Monday, July 7, 2008

A New Feature

I love bookstores. I spend a least one day a week just in Barnes and Noble. They let you sit and read and they don't bother you. I love it. Just being there. I hear from other writers that all aspiring authors should try to get jobs in bookstores to get a feel for how they work. And don't misunderstand. Bookstores have more to do with the publishing industry than providing a place for their wares to be hocked. Bookstores are as integral to publishers and authors as our hands. They decide which books get on the shelf. Which books are bought. Publishers pay bookstores to put their books in conspicuous places. Those huge displays at B&N are not coincidence. They are not randomly chosen. Publishers want you to see their books. They want them in your face and they don't want you to forget it.

But this isn't about bookstores, per se. This is about books. As a writer, I am also an avid reader. I read between two and five books per week. I only wish that I wrote as fast as I read. The reason for this is twofold. One, I love reading. And two as a writer, I need to be at the top of my game. I need to know the market. I need to know what's selling, who's buying what, and how I can incorporate that into my writing.

There comes a point when as a writer you stop reading for pleasure and you start analyzing the writing, The style, the voice, the pacing. I'm not quite there yet. I kind of go in between. But I think that's a sign of a good author. That me as the reader, can be so engrossed with the story that I forget that I'm supposed to be analyzing this.

But this isn't about that either. One thing you should know about me is that I love to write and I get very verbose and tangential. So bear with me.

The purpose of this blog is to introduce a new feature. It's called (tentatively) "Books I read over the weekend." It probably won't stay that but it's as creative as I can be right now.

So this weekend I read two VERY good books by two of my favorite authors. Another thing you should know about me is that I read almost everything along the romance genre spectrum. I read contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, and erotica, of course. So the two books that I read this week fall in two very different categories.

Here we go.

Death Angel by Linda Howard

I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this story. The basic premise is this: A mobster's girlfriend steals a lot of money after he gives away her sexual favors to a hired assassin. The assassin finds her. She gets into a car accident and is left for dead. She gets a new lease on life and decides to work with the FBI to catch her ex. The assassin finds her and they fall in love. A lot more happens but I can't tell you else I would ruin the story.

Now, at first glance neither of the protagonists seem very likeable. I mean, at best the heroine, Andrea, is a whore. She trades her body in exchange for financial security. She pretends to be an idiot. And she doesn't care about anyone or anything but herself.

Now the 'hero', Simon, is a whole different animal from anything that I've seen. Seriously, the man is an assassin. And not the typical military or ex-military hitman wo kills for his country or the good of other people. No, he's a straight up killer. He takes money from drug lords or political rivals and he kills them. It's not for the greater good. It's not kill one save a thousand. It's you paid me to kill and I'm good at wet work. Simple as that.

In my opinion, it takes a pretty talented writer to not only make these characters sympathetic but to also make the romance pop. But Ms. Howard pulled it off. I'm a big fan of both her and her writing.

I'm working on a rating system so until then, my advice:


Twilight Fall by Lynn Viehl

Again, I LOVED this book! It's book six (I think) in the Darkyn series. I highly suggest that you read all of them. I have and I haven't been disappointed. I don't know quite how to do a synopsis for this one so I'll go with what Amazon says:

Immortal Darkyn Lord Valentin Jaus and landscape artist Liling Harper are two lost souls. Brought together by fate, bound together by passion, Valentin and Liling find solace in each other’s arms. But the ties that bind them are deeper—and more dangerous—than either of them can possibly imagine…

Eh, it's adequate. But I think the reason it's so hard to encapsulate this book because it's more than Valentin and Liling. Their romance is at the center but it also weaves in characters and storylines from previous books. I was captivated. You learn why the heroines in previous books have been turned Darkyn. You learn more about The Breatheren. All in all, a complete story.

And my favorite part? The sex scenes! Whew! They were smoking hot. And just the tiniest bit of Domiance. If there is one thing that I do love it's a bit of BDSM. I also like the whole Master flexing his dominance thing. I love Alphas but when they can assert a little dominance and submission, Whoa baby!

So, again I urge:



voodoochile said...

I really love Linda Howard. I read her books fanatically for so long and then, for some reason, I stopped. This sounds like good stuff. Time to re-visit Ms. Howard again.

I LOVE assassins. Don't know what that says about me. :-)

Helen Hardt said...

You've convinced me to give Lynn Viehl a try!