I’m not sure why, but I’ve been finding lately that I’m not finishing books the way I used to. Way back in the dark ages when I was still living with my parents in the middle of nowhere, any books I took out of the library or someone passed my way were read from front to back. Whether I liked them or not.

It’s only been since 2006 that I’ve realized that I don’t HAVE to read a book just because it’s there. That I can put it down if I don’t like it. I think that year I put down a total of 4 books that I didn’t finish. This year? I think it’s jumped to about 50%. Is it the books? Or me? (I’m betting it’s probably me. The reason I figure it’s me? Because a lot of these books that go unfinished are by my favorite authors, or are by books that are really popular, or are recommended by friends as their favorites. So yeah, it’s me.)

Anyway, that’s why when I do find a book that I cannot stop reading, that I will stay up late even when I know I have to be up early in the morning, or one that makes me keep adding hot water to my tub because I’ll be damned if I’m going to get out until the book is finished, I rejoice.

This week has been exceptionally kind to me as I’ve found TWO books that have kept me reading despite all the work that’s piling up on my desk. A couple weeks ago, I downloaded two Victoria Dahl stories onto my Sony reader. Talk Me Down and The Wicked West. The Wicked West is a brilliant marketing move on Victoria’s part – it’s the erotic novella that Molly was writing in Talk Me Down. It’s even published with Molly’s pen name (Holly Summers) on the cover.

I read The Wicked West first – it was a quick read and quite enjoyable. But it was Talk Me Down that had me staying up late Monday night.

Molly Jennings might look like the girl next door, but she has one naughty little secret: her job. Molly is a very successful writer of erotic fiction. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and she decides it’s time to move back home to tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado.

Tumble Creek doesn’t have much going for it, but one look at luscious chief of police Ben Lawson, who starred in her girlhood dreams, and Molly is back in business. But while her fantasies are pouring out on paper, the town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse yet, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straight-laced Ben will definitely not approve…

I’ve never been good at writing reviews because I can’t point exactly to what it was that I liked about the book. I just know I liked it, or I didn’t. I liked Talk Me Down. It had humor, it had characters I liked and identified with (especially the small town aspect), and I just plain flat out loved the story and writing. So it’s going on my keeper shelf (or staying on my Sony, anyway.)

Yesterday I picked up Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo. I’d won a copy from Ann on a twitter contest, but I’d already heard great things from a lot of people about it. Which makes me wary because my tastes often don’t jive with others. (see above where my tastes don’t follow the norm)

I started off picking it up and telling myself “I’ll just read a couple of pages, then I’ll get back to editing.” Yeah. Right. By mid-afternoon, everyone was home and the television blaring, so I sought refuge in the tub where I love to sit and read. I was in that danged tub for TWO hours because I just HAD to finish Blue Diablo. And when I did finish it, I had a sense of regret because I wanted to go out and find the next in the series, and devour it too. Except BD has just been released and the next book in the series — well, I’m not sure when it’ll come out. I LOVE finding books that make me sad to finish them.

Blue Diablo is not a romance per se with the happily-ever-after ending – it’s an urban fantasy that reminded me very strongly of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series. There are no shapeshifters or vampires in this one, (a definite plus for it as I’m vampired out) but wow, the world she’s created is going to be just as interesting. The characters still have lots of growth potential for the later stories, and there’s plenty of sexual tension. (I’m hoping that Ms. Aguirre brings back Corinne’s “mentor” Jesse Saldana – that man was scorching hot.)

Here’s the blurb:

Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blonde and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows what I’m running from. And I’d like to keep it that way…

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border to Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance…

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic…

This book is going on my keeper shelf, and I know that I’ll probably be reading it again within the week. And I just realized that in one week from today, Ann will be guest blogging here. Woot! Oh, and by the way, I’d been pronouncing her name Aguirre as if it was Maguire, but I just found this on her website in her FAQ section: “How do you pronounce your last name? Ah-GEAR-ay works fine, but if you can roll your “R”s in there a bit, then you’ve got it.”

Now I’m going to scour the Sony store (or my local Chapters) for Grimspace – another of Ann’s books I’ve heard great things about. **Edited** For a chance to win a signed copy, Ann’s a guest at Patricia’s Vampire Notes today.

Adding to my Keeper Shelf
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5 thoughts on “Adding to my Keeper Shelf

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Leah, I know just what you mean about picking up a book and then putting it down. I have that problem right now with Jodi Picoult.. I know, I know you are probably say, DAH, but I tried to read a couple of her books and they so depressed me I had to put them down. Now I am going to read My Sisters Keeper. Everyone says this is a great book, so I have from the library and because I know there is a time frame I will get through it.
    Those books you have read sound like real winners and I will have to search them out..
    Thanks for the reviews..

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Kathleen – that's a good point. I've been wanting those Happy-ever-after endings, books that pick me up and leave me happy. There's enough "downer" news out there, that I don't need a book to make me feel worse (Carol Shield's Stone Diaries did that to me) Which is why I think I was pleasantly surprised by Ann's Blue Diablo because although there's evil in it, there's a balance too (and in this book's case from an unexpected direction even to the heroine)

    But yes, do you think people are looking more for "upper" books and if they're not left feeling good, they're putting it down?

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I'd been looking at Dahl's books a couple days ago so I'll have to pick that up. Right now I'll head over to try to win a copy fo Aguirre's book. I like the Blue Diablo cover.

    Oh, and I find that since I've been writing, I finish fewer books. Like you, I'm giving myself permission not to finish one that isn't keeping my interest. Though now, in analytical mode, I try to figure out why I want to put it down.

  • June 24, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Marley said: Though now, in analytical mode, I try to figure out why I want to put it down.

    That's a good idea for writers too. I know a while back an agent wrote on her blog about how authors need to read the best-selling books they'd normally spurn (she was talking Stephen King, Dan Brown and JK Rowling) because obviously they'd done something "right" with the public who were buying up the books in droves.

  • June 24, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I have so many books sitting in boxed and waiting for me to be read…Last count was about 400. Those are ones I found..

    I also have a ton of ebooks on cds…

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