I read almost all genres of fiction and tons of non-fiction besides. Currently I’m reading the advance review copy of an entertaining historical romance, Cirque, by Mary Ellen Dennis (available for pre-order in hardcover and ebook) and have also taken a peek at the beginning of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a [Fbomb]: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.
For most books I read, I post a mini-review on Goodreads and amazon.com. And most books that I read all the way through, I can honestly rate four or five stars. That’s because I rarely finish a book that I’m not enjoying to the fullest. When I was a kid and realized I wouldn’t be able to read all the books in the world as I’d planned, I was devastated. I had to learn to be selective and avoid feeling compelled to finish a book just because I started it. These days, I tend to give myself ten pages to decide. That should be a lesson to all of us who are writers. We have to grab the reader at the beginning or the chances are huge the book won’t get read all the way through.
Here are a few of my most recent good reads.
The Paranormalist by Kenneth W. Harmon
I read early versions of this manuscript, and I also know the author. Providing an honest review of the novel takes no effort, however, because it’s a winner. A combination of mystery, horror, and magical realism, The Paranormalist is a great example of how to take a contemporary, real-world setting and infuse it with ghosts, demons, and witches. Add a young woman determined to solve the mystery of her FBI father’s horrible death and a man whose talents include magic and paranormal skills, and you’ve got a story. And maybe even a bit of romance.
The Paranormalist could be the beginning of a series. The author’s writing is excellent and the characters have great potential.
War on a Sunday Morning by Teresa R. Funke (Home-Front Heroes series for middle-grade readers)
The fifth book in Teresa R. Funke’s Home-Front Heroes series, War on a Sunday Morning, is a touching and serious story of what happened on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and the days that followed. The author’s description of the actual attack witnessed by thirteen-year-old Rose is straightforward, but so powerful it brought tears to my eyes. From Rose, newly arrived in Hawaii with her family, to June, a Japanese student at Rose’s school, lives are changed by the events in unexpected ways.
The Home-Front Heroes series is intended to keep the memories of World War II alive with the important reminder that we must know our history so that we don’t make the same mistakes again and again. Each of the books is based on real life stories of one or more of the characters. By interviewing survivors and doing meticulous research, the author creates stories for young readers that bring history alive. I highly recommend War on a Sunday Morning for adults and for middle-grade readers.
Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless
I’m only reading winners these days, as one could tell from the number of 5-star reviews I’ve written lately. Here’s another winner. Barbara Nickless received some recognition for this debut novel and the first in the Sydney Rose Parnell series for good reason. The writing is outstanding, the main character beautifully flawed but determined to make a good life as a railroad cop using her military background to good advantage. The PTSD symptoms are there and provide a lot of information to the reader about the seriousness of these cases without overwhelming the plot. My only criticism of the whole novel is some of the stuff the K-9 Clyde is fed. That amazing dog is going to get fat.
Okay, just kidding about the dog. I’m a big fan of K-9 novels, and this ranks right up there with the best. Sydney Rose Parnell is an excellent protagonist. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
So you see what I mean about eclectic tastes. I read mysteries, thrillers, horror, fantasy, middle-grade and YA books in various genres, women’s fiction, general fiction, history, politics, self-help, and a little romance from time to time. Check out this very sexy romantic comedy novella:
Showtime Rendezvous by C.K. Wiles
A friend recommended I read something light and entertaining in between all those thrillers and dark mysteries I’ve focused on lately. Showtime Rendezvous fit the bill just fine. This sexy romance with an excellent story line, an interesting main character, and a few quirky secondary characters, is a fun novella with no shortage of sex and even a well-drawn voyeurism incident that might be more titillating than the regular sex scenes. The author did a good job with the main character’s occupation, too. It’s not that easy to make accounting a fascinating job, but Wiles does it when she sends her main character to a theater run by an aging owner who files her financial records in big black trash bags.
What about you? Do you stick to one fiction genre or sample them all? Do you read much non-fiction? What are you reading now?