What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.

The Summer Reading Guide is here, which means it’s time to catch up on not-so-new titles I’ve been eager to read. This is the time of year when I enthusiastically embrace both backlist selections and bona fide classics—but you know I can’t resist dipping into the new releases as well, as you’ll see below. 

I hope you have read some good books lately! Please tell us all about your recent reads in comments.

What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

A Wicked Kind of Husband

A Wicked Kind of Husband

Author:
I don't read much historical romance, but I am so glad I picked this one up at the urging of my friend Leigh Kramer! The plot revolves a marriage of convenience: Cassandra has seen her husband only once—on their wedding day—and both husband and wife are perfectly pleased with this arrangement. They live separate lives in separate towns, and don't even recognize each other when they meet socially in London. But then they're forced to get to know each other for the sake of appearances, and go from strangers to friends to something more. The stellar sense of humor made for a delightful reading experience; I couldn't get enough of their witty banter. Heads up for some open-door moments. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue

Author:
I was craving a sweet, fast-reading story so I borrowed this book from my daughter's bookshelf. This book contains so many elements that appeal to both teen and adult readers: friendship, love, loss, and books I must admit it was the books that really caught my eye: the story is set in and around a family-owned bookshop called Howling Books, and its special room called the Letter Library, where patrons exchange messages in the pages of the secondhand books. (Psst—you'll hear me discuss this book in next week's episode of What Should I Read Next!) More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Three Hours in Paris

Three Hours in Paris

Author:
Black says her imagination was captured by a historical moment: in October 1939, Adolf Hitler visited Paris and stayed in the city for a mere three hours. In this novel, Black imagines what might have happened while he was there. To do this, she invents heroine Kate Rees, an American markswoman with a tragic past who is recruited by the Allies for a formidable assignment: to assassinate Hitler while he visits the City of Light. But when the plan goes awry, Kate is suddenly running for her life, with only her wits and her tiny bit of training to rely on. I thoroughly enjoyed this new WWII story; I listened to the audiobook through Libro.fm. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

Author:
Since I completed the Summer Reading Guide, I've been catching up on nonfiction I've been putting off. I appropriately picked up this book last fall at Books by the Banks, the Cincinnati literary festival Abbott and I both attended. At the time, I didn't realize the book was set in the area! In this true crime tale, Abbott sets out the story of George Remus, a teetotaler who built a whiskey empire during Prohibition, and was so successful that at one point he controlled 30% of the liquor consumed during that time. I felt like I was reading about a real-life Jay Gatsby. A truth-is-stranger-than-fiction epic from the Jazz Age. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery (Being a Jane Austen Mystery Book 1)

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery (Being a Jane Austen Mystery Book 1)

A friend gave me this book back in the fall and it was the first novel I turned to when I finished the Summer Reading Guide. The setup is this: the author asserts that she discovered old journals of Jane Austen, in which it is revealed that Austen was once an amateur sleuth (who had a bad habit of stumbling into crime scenes). In this first installment, Jane's dear friend Isobel marries a much older man who tragically dies shortly after their wedding. It is subsequently revealed that his death was not natural, and that his nephew and heir had also engaged the affections of the young widow. I enjoyed encountering familiar Austen themes in this wholly different genre, and the way the author incorporated fragments of her novels in the mystery. This is the first title in a long-running series. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop

What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or share the link to a blog or instagram post about them—in comments. 

P.S. 12 feel-good fiction books you can read in an afternoon, and 5 authors worth binge-reading this summer.

107 comments | Comment

107 comments

Leave A Comment
    • Amy says:

      I just read The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. I think I loved it more than I did the first time so long ago as a senior in high school. I even hunted down my senior English teacher and told him so.

  1. Lis M says:

    You just filled up my TBR with the summer reading guide and now you’ve added more to my list with “Words in Deep Blue” and “Three Hours in Paris”!!

    Here’s what our family has been reading – from “Lovely War” (me) to “The City We Became” (my husband), “Megabat” (readaloud with our kids), and “Up on Bob” (my son to my daughter)
    It’s always fun reviewing multiple books for all of us quickly and at once!
    https://www.everyoneslibrarian.com/blog/quick-lit-recent-reads-for-may-2020

    • Deb Thom says:

      I just finished Tracked in the Whites by Tom Eslick, a mystery that captured New Hampshire for me. Then I picked up, a thriller, The Line Between by Tosca Lee. Wow, it was a very hopeful book to read during this pandemic time.
      But if I had known I don’t think I would have read it.

  2. Adrienne says:

    I’ve had a great reading month! I re-read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, and liked it better than my first time reading it, probably because I was not rushing to know what happened in the end so could appreciate the nuances of the story and characters. I also read The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, and loved this bittersweet story. I listened to the audio version of Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, and it was simply perfect on audio. I’m finishing up What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon, which I picked up because it is a time travel novel, but I’ve been captivated by the beautiful story and I’ve found myself googling and reading about the Irish Easter Rising of 1916 and the 1922 Treaty with Britain that created the Irish state as these are the historical events around which the story is written. Lastly I’m listening to Ford County, narrated by the author John Grisham. It’s a collection of short stories about various characters in Ford County, Mississippi, which is where his first novel, A Time to Kill, was set. Each story is about 50 minutes on audio, so it’s perfect to listen to while I go for my lunchtime walk. Lastly, I’m reading Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, by Rachel Held Evans. This is her memoir about overcoming doubts and misgivings and her search to understand the church and find hope. She was a brilliant writer, and it’s sad to think that she died last year at such a young age.
    Happy Reading!

    • ChristinaH says:

      Ooh I’ve been wanting to re-read What Alice Forgot, but I lent my copy to a friend and can’t get it back because of quarantine.

    • Brenda says:

      I read What Alice Forgot and it was just ok. Then I listened to it on Audible narrated by Caroline Lee and it is a hoot! I so enjoyed it!

    • ChristinaH says:

      I’m not usually one for Jane Austen spin-offs but that sounds like SO much fun. I’ll have to check it out!

  3. Lynn says:

    I love reading nonfiction where truth is stranger than fiction. The Ghost of Eden Park sounds really interesting. April was a good reading month for me and I read some great books. Right now I seem to be picking up books to read that are a combination of books about WWII and other hard times in history and lighter fun reading. https://fromourbookshelf.com/april-reading/

  4. Beth Gross says:

    I’m finding it’s so hard not to have full library access these days. Ebooks and audiobooks make a nice addition to printed books, but, for me, don’t fill the same vacuum.

    I started reading The Poisonwood Bible, but am shelving it till later in favor of Tuesdays at the Castle, something lighter I can get through quickly.

    Meanwhile, on my blog I took some time to think about why I loved reading Hannah Coulter and made a list of books with those characteristics.
    https://purplecrayonyourworld.com/books-like-hannah-coulter/

  5. Shelley Taylor says:

    Just finished at This Tender Land and it’s the latest book I want to recommend to everyone, so I was happy to see it made the Summer Reading Guide. Also recently read Everyone Brave is Forgiven. I’m a big fan of Chris Cleave’s work and WWII fiction is my jam. This one did not disappoint! Speaking of which, Three Hours in Paris looks intriguing!

  6. ChristinaH says:

    Between Week 8??? of quarantine and a plumbing disaster all I’ve wanted is fluffy escapism lately. Fortunately I discovered Sophie Kinsella a couple weeks ago and I’ve been tearing through the Shopaholic series as fast as they become available on Libby. Definitely not highbrow literature but they hit the spot! Does anyone have some good read-alike suggestions?

      • ChristinaH says:

        Thanks! I’ve seen those on Libby and been interested but I forgot about them! I’ll give them a try!

    • LB says:

      I’ve read all her books except shopaholic and love them. I’m a huge baby and can’t handle scary books anyway but especially right now need light reads. The hating game was really good. I also like historical fiction (Dragonfly was one of my favorites ever) but of course that’s a little heavier. Love reading these comments.

  7. Gayle Lawrence says:

    I’m one of those people who are reading a lot of post apocalypse novels. I read Station Eleven for the second time in April, I’m listening to The Dog Stars, and yesterday I started The End of October by Lawrence Wright that was written just before the pandemic started. I might need to reread The Babysitter Club series soon. 😁

    • Megan says:

      I am loving “pandemic lit” at the moment and am also listening to The Dog Stars. I highly recommend The Lightest Object in the Universe; Blindness; and The Age of Miracles.

  8. Becky says:

    Recently I finished reading Station Eleven. It’s probably not the best book to read during a pandemic but it was awesome. I felt so immersed in the book I needed to take breaks and remind myself that it was fiction. It was not a genre I would normally choose. It was on my TBR for a couple of years because of your recommendation. Now I cannot wait to start reading her new book The Glass Hotel.

  9. Cassie Allen Orr says:

    I read a couple books for the reading challenge: Anna Karenina (a book in translation) and Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (a book nominated for an award in 2020). Miracle Creek actually won the Edgar award for best first novel, and I highly recommend it. It’s a whodunnit legal thriller, and it’s the best book I’ve read in awhile. I’m currently re-reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (a re-read), and it’s hilarious. I just finished a couple Elmore Leonard books, Riding the Rap and Raylan (as in Raylan Givens, the main character in the show Justified).

  10. Leigh says:

    Two of my favorite authors released books this month.

    The Water Keeper by Charles Martin and
    I’d Give Anything by Marisa de los Santos

    I read The Water Keeper in less than 24 hours from the time it arrived on my Kindle. It is not a quick or easy read, but I read it quickly because it was so compelling, filled with characters I wanted to root for, and Martin’s vivid descriptions of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. It seems strange to say a novel that deals with the subject of human trafficking is beautifully written, but it is. And it is uplifting. All of Martin’s books carry a thread of redemption and realistic hope throughout, even tho the characters are flawed, imperfect and their situations often messy. The highest praise I can give is book is that when I read the last word I immediately want to start it again. The Water Keeper is that type of book.

    I actually finished I’d Give Anything just a few hours ago and am still digesting the story so probably shouldn’t review it just yet. Having read each of de los Santos’ novels, I was not at all surprised to find once again her exquisite prose in this drama of long held truths, or not truths, and their effect on the lives of a group of friends. This book won’t become my favorite by the author (Love Walked In will always have that honor), but goodness it is so worth reading if only for the way her words just sing and shimmer with light, regardless of subject manner, plot or character’s personalities.

  11. Wendy Scott says:

    I started the month with a fun read, The Honey Don’t t List By Christina Lauren. I wanted something light and easy to get me over a slump and this worked. In fiction I read a story about Hedy Lamar, The Only Woman in the Room. I don’t know what lead me to select this one but I learned about an amazing woman that I never knew anything about. Wanting another light easy read I read The Overdue Life of Amy Byler. I guess I’m just not feeling like getting into anything too challenging at this time. Missing Dorothea Benton Frank so much, I just finished Same Beach Next Year. Her novels are definitely ones I want to savor to keep her alive on my shelves as long as possible.

  12. Janice Cunning says:

    I recently read Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn Jr. which I really enjoyed and thought was such an interesting way to present a story about marriage. I also just finished A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence for the book published the decade you were born (1960s) category on the Reading Challenge. We read Margaret Laurence in high school but I was too young to appreciate her work. And I am currently reading Road Ends by Mary Lawson for my (Zoom) book club meeting on Sunday.

  13. Sharon says:

    I just read The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep and loved it! Starting on Ruth Galloway series with The Crossong Place.

  14. Chatti says:

    For some reason, I’m intrigued by that historical romance, witty bantering and I’m far from being a romance open door reader. Let’s see how it goes.

  15. Ioana says:

    A worldwide pandemic seems to NOT have affected my reading, ha! I managed to read quite a few books since April 15th, a couple for reviews and plenty just for fun, inclusing Anne’s newest book, which I think is something I need to reread at some point.

  16. Linda says:

    I just finished “The Bar Harbor Home for Famous Writers (and their Muses)” by Terri-Lynne DeFino. I thought it would be a piece of fluff I could finish in a day, but it was much more. This was a story within a story. Literary giant Alfonse Carducci finds a muse in Cecibel, an orderly at the home, and embarks on his last novel, with the help of his closest friends. Alfonse and Cecibel. Aldo and Cecilia. Two compelling stories. Try it.

  17. Erica says:

    This past month has been hard for me reading wise. I broke my reader’s block (is that a thing?) with On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman–a fun, breezy novel. Then I read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Beautiful, moving, sad in places but oh, so worth it! I’m now reading Inland by Tea Obreht. She has moments in this book that just pull you in and don’t let go! I’m alternating that with chapters from Don’t Overthink It. So incredibly helpful for right now, Anne!

  18. Deborah Hubbert says:

    Hi Anne — I was so interested in Words in Deep Blue but when I went on Amazon to check it out further, I read a review that said it contained a lot of swearing, esp. the “F” word (and this is a YA novel). I find this very annoying and it can even ruin an otherwise great book for me. Would you consider giving a heads up on this in your reviews? And does anyone know if there is a site that gives info on sex and/or language in books? I’ve hunted for it but not found anything. I run a book club with several sensitive readers in it and would love to know about this content before putting a book in for consideration. Thanks so much for your wonderful podcast and website — love them both! 🙂

    • Trudy says:

      Commonsensemedia.org : TV, movies, & book reviews, but it’s not exhaustive. I think it depends on readers submitting reviews of books read.

  19. Esther L says:

    Being from Cincinnati, I can’t wait to read The Ghosts of Eden Park. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I’ve also recently finished Lovely War. Such an amazing book that I never would have picked up on my own. Currently reading How to Be a Family and The Worst Hard Time. I’m thinking of doing a book flight and reading The Grapes of Wrath after The Worst Hard Time.

  20. Cheryl says:

    One of my book clubs just finished The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant, a second is reading Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson, and another is discussing Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love.
    On my own, I’m finishing The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. Next up…Sue Monk KIdd’s brand new one: The Book of Longings!!!
    All good books and all recommended!

  21. Mary Taylor says:

    Just finished Sue Monk Kidd The book of Longings. It was wonderful. Just started Code Name Helene.I am enjoying.

  22. Courtney says:

    I just read “The Gentleman” by Forrest Leo. Got it for $1 and was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. It’s a Victorian novel originally written as a play about a poet who marries for money, accidently “sells” his wife to the devil, and goes on adventure to get her back after he realizes he really loves her. If you’re a fan of footnotes, this story has plenty worth reading.

  23. Joan says:

    I just started “Sam Houston and The Avengers”. The last books I read were “Murder At An Irish Wedding” and a three part children’s series “Heart-Strings”.
    Joan

  24. Rebekah Jacobs says:

    The Great Believers, Things You Save in a Fire, Dear Edwards, Separation Anxiety, Smacked, Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls. The City We Became , Inside Out, The Only Plane in the Sky.

  25. Monica Wilson says:

    I am reading Nella Last’s War, an amazing real diary from a 50 year old housewife living in England during World War II. Some of it relates to what we are going through right now, but it also puts our two months of sheltering at home in perspective as Europeans lived with fear, unknown, rations, bombings,etc. for SIX years!

  26. PoginSLP says:

    I’ve been drawn in by more YA and middle grade novels. I’ve enjoyed When You Reach Me with its’ sci fi theme, Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes with its’ finding yourself journey, and Code Name Verity with its’ friendship theme.
    I didn’t enjoy Trsnscription or What Alice Forgot as much.

  27. Desiree says:

    It would be really great if so many people didn’t use this as a way to get traffic to their websites. It’s disheartening to go to the comment section to see what others have been enjoying only to find 30 different blog posts about it, with no other info than “Hey, I loved some books this month, but you have to check my blog to see what they are!” Can’t you just leave the titles of the books?

    I’ve been reading a ton of Tessa Dare regency romances and have just started on the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, which is a sci-fi novella series.

    • Barbara says:

      I agree. I would love to see titles, rather than links.

      With no access to the library, I’ve been reading through the inventory on my bookshelves. I just finished Pachinko – so glad I finally got around to reading it. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin has an interesting premise that kept me reading, but it ended up feeling a little flat. Still, I’m glad I read it. Daisy Jones and The Six was just OK for me.

  28. Lindsay says:

    I’m reading The Mothers by Britt Bennett and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (finally, after owning it for nearly 2 decades!). Both are great so far – very well-written!

  29. EJ says:

    I just finished “The Library of Legends” by Janie Chang. It was a great read, the characters are likable and the story is a fun mix of myths and historical fiction.

  30. Tracey says:

    I’ve read some things that were good but not great lately. March and April were almost all 3-4 star reads which was great but I was ready to be wowed. And my May reading has delivered!

    I recently finished Beartown by Fredrik Backman and LOVED it! Now I’m reading: Burnout by the Nagoski sisters which I am loving and want to recommend to basically every woman I know; My Favourite Thing is Monsters, a giant graphic novel by Emil Ferris; Kindred by Octavia Butler on audio has been amazing – I don’t usually do sci-fi but this is really more historical fiction than sci fi and it’s riveting! Oh and my partner and I are also listening to the full-cast recording or Charlotte’s Web at bedtime to help us sleep and dream better. Meryl Streep’s narration is delightful and hilarious! My reading life has really picked up this month and I’m stoked!

  31. D tinsley says:

    I have read listened to several interesting books this past month. Valentine which is the story of how a crime affects the women in a West Texas town. The authors descriptions of the area are very poetic and the stories of the various women heartbreaking. I can’t wait for her next novel. On earth we are briefly gorgeous is the story of trauma and it’s effects on family dynamics. I also read Lady Clementine ,historical fiction. The Only Lady in the Room a surprising historical novel on Hedy LaMarr. I listened to Code Name Helene a must listen to. I would recommend all of them. I love this site

  32. Marion says:

    I have finished “My Dear Hamilton”,”Jefferson and The Barbary Pirates” and a three book series for children “Heart-Strings. Now I am reading “The Lost Tudor Princess Lady Margaret Douglas”.
    Marion

  33. Cindy says:

    I just finished listening to ‘Monday’s Not Coming’ one of the first books from Sora. Excellent with a twist at the end. I recently listened to ‘The Bookshop on the Corner’, I loved it but it took hours so reading it in an afternoon wouldn’t work for me (referring to the extra link on this post). I’ve been listening to books, which I normally don’t do, but helps me pass the time while making masks. Thanks for all your book ideas!

  34. Barbara says:

    I read Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Mansion. It was enjoyable, if maybe not memorable? I donated it.

    I’m reading Freaks of Mayfair by Benson, your book and Californium by Robert Johnson.

  35. Janice Wills says:

    I’ve read The Boys in the Boat this month by Daniel James Brown. Such an inspiring read of resilience, perseverance and determination while also increasing my historical knowledge. I kept reading snippets to my family and then when I had finished reading the book, recommended that they all read it. They said there was no need, I’d pretty much read it all to them anyway!!

  36. Alicia Casady says:

    I loved Words in Deep Blue! I always recommend it when people are looking for YA books. I am currently reading and loving another YA, A Study in Charlotte.I will definitely be continuing this series!

  37. Elizabeth says:

    I am listening to Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird. It is fantastic. Bahni Turpin is doing the vocal and she is so good. I got hooked at about the first 5 minutes of the book. Just so good.

  38. Ariel says:

    I just finished reading In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, which was great! An interesting take on portal fantasy and great characters that made me laugh out loud.

  39. Marilyn says:

    I just finished :America’s First Daughter” ,three part “Heart String”,The two part “Dublin Saga”. I just started a 10 part Song Of Arcadia.
    Marilyn

  40. Ruth O says:

    Just finished A Gentleman in Moscow and absolutely loved it! What a way with words the author has. I didn’t want it to end, yet needed to see what happened. Rereading some Maeve Binchy, starting with Whitethorn Woods, the kind of reading you can do and feel at peace before sleep. I have also started a Study in Charlotte, and Magpie Murders is in my TBR stack. Our libraries are starting curbside service!!

  41. Emma says:

    I’ve had a very varied month, now that I look back at it! Some classics, contemporaries, children’s and comfort reading. 🙂

    *The Turn of the Screw – Henry James (a reread of a creepy favourite)
    *The Strays – Emily Bitto (an Australian award-winner about Melbourne’s art scene in the 1930s; exquisite!)
    *Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng (overrated, now watching the TV series)
    *Five Children and It – E. Nesbit (such a rollicking romp of a children’s classic!)
    *A Truly Civil Society – Eva Cox (a short collection of lectures about social capital that I picked up a Little Free Library)
    *The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin (great comfort reading for bookish people!)
    *The Divine Wind – Garry Disher (an Australian young adult novella about wartime Broome)

    I’m set to finish ‘Ethan Frome’ today; this American classic set in a wintry New England community couldn’t be further from the sunshine of my autumn days in Australia! It’s so full of despair and heartache, but I love it. It’ll be one of those books that I set back on the shelf to reread in a few years. I love those discoveries!

  42. Brianna says:

    I’m reading My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which is an autobiography in the form of speeches, legal briefs, and other legal writing. I have about ninety pages left and it’s a slog, so I’m also reading The Illuminated Space by Marilyn Freeman, which is a book and multimedia experience from The Third Thing Press.

  43. Beth Lee says:

    I’m just finishing Saving My Assassin, by Virginia Prodan. Other audio books on my commute have been: Kisses From Katie (Katie Davis), Don’t Overthink It (Anne Bogel), Ministry of Ordinary Places (Shannan Martin), Simply Tuesday (Emily P. Freedman), and Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert and its sequels Openness Unhindered, The Gospel Comes with a Housekey (Rosaria Butterfield). I’m looking forward to the following: Shirley (Charlotte Bronte), Jesus Feminist (Sarah Bessey), The Hundred-Year Walk (Dawn Anahid Mackeen), and The Entitlement Cure (John Townsend), all of which are provided by the library system.

    • So many great reads! I loved both of those books by Rosaria Butterfield! I haven’t read Shirley yet, but it’s on my TBR! Kisses From Katie and the follow-up book are two favorites! Linking my April reads, if interested!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *