Books and reading are often labeled as the quiet person's hobby. The shy girl with her nose in a book in the back of the class. The nerd with his wide rimmed glasses reading his homework. The house wife spending her days reading naughty books.
A book can offer a sense of family, companionship, and a friend when others are not. Books can bring together cultures that have very little in common, teach a reader about a familial relationship that they may not have access to, or even provide examples of how human interaction can occur in any given situation. Readers can read and find friends that will stand with them through monster attacks, heartache and loss.
There are many different kind of books in the world and some are more my style than other. For example, give me a romance novel or something paranormal and I'll sit down and devour it in a single sitting. A novel about the real world, and one that I see my life reflected in will take me a touch longer. Textbooks or technical learning, you mine as well just give up now, my speed reading drops to the turtle's pace and I frustrate easily. But that's just me, I have a good friend who is completely the opposite. Her tiny apartment is filled to bursting with technical books, every so often she'll borrow a novel from me, but for the most part she's a "read to better oneself" instead of an "escapist" like I am.
Books have influence and it runs deep, never underestimate the power in reading for books will never abandon you and always have something new to share.
What type of reader are you? Fantasy, technical, mystery, non-fiction, "only when I have to," etc.
Have books changed your life in someway? Made it better, helped to create a bond between you and another, changed the way you view something. Books have that power. If you let them.
Share your experiences in the comments below.
I enjoyed a quick read this week that was set before Harmony series, Bridal Jitters by Jayne Castle.
A short story that acts as an introduction to the series without actually giving much intro information.
Virginia and Sam are entering into a marriage of convenience to boost their business and help to build their careers. When Virginia begins to have second thoughts about the wedding and is determined to back out, before she is able to bring it up with Sam a job come up that could put their company on the map. Determined to be successful the two of them instead get caught in a web of deceit and thievery. Between fighting for their lives and figuring out their relationship the reader learns very little about the world beyond the curtain and of its former inhabitants.
As a short story and one that precedes the main bulk of the series, I had expected a bit more history on the universe and its peoples than I got. The two forms of marriage were outlined more clearly and the two main types of para manipulators as well. I still would have been happier with more though.
I ran across this fantastic article and have pulled out below some of my favorite passages. I highly encourage you to follow the link and keep reading, this article is well written, easy to relate to and relevant for any reader.
Self-knowledge: The most moving (and enduring) books you collect are those that become a mirror. This mirror is placed in front of you when you read something that has you nodding along and thinking, yes, that is how it is. You just found a part of yourself.
Presence: Reading helps you remain calm. It's as therapeutic as anything else. Once you start digging into a book that's caught your attention, time ceases to exist, your mind is completely immersed in what is in front of you.
Joy: Reading is a pleasure -- it ought to be. Nobody has any time to read books you don't like. Life is too short to read books that don't bring you joy, or worse, that don't matter at all. Read what enriches your life, and your life will change because of it.
Books can be powerful tools, what is one of your most memorable ways that a book has helped you grow or change. Share your feelings in the comments below.
Being sick does wonders for my reading list, here's another mom recommended read. "After Dark" by Jayne Castle is a paranormal romance mystery and I highly recommend it, I just loved it. Happy reading!
Lydia is an experienced para-archaeologist, down on her luck after a bad underground accident, and looking for the client to put her back in the game and help to prove herself to her former colleagues and herself. When Emmett London hires her to find his missing family heirloom they are both set on path filled with murder, hidden agendas, and just a touch of romance.
A the story progresses the narration flips between Lydia (the majority) and Emmett. Emmett's perspective was a refreshing look into the male protagonist's perspective, both in regard to the main story elements, his own para abilities and the romance fighting within him. Emmett is the first of the two to recognize the love that is growing between the two of them, however, unlike a typical romance novel this love seemed to take its time. Through the frustration of secret keeping, Emmett's attempts at keeping Lydia safe, and Lydia trying to prove she's not broken, both of them slowly fall into a loving relationship and as the reader we drift lazily along with them.
The world of Harmony and of Old Cadence is fresh and new. The science fiction aspect of the setting lends blends well with the modern archaeology aspects and it's easy as the reader to become immersed in the story and keep reading. The alien elements bring the story to a far off world and the characters have enough human left in them to bring us back to earth.
My appreciation doesn't end there. In fact, my appreciation is found most easily, at the end of the book. The wrap up and post-mystery solved section of the story was just what I always crave and am rarely given in a romance novel. The character's relationship was resolved and it was open-ended and yet still obvious where it would lead. The mystery was solved, the culprit dealt with and questions you thought you'd forgotten about were answered. The best part, it was done in more than a page of flash back dialogue. As a reader, I felt like the author genuinely wanted me to feel satisfied and to feel the bond with her writing to pick up another one of their books. So thank you, I will be reading another of your stories and I thank you for treating me, the reader, the way I enjoy being treated.
And now for the second book in the Heather Graham double feature, The Keepers. Sadly, I did not enjoy this one as much as Keeper of the Night (review here). Either way, my review is also posted on goodreads as usual.
Shapeshifters and vampires have a long history of distrust running between them, and after the war and the sacrifice of the two Keepers, Fiona and her two sisters must follow in their parent's footsteps and become the Keepers for the New Orleans area. When the bodies of young women begin showing up, drained of blood, Fiona as the Vampire Keeper must team up with the city's leading vampire detective, Jagger. The two of them work side by side to uncover the killer and hold back the floor of war that threatens life as they know it.
Here's my first problem with this novel, the back cover synopsis. "So when the killer's attention turns to Fiona, will Jagger risk destroying his own species to protect the woman he so passionately desires?" That couldn't be further from what actually happens. First off, for most of the book the two main characters are sleeping together but Jagger is actively complaining about how much he dislikes Fiona, in fact, unless they are in bed or she's in harms way he seems genuinely annoyed at her existence.
Neither of the characters have any respect for one another, Jagger with his lack of respect for Fiona's Keeper role and Fiona blatantly ignoring Jagger's role as a cop with a professional job to carry out. But it doesn't end there, one of Fiona's sisters carries such a grudge against all vampires that even as a Keeper herself, she is blinded by her hate that it gets her into trouble. You'd think that after her parents die to protect the balance of peace between the races, she'd be more receptive to upholding their literal last breath.
Finally there's the actual plot of the story. A vampire OR a shapeshifter who is in a vampire form, murder three women and drain the bodies of blood. Throughout the whole book everyone points fingers at the vampire community, EXCEPT the Keeper and Jagger, and like my review title said, predictable. Murderers in the form of long dead humans, vampires in two places at once, and everyone racing to stake the vampires... I wonder who did it.
Reading the squabbles and support of the three sisters was by far the most enjoyable part of this book. If their relationship had been more prevalent and less of a side note I think I could have enjoyed seeing more of Fiona. As always, reading about New Orleans and its colorful sense of mystery is always enjoyable and if you're going to set a story someplace magical you can't really get much better.
Time for another Mom recommended read! Keeper of the Night by Heather Graham was lent to my by my mom and after months of collecting dust on my shelf, I finally got around to reading it. I read it as part of the two book version, but I have reviewed the two novels separately, beginning with Keeper of the Night.
Rhiannon is a young woman with a destiny, a destiny to follow in her Father's footsteps as the Keeper of the vampires for her region. When bodies begin piling up around the city she and an Other detective must team up to stop whoever is responsible. Desperate to prove herself and to protect her family, Rhiannon and her cousins investigate those around them in an attempt to untangle the lies and stop the murderers before anyone else looses their life.
The setting is modern LA with the addition of various super natural races all living in relative secrecy. Each of the races are touched upon briefly and the history of the Keepers is explained as well. With that background knowledge provided, the story begins right away with Rhiannon and Brodie meeting. Beginning the story it was very clear right away who would end up dating who and that their love story would be of the insta-love variety. I don't consider this an outright negative way of handling love, but if this bothers you as a reader, then this may be a book you'd want to skip.
Rhiannon gains confidence in herself as the book progresses and seems to loose confidence in her cousins. She becomes more protective, seems to loose faith that they can take care of themselves, (which is interesting since they are both also Keepers like she is) and yet at the same time feels safe enough to become romantically involved with Brodie while all of this is happening.
Thanks to another goodreads giveaway for this review, "Katwalk" would not have been a book I would have picked up (different genre than I typically read), but I found it delightfully surprising and couldn't put it down!
Katrina is boring, respectable, and does just as she's told to and is expected to, and it has never bothered her. When a friend suggests they quit their jobs and do the unexpected in New York City for two months, Katrina reluctantly agrees and begins to make plans, but when the well laid plans begin to crumble Katrina must make a choice. Continue with her life altering vacation and see where it takes her, or cancel the whole trip and begin the job searching.
Luckily for us as the reader, Katrina chooses to continue with her planned adventure and she's off to NYC where we get to witness one of the most well written character development arcs I've read in quite a long time. Katrina slowly morphs from the uptight woman we are introduced to into another version of herself, Kat, a much more confidant, dream-driven individual who learns to enjoy the life around her. Kat's metamorphosis is not a smooth and straight one, she encounters bumps and gets a few bruises along the way, but with a little trust in herself and her friends along the way, I was delighted with where she ended up at the end of the story.
New York was the perfect setting for this novel and reading of all the places Kat travels and the sights she sees, anyone having visited NYC can't help but be swept away with the feelings and emotions that Kat goes through. Her daily coffee shop, reminded me of mine and the locations she visits are described with enough detail to make a non-native want to plan a trip and experience what she did.
Side note on book quality: This book was delightful to read also because of its wonderful craftsmanship. The paper was a thicker quality with a clean crisp font, and the cover was simple, easy to read and made of a deliciously soft matte material.
Weeks ago, I was given the honor (by a goodreads giveaway) to read a long-loved author of mine's new book. In fact, the book was so new, I was given an unedited advanced proof of the book and literally giggled in delight upon opening its package. The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory was a delight to read and I can't wait to share my review with you. Happy reading!
Clarice is a young Princess from the tiny Duchy of Swansgaard and being the eldest of thirteen siblings, she must make her own way in the world on the day of her eighteenth birthday. Disguising herself as a young swordsman, "Clarence" desires adventure and fortune and finds herself aboard a forty manned ship bound for the far off new world. During her journey, Clarice befriends the ships navigator and together they uncover the tainted captains plan for his unsuspecting crew.
Despite being thrown from her cushy life as a Princess, Clarice was raised to be a strong independent woman, her skills of perception, diplomacy and kind heart helping ease her difficult journey and gain her powerful allies and friends aboard the ship she sails with. With her quiet journey to the new world quickly becoming more dangerous as the days pass, Clarice uses her cunning to save her friends and does so without sacrificing her morals to do so.
While Clarice has a few flaw to round her character (just a few...), Dominick has none. He had a difficult upbringing, was deceived by those he trusted and gave up vengeance for it would do him no good in the long run. Dominick was interesting to read when interacting with Clarice, but by far he is the most one-dimensional character of the lot of them, and could have used some humanistic flaw to round him out a bit more.
This week, I had the pleasure of reading Empath, by Becca J. Campbell as part of a book club's program. You can read my review in context, here on goodreads, or below.
Fresh and new, a great spin on the supernatural!
Jade is a young woman with a "flaw," she's an empath. She's lived a very sheltered life, home schooling, controlled interactions, the lot of it. But, as a grown adult, she's ready to head out into the real world and learn to interact with those around her, flaw be damned. She struggles at first and her character development, while very linear, is enjoyable to read. She doesn't encounter many emotional hurdles as she grows, but the physical ones are there to stand in her way. She meets Logan, a quiet professor at her college, who captures her attention with his silent personality and beautiful golden eyes, but when he seems more comfortable with remaining friends, she meets Cam who, without knowing it, helps her to learn to control her flaw.
While the character arcs are straight forward and easily comprehensible, the quirky personalities that the author brings to life will have you laughing and crying and rooting for each of them in turn. The characters were interesting, but Jade, the main focus, was the most lack-luster of them all. Not, that she as a character wasn't interesting, the scenes with her and Logan were the most well executed, but because of her empathy she tended to feel amorphous and spineless, always taking on the traits of the other characters in the scene. This isn't a problem in itself, and I can see how in the beginning of the story it's a fantastic plot device, but as the story progressed, I found myself wanting more Jade and less mush.
This is a very character focus read, very little details are given to the setting or even character clothing, so having a good imagination and the author's help with captivating characters made it easy for me to stay immersed, though I can see how that might annoy other readers.