On the Shelf: Reading for Fun

This past weekend, the walls finally started to close in just a little too tightly in the RV… So, instead of breaking out the stack of business books like I had planned, I dove into some fiction reading to give my brain a break.

And a break, indeed, I needed. I’ve been having trouble sleeping. I used to be able to take two melatonin chews and conk out for the night. But lately, nope, I’ll take them, conk out for two or three hours, and then be up for the rest of the night. I know this is a combo of stress (still haven’t closed on the house!), cabin fever (we’ve got one car), start of a virtual school year (online Kindergarten, what even is that?), and anthology prep and all that THAT entails. Whee.

We did get out and about on Saturday, loading up the kids and the masks and the hand sanitizer for a little ride in the Jeep. We hit Target, then sat in the car while my spouse ran into Lowe’s, and then over to Barnes & Noble for some book basking. While we were waiting in line, however, I got a phone call from the campsite asking what kind of dog we had. When I told him we had a Basset hound, the gentleman informed me that the RV door was open, and while one dog was inside barking, our Basset, Captain, had gone for a jaunt around the neighborhood. Luckily, they picked him up and were holding him at the office for us. They were even super nice about it. Still … it added a note of stress onto a day that was supposed to be a de-stress.

a basset hound taking a nap

Captain Morgan, hanging out in the RV, plotting his next escape…

Anyway, thank goodness for books. In between finishing up the formatting for Stories We Tell After Midnight 2 and working on Winter Run, I read a few books just for fun. And started two more for professional development (still reading those, though, so I’ll put ’em on next week’s On the Shelf.

Monster Mash (Spells, Salt, & Steel #6) by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin

There’s not much I like better than a good ol’ science meets the supernatural set up wherein something is happening to creatures/cryptids, and our hero has to investigate and stop the dastardly (and probably IRB-violating) shenanigans. I picked this book up because someone on my FB list shared it when it was a $0.99 deal on Kindle, and then I read the whole thing and kept hitting next because I was like, come on! I want more book! I really enjoy the main character and the ensemble he’s gathered around him, although since it’s book six in the series, some of them were introduced with a bit of shorthand. I wanted to spend a little more time getting to know them… which means I’m going to have to go get books one through five, oh darn. Anyway, if you’re up for some creature feature urban fantasy (and I mean, who isn’t?), then definitely pick this one up for some fun reading.

The Wolf’s Shadow: Book One of the She-Wolf Saga by K.W. Kenny

This is another book that came across my FB feed as a $0.99 deal (I love those so much, especially to try out new authors and titles!) At first, I wasn’t sure if it was historical or historical fantasy, but a few chapters in, I would place it in the latter. A woman druid is captured during battle by members of a horse tribe. She is treated with honor as a seer, but it doesn’t stop her captors from moving against her people and their allies. I’m not super into the whole “falling into bed with one’s captor” trope, but in this setting it made sense–she was doing what she needed to survive, and that can lead to some tough decisions. By the end of the book, I was fully invested in Briga’s story, as well as the other main characters, to the point that when it ended on a big old cliffhanger, I was like–where are the other books in the series??? (Spoiler alert: There are none…yet!) Anyway, if you like stories like The Last Kingdom, or shows like Vikings, then you’ll probably really enjoy this and should pick up a copy.

The Edge by Tim Lebbon

When I picked this book up in the Barnes & Noble trip I talk about up top, I didn’t look closely enough and it turned out to be (yet again) a book in a series… I really have to pay more attention to that. This one turned out to be the sequel to a book called “The Folded Land” (as best as I can tell?) I had read Lebbon’s Coldbrook, which was a terrific running zombies tale, and when I found this in the horror section I thought I’d give it a chance. I don’t know if I would really classify it as horror–more like urban fantasy with a grittiness to it–but I enjoyed it nonetheless. In this world, fae creatures are hidden from humans, except for one town where, again, science has been colliding with the supernatural and created a plague that affects the fae. At the beginning of the book, this town is wiped from the map. The town’s resurfacing then becomes part of a larger story that deals with characters who are trying to keep information of the fae away from humans, and fae characters who are trying to start something called the Ascent, where they come out of the shadows and take over. There are dark shadows everywhere in this novel, and I can see why it got put in the horror section, but if you like urban fantasy, and stories where the fae aren’t so friendly, I’d recommend checking this one out. Although, maybe start with The Folded Land, which comes first.

Anyway, that’s the fiction I was reading to relax this week. What are you reading? Anything good? Any recommendations?

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