Anne here, hosting the WWR discussion for this month. We've got a wonderful selection for you — varied as usual, with some great recommendations. I don't know about you, but these discussions always end up with me ordering more books. I'd also remind you that these are books we're genuinly reading and enjoying — there's no "promotion" happening here.
Pat Rice said: I didn't have much time for holiday reading but my latest favorites are Ilona Andrews CLEAN SWEEP, the start of a series set in Texas but with interplanetary beings occasionally dropping in. Our heroine owns a B&B for them, and her hunky neighbor turns out to be an alien species of werewolf. Love the humor and the characters.
I also finished a boxed set of Ashley Gardner's Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries, which have been recommended here from time to time. Love the way she uses the setting to enhance the character and the mystery.
And for a bit of whimsy, D.E. Stevenson's MISS BUNCLE'S BOOK about an early twentieth century English village. It's a mystery, but the characters are beautifully drawn and the whole thing works better than an Agatha Christie, and there's even love and romance!
Cara/Andrea says: I’ve been madly busy with the release of my new trilogy, so my reading time has been a bit less than usual. However, I have been able to sneak in a few pages late at night . . .and am thoroughly enjoying two books at the moment. Falling Upwards by Richard Holmes is a delightful history of early ballooning/flight filled with fascinating anecdotes of the intrepid adventurers who dared to dream of conquering the skies. An expansion of his section in the award-winning The Age of Wonder, it’s written with the same entertaining yet informative prose that makes any work by Holmes a must-read for me.
For fiction, I’m reading Murder at Hatfield House, a wonderful Elizabethan-set historical mystery by my good friend Amanda Carmack (many of you know her as Regency author Amanda McCabe.) The first book in a new series, it offers a fascinating look at the political intrigue swirling around young Elizabeth just before she comes to the throne. Carmack crafts very interesting characters and twisty plots that draw in the history of the era. I’m really looking forward to the next book.
Nicola said: I'm currently reading LONGBOURN by Jo Baker. It's a reimagining of Pride and Prejudice written from the point of view of the servants. It's a beautifully written book and so interesting to see such a well known story told from a completely different perspective. My favourite line so far is: "If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah thought, she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields."
Mary Jo said: Jill Mansell is a British author whose work is probably classified as chicklit, though romantic women's fiction might be a better description. I have a bunch of her books on my Nook, and have enjoyed all the ones I've read, but I was particularly struck by To the Moon and Back, which I read when on holiday last week. It's not a spoiler to reveal that the book starts when Ellie Kendal's much loved young husband dies. This sounds sad, and Ellie's grief is real and well portrayed, but as she survives and then moves on with her life, there is humor, colorful other characters, and no less than three different romances with satisfactory endings. Highly recommended.
Joanna here. I've been reading like a houseafire this last week. Two books. I'm a double-fisted reader. I finished Ilona Andrews' Magic Rises -- another rock-em, sock-em shapeshifter book. Kate Daniels, the protagonist, is not merely a kick-ass heroine. She chops off random body parts of her enemies with fair regularity. And the hero, Curran, is a werelion. I mean, giant cat. The series just has all the good.
I'm about halfway through Barbara Hambly's A Free Man of Color. It's excellently written and deeply moving. The story is a mystery, set in New Orleans in 1833. The protagonist is a musician and doctor, a black man in a city where color meant everything. Free Man of Color is an intricate journey through the dozen cities that were New Orleans. I'm going through Free Man in small chunks because I'll go reading along and I begin to rage and I have to put the book down for a while. That's the reaction Hambly's aiming for.
Anne here. I've done quite a bit of reading on long hot summer evenings here and several are standout recommendations, and, as it happens, also Australian, though that's not why I'm recommending them. First up is Melina Marchetta - On the Jellicoe Road. Young adult, but not for kids, this is a clever, dark, beautiful, intriguing read that slowly unravels the mystery at the heart of a young woman's existence. It's a coming of age story with a lovely romance as well. Highly recommended.
Next up is Bec McMaster, a new writer who I noticed had made Library Journal's best of 2013 romance list. When I realized she only lived a few hours from me, I was curious and I bought her first book in the London steampunk series, Kiss of Steel. Lovely writing, and great storytelling, she seamlessly blends the Victorian historical era with steampunk and vampire elements, creating a world all her own. Very clever worldbuilding, too, using elements we know from history to add to the paranormal effect.
For instance she's built on the exclusivity of the ton, now called the Echelon, and uses the term 'bluebloods' in a deliciously vampiric angle. And "verwulfen" in the UK have been all but wiped out, the final massacre being at Culloden. But at heart it's a romance, and a wonderful romance at that. I was enthralled and I've since read all three of her books and been recommending her to all my friends. (The image on the left is of her second book, Heart of Iron which was on Library Journal's "Best of 2013" romance list.)
So that's it from us for the moment. What books have you been reading and enjoying?