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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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- New York (4)
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- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
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- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 40 books. 65% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

25 / 100 books. 25% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the (Arizona) Kitchen

I always look forward to creating and reading seasonal TBR lists, so I'm excited for today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Top Ten Books On My Summer To-Read List.  You know I'm all about the reading part.  Summer, though?  Not a fan.  I'm especially unenthusiastic right now since I just got back from a long weekend in the Columbia River Gorge, a beautiful national scenic area in Washington and Oregon, where it was cool and drizzly with lows in the 50's and highs in the 70's.  Landing in Arizona, where it was 112 degrees at 7 p.m., was a very rude awakening for me.  I grew up in the Gorge.  Why did I ever leave?  Oh, the things we do for love!  

Although I reveled in the lovely Gorge weather, I was really there to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.  Since COVID pretty much nixed our plans for a blow-out party with lots of family and friends, my siblings and I decided to surprise Mom and Dad instead.  Five of their seven children were able to be there.  Although my youngest brother accidentally spilled the beans a little bit, we still pulled off a great surprise.  I was hiding at the top of my parents' long driveway when my oldest sibling approached them in the backyard and I heard my mom's astonished gasp clear from where I was standing.  It was awesome!  I think this picture of me and my dad (taken by Renée Alumbaugh) says everything about how the weekend went:

(Since someone is bound to ask, the device on my arm is an Omnipod insulin pump.  You may also sometimes spy my Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitor [CGM] in pictures of me, since I wear both on the backs of my arms.  Although Type 1 diabetes is a horrendous, not-fun-at-all disease, these devices are literally life-changing for diabetics.)

Now that I'm back to the scorching heat, I guess it really is time to start thinking about what I want to read this summer.  I've got some library books I need to finish as well as a few new releases I'm looking forward to.  It's too hot to read by the pool (ours doesn't have much shade and I burn at the mere thought of sunshine), so I'll be enjoying these books inside under the ceiling fan with the a/c blasting.

As always, if you're interested in joining the TTT party, you can find all the details at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ten Books On My Summer To-Read List

1.  The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny—I brought this mystery on my trip as a back-up book (I never travel without one!) and it's a good thing I did since I couldn't get my stupid Kindle to connect at all.  It's the 11th book in the incomparable Armand Gamache series, which I love.  It's about a young boy who goes missing and the shocking thing that is found in the woods because of the ensuing search for him.

2.  Searcher of the Dead by Nancy Herriman—I've enjoyed a couple of Herriman's historical mysteries, so I'm interested to see how I like this series opener.  It's about a woman in Tudor England who's hiding from a killer in a bucolic little town.  When someone close to her is murdered, it appears she has been found and that she's next on someone's hit list.

3.  The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn—I'm always up for a dual-timeline novel featuring old secrets and new discoveries.  This one revolves around a woman in the present who discovers a cache of love letters written during another woman's stint in a mental hospital on a remote island in the 1950's.  As she digs into the past to learn more about the letters, she finds an intriguing mystery that just might answer questions about her own family.

4.  The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor—A month or so ago, I read and enjoyed my first Cantor book.  I'm excited to try another one.  This historical concerns a neighbor of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, with whom the spies' children were left after their arrest.  Sounds interesting.

5.  Survive the Night by Riley Sager (available June 29, 2021)—I've already talked about this thriller, which is about two strangers on a road trip that goes awry.  I'm 31 of 32 on the library's waiting list, so we'll see how long it takes for me to get my hands on this one.  

6.  A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins (available July 6, 2021)—I just received this novel from the publisher.  It's the second book in a series, so I'll have to read The Book Charmer first (I've been meaning to anyway).  This one is about three women who "embark on a reluctant but magical journey of healing, friendship, and family."  Sounds like a nice, feel-good read perfect for summer.

7.  Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult (available November 30, 2021)—I'm a Picoult fan, although it's been a hot minute since I read anything by her.  To be honest, her newer novels haven't been as good for me as her older ones.  However, I am intrigued by this one, her newest.  It's about a woman who's on a dream trip to the Galàpagos Islands by herself when the pandemic hits.  I've heard some people say it's too soon for them to enjoy a book like this, but I'm all in for it.

8.  The Pact by Sharon Bolton—I'm *trying* to take a break from dark thrillers, but I'm a big Bolton fan, so I probably won't be able to resist this one.  It's about a woman who agrees to take the fall for a group crime in exchange for "favors" done by each member of the group after her release from prison.  

9.  A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson—While this doesn't sound like a very summery book, it's still one I want to read soon.  The first in a series, it's about a marine biologist who is researching wolverines in Montana, a mission that angers some locals.  When she discovers a different kind of predator in the wildlife sanctuary, the authorities are strangely dismissive of her claims.  Just what
exactly has she stumbled upon?

10.  The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb (available February 8, 2022)—As you probably know, I'm very into researching family history.  While most of my ancestors came to the United States before Ellis Island opened, I'm still fascinated by the place and its role in the nation's history.  I have an e-ARC of this novel, which concerns a woman emigrating from Italy and an American woman who has just started a job at the immigration center.  Their fates entwine as they both struggle to navigate their new lives.

There you are, ten books I'm hoping to read this summer.  Have you read any of them?  Any look like novels you would enjoy as well?  What's on your list today?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!


  1. This is a great list of books...I think I'm going to have to add most of them to my reading list. So, thanks! :)

    1. I'm glad you found a *few* to pique your interest!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  2. I have no idea if my first comment went through, so feel free to delete this if it’s a repeat.

    I have relatives who live in Arizona. Y’all have had quite the heat wave recently!

    It’s been a while since I’ve been interested in any of Picoult’s new books, too, but I will keep an eye out for her newest one.

    My post:

    1. Yeah, poor Arizona. We've got fires burning everything up and the sun roasting what's left. Ugh. We really, really need some rain. It stormed last night, but it was all wind and no moisture :(

      I used to read every Picoult book as soon as it came out. I've definitely lost some interest in her, but not all. Her new one sounds like one I'd like. Fingers crossed it's good!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

  3. No one in our hemisphere can deny that summer is here. I hope you get to enjoy all of these.

    1. It's getting hot all over the place! Ugh. Our pool actually gets really warm in July and August - right now, it still feels refreshing, thank goodness.

      Thanks for stopping in, Deb!

  4. What a beautiful picture and what a wonderful thing to celebrate! I do love those cooler temperatures. I like to be cool, but not cold, you know? Hope all the books are your summer TBR are winners.

    1. Agreed. I prefer mild temps, not extremes. However, if I have to choose between hot and cold, I'll pick cold every time.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  5. Congrats on the surprise visit to see your folks. That look on your father's face is absolutely priceless.

    Nice list of summer reads...and topping off the list with something from the Gamache series? Well, no better way to begin a summer than that. Have fun.

    1. Isn't it? My dad has had some heart trouble in the past, so I was a little worried the surprise would be too much. I think it was just right :)

      Gamache for the win! I've just about finished THE NATURE OF THE BEAST and have really enjoyed it. No surprise there.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  6. Great list! Jodi's and Survive the Night are on my TBR Too! Here's my TTT if you're interested:

    1. Great minds think alike! I hope we both enjoy these and our other picks.

      Thanks for popping in, Caroline!

  7. Surprising your parents sounds lovely! They are blessed to have you and your siblings. I know for me, seeing my adult children is the best gift! My sister has type 1 diabetes and wears a pump. I’m thrilled to know you love Gamache! I guess I can share my book boyfriend! 😂🌲🌲🌲 Stay cool! It’s 100* here today. 🥵🥵🥵

    1. It was lovely, although I did feel bad for lying to my mom :) I *think* she's forgiven me by now!

      Insulin pumps really are lifesavers. I can't believe I lived for so long without one.

      Gamache is the best, isn't he?

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carol!

  8. It sounds like you hit WA at a good time to escape that AZ weather. My friends there have said it's in the 110-115 mark. That's pretty miserable as far as I remember from living there. We've had a few rainy days here in WA, but next week it's supposed to heat up.

    1. It's supposed to be 114 today! And the air quality is really bad because of all the fires here. I want to go back to the Gorge, even though I know it's supposed to be warmer there this week than it was last week. I adore the kind of cool, drizzly weather Oregon and Washington were having while I was there. Take me back!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  9. Oooh, A Solitude of Wolverines sounds excellent, I will go and look that up. And I'm with you on Summer, I can just about tolerate it and we don't even have anything like Arizona temps. in the UK. You have my sympathy. And I loved hearing about your surprise visit to your parents.

    1. Our summers really are incredible. SOOOO brutally hot. Yuck.

      A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES is waiting for me at the library. I'm going to pick it up today. Hopefully, it's as good as it sounds!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

  10. Searcher of the Dead sounds so good and interesting!! I hope you enjoy all these reads and have an amazing summer!! <3

    1. Thanks, Leslie! I definitely plan to spend a lot of time reading in the coolness of the ceiling fan and air conditioning :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leslie!

  11. What a wonderful surprise for your parents and that picture says 1000 words. I have not read any of the books on your list, but there are a few authors that I enjoy with upcoming books so I will be adding them to my TBR. Enjoy.

    1. It's my favorite picture so far from our weekend :)

      Enjoy your reads! Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carla.

  12. Replies
    1. I agree :)

      Thanks for stopping in, Carrie!

  13. I have really started loving dual timeline books too! I used to ready Jodi Picoult but found that I wasn't as fond of her writing as I used to be. I may have to look into her newest one. Happy reading!

    1. Dual timeline novels always appeal to me, although I usually find the past stories more enjoyable than the present ones, so maybe I should just read straight hist-fic? LOL.

      Thanks for coming by, Cindy!

  14. I hope you'll enjoy the books on your reading list!

    1. I hope so, too! I've just about finished the first book I listed and I'm enjoying it, so that's a good start :)

      Thanks for stopping in, Danielle!

  15. My sister was just singing the praises of Louise Penny. I'll have to check her out soon. She already has our aunt hooked on the books.

    1. Penny is great! Her books are compelling and well-written with a great, atmospheric setting and fun characters. I hope you enjoy her if you give her a go.

      Thanks for popping by, Cheri!

  16. That picture of you and your Dad hugging made me tear up a bit. Such a beautiful moment and so wonderful that you got to be there with your parents to celebrate their 50th.

    1. It really was a beautiful moment! We've always been close. We even share a birthday :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Suzanne!

  17. Every week I discover something else we have in common. I also hate summer. With a vengeance. And I have diabetes, though, luckily "only" type 2.

    Great picture of you and your dad. Love it.

    My favourite of your covers is the one with the cups. So pretty.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. Seriously, Marianne, we're like long-lost sisters! Diabetes is a horrible disease, no matter what, but at least it's manageable. It's not EASY to manage, but it is doable, thank heavens.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

    2. Exactly. I've met a few people online that I share so much with and since I never had a sister and always wanted one, of course, I've "adopted" them all. I just saw that you have a lovely page about yourself here and find it fascinating. I might have to do that myself one day. Thanks for the inspiration.

    3. Oh, and yes, you are right, diabetes is horrible but I always compare mine with my father's who was diagnosed with type 2 at the age of 50. He was very good with it and didn't need any injections until shortly before his death at 86 and today it is so much easier. So, I*m lucky in a way. I was bound to inherit it because my mother also got it in later age but I'm glad I have to manage it now and not back then.

  18. That surprise visit sounds like an absolutely wonderful trip! :D I have ebooks on my phone that serve as my regular back-up reading, but for anything longer than an overnight I like to bring a paper book back-up, too. Can't be without reading material! ;-)

    1. I have a hard time reading on my phone since the screen is so small. If I don't have ANYTHING else, I'll read on my phone's Kindle app. It's better than nothing :) I do always have a "real" book in case technology fails me.

      Thanks for popping by, Nicole!

  19. I am so glad you got to visit with family! That photo of you and your dad is wonderful.

    Your list of books looks good and I look forward to seeing what you think of them.

    1. It was a great visit for lots of reasons. I'm so glad we decided to go through with the surprise visit and not just a Zoom call!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  20. Great TBR! I hope you get to read all of these.

    1. Me, too! I'm just about done with the first one, so that's one down. We'll see how I do with the others.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kristi!

  21. Oh that must've been quite the surprise! I'm so glad you got to do that for your parents. <3 You are so right, Type 1 is not a joke. My officemate's daughter has one and the amount of monitoring they have to do is quite daunting. But thank God for medical technologies that are enabling us to anticipate possible problems.

    Thanks for sharing your Summer reading list. I should do one. Lord knows, I have a few hang overs from April and May!

    1. For real! I can't imagine being the parents of a child with Type 1 diabetes. It must be so scary. I'm glad it's me that deals with it, not my kids. I agree, though, the technology that's available now makes it SOOOO much easier to manage the disease. It's also amazing that parents can see their kids' blood sugar numbers in real time, which helps to prevent extreme lows and highs, both of which can be dangerous.

      Thanks for popping in, Joy!

    2. So...I'm really slow. It took me a hot minute to realize that you're Joy of Joyous Reads! It's nice to see your face :) And thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

  22. A Solitude of Wolverines is good. Sharon Bolton is a favorite author of mine, and I'm eagerly awaiting my autographed copy of Survive the Night from The Poisoned Pen. This is a really interesting list!

    1. Oh, good! I picked up WOLVERINES at the library today. I'm excited to read it. I also love Bolton - I've read all her books. SURVIVE THE NIGHT sounds excellent. Can't wait!

      Thanks for popping in, Cathy!

  23. Many of these look great picks! I loved Kristin Hannah's writing in The Nightingale!

  24. I have only heard of one book from your list. Survive the Night.

  25. Such a touching thing you did there. It's always a beautiful feeling to surprise parents like this and I am happy you were able to!

    With your book list, I am also a Picoult fan and yes, I agree. Her books are not as great as the earlier ones - though The Leaving Time lingers still inside me after years of reading it. :)

    I hope you have a great summer reading, Susan.

    P.S. You are the best when it comes to TTT Titles!


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