January 5, 2017 by rachelcmann
Read and Recommend
Smoke and Shadows – Tanya Huff – I’m a fan of Huff’s so when I saw this series on the shelf I was excited. Contemporary setting with a gay ex-lover of a vampire as the main protagonist being thrown into magic? I’m sold. Our boy works as a PA on a cheesy vampire romance show, and when weird stuff starts happening he turns to his ex-lover (a vampire) Huff delivers a solid story with great surprises and character development.
Smoke and Mirrors – Tanya Huff – So I was excited to grab the next one! This book continues to follow our reluctant gay PA hero as he is trapped in a haunted house with skeptical co-workers and semi-conscious ghosts. It’s almost like a game of Clue but better! I can’t wait to read the third book!
The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman – This book had a lot going on and I’m going to recommend you read rather than have me try to describe the mythology. It has shades of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series in that the characters live and interact in a literary world. It’s also got some remnants of the show The Librarians but it’s not a copy in any way. It’s really unique and has some great twists and turns.
False Hearts – Laura Lam – This is hands down one of the most interesting and compelling books I read this year. Set in the future, it tells the story of conjoined twins raised in a compound until they are in their early teens. When they escape, to save their own lives, they are thrust into a technological world beyond their dreams. But time and freedom have a cost and when one twin is in trouble the other must dig into her sister’s life to save both of them. It’s fascinating and well told. So good.
The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty – Vendela Vida – I couldn’t put this down. One of the most unusual and intriguing things I’ve read. And I still have so many unanswered questions! It’s told in the second person which is unusual in and of itself, but then you become a woman who is going to Morocco to escape a crappy home life and is intensely paranoid. You take on new identities and refuse to face reality. So intense and so very good.
ConAcademy – Joe Schreiber – A young man cons his way into an elite prep school only to find he isn’t the only one perpetrating a crime there. This story is on the juvenile side, fairly predictable and certainly has a happy ending. But it’s a fun read.
A Study in Sable – Mercedes Lackey – I tend to avoid Lackey’s retelling of old stories because I don’t find them as interesting as her original stories but every once in a while one intrigues me. In this version of a Sherlock Holmes story, two young female magicians offer their services to a skeptical Holmes. They quickly get into trouble and then have to disentangle themselves.
Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors – Molly Harper – These are impossible to put down. All of these Harper Half Moon Hollow books (I think there are three different series in the same general universe) are just so much fun to read. A great mix of snark, sci-fi, romance and readability. Start at the beginning and then block out your time. (Takes me about 4 hours to read one of these through without breaks). Trust me.
Prince of Ravens – Hal Anderson – I very randomly met the author and decided to give his book a try. I was pleasantly surprised to be quickly drawn into the story of a fugitive prince who doesn’t even realize who his enemy is until it is categorically proven to be his own family. He stumbles upon kind strangers, who just happen to work for the resistance, and along with their help they find a way to safety (or do they?)
Flunked – Jen Calonita – This is cute quick little e-book depicting a young thief sent to reform school. The twist is that the reform school is staffed by ‘reformed villains’ from our story books like Maleficent, the Wolf and The Evil Stepmother. The story is fun and cheesy and has some nice moments.
The Secret Price – Violet Haberdasher – The second in this series, our Harry Potter without the magic young man continues to find trouble navigating the boarding school. With friends, romance and an impending war he must balance all these to stay true to himself and maybe also save the world.
Strangers in Their Own Land – Arlie Russell Hochschild – As part of a new book club I belong to focusing on Civil Rights, we started with this book – an anthropological look at the Tea Party in Louisiana and the conservative viewpoint on America. In the wake of Trump’s election, many liberals, myself included, are grasping for understanding of the people who voted for him. The book has some very good moments as well as some very frustrating moments. If you don’t know anyone in the South and are interested in their point of view it’s a good primer. But be prepared to say “WTF” out loud a couple of times.
Better Homes & Hauntings – Molly Harper – Harper finally leaves Half Moon Hollow and settles for good old ghosts instead of vampires and werewolves. A woman escaping her life, takes a job on a secluded private island to do landscaping for an eccentric billionaire. The skeleton crew is plagued by spookiness and together they solve the mystery.
Blood Oath – Christopher Farnsworth – Farnsworth is a name I see a lot in my recommendations but it turns out this is one of the first I’ve actually read. To a degree this book is a lot like National Treasure with a vampire. A vampire who was bonded to President Andrew Jackson still serves in secret in modern times. The book moves along quickly and has some fun and funny bits that will have me picking up the next book.
Hard Bitten – Chloe Neill – Continuing the Chicagoland vampire novels, it almost feels like we should be running out of angst. But Neill does a great job of amping it back up as we dive into yet another mystery for the new golden childe to solve. These are just fun fluff to read!
The Care & Feeding of Stray Vampires – Molly Harper – I told you these are good fun right? They do start to blur together after a while but this book moves away from the core group of vampires in the other novels which is a nice change of pace. In this one, a vamp friendly resident finds herself taking in a poisoned vampire against her better judgement.
Invasive – Chuck Wendig – I would recommend this but it’s creepy. And not for the squeamish, if you have even the smallest shudder thinking about bugs don’t read this. You won’t be able to sleep. It also hits a little close to home in terms of what could be happening in the world when it comes to bio-terror and secret billionaire projects. A rogue scientist builds a man-eating ant and tries to kill Hawaii. And ::shudder::
So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport – I ended up skimming this as it’s amalgamation of other advice I’ve heard. Maybe that other advice was culled from here but it all boils down to the title.
Don’t Swallow Your Gum – Aaron Carroll – This has been on my list so long, as a doctor’s tongue in cheek review of common myths about the human body and health. But the first dozen or so items were things I already knew. Maybe I just know more than I thought?