Today I thought I'd do something I've never done before: invite a special guest to blog about whatever they heck they wanted to say. I asked MaryKate because having known her for about the last year, I love her enthusiasm for the books she reads, and how eloquently she describes some of her favorite stories. This is the first, but hopefully not the last, of her posts as a guest. Take it away, MK!
Confessions of a Book Pimp
Did you ever finish a book, heave that really satisfied sigh, and turn to your significant other, roommate, family member or friend, and realize that while they love you, they just don’t give a damn about the terrific story you just finished? Or, if they really love you, they show polite, if distant, interest in what you’re saying. Yeah. Me too.
That’s why I was thrilled to find blogs like Romance by the Blog and Stacy’s Spot. Here I found smart, interesting women, who shared my passion for romance. As I got more comfortable, I began to realize that it was OK for me to offer opinions about the books I read. Then, as I really hunkered down and got situated, I started to gush. As the discussions continued, I realized that being someone who is never short an opinion, the women I was hanging out with knew a whole lot about romance; had differing or similar opinions, and read a lot like I did. What a thrill! It was during this time that I met Stacy, and she dubbed me "the book pimp." See, I’m a gusher by nature. I gush over babies, I gush over puppies, and I really gush over a romance that’s moved me. When Stacy asked me to blog about book pimping, I was thrilled. As I said, I’m never short an opinion. So here, I present to you a few of the books that I’m most looking forward to in the next few months.
First and foremost is "Lover Revealed" by J.R. Ward. This is by far the best paranormal series (with the possible exception of the In Death series by J.D. Robb) that I’ve ever read. The books are set in Caldwell, New York, where a group of vampires, the Black Dagger Brotherhood, are tasked with protecting local civilian vampires from the Lessening Society, basically an soulless group of vampire slayers. In this series, Ward has created an intricate and fascinating mythology. It is incredibly well drawn, and no detail is too small to be overlooked. But more than that, from her mind has sprung some of the most vivid and compelling heroes that I’ve read in recent memory. They are big, brawny and extremely alpha. "Lover Revealed" tells the story of Butch, the only human ever allowed to infiltrate the Brotherhood. If you haven’t read the series, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. "Lover Revealed" is the fourth of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and to fully appreciate it, you need to read the books in order. They are "Dark Lover", "Lover Eternal", "Lover Awakened" and "Lover Revealed".
The next series I would recommend is the Psy/Changling series by Nalini Singh. A newcomer to the paranormal genre, Singh writes contemporary series romance for Silhouette as well. The first in the series is "Slave to Sensation", and it’s a doozy. The book tells the story of Sascha Duncan and Lucas Hunter. Sascha, a Psy, is a member of a society who have programmed themselves to function without emotion. She meets Lucas Hunter, a panther changling, who is the alpha of a local Leopard clan, when the Psy and the leopards agree to work together on a real estate venture. Sascha is sure that she’s going insane, all of her life she has hidden that she feels emotion, which is forbidden in her society and could get her institutionalized for the rest of her life, if she were to be found out. The changlings suspect that a member of Psy society has been kidnapping and murdering their women, and Lucas is intent upon using his professional relationship with Sascha to access the secrets of her world. But he doesn't count on his reaction to her. Although the Psy/Changling world is complicated, at no time does Singh, the author, sacrifice the story for exposition. Both Lucas and Sascha are fully drawn, complicated, noble characters with great loyalty to their people. The sexual chemistry between them is incindiary and the love scenes are both beautifully written and very hot. Singh's second book in the series, "Visions of Heat", will be released on March 6th, and features another Psy female and one of Lucas' sentinels, Vaughn. If you're a paranormal fan, and aren't reading this series, you are seriously missing out!
The last book I'll recommend is by a romance newcomer. She is Shannon K. Butcher, and is married to Jim Butcher, who writes the acclaimed Sci-Fi series, "The Dresden Files." Shannon's first book, "No Regrets", is a fast-paced, exciting romantic suspense. It is the story of Noelle Blanche, a cryptologist who has been offered a grant by the government to decrypt a code. This grant brings Noelle to the attention of The Swarm, a terrorist group interested in the decrypted code as well. David Wolfe is a retired special forces expert who left the military after the Swarm captured, tortured and murdered his wife. David dedicated his remaining time in the military to wiping out the Swarm, and he thought he was successful until they resurface, showing interest in Noelle. David agrees to protect Noelle from the Swarm, and there begins a fantastic road trip story. Noelle is one of my favorite types of heroines, socially awkward and brilliant. The nice thing is that she doesn't exhibit any of the mindless twit behavior that a lot of these heroines do. She gratefully accepts David's help and does what he tells her to. David is my favorite type of hero. He's tough, tortured and broody. He's also a "man's man." The author deftly weaves the two personalities together, allowing the reader to discover more about the characters as they learn about each other. This is a fantastic debut novel, and one I'd wholeheartedly recommend.
So, that's it. I hope that you'll try one of the books I've suggested, especially if you've never read any of these authors. I think you'll like them, and find them worth your hard earned romance dollars. Good luck, and happy reading!
Thanx MK! With any luck, the book pimping will become a regular feature. I look forward to more of MaryKate's recs :)
What book are you anxiously awaiting?