September Reads

These are the books I finished in September:

  • 17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History, by Andrew Morton
  • The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World, by Greg King
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, by Tom Reiss
  • Shadowsong, by S. Jae-Jones

I’m on a little bit of a nonfiction kick right now. However, I have to say, the nonfiction I finished last month read like fiction. All three of those books were fast-paced, filled with intrigue, and more than a few jaw-dropping moments. History is wild and I wish more of these details were taught in schools.

August Reads

Here are the books I finished in August:

  • Black Vault, by Alma Katsu
  • Mastering the Art of French Murder, by Colleen Cambridge
  • The Taste of Rain, by Barbara Howard
  • The Ancestor, by Danielle Trussoni
  • The Medici Manuscript, by CJ Archer
  • The Fairytale Code, by Jace Cameron

Black Vault is actually a short story, but it’s really great, so I included it on the list.

July Reads

We went on a wonderful, relaxing vacation last month. I had a whole week of beach excursions with the dogs and lots of reading by the pool. I caught up on and finished several books and even read two books in entirety during that week. Here’s the list:

  • Spring’s Arcana, by Lilith Saintcrow
  • A Portrait in Shadow, by Nicole Jarvis
  • Fool’s Gold, by Gigi Pandian
  • Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q Sutanto
  • Someone Else’s Shoes, by Jojo Moyes
  • The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman
  • Vienna at Nightfall, by Richard Wake
  • The Librarian of Crooked Lane, by CJ Archer

I doubt I will get through that many books this month. I need to make progress on my second novel, after all. 

June Reads

June was a chaotic month. As a result, I only finished one book:

The Last Kingdom, by Steve Berry

I hope to do more reading this month. Much of what went on in June has passed, plus we have a mini-break planned. I should have some downtime again. This is a good thing.

I missed reading.

Write In The Genre You Read?

I touched on this issue in a post on my previous blog. I’m addressing it again. Consider this more of an update rather than a re-post.

A piece of advice I see often is to write in the genre you like to read. I’m not sure this works for me. There is no one genre that I read. When I tally up titles and see if there is a leaning toward any particular genre, there is none.

In terms of what kind of fiction I like to read, the list is big and varied: 

  • Historical Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Thriller/Suspense
  • Romance
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Paranormal/Supernatural
  • Science Fiction
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Adventure
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Mythology/Folklore
  • Literary Fiction
  • Sagas/Epics

Of course, much of the above overlaps. Still, you get the picture. Given that, does the advice of writing what you read apply to me? Probably not.

I think the advice is for people who are trying to write in a genre because it’s currently hot and to advise them against worrying too much about writing to market. Yes, publishing is a business. However, you’ll do a better job of writing if your story is one you want to write as opposed to just what you think will sell.

That said, what genre applies to my books? Nairobi Ndoto is Women’s Fiction with some overlap into Crime Fiction. My next book, set in Vienna, is definitely Crime Fiction and falls into the Suspense category. (Both books have an expat angle, so that could be a subgenre.)

Most of the ideas I have for additional stories fall into Crime Fiction. While writing Nairobi Ndoto, I found that I really enjoyed writing the crime aspects of the book. I think this is going to be my genre going forward.

However, it’s not because it’s what I read most. It’s because I find it fun.

Book Club Questions

Does your book club plan to read Nairobi Ndoto? Here are some possible book club questions:

  • Between Tilly, Pauline, and Zara, who is your favorite character and why?
  • If you could meet one of them right now, what would you say to her?
  • If you adapted this book into a movie, who would you cast for each of the three main characters?
  • How much did you know about Nairobi or Kenya before reading this book?
  • Did this book change or challenge any preconceived notions you had about either?
  • How did the setting impact the narrative?
  • Have you ever traveled to the destinations described in this book?
  • Are there any places from the book you would like to visit?
  • From your point of view, what were the central themes of the book? 
  • Did you have a favorite quote or quotes? If so, share which and why?
  • If you could ask Mahua one question about the book, what would it be?
  • Pretend you’re a famous author writing a blurb for the cover. What would you say?

Last but not least: What food and wine would best pair with a Nairobi Ndoto book club meeting?

March Reading

I read a lot in March. Much of this is a result of being on vacation during the last week of that month. Here are the books I finished:

  • You’re Invited, by Amanda Jayatissa
  • Daisy Darker, by Alice Feeney
  • Déjà Dead, by Susan Kieran-Lewis
  • Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook, by Celia Rees
  • Atomic Habits, by James Clear
  • The Things We Cherished, by Pam Jenoff
  • Frost, by C.N. Crawford
  • Ambrosia, by C. N. Crawford
  • Win Every Argument, by Mehdi Hasan
  • The Ghost Who Wanted Revenge, by Bobbi Holmes
  • Mermaid, by Jodi Picoult

Meet Pauline

Expat life means many things to Pauline. It’s an adventure. It’s a path to new professional opportunities. It’s a way to fix her strained marriage. She put all these hopes into moving to Nairobi. Things did not go as expected.

Now she’s trying to establish a life in Nairobi. She’s figuring out what to do about her marriage. She’s working as hard as she can to get her career back on track. But one thing after another keeps going wrong.

Pauline is struggling.

Expat life doesn’t always go as planned and isn’t always what you think it’ll be.

February Reads

Here are the books I finished in February:

  • Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun, by Elle Cosimano
  • Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales, by Angela Carter
  • The Blue Bar, by Damyanti Biswas
  • Night Angels, by Weina Day Randel
  • Thank You For Listening, by Julia Whelan
  • Mango, Mamba, and Murder, by Raquel V. Reyes
  • The Cartographers, by Peng Shepard
  • Children of the Night: The Strange and Epic Story of Modern Romania, by Paul Kenyon

That was indeed a lot of books last month. Most of them were started before February. I expect to have a big list next month as well. I’ll be going on vacation which means lots of reading time!