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Summer randomness

I won’t start with the usual cliches about the heat. We all know it is hot and I promise no cracks about eggs frying on the sidewalk. As for rain, forget about it. Even the birds know it isn’t going to rain around here any time soon: one of them has built a nest in our rain gutter!

Before I go any further, I want to just throw this out there:  HOW ABOUT THOSE MAVS!!!!!!

Have you planned out your summer fun yet? In our house, June is the busiest month for our son. Last week, he was gone from Sunday – Wednesday to Waco, Tx, where he served as a youth delegate for our district at Annual Conference (it’s a church thing). He left yesterday for a week-long mission trip to Austin with the youth groups from Weatherford & Burleson. Next week, he is off for his summer vacation with my parents, who have constructed a “grandson to-do list” so he won’t be bored. Three days after he leaves, my husband is off for a week at his parents’ house, which leaves me home alone on my birthday! Just a side note to my friends, please email me your phone numbers in case I need to be bailed out. Joking, just joking…maybe.

Since it is summer, I have noticed that a lot of summer reading lists have been popping up on the Internet. Looking at these lists, my first response is “Really?” Not one list for just mysteries. I am not big on chick lit fiction, although I have read some on occasion, but it has to be really good to catch my eye. People do ask me what kind of books I read and what authors/books I would recommend. So if you are looking for something different, a new author or an old favorite, check out my list.

1. Janet Evanovich – my summer is not complete without reading her new book. This year is Smokin’ Seventeen, which is coming out June 21. Almost everyone is familiar with the Stephanie Plum series, and if you aren’t, why not?! Get busy! You should also read the between the numbers series she has involving the hunky, smoking hot Diesel. Man, I need a shower.

2. Maggie Sefton – if you are not familiar with her knitting mystery series, now is a good time to start! Her latest book, Unraveled, just came out last week.

3. Sally Goldenbaum – I just read The Wedding Shawl: A Seaside Knitters Mystery last week, and it was excellent. It made me wish I could take a vacation to the East Coast, until I remembered it is just as hot there as it is here.

4. Ann B. Ross – This is Ms. Ross’ 12th Miss Julia book, and it is just as good as her first one. Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle is sitting on the table next to me waiting to be read. I am not sure if the Miss Julia books would qualify as a pure mystery, but considering the troubles that seem to find her and the way she seems to solve her life’s little mysteries, I give it the benefit of the doubt. It probably falls more under chick lit fiction, one of the few I read.

5. Jacqueline Windspear – Her Maisie Dobbs series is set in 1930s England, and her heroine is a very strong, independent woman. I have her latest book, A Lesson in Secrets, sitting in the to-read pile.

6. Robert B. Parker – There is not a summer that goes by that I don’t go on a Robert B. Parker reading binge. I am still waiting to get my hands on Sixkill, which came out last month. Even though Mr. Parker passed away last year, I have heard that there will be more Spenser & Jesse Stone novels in the future.

7. Jennie Bentley – Her Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation series has her main characters fixing up old homes while solving murders in their spare time. She doesn’t have a new book coming out until October, but that gives you plenty of time to grab the other books in the series to get caught up!

8. Katherine Hall Page – I have been reading Ms. Page’s books for years, and her latest entry into her Faith Fairchild series, The Body in the Gazebo, doesn’t disappoint. As a preacher’s kid, I personally love this series because I can relate to some of the things Faith goes through being married to a local minister.

9. Sarah Graves – After reading Ms. Graves’ and Ms. Bentley’s series, I have serious doubts about doing any type of home repair on my house! Bodies, bodies everywhere! Ms. Graves’ “Home Repair is Homicide” series is a bit darker than the others mentioned above, but it is an excellent series and well worth all the nightmares about bodies in my crawlspace or attic. Her latest entry is Knock Down.

10. Joanna Fluke – be warned, you could gain weight just reading her Hannah Swenson series. I wish I could bake as well as Hannah does! If you feel adventurous, you can try some of the yummy recipes that are found in every book. Devil’s Food Cake Murder came out in March, but it is a definite must add to any reading list.

11. Mary Daheim – She has two excellent series: the bed and breakfast series and the Alpine series. If I had to choose which one I like better, I would have to say the bed and breakfast series. There is a book out for each series right now: Loco Motive: A Bed and Breakfast Mystery and The Alpine Vengeance. I fear that the Alpine series may end when she gets to Z, but I have no definite proof of that.

12. Sue Grafton – Since we are talking about series ending, any fan of Kinsey Millhone will realize the end is coming soon. V is for Vengeance comes out November 21 (my grandmother’s 93rd birthday), so you have between now and then to read the whole series. I will miss Kinsey very much when the series ends, but I hope Ms. Grafton has plans for a whole new series when she finishes with this one.

13. Lillian Jackson Braun – I learned last week that Ms. Braun recently passed away at the age of 97. Her “The Cat Who” series is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

14. Brad Thor – if you are looking for suspense & thrills, then check out Mr. Thor’s Scot Harvath series about an ex-Navy Seal who works for a secret government group with their own set of rules that don’t always fall within the lines of the law. He does have a new book coming out July 26, Full Black.

15. Steve Berry – I cannot mention Mr. Thor without mentioned Mr. Berry’s Cotton Malone series. I like this series because of the intriguing mysteries and the locations that Mr. Berry sends his characters. The Jefferson Key is Cotton’s latest adventure, which I will be looking for at my library tomorrow! Well-written and nail-biting!

16. John Sandford – I have been reading his Lucas Davenport series since the first one was published. Excellent series! Buried Prey came out last month, and I am waiting to get my hands on it. He has another series featuring Virgil Flowers that is worth reading as well.

17. Kate Collins – She writes a Flower Shop series featuring Abby Knight. This girl gets in more trouble, accidentally and intentionally, than any character I have ever encountered, with the exception of Stephanie Plum. And her boyfriend, Marco…oy vey!

18. Diane Mott Davidson – Goldy Schultz has a knack for finding bodies, and a knack for cooking. Crunch Time is the latest book in the series. I promise you will fall in love with Goldy. The whole series is a must read!

19. Laura Childs – If you are looking for a mystery series with a southern flair, then Ms. Childs’ Tea Shop Mystery series is for you! Her 12th book in the series, Scones & Bones, is a recent release. If you prefer some New Orleans jazz, then read her Scrapbooking series.

20. Denise Swanson – I think there are more dead bodies in Scumble River, Illinois than there are living, breathing citizens! When she isn’t finding dead bodies or counseling students, school psychologist Skye Dennison is trying to balance her love life between the sheriff and the local undertaker. There are thirteen books in the series, the latest being Death of a Bookstore Babe.

I could go on and on. Jill Churchill, Victoria Laurie, Cleo Coyle, J.A. Jance, Lorna Barrett, Leslie Meier, the list is endless. But there are plenty of books in each series to keep you busy inside, where it is nice and cool, and the eggs are frying in a pan, not on the sidewalk. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.