Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer reads to keep you hot this season

I’m a prolific reader – usually devouring anywhere from two to five books a week.

My tastes vary wildly – but I usually follow a general schedule: One heavy book to be immediately followed by three light-hearted ones.

It’s not that I don’t like reading profound books – because I do.

I like reading literary fluff too, though.

I’m multi-dimensional weird that way.

While I know a lot of readers have jumped on the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ bandwagon, I’m not one of them.

Quite frankly, I’ve read better prose from a middle-schooler and I’ve heard better stories from a lying teenager caught out with a boy after curfew.

It’s just not my cup of tea.

It’s not that I don’t like hot and steamy love stories – I just like them to have a little substance sometimes. Heck, I’ll settle for a romance story to be formatted around a mystery – paranormal or otherwise.

I’m not picky. I just don’t like crap – and ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ is complete and total crap.

Instead of telling you what you should read, though, I decided on a different tact. I’m just going to tell you what I’m reading this summer.

The good news is that I’ve already blew through a couple of these. The better news is that I still have plenty to look forward.

So, without further ado, my summer reading list:

Shadow of Night: Deborah Harkness’ debut novel ‘A Discovery of Witches’ took the literary world by storm last summer. It wasn’t perfect – but very little is. It was entertaining, though, and well worth the time expended in the read. This is a follow up, essentially the middle book in her All Souls Trilogy. Note to readers: These are not short books. If you’re looking for a quick read, you should probably look elsewhere. ‘Shadow of Night’ comes out July 10.

Lethal Outlook: Victoria Laurie is an author that used to live in Royal Oak. Her Psychic Eye series – featuring clairvoyant Abby and her federal investigator boyfriend Dutch – spent several years set in Royal Oak in fact. This latest installment sees the couple living in their new digs in Texas and planning a wedding. I enjoy the Psychic Eye series a great deal – but Laurie is better to keep her characters a little grounded. Last year’s book in the series saw the couple working undercover for the government. It was by far the weakest entry in the series. Still, one bad book isn’t enough for me to abandon Laurie as an author. Let’s hope ‘Lethal Outlook,’ which comes out July 3, is an improvement.

In a Witch’s Wardrobe: I came to the Juliet Blackwell witchcraft series late. Essentially, I only discovered it last year. Despite this fact, though, I quickly fell in love with heroine Lily Ivory and her gaggle of friends that frequent her vintage west coast clothing store. It’s still early in the Blackwell series – so nothing seems tired to me in it yet. This book also comes out July 3.

Undead and Unstable: This book came out earlier this month (June 5). I’ve been a fan of the Queen Betsy books for awhile. MaryJanice Davidson is gifted when it comes to dialogue. Sometimes her books suffer from a lack of forethought, though. This book would be an example of that. I still enjoyed the book – don’t get me wrong – it just didn’t have the magic of earlier entries in the series. It’s still a must read for fans of Betsy and her cohorts – especially since it wraps up one storyline and starts exploring another. That being said, it might be time to put Betsy to rest. Her schtick is starting to get old.

Deadlocked: Speaking of getting old, Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse is at that point in literature when I don’t really care who she ends up with or if she even lives or dies anymore. Through the years, I’ve been a fan of sassy Sookie and her Wal-Mart outfits. I’ve kind of moved beyond it now. It used to be that I couldn’t wait for a new installment in the series. Now it feels like a chore to go through them. The good news is, though, Harris has set an end date for Sookie – and it’s next year. There’s only one more book. With that in mind, fans really should read ‘Deadlocked.’ Even though I’m tired of her, I’ll probably miss Sookie when it’s all said and done.

Explosive Eighteen: Janet Evanovich needs to let Stephanie Plum go. The character hasn’t had any growth since the 12th book and the antics of all the characters aren’t fresh and fun anymore. They’re just old.

Sparks Fly: A Novel of the Light Dragons: Katie Macalister has several popular series out right now – but the dragon series is by far my favorite. While I think the first four green dragon books are still my favorite, the three light dragon books are still infinitely entertaining (and much better than the middle three silver dragon books). The novels set up a rich back story and history – and they’re not the typical paranormal romances that litter book stores now. There’s something special about Macalister’s world – I’m just glad to get to be a part of it.

Real Vampires Hate Skinny Jeans: Gerry Bartlett’s vampire saga is starting to show it’s age – a little. I still find most of the characters entertaining – I’m just sick of the constant back-and-forth between Glory and some of the characters. This book has a big reveal which kind of feels wedged in and forced to create more controversy between Glory and her love Blade. That being said, the excerpt from the next book seems to indicate Bartlett is going to do something new with the series – and that’s a welcome occurrence. Even though this book is my least favorite of the series, there are still laugh-out-loud moments – and that’s all you can really ask for in a summer read.

Krewe of Hunters: Heather Graham has a new trilogy in the Krewe of Hunters series, including ‘The Unseen’ (May 27), ‘The Unholy’ (June 26) and ‘The Unspoken’ (July 31). Graham is hit or miss, but when I look back at the bulk of her work there are a lot more hits than misses. She’s pretty reliable – and her sex scenes are always hot.

And, for those willing to try something new, you can always try reading the two books I've written. They're both light summer reads featuring newspaper reporter Avery Shaw and the colorful people that surround her. The books are set in Macomb County – so that’s always a bonus. What? A little self-promotion never hurt anyone. ‘Who, what,where, when, die’ and ‘If it Bleeds, it Leads’ are both available on Kindle.

What do you think? What are looking forward to reading this summer?


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