Saturday, August 21, 2010

Series Highlights

I’m in the middle of several books right now, so I don’t have a review to post. Rather than leave you in a lurch I’ve put together a list of some great series that I’ve recently read (and plan to keep reading!).  They aren’t necessarily literary, but they will keep you glued to the pages and checking Amazon to see when the next book is due out.  

Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate Series
A thoroughly enjoyable romp in an alternate steampunk Victorian England, one in which the Queen has both a werewolf and vampire advisor. Alexia Tarabotti is a sassy, intelligent, and hard-headed heroine from the upper crust of London society who also happens to be soulless. She is one of those terrific heroines who always manages to find herself in the middle of trouble and excitement.  I can’t wait to read Blameless on September 1st! 

Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files 
I am both bummed and extremely grateful I’m not a member of the dysfunctional, but highly entertaining Spellman family.  Yes, they’re a family running a private detective agency in San Francisco, which can be exciting.  But, they use some questionable sleuthing techniques on each other, which is not exactly conducive to healthy family boundaries.  This is especially true for main character, Izzy Spellman.  This P.I. is in her late twenties, has terrible taste in men, and a slight drinking problem.  She’s also a kick-ass detective and tough-as-nails heroine in her own right.  There’s never a dull moment with the Spellman family and Lutz creates compelling mysteries to pair with their antics. 

Connie Willis’ Blackout 
I read the first book in the series, Blackout, and it’s a rollicking story set in 2060 about historian time travelers on individual assignments in World War II-era Great Britain.  Their stories are interwoven as one-by-one, the historian’s access back to the future fails.  They each set out on a journey to find each other in the hopes of using alternate “drop points” home, unaware that all the drop points have failed.  As a reader, it was incredible to land in the middle of Great Britain during World War II.  It’s clear Willis has done an amazing job of researching everything - from the types of stockings women would be wearing, what the people of London did during those long hours in bomb shelters, and, literally, where the bombs landed.  This is a great series for science fiction lovers, as well as historical fiction fans.  I have a feeling this series is going to get better and better with each book. 

Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries 
You might know this series by a different name - the Sookie Stackhouse books or the True Blood series.  Before True Blood was a hit on HBO it  was a tremendously popular series of books about a mind reading waitress in small-town Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse.  While you may be a fan of the show, let me assure you that the books are a bit different in terms of characters and the direction of the plot.  Let me also promise you that they just as fun, completely over-the-top, and just plain sexy as True Blood.  I devoured the entire series in a few weeks this summer (seriously) because I really needed a mental break from some more literary books I had been reading and, well, it’s summer and summer reading should be a little frivolous.  Don’t let your vampire fatigue keep you away from this series.  You won’t regret picking them up.

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