Help – I’m in a Reading Slump*

The last book I finished was Janet Evanovich’s “Plum Lucky”, which at 166 pages barely counts as a book (and yes, I borrowed it from the library – I’ve finally kicked the habit of buying her Between-the-Numbers books).

I have a number of unfinished and half-started books lying around, “a number” being very possibly into double-digits.  I’m just struggling to get into a book – partly due to the tennis (yay for Wimbledon!), but still, I don’t think I’ve read more than five books this month, which is pretty abysmal.

So… I need suggestions – what was the last book that made you go “wow”?  Any genre.

* Also a blogging slump, but that’s probably a topic for another post.

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Ack – And a Couple of Links

I am so bad at remembering to return library books on time.  Which means it is probably a good thing I don’t borrow that many.  I’ve managed to renew one online, but someone else has put a hold on the second so I will have to cough up 10p tomorrow.  If I remember to bring it when I go out tomorrow.

Anyway, a couple of links of interest:

Borders have started what they are rather misleadingly calling an SF blog, Babel Clash.  I say misleading because the recent two contributors are Brandon Sanderson and Kim Harrison, both of whom write fantasy.

Speaking of Kim Harrison, she has formally confirmed she also writes as Dawn Cook in the May Locus magazine (which is billed as their urban fantasy issue).  I don’t think the magazine is distributed overseas, but there are some excerpts from her interview here

I have heard (and mentioned) the rumour that this was the case, but it has never been confirmed before.  I’m slightly surprised that she’s waited so long to come out, so to speak – there are so many authors out there who write under different pseudonyms (and don’t hide that fact) that it’s not really an issue at all. 

The magazine also has an interview with Patricia Briggs – again excerpts here.  There is an interesting quote when she talks about what she perceives as the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy:

You could take the romance out of any of my books and still have a book, with a plot and characters and things, but if you took magic out the book would fall apart. That’s the big difference between the paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

To me, that’s an interesting way of differentiating between the two.  I would say, though, that I’m not sure I would be such a big fan of her Mercy Thompson books if she took the romance – and romantic tension – out of her books, because they’re part of the reason I love the series so much.  Then again, that’s probably the romance fangirl in me.

Marjorie Liu is another author featured in the May issue, by the way.  It definitely sounds like a good one – has anyone read the full magazine?

Books for June

There isn’t a massive number of new releases that I’m looking forward to this month, but there are still a few I’m very excited about:

51xUYWmKjvL._SL160_ Jacqueline Carey’s “Naamah’s Kiss” (dark fantasy):  I adore Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books, and I’m excited that “Kushiel’s Mercy” isn’t the last time we get to visit that world.  She does say on her website though:

One word of warning: Readers hoping to find out what befell the cast of Kushiel’s Legacy may be disappointed. There are some scattered hints, but ultimately, I chose not to go into a lot of detail. For one thing, I didn’t want to burden the narrative with unnecessary backstory.  For another… I didn’t really want to know. I prefer to imagine them all frozen in time at the end of Kushiel’s Mercy, living eternally in the happily-ever-after moment.

And this is Moirin’s story; my impulsive heroine with a generous heart, a great capacity for delight, and a tendency to throw herself headlong into any situation, no matter how complicated or ill-advised it may be. Naamah’s child, unwittingly sultry, compelled by desire; a child of the Maghuin Dhonn, possessor of subtle magic, unable to understand why the rest of the world finds it so strange that she worships a bear.

I’m okay with that – new heroine, new story.

Excerpt here (out June 24)

 

1107 Josh Lanyon’s “Somebody Killed His Editor” (m/m romantic suspense):  Josh Lanyon was one of my favourite new-to-me authors of last year (am totally addicted to his Adrien English books), and this is the first book of a new series.

Blurb from his website:

For sixteen years Christopher (Kit) Holmes has enjoyed a successful career as a mystery writer, thanks to the popularity of elderly spinster sleuth, Miss Butterwith and her ingenious cat, Mr. Pinkerton.  But sales are down in everything but chick lit and Christopher’s new editor doesn’t like geriatric gumshoes.  It’s a pink, pink world for Kit.

Reluctantly the reclusive Christopher agrees to attend a mystery writer’s conference at a remote Northern California winery.  But no sooner does he arrive then the bridge to the outside world washes out. On his trek to the Blue Heron Lodge, Christopher discovers the body of a woman in the woods.  If nearly two decades of mystery-writing are anything to go by, the woman doesn’t appear to have died a natural death.

Thanks to the ongoing storm and washed-out bridge, local law enforcement is not able to come to the rescue. Déjà vu!  It’s practically like all those classic murder mysteries in isolated country manors that Christopher has been penning for sixteen years!  If only Miss Butterwith was on hand. Or even Mr. Pinkerton….

Excerpt here (out June 16)

 

51ExyI1mOxL._SL160_ Tanya Huff’s “The Enchantment Emporium” (urban fantasy"): Tanya Huff is one of those authors who appear to seamlessly switch between writing SF, high fantasy, and urban fantasy as the mood takes them.  I’ve loved her last few books, and am looking forward to this standalone book.

Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms they cast. Then she receives word that she’s inherited her grandmother’s junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she’ll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day.

Author’s livejournal, no excerpt (out now)

 

blade1 Ilona Andrews’ “Silent Blade” (romantic SF):  “Magic Strikes”, the third in the Kate Daniels UF series, was one of my favourite reads of the year so far, and I’m definitely picking up this short story, which sounds completely different from her previous work.

Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.

On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.

Kill the man who ruined her life

Excerpt here (out now)

And the other books that I’m considering:

Janet Evanovich’s “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” (mystery):  Has the Stephanie Plum series run out of steam?  I liked Fourteen better than Thirteen, even though the number of laugh-out-loud moments was definitely lower than the earlier books.  I do like Stephanie and Morelli though, and that’s possibly why I’m still reading this series in hardback. Out June 24 (excerpt here, PDF)

Laurell K Hamilton’s “Skin Trade” (urban fantasy):  Another series I’m slightly ambivalent about.  I think I have kicked the Merry habit, but I haven’t quite given up on Anita Blake yet.  Out now (excerpt here, PDF)

“Swordplay” edited by Denise Little (fantasy):  My misses probably outnumber the hits when it comes to short story anthologies, but one themed around swordsmen and swords calls to the romantic in me.  I love the minimalist cover as well.

 

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