(Okay, so as the previous post said, I did not actually take a break tonight. I decided to write and post the following blog entry that has been floating around in my head for the past two weeks.)
I've recently read two new authors I think are wonderful. Cody found one for me, and the other I stumbled across in the bookstore when I was looking for a different author. Both are paranormal romances and at opposite ends of the spectrum. So if you like your romance mixed with fantasy (and I'm not talking the kind of fantasy that involves falling in love a wealthy millionaire—before you knew he was rich—who drives delightfully sexy cars/carriages that perfectly complement his chiseled jaw/artfully crafted cravat), then you should check out these authors:
Katie MacAlister—She makes me laugh. A lot. I was reading You Slay Me while brushing my teeth the other night (what, you don't read while brushing your teeth?), and she made me laugh so hard I drooled down my shirt. Attractive, I know. I've raced through one of her books and two novellas in the last month or so, and I'm about half way through the second of her books and looking forward to the five more that are already published in the series. They're all modern tales filled with fantastical elements. The novellas (conveniently packaged together in Ain't Myth-Behaving) involve Norse gods come to life, who encounter modern American women (there're no weak damsels here). I've never laughed so hard and enjoyed a male hero so much as I did with Stag Party, the first of the two novellas. The novel A Girl's Guide to Vampires was sexy and amusing. I don't usually read vampire/romances (I tend to stick to my Laurell K Hamilton vampire/soft porn) because the authors tend to take the vampires too seriously for me. MacAlister keeps it light (despite the murders). Even for me, I completed the book in record time. You Slay Me, which is what I'm reading now, is my favorite so far simply because it has a lot of elements from fantasy that I loved when I was younger (dragons, dark magic, mages, etc.), but that I've typically found too D&D for my tastes now. MacAlister brings all the fun fantasy to life, and keeps it packed with adult material.
Colby Hodge—Twist is a time-traveling-to-the-future novel that combines vampires, some magic, and a plague (I love a good plague story—usually in movie form, but this one worked too. I mean, who hasn't contemplated what they would do if they were one of the few surviving humans after a plague/nuclear holocaust/alien or zombie invasion?). The heroine is strong, you get to learn of the world with her, and the hero is sexy. For me, it's a toss-up between whether the plot or the characters carry this book. Both are really well crafted (apparently Hodge has written historical romances under Cindy Holby—wouldn't it have been better if she'd chosen the pseudonym Colby Holby?) and she knows her craft. My only complaint was that I saw the ending coming half way through the book—and I don't just mean I knew that the two main characters were going to live happily ever after, either. The story was novel enough (pun intended) that I wasn't bored along the way, though. The imprint Twist is published under (Shomi) is all about Matrix-style romances, and this one fits the bill. The heroine uses a ninja sword! This book had great action, great romance, and great fantasy.
On a side note, I have recently discovered that I take great delight in matching authors (their books, not the actual people) with readers. There's something magical in finding a book for someone—it's like matchmaking on a totally nerdy level. (Though now I think I understand why people enjoy setting up others on dates.) Look for an updated "Recommended Authors" page on my website soon, in which I'll list all the authors I feel safe in recommending. And if you want a little help picking a new author from the list, I'd be delighted to make suggestions based on your tastes. Of course, I'll let you know when the page is up.