Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

Well, maybe not everything, but the three books I've read since I last posted are fairly diverse. There was a fantasy noir, a contemporary romance, and a middle reader fantasy. Hmmm....I guess they were all fantasy novels to some extent.

'Low Town' by Daniel Polansky is a gritty cross between a fantasy novel set in a pre-Industrial, faux-European world and a classic detective novel. It's set in a land totally devoid of technology but full of magic. The protagonist is a former cop, now drug dealer, who begins investigating the disappearances and murders of several children in his neighborhood. Of course, his former colleagues don't want him anywhere near the case, but he's not so easily dissuaded. Along with the standard fantasy novel trappings of wise men and wizards-gone-wrong, there are also healthy sprinklings of Chandler and even Lovecraft, making this a novel that spans genres.

I have admitted elsewhere in the past to being an unabashed Jill Shalvis fangirl and 'Animal Magnetism' was a strong reminder of why. Her heroes are strong alphas who never cross the line into being "alpholes". Her heroines are not idealized "stick insects" with Mensa IQs. (Though they usually are pretty damned smart and the heroes always find them incredibly sexy, even in their grungiest clothes and covered in muck.) There are communication issues, but not ones so large that they threaten to completely derail the relationship. And, the sex is always mind-bendingly hot. Add in a gaggle of cute, abandoned, and occasionally damaged animals, and you have a real winner of a Romance.

And, finally, for pure escapist fun, there's Eva Ibbotson's 'The Secret of Platform 13'. Although I've read a number of Ms. Ibbotson's romance novels--which were originally published for adults, but later marketed to teen readers--I had somehow never managed to pick up one of the number of fantasy novels she had penned for younger readers.I'm so very glad to have finally rectified that situation. I love folk and fairy tales, and 'Platform 13' had so many of the elements that draw me to those old stories: strange creatures, secret royals, kidnapped babies, a secret entrance to a magical world, a clever heroine, etc., etc. This would make a great read-aloud for anyone who needs to keep a child (or children) entertained for an afternoon. Or, just the perfect novel for the book-loving child you used to be to curl up with on a rainy evening.

And, lest you think I never read beyond genre fiction, the book I'm reading right now is pure Book Club Bait. So far, it isn't too precious, but I'll let you know more tomorrow.

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