Trying Some New Things (In Books, Anyway)

Okay, it’s been about a month since I’ve posted on what I’ve been reading. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve forgotten some of the…details on some of these books. Terrible, I know. The sad part is, I’ve forgotten some of the details even on books that I liked! I’ll try to post more quickly next time. I promise. (You know, as long as I don’t get busy or distracted or…)

I read Frostbite, by Rachel Mead, the second in the Vampire Academy series. Liked it a lot. But I think Rose is a great character, strong yet flawed. She’s very impulsive, and that gets her in a lot of trouble in this book. Although for once, she’s not in the trouble all by herself. This book took an unexpected (to me) turn, and the death of one of the characters completely surprised me. Very enjoyable read, though, and left me eagerly awaiting the next one. (That would be sometime this fall.)

My mother gave me Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, to read. I loved this book. It is a beautiful book. Since I read it, I’ve been recommending it to all sorts of people. Some of the things at the beginning of the book I could really relate to, when the MC realizes she doesn’t want to be married anymore. That’s a hard decision to come to, especially when you still care about the other person, and Ms. Gilbert did a wonderful job of conveying that to the page. It’s such a wonderful story about growth and change and exploration of new things. After her divorce, she spends four months in Italy, four months in India, and four months in Bali, Indonesia. While reading this, I yearned to be in each of those places (especially Bali). Everything just came to life so well! I felt like I was there. I’ve always envied people who just pack up and move to a foreign country on a whim, but I’m secretly way too scared to ever do that, so I have to live vicariously through books like this. I intend to read it again very soon.

Then I read Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin. This book started off a bit slow for me, but by about a quarter of the way through it, I was hooked. There’s a lot of power and magic, a lot of politics and power games. Great characters. I liked them a lot. I also liked the author’s voice. The whole book had a strong thread of sometimes subtle humor woven through it, and I found myself laughing several times. I enjoyed it enough that I just ordered the second book in the series.

Next up is Odd Hours, by Dean Koontz. For some reason, I never have any clue when a new Odd Thomas book is coming out. I just see it on the shelf and squeal with delight. I have read (I think) everything Dean Koontz has written, but two characters stand out strongly for me: Chris Snow (from Seize the Night and Fear Nothing), and Odd Thomas. I’ve been addicted to these books since the first one, Odd Thomas. How can you not love a character who not only sees ghosts, but has a relationship with the ghosts of Elvis and Frank Sinatra? How cool is that? This is an excellent read, and I stayed up until the wee hours finishing it.

I have to admit, I read Gone with the Witch by Annette Blair strictly because of the title. Since Gone with the Wind is my absolute favorite book, I had to give this one a shot. This is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Blair, but I’m not sure I’ll be reading any more. It wasn’t a bad book, and I’m sure it would have been helpful if I’d read the first two books in the trilogy first, but I was a little bit lost at times. The story just seemed kind of…jerky is the word that comes to mind. It progresses in fits and starts. I did like the MC, with her Goth clothing and in-your-face personality, but the story just didn’t quite work for me.

Then I read Dark of the Moon by Susan Krinard. I loved the time period this book is set in, with speakeasies and flappers, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the vampire mythology. Not that it was anything outrageously strange, I just couldn’t get too into the book to really care what happened to the characters.

Another surprising find I made was Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. Another wonderful book, and pretty far from my usual genre. (Definitely doesn’t qualify as urban fantasy, although it was probably many little kids’ fantasies.) This book is about the circus life, behind-the-scenes during the Prohibition era. Very nicely written. The story is told in flashbacks of the circus life interwoven with scenes from a nursing home in the present day, where the MC is a 90-year-old man. I finished this in less than a day. Thank goodness work wasn’t busy, because I literally could not put this down. Even the minor characters are hugely memorable, with the elephant, of course, stealing the show.

Then I read Tess Gerritsen’s In Their Footsteps. This is a re-release of one of Gerritsen’s early novels. Good story, excellent mystery, kept me guessing the whole time. (Okay, I did figure out who the killer was, but it was only a few pages before the climax.)

The last two books I’ve read are series novels. Blood Noir, by Laurell K. Hamilton stays true to the Anita Blake series. I had some trouble getting into it at first, but then I got sucked in. (Note to self: must learn how to write short chapters with lots of actions to keep readers riveted.) This book focuses on Jason and Anita going out of town together to visit Jason’s dying father. Jason happens to be one of the minor characters that I love, so I was pretty excited about this. And I did hear Ms. Hamilton do a reading of the first chapter of this book last summer, so I knew it started off pretty steamy. Fortunately, there was more plot than sex in this book, and that keep me turning the pages far too late into the night.

And last, but not least, is From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris. I really think I like this series even better than the Anita Blake series. Sookie is a great character. I love Sam. I love Eric. There’s always some new and unexpected development going on, and I’m usually just as shocked as Sookie is when it happens. This book has a lot going on, from a werewolf turf war to a vampire coup, not to mention some pretty big revelations for Sookie. You should rush right out and buy this!

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