Literature on Parade

I have a lot of free time.

That’s not to say that I’m lazy or anything,

Just that I spend a lot of time every day commuting to and from work.  It’s not the ideal place to try to write–although I have come up with a lot of great plot ideas from day-dreaming on the bus–but it IS a great place to read.  And I have been reading lately, with great fervor.

So, among a few other things, I thought I would just mention/discuss what I have been reading!  I’ve always loved this one particular quote from Stephen King… Lemme find it.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King

Well, I’ve never had much of a problem in that department!  I’ve pretty much been devouring books for breakfast, lunch and dinner ever since I had the ability.  Writing came a little later… Or maybe just the realization of writing came later.  Either way, I’ve never been at a loss of things to read, and my interests vary pretty widely in the fiction spectrum.

1. If you don’t read anything other than this, I will be fine, as this is my favorite new author and new series.  Funny enough, I discovered this book while ripping out the Book Review section from a zillion Entertainment Weekly magazines my mother had compiled.  (She wanted me to do this so that she could recycle the magazines but look through the book recommendations.)  I was doing this as slowly as possible to avoid more heinous cleaning chores, but it ended up leading me to this lovely book above. 🙂

Beth Revis, as one of her reviews states, may hopefully succeed in making Sci-fi cool again with her lovely YA series Across the Universe.  The first two books are out already, although the third, to my infinite dismay, is not yet available–and won’t be until next year. *Sob*

Anyway, is it any surprise that I was drawn to this book?  Look at that cover!  It’s gorgeous; popping and eye-catching all at once.  The colors and style are no less on the second book, titled A Million Suns.  Really and truly stunning work–I hope she gave the cover design team a huge basket of cookies.

That all aside, the story is sci-fi, but I truly believe it would appeal to those who aren’t always 100% keen on the genre.  It has a lot of other very interesting and intense aspects, dealing with very human issues of trust, freedom, leadership, isolation, individuality, and just what it takes to have a utopia.  The story kicks right into gear, and is told in a first-person narration from the POV of both main characters alternating by chapter.  There’s attempted and successful murder, mystery, and mind-chilling suspense–all out in the vacuum of space.

I don’t want to give too much away, but it isn’t a long read, and if you have a hole in your summer/fall reading list, I would give this as many thumbs up as I can.  But save the second book–if you devour them both, like I did, you’ll have a loooong time to wait for the third!

2. The Southern Vampire Series/The Sookie Stackhouse Novels

When my mom first rented this from the library I was a little hesitant–the cover kind of creeped me out–but I trusted her.  My mom is generally pretty good at picking books that I will totally love. (See: Eragon, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games)  These are never things she would read herself (my mom is more of a murder-mystery-with-recipes reader herself), but her suggestions for me are spot-on.

To my extreme sadness I recently read the newest Sookie book, Deadlocked, and found out it is the penultimate novel in the series.  Maybe Charlaine Harris has simply run out of title ideas using the word ‘Dead’, but either way, I will be very sad to let this series go.  I feel like Sookie is such a fun and interesting character, a Southern lady trying to be a good person despite her hard childhood and involvement with Vampires, and the way Harris makes vamps sexy without losing their terrifying qualities.

3. Everything Nora Roberts/JD Robb has ever written ever, or The Last Boyfriend, Celebrity in Death and The Witness

Nora Roberts single-handedly got me into the Romance genre, and it is a love affair of 7 years now–and counting.  This woman.  She is basically one of my writing role-models, a pillar of the Romance Genre Community, and a great person, at least from what I can tell.  She has written more books than…well…pretty much anyone I can think of, and she approaches writing as a job–gets up, writes for hours, and then goes about her day.  It’s admirable and flooring.  Plus she’s a classy romance writer.  Her books don’t need to rely on brawny pirates and corset-clad women on the cover.  It’s a book you’re PROUD to be seen reading on the bus.

I could post any number of covers, but here are the three most recent I have read.  It’s truly exhausting keeping up with her.  I got into the fandom late, so when I’m not reading one of her constant new releases I’m trying to play catch-up with her older books… And I secretly love it.  I never have nothing to read, because there’s always a Nora Roberts book somewhere I have yet to indulge in.

The Inn Boonsboro trilogy is a good one–it is inspired by and focused around the Inn she restored.  Boonsboro is also where a lot of her family is based, and she often does book signings in their local book store.  The Inn is several rooms decorated in the style of famous romantic literary couples–Elizabeth & Darcy and Jane & Rochester, just to name a couple.  My mom and I plan to go there as my college graduation present, and I’m super-excited–the hardest part will be picking which room to stay in!

Her In Death series as JD Robb is also fantastic–it satisfies my need to know ‘What happens after the wedding?’, a feeling I have with ALL of her awesomely loveable characters.  But for goodness sake, don’t read them out of order like my ridiculous uncle–you’ll just spoil the ride for yourself! (And for anyone who liked Fifty Shades, Roarke, the main love interest/guy, is just as unbelievably rich as Christian Grey!)

Aaaand, in addition to her series and trilogy, Nora still had time to write a stand-alone novel, The Witness.  These are always fun, and have birthed several of my absolute favorite Roberts novels.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I read it and liked it, and did a review on my Goodreads. 🙂  Look me up!

4. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance with Dragons

This series!  This is the description I used when discussing it with a friend– “It’s so disgustingly realistic for a fantasy book.  I mean, he really holds up a magnifying glass to the most pus-filled parts of humanity…  And yet there’s just enough hope to keep you turning pages;  even when you realize it’s a 50/50 chance your favorite main character will get killed, because with Martin NO ONE IS SAFE.”  Which I think is Game of Thrones in a nutshell.

After being busy and unable to get my hands on this latest book I finally did, and considering how long it is the time it took me to read it was disgusting–disgustingly AWESOME.  It was literally like three days.  I can never put these things down.  It’s kind of like watching a train wreck though at this point.  Not in that the books are bad, but just that you’re watching people’s lives destroyed in slow motion.  Really it is quite sobering… and this book was no exception.  Undoubtedly the book that made fantasy accessible to me–no offense JR Tolkien, but for goodness’ sake, cut down on the description already!

5. E L James’ Fifty Shades Trilogy

I’ll keep this one short, since you can find my review of the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, here on my blog. (Careful–there could be spoilers!)  After all of the hype, and some of the hilarious degrading comments of my fellow publishing people, I just had to check out the erotic romance gripping the nation.  (And pretty much every other nation everywhere!)  What was up with this book?  I needed to know, because I’m a sucker for a story.

Although I would have been perfectly happy just reading some smut (I mean, that’s kind of what I was expecting,) I was pleasantly surprised.  Fifty Shades isn’t destined to go on the list of literary genius books, but it does what it was meant to do very well–and it obviously tapped into a previously-unknown market for accessible erotica with a plot.  (If anyone had asked, I would have told them that’s a great idea.)

Though haters gonna hate, especially since Fifty Shades started out as a Twilight fanfiction (you can pick out the characters) and has a slow beginning, there’s a lot to like about the book for those who give it a fair chance.  (Emphasis on FAIR.)  Some people might take offense to the dynamic presented in much of the first book, but let me tell you–it changes dramatically as the series progresses.  Christian might be a huge control-freak, but he has his reasons–which is more than I can say about the annoying habits of a lot of guys I know, and they’re not even billionaires!  So yeah.  If you want to know what it’s all about, skip the drama-filled reviews and just READ IT!  (Rent it from a library if you don’t want to invest the cash–they’re bound to have a copy available in the next 20 years.)

PHEW!

I guess that’s all for now.  Allllll the things I’ve been reading lately.  Maybe they’ll give some insight into my own writing, but I guess I hope not–we all like to think we’re at least SLIGHTLY original!

What have you been reading and loving lately?  I can always use suggestions! =D

Cheers,

Celeste

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2 thoughts on “Literature on Parade

    • I can hardly recommend it enough, and in the words of Kirk from the 2009 Star Trek movie, “DO IT DO IT DO IT!” A YA reader and budding author such as yourself is bound to enjoy it, and I mean, come on–that cover! I’m glad that I ran into it. 🙂

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