Beach Reads Book tour 2015 Day 4 #Beachbooks @barbtaub

Beach Read Postcard

It’s Day 4 of our Beach Reads book Tour and I’m so excited because today we get to imagine being in Spain with my guest Barb Taub

Barb Taub

Rosie Amber’s Beach Reads Blog Hop –Guest Post

My beach read vacation doesn’t exactly involve a beach this time. Instead, I’m looking for a quiet, peaceful, remote place where I can write with no distractions—as long as it has kickass internet and (hopefully) excellent coffee. Ooh…and tapas with good local red wines. And a great outdoor market. Hmmm… maybe there should be world-class sights and restaurants and museums less than an hour away. And, of course, all that outdoor stuff for the hub. Piece of cake, right?



Turns out, it was. Friends recommended a small town in Spain that’s about an hour from Salamanca and Avila, accessible to Madrid and Barcelona on high speed trains. Beautiful villas come with pools for astonishingly low prices (Love you, Air B&B!). I could just picture myself, sitting on the patio by the outdoor oven, effortlessly crafting page after page. I’d probably have the next book ready for editors in no time. As a break, I would have Rosie Amber’s list of Beachy Reads that I’ve been meaning to get to, and some terrific recipes I can source from the local outdoor markets.

Avila Walled City


I booked a beautiful place and couldn’t wait to tell everyone I knew. Ring… is that the phone? Relatives who’ll “just happen” to be in the neighborhood? Okay, I might not get as much writing done as I’d hoped, but it would be fun to catch up with family members. Ding…Email from friends who had always been meaning to visit Spain? I started making lists of extra things I needed to bring along, groceries and menus and timetables at local attractions Whoa…letters from acquaintances who heard we’ll be there and wondered if they could drop in for a week or so? I mentally swapped our gourmet recipes for budget crowdpleasers.

Village Post Box


Luckily, I’ve been working on my reading list for Rosie Amber’s Beach Reads Blog Hop. So at least I’m set with a list of books to lend lucky guests. Plus I’ll save a few for my own reading at night, when everyone else is finally asleep. Thank heaven for holidays and Kindles with backlight.


Here are five of the books already loaded on my Kindle:

A Fact Book / Guide Book (About The place I’m taking my holiday in)



Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart. I know, I know. Only by the most remote of imagination stretches could this be considered a guide book of any sort. But when we went to Provence, I read Peter Mayle (French Lessons and A Good Year) and learned more appreciation for the France around me than any guidebook could ever convey. Hopefully this book, penned by a former Genesis drummer and sheep shearer who moved with his wife from the outskirts of London to an abandoned farm just over the mountains from Granada, Spain.


Title:                Driving Over Lemons

Author:            Chris Stewart

Pages:              308

Publisher:         Sort Of (August 8, 2011)

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Meet Chris Stewart, the eternal optimist.


At age 17 Chris retired as the drummer of Genesis and launched a career as a sheep shearer and travel writer. He has no regrets about this. Had he become a big-time rock star he might never have moved with his wife Ana to a remote mountain farm in Andalucia. Nor forged the friendship of a lifetime with his resourceful peasant neighbour Domingo…not watched his baby daughter Chloe grow and thrive there…nor written this book.


Fate does sometimes seem to know what it’s up to.


Driving Over Lemons is that rare thing: a funny, insightful book that charms you from the first page to the last…and one that makes running a peasant farm in Spain seem like a distinctly gd move. Chris transports us to Las Alpujarras, an oddball region south of Granada, and into a series of misadventures with an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, New Age travellers and ex-pats. The hero of the piece, however, is the farm that he and Ana bought, El Valero — a patch of mountain studded with olive, almond and lemon groves, sited on the wrong side of a river, with no access road, water supply or electricity.


Could life offer much better than that? Driving Over Lemons has sold over a million copies since publication in 1999. The title has been translated into 9 languages.

A book I could truly escape with


The Jack of Souls, by Stephen Merlino, is a tribute to the Trickster, an exhilarating and funny and larger-than-life paen to the ones who might not be the strongest or bravest, but can out-think, outlast, or outplay their musclebound foes. It’s a lightning-paced rollercoaster world built of humor, bravery, brains, and excellent writing. The villains are unequivocally evil. The heroes are flawed, hexed, unlucky, or just plain old. And sometimes they smell really bad.

Title:                The Jack of Souls (Book 1 of The Unseen Moon series)

Author:            Stephen C. Merlino

Pages:              352

Publisher:         Tortoise Rampant Press, December 20, 2014

Buy links:        Amazon US | Amazon UK


Harric, an outcast rogue, must break a curse put on his fate, or die on his nineteenth birthday. As the day approaches, nightmares from the spirit world stalk and tear at his sanity; sorcery eats at his soul.

To survive, he’ll need more than his usual tricks. He’ll need help—and a lot of it—but on the kingdom’s lawless frontier, his only allies are other outcasts. One of these outcasts is Caris, a mysterious, horse-whispering runaway, intent upon becoming the Queen’s first female knight. The other is Sir Willard—ex-immortal, ex-champion, now addicted to pain-killing herbs and banished from the court. With their help, Harric might keep his curse at bay. But for how long? 

And both companions bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past that still hunts her; Willard is at war with the Old Ones, an order of insane immortal knights who once enslaved the kingdom. The Old Ones have returned to murder Willard and seize the throne from his queen. Willard is both on the run from them, and on one final, desperate quest to save her.

Together, Harric and his companions must overcome fanatical armies, murderous sorcerers, and powerful supernatural foes.

Alone, Harric must face the temptation of a forbidden magic that could break his curse, but cost him the only woman he’s ever loved.

A book I’ve been meaning to read for ages



A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. It might sound like the antithesis of a summer read, but my sister (who has never once been off the mark on a book recommendation) promises, “Sounds heavy (it’s about 5 people contemplating suicide) but is in fact really humorous and endearing.”

Title:                A Long Way Down

Author:            Nick Hornby

Pages:              368

Publisher:         Penguin, May 2005

Buy links:        Amazon US | Amazon UK


Narrated in turns by a dowdy, middle-aged woman, a half-crazed adolescent, a disgraced breakfast TV presenter and an American rock star cum pizza delivery boy, A Long Way Down is the story of the Toppers House Four, aka Maureen, Jess, Martin and JJ. A low-rent crowd with absolutely nothing in common – save where they end up that New Year’s Eve night. And what they do next, of course.

Funny, sad, and wonderfully humane, Nick Hornby’s new novel asks some of the big questions: about life and death, strangers and friendship, love and pain, and whether a slice of pizza can really see you through a long, dark night of the soul.

A book that interests me although it’s from a genre I don’t usually read.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is one of those books that’s on every award list, that everyone is talking about, and that nobody can really describe. Or, actually, everybody thinks it’s about something different. But the one quote that puts it on my must-read list? “Station Eleven is the kind of book that speaks to dozens of the readers in me—the Hollywood devotee, the comic book fan, the cult junkie, the love lover, the disaster tourist. It is a brilliant novel, and Emily St. John Mandel is astonishing.”—Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers. Hey—I have all those readers in me too! Bring it!

Title:                Station Eleven

Author:            Emily St. John Mandel

Pages:              353

Publisher:         Picador, September 10, 2014

Buy links:        Amazon US | Amazon UK


“What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.”

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America.

The world will never be the same again.

Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse.

But then her newly hopeful world is threatened.

If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?

And don’t think you’re getting away without this one…


Don’t Touch by Barb Taub. I have the only car keys. Okay, sure, there’s a bus. Almost every day. But if you think you’re going to visit over the summer and get away without one of my books, well… I hope you enjoy that loooooong walk to the nearest city.

Title:                Don’t Touch

Author:            Barb Taub

Pages:              97

Publisher:         Hartwood, December 13, 2014

Buy links:        Amazon US | Amazon UK


Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it.

Her online journal spans a decade, beginning with the day a thirteen-year-old inherits an extreme form of the family “gift.” Every day whatever she touches converts into something new: bunnies, bubbles, bombs, and everything in between.

Lette’s search for a cure leads her to Stefan, whose fairy-tale looks hide a monstrous legacy, and to Rag, an arrogant, crabby ex-angel with boundary issues. The three face an army led by a monster who feeds on children’s fear. But it’s their own inner demons they must defeat first.


I would love to hear what you’re reading this summer. If you’re going to be in Spain, let me know. I’ll be the one stirring industrial-sized batches of paella with one hand and holding the Kindle with the other. (Wine will definitely be involved.)

Beach Reads Drift Wood


35 thoughts on “Beach Reads Book tour 2015 Day 4 #Beachbooks @barbtaub

  1. Love the location, fancy the Chris Stewart book most of all these – that COVER!!!!! I’ve seen the film of A Long Way Down, I seem to remember it was jolly good, but I’m not sure I’d want to read it! It has Aaron Whatsit in it, who I loved in Breaking Bad, I think that’s what made me watch it (and 3 other totes fab actors too, ie James Bond, Muriel’s Wedding lady and Imogen Whatsit). As usual, The Barbster, you rock 😀


  2. Well, it’s an eclectic mix in a (for me) exotic location. Not surprised you get lots of visitors, Barb,it sounds even more tempting than Pembrokeshire – and the world and his wife descend on us in summer – given chance – we have a secret ring on the phone for those we want to see. Back to the books – not sure about A Long Way Down, but certainly will try Station Eleven – and Don’t Touch, of course. Thanks Rosie, this is yet again, one brilliant idea.


  3. Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons, my kind of travel book, great to be introduced to it. Station Eleven and Don’t Touch are outside my usual comfort zone, but eh where’s my sense of adventure . . . Thank you for bringing your choices to my attention Barb Taub. And I do envy your choice of “beach”.


  4. Another stunning choice of books here …where to start??? A Long Way Down, definitely, want to see the movie too. And Driving Over Lemons, can feel the heat, like the sound of yours too Barb, intriguing, Save some paella for me (oh and wine).


  5. Lovely location, great books. ‘A Long Way Down’ sounds great. Just went to buy it on Amazon and saw it included in a set of six Nick Hornby paperbacks for about nine quid. So bought those instead. It’s not like I have lots of books to read already after all. Thanks Barb 🙂


  6. Crikey, it doesn’t sound like much of a holiday, after all! I hope you get to relax and enjoy the lovely location either despite or because of your extra guests 🙂 I read Driving Over Lemons a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.


  7. Well at least you’ll be getting your reading fix on that fabulous holiday Barb if not your writing one! I love the cover of Driving Over Lemons and A Long Way Down and Station Eleven appeal so shall have to add them to my list. The way I’m going though I shall need another holiday just to get the reading done so save some of the paella for me…and the wine, of course! 😉


  8. Hi there – I’d seen Don’t Touch on other blogs. I just didn’t realize it was only 97 pages. Seems pretty popular for such a short book.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews


  9. Kick ass internet, Barb? I wish! Trying to follow and comment on campsite in Kyle of Lochalsh. But I digress … I gave the ‘Lemons’ book to a colleague who took a year off to travel the world – must read it myself one day. I love Nick Hornby but haven’t read this one. Your book sounds intriguing and YA is very popular right now. Hope it’s doing well. Will try to tweet etc, poor signal willing.


  10. My summer reading list is getting longer and longer! Yet more great choices and, like everybody else, I so want to go on holiday with Barb 😀


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