open books, grass

Summer Reading Report

Summer is definitely in the rearview now, so I thought I would report on how I did with my list of intended summer reads.

I’m happy to say I finished reading all the books I named in my June 12th post. And a few others besides.

Here are one-sentence reviews (an exercise in brevity inspired by horror writer Priscilla Bettis). The book titles link to my full reviews on Goodreads.

Sunwielder by D. Wallace Peach
In vivid, graphic prose, this book tells the story of a farmer turned soldier in a brutal and endless war, who receives a gift that grants him a unique relationship with death.

Best Friends and Other Lovers by J.F. Kaufmann
A trio of spicy love stories, including a Christmas-themed tale that warms the heart as well as… other places.

Sailing to Redoubt by C. Litka
A delightful old-fashioned adventure story in which an aspiring archaeologist finds himself on a sailboat in tropical seas with a pair of enigmatic twin sisters.

The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
A twisty mystery in which a whip-smart young woman detective races around 1880s New York City to track down a diabolical killer who may not be human.

The Journey by Suzanne Miller
A hopeful post-apocalyptic story in which two young people seek healing and truth in a world devastated by climate change.

Alchemy by Mark Ryan
A sparse but intriguing story about an alchemist, unfortunately diluted by long sections of passionate poetry.

The Two-Blood Legacy by J.F. Kaufmann
A detailed paranormal romance and family saga about gorgeous werewolves, wizards, and vampires in the present-day western U.S.

Hope by Terry Tyler
A compelling and frighteningly realistic dystopian thriller in which a young woman becomes enmeshed in the heartless machinery of a near-future UK engaged in brutal social engineering.

Those were the books on my list, but I actually read several more.

Surviving Sanctuary by P.J. O’Brien
A very long (nearly 500K words) but exceedingly engaging book in which a young American man looking for an ex-girlfriend’s missing sister visits a country (that doesn’t exist, but should) and learns a great deal about its customs and history. (Full disclosure: I started reading it quite a while before summer began.)

All Shapes and Disguises by Lee-Anne Stack
Reviewed in an earlier post.

A Year in the Life of Leah Brand by Lucinda E. Clarke
A page-turner about a woman having a really bad year that jolted me from schadenfreude to sympathy and back.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
A fun read about children with special talents on a secret mission that was just the thing to read while recovering from That Virus.

The Necromancer’s Daughter by D. Wallace Peach
A dramatic and beautifully written fantasy set in a gorgeously realized world that is not without perils, especially to those with the power to heal death.

Now back to the TBR!


  1. A substantial list there, Audrey. I’m ashamed to say I’ve read very little over the summer, also given up on quite a few. I shall redouble my efforts.

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  2. Hey, that’s me! Thanks for the shout-out, Audrey! I am reading one of these books right now, and I found another to add to my TBR.:-) I’m glad you recovered from that viral c-word, and I absolutely think a charming book helped!

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  3. Loved your list of summer reads, Audrey, and what great summaries. You’re wonderful at grasping the logline of each book. I’m so grateful that you read not one, but two of my books. Thank you for the wonderful reviews. ❤ And thanks for the glimpses at some other intriguing reads. The Daemoniac and The Journey captured my attention, as well as The Mysterious Benedict Society. I've read Hope and thought it was great and, I agree, frighteningly realistic. Happy Reading into fall!

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  4. I admire your ability to not only meet your challenge but to describe each one of the books succinctly. This would be a useful exercise for someone (me) who writes far too many words to complete a thought.

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    1. Thanks, Pete. I thought putting my to-be-read list on the blog would motivate me to get it done in a systematic way. And yes–those mini “reviews” are a good exercise in writing succinctly. Although a few of those sentences are of the rambling sort. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Both of my e-readers are loaded up with books. And I’m also more than halfway through the late Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety, which takes a close look at some of the people involved in the French Revolution. I pulled it off a shelf when I was looking for long books to photograph for a recent blog post, and decided to read it again.


    1. Thanks, JM! I don’t often read romance of any kind. These were well written and definitely spicy.
      And yes, both my husband and I got covid in August. I recovered fairly quickly, but he was not a happy camper for several weeks. Both OK now.


  5. -grin- Your one sentence reviews are great! Sunwielder happens to be one of my favourites, both amongst Diana’s stories, and generally. The Necromancer’s Daughter is brilliant, goes without saying, and I’ve enjoyed Kat Ross’ stories in the past so I might give that one a try.

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