Books & Blog: December 14, 2015

Books of the Week:

  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
  • Chimera, Mira Grant
  • Nevermore, Rob Thurman
  • A Lady’s Guide to Ruin, Kathleen Kimmel

It’s always exciting to get a new Jim Butcher novel, and this debut of a new series is especially exciting. The Aeronaut’s Windlass is set in a country divided into Spires, and in this book two of the spires become at war. It’s strange that the artist chose to put a young man on the cover, since the most prominent protagonists are women and a cat. Though it was hard for me to get a grasp on the setting, the characters are charming and the action non-stop. Butcher has begun another great series.

Chimera is the third and final novel Mira Grant has written about Sal. We found in the first book that Sal was not the cute young woman she appeared to be, but in fact something quite different. But she’s a sympathetic heroine, and her struggle to survive and to reunite with her fiancée and his problematic mother, Dr. Shanti Cale, is suspenseful and full of action. I was rooting for Sal all along, and I was glad to see her develop a strong sense of independence and courage as she goes through her journey of self-realization.

Rob Thurman’s Cal and Nico series has gotten progressively darker with each book, but it’s still reading that propels you along. Nevermore is the tenth book in the series, which seems incredible! Laden with grief in the present, half Auphe Cal Leandros goes back to the past to save the people he loves the most – but in the process, the story changes. What will be the result?

A Lady’s Guide to Ruin is an atypical romance by Kathleen Kimmel. The heroine, Joan Price, is escaping from Bedlam when an amazing coincidence gives her the perfect cover to leave London. Though thief Joan is pursued by her rascal brother and his more frightening friend, she comes to enjoy the company of Lord Fenbrook and his sister, and she is able to effect a positive change in their lives before her deception is uncovered. By that time, Fenbrook is in love and so is Joan, but there are big obstacles to their happiness. I enjoyed the character development in Ruin, and the anxiety of Joan that she not be revealed as fraudulent.

Blog

This is my last blog of 2015. After this, I’ll retreat into my family circle to enjoy the holidays. My grandchildren will be in a school program, which should be interesting since they are 3 and 2. My family will all be in town, though perhaps their visits won’t overlap by much. We’ll have Christmas on the 25th or maybe the day after. Though it’s nerve wracking not to know how to plan meals, I am determined to relax and enjoy the season, rather than obsess over details — like feeding the crowd. I don’t hold out much hope of doing that, but I’m trying!

The year saw a lot of changes in my life, both personal and professional. We lost two of our beloved dogs, and we adopted Abigail, a Corgi mix, from the animal shelter. She is the sweetest dog ever, but she needs some training in our ways. We do not jump up on the table! We do not steal food from humans!

In my writing life, I wrote the last book in the Midnight trilogy, and for the first time in maybe fifteen years, I don’t have a contract with Ace (Penguin). I am writing two Aurora books for St. Martins, and I have another series coming after that, one I can’t talk about now. I also have a deal with a network for a TV series based on my Midnight books, and more Aurora Hallmark movies are scheduled to be filmed early next year. I am still one of the luckiest writers around, though the huge excitement surrounding the Sookie novels is a thing of the past.

I assure you, that’s something I don’t regret most of the time. Kind of surprises me, but there it is.

Now to go arrange my Snow Village, all set out and dominating my living room, and then to wrap! I lose track of the gifts I’ve gotten because I start buying early, and when I get them all out of my closet I’m usually very surprised at the total number. Sending gifts of food to many friends, and flowers to others, gives me great pleasure, and bff Paula and I are about to get the Christmas cards ready to go. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. When my children are all under our roof, my happiness will be complete.

Have a wonderful Christmas, those of you who celebrate the holiday, and to all of you . . . Happy New Year, a bit in advance!

Charlaine Harris