Making Books Behave (aka My Past Week)

There hasn’t been a lot of time for me to hop on the blog since early last week. Yall know how it is. The dog needs you. The laundry is reanimating itself and threatening to clothe you in its smelly self. The cat is yowling. The husband is…well, actually the husband is working late a lot and isn’t really yowling. Isn’t it wonderful when someone in the house is not yowling?

Oh yeah, and you’re just tired after working all day. Blah blah blah. So I decided that I would at least try to get some more books read, even though I’m behind on reviews. Makes perfect sense!

In the space of about a week, though, I’ve had two misses and one hit. People, I really need to improve that ratio. I’m ready for about five books in a row to wow me. I’m here, books, ready for your awesomeness. I’ve sheltered you, petted you, bought you Starbucks. Why would you forsake me?

So I started reading one from a publisher called Stuff of Legends by Ian Gibson. This will be Mr. Gibson’s debut, and it’s hailed on the cover by another author as a very comedic read. Well, this sold me. I needed a funny read last week, and even though I know better than to put any faith in cover blurbs – opinions, we all has them and rarely the same ones when it comes to books – I decided it would be my next read. And the first few chapters were good. They were hilarious. I loved the premise, kind of a Hollywood take on the life of a retired fantasy hero, who just wants to be left alone. Despite his best efforts, though, people find him and soon he’s on an unasked for adventure once again. Very soon into the book though, the funnys weren’t so funny anymore, and the characters very quickly engaged in TSTL moments and/or became monotonous entirely too quickly. Skimming the book, I didn’t get the impression that this changed much, which I know sounds unfair, but when you read characters doing pretty much the same things they were when you grew tired of it all, it might not be for me. Unfortunately the luster on this one wore off much too quickly to me, much to my disappointment.

So then I decided it was time to read a historical romance. Maybe my fantasy reading mojo needed a break. So I picked up His at Night by Sherry Thomas. I’m pretty sure I picked up a Sherry Thomas book. Author of Delicious and Not Quite a Husband, both of which I really enjoyed, the latter being one of my top favorite reads in 2009. I looked at the cover – yep, there’s her name. I read a little more of the book, checked for her name again. I couldn’t believe my eyes, both that her name was on the cover, and that the innards were so…dull. Thomas has such a fresh, distinctive voice. What I’d read so far was not so. I felt sympathy for the heroine’s circumstances, but when she meets the hero, it all went downhill. He himself was, for no earthly good reason, a judgmental arsehole. When she decides to trap the hero into marriage, the whole debacle was the final straw for me. Let’s just put it this way: you know the book isn’t for you when you prop it up on top of the couch, come back and sit down later, the book falls into your lap and your first instinct is to hurl it across the room. And I did. I forgot that I’d put it up on top of the couch and I literally saw the cover in my lap and the next thing I knew it was sailing across the room. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it. I’m a little crushed about this one as this was a highly anticipated read and I was so achingly in love with Thomas’ release last year.

What do you do with the best? You save it for last, obviously.

So then I decided to get to cracking on some ARCs that had come my way and were due out in September and October. I’d fallen in love with the premise for Cold Magic by Kate Elliot and the book, I’m so happy to say, is flat-out awesome. It’s complicated, though, but I love with a fierceness that the author has written such an engrossing alternate reality and history for Europe. It’s cool. It’s original. It’s sucked me right damn in. This is it! This is why we read! To get the sensations and feelings this book is making me feel! I find oit interesting that this time, again, it’s fantasy book “doing it” for me. I would love to have this reaction these days about a romance, but I dunno. Maybe I’ve just been craving the kind of epic style adventure that fantasy offers, with phenomenal worldbuilding AND really interesting characters. So far, Cold Magic has it all. I am LOVING it.

The publisher, Orbit, was so kind to remember to send me this one after I asked about it at BEA. Orbit, I can’t thank you enough. They also requested that I not put out my review till September, and I’ll honor that, but folks, I feel the need to pre-certify this one. It’s amazing. I love it. If you have a love for awesome worldbuilding of the alternate historical kind, wonderful characters and a fresh take on fantasy in a steampunk-esque style, this is a highly recommended one – and I’m not even done with it. I am positive this one will be a top read of 2010 here at Lurv.

That’s why I had nothing much new to report last week. I spent it all trying to make my reading choices behave. I realize I’ve got to work with these guys and gals more than anything, but when they’re not working out with me, I’ve got to be a little heavy with the axe sometimes and move on. There’s way too many book fish in that enormous book sea.

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    • Babs, have you read this one yet? His At Night? It was so boring to me! I coulda just cried! :( I really need a GOOD historical romance to save me and that genre, stat. Maybe I’ll read a Loretta Chase I’ve had for a few months for my next historical.

      • I’ve never read Thomas :( But I’ve heard great things about this one you didn’t enjoy.

        Have you read Chase yet? OMG yummy goodness!

        • I did read the one Chase, Lord of Scoundrels and LOVED IT. And yeah, I’m having a disconnect with the happy reports of His At Night, despite usually chalking it up to differing opinions. I really don’t get it. His at Night has none of the uniqueness of Thomas’ voice displayed in previous books, to me anyway.

  1. I got Cold Magic from the author and am so looking forward to reading it – glad to hear that you loved it! I used to read Kate Elliot’s epic fantasy when I was younger and I’m thrilled to read an alternate history/steampunk/fantasy book from her! And the forward from the editor at Orbit was nice too!

    • I’d never heard of Elliott before now. I will definitely be checking out some of her other work. ;)

  2. Babs, I think the one I have is Don’t Tempt Me. Got it after the review of it at The Book Smugglers. ;) So Chase wrote Mr. Impossible? I swear I saw some talk about that one last week. Maybe on Twitter. Have strangest idea it was in conjunction with His At Night by Thomas! Weird.

  3. I just read Delicious and have very mixed feelings about it. For historical, I think Loretta Chase is due out with a new one this summer; I also recommend Joanna Bourne for pure awesomeness. I like Anna Campbell too, but she tends to be a love-her/hate-her author for most readers, I think.

    If you’re in the mood for lush epic fantasy, I can’t recommend Jacqueline Carey enough. Start with Kushiel’s Dart. So, so good.

    I read a bit of Kate Elliott years ago and liked it. I’ll def put this on my list.

    • Nicola, I plan to get the Kushiel book soon. Hopefully will actually start it soon as well!

      And I’ve got a Chase in the TBR pile so I’m all set there. I seriously need a good historical romance to rescue the genre for me lol.

  4. KMont, I think you know how I feel about Sherry Thomas… hmm…

    I hate it when this type of thing happens and I wind up just hurling books — had a grave disappointment myself this past week and if the book had not been an ebook I probably would have done the same thing — great expectations not realized for me personally. *sigh*

    At least you ended your week on a high note. I’m happy to report I did too. :D

  5. Hils, I felt so…weird reading the Thomas book. I kept having this strange feeling that this wasn’t a Thomas read. I know it is, but it didn’t feel that way at all. In all honesty, it didn’t seem to live up to her other efforts at all.

    Glad to hear you’ve been getting in some good reads! ;)

    • Chachic, I’m just a little over halfway done and it is still a great read. No middle sag that I can see yet. ;)

  6. I really enjoyed His At Night, though not the way I ADORED Private Arrangements. Thanks for the heads up on Cold Magic though. I’ll definitely check it out when it’s published.

  7. Pingback: Year of the Historical: July Reviews | Lurv a la Mode

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