Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fall Reading List. . . with coffee. . .

One of the real pleasures of this stage of my life is the change of the pace of events. . . that allows me the twin luxuries of dalliance and anticipation. Lest you start sweating at the thought of what I might choose to reveal, let me assure you, I'm talking books here.

For a long time I limited my reading to nonfiction because, like many writers, I had a fear of importing things from other writers into my work. I got to read only between writing gigs. . . and I always I seemed to always be working on a book. I often felt the water level in my own creative well was low and somewhat unappetizing.

One of the things Rex has brought into my life is a renewed love of reading and an outlet for discussing books ad nauseum. I don't have to tell you how a really good book can leave me charged up and excited to write; I'm sure you've been there.

What constitutes a really good read? It varies from person to person and within one person, from mood to mood. I really appreciate learning from other writers and readers about books that have made an impact on them. So, today I'm sharing. My TBR pile. My recent faves. And my delicious anticipations.

Pour a cuppa and pull up a chair. . .


A Simple Gift, Karyn Witmer, Dell, September 2006 -
Powerful, moving story about a family's estrangement and the things that draw them back together. Spot on psychology and resoundingly true insight into the inner workings of human beings. Lyrical writing. I used three hankies on this one. And I'm not usually a crying reader.

Lover Awakened J.R. Ward, Signet Eclipse, September 2006 - Hard-bodied, fast-paced story of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of alternative-mythology vampires. This one was quite psychological, dealing with badly damaged souls who reach out to love. The tough, modern voice here is amazing-- gets better and more assured with each book.

Magic Study, Maria V. Snyder, Luna, October 2006 - Fascinating folloup to Snyder's debut book Poison Study. . . a young woman with magic powers is taken and then discarded by a diabolical mage. She goes from condemned prisoner to poison taster to mage-in-training. Compelling reading. Wonderful world building.

Grave Surprise, Charlaine Harris, Berkley, October 2006 - Sequel to Grave Sight. The continuing story of a lightning-struck young woman who can now find/feel dead people. Odd circumstances reunite her with the family of a missing child she once failed to find. Now she proves her mettle and learns something destined to disrupt her unusual life.

TBR (To Be Read): (Oh, the anticipation!)

The Crossroads Cafe, Deborah Smith, Belle Books, October 2006 - A delicious southern treat from the marvelous Team of Deborah and Deb. (see interview below!) And a romance! I can't wait!

Dearly Devoted Dexter, Jeff Lindsay, Doubleday, 2005 - A twisted little tale with a serial killer as the hero. I bought this last fall and kept meaning to read it. Now, I've just learned they're making/have already made a movie/HBO Special out of the character and I've moved it up in the pile. The only other serial killer-hero I know is semi-comic "Serge Storm" from Tim Dorsey's Florida based books (Torpedo Juice, Florida Road Kill, The Big Bamboo, etc.). Dexter is a much darker character than Serge. This should be interesting. And probably disturbing. I dipped past the cover. Page one is masterfully written.

Archangel, Sharon Shinn, Ace, 1996 - A fascinating series about the interaction of angels with the earth in a semi-apocalyptic near-reality scenario. Recommended to me by a dear friend, I can't wait to get started on this series. This is Book One.

Between, Georgia, Joshilyn Jackson, Warner, July 2006 - A sassy, insightful southern novel about a heckuva spicy woman caught in the crossfire of a family feud. This is going to be fun!

ANTICIPATIONS: (Books on order but not yet in hand. sigh.)

Getaway Girl, Michele Hauf, Harlequin Bombshell, September 2006 - I have no idea why I'm having to wait forever to get this book. I ordered it weeks ago!!!! And I'm dying to read it. Girl who hates yellow is forced into a yellow jumpsuit and trapped on the cover of a book-- I mean-- girl who loves cars ends up being the getaway driver. Hey, she's my hero already!

His Little Black Book, Thea Devine, Pocket, October 2006 - I have inside info on this one, which had a working title "The Mistress Club." Three young women believe the fast track to fame and fortune is to become a mistress to and older, richer, experienced man. But will their plans for success be derailed by passion, circumstance, and true love? It's Thea Devine in a whole new way. Cool and contemporary. Still, I'm getting out the oven mits for this one.

Ride A Painted Pony, Kathleen Eagle, MIRA, November 26th 2006 - a fabulous story of a woman running for her life, a man who picks her up on the road, and the turns that their lives must take to reach peace and safety in each other's hearts. Wow. Nick sounds like a guy to die for. Or LIVE for. :) And Kathy's trailer is so AWESOME! Go to her web site and see it for yourself!

Lady Luck's Map of Vegas, Barbara Samuels, Random House, 2005 and Madam Mirabou's School of Love, Random House, March 2006 - Two fabulous stories about women: one learning about her mother's past and her own present and future, the other putting her life and heart back together after both came apart. Love, humor, wisdom, heart. . . what more could you want in a book? I better stop myself before I embarrass Barbara. Come on, UPS! Deliver those books!

The first Helen Brenna book. . . out in 2007!

The next Sookie Stackhouse, Charlaine Harris. . . whenever it comes out.

OKAY enough about me. What are YOUR favorite recent reads? Anticipations? Share, people. No hoarding great reads allowed!


Michele said...

I just finished Kim Harrison's A FISTFUL OF CHARMS, book #4 in her fab Hollows series that features Rachel Morgan, a bounty-hunter witch, a female vampire, her best friend (who wants to be more than BEST friends), a pixy named Jenks whose whole family lives in the orchard out back of the old churchyard where Rachel lives, and a whole lot of nasty demons, werewolves, vampires. It's dark. It's funny. It's moody. Her worldbuilding is amazing. I can't wait for the next book!

I've just cracked open Neil Gaiman's FRAGILE THINGS, which is a book of his short stories. Liking this so far, but I'm a major Gaiman fan-girl, so how can I not like his enchanting, dark faery tales? (And to imagine them spoken in Gaiman's gorgeous Brit accent!)

As for anticipating? I picked up an excerpt for Christopher Moore's next whacked, dark and certifiably crazy masterpiece, YOU SUCK, which is a sequel to BLOODSUCKING FIENDS. Moore's humor is unique, to say the least. His last book featured Death as a toddler who could kill people by uttering the word 'kitty'. Love it!

Also have Cruisie and Mayer's DON'T LOOK DOWN that I've been waiting to read, but didn't get a copy until last weekend when they were in town, so I could have a signed copy.

I wish I could see Betina to have her sign my copy of THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES, which is coming up soon on my TBR pile. Maybe I'll be so lucky to catch her at the next RT or RWA conference.

And the last is not a book to be read, but to be enjoyed. Picked up a copy of the Dover coloring book, DECORATIVE TILE DESIGNS. Oh, do I love to color!

Betina Krahn said...

Hey, Michele! So good to see you here on Sunday. Whatcha drinkin? Mocha, latte, or straight?

It seems to me I've seen A Fistful of Charms on the shelves and thought the cover was intriguing. Can you list the first and intervening titles for me? I'd love to pick them up!

Ooooh, and you may see me sooner than you think. I may be winging it to the Twin Cities this coming Friday! You up for lunch? We could maybe get a crew together for Friday noon?

Michele said...

I'm drinking chai. Love that stuff! But my son always laughs, cause caffeine goes straight to my brain and I'm a chatty Cathy after drinking it.

Harrison's titles are, in order (and love the Clint Eastwood movie title references): DEAD WITCH WALKING, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UNDEAD, EVERY WITCH WAY BUT DEAD, A FISTFUL OF CHARMS

An excellent series. If you like charlaine Harris and J.R. Ward, you'll probably really enjoy this one.

Oooo, I could probably do Friday! I bet a few other Riders could maybe do that too.


Helen Brenna said...

I would love to do lunch on Friday!! Please, please, please, Betina, if you have time! I've just decided that I have to get out once a week with friends for lunch or I'll go crazy.

As for reads... unfortunately, becoming a writer has really screwed with my reading. I'm waaayyy behind on my TBR pile and tend to read more non-romance stuff because I don't critique it as much.

Betina, I loved The Book of True Desires. Right up my alley ... er jungle!

I'm really enjoyed several Alice Hoffman's books this past year. The Foretelling and The Ice Queen. And Lisa Gardner's Alone was great. Anita Shreve. I've been trying to branch out and read author's I've never read before.

Anne's Pale Immortal was great too - looking forward to getting into her backlist.

So many books, so little time!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I'm having my latest favorite, green tea latte while I view the splendid foliage from my window and contemplate my blog for tomorrow. On the heels of Industry Shakeup, I'm tackling my fear of change.

Heavy doses of Women's Fiction for me lately. What's it all about, Alfie? I ponder, being in the contempletive mood. Barbara Samuel's LADY LUCK... is a good place to start--rich mother-daugherter relationship story. On a road trip with one daughter in search of daughter's mentally ill twin, a singularly unconventional mom reveals her secrets. It's a heavy read, but interesting. You can't help asking yourself what kind of personal details you'd want from your own mother. The relationship between mother and daughter never ceases to fascinate.

Some similar threads in OWL ISLAND by Randy Sue Coburn. The focus is on the heroine's first love with an older man who became a famous Hollywood director, largely at her expense. Now it's 20+ years later, and he's moved into her small Pacific NW Coast town. Lots of flashback, interesting relationship as the heroine finally comes to terms with the past and with mother-daughter relationships on either side.

I seem to be picking up the heavier stuff lately. Must be the season.

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, you guys are great. Some good ideas here.

Michele, I've ordered Kim Harrison's books-- thanks! Can't wait to get them.

Helen, I love Alice Hoffman. I think I read The Foretelling. Good stuff!

Kathy, Owl Island sounds interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. . . as if I have time for more reading!

Definitely coming to Minnesota on Friday morning-- just got flights!
Lunch! We'll talk--

:) Betina