Sunday, September 9, 2012
WHAT GRACE READS
What Grace Reads - Before & After Kindle
Twenty months ago I bought a vanilla model Kindle - and just in the nick of time as my book shelves were full. I’ve been sold on e-readers for years - the Kindle was my third - but I have to give the Kindle credit for exploding the concept onto the psyche of the general public. (We are forever indebted to Gene Roddenberry, the genius behind Star Trek, for coming up with the idea in the first place and inspiring an entire generation of young tech designers to bring his TV creation to life.)
While looking over the list of books I’ve read on Kindle - must be close to 300 - I decided to take a good look at my bookcases full of hardcovers and paperbacks. Why were these the books I brought with me when I moved to Orlando? And what authors have I kept on Kindle to remind me to keep an eye out for their latest books? So for the fun of it, I made a list, figuring it would tell me something about myself and just might be of interest to others.
I hope you find some unknown treasures among them.
Note: What you will not see below is a list of current historical romance or romantic suspense authors. Most of them are my colleagues, and I wouldn’t think of naming one over the other!
Georgette Heyer. I sacrificed her mysteries when I moved five years ago, but I believe I have all her Regencies, which instilled in me a lifelong love of the Regency period. I have read them all at least three times.
Clare Darcy. Although not as numerous as Heyer’s, her Regencies are delightful, except, if I recall correctly, for Eugenia whom I wanted to slap upside the head for being such an idiot.
I also have a large collection of Regencies by Joan Smith and Joan Wolf (who, I believe, are no longer writing in this genre, though their backlist can be found online). Smith’s are more humorous, all are excellent.
Dorothy Dunnett. Her two lengthy historical series are works of art - The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Nicollò. When you read them, the details are so perfect you’d swear she time-traveled to those eras. (Or was, perhaps, re-incarnated from that time.) Stunning and indescribable, although I have to admit I have never found the time to give all twelve 600-page books a second read.
Dorothy Dunnett - again.. Her Johnson Johnson mysteries are unsurpassed. (Her loss to cancer was a true loss to literature.)
Janet Evanovich. Her Stephanie Plum series (but not the spin-offs which are too farcical for my taste). And, yes, I’m a Ranger fan.
J. D. Robb. Her Dallas & Rourke series.
Kate Ross. Her four Julian Kestrel novels, particularly the last, are outstanding. (Another author lost far too young.)
Rhys Bowen. All her series, but the Royal Spyness series is bucking to become my favorite.
Blaize Clement. Her pet-sitter series (set in Sarasota County, which I know so well).
C. S. Harris. Her Sebastian St. Cyr series.
Victoria Laurie. Her psychic mystery series (although I'm partial to the early ones, set in my old stomping grounds of New Haven and the Connecticut shoreline).
James Lee Burke. His Dave Robicheaux Louisiana series.
Randy Wayne White. His Doc Ford novels, mostly set in Florida
Mary Stewart. Everything she wrote, although The Ivy Tree remains my all-time favorite. I must have read it at least four times.
Madeline Brent. Moonraker’s Bride. Another book I take out and savor with regularity. Very humorous for a book containing high drama.
Maud Lang. Summer Station. This Australian-set book blew me away. Another book with both humor and drama.
As for authors currently writing Romantic Suspense, again, I have to plead the Fifth. But must give a special mention to Jane Ann Krentz, who writes Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance as Amanda Quick, and Sci Fi as Jayne Castle, all genres I particularly enjoy. (And write myself.)
There are three authors I turn to when my spirits need a boost. Two of them are Jayne Castle and Linnea Sinclair. Jayne’s books are closer to Futuristic, while Linnea always provides enough scientific details to qualify as Sci Fi. But both write romance set against imaginative worlds and do it exceedingly well. (They inspired my Blue Moon series, which has yet to see the light of day.)
Jack Higgins. All his mainstream books, and I confess to having read nearly every one of his earlier “men’s fiction” tales from long, long ago.
Taylor Stevens. The Vanesssa Michael Munroe series, beginning with The Informationist. (The Innocent just came out and I haven’t read it yet.) Highly dramatic mainstream action/adventure.
Gail Carriger. I generally won’t touch a vampire or werewolf story with a ten-foot pole, but in Carriger’s Souless series she writes a mix of Victorian/Vampire/Werewolf/Steampunk that is indescribable, dramatic, and often hilarious - although the heroine’s antics while pregnant were enough to make me go, “Aw, come on!”
Naomi Novik. Her dragon series, set during an alternative rendition of the Napoleonic wars, is impossible to classify as it is so far beyond what we normally think of as Fantasy. She writes dramatic and heart-wrenching tales about talking dragons and English heros who don’t always come to a happy ending.
Lindsay Buroker. Her series, The Emperor's Edge, is a marvelous mix of Sci Fi, Steampunk, a dash of Magic, and flat-out Action/Adventure, featuring a tough but humanitarian heroine who heads an outlaw gang who spend their time doing spectacular good deeds to prove they're really not criminals. The series also features the coolest, coldest, toughest hero anywhere, whom the heroine is struggling to tame. At least a little.
Aaron Pogue. Evidently, Mr. Pogue thought he was writing Young Adult - hence the third book in his Dragonprince trilogy, The Dragonprince's Heir, with a fourteen-year-old hero. However, from the notes at the end of the e-version of this book, I believe he's finally realized he reached a much wider audience and plans to fill in the "gap" years between Books 2 & 3. The triology is highly sensitive, imaginative and heart-wrenching, delving into nearly everything from warcraft and magic to insanity and politics.
The third author I turn to when my spirits are down is the Australian Lucy Walker, who wrote simple little romances about people living in the Outback. You could call them Australian cowboy tales, all with wonderfully innocent heroines and stalwart outback men. And, yes, I have a shelf full of them and still go back occasionally to visit a world that existed fifty or sixty years ago.
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Well . . . if I don’t count all the current Historical Romance and Romantic Suspense authors I didn’t name (so I wouldn’t get my head combed with a joint stool, as the old expression goes), it appears I like Regencies, mysteries, and books by people who can really write up a storm. These are the authors who have filled my soul with wonder and kept me going through thick and thin. These books have brought me enormous hours of pleasure and will continue to do so for as long as I can lift a book or hold an e-reader. And thanks to modern technology, the older books mentioned above are still available. Try one or two . . . or more. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by.
Coming next: Grace's Russian Connection - and how I've used it in my books