Joanna, back again with more What Wenches are Reading for November.
Who was it who said, "I hold the buying of more books than one can peradventure read, as nothing less than the soul's reaching towards infinity; which is the only thing that raises us above the beasts that perish?" Whoever it was, I agree with him.
A. Edward Newton
I've had three stand-out reads this month — Susanna Kearsley's The Firebird, Deborah Smith's Crossroads Cafe, and a new-to-me Irish writer called Ciara Geraghty, of which more to come.
Susanna Kearsley's stories weave the past and present together in a magical, intriguing way that I always enjoy and admire. The Firebird was a wonderful read, about a young woman with a gift she's been taught to keep hidden, and a man who shares her abilities. It starts in England, with a small Russian firebird, and the journey takes us to St Petersburg, past and present. It's romantic, but it's also an adventure. Highly recommended.
Deborah Smith is a writer I've mentioned here before — I discovered her books this year and have been slowly reading my way through her backlist — slowly because I want to savor the treat. The Crossroads Cafe is another excellent story, set mainly in a small Appalachian village. The tale of an actress who has everything, then loses it—or so she thinks. A story full of heart and pain, rediscovery and joy.
I read Ciara Geraghty on the recommendation of a friend, starting with Becoming Scarlett, which I really enjoyed. Then I read Lifesaving for Beginners and was blown away. Told from the point of view of two characters, one a ten-year-old boy, one a woman hiding from her own history, it's funny, dark, romantic and honest. Fabulous book. I'm so pleased to have discovered a new, wonderful writer. I've ordered the rest of her backlist.
And Mary Jo brings us:
I began November reading Sharon Shinn's new book, Royal Airs, second in her Elemental Blessings fantasy series. As always, I loved her voice so much that I had to read more. So I reread the first book in that series, Troubled Waters.
Then I started in on a great wallowing re-read of Shinn's wonderful earlier series, The Twelve Houses. Sharon is a terrific world-builder, and great storyteller, and she does very romantic romances. Her country of Gillengaria has "mystics"--people with different magical abilities, like controlling fire or shapeshifting or healing. The bad guy forces of greed and hate are whipping up lethal animosity toward mystics so they can grab power for themselves, and the first four books of the series are set against that arc of action.
But each book is a strong story in its own right, with a powerful romance at the core. In the first, Mystic and Rider, six people are sent by the benevolent king to learn how much danger there is to the kingdom, and we follow the group through the four books. Each of the main characters falls in love with the most improbable, impossible person imaginable. It's great fun. <G>
I've finish rereading Mystic and Rider, The Thirteenth House, and I'm halfway through the third book, Dark Moon Defender. The fourth book, Reader and Raelynx, is my very favorite of the series, and there's a fifth book, Fortune and Fate, which is set in the aftermath of the war. Sigh. Then I'll have to wait a while before I can reread them.
I've also been enjoying light, humorous women's fiction, including Beth Kendrick's The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service and Trisha Ashley's Magic of Christmas. I'll probably reread her Twelve Days of Christmas as well. Ashley's books are English chicklit set in villages in Lancashire, and they feature slightly frazzled heroines who are food writers, or gardeners or wedding cake makers or some such. They are surrounded by charming eccentrics, and in the course of the books, they fall in love. Works for me. <G>
Several Futuristic and Paranormal reads this month. Is this something you enjoy? Who are you reading in this field?