Books & Blog: August 24, 2017

Blog: 

I’d never been to GenCon in Indianapolis before, and I had a great time. The writer’s track, which is separate from the regular gaming convention, was informative and interesting, and the diversity of writers made it great fun to participate.

Next I travel to New Orleans for Storycon, and after that to Bouchercon in Toronto. In between, I have a mini-tour for SLEEP LIKE A BABY, my next Aurora Teagarden novel. I’ll be publishing the information on that tour as soon as I have a complete list with dates and times.

Unfortunately, due to real life, I’ve had to withdraw from World Fantasy in San Antonio. I hadn’t gotten my programming assignments, so it seemed like the best time to tell the management of the con. I’ve seldom done that, and I regret the necessity. There are some things I just can’t put off any longer.

Here’s the good news: my unnamed new book is at my editor’s, with his notes read through and adopted, and my agent’s notes read through and adopted. And we’re busy thinking of titles. This book, an alternate American history science fiction/western novel, will be out in 2018.

Books of the Week:

  • The Blinds, Adam Sternbergh
  • Roses and Rust, Kat Howard
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, Jodi Taylor
  • Half a King, Joe Abercrombie
  • Wildfire, Ilona Andrews

I had a great crop of reading since I last posted a list. This is the cream of that crop. I’d read one of Adam Sternbergh’s books before and enjoyed it, so I was interested in how much I’d like his new one. The Blinds is really a twisty work, and I didn’t see the twists coming. It’s set in a secret community of evil-doers whose memories have been wiped of their bad deeds. The “sheriff,” who has a toy badge, is involved in the investigation of a series of murders that has taken place in this small community . . . and he’s also involved with one of the townspeople, a woman with a young son. Fascinating book.

Kat Howard’s Roses and Rust is a book that seems to be about a lot of things: the nature of art and the artist, the bond of family, the danger of abandoning yourself to ambition . . . and all told in a gripping and suspenseful way. Set in an artists’ colony, where only the best are allowed to live and work for nine months at a stretch, there’s lots of meat in this book, and it’s well-prepared.

Jodi Taylor is a huge favorite of mine. I have gulped down all her Chronicles of St. Mary’s books like they were chocolate, and I can’t say better than that. There’s humor, there’s tragedy, there’s love, there’s hate, there’s time travel. How could you get any better in a book? What Could Possibly Go Wrong? details Max’s adventures as she adjusts to marriage and to being the head of training a new batch of Historians for St. Mary’s. And of course, things go BADLY wrong. These books are highly recommended.

Half a King is a great young adult novel. The younger son of a king, Yarvi has been born with a shriveled left hand. Luckily for him, he has a strong older brother and a strong father, so he can be apprenticed to a sort of priestess/witch, an honorable job for a younger son . . . until his father and his brother are both murdered, leaving Yarvi as king. Yarvi’s mother, a strong queen, backs him, but there is treachery all around, and soon Yarvi is battling for his life as a slave. The hardship he endures and the bonds he forms change Yarvi from a boy into a man and teach him more than his life heretofore has done. Abercrombie has included a lot of truth in this story.

I am also a huge fan of Ilona Andrews, and Wildfire, the team’s latest Nevada Baylor book. It’s just as satisfying as the first two, with Nevada coming into her own power and trying to negotiate the politics of being a House and her love affair with “Mad” Rogan. Gosh, I love these books.