1. Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris - Yep, I preordered it. Yep, I devoured it in less than a day. Nope, I don't feel the least bit silly about reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels and enjoying them as much as I do. Bonus points to Harris for not letting the quality of this series go downhill the longer it gets. This one was a bit slower than usual, but I could tell she needed it to transition for future story lines.
2. Hood, Stephen R. Lawhead (audio) - I had forgotten how much of a sucker I am for Robin Hood stories! I'm (not so) patiently awaiting the next two books in this trilogy. I can't promise this yet...but it has the potential to be my favorite version of Robin Hood. We shall see! (I had never read any Lawhead before, which I know is a bit odd for such a sci fi/fantasy buff...but perhaps that will change after this.)
3. Books 1-5 of the Alvin Maker Series by Orson Scott Card (audio) : Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, and Heartfire - I am annoyed with the library for not having the sixth book, and I'm super annoyed with Card for never having finished the series with the promised seventh and final book. Having said that, I love these books. They are shortish listens (10-14 hours apiece), and I was able to get them from the library in fairly good order so that I could listen to them back to back. At the end of the first there is a wee message from Card, describing the origins of the series. Basically, he found himself challenged to make a purely American Fantasy as most Fantasy novels are strongly influenced by European traditions. I found that premise to be utterly fascinating - especially the way in which Card wove historic figures, actual events and American race issues into his work. What made the books even better is the fact that they had different actors - male and female - reading the different chapters, which are done from the points of view of many of the main characters. Sooooo much fun!
4. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente - I wish I had written this book. It came to my attention via several best of 2012 lists, and of course I was completely smitten by the title. It is quite simply one of the best fairy tales I've EVER read....and Gillian loved it, too! This is absolutely my must-read suggestion for the month.
5. The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf and Everyday Paleo, Sarah Fergaso - My allergist posted some links to Fergaso's website recently on her facebook page, and within an hour of browsing her blog and several others I was totally hooked. I'll be talking more about our family's adventures in paleo soon. For now, what I'll say is that Paleo is just a short sidestep away from what my allergist wants me to eat and has made food fun again. You've no idea what that means to me! About the books...Wolf is one of hte two or three biggest names in the Paleo world, and so was a good source for basic info. I hate his writing style and overall tone, but once I got past that to the science I felt it was pretty solid and made sense. Fergaso comes at Paleo from a family standpoint, and I absolutely adore her now and love the book. As a bonus, my family has loved every one of her recipes that we've tried so far!
6. The History of a Pleasure Seeker, Richard Mason - Oh my, was this ever fun! It's sort of a naughty Downton Abby...or at least that's what it felt like to me. Mason's book was a Books On the Nightstand pick, and he was also an author at one of their book retreats. They recently played a ten minute or so speech of his at the event, and he was hilarious. (Anyone who sings "What Would You Do With a BA in English?" from Avenue Q is right up my alley!) I hear there is an app coming out for the book - one which introduces you to the art and music which is so central to the book - and I think I'm going to have to buy it. After all, Cousin Matthew is the reader for the book in that app!
7. Wild, Cheryl Strayed - I take it back, this is a must-read book as well. Strayed's book is a memoir of her solo hike up the Pacific Coast Trail during a time when she was still mourning the loss of her mother and struggling with the chaos that loss triggered in her own life. Her story is amazing, as are the lessons in life she learned along the way. Having said that, I must admit that what the book did for me was to reawaken an old dream that's been dormant for too, too long. Once upon a time I desperately wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Having read Strayed's book, I can't get that dream off my mind. It may be time to start making plans. There are other lessons in her book which touched me deeply as well. As I said on Facebook 'Lifechanging? Perhaps.'
8. Bloom, Kelle Hampton - I actually finished this book less than 30 minutes ago. It's a beautiful book, and it made me cry a LOT. Rather than trying to explain, I'll just direct you to Kelle's website where you can learn more.