2014-01-08

What I'm Reading


Once upon a time I took a reading challenge where I pledged to read a specific number of books over the course of the year. The first time I did it I pledged to read 80 books and ended up reading 110, the second year I did it I pledged to read 75 books and read 72.

The trouble started when I did reviews of some of those books once a week. All of a sudden people started sending me books to read and review. On the one hand it was great, I mean who doesn't love free books? But on the other hand, it was exhausting.

Let's get one thing perfectly clear: I am not now, nor have I ever been a professional reviewer. I'm not going to be reviewing books here, merely sharing what I'm reading and giving my personal opinions. And to be perfectly honest, the whole purpose of this new blog feature is to get me reading more. Last year I only read about 25 or 30 books, which may sound like a lot to some people, but to me that's a little on the low side.

So . . . now that we have that out of the way I need to have some semblance of organization to this feature. I have a lot of books: hard backs, paperbacks, trade paper . I also have a Kindle to which I download books on a regular basis. Therefore, I am breaking my reading down into three categories: electronic; tree books; and re-reads.

Electronic
None at present, although I have Cobweb Bride, by Vera Nazarian queued up and ready to go.

Tree Books
I received Lover At Last, by J.R. Ward, as a Christmas present from my cats and finished reading it over the holidays. I enjoy the Black Dagger Brotherhood series immensely. Lover At Last is the 11th in the series and tells the story of Quinn and Blaylock. They're not technically part of the Brotherhood, although they fight alongside them. Blaylock has been carrying the torch for Quinn for years, but Quinn has a lot of issues he needs to work through. There were times when you just wanted to smack them both upside the head to smarten them up, but that's what keeps you reading.

A friend passed a copy of Black Creek Crossing, by John Saul, to me and I started reading it this week. From the blurb on the back I'm guessing it's in the horror category. It starts with a woman being murdered in the prologue, and then we follow the life of young Angel Sullivan as she and her family move into the house at Black Creek Crossing where the murder took place. So far it's a little on the creepy side - Angel has been having dreams that seem to have something to do with the murder while her father is hearing voices - but I'm only about a third of the way through it.

Re-reads
Before Christmas I started re-reading the Sword and Sorceress series, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. When I first started reading this series I dreamed of one day selling a story to Marion. And I was inspired to write one or two swashbucklers that were never finished (nor should they ever be). When Marion started these anthologies, most female characters in sword and sorcery were either damsels in distress or prizes to be won. Sword and Sorceress made up for this by featuring strong female protagonists.

There were only a couple of volumes published after her death, in 1999, using up the stories she had already contracted and bringing the total number of volumes to 21. Or so I thought. I have since learned that in 2007 the series was revived by Elisabeth Waters, and there are now 28 volumes and counting. So that makes SEVEN volumes that I'm missing! Looks like I'll be scouring the used bookstores in the near future.

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