Shut Up. I’ve Been Reading.

Over the last year I decided to keep track of all the books I read in a journal. The process had its good points and its bad. On the one hand, it was nice to be able to go back and find the name of “that one book with the bear” without having to autopsy a vague list of Google results. On the other, I’m HIGHLY competitive, even with myself. A lot of the time, I found myself buzzing through books just to get them on The List without actually losing myself in the story. That sucked. On the other, OTHER, hand, I get to make this cool list. It all evens out. I’ve included the cover art and buy links for my favorites of the year.

 

AUGUST 2016

 

The Three by Sarah Lotz

Swamplandia by Karen Russell

Swamplandia

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

Magic foe

Just Like Beauty by Lisa Lerner

 

SEPTEMBER 2016

 

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Kingfisher

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Coconut Cowboy by Tim Dorsey

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiassen

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Razor Girl by Carl Hiassen

Story Genius by Lisa Cron

 

OCTOBER 2016

 

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

darkest secret

We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman

damaged

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

vanishing

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

rivers of

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Piano for President by Patrick Wensink

Red Queen by Christina Henry

 

NOVEMBER 2016

 

Mile Marker Zero by William McKeen

Leisel and Po by Lauren Oliver

Radiance by Catherynne M Valente

51ewu-9sril-_sx329_bo1204203200_

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch

Shrill by Lindy West

Eric by Terry Prachett

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Moscow but Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia

moscow but

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (His Peter Grant series is addicting, obvs.)

Best State Ever by Dave Berry

Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

hidden bodies

Under the Big Top by Bruce Feiler

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

 

DECEMBER 2016

 

Speak Easy by Catherynne M Valente

speak easy

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

lie tree

New Yorked by Rob Hart

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King

Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

grace keepers

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bone gap

 

JANUARY 2017

 

From the Forest by Sara Maitland

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

little nothing

City of Rose by Rob Hart

Walk Through Walls by Marina Abromovic

The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz

calamity

Girl Bomb by Janice Erlbaum

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug by Tom Holt

The Morning They Came for Us by Janine di Giovanni

The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker

clay girl

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

The Apartment by S. L. Grey

Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

 

FEBRUARY 2017

 

Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

behind

The Last Place You’d Look by Carole Moore

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

bear and

Crime Beat by Michael Connolley

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

The Song is You by Megan Abbott

song is

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

 

MARCH 2017

 

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

jack sparks

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

girls on fire

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy

elizabeth

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Tell Me Exactly What Happened by Caroline Burau

tell me

The Collector by John Fowles

Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood

hag seed

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

 

APRIL 2017

 

Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Day Four by Sarah Lotz

Faithful Place by Tana French

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The Secret Place by Tana French

secret

The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

 

MAY 2017

 

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

rooms

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

station

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple

bernadette

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

This One is Mine by Maria Semple

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge

In the Woods by Tana French

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

 

JUNE 2017

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

darker shade

Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie

The Facts of Life and Death by Brenda Bauer

Danger to Self by Paul Linde

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

down among

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Amp’d by Ken Pisani

ampd

 

JULY 2017

 

Party of One by Dave Holmes

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

good daughter

Lucky You by Erika Carter

Abroad by Katie Crouch

Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

The Rathbones by Janice Clark

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Guest Post! Starring Kelley Kaye

I have no idea what day it is, I just know it’s time for a post. Continuing our chat on the importance of reading (not just to my livelihood, but to your brains!), I’ve strapped Kelley Kaye down and insisted she give us a lesson-on-demand. Take it away, Kelley.

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Although my parents read books to me since birth (my father owned a used bookstore), I have also maintained that one big way I learned to read was by watching The Electric Company circa 1972. Do you remember that show? I loved the shadows talking to each other on the screen: BR.  EAK. Break. S. ING. Sing. Loved it!

So this is how the story goes. I’m three years old, and grandma has got me a book! I tear excitedly across the floor to my mother and say LOOK, grandma’s got me a book! Will you read me this book? And mom says, well, why don’t YOU read it to ME? So I do. And this is not a See Spot Run kind of book, I hear (I don’t remember, because I was three), but a legit story book. Mom was surprised. Did gramma already read you this book? she asks. Did Daddy? No, Mommy, I say. You asked me to read it to you, so I did!

And that was the beginning. My life since then has been a plethora, a myriad, a glut, multitude, overabundance, gross, nee a compendium of massive book love. I read books, sometimes (often) to the detriment of other things I should be doing (like homework, work, parenting, sleeping. Breathing), and my career(s) have always had something to do with books. Twenty years of teaching English, for example, and now I am living from both ends of the wire, and writing books.

As a teacher, I had a motto for which I became known: If You Don’t Like to Read, You Just Haven’t Found the Right Book Yet. I had a library in my classroom comprised of books from my dad’s store in every genre, every reading level, available for students to check out. I love nothing more than searching the psyche of my students to find out their interests. I listen, then twinkle my fingers over the collection, and voila! A book, often the perfect book, finds its way into the hands of my reluctant reader, and soon reluctance gives way to curiosity, experimentation, and finally, salivation. Salvation, too. Another human for whom getting lost in a book is better than sex. Okay, better than chocolate. Okay, okaaay. Better than almost anything else.

My favorite book story concerns a student from my first year of teaching: Elijah. I started my teaching career in Lake Tahoe, California, where the population was teeming with skiers. Skier kids (okay, usually snowboarder kids) are kinda like skater kids in any other town—they board to the beat of their own drum. Elijah was small and skinny, with very blonde hair that reached down to his shoulders and stuck out of a baseball cap that was always pulled clear down to his nose. He wore bellbottom jeans that were way too long, so the ends dragged along behind him in the dirt; they were his signature.

One of my classroom requirements was outside reading, anywhere from 300 to 800 pages of books of the student’s choosing. I let them pick for themselves because let’s face it: students often feel that the required reading for English is less than thrilling. When I shared my OR Requirement with Elijah’s class, along with my motto, Elijah confided in me that he’d never finished a whole book, and he was a freshman in high school!

So we talked for a while about his interests (snowboards, girls, animals) and why he didn’t like to read (books were too slow, books were boring) and after maybe ONE SECOND of thought, I gave him a book by Dean Koontz called The Watcher, a thriller about a boy and his dog. I told him to bring it back if he didn’t like it and we’d try another.

He brought it back a week later—I was disappointed that it hadn’t worked—usually Koontz is a sure-fire winner for bored readers. That’s not it! he said. I’m finished! Give me another! That year he read three Dean Koontz novels, way in excess of the 500 pages I had assigned his class. I went back to Tahoe during Elijah’s senior year and discovered he had read like 25 Koontz novels and was on to other thrillers.

I don’t know if he ever discovered a love for Jane Austen, but who cares? A reader is a reader is a reader. Once you’ve got the bug, it’s better than (almost) anything else. And if you don’t quite believe me, give me a call, because the only problem is you haven’t found the right books yet!

Kelley’s brains and books are available for you to stalk at the links below.

Death by Diploma on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Diploma-Chalkboard-Outlines-Book-ebook/dp/B01BLUB9CK/

Death by Diploma Book Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAMXkR3kA-8

Kelley and Kat on The Rack http://www.darkcomedyprods.com/kkaye.html

Kelley Kaye’s Kozy Korner: https://www.facebook.com/authorkelleykaye/

Kelley Kaye on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kelkay1202

Kelley’s Website: http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

***Death by Diploma will soon be out on AUDIOBOOK!

Guest Post with author Jeannie Zokan

In today’s guest post (I know it’s not Friday, shut up), I discovered a kindred spirit in Jeannie and her little black book of, well, books.

books

In the summer of 2004, I started keeping track of each book I read in a little notebook. I considered making an entry about the books, but decided to keep it simple and just note the title and author. If it turned into work, I wouldn’t do it. Now, this 3-inch notebook, stored in my bedside table, has become an interesting book in its own right.

For one thing, I’m amazed at how many self-help books I go through. And how many titles I immediately remember, like names of close friends. They evoke a vivid image of where I was when I read a certain passage or the conversation I had about it for book club. There were, however, some titles that didn’t leave an impression on me. What was Three Junes about again?

The eclectic nature of the list in my notebook surprises me. I make no sense, and maybe that’s why there are so many self-help books. But how can I consider Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible as one of my favorites books when I’ve read everything scifi writer Douglas Adams wrote? I can see the links to Dave Barry and Bill Bryson, but how to explain The Fault In Our Stars by John Green? Or Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Or Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic?

Of course, that’s the beauty of reading . The next book that finds its way onto my list doesn’t have to fit into a category. The heart wants what it wants, and I just enjoy the delicious journey a good book always provides.

And since I know you’re curious, a few of the self-help books on the list are How to Think Like Einstein, Style on a Shoestring, and The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You.

Happy Reading!

 

Jeannie Zokan’s debut novel, The Existence of Pity, was released in October 2016 by Red Adept Publishing.

You can follow her on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorJeannieZokan/

on twitter:   https://twitter.com/JoZokan

Her blog: www.jeanniezokan.blogspot.com

And her webpage: www.jeanniezokan.com

Ten Books to Get Your Halloween Creepy On

Halloween ISN’T just for traditional horror novels anymore. More and more, novels are blurring the lines between genres, making for some awesome reads. Here are my ten picks to help you get your creepy on, in no particular order:

THE GATES by John Connolly

the-gates

At the surface, it’s a fun look at what would happen if some hapless neighbors opened the gates to Hell. It reminds me a lot of GOOD OMENS by the kings, themselves, and (cough, cough) SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE by yours, truly. There are some truly creepy moments (but not too creepy; I’m a wimp, after all) that’ll get you in the Halloween spirit PRONTO.

THE RADLEYS by Matt Haig

radleys

I love me a good vampire book, especially if it’s not trying too hard to be the next in the Vampire Chronicles. Haig balances creepy with heartfelt in this book.

THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon

winter-people

I once recommended this book to a friend of mine who loves female-driven thrillers as much (if not more) than I do. She came back halfway through with, “This is too scary for me.” Wuss.

BLOODSUCKING FIENDS (series) by CHRISTOPHER MOORE

bloodsucking_fiends_200

MOAR VAMPIRES. Moore writes what many reviewers have dubbed horror/comedy in which the monsters are slightly ridiculous and (more often than not) a little sex-crazed. I’ve loved everything Moore has put out (with the exception of BITE ME, but we don’t talk about that), with BS FIENDS being near the top of the heap.

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

graveyard

In my opinion, no list about books is complete without at least a terse mention of Neil Gaiman. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK’s best feature is probably that it’s suitable for almost all age groups. My nine year old daughter read it and loved every page as much as I did.

ALICE by Christina Henry

alice

This book threw me for a fucking loop. Henry takes the original Alice tale and flips it on its head, making villains of the most innocuous of characters. There’s danger, excitement, and a Hatter Tim Burton (circa Nightmare Before Christmas) would love. The sequel, RED QUEEN, looks to be just as creeptastic.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux

phantom

We’ve all seen the stage play adapted by Andrew Lloyd Weber (or at least the knock-off film starring Gerard Butler and doe-eyed darling, Emmi Rossum) but it’s hard to comprehend the horror behind the story without reading the novel it’s based on. Familiarity with the plot will guide you through the dry bits. Promise.

THE END OF THE SENTENCE by Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard

end-of-the-sentence

I came across this book the first time on Twitter but didn’t finally pick it up until I saw it calling to me from a table at the library book sale. My advice? DON’T WAIT FOR SERENDIPITY. More a novella than a novel, it tears open old fairy tales I haven’t seen adapted before and lays them bare on a puddle of blood.

DUNGEONS AND DRAG QUEENS by MP Johnson

drag-queens

When I think Halloween, I think costumes. And when I think costumes, the masters (mistresses, rather) belong to the drag community. In this book, a drag queen is sucked from the bitch-fight drama of her local bar to a world where a serpent king wants to make her his queen. They don’t call it bizarro for nothing, k?

MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM by Grady Hendrix

exorcism

You might recognize this author as the same fella who put out HORRORSTOR. I wasn’t a fan of his first go around, but decided to give this book a go anyway. I WAS COMPLETELY REWARDED. Seamlessly blending comedy with horror, it’ll have you giggling while you keep a cautious eye over your shoulder.

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my recommendations, or give me your own creepy reads!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention ALL DARLING CHILDREN, my newest book, which is a dark (and yes, creepy) retelling of Peter Pan. Go on. You know you want it.

all-darling-children-hi-res

Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

 

 

PAN IS COMING – A Giveaway!

It’s Monday and I’m back in the seat after having spent two weeks on honeymoon hiatus. I KNOW. YOU’RE THRILLED.

all-darling-children-hi-res

Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

My newest novel, ALL DARLING CHILDREN, is being released on Thursday, Oct 20th as an e-book (with the paperback to follow shortly after), and I want to give away a few of them because nothing makes Mondays better than free books.

So, to be entered, head over to my Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/katrinamonroewriter/ – give it a like, and I’ll select three winners at random on release day to receive an e-book copy on me!

As always, I’ll ask the winners (if they’re so inclined) to leave a review on Amazon once they’ve finished. Reviews really help in getting a writer’s work seen, so ANY book you’ve read and loved (or even not loved), drop a line or two on the ol’ Zon.

Cheers and good luck!

A TALE DU MORT is FREE This Weekend!

Saturday and Sunday, to be exact.

Most of you are already aware, but in case you missed my thousands of tweets on the stress of planning a wedding, I’M GETTING MARRIED!

In celebration (and who am I to resist a perfect promo set-up?) I’ve made A TALE DU MORT free for everyone this weekend. Here’s the Amazon link.

budget-funerals-and-bail-bonds

GET YOUR READ ON and I’ll see you in two weeks with tales of a couple trying to wander London without looking too much like tourists.