Read Any Good Books Lately?

Read any good books lately?  This may be a cliched  conversation starter, but I thought it might be fun to start that very conversation right here.

Now that I’ve moved to a new community and I’m meeting new people, I’m usually asked what kind of books I write. I find myself stumbling over an answer. My mystery series is easy to explain. Clerical cozy mysteries. But my other books? Not as easy. There’s something of a controversy about the term “women’s fiction.”  Women’s fiction seems to discourage male readers, among other things, although it’s a term I still use. I think it’s clear that while men will enjoy my work, for the most part my books are about women and appeal to women because of the issues raised and the fantasies explored.

The word fiction, too, works fine, although then people always want to know what kind of fiction, so in the long run I end up using some portion of that previous explanation anyway.

Have you given much thought to what you read? What common thread holds together the books you select? Did you say mysteries? But what kind of mysteries? Hard-boiled private detectives? English cozies? Amateur sleuths? Police procedurals? Thrillers–and if so, which kind?

For fun today, let’s nail down what we like to read a bit by looking at say the last five books we’ve finished. Do you see a pattern? Will you share it here in comments? I think we would all enjoy hearing your preferences.

As for me?  The last five books were: Panic Button by Kylie Logan, The Shelfless Book by Bob Mayer and Jen Talty, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, and The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. However, I have to qualify my choices. Four of these were chosen by my book discussion group, so perhaps they aren’t the best measure of what I read on my own. Panic Button was written by a close friend whose work always makes me smile, so when I had a moment I grabbed it for my Nook.

If simply choosing categories I would say my own reading tastes veer toward mysteries and thrillers without a lot of described violence, and relationship novels filled with lots of knotty twists and turns. I also love a good saga, but those are few and far between and somewhat daunting in length, so not often read.

Now it’s your turn, because we’ll all find your own selections interesting. So have at it. How do you define the type of books that you read most often?

Will you share? Don’t be shy. As a bonus I’ll let choose one commenter for an autographed copy of Iron Lace, an oldie but goodie of mine, and a frequent book club choice.  I’ll set loose next Friday, so the clock is ticking.

Read any good books lately? Let us know.


  1. Karen Pollard on January 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I love to read any novels that have to do with quilting and the Amish. I also love to read novels by certain authors. I guess that’s because I’ve learned to expect quality constructed novels that are entertaining and engaging.
    Susan Wiggs, Kristin Hannah, Emilie Richards, Marie Bostwick, Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter are among many of my favorites.
    I often experiment with new authors and find talent out there among the unknowns as well.
    A story has to engage me to the point that I have a hard time putting the book down. I look for quality character development, a setting that is painted for me so that I can close my eyes and pictures the scene and a plot that keeps me reading.

    • Emilie Richards on January 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

      I am awed by your great responses, and it doesn’t surprise me that so many of our preferences are the same or nearly so.

  2. Donna on January 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I have actually just finished a book “Scarlet” part two of Gone With The Wind..I am a big fan of GWTW..but did not enjoy this book at all…time for some new reading material…:)

  3. Marie Atkinson on January 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I like to read “women’s fiction”. I like books where the women are friends and they stick together to work out problems, or face life, I like books where there is a little mystery, a little suspense but I do not like murder or killing. I like historical romance featuring pioneers. I like feel good “Hallmark” stories. My last five books:
    “The Wedding Quilt” by Jennifer Chiaverini, “Going to Green” series by Judy Christie. And I loved the Happiness Key series you wrote!!!

  4. Connie Wood on January 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I have been reading several books in the “Love Finds You In. . . ” series. They are usually based in the late 1800s or early 1900s and settings are places like Martha’s Vineyard, Deadwood SD, etc. Story line is usually a female character moving to a new area and meets up with a handsome strange. Very light and fast reading with a little history of the location as well. Each book is written by a different author. Nice way to get to know new authors and their style of writing.

  5. Toni Murray on January 18, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Currently I am reading The Glassblower of Murano. I recently read Juliet, A Novel. Both have a modern story and a historical story interwoven; was wonderful for a recent trip to Italy. I follow several authors, you (Emilie), Sue Grafton, Margaret Coel, the late Tony Hillerman, Nevada Barr, Lucia Robson St. Clair, Jacqueline Sheehan. Being in a book group also offers selections I may not have chosen on my own but have enjoyed immensely.

    Reading has always been my passion and I wish I had more time!

  6. Becky on January 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Lately, I’ve been reading more Christian Fiction. I’ve joined NetGalley in the last year and find it very interesting how many things I am willing to try some have been great hits and some great misses.

    I have to say I don’t have a type I read what appeals to me well crafted stories of what feels like real people… when they are real I love them… what tends to turn me off is when a character is one dimensional. We all have our quirks and our unique personalities why should the protagonists I read only be one dimentional.

    If I had to say my type it would be Women’s Fiction, Christian Fiction and Romance (but relatively clean).

  7. Nena Morton on January 18, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Porch Lights – Dorothea Benton Frank
    Summer Rental – Mary Kay Andrews
    One Mountain Away – Emilie Richards!

  8. Cathy Norton on January 18, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I go between “relationship” books and mysteries. I enjoy the series books ( like ShenendoahValley and Happiness Key)) because you can get to know the characters better. I don’t like murder mysteries that have gruesome violence.

  9. Julie on January 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

    my “type” of book, is anything that catches my interest. I find myself reading all kinds of books. I love Christian fiction; leaning toward romances; I like a cleaner romance as well. I like mysteries (all kinds). When I lived in Oklahoma I worked across the street from a library so I started reading the fiction section in alphabetical order. if the blurb on the back caught me…I was off and reading!

  10. Evelyn Ferguson on January 18, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Just finished Tell The Wolves I’m Home for book club, and starting Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. Iron Lace and Rising Tides are two of my favorite books.

  11. Judi on January 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I have read ALL books by: Diane Chamberlain (whose facebook post introduced you, Emile, to me), Joshelyn Jackson, Karen White, and Adriana Trigiani. I’ve just finished the fabulous ‘Gone Girl’ (Gillian Flynn), Hardscrabble Road (George Weinstein), Miss Dreamsville (Mary Hill Hearth), and I’ve just begun reading Defending Jacob (William Landy). I highly recommend all! I have a wide category of interests in my reading choices and an extreme loyalty to those authors that have enlightened and entertained my inter soul the absolute most! I so look forward to reading more of your books, and winning an autographed copy of Iron Lace would be thrilling! As I am writing I think of many more books/authors I’d like to credit, but, alas, it is not possible. Books are objects of art for me. My biggest liability is that I cannot pay them forward because I love them too much! Hmmm? Maybe I am a book hoarder. 🙂 I shall not feel shame! Thank you for your work!

  12. Lori Halfhide on January 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I just finished Nora Roberts’ Inn Boonsboro trilogy’ a Christmas gift from my parents. It was excellent. Loved the characters and I’m a sucker for the ghost in need stories!

  13. Pam Reed on January 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

    James Patterson – his women’s murder mystery club series. different for me – but am enjoying it!

  14. Terri on January 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I have so many lists of great author’s to keep track of, that I need a reserved place for them or they end up everywhere. I had to leave my job as a Medical Technologist 8 years ago because of hand problems combined with Fibromyalgia and have lots more time to read now. Getting lost in a good book really helps distract me from the pain. Just finished ‘A Wedding in Apple Grove’ by C.H. Admirand. It’s along the lines of Robyn Carr, Susan Wiggs and Lori Wilde. Also have really enjoyed the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldan (read on Nook so my hands didn’t have to hold book over 1,000 pages). Also love Nora Roberts and, of course, Emilie Richards.

  15. Kat on January 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I just finished A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards.

  16. Lorraine Thacker on January 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I read so voraciously that my favorite authors cannot keep up with me! Sometimes I’m left with re-reading old favorites from my rather large library ( like the post from Judi, guess you could call me a hoarder too ) and if I’m fortunate I find a new author occasionally. So I’m going to be completely honest in my list of the last five books I’ve read.
    1. Dream Eyes Jayne Ann Krentz
    2. Kill Jill John Locke
    3. Promise you won’t Tell? John Locke
    4. Shadow Woman Linda Howard (really good!)
    5. The Secret Keeper Kate Morton (slow, but she’s good)

  17. Terry Guerra on January 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I am reading Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin (I love Bruce!), and Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I have loved reading and writing since I was little, and books are everywhere. One day, I’ll have my mini-library with a cozy place to read. Thank you for all of your books!

  18. Shanna on January 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I read all kinds of books, but my favorites are historical fiction. I also tend towards historical type fantasies.I also listen go books before bed and by far the best is the cat who books. I love his voice, if I ever wrote a book I would want him to read it.

  19. Katy on January 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I love these questions, I always find new books/authors. I just read “The Road to Cardinal Valley” by Earlene Fowler, love all her books. I read alot of mysteries and contemporary romance, my favorite books are about people living life. Such as your Shenadoah quilt series (I’ve recommended it to so many friends). And funny series such as An B. Ross’ Miss Julia series. Also loved One Mountain Away, and can’t wait for the sequel.

  20. Patti on January 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I recently enjoyed Robyn Carr’s Blue Skies. It is about three friends that have a chance to restart their careers and change their lives. (Does it sound like it has themes in common with Happiness Key?) I probably have now read all of Robyn Carr’s books. I used to read a lot of mysteries but the violence bothers me more than it did in the past. Now I read more “women’s fiction”. I love stories where there is a sense of community and/or best friends that you can truly count on.

  21. Betty Savage on January 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I am rereading Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah so I will be ready for new book coming out soon. I too switch from mystery/thriller /suspense books to women writers and back.

  22. Peggy Halford on January 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I love all your books and I guess women’s relationship books. Nora Roberts trios are always fun. I like light mysteries with no violence and some fun thrown into the mix. Basically, I like what all the other commenters are saying!

  23. Dorothy Schreyer on January 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    My last 5 books, in no order except the one I just started, which is Letters From Berlin by Margqret Dos & Kerstin Lieff; are Heart of Ice by Gregg Olsen, Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz, One Mountain Away (LOVED IT!!!) and listening to Union Quiliters by Jennifer Chiaverini in the car as I wait for Mrs. Lincoln’s dressmaker! I love books by Kristin Hannah, Emile Richards, Jennifer Chiaverini,Joshelyn Jackson, Karen White and just discovered Susan Meissner. Like Barbara Cameron, Darien Gee and I can’t forget Earlene Fowler! My tastes are all over the place!

  24. Fran Currier on January 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I love your books, Emilie—different story lines and always keep my interest. I like fiction, mysteries, romance and any book that has good plats and doesnt drag on!!! So much fun to read that way!

  25. Debbie Giammaria on January 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Come to the Table – Neta Jackson
    Summer Rental – Mary Kay Andrews
    One Mountain Away – Emilie Richards!
    The Inn At Rose Harbor – Debbie Macomber
    The Christmas Bus – Melody Carlson

    I also love Donna Ball – the ladybug farm series
    Jan Karon- Mitford Series
    Wendy Wax- The Accidental Best Seller / Ten Beach Road
    Charlene Ann Baumbich – Dearest Dorothy series 🙂

    wow so many good author’s so many good book ..
    Mostly I love books about women my age 50’s / friends who stick together and help each other and Books about small towns and all the people in them . I tend to read a lot of Christian Fiction ..

  26. Marcia Tice on January 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I just finished Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I loved it. I love to read & will read just about anything. For brain relaxation: easy, quick romances. For long drives & yard work I listen to thrillers, suspense or mysteries – David Baldacci, Doug Preston, Lee Childs, JD Robb, and the like. My other last four books were Pride & Prejudice (again & again), One Mountain Away (suggested it to my book club – great!), and 2 romances by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Before that there was a bit of Dean Koontz, Frank Peretti, Paul Maier, Stephanie Kinsella, Janet Evanovich and I can’t remember who else. Books – they are my sanity keepers. I can never read just one book of a series – so if I get one by accident, well, I’ll read them all. That is what has introduced me to genres I wouldn’t normally read. My book club is good for broadening my horizons.

  27. Connie Williamson on January 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore (unfortunate name!) is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

  28. Debbie Hearne on January 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I tried to post this once already. Forgive me if comes up twice! My last 5 books:
    Shinning Star
    Blackberry Winter
    Drowning Ruth
    Proof of Heaven
    The End of Your Life Bookclub

    As you can see, I like a variety. Looking forward to the next in the Goddess series. Loved your last book, One Mountain Away!

  29. Helen White on January 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I love any good mystery. I just finished “Running Blind” by Lee Child and loved it. I’ll read just about anything.

  30. Jessica on January 19, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Gone Girl–not quite finished.
    Porch Lights -Dorothea Benton Franks
    Summer Rental – Mary Kay Andrews

  31. Liz on January 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I once said I’d read matchbook covers if nothing else was available but my preferences are cozy mysteries, espionage, and historical novels.

    A recent find was The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley.

  32. Leslie Lynch on January 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Emilie, I am stunned to hear you stumble over a concise description of the genre you write! Actually, I’m more stunned that anyone needs to ask the question! 😉
    The last five books I have read:
    One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
    The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
    One Mountain Away by Emilie Richards
    a Lord John Grey novel by Diana Gabaldon (can’t remember the title)
    Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
    I define the books that I choose (and often re-read until in tatters) to be stories about relationships and have some complexity that draws me in, so that I learn something about myself as I read about the characters.
    Great topic, Emilie!

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