Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whatcha readin'?

by Cara McKenna

I've had a crazy June so far, writing-wise. May I vent? Why thank you!

In the past two weeks I've accepted a new erotica contract with Ellora's Cave, added a whole new genre to my repertoire with my first romance novel sale to Samhain, lived through another release day, fielded edits and paperwork on four contracted novellas, redesigned my website, and received a completely unexpected and terrifying phone call which may or may not equal an opportunity too exciting to even mention by name, lest I jinx it.


So needless to say, I'm surrounded by books-to-be, and by books-which-may-one-day-be. Let's get away from that and talk about books that actually exist, now! What's everybody reading? What's on your summer to-read list? I don't care if it's erotica or romance or a tractor manual or the back of a box of cereal, so long as I don't have to edit it.

Oh and if anybody else is on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend and I promise I'll follow you back…unless you're a spambot. Sorry, spambots.

Anyhow, I'll start. I tend to stray outside my own genre quite a bit, reading only a couple eroticas and romances a month, the rest a grab-bag. My head's so full of passion and conflict and longing from writing the stuff, I need to venture out into the larger literary world and refresh my brain with change. Our genres aren't stale, but my skull is when I forget to air it out.

A couple weeks ago I finally read a book I've been meaning to for years—Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. So good, so gruesome. I rather unwisely followed it by reading The Lovely Bones, (a couple years after everybody else on Earth read it, but oh well). Two books about brutal murders back to back wasn't the most cheerful of decisions, but my GOD, Alice Sebold is such an awesome writer. If you're one of the three people on the planet who still who haven't read The Lovely Bones, I can't recommend it enough. Funny and heartbreaking and frank and beautiful, everything I want in a book.

Most recently I finished a memoir by Nancy Makin, called 703. It was all about the author's descent into depression and rise to 703 pounds, and how she survived it all. Really enjoyable—very candid and uplifting, not sensationalist, or a how-to diet book disguised as a memoir. Just a real person's fascinating story.

Next up on my bedside pile is Chuck Palahniuk's Pygmy. Oh, Chuck, I just can't quit you. I don't always love his books, but neither can I seem to stay away from them. I always want to see how he's going to surprise me this time. When I'm done with that I want to read a book my husband took out—The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. It's a nonfiction title about how the internet has affected our brains, our attention spans, the way we process information. I love stuff like that—books and documentaries about how the media is melting our kids' heads, about how industrialized food production is making us all obese, how celebrity obsession has robbed humanity of its sense of personal value and spirituality…my own little slow-motion Apocalypse. Morbid? Glib? Disheartening? Awesome. Send it my way.

So how about you all? What are you reading, what did you just finish, what's on your summer reading list? Also, where are you reading? Beach chair, recliner, porch swing, bath tub, sitting in the car, waiting to pick up the kid / husband / parent / dog? And why are you reading? For research, escape, relaxation, homework? To stay up to date with the newest releases? If it's about reading, tell me!


Ashlyn Chase said...

Hey Cara!

First of all, congratulations on all the career madness! That's what success feels like sometimes, huh? LOL. A good way to go crazy if ever there was one.

I saw The Lovely Bones in our home theater last night. Awesome movie! Because of the cinematography, it may be better than the book. But having not read that one, maybe not. Books are usually better. Sometimes the casting, setting or acting are so superior that it dwarfs the book--like in The English Patient.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'm reading Desiree Holt's Do You Trust Me in paperback. I have a Harlequin free book on my iPod but can't remember the name of it at the moment. (All their titles sound alike. Sorry, HQN.)

I don't have a lot of time to read, but when I sit down with a book like Ruin Me by Cara McKenna, I make time. Awesome read! I was thoroughly captivated. But, I may have already mentioned that once or twice. (Take THAT non fans of the genre!)


Cara McKenna said...

[in the speedy drug-side-effect warning ad-guy's voice]

Ashlyn Chase has not been compensated for her insanely kind endorsement of the blogger's work.

Wynter Daniels said...

Wow - you've been a busy girl. Congrats on the contract.
I am finishing up a Desire book - The Last Lone Wolf my Maureen Child, which is very good.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cara-
Great to hear on new books from you. YAY! *passes the chocolate to Cara*

Ok for myself I read a wide variety from e-books (Heart of Submission by Clare Thompson right now) to the Black Dagger Brotherhood I am reading right now. I am the type of person who has to read the whole series in order before I pick up the latest book. Right now I am reading Dark Lover. Just finished Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur. Awesome!

So many books, so little time to read them all. :(

Dawn R.
LRC Loop Owner

Cara McKenna said...

[furiously jotting down recommendations]

Cara McKenna said...

Has anybody read a really good, steamy historical romance lately? Non-regency? I could go for one of those, perhaps with a broody, damaged hero, nonconventional heroine, hot hot love scenes à la Kresley Cole?

Penelope said...

Great sexy historical is To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth's got a really broody, damaged hero (and very sexy, thanks to EH's incredible writing ability)...I loved the heroine, too, and the sex scenes are delicious. Hoyt is one of the best historical writers for combining really naughty sex scenes in a historical setting...fabulous! I just loaned this book to a non-romance reader and she LOVED it!

I am totally excited for Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage, which is coming out July 7. I'll be reading it under a big umbrella by the pool. Yay for summer! (Speaking of that, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie has another hot, sexy, damaged hero...that book is ridiculously good....I highly recommend it!).

Cara McKenna said...

Ooh, that Hoyt sounds perfect! Thanks, Penny. I'll have to check if my library's got it…

Savannah Stuart said...

Congrats on all you've got going on!! The Lovely Bones is on my keeper shelf. I didn't even know what to feel after reading it. It stuck with me so long afterward. Same with her other book, Lucky, though that one was a lot more graphic and harder to digest since it was a true story.

I've got a few Allison Brennan and Sherrilyn Kenyon books I want to finish this month but I'm not sure if it's gonna happen :)

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Cara!
First, congratulations on the release and the contract for the romance with Samhein! Oh and the plethora of sweet success you got going on! And don't think I forgot about the excitement over a career opportunity that you didn't divulge...nothing gets past me! LOL!

In my grubby little hands for my reading pleasure? Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl. This is the first book I've read by her and I am sooo enjoying it. The book is romantic comedy with the hottest love scenes! ROWR! LOL! I just finished listening to Kimberla Lawson Roby's Sin No More on audio book! Loved it! Drama, drama, drama! I have a four hour trip coming up so I plan to do some more reading. Hmm...I think Gena Showalter has a new release out...

Dawn R., you are going to LOVE--I mean--LOOOOVE Dark Lover and all the Black Dagger Brotherhood books that come after it (well maybe not Phury's book but she more than makes up for it with every book afterward!)!! Can I say that? LOL!

Michelle Polaris said...

I'll add my congratulations Cara. You have been one busy chick. I have decided I need to read more outside my preferred romance, erotic romance, and fantasy genres. I'm reading Absolute Friends by Le Carre, and Linnea Sinclair's Rebels and Lovers. The second isn't outside my preferred reading categories, just part of my multi-tasking. Perfect topic as summer approaches. Not that I'll have any more time to read then.

Dalton Diaz said...

Cara, wow, when do you sleep? LOL!
I'm actually a reverse romance snob. I rarely read anything but romance. It's what I love, and there's so much variety in the genre that I don't feel the need to stray.

Dawn, I'm a huuuge BDB fan. I was lucky enough to step into the series late in the game, so I got to read quite a few in a row. The last few, I've had to wait with baited breath like the rest of the world. Definitely worth it, tho.