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One advantage of being unemployed, I have plenty of time to catch up on all the books I’d been wanting to read. I read 1-3 books a day on average right now. Okay, clearly not reading War and Peace, but really, who’s actually slogged their way through that book anyway? My guess is anyone who’s said they’ve read it is lying.

Anyway.

This week, with the rain & cold, I’ve pushed through quite a few books. Here’s a recap of 3, what I recommend & why.*

1) Fantasy In Death by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) FantasyinDeath_FINAL
The In Death series combines the good ole murder mystery with sci-fi futurism and features Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPSD (New York Police and Security Department). The series is set in New York City starting in 2059. Fantasy is the 30th book in the series (yep, J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts is crankin’ out the books). In addition to the 30 full-length novels, the series also includes 7 short stories and a modern-day “prequel.”

Fantasy finds us in the summer of 2060. Bart Minnock, an e-geek, founder of a gaming company & genuinely nice guy, is found beheaded inside a locked & highly secure play room while playing a game currently in development. Dallas & her team are stumped on the why and the who, as they find that everyone liked the guy, including her husband Roarke, who also happens to be a competitor of the geek’s company.

Who should read: first and foremost, anyone who loves murder mysteries. As Dallas restates through the series, murder is the oldest crime and somethings never change, even in the futuristic world of 2060 with holograms, droids, flying cars, and a life expectancy of 150.

The catch: if you don’t like futuristic novels, then this isn’t for you. Me, I geek out on the thoughts of what might be in 10, 15 or 40 years. Personally, I still feel gypped that here in 2011, we can’t even get a food replicator like in Star Trek or flying cars like the Jetsons. But Eve’s world brings excitement in technological possibilities – what seems like magic today, may be the reality tomorrow. So, if you dislike technology and its potential advances, don’t bother.

Why I like it: I really like the characters, especially Dallas. While you can pick up any book in the series and get what’s going on, there’s the benefit of really understanding the characters when reading it in order. Dallas has a tragic past, which is what makes her such a great cop (think a Sherlock-esque type with boobs). But she gets queasy at the thought of “girly” things and is confused & frustrated by social relationships.

Overall, a solid series. Unfortunately for me, #31 is new and there’s a long waiting list on PaperBackSwap.

2) What’s A Ghoul To Do by Victoria Laurie
198_G1Book one of the Ghost Hunter Mysteries. Another mystery, but this time the mystery revolves around ghosts. M.J. Holliday is a medium turned ghostbuster, meaning she can sense energies of those who have crossed over, as well as those who are stuck (i.e., ghosties). Book one introduces us to M.J., her business parter and long-time friend Gilley Gillespie, the hotly handsome client Dr. Steven Sable, and Doc, M.J.’s African Gray parrot. The mystery surrounds Dr. Sable’s grandfather and his apparent suicide at his lodge where strange things keep happening. It’s up to M.J. and Gil to find out what happened.

Who should read: fans of paranormal/urban fantasy (I’ll post later about the problem with these genre titles). Basically, if you like ghosties and mysteries, then this series is for you.

Why I like it: For one, I love the title. Cheesy play on words always make me giggle. That and I really liked the cover art. I know, I know. Don’t just a book by its cover. But I do. So does everyone. I just don’t always let it sway me. But seriously, Laurie has a solid writing style. The characters are believable, and I like a female lead who isn’t too wishy-washy. While M.J. has her fretful “oh my what to do” kind of moments, she’s balanced with the “I know exactly what I’m doing.” I dislike females who are too wimpy.

3) Blow Me Down by Katie MacAlister blowmedown-200x300
A stand-alone novel that focuses on Amy Stewart and Corbin Monroe. Amy is the typical single mom workaholic, who’s also a bit of a control freak, although she calls it organized. Corbin is the creator of a virtual reality (VR) game called Buckling Swashes. Amy’s daughter high school daughter Tara guilts her into trying out the VR game. As a result, Amy becomes “stuck” in the VR world, with Corbin, and they have to figure out a way to “escape.”

Who should read: those who enjoy an easy & predictable chick-lit romance story with a bit of adventure on the side.

Why I like it: I’m about 50-50 on MacAlister’s books. I don’t hate any of them. But some of the female leads irritate me – wimpy in that “I think these things about hunky male and what I think is wrong, but I’m not going to say anything and end up in a mess because what I think is wrong, which leads me to act wrong.” (Yes, I realize that sentence = terrible grammar and is a terrific run-on.) But in this book, Amy has some gusto – she’s not one to just “let” things happen to her and takes an active approach to getting out of a jam. Plus, she pretty much says what’s on her mind. I dig that. Yet, Corbin is not MacAlister’s hottest male lead. Many of her other books, the male leads sizzle with sexy goodness. Corbin’s more … well, more real, I guess. He’s more like a normal kind of guy, with the exception of being somewhat rich and owning his own game company. But overall, a good, albeit easy, read.

So take your pick. And enjoy reading!

Coming Up in future posts:

  • good websites for book lovers
  • the genre war
  • geek tweeting

*Click on the book’s photo to link to the author’s website.