It’s a pretty darned good time in the release biz these days – so many fabulous books out right now, many of them right next to my bed in a pile OSHA would probably say is unsafe.
I’d mentioned on Twitter a few weeks back that I was on a contemporary binge and asked for book recommendations – people brought up Victoria Dahl’s Talk Me Down over and over, which is awesome because I already had it and was all set to get cracking.
And I wasn’t sorry when I picked it up to get started. Talk Me Down has several of my very favorite story tropes – cops, small towns, girl returning home after being in the big city and oh my, the older, seemingly unattanable best friend of an older brother. That Victoria Dahl uses all these but in a way that touches on WHY we like them, but adds some twists to make it hers, is just the icing on the cake.
Talk Me Down has great dialog, the sexual chemistry is off the charts and the heroine is fabulously self aware when it comes to what she likes and how she likes it. The hero is the perfect combo of sensitive guy and big burly protector. Dahl manages to keep the book sexy without being vulgar, and contemporary without seeming like a parody. In short, I thought it was a wonderful read.
Let me tell you about my favorite scene, shall I? (Over at Dane/Hart I went all giddy about this scene so if this is a repeat for you, I apologize)
Okay so we’ve got this woman who has had a thing for Ben, her older brother’s best friend, since forever. Obviously I don’t want to give spoilers but it’s pretty clear they become a couple (it’s even in the blurb). But Dahl takes something Molly witnessed some years before between Ben and another woman and she turns it on its ear. Dahl takes this interlude between Molly and Ben all these years later and it’s just one of the hottest love scenes I’ve read in a book in a very long time – because Dahl uses that longing, uses all that desire Molly has had and when she looks up at Ben and says she always wanted it to be her, she wanted to be the one on her knees there with him…whooooo, guh!
I highly recommend it!
I also mentioned this a bit ago but I read Jeri Smith Ready’s Bad To the Bone, the follow up to Wicked Game and wow. Just wow.
If you haven’t read any of Jeri’s books yet, you really should. Well, only if you like tightly written worlds with really interesting characters with a vampire storyline like you’ve never heard before.
In this world, vampires sort of mentally freeze in whatever era they were made vampires. With this, she creates this sense of timelessness, of all times and no times at all – and it works. And then, she puts these vampires into a radio station where each vampire does a show based on the time they were made. It’s really very clever and unique and totally well done.
She picks up a while after Wicked Game ends – with Shane (think grunge poet) and Ciara working on their relationship, her issues, his attempts to not get bogged down in the decade he was made and oh yeah, crazy freaks who have decided to jam the radio signal every time a female singer or the lone female vampire DJ has a show.
Bad To the Bone is, quite simply put, one of the best books I’ve read this year. Great dialog. I’m not exaggerating when I say the world is tightly built. There aren’t any huge plot holes like you might see in some books, there are reasons why, or people want to know why if the reasons aren’t articulated or known yet. The characters are flawed but not stupid, they’re the kind of characters you can’t stop reading about. You want to know more. Ciara is my favorite kind of UF heroine, she is growing, she’s not just angry all the time for no apparent reason. She learns and she grows and I like her a lot.
Bad to the Bone is a great follow up to what was a great series opener. I really can’t wait to read what she’s got in store for us next.
Next week, I’ll be talking about SJ Day’s newest Eve book – Eve of Destruction (speaking of totally awesome UF books)