Friday, April 9, 2010

What are YOU reading now?

I don't normally do book reviews. When I receive requests to give reviews, I always turn them down. That's not what I do.

Besides, when I read, my focus is different than most. While I'm enjoying the book, I'm also studying the writer's craft, making note of how the author handles POV, characterization, pacing and the elements of storytelling. This week, Liz Carlyle gave me plenty to appreciate in her NEVER ROMANCE A RAKE.

In the initial chapter, her hero Rothewell learns he is terminally ill. He's lived a dissolute life and it's caught up to him. With that, Ms. Carlyle has put herself in the difficult spot of making someone whose health is dicey into an "alpha." Amazingly, she does it and in ways in keeping with his morose, nihilistic nature. I was fascinated by his climb out of the psychological pit he'd flung himself into while he found a reason to live in the heroine.

Another thing I enjoy about Ms. Carlyle's work is her subtle prose. She is a master of subtext and lays plenty of writing hooks to keep the pages turning.

My one beef is that this book is the last in a trilogy and since I hadn't read the other two stories, I was occasionally lost when she wandered into sections about people and events that happened off-stage, things that weren't directly related to the hero or heroine's backstory. I really didn't need to know some of it in order to enjoy this story. Connected books are fun and who doesn't enjoy seeing characters they already know and love, but please don't give an info dump about people who don't even make an appearance in the current story.

So now it's your turn. What are you reading now? What do you think about it?

31 comments:

J.K. Coi said...

Sounds like a good one to pick up, thanks Emily.

I'm reading The Hunger Games--which had been recommended by everyone for the last few months, and it's very good (although I'm still in the first quarter of the book)

Happy Friday!

Gillian Layne said...

The last book I read was Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day. I loved the world-building and sharp, direct prose. I like the humor, and I could believe how unreal the world supernatural world seemed to the heroine. And I really liked that in a fight scene, she wasn't suddenly an unstoppable Amazon queen, but a real person who reacted the way many would, with both courage and fear. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Maria said...

I'm reading a contemporary romantic suspense, A Kiss to Kill by Nina Bruhns. It's the last book in a trilogy. It's really good so far

EmilyBryan said...

JK--Who's the author of THE HUNGER GAMES?

EmilyBryan said...

Gillian--That's the beauty of a "fish out of water" story. We all identify with that gasping fish!

EmilyBryan said...

Maria--Nina is a terrific author. (And she's also represented by my very talented agent, Natasha Kern, so I feel like she's my writing sister of sorts!)

J.K. Coi said...

published by Scholastic, author Suzanne Collins--A futuristic YA. It's awesome! and getting great buzz

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for your post, Emily. I know only too well what you mean about studying a writer's craft while reading for pleasure. I didn't used to; but now that I do, it's both a blessing and a curse.

It makes me appreciate an author's strengths more. However, it also makes weaknesses more jarring. But as long as the end result is that I can emulate the former and (I hope) avoid the latter . . . .

What am I reading now? Aside from material for study and research, I'm deep into two romances and about to start a third, all by writers who are Facebook friends and blogging buddies of mine.

The first, a current release, is "Cowboy Trouble" by Joanne Kennedy (Sourcebooks Casablanca). It's a hilarious fish-out-of-water romantic comedy combined with a missing-person mystery. A hard act to pull off, but Joanne does it. I recommend this novel to any reader who goes for offbeat humor, resourceful heroines, and hunky cowboys.

The second, a back title, is "The Redemption of Matthew Quinn" by Kathleen O'Brien (Harlequin Superromance 1086, October 2002). A touching tale of the healing powers of love, with a hero who's on the opposite end of the social scale from the usual Harlequin hero.

The third of "Whispers" (Berkley Sensation, 2006), a romantic suspense novel by Erin Grady (who's currently writing paranormal romances under the name Erin Quinn).

Usually I'm reading more than one book at a time because that way I can take advantage of whatever mood I'm in at a given moment. Either that, or it's ADHD!

Keep up the good work!

Danny said...

Hi Emily,

I am reading To tame a dangerous Lord by Nicole Jordan, really good book. Love her Courtship Wars series

EmilyBryan said...

Mary Ann--I know a writer is absolutely stellar when she/he makes me forget I'm a writer too and I lose myself in their story. I treasure those authors.

I can also count them on one hand.

EmilyBryan said...

Danny--When I first started writing I lived in Park City, UT. At that time, Nicole Jordan lived there too. I never got to meet her, but it was cool knowing she was there.

Chelsea B. said...

I haven't had a whole lot of time to read this week (boo!) but I'm reading Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe and really loving it! I hadn't realized this was the second in the series, but I'm following along fine. I'll definitely be getting that first one, though!

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Last night, I finished Captive, a Harlequin Blaze Historical by Joanne Rock. Was in the mood for a good Viking story and that fit the bill. Now to peruse the TBR case for the next read.

Viking Princess said...

Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks. I get to meet her tomorrow a her book signing : D

Viking Princess said...

Thanks Anna for the book recommmendation for Captive. I'm always looking for a good Viking romance book. They are hard to find.

EmilyBryan said...

Chelsea--I got to hear Lucy Monroe back in 2003. She gave a great workshop on using all the senses when you tell a story.

EmilyBryan said...

Anna--You know me. I'm always a sucker for a big hairy Northman! Captive sounds good.

I picked up Connie Mason's Viking Warrior last night.

EmilyBryan said...

VIking Princess--Where is the Maya Banks signing?

Viking Princess said...

Yes, tomorrow here in Arlington Texas at Borders Book Store.

http://www.borders.com/online/store/EventView?city=&state=&zipCode=&within=&all_stores=&selectedStoreId=14219&eventId=329855&

librarypat said...

I just finished THE WIDOW by Carla Neggers. It is the first book in a series. The books stand alone just fine. I read book 2 THE ANGEL FIRST and although the characters from book 1 are part of the story, you don't need to have read it first. That being said, I do prefer to read them in order. I liked THE WIDOW better than THE ANGEL which was a surprise because I liked the book blurb best on THE ANGEL. I never really felt that things were pulled tightly enough together in THE ANGEL.
I started BREAKING DAWN by Stephanie Meyer today. I started the Twilight series for activities with teens and now need to finish it. The size of the books are intimidating, but they are fast reads.

Viking Princess said...

Okay, I hate reading series books out of order so I use this website often to make sure I'm reading an authors books in order. I've used author Johanna Lindsey in my example for you
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/l/johanna-lindsey/

EmilyBryan said...

Pat--YOu can't always tell much about a book from the blurb. Often the author didn't write it.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for sharing that link with us Viking Princess! It's good to know if a book is a stand alone or if it's part of a larger work.

I personally enjoy connected books, but I want the author to design matters so I don't have to have read the others to enjoy the current one.

etirv said...

It's embarrassing, Emily, but I'm only just now enjoying reading A Christmas Ball! Really late. Before ACB, I just finished Emma Wildes' An Indecent Proposition... and it's a keeper!

EmilyBryan said...

Etirv--Better late than never! Fortunately, books don't have an expiration date.

Glynis said...

Just finished Memoirs of A Geisha, and enjoyed it.

I am about to start, The Wild Marquis by Miranda Neville. It arrived in the post a few days ago. I love prizes! :))

EmilyBryan said...

Oh, you'll love the Marquis. Miranda is so talented.

Lee McKenzie said...

Right now I'm reading Bed of Roses, the second in Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet series, and I'm loving it as much as I did the first, Vision in White. Reading these books makes me forget I'm a writer, and that's my top review.

EmilyBryan said...

I'm so impressed with Nora Roberts. She has a phenomenal work ethic and consistently turns out such quality prose.

Viking Princess said...

You said you are reading Viking Warrior by Connie Mason. I just got an email from her this morning and she says that she has another Viking romance novel coming out next year :D I put her reply on my blog.
http://princessinnorway.blogspot.com/

Viking Princess said...

It's not the first time I've heard from Connie Mason. I emailed her last year with a question about the slave girl Haley in her book Viking Warrior.