What I Read Last Summer

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”
Jeannette Walls

I remember those days, when you didn't need a flashlight to keep reading late at night (late for little kids that is). In fact, even though we had a bedtime, we didn't have a lights out in summer. We could read as long as we could keep our eyes open.

For me, that was past my parent's bedtime. For my sister... well she'd often fall asleep halfway up the stairs going to bed.

I still associate summertime with reading time, even though I'm usually busy editing my next book as well. Just like my school days, the period leading up to July first is crazy busy with work for the Arthur Ellis Awards and the Crime Writers of Canada AGM as well as my usual work, not to mention writing/editing/promoting my books. In July, the pace starts to slow. The kids are home. And I have a backlog of books in my TBR pile.
A few of the many stories I caught up with were by Kathleen Rice Adams, longtime (we won't ask how long) journalist turned author. The last year (more or less) has seen the publication of her first short stories in various western historical romance anthologies, and the release of her debut novel. Time getting away from me as it does, I've been catching up this summer. I've been delighted to find that Kathleen and I share a similar approach to romantic adventure, feeling that a healthy dose of humour is the best garnish.

Vacations are the best time for reading. The last vacation we took with my dad, I drove him and the kids from beach to beach in the Southwestern Ontario. Just before we left, I made a great discovery: Stephanie Plum. I managed to pick up most of the series, from One for the Money to Ten Big Ones at Value Village. I had a few gaps to fill in but it was the cheapest summer reading binge I ever went on. Every evening, after Dad and the kids were asleep, I sat up reading. I averaged a book and a half a day.

This summer I caught up on book 22 in the series, thanks to a birthday gift from a friend. I also discovered a new author, Ann Charles thanks to Jacquie Rogers, whose stories also make me laugh.

The Deadwood series, starting with Nearly Departed in Deadwood, mashes up two of my favourite genres, mystery and paranormal suspense. Add in a genuine western (albeit contemporary) setting, humour and romance and you have a series I couldn't resist trying out.

I love discovering new authors and series in the summer. Then I get to read a bunch of books at once and not have to wait until the next one comes out until much later.

A few years ago, the new series was Michele Bardsley's Broken Heart OK series. An infected vampire/werewolf goes on a rampage and almost kills a bunch of single parents who are then turned into vampires. The town of Broken Heart has always had more than its fair share of divorcees, but now romance literally sucks.

It started with Because I'm the Vampire, That's Why and takes the broken hearts of Broken Heart on, one by one. Over all, we learn about the origin of the vampire families, the Consortium and the vampires who choose not to consort with the Consortium.

I mention these series because now that I have to wait for the next book, I save them up for summer (or Christmas holidays) when I can really savour them. It was the same when I was a kid. Throughout the school year, most of my reading was required for school. But come summertime, the reading was easy.

“The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don’t, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper.” 
Polly Horvath

So, what did you read last summer?


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