Authors I Love, Books I Love

Waiting is the Most Difficult Part: My Love/Hate Relationship with Book Series

I recently found two great series that I fell in love with. The first is by Susan Ee (yes, that’s how it’s spelled). The series is called Penryn & the End of Days. (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled as well.)

The Penryn books employs a post apocalyptic setting where the angels really have wings and pretty much none of them are nice. The lead character, Penryn, saves one angel in order to save her sister. Add in a mother who has phenomenal survival skills due in part to her paranoid mental disorder, and some serious martials arts skills, and you have all the ingredients for an excellent read. (Honestly, the fight scenes are great. Susan really knows her stuff!) In fact, I lost two days zipping through these books.

The Relentless Series by Karen Lynch is equally entertaining. Karen introduces a supernatural universe which includes werewolves, vampires, and other unworldly creatures.

But unlike other series with similar characters, the main character Sara and her cohorts are seriously likeable. Sarah lives with her uncle who she tries desperately to protect from knowing anything from this other world. And her friendship with a supernatural who is avoided by even other supernatural, just makes you like her more.

In fact what both of these series have in common are main characters who you like and, dare I say, respect. They put their concern for others above themselves. Seriously, if you’re looking for good reads, pick up both series. They’re wonderful.

Now as I mentioned above, I have a love/hate relationship with book series. So far, all I’ve told you is the love.

Here’s the hate: each series only has two books out so far. $%#*&^!

When I find a series I love, it’s really hard to wait to find out what happens characters that I have come to care about. (And yes, I appreciate the irony in that many of you have contacted me to say how much you care about the characters in the Belial series. So believe me when I say – I feel your pain.)

So what is one to do? Avoid book series? Nah – I like getting to know characters and I really enjoy starting a book where I don’t have to wonder if I’ll like the characters. I already know before I’ve cracked the first page.

Actually, now that I think about it, one of the great parts of book series is that I get to re-visit the books before the next book in the series comes out. After all, I like to know exactly where we left off, so I usually re-read the books right before the latest edition is published. Which means to get to experience the joy all over again.

So I’ve changed my mind. There is no love hate relationship with books series. There is only love-love.

And so if you are looking for a new series to love/love, check out Susan Ee’s Penryn & the End of Days series and Karen Lynch’s Relentless series. You will be up way too late happily flipping to the next page! 🙂

 

 

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Authors I Love, Books I Love

Humanity in Ruins

I drove with the family down to visit other family this past weekend.  Six hours each way – I either really love my family or am completely susceptible to Mom guilt.  The jury is still out as to which it is. 🙂

Luckily, I had the third installment of Dan Wells Partial series to keep me company.  For those who are unfamiliar with the trilogy, Partials are biological robot/soldiers created to aid humanity.  But humanity, after using them to fight their wars, treats them like second-class citizens even though they have feelings, minds of their own, etc.  So of course, they rebel against humanity.

When the trilogy begins, humanity is down to thirty-five thousand, while the Partials number at 500,000.    But both numbers are dwindling down due to an expiration date for the partials and disease for the humans.

Ruins is the struggle of individuals on each side to fight their own nature and the distrust of those around them to do the right thing.  And to have faith in the people/robots they shouldn’t.

This is my kind of book.  Impossible odds.  Little to no chance of survival, but doing to right thing anyway.  I know, it sounds corny.  But I like the books that show us the best sides of human nature, er human and partial nature.

So if you are looking for a good quick read, pick it up!

 

Books I Love, Reading Fun

Another Trip Down the Road of ‘What If?’ – Edgar Cayce on Atlantis

This post is a first: I’m not going to write about a thriller or even a work of fiction.  (Well, actually, some of you may think the work I’m going to chat about is fiction.) Usually I  read thrillers, mysteries, something in the “Who done it?” category.   For the past few years, though,  I’ve  been delving into those same areas but in the non-fiction realm.

Those of you that have read my books, know that both Edgar Cayce and Atlantis play a prominent role in them.  I first learned of Edgar Cayce around eight years ago.  Since that time, the man has fascinated me.  For those of you unfamiliar with his work let me give you a quick bio:

Edgar Cayce was born on 1887 in Kentucky.  He had a normal enough childhood except for two things:

1)  He occasionally saw and played with ghosts as a child.

2) If he fell asleep on top of a book, he would wake up knowing its contents.

As Cayce matured, his psychic abilities also developed.

All right, all right.  For those of you already rolling your eyes: Edgar Cayce is an incredibly well-documented psychic.  Cayce’s most documented skill was his ability to diagnose and treat ailments while in a trance.  His ability reached a level where someone could give him a name and an address and he could diagnose them.  And he had an 86% accuracy rate!  In fact, some of the treatments he recommended were new in his time but are now actually used.

Cayce also did readings of people’s past lives.  Some of those lives were spent in Atlantis.  The Atlantis life readings only make up a small portion of his overall readings, but they are beyond fascinating.  I think we are all intrigued by this idea of an advanced ancient civilization that met its doom.  Cayce’s descriptions of this ancient civilization involve technology, relationships, even its downfall.

I’ve been working on my third book and as a re-result decided I needed a refresher on Cayce’s take on Atlantis.  So I re-read Edgar Cayce on Atlantis.  And yet again I am intrigued!

The last few years I’ve spent researching pre-diluvian archaeological records.  That research combined with Cayce’s readings, is imagination inspiring.  Cayce unintentionally argues for a much earlier start to human civilizations, we’re talking 50,000 BC.   For me, the joy of Cayce’s work is the similar joy I experience while reading a good thriller novel:  the joy of what if.

What if we actually began on this planet much earlier than is currently recognized?  What if there was this incredibly powerful civilization that existed prior to the Ice Age and through its own technology, destroyed itself?  What if a disaster wiped out our advances in this distant past, bringing us back to low level of technology?

Then I apply these ideas to modern life.  I think about what would happen if a disaster hit now.  Now, I can use a computer.  But I certainly can’t build a microchip.  I imagine the same problem would have faced people thousands of years ago.

Cayce was also a proponent of reincarnation and karma, although he didn’t identify it as such.  Reading about reincarnation, well, it made me wonder what I did in a previous life to end up where I am now.

One of the components I liked best was Cayce’s assertion that the people you find yourself with in this life have been in your past lives as well.  When I look the people important in my life, that idea makes me feel good and even more connected.

So if you’re looking for a little window into ancient civilizations, even if you are not entirely sure you believe in Cayce, take a look at Edgar Cayce on Atlantis by Edgar Evans Cayce.  If you think he’s a quack, that’s fine.  Just pretend your reading fiction.  Either way, it’s a fun way to pass a few hours. 🙂

Authors I Love, Books I Love

The Mortal Instruments: Revisiting the Teenage Years

I just finished The Mortal Instruments series, books one through four, by Cassandra Clare. The series is based around sixteen-year old Clary Fray, who unbeknownst to her, is a shadow hunter. Shadow hunters fight the demons in the world and generally are invisible to humans. There are lots of fight scenes, angel and biblical mythology, as well as some vampires, werewolves, and warlocks. All in all, a fun read.

And, I did like it. But I’m sitting here trying to figure out exactly why. To be perfectly honest, the lead female protagonist was kind of annoying. She was always jumping into things, not thinking, putting herself and the people she cares about in danger.

But then I realize that is the essence of being a teenager. You have little to no impulse control. Every crush is the love of your life and all consuming. And you simply don’t think about the consequences of your actions. Moreover, you have fewer responsibilities than you will have in only a few short years. Looking back, it was full of angst and difficulty, but it truly the freest time in a person’s life.

And I think that’s why I liked these books. As an adult, I am always weighing the consequences of my actions and my speech. I can’t just say what I want to whomever I want. Because I know how damaging words can be. And crushes are no longer all consuming. They can’t be there are too many other possibilities to consider.

Okay, granted, I am married, so it’s been a while. But even if I were free to have an actable crush, at my age, it wouldn’t be a teenage crush – that all consuming think about one guy and nothing else. Because my life as an adult has a lot of ‘else.’ And if I lose focus, a lot of other people and things are affected.

Now granted as I read over this, it makes me sound like an automaton. Not true. I’m just a grown up. But as an adult, it’s nice to disappear into a world where you are free to make any decision you want without worry about consequences, to be completely consumed by passion and forget about everything else. To vicariously live the experience of being a teenager in its best ways, without any of the awkward hair moments.

So if you’re looking to escape back to your younger, freer, self take a stroll through the world of The Mortal Instruments. And sit back and enjoy the ride!

Books I Love

World War Z: The Book, Not the Movie

The other night I went to go see the movie, World War Z. Now generally I am not a fan of watching the movie after I’ve read the book. The movie always disappoints. But this movie was really very good. And why? Because there was no chance it could be anything like the book. Even though the book is really, really good. Let me explain.

World War Z is a tale about the zombie apocalypse. But it is not written in a traditional style. In fact, there is no main character. You don’t follow a single person throughout the book, even though dozens of them are introduced. The book is written as if it is a collection of United Nations reports gathered after the zombie apocalypse has ended.

I won’t lie: At first, it was a little tough to get into. I like to meet my characters, get to know them, care about them. That wasn’t an option here. Each report involved a new character, usually in a different part of the world. But each story was compelling in its own right. In reflection, I realize the whole book was actually written from the perspective of humanity going through the stages of grief. First denial that the zombies were truly zombies. Then anger at what’s happening, depression that the plight can ever be overcome and so on.

In fact, you could even say the apocalypse itself is the main character that you are following. Each report highlights another aspect of its character. And this is a character you really want to know. By the end, you are trying to figure out how life goes on and you’re marveling at the human spirit.

And even though World War Z is written as reports, there’s nothing dull about it. Max Brooks has crafted a believable scenario and it is incredibly difficult to put down. It’s like reading a documentary on the zombie apocalypse. No, wait. That sounds boring. World War Z is anything but. It is truly fascinating form start to finish. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good book about zombies?