As promised last week, I'm going to bore you with talk about books, books, books! I love to read; it's one of the few escapes open to me at this point. So I thought I'd share some recent things I liked.
My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy and horror, and I really enjoy stories that cross lines between genres. It's what I like, what I write and what I read! One excellent book I read last year, before its release even, was Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I'd read another book of hers previously, Signal to Noise, and I'm signed up on the web site NetGalley, which lets you request to read books early in return for posting an honest review when it officially drops. Her next one sounded promising so I requested and got it! It's an amazing story, set in Mexico, about a human boy and a vampire girl on the run from the vamp mob (see, there's the genre-bending thing; it's part horror and part gangster/noir) in a world where vamps are out--known to the human world, in other words. Silvia's world is so gorgeously crafted, it's lush and kinda sweaty and feels so real! Highly recommended.
If you ever wondered how great writers of the past would handle some of the best known stories of our time, I have to point you toward Ian Doescher's series, William Shakespeare's Star Wars. Yes, I said it. Luke and Leia and Lord Vader and all them, in iambic pentameter! (sometimes. Different characters speak in different ways. R2D2, for one, boops and burbles, but then speaks directly to the audience, like Shakespeare's fools, which is just perfect) It sounds goofy, but when you think about it, George Lucas used a lot of the same ancient themes that Shakespeare did long ago, so it makes perfect sense. Plus, it's just so much fun looking for the often subtle links between them--places where Ian uses bits from Shakespeare's real work and fits them right into the Star Wars verse. In the first book, Verily A New Hope, Luke and Vader and Obi-Wan each get great soliloquies. I suggest you read some bits aloud, for best effect; some of the stormtroopers' lines are a hoot.
If you like stories a little shorter but still packed full of great characters and unexpected plot twists, you could not do better than Matt Wallace's Sin du Jour series. Remember at the end of last week's blog when I said I would rec a story that was like Anthony Bourdain on Supernatural? This is it! It follows two friends in the food business, who hire on for a former TV chef in a very exclusive kitchen, which caters, shall we say, unusual events. Like, in the first book (Envy of Angels), a big dinner for two rival tribes of demons to commemorate a peace treaty; or in the second (Lustlocked) the wedding of the Goblin King's son to his mortal lady. (See if you recognize the aforementioned Goblin KIng...)
Supernatural is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, partly because the writers have the gift to make you gasp, tear up, and laugh out loud, sometimes at the same time. Matt has that gift too! The kitchen staff are so deftly drawn within a small space (each book is actually novella length) that every time a new one comes out I'm on the edge of my seat with every page waiting to see what happens. The series is going to be seven books long, and if you pay attention to the titles you will see why.
Finally, I want to share one of my favorite new genres, sort of: the Weird West story. As the name implies, Weird West yarns combine elements of the Western with my big three, scifi, fantasy and/or horror. The best of them create a world just familiar enough to enjoy and just strange enough to intrigue. A couple of the best series in progress I've read lately are Laura Anne Gilman's Devil's West series, and the Shadow series by Lila Bowen, who is actually Delilah S. Dawson. I actually knew or at least knew of both these ladies before I started reading their books; Delilah belonged to a perfume forum I did, and Laura wrote me a kind rejection letter for a long-ago manuscript. LOL.
As the series title implies, the Devil's West is indeed run by the devil, but not the Satan you normally think of. In fact, I have my doubts as to whether Laura's character the Boss is actually the devil, or just a being of great power getting some bad press, because he is fierce, but always fair, and if you make a deal with him, he keeps it and you had better too. He does run the western territories, and the stories follow Isobel, a young woman he trains to be his Left Hand, a circuit rider helping those in need. Silver on the Road is the first.
The Shadow books also follow a young woman in the untamed West. Delilah's main character is Nettie, a slave girl who discovers the ability to see the monsters that roam her world. She sets out to find herself and ends up gathering a group of like-minded folks along the way. Wake of Vultures is the first of the sequence.
(I don't want to over-vampire you, but Delilah also writes an awesome series set in a steampunk world dominated by vampire everything, as in vampire animals and I think even some plants. She owns a stuffed vampire Bludbunny I knitted for her. LOL. The first of those, Wicked As They Come, is here, if you dare. hehe. )
Hope this book club post finds you well and gives you some new goodies to read!