Current Reads – mid July 2010

I’m belatedly finshing up Janssen’s recommendation for June, which was These is My Words and so far, I’m really enjoying it. I took a small break to hit the library and stocked up on a few books for this week.  I have about three more weeks of Summer Break before I have to start easing back into school-mode.  I’m going to read as much as I can during the next three weeks.

I checked out Soulless by Gail Carriger and it was really good.  It’s a genre called steampunk, which I’ve heard of but was not familiar with. Apparently that’s a sub-genre of sci-fi with fantasy elements usually set in 19th century/Victorian era (thank you, wikipedia). It’s not at all the type of book I’d normally pick up (not necessarily the genre, but that era is not one I’m particularly in to – shame on me, I know), but I’m glad I did.  It was fascinating and I couldn’t put it down.  I don’t know how to explain the story but it’s about a woman who has no soul and it involves vampires and werewolves. Hmm, that really isn’t helping, is it?   Ok, I’m going to let Publisher’s Weekly explain it better:

Starred Review. Carriger debuts brilliantly with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history. Prickly, stubborn 25-year-old bluestocking Alexia Tarabotti is patently unmarriageable, and not just because she’s large-nosed and swarthy. She’s also soulless, an oddity and a secret even in a 19th-century London that mostly accepts and integrates werewolf packs, vampire hives and ghosts. The only man who notices her is brash Lord Conall Maccon, a Scottish Alpha werewolf and government official, and (of course) they dislike each other intensely. After Alexia kills a vampire with her parasol at a party—how vulgar!—she and Conall must work together to solve a supernatural mystery that grows quite steampunkishly gruesome. Well-drawn secondary characters round out the story, most notably Lord Akeldama, Alexia’s outrageous, italic-wielding gay best vampire friend. This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans. (Oct.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Seriously, how can you pass up a review like that?  (even as I admit that half of the review didn’t make a lick of sense to me) I thought the characters were interesting and likable, and the fantasy elements involving supernatural creatures didn’t seem so implausible.  It’s the first book in a series and there are romance elements as well as the mystery, sci-fi and fantasy components.  Overall, it was a really entertaining story and I’m looking forward to reading the next installments.  I know what you’re thinking;  the vampire/werewolf thing is really overdone right now, but I’m just going to say that if the Twilight werewolves were more like Lord Maccon …well… Team Edward would cease to exist.

I also picked up Stephen King’s latest short story collection called Just After Sunset.  I adore his novels and his novellas even more.  I’m always pushing his story collections on to people who say they don’t like his books.  Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption?  How can you NOT love that story (and movie…it’s on my top 10 list).  I haven’t been happy with his novels since “the accident” but I have high hopes for these short stories.

Let’s see, I also have Stardust by Neil Gaiman.  I admit I only got this up because my library didn’t have American Gods.  No, I don’t mean it was checked out, they don’t have a copy at all.  I find this very strange.  Every Neil Gaiman fan I know raves about this book, more than his others, but my library doesn’t have a copy.  *sigh*  I don’t understand this particular library (even though it’s where I got my start as a 16 year old page, so I will forever be thankful for the humble beginnings of my librarianship). OK so my real beef with Gaiman is that I don’t “get” him.  Yes, Coraline was terrific, odd and weird, but terrific, but The Graveyard Book?  I just….didn’t understand it.  Sometimes I think that whole British thing is lost on me.  Anyway, I have high hopes for Stardust and that I’ll be reading American Gods as soon as my library can get me a copy.  I used to follow NeilHimself on twitter, but Heavens to Betsy, that man tweets a little too much.

Another book I got today is PostMortem the first Kay Scarpetta – Patricia Cornwell book.  My friend, JenTastic recommended them and I’m going to give this here mystery genre a looksee.

I have some good reads ahead of me…hope you do too.  I know I have another five weeks to wait, but I’m anxiously awaiting Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  It will be like Harry Potter release day all over. I will not answer my phone, facebook, blog, or tweet (ok, maybe I’ll still  tweet) while I’m devouring that book.  But more on that later.  If you have not started reading Hunger Games yet, what are you waiting for?

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3 Responses to Current Reads – mid July 2010

  1. I recall visiting you at the library. I think maybe we were secretly kinda nerdy. Yes. Secretly. No one knew. Right?

  2. Jennifer says:

    Ok, so. If I knew I was introducing you to the mystery/procedural, I would have steered you toward John Sandford, James Patterson or Karin Slaughter before even the Scarpetta books… but they are delightful. I can’t wait for Mockingjay. Might do a quick reread on those before the big day!

  3. C says:

    K – There’s no secret about it. Nerdy we were (are?). It is a label I’m ok with. How about you?

    J – It’s not too late, I can return Scarpetta and pick up one of the others…what’s your suggestion?

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