Monday, December 26, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - December 26th, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is one of the longest lasting book-memes I know of. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

Here's hoping that everyone had a great Christmas or whichever winter holiday you and your family celebrates!

Last week I finished reading one book - and it wasn't either of the books I'd been reading the week before.

Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. HamiltonGuilty Pleasures 
Laurell K. Hamilton
Reprint edition: 2004:

The product description:
Published over ten years ago by Ace, Guilty Pleasures marked the debut of a series that was destined to grow from cult favorite to a major New York Times bestseller. Now, for long-time Anita Blake junkies and newfound fans, Guilty Pleasures makes its trade paperback debut. Readers will learn how Anita Blake started raising the dead-and killing the undead. And how she met Jean Claude, the master vampire destined to become not only her biggest nemesis, but her greatest lover...
A snippet from my review:
...Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the series, it both stands alone and serves as an introduction to an interesting world. One where the supernatural is known about and has a legal place. In that, this series is similar to the books by Patricia Briggs, except that most of the legal wrangling has already happened here. That's one of the things about this series that I remember enjoying the last time around - that rather than complete secrecy being one of the driving elements of the story (for example the J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood books, or Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series), there are actual legal procedures to follow and things are more open. Perhaps not all the details, but the broad strokes are known about - not that that erases all the prejudice.
I'm currently deep into the second book in the series, The Laughing Corpse.

Books I'm currently reading:

The Fiery Cross - Diana GabaldonThe Fiery Cross
Diana Gabaldon

The product description:
The dazzling fifth volume of Diana Gabaldon’s extraordinary Outlander saga, featuring 18th-century Scotsman James Fraser and his 20th-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall.

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.

Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes....

Grand, sweeping, utterly unforgettable, The Fiery Cross is riveting entertainment, a vibrant tapestry of history and human drama.
Sadly, this book seems to be dropping down my priority list. I have to admit that I haven't read any of it in the past week.

The second book is also one I started last week and have yet to finish:

Hand of Isis - Jo GrahamHand of Isis
Jo Graham

The blurb:
Charmian is handmaiden to Cleopatra. She is also an oracle, gifted with ancient memories that may hold the key to preserving Egypt. Through blood and fire, war and peace, love and death, she will face a desperate struggle that will remake the future of the world.

Shortlisted for the Locus Best First Novel Award, included in The Amazon Editors' Top Ten List in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2008 and the Locus Recommended Reading List, with starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Jo Graham is one of the most exciting new voices to come out of historical fantasy in recent years.
This is the book that's getting the lion's share of my reading attention right now - partly because it's on my Kobo, so I can read for a bit after we turn the lights out.

Also on my Kobo, so it's getting some more attention is the third book I'm currently reading:

The Laughing Corpse
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley Books
Copyright: 1994

The product description:
The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series.
In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...
I've been plugging away at this one fairly strongly since I started it on Saturday. Not that I had a lot of reading time yesterday. Instead I ended up working on one of my sock-projects (ripping out the entirety of the heel flap as far as I'd knit it (14 rows) to get down to a dropped stitch, then starting again). Now I have the correct number of stitches, it's time to start that section again.

I got a couple of books over the last week as well:

Ed. Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 2016

The product description:
Twenty-four authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages—and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

Join Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and others in twenty-two original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey, to Valdemar, where:

A Herald must crack an ancient code in a historic tapestry in order to arbitrate a dispute over land and lineage…

A Healer’s daughter flees the noble family that has trapped and enslaved her mother, and must seek help to free her mother…

A young woman who hides her clairvoyant powers from her town’s Karsite priests ForeSees a threat, and must risk revealing her Gift to save her community…

A Herald finds his assistant has been abducted by a man upon whom he had levied a heavy fine, and must foil the kidnapper’s plans to save his charge…
I'm waiting to start this one in January as the first book for my Valdemar Reading Challenge. Looking forward to it too.

And finally, a very nice Christmas gift:

The Hobbit
The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition
J.R.R. Tolkien
Release Date: September 22, 2016

The blurb:
This sumptuous gift set includes a replica of the very rare first edition of The Hobbit, the only edition where one can now read the original version of the story before Tolkien re-edited it to become the one enjoyed by readers since 1951. The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937, with a print run of 1,500 copies. With a beautiful cover design, nearly a dozen black & white illustrations and two black & red maps by the author himself, the book proved to be popular and was reprinted shortly afterwards. History was already being made. The scarcity of the first edition has resulted in copies commanding huge prices, way beyond the reach of most Tolkien fans. In addition, subsequent changes to the text - particularly those to chapter 5, when Tolkien decided in 1947 to revise the text to bring it better into accord with events as they were developing in its 'sequel', The Lord of the Rings - mean that the opportunity to read the book in its original form and format has become quite difficult. This special printing reprints the first edition, so that readers of all ages - not just 'children between the ages of 5 and 9', as Rayner Unwin famously declared in his report on the original submission - can finally enjoy Tolkien's story as it originally appeared.
I've been waiting for this one to actually be released since it was announced for the 75th anniversary!
Yes, I started looking through it first thing after opening it yesterday. One note: the slipcase is so very tight that if I'm not very careful, I might end up damaging the book itself. I do see myself reading this one with the current edition of The Hobbit sitting there as well so I can cross-reference between the two editions.

Also a fun idea, sitting and reading The Hobbit while listening to all three of the movie soundtracks (another Christmas gift).

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