Tuesday, September 6, 2011

National Read A Book Day--What I've been reading!

Happy National Read A Book Day! Of course, around my house, EVERY day is read a book day. Which would explain why I had to buy yet another bookshelf last month...

I have a stack of books I've read recently that I liked even more than usual, and I've been meaning to blog about them. Seems like National Read A Book Day is the perfect day to do so. Some are books in series I've been reading and enjoying, others are new books by a few of my favorite authors, and I've got a couple of new discoveries in there as well. Every single one of them comes with  my highest recommendation, and I hope you'll go out and try one or two and come back to tell me if you liked them as much as I did.

Favorite Series:
GHOST STORY by Jim Butcher -- The Harry Dresden series (which I first discovered from the short-lived but wonderful TV show based on the books) is amazing, magical, clever, and funny urban fantasy. For these of you who might not be familiar with it, Harry is the only professional wizard in Chicago. This book has been eagerly awaited by fans of the series, since Butcher left us hanging at the end of the previous book. *shakes fist at author* And it doesn't disappoint. At all. If you haven't read these, I suggest you start at the beginning, with STORM FRONT.
THE SNOW QUEEN'S SHADOW by Jim C. Hines -- the final installment in the "Princess" series, this book features the same kick-ass heroines as the others, and winds things up very satisfactorily. Hines' take on the traditional fairy tales is second to none; these are NOT your childhood princesses, I assure you. Read this whole series, too. The first book is THE STEPSISTER SCHEME.
MAGIC SLAYS & MAGIC BLEEDS by Ilona Andrews -- I got behind on this series, which meant I got to read two in a row. Huzzah! Another urban fantasy series, this one is set in Atlanta, but in an Atlanta that is very different from the one we know. Kate Daniels is one of my favorite heroines, and the world-building here is second to none. The series starts with MAGIC BITES.

Favorite Authors:
I don't always read fantasy or urban fantasy; sometime I like a nice contemporary romance, especially one with a touch of humor or an exotic locale. (I'm actually very picky about the romance I read, however, so the few favorite authors I have are REALLY good.)
I have a weakness for British contemporaries, and my absolute top author there is Katie Fforde. I like her work so much, I actually order the books directly from England, rather than waiting the extra year for them to come out here. (Although I do usually wait until the hardcovers are available used through an Amazon seller.) I somehow got one behind on these as well, so I just read two and loved them both. These books are all stand-alones, so they don't need to be read in any particular order. If you're a fan of Jennifer Crusie's writing, you'll like SUMMER OF LOVE, A PERFECT PROPOSAL and everything else Fforde has ever written.
Mindy Klasky is another author whose work I love, whether it was her humorous paranormal series or her earlier fantasies. I don't normally read the Harlequin Special Edition books, but when Mindy came out with one, I made an exception. And I was glad I had, because THE MOGUL'S MAYBE MARRIAGE was sweet and charming and lots of fun to read.
Starhawk is a well-known Pagan author of nonfiction (THE SPIRAL DANCE is a must-read classic) but I'd had her novel THE FIFTH SACRED THING on my bookshelves for years without getting around to reading it. My writing partner Lisa recommended it, though, and she was right--it was amazing!

New Discoveries:
One of the best parts of reading is when you find a new author whose work you love. I just read three new or new-to-me authors, one of which I liked a lot and two of which I loved with a white-hot passion that had me telling everyone I know to run out and buy their books.
I've been in fairy tale mode, so I really enjoyed the YA fantasy THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT by Julie Berry. If you like charming stories set in earlier eras with likable heroines, you should definitely check this out.
I was lucky enough to get an advance reader's copy at RWA of Rosemary Clement-Moore's new book, TEXAS GOTHIC. Run out and buy this book. (No, really--I'll wait.) I love books that feature magic and witches, especially if the author finds a clever new approach. This YA has a terrific protagonist, Amy Goodnight, who is saddled with a charming but eccentric family and a lot of secrets. I read this book in two days, because I just couldn't put it down, and I can only hope that Rosemary writes another one with these same lovable and quirky characters.
And I just finished a fabulous debut novel, MAKING WAVES by Tawna Fenske. Another contemporary romance, with just the right amount of humor and spiciness, this is another book you should run out and buy immediately. If not sooner! I was laughing out loud by page five. Heck, it is worth reading it for the Jell-O salad alone. Fenske is my new favorite discovery and I can't wait to read her next one.

So, now that I've told you what I've been reading, what about you? Any new books by old favorites? Any great new discoveries you have to shout about? What are you reading for National Read a Book Day?


  1. Awwww, thanks so much for the mention! If my mom had a dime for everyone who's asked her if she really makes Jello salad like that, she'd be extremely wealthy.


  2. I did enjoy Mogul's Maybe Marriage. Thanks for the recommendation.
    And, I, too was laughing hysterically at the jello salad. I kept thinking, what else can they possibly put in there?

  3. I didn't know it was National Read-a-Book day! I am currently obsessing heavily over Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. It's a brilliant take on historical fantasy, with the captain of a naval vessel during the Napoleonic Wars becoming the unwitting captain of a dragon in the British aerial fleet as the result of a captured egg's hatching in his presence and the dragon choosing him. it's Hornblower meets Anne McCaffrey's Pern. I am loving this series! The dragons are SO GREAT, and what's brilliant is that she writes it so this is actually a plausible thing - natural disasters suffered throughout the wars, such as tidal waves taking out ships and such - are being credited as the work of dragons in the unsung heroic aerial fleets of the various countries. Truly fun to read, and I've blitzed through the first six and am eagerly awaiting the seventh!

  4. You're very welcome, Tawna. I meant every word :-) One of the best books I've read all year, and I want to MAKE everyone run out and read it!

    Judy--I know what you mean. At one point I thought, "What--no green M & M's?"

    Melissa--The series sounds great. I'll have to add it to the list. Damn you :-)

  5. I don't think it's National Read A Book Day in Canada, but I'm reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Maybe not as impressive as some of the books other people have mentioned, but it's actually one of the best ones I've ever read! Short of Wuthering Heights. :)

  6. I'll keep Fforde in mind, I've always wondered about her.