I’ve been binge-reading. And getting behind with my reviews.
This sad fact seems to come with the territory when I get so stuck into the stories so deep that I don’t even want to take a breath to share the love with others. Sometimes it’s the writing, sometimes it’s the characters, others it’s such a compelling story that I need to stay up all night to find out what happens next. In a perfect world, of course, it’s all three. This particular read-a-thon has been pretty eclectic I’ve had had some fantastic reads, some pretty good ones, and a sad soul that I couldn’t finish at all (luckily it was free off NetGalley. But it’s very existence leads me to believe that if IT could get published, so can the one I’m working on.)
Here’s a little sampling of what I’ve been reading lately, as well as a bonus of what I’m going to be reading next. You should totally pick up one of these reads. I figure there’s just about one more week before the seriousness of January takes hold, and enough time to snuggle up on the couch and turn a page or two while you’ve still got a bit of downtime (kids? Whatever. That’s what playdates and Netflix are for.)
If you’re looking for what I loved from last year, I did a round-up of my favourite reads from 2013 on BrazenWoman. So, after you finish watching my little slideshow, feel free to head over there. Here’s the link.
The Hole in the Middle by Kate Hilton
We've all been there-overwhelmed, no time to think or even take ourselves to the doctor. We're the worst mother, a terrible wife, bad at our jobs, we chose the wrong man, the wrong path. Hilton takes a stab at the myth of SuperWoman in her debut novel, and we see just what happens when it all unravels. Sometimes uncomfortable to read, just because it hits a little too close to home, but well worth picking up if your own head needs a little shaking. Hilton is definitely one to watch on the women's fiction scene.
Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
The first in the order of the Sanguines series. I'm not giving away any secrets. Religious history, creatures, action, a sprinkling of love-this series has all the makings of a hit. Rollins & Cantrell are the perfect duo.
Innocent blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
The second in the Order of the Sanguines series and an exciting paranormal thriller chock full of vampires, action, history, a little bit of love, and the search for an angel. I'm totally hooked.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Beautifully written, this lovely novel gives us a peek into what might have been happening downstairs during Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. Completely engrossing (and the cover is gorgeous too.) Perfect for Downton Abbey addicts.
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean
History meets sexy. This is one dirty novel you don't want to miss. Just the right amount of raunch for those who don't need whipping with their love stories. The success story of the year, it shot to #1 with a bullet and MacLean deserves the accolades. She writes well, tells a great story. Prepare to be sucked in.
This Man by Jody Ellen Malpas
I'd heard about this trilogy, and finally decided to pick it up. Much better written than 50 Shades (and a lot less filthy-the BSDM is pretty tame), This Man tells the story of Ava, a pretty young-ish thing irrevocably drawn to Jesse, the extraordinarily handsome owner of a fancy sex hotel. Of course he's rich & damaged, of course she's beautiful and slightly frustrating, but for some reason we still root for them.
Beneath this Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas
The continuation of the story of the Beauty and the prettier. Will Ava & Jesse's instant love triumph all? Will he stop carrying her around like a sack of very sexy potatoes? Some elements get redundant (why do romance writers insist on repeating their tropes? We KNOW he likes her in lace. You don't have to keep saying it..), and yet, you can't stop reading.
This Man Confessed by Jodi Ellen Malpas
The third in Jodi Ellen Malpas's trilogy. We know that we'll get the happily ever after, especially because we're already 800 pages into the story. The truth comes out, the characters seem to really develop and we totally 'get' their love story. A very satisfying end.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Quite long yet beautifully written. Well worth picking up, if not for the unique story of a female botanist who emerges during the time when science emerges from philosophy. For some reason, the middle of Gilbert's books are always tedious (think the 'Pray' section in Eat, Pray, Love), but still there are so many passages that are gorgeous that one feels compelled to finish. The characters aren't that likeable, though, and at one point you stop rooting for the right ones. But I loved it. Don't ask me why.
Christmas at Claridges by Karen Swan
What can I say? I adore Karen Swan's books. They make me happy. They're sheer romance, the true definiton of women's fiction. Her male characters are strong and brooding but not controlling, her women know what they want, are interesting, and live a life that's just glamorous enough that we feel we could have it. Don't just read at Christmastime. This one could be called 'Anytime in Portofino'.
Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker
The only drawback to K.A. Tucker's books are that they are new adult, which means that the female characters are young. And who wants to read about 18 year olds have monkey sex (other than 18 year olds?) An engrossing story about a Charlie, a young woman of indeterminate age, with troubling secrets who starts working in the same strip club we were introduced to in Ten Tiny Breaths. She falls in love with Cain, the troubled club owner, and of course heartache ensues. A compelling and well-written story about love and redemption.
What I’m going to read next:
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton: A big, fat book about the New Zealand gold rush. I’m breaking my rule about award winners with this one.
The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaman: I’ve heard this book is so very good, so I’m definitely going to pick it up very soon. It’s about humanity, darkness, light, and complications of life and is described as ‘stirring, terrifying, and (an) elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.’
Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen: A book about grief and Rasmussen’s life re-entry process. I’m ready to get over my father’s death and I hope this will finally get me there.
Secrets and Lies by Jane Isay: After finding our her husband was gay, Isay joined the world of secret keepers. She and her husband decided to stay together and live a life of hiding the truth. Not that I keep a lot of secrets, but it should be interesting to read about the art of surviving a secret.
Innocence by Dean Koontz: Now that I’m into mysteries, I can’t get enough. I’ve heard this novel that ‘blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul’ is so very good. I’m giving it a shot.
The No-Hit List by Mara Shapiro: Oh, wait. That’s my book. YOU are going to read that. Sometime. Coming soon.
I’ve also got to find some new dirty books. You know, for research.
What are you reading? Got any great recommendations to share?