I managed to finish reading a couple of books last weekend, not that I’m in any danger of catching up with the To Be Read shelves, and I can’t even remember what’s on my Kindle. But I do my best. This afternoon at work I had a job to do that involved recoding information on an online bookkeeping site (the client and her business are located several states away). The software is slow to begin with. My work computer is several years old and still runs Windows XP and IE8. After each transaction, the screen refreshed so slowly that to keep from banging my head on the desk I pulled out my Kindle and found I could read a page or so while the screen was blank. I’m not kidding. I spent an hour and a half making those corrections as fast as the computer could handle them–and reading while I waited for each one to process. Heck of a way to read, but better than staring at that blank screen in frustration.
I recently finished reading James Scott Bell’s Conflict & Suspense on my Kindle–excellent book. I really enjoy Bell’s writing on writing–one of these days I’ll have to try one of his novels. Here’s the review I wrote for the Houston Bay Area RWA newsletter. (I also posted a review of Bell’s Plot & Structure here.)
A couple of weeks ago I read Darynda Jones’ First Grave on the Right, a book that won a Golden Heart® in 2009. Three years later it’s on the shelves with two sequels, and another due out this fall. I’ve only read the first one (but there are two more on my TBR stack), and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s a humorous blend of mystery and romance, with a heroine who is a “part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper.” Charlie sees dead people, which isn’t always as much of an advantage in her p.i. work as you might imagine. As for the hero, if that’s what he is, well, Charlie spends the span of the book trying to figure out what he is.
Next I read Joan Hess’ latest Claire Malloy mystery, Deader Homes and Gardens. I’ve been reading this series (and Hess’ Maggody mysteries, too) since it began, and wouldn’t miss one. Deader Homes moved a little more slowly than most–or possibly I was just reading more slowly. The large cast was occasionally confusing, but Claire’s daughter Caron and her BFF Inez (approaching their senior year in high school) got themselves into as much trouble as usual while helping Claire in her unofficial sleuthing. And Claire, as usual, gets to the bottom of things in her own unconventional way. She continues to be one of my favorite cozy detectives.
Looking for a change of pace, I opened Zoe Archer’s Collision Course on my Kindle. This is a very short novel, published by Carina Press, and falls into the subgenre of science fiction romance. It tilts more toward the (quite explicit) romance end of the scale, and I would have liked to see more of the universe Archer created. But trap an independent scavenger heroine and a military pilot hero alone together in her small space ship–well, once or twice I wanted to tell them to get out of that bunk and get on with the mission. By the time the story ended, though, I was ready to download the sequel. If you like steamy action romance, Collision Course is for you.
I’m still reading the new biography of Queen Elizabeth II. No hurry–that’s my coffee table book. On my Kindle I’m enjoying Edgar Rice Burrough’s delightfully old-fashioned The Land That Time Forgot.
When I finished Deader Homes and Gardens a few days ago, I had my usual what-shall-I-read-next quandary, until I opened the newspaper the next morning to see multiple stories about the movie version of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. I read the book last year, but I hadn’t revisited the harsh world of Panem. So I picked up the second book, Catching Fire. So far, just as harsh and compelling as the first book. Definitely not an old-fashioned tale.