Some books on my 2014 Want To Read list

I thought today was going to be a very productive writing day, but it’s turned into a stare-out-the-window-and-daydream day. Going out for a walk didn’t help. I went to my local café (where I usually write at the weekend) but it was too noisy. Someone please tell parents to give their kids headphones if they are going to allow them to watch movies in a public place. It’s really annoying when the kids have the volume up so loud that you can’t concentrate. Several people asked the parents to turn down the volume, but the parents only replied, “But the kids are having so much fun…” Hmm…so much for teaching your kids to show consideration to others. I’m sure those kids were having fun, but that doesn’t mean the parents couldn’t adjust the volume to a more acceptable level. Grrr!

Anyway, enough about silly parents who try too hard to be their kids’ best friends, I’d much rather talk about books I want to read. And today I thought I’d post a list of some of the books I am looking forward to reading in 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 23.20.47The Fortune Hunter – Daisy Goodwin: Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading anything about Empress Sissi of Austria. Goodwin’s soon-to-be-published novel revolves around the love affair of the empress and cavalry captain Bay Middleton.

I’ve already pre-ordered this for my Kindle, and I will also order a hardback copy. I loved Goodwin’s debut novel, The American Heiress (also known as My Last Duchess) and I’ve been looking forward to her new novel.

If you like historical fiction, make sure you add The Fortune Hunter to your Want to Read list on Goodreads.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 23.43.15Cress – Marissa Meyer: I usually prefer standalone novels but Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is a page-turning roller coaster ride that takes some of the fairy tales we grew up with and sets them in a dystopian world… well, I love them.

Cress takes the story of Rapunzel and has her trapped on a satellite, held prisoner by an evil queen. I’ve just ordered it for my Kindle. I think this will be one of my February reads. Now the Lunar Chronicles series is originally a YA book that has become a crossover hit. Check out Marissa Meyer’s website for a sneak peek. I think you’ll like it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 00.01.07The Widow File – S.G. Redling: I’ve already downloaded The Widow File for my Kindle. It’s a juicy techno thriller written by a fellow brainstormer S.G. Redling and, as always, she doesn’t disappoint with her fast-paced story about a data analyst who may or may not have some very sensitive information in her possession that people are willing to kill for.

Snappy, tight and exciting–and I’m only 100 pages into the book. I think I’ll get lost in it tomorrow. I love a good thriller. 🙂

That’s it for now! You know this list is a work in progress, so there will definitely be more books to come!

Happy reading!

 

What I bought in London…

Normally when I am in London I go to Waterstone’s near Piccadilly Circus and spend way too much money. However, when I was in London last week, I spent most of my time in South Kensington and didn’t really feel like battling the other tourists and the Tube and the humidity. Yes, it was humid and warm though a tad bit rainy on occasion. And heat, humidity and the Tube are not a great combination. Last summer, when I was in London for the weekend, it was around 30C (86F) and taking the Tube was awful in the heat. So I walked everywhere this time and ended up at Harrod’s, where there is a Waterstone’s on the third floor. It’s not as massive as the one at Piccadilly but it has a good selection so I bought four books while I was there. And what did I buy…?

"My Last Duchess" by Daisy Goodwin

My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin. The US version of this book is called The American Heiress. I’ve already started reading this one, which tells the story of an American heiress named Cora Cash (whose life is loosely based on that of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress of her time and who ventured to the UK and married  the land-rich but cash-poor Duke of Malrborough) whose socially ambitious mother is determined to find a titled husband for her. Within the first week of arriving in England, Cora meets and becomes engaged to Ivo, the Duke of Wareham.

There’s also a very interesting subplot with Bertha, Cora’s black maid, and the duke’s valet, Jim. Here we get to see how Bertha experiences culture clash, racism and a sense of liberation. Cora, on the other hand, feels more and more stifled by the title she now bears and there are a lot of things she still doesn’t know about the man she married… It’s a page turner.

Cover of "Vaclav & Lena" by Haley Tanner

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner. Vaclav and Lena meet as children in an ESL class in Brooklyn. Vaclav dreams of becoming a magician while Lena takes comfort in Vaclav’s adoration of her and in his family who welcome her.

Then one day Lena disappears and Vaclav tries to figure out what may have happened to her and why she left him. For the next seven years, he says goodnight to her and wonders if she is somewhere doing the same. On the eve of Lena’s 17th birthday, he finds out the truth.

I haven’t started reading this one yet but I opened it to a random page before buying it and was hooked.

 

"The People Next Door" by Christopher Ransom

The People Next Door by Christopher Ransom. This one was sort of an impulse buy. It sounds like a horror novel about what happens when Mick and Amy Nash’s new neighbors–who seem perfectly normal at first glance–turn out to be not at all what they pretend to be. Mick finds out there is something very wrong with the neighbors and is determined to find out the truth.

Supposedly, The People Next Door is “…the most terrifying, unforgettable novel you’ll read all year”. I’ve read some reviews online that say otherwise. However, I will give it a try. I haven’t read a horror novel in a while. I’ll let you know if I was terrified by it or if it was indeed unforgettable.

 

"A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan

And finally, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I think everyone has already heard quite a lot about A Visit from the Goon Squad–it having won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as being adapted by HBO for a TV series.

A Visit from the Goon Squad is essentially a novel-in-stories, i.e. a collection of stories that are connected and can either be read like a novel or as stories in their own right. I am looking forward to diving into this book so I may do that as soon as I finish reading My Last Duchess.

Of course, I now have A Storm of Swords and A Feast of Crows (books 3 & 4 in the Song of Ice and Fire series, a.k.a Game of Thrones series) by George R.R. Martin so I may be tempted to start with them instead. I didn’t buy these two in London–I’d already ordered them a few days before I left Stockholm. Well, I think I have enough books to keep me busy for a while. 🙂