Newsletter - What I'm Reading

Thursday Jun 07 2012
by Sian

I’ve got some big changes coming up in the next few months, the biggest of which is leaving my job in publishing to go back to school and do my MBA. It’s going to be strange not being involved with that end of publishing, but I’ll continue to have Whodunit? to give me my book fix. And speaking of which, I’ll be at the store for nearly a month from mid-July, so if you’ve enjoyed any of my recommendations (and even if you haven’t…) I hope you’ll come and say hi. But what have I been reading? Here goes…

Last newsletter I mentioned that I was withholding Gail Carriger’s Timeless from myself since I was so bummed it was the end of the series. I smartened up and it was just as good as the first four. I may even go back and start again at the beginning of the series (Soulless) and I’ll be counting down the months until February when her new YA series kicks off with Etiquette and Espionage.

I’m continuing to enjoy Caro Peacock’s ‘Liberty Lane’ series with A Corpse in Shining Armour. It’s a really well written and researched series and our heroine is little distracted by romance (aside from some vague flirting with the recently affianced Benjamin Disraeli). Her new publisher released book five (When the Devil Drives) before book four (Keeping Bad Company), but I have both waiting for me on the hold shelf.

I read Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer with as much wide-eyed wonder as The Eyre Affair. 15-year-old Jennifer Strange runs an employment agency for sorcerers and wizards, but something is afoot with the Magic. There are dragons, magic carpets, and Fforde’s trademark wit and brilliance. I’ve got The Song of the Quarkbeast, the second book in the series, coming for me (on sale June 12th) and I’m dying to read The Woman Who Died A Lot, up next in the ‘Thursday Next’ series (coming in October, unless I cave and have a copy imported from the UK).

I just returned from the longest vacation ever not taken with my family (not that I don’t love nothing more in the world, truly, than a family vacation), and I managed to make some progress on my backlogged reading pile. I don’t know why I took so long to read Jim Butcher’s latest ‘Harry Dresden’ Ghost Story, but it was well worth the wait. Yes, these are heavily into the fantasy genre, but if there was ever a book in this series to cross over into mystery, this was it. Harry’s been given the opportunity from the beyond to find out who killed himself, and if you thought solving crimes was difficult, try doing it when you’re a ghost and you were the victim. These are just such solidly written books that I have to slow down my standard reading pace so that I don’t miss a word. Next up in the series, Cold Days, is coming in 2013, but this one will be available in mass market in August.

It’s a nice treat with a series to build up a few books before you start, and I was able to do that with Darynda Jones’ ‘Charley Davidson’ series. Starting with First Grave on the Right and followed by Second Grave on the Left, Charley is a PI who has a unique side job, shes THE Grim Reaper. But she’s got a ghostly presence haunting her dreams, a handsome skip tracer who is freaked out by her powers, and a family of cops to contend with, so nothing is easy. Both are available in mass market with the third title, Third Grace Dead Ahead coming in mass in August. The fourth book will be coming in hardcover in October (Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet).

First time visitors to the bookstore are always reminded that we’re a mystery bookshop, specializing in all sub-forms of the genre. Still, anyone who knows us knows that sometimes we sneak in other books we love because we love them, even if they are quite technically mysteries. I’d heard about A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness for months. It was all over the book media, people I knew reviewed it, but I didn’t think it was my thing. I don’t know what was wrong with me.  Diana Bishop is a witch, but first and foremost she’s a professor of the history of science doing research at Oxford. When she accidentally calls a very special book from the stacks, her life completely changes, bringing the world of witches, vampires, and daemons into perilous closeness. There is romance with a sexy vampire, but this is no urban fantasy or bodice-ripper, it’s a beautifully written love story with an enormous mystery (where do these magical persons come from?) at it’s heart. I’ll be haunting the store until my copy of the second book in the series, Shadow of Night, arrives in July, but in the meantime, you can read the trade paperback of A Discovery of Witches and tell me how right I am about it being wonderful.

I’ve got a few picks hidden among the forthcoming books list, including: Victoria Laurie’s Vision Impossible in MM (the ‘Abby Cooper’ series is now first format HC), Julie Kramer’s Shunning Sarah in HC (give some of her earlier titles a try), Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff’s Some Kind of Peace (the first Scandanavian I’ve ever recommended), Victoria Laurie’s Lethal Outlook in HC, and Rhys Bowen’s Naughty in Nice in MM.

As ever, find me at and tell me what you’re reading and come by and introduce yourself during my summer residency!

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