Saturday, July 07, 2012

Obsessed

Now that I've waded out from under (most) of the summer's workload, I have time to explore the shelves and discover new authors. Because I was a good scribe and got the work done first I think the Book Gods rewarded me by steering me to a number of great reads, beginning with Shawntelle Madison's impressive urban fantasy Coveted.

You know how often you want a well-written book with a great cast of characters and all the elemental perks but a different story line? Not the same old tired tried-and-true genre tropes but genuinely distinctive; something fresh and unique that reaffirms your faith in fiction? Add to that one which makes you happy about what's being written by the next generation of writers? This is one of those books.

To give you a little on the story: Natalya Stravinsky is a werewolf with two problems. One is Thorn, the son of the local pack leader, an old love who has recently come back to town and of whom great things are expected. Unfortunately getting involved with Natalya isn't one of them.

Natalya also has OCD. Please note, she doesn't have the shallow, occasionally mentioned, pretty, put-there-just-to-give-her-a-nice-flaw variety of OCD; this is the real deal. It's woven in her personality, it got her kicked out of her pack, it's filled her house with Christmas ornaments, and it's seriously screwing with her life. Natalya knows this, and she does want to do something about it. So she returns to group therapy with other extraordinary creatures -- among them, a succubus who can't get a date, a mermaid who's afraid of the sea, a giant-size dwarf, and a handsome hoarder of a wizard. The group is run by a therapist who is also a wizard capable of handling both his patients' special problems and providing ways for them find solutions. Only Natalya has a lot more to cope with than simply her disorder. Someone wants her dead.

Coveted is odd, funny, original and not at all what you'd expect. The writing is excellent, the characters come off so realistic they should have their own reality show, and the story is authentic and original (and I believe this is the author's debut novel, which makes it even more impressive.)

And as always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments to this post, name the last author or book you've read that kept you guessing (or if you can't think of any, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, June July 7th, 2012.* I'll chose three names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned copy of Coveted by Shawntelle Madison. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW in the past.

*Added to correct, and sorry about posting the wrong month. Apparently my head is still in June.

32 comments:

  1. I don't know if guessing is the right term, but God’s War by Kameron Hurley impressed me with its complexity woven in with characters I couldn't help but love.

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  2. The last book that really had me on edge was The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. I couldn't muster up that much excitement for the third installment in that series, but Strain is on my keeper shelf.

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  3. kept me guessing, lately? Nothing lately. None of the books I haven't listed before

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  4. That sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'd like to give it a try.

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  5. Margaret3:16 AM

    I love authors that keep me guessing -- Lilith Saintcrow is one that comes to mind for that trait, though I'm sure there are others. Thanks for having a contest!

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  6. Atropa3:21 AM

    This is me, tossing my name in. I haven't been able to read much lately (thanks to recently moving FAR out of walking distance from my library) and will take any opportunity to get a new good read. :)

    I just can't think of who's kept me guessing recently. I've read some good ones, but none that just totally blew my mind with a twist or anything.

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  7. One author that delighted me recently was Sylvain Reynard and his books Gabriel´s Inferno and Gabriel`s Rapture. So well written that made me sigh.

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  8. The last book that blew me away because it was different and unexpected was Hard Magic by Larry Correia. It's alternate history meets urban fantasy rolled up in a hard-boiled wrapper. And I'm not even doing it justice. It's just...wow.

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  9. I've enjoyed the twists that Gini Koch has given in her Alien series.

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  10. I think this book is available electronically from my local library, so please don't put me into the hat. I just had to say ... You had me at OCD. :D

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  11. clairecherven9:22 AM

    I'm getting better at the end result(without reading the last chapter before I start the book)so it's pretty hard to keep me guessing. So here's my name into your hat. Thanks.

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  12. Name in the hat - also -you mean July 7 perhaps?

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  13. #13 in the Dresden Files series -- Ghost Story. Actually I highly recommend the whole series, but that last one had me stumped until almost the very end about what had actually happened. Pretty impressive that a series still has me hooked after 13 books. Normally I burn out much sooner.

    Also, Ill Wind by Rachel Caine. It's the first in her Weather Warden series and I tried it on a whim because it sounded truly unique. And it was.

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  14. Just discovered Suzanne Brockmann. I like the way she weaves two romances, one in the past and one in the present, into one novel.

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  15. I'd have to say The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind.

    Coveted sounds really good!

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  16. Discovery of Witches, the first book in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness--which was an incredible read. Shadow of Night (book two) is out next week and I honestly can't begin to guess what's going to happen next!!

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  17. Oh, wow, must read this one! Alas, can't think of the last book that kept me guessing.

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  18. How about the last new book that I read that didn't get thrown across the room? (Low standards- I've got 'em.) That would be Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook.

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  19. Shizuka1:06 PM

    All of Gillian Flynn's books have left me in incredible suspense until the end.
    Her latest, GONE GIRL, is her best yet.

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  20. I have been reading and adoring the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. They are sweet and serious, funny, and the characters always come up with great roundabout solutions to their problems.

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  21. The last book that stirred my soul was non-fiction; Susan Cain's Quiet.

    This I'd read because I'm a little OCD and it be nice to see how it's handled here.

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  22. A book that had me on edge and guessing was Still Midnight by Denise Mina.

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  23. One that I recall is Turn of Mind. This author can write.

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  24. You've never suggested a book that I haven't liked. I still owe you for turning me on to Rob Thurman, Trick of the Light was wonderful.

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  25. I'm in the middle of reading Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island and it's keeping me guessing (and it will probably be keeping me up late tonight as I finish it).

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  26. Because I haven't been in the right headspace for anything out of the ordinary, I have been re-reading some of my old favorites. Which made me hungry for really good books that will become old re-readable favorites.
    So, I opened Endless Blue by Wen Spencer, and am still trying to figure out what I think of it. It was strange, and odd, and made me want to read other Wen Spencer books. But, happy day, Elfhome is now available!!!!!

    Wen Spencer's plots are so hard to describe, but so very readable.

    Teresa C

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  27. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Tossing name into hat.

    Sari from Michigan

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  28. COVETED is on my "wish list."

    Kept me guessing? I'd have to say THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda. Excellent book.

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  29. You can count me out because I already have it. I can't wait for the next book to come out. I loved it all and want more. :)

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  30. kathybaug10:03 PM

    Eileen Wilks last book in her Lupi Series, Death Magic had a twist in it that literally had my mouth dropping open. This is an excellent series, but you do need to read it in order, to understand her Lupi world.

    Thanks for the contest. Coveted sounds really interesting.

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  31. I started reading No One Heard Her Scream by Jordan Dane and couldn't put it down. I stayed up til 3a on a work night just to find out what happened.

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  32. A book that got to me was The Witness by Nora Roberts; you didn't have to guess what would happen but it stirred you emotionally in a way I couldn't even try to explain, it was simply said awesome!!!

    dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

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