No, I'm not talking about the disease. I'm talking about the mountains of books which surround me.
I've been reading, you see. I had a job change, and finally, after four years of having almost no time to do what I wanted, I have more time to write and...ahhhhh...to read. The reading marathon is actually what I'm doing to fill the well as I start down and dirty to work on a neglected manuscript.
My keeper shelf is sagging from the weight of having more books crammed in than should fit. The list of just-read, reading-now, and to-be-read has sprawled off of my "by the bed" bedroom shelf and is now piled up against the wall and my nightstand.
You know, the books that you just read but want to keep close because they made you feel so darn good? And then they get all mixed in with the ones waiting to be read, then when you're looking through the stack you see an old favorite, so you have to re-read it? Yeah.
It's sad really. All those books and nary a shelf to be had. Something must go. You know--I have to vacuum before the dust bunnies animate and eat the cats. I have to be able to get to the bed. I have to make room for MORE! Oh....uh...ahem...
Before the entire pile goes the way of all things, divided among "Keeper Shelf", "Pass On To Friends," and "Library Donations," I thought I'd share a few of the titles in my progressive pile. I've never done a What I'm Reading Now blog, so bear with me, as the choosing is nearly impossible. I'm bound to list way too many. I may break the blog with cover pictures. If there's only text at midnight, you'll know what happened. These are most of the books from the last three weeks. I'm hoping at the end of it you'll tell me if you've read the ones I'm reading, the ones I'm avoiding (yes there IS a category for books I'm avoiding, though not for the reason you think), about-to-read, and what you thought of them.
In order--sort of--here's the first couple of stacks in my pile.
What I've just read:
Y'all already know Kate's book is wonderful. She's the first Bandita to hit the NYT list, and she absolutely deserves that honor.
Homicide In Hardcover was a fantastic read. I've already read it twice. I loved the heroine, and I WANT MORE of the hero. Ahem (raises voice) AHEM, KATE! WE ARE GONNA GET MORE OF THE HERO IN FUTURE BOOKS AREN'T WE? Ahem. Okay....now to recover my sense of decorum.
Kate is to blame, you see, for a disturbing trend in my TBR pile. A complete deviation from my purpose--trimming the darn thing down--and she's corrupted me with a whole forgotten genre. It's romantic mysteries. I liked Kate's book so much that I went back to the shelf the following day (yes, I stayed up all night to read it) looking for more to feed the new habit. I bought two more books. And that, my friends, was the beginning of the end.
Right there on the shelf near Kate's book, in front of God and everybody, I found Madelyn Alt, and her Bewitching Mysteries.
Y'all have to read these books in order, starting with The Trouble with Magic. (No, of COURSE it's not required, but it's better that way. Trust me.) I didn't. I started with A Charmed Death, then I went back to the store and bought the entire series, and started over from the beginning . Yes, they're that good. So far my favorite is Hex Marks the Spot, but I've just picked up book four, and book five is due out in July. Circling like a buzzard I am. I immediately began stalking Madelyn and, mostly to get rid of me I'm certain, she's agreed to be our guest here in the lair when the next book comes out. Yay!
She has one of the hottest heroes in these books that I've read, ever. Subtle. Sexy. Nice in that way that could lure you in big time and make you not notice the wicked under the charm. Okay, somebody fan me now. But there are actually two guys....okay I'll shut up and move on. Y'all will like this series. I promise.
Another great read from the romantic mystery shelf is A Veiled Deception by Annette Blair.
I haven't read this whole series yet, but I'm starting on them next. Seriously Kate, you are SO on my list to smack next time I see you. You did this to me. Okay maybe I won't smack you. Maybe I'll buy you a drink instead.
All three of these authors weave a really good mystery plot, along with enough romance to keep me circling like a buzzard forever, waiting for the next installment.
Last but not least on the I-Just-Read-It pile is The Magic Knot by Helen Scott Taylor. I found
this book because Trish interviewed Helen weeks ago here in the lair. Remember, Helen was the American Title IV winner this last time. She was in the running with Trish and they were the last two. I just got around to reading this book last month.
I am so impressed with this story! This is a really good read, and Helen did a great job of creating a world and mythology--plus a hero that you can't help but love and a heroine who comes into her own in such a fulfilling way. If you haven't read this one yet, I recommend it.
Okay, ignoring all the other good reads piled up over there, I'm moving on.
Now for the TO-BE-READ stack:
Alas,I can include only a few.
Y'all know I love Susan Crandall. If you don't know her work, check out this link to the blog from last summer: http://romancebandits.blogspot.com/search?q=Susan+Crandall
Her latest, Seeing Red, was released in February. I've read the first two pages
and I can tell you it looks like her best one yet. Nobody does small town suspense better than Susan. I got interrupted (only two pages in, thank goodness, or I'd have been homicidal) and this book is sitting next to my lamp, making faces at me, taunting me that I haven't read it yet. Grrrrrr.
If I died having written a set of books even half as good as Susan's backlist, I'd die happy and fulfilled. Anyhow, Seeing Red is at the top of the pile.
Next up is Christie's new book, Every Time We Kiss. I loved Every Night I'm Yours, so I'm excited to get to this one.
Sorry about the cover picture from Amazon. It's the only one I could find that was large enough to include.
Christie sets up such interesting, different plots. That's hard to do with the number of historical romances on the shelves. It hasn't been out long. Have y'all read it yet?
There are four in the pile that I know nothing about. Three of them came from the RWA National conference last year and are still in line to be read.
They are as follows:
Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole, This one won't leave me alone because the guy on the cover looks strikingly like Erith from Anna Campbell's Tempt The Devil. Okay, fan me again.
The other two are by Victoria Alexander. I have What A Lady Wants and A Little Bit Wicked. Have y'all read any of these?
Now for my two other categories.
Books I've been avoiding
What do y'all think? Should I do it? I'm serious. Do you think I can recover for the weekend? I won't be worth a darn while I'm reading, or for a good while afterward. I'll have to be certain there are groceries in the house. Such is the power of a Keeper-Shelf author, and Anna is one.
The other one is a book Anna recommended to me. It's The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. (Picture me, ducking flying fruit.) Yes, yes, I KNOW. EVERYBODY who loves romance has read this book. It's on more keeper shelves than any classic out there. But somehow I managed to get through years of reading and writing without finding this book. Anna made me get it.
Now I have it. I read the first few pages--into the first two or three scenes on the boat, and I admit that I had to stop. I didn't have the mental stuff to keep reading right then. Even Anna's Kylemore in Claiming the Courtesan didn't have this kind of effect on me. He was dark and haunted and even mean, but the situation was a little different, ya know? And Anna gave us, always, that glimmer of guilt to make us believe Kylemore was not what he appeared. With this hero, I've seen no glimmer as yet.
I have to pick it up again, but the hero is such a jerk, and he's treating her so horribly, that I just can't do it yet. I know, I KNOW...the worse they are, the harder they fall when they're redeemed, and the better we like it when they get their comeupance. I have to do this. I know it. I'll just have to be in a good frame of mind. We're heading out of winter when it's not so gray and depressing. Perhaps.....
Last, but far from least are the re-reads.
The first is what someone in the lair recently called a comfort read. I have a keeper shelf full of them. But a couple of weeks ago I pulled out an old faithful. One I didn't have to work so hard for because I've read it before . But it's still powerful enough to give me a solid fix.
That comfort read, recently has been Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This is a forever keeper book for me. I'm not crazy about most of Susan's sports heroes, but this book, I love. I love everything about it.
The other re-read in recent weeks has been Tawny Weber's Risque Business .
I love this heroine. I love her all-too-real human-ness. I love what she learns about herself, outside and mostly, inside. I LOVE that Tawny could do this in a short book like a Blaze. Oh, and I love the steamy parts too.
Tell me, Bandita Sisters and friends, what are you reading right now?
Have you read any of the ones I've been reading?
Are there others you think I should be reading right now? Somthing I should drop everything, go out, buy, and read?
Have you ever avoided a book because you knew it would be too powerful and you weren't ready?
How do you decide whether a book is a keeper or is just passing through. I mean, we can't keep all of them. Can we? If you do keep them all, where do you put them?
Inquiring minds want to know.