Category Archives: Book Chat

Talking Books with Nell part 4

Science Fiction is a broad term.  I just learned that urban fantasy is included science fiction.  Can you imagine? All these years I avoided the Science Fiction category at the bookstore when I really shouldn’t have.  I was being biased.  I was thinking Science fiction is strictly about aliens.  Not.  Fantasy can be included in science fiction or it science fiction can be included in fantasy.  However you want to classify it.  Urban fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, mythological – all can be associated with science fiction.  This is just one example why no one can agree.  Which came first? Fantasy or science fiction?  I’d say fantasy, but then someone else would debate a good point of view that could easily change my mind.

The mystery category is another favorite.  You have your thrillers, police procedurals, noir, detective, cozy and the list goes on.  I tried nearly all mystery classifications.  There are mysteries that cross genre lines just like science fiction crosses genre lines too.  Cozy mysteries are gentle mysteries with no graphic sex or violence and usually has a female protagonist that leads the investigation and she’s most likely not a professional police person. For example, I love this cozy mystery featuring a ghost detective.   Aunt Dimity’s series by Nancy Atherton is pretty awesome.  This series was published back when there were no electronic books (1993), so that series was a treasure to find when I could find it.  I tried Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye Mystery by Victoria Laurie and loved it. She published in 2004 and is still going strong in 2017 with the release of book #15.  There are a ton of cozies out there and they are easy to read.  No mystifying symbolism or cryptic puzzles – just a relaxing escape whodunnit.

Thrillers are a little harder on the nerves.  Someone is after someone else and I can always hear the footsteps behind me.  An example of a thriller series is James Patterson‘s Alex Cross series. Or in Mr. Patterson’s poker playing buddy, Richard Castle‘s protagonist, Nikki Heat. Or Dean Koontz. In my opinion, Thriller and Suspense are sort of the same.  Kind of.  Suspense to me is when the detective gathers the group of suspects in a room and susses out the killer.  Like Agatha Christie does in her books.  Or Rex Stout with Nero Wolfe. Thriller or Psychological Thriller is more like Thomas Harris and the Hannibal Lecter series. *shiver* Those are the stories that I stay so far away from they could qualify as in a different hemisphere.  Seriously, they don’t call me Nervous Nellie for no good reason.

Police Procedurals are focused on an investigation and the story is told from the detective inside the investigation.  An example of thatcould be Max Allen Collins‘s CSI: Mortal Wounds.  These books are told from the viewpoint of the actual CSI: Las Vegas characters.  I devoured these books.  Mystery books have always been my favorite.  I started in the cozy section and gradually got more hard core-if you can call J.D. Robb‘s IN Death series hard core.  Or maybe Kathy Reichs character Temperance Brennan series.

One of my favorite series totally crossed all genre lines.  It was written by Justin Gustanis and the series is Occult Crimes Unit Investigations.  Also, the Anya Kalinczyk series by Laura Bickle was another series that did not get a fair run. Another one is the Mindspace Investigations by Alex Hughes.  The publisher cut that one off much to my dismay.  It’s just not right.

I mentioned hard core a couple of paragraphs ago – actually, it’s called Hard Boiled.  I like these too.  This genre crosses lines of urban fantasy and science fiction. Hard Boiled is exactly what it sounds like.  There is no cozy about it.  The protagonist is most likely cynical, grumpy and…well…hard boiled.  I like reading these types of stories because the characters are bad ass.  For instance, Steven McHugh publishes the Hellequin ChroniclesRichard Kadrey publishes Sandman Slim. Sean Cummings put Tim Reaper out there too.

Join me next time for more “Talking Books with Nell”.

 

 

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 7/16/2017

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Sorry I have been MIA for the last couple of weeks.  I am having a family crisis and you all know when that happens all other things fall away.  Anyway, I don’t have much news for you today, but here’s what I do have:

  • New release from Melissa Olson scheduled on July 25, 2017.  If you haven’t ever checked out Scarlett Bernard, now is a good time to get started.  It’s a great series and easy to get lost in.

Title:  Blood Gamble
Author: Melissa Olson
Series: Disrupted Magic #2
Publisher’s Description:  If there is one city that Scarlett Bernard hates, it’s Las Vegas. But when the cardinal vampire of Los Angeles convinces her to go investigate a new vampire-themed stage show, Scarlett quickly finds herself shoulder-deep in sequins, slot machines, and Old World intrigue.

The show’s creators are vampire celebrities Arthur and Lucy Holmwood, who once inspired characters from the original Dracula. Now, however, they have no qualms about announcing their true status to the human world, endangering the secrecy of the Old World and Scarlett’s mission to keep it hidden.

But before she can begin untangling the Holmwoods’ motives, Scarlett also discovers that their new production has attracted more than just fans: Las Vegas’s many vampires are suddenly disappearing, and rumors are flying that actual vampire hunters may have followed Arthur and Lucy to town.

Now, without her allies, her bargest, or her frequent partner Jesse Cruz, Scarlett must navigate a new underworld of secrets and murders in a city where nothing is ever as it seems. And the stakes have never been higher.

Now, if anyone is concerned about running out of Scarlett Bernard books to read, do not fear – also, if you haven’t checked out the Boundary Magic series – that’s another one that really needs a look.  Here’s what Melissa said regarding a question asked if there would be more Scarlett Bernard books:

Yep! I’m doing the third Boundary Magic book right now, and then I’m writing a new Scarlett. No title yet, but it’ll have to do with the Vampire Trials that I hinted about in the first trilogy.

  • I know this is old (October 2015) but Jim Butcher lovers out there may not have seen this interview.  Jim talks about all of his books-Harry Dresden and the others.  Check out the interview.

That’s all I got this week.  I’m hopeful that the family crisis turns out well so I can return to writing on a more regular basis.  Sorry for the hit and miss.

Nell

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Talking Books with Nell part 3

 

Welcome to another Talking Books with Nell.  This week I’d like to talk about some other genres.

When I first started reading, I didn’t know what genre I liked.  I tried classical fiction, historical/biographical non fiction, fantasy, true crime non fiction, romance (any kind) and thrillers. I tried science fiction. I tried mystery. I tried horror and I tried chick lit.  Over the years I figured out that I like most of those genres but my favorite is urban fantasy.

Classical Fiction is classified as great works of literature which have lasted through the ages.  Here is a list of classics put together by Modern Library.  Some folks may look down on me when I say this, but I really hated reading classics.  I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Hated it.  I read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  Hated it.  I read Call of the Wild by Jack London.  It was okay but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it again.  Why didn’t I like them?  I’ll tell you why.  They each have heartache, tragedy and sorrow.  Now, I’m sure I’m dwelling on the negatives, but to me, reading should be fun.  Those stories were not fun.  Truth be told, I thought for the longest time that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t love these classics.  I figured out later that they just weren’t my cup of tea. Another genre that falls into this category is chick lit.  Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships – via Goodreads.  Nah, I’d prefer things a little darker and more paranormal, thanks.

Historical/Biographical non fiction is a fantastic genre.  I read about a lot of great leaders in history.  I also read about quite a few notorious serial killers. I read about the old west and the characters that built it.  I read about the Trail of Tears and hated that something like that happened.  I read about John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Charles Manson, Queen Mary, and Hitler. I read about World War 1, 2, Korea and Vietnam. History is an ever changing thing.  You may think that history is written down and that’s the way it is.  Well, it’s not.  Artifacts, ideations, written words – all these things are being discovered every day.  Academics that are not afraid to rock the boat are releasing their theories by testing all sorts of science.  Just last December all the major news sources ran the story about dinosaur feathers found trapped in amber.  (See National Geographic’s article) In my opinion, a person has to keep an open mind and keep reading because once learning stops then questions stop.

Here is where I contradict myself.  Learning about history and the lives of great leaders and events is something I love, but reading about non fiction regarding someone’s true life story is where I stop.  I understand the things that don’t kill you make you stronger.  Cancer, death, mental instability, true crime, identity crisis, survival, tragedy – all these things and more would be great resources for learning, but I won’t read about them.  I suppose it’s because I can relate to these people but not the big names in history.

 

Check next week for more discussion in Talking Books with Nell and continuing about different genres.

 

 

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 6/24/17

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

  • One of my favorite authors is on vacation.  Not my kind of vacation, mind you.  Here is what Brad Magnarella has to say:

I’m going to be AWOL for the next month as I hike across Colorado

I would prefer to drive, but everyone has a different take on life.  Thank goodness.  Anyway, coming up soon will be the review of Death Mage by Brad Magnarella.  He also has an announcement out there that sometime late July early August the audio of Death Mage will be out.  If you haven’t heard his audios, take a break and get it.  It is narrated very well and it will be a trip worth taking!  Also, Brad announced that there sometime in September – he will write in a multi-urban fantasy author anthology and  Prof Croft will be up for another adventure.  Lastly, Brad Magnarella is working on a new series.  GASP! Now, hold on…it will be a new character but Prof Croft will not be left behind.  He will take a break from his busy life to make an appearance.  This will hopefully be happening sometime in October.

 

 

  • Ever hear about Samantha Moon?  No?  Well, you are missing out.  Samantha Moon is a regular suburban mom with a kid and a husband.  A nice house and she’s also a vampire.  It makes it kinda hard to watch your kid play baseball during the summer, but Samantha handles it all…until…well, get the books and find out.  She is written by J.R. Rain and with a vampire on the job, who needs anyone else?

Check it out – the first 8 Samantha Moon books are on sale for 99 cents.  No…wait! Not 99 cents each – 99 cents for ALL OF THEM.  Be sure you hop over within the next couple of days because the deal will be done shortly.

 

 

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Talking Books with Nell part 2

I used to be an avid reader of the 200 page red cover Harlequin romance.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I liked them because I could read them in an evening.  If I was in a melancholy mood because of something that happened…or did not happen, those Harlequin romances could trigger a response that would help purge that feeling.  I kept a stash of my favorite books that had the best endings and sometimes I’d just read the last 4 or 5 chapters before being done for the day.  That little bit of Happily Ever After was enough.

Why do I have to have a Happily Ever After?  Because sometimes the real world really sucks.   It’s all fantasy, you say?  Yeah.  So what?  It’s suspension of disbelief.  Walt Disney used it and built huge worlds around it.  It’s a ‘feel good’ thing.  Romance makes me feel good but Horror that scares the ever livin’ daylights out of a person may make someone else absolutely giddy.  I like horror to an extent, but again, that’s a conversation for another day.

Happily Ever After, or HEA for those of you in the know, are easier to come by now than they used to be.  In the non electronics day, one read the back cover and hoped for the best.  As I said, you could about guarantee the red cover Harlequins would be a safe bet.  With the advancement of the Internet (thank the powers), there are book reviews at the beck and call of a google search.  Also, often the authors will write whether it’s a HEA.  I like those authors.  They are the white hats among us Nervous Nellies.

Now, a person might get pulled in by some books that are labelled as a Romance but actually are not purely romance.  What?? I know it’s a confusing thing, but in the Romance category there are those called Urban Fantasy.  I know those are not always HEA, but hopefully by the end of the series it ends in HEA.  Urban Fantasy may have a strong romance element but most don’t. They will have a kick ass hero or heroine that totally wallops the bad guy in a city type setting.  Urban Fantasy tales are my favorite.

Examples of Urban Fantasy are:  Jenn Stark‘s Immortal Vegas where the heroine is a tarot card reader and a thief of magical artifacts – kind of a Indiana Jones but without the college professor label.  Patricia Brigg‘s Mercy Thompson series involves shifters.  Shifters are men and women that can change into wolves, dragons, tigers, or in Mercy’s case – a coyote.  9 times out of 10 the shifter will be a predator of a sort.  I’ve never seen a werebunny outside of Monty Python.  Another favorite of mine is the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  This series was made into an HBO series.  The books were better.  🙂  Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress that gets involved in vampire and shifter politics.  It’s not boring politics either.  If you know vampires and shifters, you know it won’t be boring.

All three of those recommendations have strong female leads, but there are male leads in Urban Fantasy too.  Check next week for more discussion in Talking Books with Nell.

 

 

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