Monday, January 24, 2011

Books, Books, Books

A few years ago, I tracked my reading habits for the year. I wanted to see what I was actually reading. It was a good activity and gave me something interesting to write about (besides myself), so I'm going to try it again this year.

Like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the very act of writing down my reading changed what I read last time. Actually, the act of writing changed what I read. That year, for the first time ever, I read primarily contemporary romances. That's what I was writing at the time, too. My writing has branched to include contemporaries, sci fi, and fantasy, so who knows what kinds of books will catch my eye this year.

And this time, I'm not going to shy away from mentioning the less family-friendly books that I read. I think before I "forgot" to mention a few of the erotic novellas that I had read because, you know, my mother-in-law might be reading my blog. In the context of this blog at this time, I have admitted to attempting to write hotter books myself. If any of my current blog readers are shocked by my reading habits, then they might want to follow a different aspiring writer :)

To go along with my listing of books, I am also going to track what format of books I'm reading. One of my resolutions in general is to buy more eBooks and fewer paper ones, both to conserve precious shelf space in the house, and to get the best use of my Sony eReader. And to whittle down my TBR pile (some of which hadn't even been unpacked from RWA Nationals until I needed the bag to pack for Christmas vacation).
My first book of the year is one I started over Christmas but didn't finish until last night (I massively overestimated how much free time I would have while on vacation with the family and had packed 4 more novels that are still unopened). This book was a paper book, but it fits my "shorten the TBR pile" criteria nicely.

Also, I won't promise to write this much of a review on every book I read this year. Or maybe I will. I am at least starting out on the right foot.

The Protector by Carla Capshaw
Historical Inspirational Romance

I picked this one up at RWA Nationals last summer because I had heard good buzz about her debut novel, The Gladiator. Both were released by Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line and are set in ancient Rome. I don't typically read inspirational or Christian books, usually because the "inspirational" bits frequently feel like a sermon that has been sledgehammered into the plot.

Because of the historical setting of The Protector, though, I was not quite as bothered by the Christian message. I enjoyed the interplay of the different belief systems and the cultural context around being a Christian (and its dangers) in that time period. I did try very hard to suppress my eyerolling at the requisite "one character must repent and learn to pray the 'right' way" bits, but overall it was a pretty good book. The romance was well done and had more sexual tension than I think I expected (tension that is not actually resolved onscreen, however). The romantic tension was carried through and really worked for me. Overall it was a nice read for the Christmas season, and I will definitely watch for more from Ms. Capshaw.

P.S.  I forgot to actually publish this post about two weeks ago when I wrote it. I only  noticed just now when I went to publish the second iteration.  Oops.

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