July was the busiest month of the 2014 so far. Between launching a new website for the day job, hanging out signing Chase Duffy comics at the Calgary Stampede for 10 days on behalf of the Alberta Canola Producers' Commission, and completing revisions for several projects, including my 2015 Fall release from Simon Pulse, reading took a serious back seat to...well, pretty much everything.
But as I gear up for a much-needed and highly-anticipated vacation in BC, I'm packing a pile of TBR books that have been neglected for so long they're * gasp * collecting dust.
Excuses aside, I did manage to speed through two novels this month, admittedly because fire breathing dragons couldn't have kept me away from new releases by Maggie Stiefvater and Chelsea Cain — two of my writing idols and favourite authors.
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Isabelle and Cole.
Need I say more?
Okay. Maybe a little more.
I fell in love with Cole a few books back, and while SINNER is not part of the SHIVER, LINGER, FOREVER trilogy, it is set in the same world. I loved those books and those characters but...I've always wanted MORE Cole, the rocker, bad-boy werewolf — oy, who wouldn't?
I loved everything about SINNER, from the brilliant writing, to the build-up romance between Cole and Isabelle, to the amazing ending. But I admit, I kinda want more Cole. I MAY have read this a little too fast.
You don't have to read the other books before tackling SINNER if you're new to this world, but I'd advise it...the more Cole the better. Trust me ;-)
Author: Chelsea Cain
I read Chelsea Cain's book HEARTSICK once a year, without fail. And every time I read it, I learn something new about writing. It's not because her craft is impeccable (though, it's pretty damn close), but Cain creates kick-ass characters that trigger real emotional responses — admittedly, most of the time, fear. (She writes some scary stuff.)
I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a bit obsessed with Gretchen Lowell, the beautiful, but deadly, serial killer in Cain's HEARTSICK novels. With Gretchen, Cain pretty much wrote the book on creating evil characters that people can sympathize with — Gretchen has a real-life cult following. (I own a RUN GRETCHEN T-shirt!)
ONE KICK is not HEARTSICK and Kick Lannigan is not Gretchen Lowell, but it doesn't matter, because Cain kicks off her new series with a powerful first book. Kick is kick-ass — truly. At 21, she's like a ninja master (she even knows how to use throwing stars!) Sadly, the necessity for this stems from her tragic backstory. Kick was kidnapped at the age of 6 and forced into a child pornography ring. Rescued at 12, Kick vowed to never be a victim again.
If the topic makes you queasy, rest assured, Kick's story is one of survival and any child pornography references are implied. Despite Kick's tragic past, she emerges as a credible crusader for abducted youth.
While the macabre is dialled WAY down from the HEARTSICK books, Cain still delivers a nail-biting story with deeply flawed characters that will keep you turning pages well into the night.