Books to Look Forward To!

This is a very exciting summer.  A summer of impending literary joy! A good chunk of my favorite authors have books coming out this summer. Next month in fact and I am clenching my fists in high expectation.   I don’t exactly have much time to read, opening a business is good for sucking time.  BUT. For these three books coming out in the next two months, I will make SERIOUS exceptions to my typical “I need all the sleeps evar!” rule.  Because I know that the exhilaration of reading the soon to be named novels will be insanely worth the slight bleary eyed days that follow.

 

1. Soul Trade by Caitlin Kittredge:  I’ve made it no secret, my love for her works.  So it’s really kind of obvious that this would be on my list.  I’ve been reading her stuff since I first perused the shelves at B&N back in Jersey and saw ‘Nightlife’. After reading the back, and myself at the time in need of a seriously good book, I said “Sure! let’s give this author I’ve never heard of a try.”  After a long and disappointing love affair with a certain uber-famous UF writer’s books I was in need of something that a.) didn’t suck and b.) wasn’t written by a crazy person eating Crazy O’s for breakfast.  I was immediately hooked.  There’s a certain rush that follows discovering a new writer, putting that first book on your already crowded shelf and staring at B&N’s website like a wide eyed rabid monkey-bird awaiting the announcement of their next novel.  There’s a certain amount of risk involved too. Wondering if, like before, you’ll be let down in a fiery burning crash of words strung together with a barely visible plot and lots and lots of grossly descriptive, not sexy vampire/shapeshifter sex masquerading as a work of ‘literary genius’.  I got off track. ANYWAY.  I’m in love with the Black London series on a level that only rivals my love for things like Eureka, Doctor Who and Torchwood (oh and Felicia Day…whole ‘nother story).  So I’m staring again like a wide eye rabid monkey-bird waiting for the package of this book that I pre-ordered.   (it should be noted that the tangent opinions stated before are STRICTLY my own, and if you’ve deduced what writer I was expressing my distaste for- please don’t take it out on Ms. Kittredge by not buying her books.  Also, I’m not saying don’t buy the books by the unnamed author either. It”s my opinion, and I’ll curl up with it by the fire and call it George.  I mean no true ill will….because I still have all her older stuff before the crazy ate her brain and love it so.)

2.  Seawitch by Kat Richardson:   The Greywalker series is one of those series that I have recommended to every person who asks what kind of stuff I like to read.  I find that it’s a wonderful introduction to the UF genre, with a great heroine and ferrets. I love that there’s ferrets. A ferret specifically but you know what I mean.  The Greywalker novels have long been a favorite of mine, and most of my copies are seconds. Because I generally lend them out so much they get worn kind of quickly.  So I’ve started buying the hardcovers, and then the paperback. When generally I would simply wait for paperback.  Just to have one that won’t end up looking like the copy of Hamlet I had to read in high school.  I can’t wait for this.  Harper Blaine is one of my favorite heroines period.  So. Go read these too.

 

3. Grave Memory by Kalayna Price: Are we sensing a theme here? Yes. I like Series. Because I enjoy getting lost in the worlds these brilliant authors create. It makes me happy. Reading is a lost joy for a lot of people, and for some one they have yet to find.  Anyway, The Alex Craft novels were introduced to me after I watched Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy hangout.  Yes. You read that right. And I’m so glad for it, because I soaked up the first book and then devoured the second.  it’s an amazing thing when I can read a book in five hours. That means I love it. I read fast. And yes, I retain what actually happened. It’s sort of a wibbly wobbly timey wimey warp thing in which time slows and I am able to read novels so fast. Of course, I probably really look like Hammy- and in truth I’m sure that’s how I look.  But hey…. So I highly recommend checking these out too. (I know this was published at the beginning of July, but I have had zero time to read it but it’s a series worthy of noting so I threw it in here too).

 

4. Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire:  Oh Toby Daye.  I don’t know if I can accurately explain the goings on in my head when I read one of these novels. Mostly it’s chitterings of joy and internal interpretative dance.  If you haven’t read any of the Toby Daye novels you are SERIOUSLY missing out on some delicious Fae action. Really. If you love Fae things as much as I do you need to read this. Again, another author that hasn’t let me down.  I hate to say it that way because these are their brainchildren and really who am I to judge in which direction they take their stories? But you know what I mean. I hope.  If not, then my sincerest apologies for sounding like a grade A mule.  I simply mean that every book has been better than the last.    I also hope you all read these and love Tybalt as much as I do.

 

5. The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow:  I can honestly say I own more books by this author than by any other author ever.  Three, four? Years ago I went south for Christmas and I am always in the habit of bringing books (now my kindle) with me for plane rides and late nights when no one else stays awake.  I forgot books on this trip so when I got down there, I went to the bookstore and went on the hunt.  I found the Dante Valentine books and I bought them all. Sight unseen. A rather bit of a risk when I tend to be a little picky on the things I read.  But the storyline sounded great and my first page test left me wanting more and I just had the feeling I was going to devour it.  So, I did.  And since then I have amassed a collection of Ms. Saintcrow’s novels. And each and every one I love and lend out like there is no tomorrow. I’m always excited to find a book by her I didn’t know she had written because it’s like Christmas morning.  I also love steampunk. I love Victorian era ANYTHING. I also love alternative history and mysteries. So…needless to say when I was perusing the web and saw this I was aflight with giggles of glee. It’s certainly on my list and I cannot WAIT to read it.

 

 

So that was definitely 5 and NOT 3.  But I couldn’t help myself. I also know these are mostly authors I talk about a lot, but I can’t help myself.  I haven’t had much time to peruse for new things coming out and with me not working at the bookstore any longer, this information doesn’t just fall into my lap anymore.  So, I’m sure there are a ton of books I should be adding here but I just don’t know about them yet.  In any case, these five will keep me busy for a while. Or maybe only for a weekend considering my tendency to hide away on a weekend off reading multiple books because I’m a lunatic.  Heh.  Everyone has a vice and for me it’s books.  So, go out and buy these. Read them. love them. Yes, I just ordered you to love them.  And for god’s sake don’t pirate them. Pirating books SERIOUSLY hurts authors, and damages the possibility of more books in a series. It’s a whole percentages, sales thing. But it’s kind of like- if you had a really awesome idea and you go to patent it. But someone pirates that idea before you patent it. No one buys it, you show no sales and your idea gets no backers.  Or…you know, just don’t be an ass and pay for them.  When you pirate, and then complain that the books stop? Guess what….YOUR FAULT. Well you and every other scurvy, hook for a hand, eye patch wearing, peg legged sea-dog out there. Talking like a pirate=funny. Stealing things like a pirate=BAD. PSA is now over. You may all go back to your regularly scheduled television shows. Me? I’m going to watch Hoarders before bed.

In Which I Discuss “Nightmare Garden” by Caitlin Kittredge

So I’m sitting at my laptop, coffee at the ready and my meager breakfast of toast with jam, and trying to write something…anything…before work. Of course, the muse hits at inopportune times (such as…in the middle of a business phone call- you should see all my fae knife wielding doodles) and trying to pressure my brain into being creative usually results in some explosion and becoming less than functional for a few days. That’s when I get my best leveling in Skyrim…but I don’t think you care much about that.

 

While I got absolutely nothing done on the re-write of my current venture, I did feel spurred to do another blog post. I recently finished reading Nightmare Garden, by Caitlin Kittredge, and so I bring to you a rather nice review that is spoiler free (Except there are spoilers for the Iron Thorn, and if you haven’t read the first book in the series….you shouldn’t read this). Because, what fun is reading a book when you know what’s going to happen? Unless you’re one of those people who reads the end first…or actively seeks out spoilers because you’re impatient. Well I will not enable you! You can get over that addiction, I know you can.

 
Nightmare Garden picks up where the first book in the series, The Iron Thorn, left off. (And really if you haven’t even read the first one why are you reading this?! Go…buy it or get it off your dusty shelf and read the darn thing. What? Oh, you don’t read YA books because you’re an adult? Well, I have no cookies for you then. Be gone). And it continues the story in an ‘edge of your seat, nail biting, have to put the book down and walk away to recompose’ way. I personally love books like this. I enjoy that feeling of my heart racing a mile a minute, the adrenaline of worrying what the frak is going to happen.

 
I should state, right off the bat that I am totally Team Dean. I root for him, have since the first book and it was really nice to learn more about him. Also? We meet his mother. Wow. Just…wow. It was also nice to see Aoife grow more than she had in the first book. Plus? The story is uh-may-zzzzing. There’s something about trilogies that just make every book (especially the second, I’ve always felt the second book in a trilogy is the most exciting) insanely edge of your seat good.

 
For those who have read the Iron Thorn, you know that stuff got real at the end of the book. With Lovecraft basically getting the apoca-doom treatment, I know I was wanting to know desperately what would happen. Especially to Aoife’s mother. Rest assured, questions are answered. New questions, well every book in a series brings some new questions and ponderings. But all in all this is a book and series I would reccomend to anyone regardless of their age.

 
Typically when I read something, even by an author I love, I find something that bothers me. Something I don’t agree with, or something that just doesn’t…mesh. With Kittredge I have never had that problem. All her books, the whole of the Nocturne City series, the Black London series and this…I have loved without question. She has taken up the spot in my heart as my favorite author.

 
Kittredge has a great writing style, and exceptional talent. I’m far from a critic but I know what I like, and what is good in my eyes. So, hats off to you Ms. Kittredge for another amazing book. I can’t wait to read the next Iron Codex book. Thank you for giving us Aoife (and for giving me Dean…I really ❤ Dean).

 
And to the rest of you reading this in interwebs land…Go out and read! Read these books now. You won’t regret it. And that’s the last I’ll say about it, but don’t come running to me when you have nothing good to read.

 
And now I’m off to work. Second cup of coffee at the ready. Because you can never have too many quad white mochas….

The Lonely Heart of a Former Anita Blake Fan…

Everyone has the one author their friend recommends, or they pick up randomly in a bookstore (the author’s book, not the author themselves).  They read this author and suddenly a new world or genre opens up for them. Actually usually it’s just a new genre. I have yet to hear of inter-dimensional/world rifts opening after reading the first chapter of a book. Though, I wish it did. I could use one. Don’t you worry about what I’d use it for. Not taking over the world…. (This one anyway).

In any case; You read this author for the first time and you climb to the highest mountain and scream “OH DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING?!” The sun parts the clouds and suddenly, you reach an enlightened state. Or maybe like normal people, you just really fucking love the book so much you want to read everything the author has ever written.

That was me when my best friend said “You know what you would like? The Anita Blake Series.” So I borrowed Guilty Pleasures and was immediately plunged into a genre I had never read before. Urban Fantasy. So of course, I adored the book so much I picked up every one that was out at the time. I devoured them like a kid devouring Reese’s cups on Halloween.  I loved it. I loved the genre. I had finally found what I had been missing in reading. Here was the same type of stories I myself wrote. Being a lowly youngster I had no idea there was even a market for this sort of thing. (Other than the short lived ‘She Wolf of London’ which I used as my excuse for writing a terrible werewolf story in sixth grade).

I had a good few years of loving Anita. Here was a strong heroine. She raised the dead for a living and was a vampire executioner. She had scars. She was short and had curly hair. She was a HUMAN. Well, she was technically a necromancer but still human.

Anita and I had a good few books together. But sometimes, love just doesn’t last. Around The Killing Dance it started going downhill. The initial few sex scenes slowly began turning into chapters upon chapters of sex. Anita herself became a sort of…sex feeder human/almost shifter/vampire human servant….thing.  I tried. I tried to keep the love affair going, but Anita soon became something I wasn’t happy with.

It was my own personal opinion. I never berated LKH for throwing the monkey wrench into the story I had held so dear. I understand. I get it. A series that goes on that long, things change. Hey, she’s the writer and some people still love her stuff. That’s great. For her and the fans that still read the Anita series.

I gave it right up until Anita got the Ardeur. Yeah, that’s when I decided my favorite Urban Fantasy series had become little more than a paranormal harlequin romance. And while I certainly don’t look down my nose at those (I have friends who love them) it’s really just not my thing. In fact, I was pissed off. I sort of still am. I’m pissed because for a while people still tried to convince me that it was hardcore and bad ass and worth my time and money. It was hardcore alright. Hardcore shape shifting porn. Bad ass? More like ass-less chaps. The books still had a thinly veiled story line so I can see where the confusion comes in. But here’s a good way to know you’re not reading anything but smut, when every page you randomly turn to has a sex scene.

I’m not saying LKH is a bad writer. I think she has a great story-telling ability. I wish I could write half as well as the first Anita Blake books were written. I know I’m all but destined to write my little stories and have my friends and family read them only.  I’m okay with this. I write because I love to tell a story. So some of you may not think that qualifies me to criticize a highly paid author, but as a consumer and avid reader I think I have a right to voice my opinion.

I’m not saying don’t buy her stuff. I never would do that. I think there’s a lot of people who would LOVE  it. And that’s awesome. Great for you. Me? I still mourn the loss of my once beloved series. There’s a void that will never be quite filled. Some say it’s been rebooted, that it’s better now. It just left such a bad taste in my mouth I don’t know if I can bring myself to face the disappointment.

Thankfully, over the years I have discovered amazing authors and series that I can read; Authors that just keep coming up with more and more awesome. So a brief thank you to some of the authors who gave me faith in the publishing industry again.

And to you Anita. I hope someday we can meet again and our meeting will be a joyous one.