The only New Year “resolution” I made was to not buy a new book. Well, actually it was to not purchase a new read until I’d made a dent in the more than 100 books I own. Books whose spines haven’t been cracked by eager fingers and eyes ready to devour their stories. To read, pause, contemplate, reread, smile, laugh, cry. You know. the things one usually does with a good book.
Hi, my name is Carrie and I’m a book-a-holic.
I want you to know I lasted 21 days. A personal record. However, this purchase was absolutely justified. The fourth book in one of my all-time favorite sci-fi/ya series came out. My fingers itched with anticipation of holding it in my grubby little hands. (I blame Amazon Prime for meeting all of my book instant gratification needs.)
If you have not read the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown, get thee to the library and MAKE HASTE! Mr. Brown captivates with a rich plot, flawed yet sympathetic characters, and twists and turns that make you pay attention. I deeply appreciate a writer who doesn’t think his readers are stupid. Needless to say, I am so excited to find some time to plow through this book. So much so, I might have to read the entire series again. You know, to refresh my memory. Or something like that.
Other current reads
If we are friends on GoodReads, I have to apologize, For almost half of 2017, I went on a very cheesy Regency romance binge. I only apologize for the amount bonnets and ringlets that probably filled your feed. Not the books themselves. But since I’ve taken on another challenge to read 100 books this year (I read 92 last year, 8 short of my goal *shakes fist in the air*) I figured I would share some of my favorite 2017/2018 reads thus far.
If you’re looking for a clean read and an afternoon’s diversion, I can’t recommend the Proper Romance collection highly enough. Not all are Jane Austen caliber, but there are some delightful authors who have added to the line. Two in particular I enjoy are Josi Kilpack and Nancy Campbell Allen.
Kilpack has tackled a nice mix of historical romance (Sir Walter Scott, Henry Longfellow and most interestingly Harriet Beecher Stowe) and regency romance. Her characters are complex. Her plots are well-thought and interesting. Her writing has a flow and a depth that keeps me coming back for more.
Campell-Allen wrote a Steampunk version of Beauty and the Beast. Need I say more? I find her characters to be quirky and fun, with just the right touch of romance and mystery. In August, she releases a twist on Sleeping Beauty and I can’t wait to read it. She’s a refreshing author in a genre that can get boring or tired if you read too much of it.
Admittedly, this is not a genre I’ve ever been into very much. Mysteries get boring if I can figure it out too easily. It becomes frustrating if I feel like the plot is too complex or farfetched. However, I was bitten by the Agatha Christie bug when I went to see Murder on the Orient Express (a delightful film, seriously, go see it or rent it – whatever). Suddenly, I found myself clamoring for a good, taut mystery to make my brain work.
Thanks to Amazon’s suggestions, I stumbled on the Lady Darby series. Set in Victorian(ish) Scottland, it follows the societal seclusion of Lady Kiera Darby, recently widowed due to the death of her husband, a renown anatomist. The circumstances of his death are not the basis of the book, but the skills Kiera learned by working for her husband are.
Set against the rugged landscape of Scottland, author Anna Lee Huber writes a heroine that is stubborn, a bit blind, and wrestling with the core of who she is and what she wants from life. I blew through all 5 books in a month and am impatiently waiting for the final book to release in March. There’s so much I love about this series that I can’t share, simply because I don’t want to give anything away, but I can’t recommend it highly enough.
As many of my friends know, I’m a bit on the obsessed side with the BBC Version of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. (There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe my love for this series. Or Benedict. Or Martin. Yes, we’re on a first name basis.) So imagine my great delight when I stumbled upon the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas.
Thomas has managed to take the character of Sherlock Holmes and make all his idiosyncrasies more delightful by packaging them in a woman in Victorian England. The mysteries are well thought out. As an introductory book, her characterizations and developments are delightful as they are surprising. I can’t wait to dig into book two and learn more about how Charlotte Holmes keeps up her detective charade.
The final historical mystery series I’m currently devouring is the Lady Emily mysteries series. Set in the late 1800s, after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, we find Lady Emily widowed after a short marriage to a Viscount. She’s drawn into a world of intrigue, art, and culture.
What I love about Lady Emily is how she’s able to see herself in a realistic way. She can look back and note her faults and foibles while embracing a new path forward. The first 100 pages of the first book moved a bit slowly, but after that, everything picked up. I’ve just started book three and all three novels have yet to disappoint. There’s 10 in the series, which, as you can imagine, makes me deliriously happy.
So there you have it. The books I’m currently reading. The abandonment of all the books I own that I have yet to read. And my continuing determination to reach the elusive goal of 100 books read this year.
In my next blog post, I’ll be listing some of those unread books and why they’re at the top of my unread book list. Please share with me what you’re reading and if I need to add it to my ever expanding pile.