I’ve enjoyed so many good books lately that I just HAVE to share.
These are all on my Kindle, and some are also stacked on my bedside table—I loved them so much that I had to have them in “real” book form. Am I the only one who does that? Hahaha. I love my Kindle because it lets me try samples, which lets me weed out books I don’t like (I can usually tell by the end of a sample if it’s my cuppa or not). Then if I love the sample, I can buy right then & keep reading. Instant gratification!
But sometimes, I really miss holding a real book, and sometimes cover art is so beautiful that I must have my own copy (I’m looking at you, Harkness books). I’ve culled my book collection a lot in recent years (used to have FIVE bookcases stuffed to the brim! In my defense, I was a grad student in literature…but we shan’t discuss that 99% of my books were not exactly “literature.” Moving on…), but I can’t help buying more books.
I’d tapered off on reading novels in the past years, and I have no idea why. But I started voraciously reading them again in the past year because I missed curling up with a good book, so I went looking for something fun to read. I was taken in by the cover & description of Susanna Kearsley’s THE WINTER SEA; I tried it, liked it, bought it. Enjoyed it so much that I’ve now read almost all of her books (with MARIANA, pictured above, my favorite so far). And thus began me picking up more & more spooky-ish/historical/intelligent heroine-type stories.
My fondness for spookiness I attribute to my mom; I grew up reading a lot of pulp horrors because she loved them & had tons of them stacked all over the library (every Stephen King book, every horror novel you could pick up in the grocery store, stuff like that). I’m not too keen on actual “horror” any more, but I do love a nice, atmospheric ghost story.
My fondness for the historical aspect with an intelligent heroine I attribute to OUTLANDER, which I first read over 20 years ago. But that’s another story for another post (especially since it’s going to be a series later this year…more gushing on that later, haha).
On to the pictured books…
I’m currently reading Cauldstane, and I’m going to sleep much too late lately because of it. Can’t put it down when I should! It’s about a woman hired to be a ghost writer (ha) for an aging adventurer who lives in an old Scottish castle with his sons. Things go bump in the night, naturally, but it’s the why & how of it that really sets this one apart. It’s very nuanced; you fall for the characters as the narrator does. I can’t wait to find out how it ends, and I love that I have no idea where the author is going with it. I will definitely read more of her stuff when I finish this.
The Vanishing…it was my first by Wendy Webb, and I’ve since read all her others. The stories are great fun to read that they pull you right in. This one is about a woman needing to get away from her life due to difficult circumstances (her husband swindled people & then died & as the ex-wife she’s taking the brunt of everyone’s anger), and is offered an opportunity to “vanish,” as it were, to a huge, gorgeous, very remote house. And things go bump in the night. Naturally.
The funny thing is that when I read Webb’s books, I swear I heard more strange noises in my apartment at night! And I’d jump! I even tweeted that out to the author at one point, hahaha. So if you read her books, just beware. She’s somehow able to bring out all the nighttime ghosties.
A Discovery of Witches and its sequel, Shadow of Night…well. A Discovery had me missing grad school & research days, hahaha—beautiful descriptions by the narrator, a professor of history at Yale and doing research at Oxford for the summer, doing her thing in the Bodleian, plus rowing and more. Love! Then a vampire shows up, and a daemon, and it’s all downhill (or uphill, depending on your point of view) from there. Oh, and the narrator is a witch. It’s a fascinating, complex, intriguing love-story-plus-history-story-plus-science-story-plus-save-the-world story. And when things go bump in the night in this story (naturally!), it’s really, really amusing.
I had a harder time getting through the sequel, but I’m glad I did (the ending was worth it) because the third book comes out in July! I’ll be buying my Kindle copy the day it’s released & then a physical copy the second it comes out in paperback (so it’ll match the first two, natch).
Mariana…a wonderful story about a woman finding “her” house – seeing it, knowing it’s for her – buying it, and then learning its history & her connection to it. As someone who is very attached to home & the idea of home & who loves houses, I love this book. It’s one of my favorites.
And while things don’t go bump in the night in the usual sense in this one, things often change in the night…
The River of No Return: A Novel: I loved this book so much that I went looking for a sequel right away after I finished it, but sadly there isn’t one yet. *sob!* This one’s got romance and time travel and history. If you liked Outlander, you’ll like this…but beware, it IS a time-travel device. You start reading and suddenly you’re hours into the future in the blink of an eye. #truth!
Egad. I have to go work now and all I want to do is read!
Here’s to getting lost in good books,