“So you’ve got this Regency-era heroine, some kind of minor gentry – total Jane Austen, right? And, now here’s the hook: There’s a WHOLE magical world that she doesn’t even know about, but her magical powers are the key to saving all of England! It’s Pride and Prejudice meets Harry Potter!”
It sounds like a parody of a film pitch—take two vastly different concepts and mash them together, hoping to somehow come up with a winner. But in the case of The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss, IT TOTALLY WORKS.
I was beginning to think that paranormal romance novel writers were running out of supernatural characters to star in their steamy tales. Vampires have been played out for a while. Werewolves aren’t quite as overdone, but that’s because there’s a fundamental difficulty in making a sprouting hair and a snout sexy. Ghosts and witches have been staples for a while, so they’re not particularly fresh. Speaking of “not fresh”: Zombies? Come on. No one wants body parts falling off in the middle of a love scene. So I have to applaud First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones for coming up with the Grim Reaper 2.0 – sexier, sassier, and scythe-free.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Oh, come on. I gleefully judge books by their covers. And there is one cover element that experience has taught me is an indicator of a deliciously terrible book: the phrase “USA Today Best Selling Author” emblazoned on the front.
Man, I don’t know if it’s merely a coincidence but the books that I’ve read that trumpet THAT particular achievement… Oof. They’ve been bad. Throw-‘em-at-the-wall bad. So I had very low expectations for Red’s Hot Honky-Tonk Bar by Pamela Morsi when I saw it in the library. But I figured it would be a quick read and maybe fun to review (and savage) so I put it in the basket. Well, I was in for a surprise.
Breathers opens with the undead narrator’s discovery that he has killed and dismembered his parents, storing various parts neatly in the freezer/refrigerator. So I didn’t expect to find myself sympathizing with the zombie by the end of the book. And yet, I did. Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament, by S.G. Browne is described on the cover as a romantic zombie comedy (or rom-zom-com) and while I wouldn’t say it was a successful comedy, it was an interesting and rewarding read.
The Night Circus is one of those books that suddenly seemed to be everywhere: promoted in book stores, offered for special pricing on my Kindle, and gripped in people’s hands as they waited somewhere or other. So it had been on my radar for a while when I found a hardcover copy of the book at a used book sale. $1 seemed like a pretty good investment to see what the hype was about.
Oh, Jayne Ann Krentz. There was a time (the early 90s) when any book with your name on the cover meant an instant buy from me. I loved your historical romances, your contemporary suspense romances, your paranormal romances… ::sigh:: You had the golden touch, as far as I was concerned.
So, in memory of that happy era of Doc Martens, flannel shirts, and your books with sparkling heroines battling—and loving—wounded heroes I have to ask: What the hell happened?
The title sounds like a revenge/murder mystery, right? Well, that would probably have been a less disturbing read, all things considered.
I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did is a non-fiction book by Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Lori Andrews that explores in meticulous detail the differences between privacy approaches “in real life” (IRL) versus online. Her subhead, “Social Networks and the Death of Privacy” is somewhat misleading (or perhaps incorrectly limiting) as Andrews covers privacy concerns affecting online behaviors including internet searches, emails, and even simply owning a device with a camera. At the end of her book, but referenced throughout, is a proposed Constitution for Web Privacy that would define and guarantee online rights for users. It’s not a perfect read, but it’s a timely and worthwhile one.
The “fairy tales re-told” sub-genre has exploded in the last several years. On television, in the movie theater, and most of all on the bookshelf, characters once relegated to Disney animated movies and classic fairy tale compendiums are suddenly pop culture’s favorite offering. I am a huge and mostly unapologetic fan of the genre. I just like my escapism frothy and fantastical sometimes, OK?! Stop judging me!
Anyhoo, when Red, an urban fantasy/romance and fairy tale re-telling by Kate Serine showed up in the Amazon Top 100 Free Book list and showed mostly 4- and 5-star ratings, I was curious to see if the book lived up to the high ratings.
I am an avid reader. I am also a cheap bastard. Also, also (not a real phrase, don’t care) I am a Kindle owner. So I think you can see where I’m going with this: The Amazon Top 100 Free Book list. Man, that list has been both a blessing and a curse. I’ve found myself reading such tripe because, well… it was free, and the library is WAAAAAY over there and also closed at 10 PM. But recently the AT100FB (catchy!) showed up with a historical romance blast from the past: Roselynde by Roberta Gellis. So I downloaded it and re-read it for the first time in decades.
Graceling. I’d heard this YA fantasy novel title bandied about by Pajibans whose taste I admire for some time now. Finally I remembered to request it from my library. Good call, ‘Jibans. I knew I trusted You People for a reason.