Wednesday, July 18, 2012

gotten back on the horse

It has been a little more than four months since I have read a book.

Four Months.

That is the longest amount of time between books for me that I can remember.  I have my suspicions of my own as to the reason, but I'll keep that under wraps for now.

Anyhoo....I've decided to start reading again and I'm starting with the authors & series that I know I will love.  They never have disappointed me.  I have read all of their books except for these most current (or almost most current) ones and I haven't ever put one down at the end and thought, well, that sucked.

So we're starting out with these gems:

 Dean Koontz has been one of my favorite authors since I was a little girl.  Yes, a little girl.  I was reading DK & Mr. King since I was a youngster.  Thanks Public Library!

I think I was 12 or 13 when I first got my hands on Watchers.  That is still one of my all time favorite books.  The movie - not so much - but the book was fantastic.  There is a creep factor about his books that I'm never able to get out of Stephen King's books.  I remember when I read The Bad Place I almost threw up at one point.  It doesn't sound pleasant, I know, but it was soooooo good.  His books have kept me up at night and made me laugh, made me cry and taught me stuff I never thought I would find interesting.  He is truly the Master of Suspense and I'm excited to start this one.

77 Shadow Street is an upscale Gilded Age palace that has been converted into condos.  The people who live there are wealthy, but mostly clueless of The Pendleton's horrifying history.  When the palace begins to turn on its tenants they learn really quickly how money doesn't keep you safe.

 This is only John Sandford's 21st Prey novel and one of his 35 books.  If you haven't read the Prey novels (aka the Lucas Davenport series) then you are definitely missing out.  You must start at the beginning and then at the 17th book, Invisible Prey start reading the Virgil Flowers series side by side.  Virgil comes from the Davenport universe.  There aren't really spoilers that go on either side, but there are appearances of both characters in both series so it's kind of fun to stay current.

I started reading Sandford around the same time as James Patterson's Alex Cross novels.  While I still do enjoy Alex Cross I've become somewhat bored with Patterson's fill in the blank writing that's been happening for awhile now.  Where Patterson (if it's even Patterson that's writing his books anymore) seems to write in a simplistic childlike way Sandford is always on his toes.  I just love 'em.

Anyway, Lucas Davenport is a badass.  He started out as a lieutenant for the Office of Special Intelligence in the Twin Cities.  Sandford has surrounded Davenport with an eclectic and fun group of characters that add both emotion and levity to the books.  As the series continues he doesn't let Davenport remain stagnant.

In Buried Prey a case that has haunted Davenport since 1985 is suddenly thrust back into the spotlight and he gets the chance to solve the murders all over again and this time things are much different than when he was a young cop.

 I have to admit, I haven't read many of Nora Roberts Silhouette books because I'm not a huge romance reader.  It wasn't until the 90's when she began writing for Bantam that I fell in love with her.  She does a ridiculous amount of research for her books.  When she writes about a jewel thief you almost feel as if you could then pull off a great heist yourself.  Or sunken treasure hunters?  Why yes, I do believe I can find anything under the sea because I read The Reef!  Yes, sometimes her stories tend to fall into a pattern that is extremely predictable, but dangit I still love to read them!

She delved a bit into the supernatural, well a lot.  Several newer trilogies were very ghosts, ancient spirits, that kind of thing and she has gone back into romance mode with her Bride Quartet, but still I never tire of her writing.  I think what I love most about her is that she will do the trilogies a lot.  Or quartets.  This gives you a chance to really sink your teeth into the characters, but you're not invested into a series of 47 books that never end.  Her books that take place in Ireland are the cause of my obsession & pride of that part of my ancestry.  She's just a dang good author and prolific in that.  Her success as a published author knows no bounds.  Montana Sky broke the 100 book mark for Roberts in the 90's and over 120 books have been on the Times bestseller list.  It's simply awesome.

In Chasing Fire, we're treated to the elite group of forest firefighters known as the Smoke Jumpers.  They parachute into a wildfire to help get a jump on the fires.  It's insanity.  A seasoned smoke jumper born into a family of them, Rowan Tripp is an expert and now she's tasked with fighting fires in the Montana wilds with a new crop of rookies.

 Oliver Stone, how I love you you grizzled old man.

No, not that Oliver Stone.  David Baldacci's leader of the Camel Club and ex-CIA ghost Oliver Stone.

He ranks up there with Jack Reacher for me.

The Camel Club began with the book of the same name.  A motley group of friends who believed in the conspiracies in the US government.  Nobody really knew who Oliver was and his friends didn't really care until shit hits the fan.  Turns out, Ollie is a alias (*gasp* no way!) and he's actually a former CIA assassin.  With his seemingly mismatched group of friends they set out to right wrongs and expose the evil doers.

OK, it's really not cheesy though I've kind of made it sound like that.  My first David Baldacci book was The Lottery and I liked it well enough, but I wasn't rushing out to get anymore.  When I went through a dry spell of books I picked up The Camel Club and was blown away.  After that it was a quick succession through the rest of the series.  Now, at the fifth book I am dying to see what happened after major shit hit the fan in Divine Justice.

Now that he's been exposed for who he really is and what he's done Oliver is waiting patiently for the men to come and get him and do what he used to do for a living.  But instead they come to him with a plea for help.  And even though he left that life behind a long time ago, Oliver can't help but dive back in headfirst when he witnesses a devastating explosion on the President's motorcade.  Joined by the remaining members of the Camel Club and a British MI5 agent they do everything they can to find out who wants to kill the President & British Prime Minister.

Whaaaaaaaat???  Government conspiracies?  Groveling to Ollie for help?  MI5 agents???  Does it get any better than this?  Probably not.

Now, I've already told you how you need to get out and get yourself some Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers.  And I told you that starting with Invisible Prey you should start reading the Virgil series so I really shouldn't have to reiterate, right?

Shock Wave is the fifth book in this series.  Here Virgil is tasked with the job of finding out what psycho protesters are bombing construction sites of one of the major big box stores.  They're looking for maximum casualties so you can bet your sweet behind the pressure is on for the generally slow-moving-vintage-rock-band-t-shirt-wearing Flowers. But don't worry too much folks, Virgil always gets the job done.  And sometimes without getting shot.

 Now let's just stop for a second and please take any thought of Tom Cruise out of your mind.

He is not Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is magnificent.  Tom Cruise is not.

OK.  I think I've already mentioned before on this blog how much I adore and worship Jack Reacher so I won't blather on about that.  Let's just talk about The Affair, shall we?

One of the mysteries that has followed the novels around is the real reason why Reacher mustered out of the Army.  Having known nothing outside of the military life since he was born it seems slightly strange that he ever would have left.  Here we go back to 1997 when the beginning of the end, well....begins.

Reacher is sent undercover to Carter Crossing, Mississippi to discover the truth of that happened to a murdered young woman.  Quite possibly the victim of another soldier, Reacher must find someone else to trust outside of his brothers in arms.  Enter Elizabeth Deveraux, tough and beautiful and a former MP at that!  You go, Reacher!

If you'll notice all of these books are grown up books!  Yes, it's true.  My tried & true authors are not Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins or JK Rowling.  I started with the adult genre of fiction and it will always be numero uno.  But don't worry, next on my list:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
Crossed by Ally Condie

At least that's the plan.  We'll see how that goes...stay tuned!

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