Reading Round-Up: September Edition

This was another great month for great books! I’ve got seven to share with you this week, and I’m well into the first book that I’ll share with you at the end of October.

I hope you’ll share your own reads in the comments below!

The first book of the month was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I wish I had read this book when it was first published in 2008. There’s more wisdom and inspiration packed into this this volume than I would have thought possible. Randy Pausch gave his last lecture shortly before he passed away from pancreatic cancer, and this book was his gift to his children. I think it should be required reading for college students—and everyone else. Fair warning: it’s a tear-jerker. Read my review here.

 

Lou's Tattoos: A Comedy of Errors by [Iris Chacon]

I knew I would enjoy Lou’s Tattoos, A Comedy of Errors by Iris Chacon before the first page. I’ve loved every book I’ve read by Iris Chacon. Her characters are well-drawn and quirky, her scenarios are delightfully far-fetched yet plausible, and they are just so much fun to read. I read this in one sitting, as I recall I did with the last book I read by her…it seems to be a habit of mine when I read her books. Read my review here.

 

The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by [Fiona Davis]

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis is a book that will have library and architecture lovers swooning at the descriptions of the New York Public Library in the early twentieth century. The book slides between 1913 (and a few years afterward) and the late 1990s, and I enjoyed the different points of view. Read my review here.

 

Very British Problems Abroad

You may recall that I read Very British Problems by Rob Temple back in January (you can read the post here). And while Very British Problems Abroad wasn’t quite as funny as the first book, it was still quite an enjoyable read. My review can be found here.

 

The Innocents (The Innocents Mystery Series Book 1) by [C. A. Asbrey]

The Innocents by C.A. Asbrey was the kind of book I’d love to read again because I enjoyed it that much. It was fun, there were some laugh-out-loud moments, it was exciting, and I loved that the main characters were so taken with each other, though on different sides of the law. I highly recommend this one. Read my review here.

 

Florence Adler Swims Forever: A Novel by [Rachel Beanland]

Next up was the book club read you all chose! Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland was a fascinating read, made even more interesting for me and, I suspect, the people in my book club, because we live so close to Atlantic City, where the story takes place in the 1930s. To recap the plot if you don’t recall, it’s the story of a young woman who drowns off the coast of Atlantic City and the decision by her mother to keep her death a secret from the young woman’s sister, who is in the hospital on strict bed rest for a high-risk pregnancy. You all did a great job picking this book! Read my review here

 

Hearth Fires (The Haunted Book 1) by [Bibiana Krall, Veronica Cline Barton]

Hearth Fires, Book 1 in The Haunted series, is a collection of short stories by Bibiana Krall and Veronica Cline Barton. Full disclosure, these are the two terrific ladies with whom I share the BookEm show on YouTube. I love their writing styles, which are very different from each other, and this book was a fun way to get into the spirit of Halloween. With their Ouija board themes, these stories are spooky, dark, and atmospheric. Read my review here

So what have you been reading?

Until next time,

Amy

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

 

It’s the last Friday in September, and time for some good news to take you into October with a smile. The post I’ve chosen to share this month was brought to my attention by Carol Thompson and is great news for everyone, but especially interesting for those of us who live near the ocean.

It’s about an experiment to reseed the ocean floor with sea grass off the coast of England. The process was carried out successfully in the Chesapeake Bay here in the United States and the scientists who made it happen are now working with teams in Europe and Australia to foster far-reaching sea grass restoration. Sea grass, I learned, has huge potential in the fight against global warming and is an important habitat for fish and other sea creatures. I highly encourage you to read the article.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a worldwide blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Your cohosts for this month are Eric Lahti, Shilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Sylvia Stein, and Peter Nena. And if you want to read more uplifting articles, please visit the WATWB Facebook page here or the Twitter home page here to find links to other stories.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

Release Day!

Today’s the day! Ghouls’ Night Out is here! Many thanks to everyone who has preordered the book. If you’d like to order the book now, click here! If you haven’t ordered a copy and want to know a little bit more about it, here’s the blurb:

“Halloween is just around the corner and the goblins are out in force in Juniper Junction. A crotchety merchant, a malicious next-door neighbor, and some ghoulish trick-or-treaters are causing hair-raising problems for Lilly Carlsen’s boyfriend, Hassan Ashraf, and things are about to get much worse.

When Hassan finds himself at the center of a police investigation following the deaths of two of his tormentors just days apart, Lilly is ready to help in any way she can to bring the real fiends to justice.

But with Lilly’s daughter having trouble adjusting to college, her mother continuing a downward spiral into dementia, and possible romantic strife on the horizon between Lilly’s brother and her best friend, Lilly’s Halloween is beginning to look especially frightful.”

***

To help celebrate my new release, the first three books in the series are on sale!

The Worst Noel is just 99¢ (click here to order)

 

Dead, White, and Blue is $1.99 (click here to order)

 

Be My Valencrime is $2.99 (click here to order)

 

As always, thank you to everyone for your support. And don’t forget to leave a review after you’ve read a book—the reviews are important for authors!!

Until next time,

Amy

 

A Day in the Life…in GIFs

The life of a writer is one thrilling day after another. I thought I’d share a typical day with you because it’s not fair that I keep all this fun to myself. I don’t think my days are atypical of writers in general, though I can’t speak for J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

***

School starts this week. I don’t know about where you live, but here in my school district the kids are going to school two days a week in person. On those two days, my day will start thusly…

wake up coffee GIF by good-morning

Okay, let’s be honest. Every day starts like that.

 

Then I walk the dog. This is what it looks like. How she has that much energy every morning is baffling.

dog walk GIF

 

Because I don’t go anywhere except to walk the dog and go to the grocery store, I dress like this:

amy poehler yolo GIF

I could dress up, but why? Being comfortable is my superpower.

 

Since March, our clothes dryer has been broken. So most days I do laundry and hang it outside. Come winter, we will have to bite the bullet and buy a new dryer. And while I’m outside, I take a few minutes to pull some weeds.

travel sky GIF

 

My real work starts as soon as I’ve hung the laundry out. It’s about 8:30 a.m. by this time. That’s when I get online, check email, and visit all my social media hangouts, with the exception of Twitter…

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek

…and my book sales dashboards and sales pages.

Confused Kelsey Grammer GIF by CBS All Access

Sometimes this is good news, sometimes it isn’t.

 

But good news or not, after the real work begins. And this is the best part of the work day, even when the words won’t flow.

excited new girl GIF lisa simpson writing GIF

 

Lunch!

hungry ready to eat GIF

 

After lunch, I tweet. It takes up too much time to do it before lunch and to tell you the truth, I don’t love Twitter. My refusal to do it before lunch is my small way of rebelling.

social media twitter GIF by RealityTVGIFs

 

Then I write again. By now my creative juices are flowing and it’s time for everyone else to leave me alone.

fail seth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers

Are you still with me? It’s been a whirlwind of a day.

 

Then I make dinner. I love to cook.

mary berry cooking GIF by BBC

Note: the kids don’t always love what I make, so they suggest alternatives. This is usually my response:

Bounce No GIF

 

Later, when the dinner dishes are done (because the dishwasher is also dead), I go for another walk because I’m trying to lose weight.

tired fox tv GIF by Kicking & Screaming

 

Finally, it’s time to relax and read a good book.

book read GIF

 

Bedtime!

chris farley mornings GIF

When do I clean, do you ask?

Simple: it gets done when it gets done.

sweeping mrs. doubtfire GIF by Hollywood Suite

Credits: tumblr.brockurealities.com; fox.com/kicking-and-screaming; hgtv.com

First Tuesday Recipes for September

Soup, Vegetables, Pot, Cooking, Food

It’s September 1st! You know what that means: we’re one step closer to lower humidity, cooler temperatures, and less weather-induced fury on my part. Today I’m sharing three fall-ish recipes that I hope you’ll try. Let me know what you think. And if you’ve got a recipe you’d like to share, email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be happy to post it!

Before I continue, I’m going to engage in some shameless self-promotion for just a moment. Today I’m being interviewed by Dr. Summer Watson, author, podcaster, filmmaker, coach, and speaker, on her KORE Women podcast. Just click the link and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to have a listen: www.KOREWomen.com/podcast‬

And now for the recipes!

***

Fall Apple Sandwich

2 slices cinnamon raisin bread (you can substitute any bread, but the cinnamon raisin really elevates this sandwich)

2 oz. deli ham or turkey (I prefer the ham)

1 oz. cheddar cheese, sliced thin or shredded

1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly-sliced

butter

 

Preheat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Layer ham, cheese, and apple slices on one piece of bread. Place the other piece of bread on top. Butter the top of the sandwich. Place sandwich, butter side down, on the griddle and butter the bottom slice. Cook until cheese is starting to melt and bread is golden. Flip sandwich and cook until cheese is completely melted. This is delicious with a dollop of your favorite mustard on the side.

 

***

Chicken and Apple Salad

Dressing:

1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. Dijon mustard

4 T. honey

2 T. lemon juice

2 T. apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

 

Salad:

1/4 t. pepper

1/8 t. salt

3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast

cooking spray

8 c. salad greens

3/4 c. chopped red pepper

1/2 c. celery, thinly sliced

1/2 c. red onion, sliced and separated into rings

1 1/2 c. Red Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

1/2 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese

1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted

 

Make dressing: combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.

Preheat broiler and coat broiler pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Broil chicken for about 5 min. per side or until juices run clear. Slice chicken into 1/4″ pieces. Combine chicken, salad greens, red pepper, celery, and onion in a large bowl; toss gently. Whisk dressing again and drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with cheese and almonds.

***

Ham and Bean Soup

16 oz. navy beans

ham bone (I wrap mine in cheesecloth so the yucky bits don’t get into the soup)

3 c. diced ham

1/2 t. basil

1 sm. onion, chopped

1/4 t. pepper

2 med. celery stalks, sliced

1 med. carrot, chopped

 

Soak beans in 2 qts. water overnight. Drain water from beans and add another 2 qts. water. Combine beans with all other ingredients except celery and carrots. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours, covered, stirring occasionally. Stir in celery and carrots. Simmer for 30-60 minutes. Remove and discard ham bone before serving.

 

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy