Thursday, October 03, 2013

What I'm Reading ~ October 2013


I've spent a fair amount of time recently, and decided to squeak out one reading update before the move. Although I keep romanticizing the idea that I'll take mini breaks from packing to read here and there, I'm doubtful that will actually happen. Especially as I'm more likely to chair-and-stair between boxes. So let's see what I've been reading recently and leave what will happen to the future.  I've been on quite the YA and Harlequin kick as of late, which lead to many hours of enjoyable reading.

Recently Released


Women in Bed: Nine Stories

Published The Story Plant on October 1, 2013


I knew instantly that I wanted to Women in Bed: Nine Stories, from the description of the book in the first email newsletter I received from Net Galley: "...nine stories that thematically address variations of love, love of self, family, and sexual relationships. From loneliness and isolation, desperation and rejection to need and passion, forgiveness and, finally, to love found." I was drawn to the book with my curiosity piqued on what the stories would be like. So I read it. And I loved it. I loved how each story had an unique character whose emotions were so real and raw. It featured women whose motivations weren't easy to pin down, who had layers of complexity to them and a refreshing realness. Reading the stories was an emotional roller coaster, with tales of love that swooped and swelled while others of loneliness and detachment held grace with the unforgiving and uncomfortable reality of emotional plateau. I appreciated this book on so many levels. It is very powerful and gutsy; sharing both the dark and the light of true emotions with equal honesty. I highly recommend checking it out. 5 of out 5 stars.

Finished Reading


The Power of Six
by Pittacus Lore
Book Two of the Lorien Legacies

I slid easily back into the world of the Lorien Legacies. For the uninitiated, it's a science fiction version or Earth where 9 alien children with protectors have been sent in secret to be the legacy of their world which is on the brink of destruction. The first book in the series, I Am Number Four, was adapted into a film in 2011. I really enjoy seeing what had happened to the characters from the first book, as well as being introduced to new characters on similar but different journeys. One of the reasons I really enjoy this series is that it's one of the few books where I see the action (fights,  confrontations, abilities) happening, and quite vividly in all their science fiction glory. This is such a treat! Often in books I just skim over action-centric scenes because I don't *see* them. But here I do. We get to see more perspectives from different people, and more of the conspiracy theory stuff which was really cool. Overall, it was very well rounded and I was thrilled to get back into the story, even though it had been a while since I read the first book.  I will definitely continue reading the series.

The Selection
by Kiera Cass
Book One of The Selection

If I simply relay the plot that centres the story of The Selection, I bet I'll get a few raised eyebrows that I was even interested or read the book.  In the book we follow "The Selection", which is the search for a bride for the Prince of a class-sentric society.  That feels very backwards thinking to me, but I got pulled into the story rather quickly as it follows a lower-class girl who doesn't spare a second thought that she'd get picked to participate. To clarify, the book hit my radar early last year when it was announced during pilot season for TV and being and adaptation nut I thought I would give it a go even though the series isn't going ahead after 2 years of pilot attempts. Out of all of those surprizes, there is one more big surprize: I *loved* the book. Loved it. It's much more sensitive and nuanced than I expected, strongly focuses on the emotions of the characters and I eagerly raced through reading it. I'm trying not to think about the series as a whole too much, because I know I'll keep reading but I don't want to figure it out before it unfolds.  I'm thrilled that the second book is already available at the library, it's going to be fun to dive back into the world so soon.

Harlequin Exploration Continues


It's been fun to keep reading though even more Harlequins. The two I read recently were Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannin Byrd from Harlequin Nocturne and Copper Lake Encounter by Marilyn Pappano from Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

 I've read a few of the Nocturnes already, and I'm definitely drawn to their paranormally-inclined stories, but the setting of Dark Wolf Rising ran a little too dark for my tastes. I enjoyed the main characters and the paranormal angle (which involved werewolves and therefore equals awesome), but the larger stories included rival werewolf groups and the 'other' group ran a strip club, and had various references to crime related and unsavory activity, which crept in throughout the story. That doesn't really work for me; crime stuff feels to real and pops the bubble of escapism I like in these books. I may still check out some of the other stories in this mini-verse though as I did like one of the the communities, but not sure hey won't have the 'bad' people as well.

On the flip side to things, I got back to reading Copper Lake Encounter which was my first foray into Harlequin Romantic Suspense and technically was the first Harlequin of this exploration as I started it back in August. This one has a cop as one of the protagonists, but oddly didn't have that crime feeling to it at all but rather a 'do the right thing' feel. Although I enjoyed the romance in this one, it was the personal story that really got me as it follows a woman who is drawn to a town by seeing it in dreams.  That's totally up my alley! I found her journey very powerful, and would totally love to read more books in this setting. I think I'm going to keep trying books from the different series, because so far I've had happy surprizes from going outside the normal bounds of what I'd try.


Currently Reading


Insurgent
by Veronica Roth
Book Two in the Divergent Series

I'm still reading Insurgent, but I'm having a hard time getting through it. I want to have it done by the time the third book in this series comes out later in October, but I have to admit I am not getting much from this story. I don't understand the motivations of the main character, plus everyone seems to be in love with the guy in the book and I don't get him at all. I mean... at all. Although I appreciate the unusually setting and the idea of the segregated by philosophies society, I don't believe people really are that so 1-dimensional. I felt differently about that when I thought this was set in another world, but now knowing it's like a post-apocalyptic Chicago and therefore everyone is human, I'm not buying it. I know I should probably just stop, but the completist in me won't let me stop reading!

On the Horizon


The Sea
by John Banville

After being absorbed in the worlds of YA and Harlequins, I think I'm ready to step into a straight-up fiction novel. There are so many to choose from, but I think I'll go with The Sea by John Banville as I was completely captivated by the trailer for the film adaptation that surfaced last month. It had a haunting feel of deep secrets and real human drama. Here's hoping it's a good one.

I also want to take a moment to celebrate as I've now officially read more books this year than I did in all of 2012! I'm so happy about this as I really love reading, and although I've have had a few stumbles with bringing myself back to habit I think I've got it now.  I have a good rhythm with my requesting titles at the library for eBooks and reading via my Kobo, it's all starting to gel again.

Of course I say that now, but who knows how much reading I will get to through the month of October as I'm moving.  Here is hoping it will be a nice reprieve between packing boxes. You never know!

Happy Reading!

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1 comment:

Suzie Ridler said...

Shannon, totally loves these reviews! I am going to check out these books for sure, especially Women in Bed. I really love getting your help finding books which I find an overwhelming task.