this book got my attention right away. 

And the story itself did not disappoint, I loved this book!
From the Amazon product page:

The Jersey Shore has always been known for warm sand, lively boardwalks, and the promise of carefree summer days. This season the small scenic town of Ocean Point, New Jersey, is not nearly as carefree as tourists would hope. The discovery of the body of a young woman is the first in a string of seemingly random and senseless murders, murders connected only by a warning from the same boardwalk fortune-teller.

It’s a crisis that puts local detective Mitch Burns on edge, and his job in jeopardy. It’s up to him to solve the crimes and protect the livelihood of the town, a livelihood that relies almost entirely on tourists. With the help of newly hired local reporter Elise Jenkins, the two step out to discover who the killer is, before another body is found."

I read this eBook in a couple of afternoons. It kept my attention to the very last page. Suspense, romance, intrigue...and up until the last couple of chapters, I had NOT guessed who the real killer was. I like that. Nothing too predictable here.
Laura Bradford is an excellent writer. Her characters are realistic and easy to visualize. The story moved along at a good pace, with no filler or lag time, which has been too often the case with some other stories I've been reading recently.

A couple of  reviewers at Amazon did make negative comments about the religious undertone of this book but I disagree.

 I am not an overly religious person and I don't like being "preached" at in a story of any kind. That REALLY turns me off and in a big way. But I didn't find the religious references in Deadly Readings over the top or superfluous. They were a part of the story that fit. 


 Sea Glass Hearts
If you aren't familiar with this author/artist's work, she uses a process called scannography and takes seemingly ordinary objects like stones and shells and transforms them into images, books, prints and collections that are uniquely beautiful. 
Sea Glass Hearts is a collection of sea glass and stone images with some lovely poems and poetic phrases to accompany many of the photos.

If you happen to be land-locked and have never seen any sea glass, it is pieces of broken glass that have been washed up along shorelines and polished and smoothed into shapes by the waves and sand.

In this particular book by Josie Iselin, the theme is all about heart-shapes.
The special meanings of this symbol for so many people: the core of our being, the lifeforce and strength, the qualities we value and strive for...lovely and thought-provoking imagery to consider and savour, paging through this book.

 For me, it has a calming, grounding effect to browse through the pages of this book, especially when I take the time to read the text that accompanies the breath-taking photos throughout. 

Ms. Iselin has created magic with her photos and her words.
This book would make a special and memorable gift for someone you love or even as a special thank you or housewarming gift, to enjoy as a small "coffee table" book, in a new home.

I like to keep my copy close at hand so that I can pick it up when I'm feeling stressed and spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation, slowly savoring the pages.

 You're in for a visual treat! 


The Litigators

Although I'm no longer much of a fan of John Grisham's (newer) books, this one was just terrific! 

What did I like about this book? In a nutshell: everything!

 Entertaining from the first page to the last. Characters that literally  "jump off the page" with their authenticity. A page-turner that I read in two days and that would have been even less time, if I hadn't had other things I had to do. 

I really couldn't put this one down!

So what made this one different from other John Grisham books I've enjoyed ? I found myself laughing so much as I was reading along.  
Really loud, can't stop, side-splitting laughter. 😁

Not that there isn't usually some clever, witty content, in most of  earlier Grisham's books. 
But several parts of this particular book are truly hilarious in addition to the usual suspense and drama that are in keeping with Grisham's writing style.

The twists and turns of the plot continue to the very last chapter. Complete with a satisfying ending that ties up all the loose ends.

A bit about the plot....

If ever there was a stereotype for a "seedy lawyerWally Figg is one of them and in spades. Wally and his partner world-weary Oscar Finley, have been waiting (and waiting) for that "big break" for over 20 years that will free them up from the "nickle and dime" cases they've been handling at Finley & Figg for far too long. 

Wally Figg (multiple divorcee) and his new, oh-so tacky girlfriend, DeeAnna provides a big part of the LOL's in this book. If ever there was a sleazy couple, made for each other, it's these two. Some clever "accounting practises" on the part of Wally also include DeeAnna. Suffice to say, it makes for some hilarious and engaging reading, throughout the story.

By a series of events, that seem to be coincidental at the time; a young, upwardly mobile but burnt-out and disillusioned lawyer by the name of David Zinc "lands" drunk as a skunk at their office one afternoon. This sets off a series of events that will change the course of Finley & Figg forever. 

From the Amazon product page:

     "The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. 
What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. 
After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him. "


On My Own at 107

We had a large "free box" at our previous local library and on many a visit, I found a good book to take home from there. Sometimes better than what I found while browsing the library shelves. ;<)
This book is one of those gems! Inspiring from start to finish.
On My Own at 107 is a small but extraordinary book. I read the complete book in one session and loved every page.
This is the story of Sarah (Sweet Sadie) Delany, the surviving sister of the well-known Delany sisters who was left "on her own" at the amazing age of 107, after her beloved sister Annie Elizabeth (Bessie) died (at home) in the autumn of 1995 at the age of 104.
In this beautifully-written diary/memoir, Sadie must come to terms with the profound loss of her beloved sister's passing; sharing the heart-wrenching absence she feels on a daily basis in the house they shared together in Mount Vernon, NY since 1957, where Sadie continued to reside.
Both of these amazing women led long, healthy and inspiring lives.
Bessie (Annie Elizabeth) graduated from Columbia University's School of Dental and Oral Surgery in 1923 and was the second black woman licensed to practise dentistry in New York. For many years, she had a thriving dental practise in Harlem and was known as Dr. Bessie to her patients and throughout the black community.
Sadie (Sarah) attended the Pratt Institute and later Columbia University and earned a bachelor and masters degree. Sadie was the first black woman to teach domestic science at a high school level, in New York city.
They faced many challenges along the way as single,  black career women in a time when discrimination and segregation were still the norm, rather than the exception.
 Neither of the sisters ever married, although they both enjoyed the company and friendship of many suitors throughout the years. 
But most of all, it was their bonds of sisterhood and family that saw them through the storms and also the good times in life.
On My Own at 107 is a touching, unique, at times humorous and unforgettable story to read. And the only book I have ever noted at Amazon with all 5 star reviews!
For me, it was also a book filled with wisdom and inspiration as Sadie reminisced about the 104  years she shared with her sister Bessie. The good times, the lean years, the triumphs...all lovingly recalled and shared.
Not only does it share an amazing story, it also has a lovely presentation, with floral illustrations by Brian M. Kotsy featured throughout the pages. The beautiful flowers depicted in these illustrations were to showcase those grown by Bessie year after year, in her lovingly-tended garden that she cared for on her own, until her 98th year!
I did some checking and found this Wiki page for Sadie (Sarah) Delany. She lived two more years after Bessie's passing, to the age of 109! A life, very well lived. That of course goes for Bessie too. 

And it's so nice to picture them together again now! 😀


Every summer, I re-read the following two books.  

Two of my all-time favorite books and both make perfect choices for relaxing summer reading.


Beachcombing at Miramar by Richard Bode

I bought this book several years ago and after reading it once, proceeded to immediately buy numerous copies to give away as gifts. I was that impressed.

One close friend carried this book around in her purse for weeks. When she needed a ’stress break’ she would pull it out to enjoy a peaceful page or two. 

Another friend stayed up all night, not able to put the book down until the last page was enjoyed. I can relate, it really is that good.

For me, this was a life-changing book and one that touched me deeply.  

The story of Richard Bode’s journey from the rat race to a peaceful and contemplative life on a California beach at Miramar. A dream that for most people remains just that. 

But Bode went for it. Gave up his high-paying, high-pressure job and left behind the life he had always known (including a marriage that wasn’t working any more) to find himself. To live out his dream of a life filled with meaningful and one- of- a -kind “memory” days.
Beautifully written, this is a book you will never forget. A rare glimpse and chance to share an extraordinary life transition along with the author. 

I highly recommend this book to add to your summer reading list, if you haven’t read it already.


Summer’s Lease by John Mortimer

If lighter reading with plenty of laughs is what you are looking for; perhaps this next one will be more your cup/glass of iced tea. ;-)

This is the travel journal of an English family embarking on a trip to the Tuscany region of Italy. 

Mother Molly: plump, disillusioned with her marriage and the demands of motherhood, decides to respond to a rather cryptic newspaper ad for a Italian vacation rental. She takes a rather bold step (for her) and rents a “villa” in Tuscany for the summer and so begins the tale.

As one reviewer on Amazon so aptly put it:
 ” A delicious Italian dish; sun-drenched and garlic-scented novel” .

If you are looking for a fun, entertaining and well-written summer novel with a touch of suspense, mystery, romance and even strange water-shortages abounding….. you may want to give this one a try. 



  1. Thank you for the books you recommend. I've jotted down the titles and will look to see if I can get them from the library. I just finished reading Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry and am about to start A Fine Romance by Susan Branch. Summer reading on the porch is wonderful!

    1. Thanks for the book recommendations, I will check them out.😀🌞

  2. Sadly I am not into reading much these days.

    1. I'm not finding much time for reading either Val but I sure miss it.

      Hope things are going good for you. Happy Weekend, G

  3. Thanks for sharing, I just picked up Barack Obama the audacity of hope (2006) at the church garage sale today for $1!

    1. I'm not an Obama fan but that it certainly a low price.😊

  4. A good selection of summer books,I enjoyed Beachcombing at Miramar.

    Right now I'm enjoying reading and rereading your newest book, Haiku Reflections III

  5. I need to get copies of those last two again, I'd still like to re-read them this year!!!

    I'm glad you are enjoying my newest haiku book. I just got my first review for Haiku Reflections III at Amazon, those stars!!!

  6. i am a sea glass lover and a sea glass collector. i have been collecting sea glass since i was a small child!! i have several wonderful books about sea glass and the art of collecting it!!! the books contain gorgeous images!!

    1. Isn't sea glass the coolest thing? This IS a gorgeous book, you will probably love it, if you do check it out. As I said above, I find it very relaxing to look at.

  7. Thanks for those reviews. I just started "How to Be Both" by Ali Smith and I'm finding it compelling.

    Greetings from London.

  8. I love sea glass (and sea pottery) and Sea Glass Hearts sounds wonderful

    1. It is an gorgeous book! And as I mentioned above, very relaxing to browse through too. :-)

  9. Just wanted to drop by and leave my heart-felt thanks for your kind support through my difficult time. Your friendship is so, so precious...:))

    1. I was just thinking about you yesterday Ygraine and hoping you were doing better. SO glad you've stopped by. And hopefully, things are improving for you too. Sending lots more hugs your way! We can never have enough hugs, can we?


Thank you for your visits and feedback! :<)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...