Thursday, July 16, 2009

Belated Acknowledgments

It occurred to me a few days ago that I've been receiving ARCs (advanced reading copies) of several novels in the past two or three months, none of which I've mentioned on my blog. This wasn't because the books weren't good. It was simply because these books have the misfortune of not fitting into the reading requirements I've felt lately (mainly lighthearted and fanciful). Nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to reading these novels, all by new-to-me authors, but I have to wait until I'm in the right mood, lest I not give them their due credit.

In no particular order:

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a historical drama that blends modern-day graduate student Connie's life with that of her ancestors, and Connie learns that there's a possibility that all those tales of witches weren't made up. Two things drew me to this book: the witches, and the fact that Katherine Howe wrote it for National Novel Writing Month, something I've participated in two years in a row, and the reason I now have two full Madison novels to edit. (Since I can't offer my opinion yet, I can offer my mom's, who read the book and enjoyed it.)

The Invention of Everything Else is also a drama, this one about Louisa and her relationship with Nikola Tesla, the inventor, and, if I'm reading the back of the book right, about Louisa's own journey of self-discovery through the bond she forms with this visionary genius. When I first saw the title, I really hoped that it was nonfiction. I have a fascination with people who create real, touchable things out of their imagination. As real as my stories are to me (and as real as other people's stories are to me), they're still not physically tangible. When I discovered that it was a fiction novel, the book lost none of its appeal.

The Lost Throne has all the appeal of The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones combined in a "action-packed, thrilling novel" about a top-secret elite soldiers-turned-citizens who must recover a lost treasure before it can be destroyed by those who seek to protect it from being discovered. Really, need I say more? I've not read Chris Kuzneski's other novels (Sword of God or Sign of the Cross), but I'm hoping that this will be my gateway book to a whole new author.

Die For You cuts really close to my romance/thriller threshold, but just reading the back flap still gets me excited to read the novel, which is why it's still in my to-be-read pile. Isabel's husband disappears, and from there, it's a string of escalating surrealism for Isabel: the police are of no help; she searches her husbands place of work, only to be knocked unconscious during an FBI raid on the place; all her husband's coworkers are found dead; Isabel's money mysteriously vanishes from her accounts; and finally the man who she thought she loved has been dead for years, and she's been married to a complete stranger. That's a lot to give away on the back of a novel, which hints that there's going to be a lot more story inside. (My mom also read this novel and confirmed that it's a good read. She also allayed my fears that it would be too scary.)

I was drawn to Sacred Hearts strictly by the portrayal of the protagonist in the novel's description. The story is set in the sixteenth century, in a convent, which is far from my usual happy novel place. The main character, Serafina (great name, right?) is "willful, emotional," and furious for being sent to a convent, and her rebellious spirit rabble-rouses from within the convent walls. I love a strong female protagonist, especially one that finds her true self from amidst her more violent emotions. I like the exploration of the rawer side of women, something that doesn't happen in the romances I typically read (though I'll occasionally come across it in fantasy novels).

As you can see, all these novels sound like great reads, but not necessarily light reads. And I've waited so long to mention them that I believe they're all out in your local bookstores, so check them out.

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