Shannon Stacey

List-O-Rama: Beginner's Guide to Awesome WTFery

A couple of weeks ago, I detailed my favorite fictional Awesome WTFery. I love explosions, random ghosts and fake relationships with a possibly unhealthy passion. Much of my love of WTFery manifests itself in my movie and television watching, but it creeps into books too. 

Are you wanting to delve into a big of Awesome WTFery escapism? Here are a few I dare you not to secretly devour.

The Lux Novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Entangled Teen)

Why It's Awesome WTFery: Hot aliens live in West Virginia, hijinks ensue. 
Bonus Points: Sex-Positive YA; No Love Triangle

I just blew through the first three Lux novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and while I'm not normally ​one to be embarrassed by my reading, I'm not exactly proud of not being able to put these books down. The plot of these (marginally) sci-fi young adult urban fantasy romance series is incredibly absurd and has continuity issues, but damn... the plot just moves along at a swift clip and Armentrout manages to make the reader care about snarky teen book blogger Katy and her good-looking pain-in-the-ass alien neighbor Daemon. 

Amazon | Goodreads

List-O-Rama: Beginner's Guide to Awesome WTFery

Links + Things: Algonquin's Young Reader Imprint, The Fringe Book and a Year of Verse Novels

This week, I have a bunch of interesting news, ranging from an intriguing new young adult and middle grade imprint and a free download of one of my favorite light-hearted romance novels.

Links

Algonquin Launches YA/YR Imprint (Facebook)
Algonquin Young Readers, launching Fall 2013, is a new imprint of Algonquin Books dedicated to publishing works of the same literary merit and enduring qualities that are hallmarks of the Algonquin tradition.

Algonquin Books has released some interesting and well-performing fiction in the last few years (including the Water for Elephants), and this week they announced that they're launching an imprint focused on middle grade and young adult titles, Algonquin Young Readers. This is pretty intriguing, and it sounds like they're taking a literary approach to their acquisitions (they're posted on their Facebook page, linked above). 

The one that piques my interest the most is Sara Farizan's If You Could Be Mine, which is about a lesbian teen in Iran, where being gay is punishable by death. (There's a preview up on Scribd.)

I'm excited to see where they go with this imprint, since I do think there's a market for more literary-minded books for young people.

Links + Things: Algonquin's Young Reader Imprint, The Fringe Book and a Year of Verse Novels

Short + Sweet Holiday Reads

Are you a book-loving introvert who finds the intense socialization required of holiday celebrations overwhelming?

Would you rather have your nose in a book than spend your time decking the halls (whatever that means)?

Me too. 

To help you get in the holiday spirit without any actual social interaction, here are some recommended reads. None of these are heavy, so if you hit the mulled wine (please, not egg nog—that stuff is vile), you should be able to get the gist of these quickie stories.

Jaci Burton’s Kent Brothers Series (Carina Press)

I discovered this series about three brothers in a small town in Missouri through the first Carina Press holiday anthology, after reading rave reviews of Shannon Stacey’s contribution. The three brothers run a construction business together and while romance is at the center of each of the stories, my favorite scenes are those featuring, Wyatt, Brody and Ethan—their good-natured bickering and teasing (which can be amusingly mean) actually sounds like the sort of conversations real guys have. The most recent, The Best Thing, clocks in at around 35,000 words and is my favorite in terms of reading like a complete story. I’d recommend reading these in order, just to get a sense of who all the characters are, but it’s not necessary. (eBook only)

List-O-Rama: Eight Quickies

Let’s celebrate National Short Story Week with a few quick reads, shall we?

Admittedly, some of these are novellas, but since I’m pretty sure there’s not a National Novella Week (oh, hell, there probably is—there’s a week or day for everything), I’m defining “short story” liberally. There’s something very satisfying about a shorter read—I know I pick them up a lot in the time between Thanksgiving and New Years, because it’s a nice way to get some reading in in shorter hits. 

Shannon Stacey's Slow Summer Kisses - List-O-Rama: Quickies on Clear Eyes, Full Shelvs

Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey

This is one of my favorite of Shannon Stacey’s works (her other novellas, Mistletoe and Margaritas and Holiday Sparks are also super-fun), because while it’s short, it reads like a complete novel. It’s light, funny and very current in its themes—plus, it’s only a buck and a half right now. Check out my review here

AmazonGoodreads

Lynburn Legacy Short Stories - List-O-Rama: Quickies on Clear Eyes, Full Shelvs

Lynburn Legacy Short Stories by Sarah Rees Brennan

If you’re like me and freaking out over having to wait for Untold after reading Unspoken this year, these two short stories (free!) will help get you through these difficult times waiting for Untold’s release. I particularly liked The Spring Before I Met you, since it gives you a bit of insight into where Jared’s been. 

Download The Spring Before I Met You / The Summer Before I Met You / Goodreads

List-O-Rama: Eight Quickies

Review: All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey

“You are going to dance with Ryan before this party ends. I don’t care if I have to stand on a chair and announce to everybody that he has to dance with you.”

“If you do that, I’ll go to the library on Tuesday and check out every Nicholas Sparks book you have and not bring them back so you’ll have to tell everybody you don’t have any of his books. Forever.”

“You wouldn’t.”

Lauren smiled over the rim of her champagne glass. “Oh, I would.”

There aren’t a lot of Big R Romance writers whose books I’ll buy without a second thought.

For a long time, it was just Julie James, and then I found Shannon Stacey, whose Kowalski books published by Carina Press absolutely charmed me with their warmth and width. More recently, I discovered Molly O’Keefe and Ruthie Knox who both have distinctive (and quite different) styles. So whenever one of these writers releases a new book, I usually snatch them up ASAP. 

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the fourth book one of my go-to author’s, Shannon Stacey, Kowalski series about a boisterous New England family, which shifted the setting of the series from New Hampshire to Maine. I was worried that the magic of the first three books couldn’t be rekindled. Fortunately, I gave this series another shot and very much enjoyed All He Ever Desired, the fifth Kowalski novel. 

Ryan Kowalski left his hometown of Whitford, Maine after confessing his love to his best friend’s wife and being rejected. He has since married and divorced and built a successful career for himself in Massachusetts, but returns to Whitford to help his brothers refurbish the family inn. Lauren, the woman he begged to come with him years before is now divorced with a teenage son. 

Ryan discovers Lauren’s son Nick vandalizing the inn and rather than force Lauren to pay for the damage, he makes Nick work at the construction site. And, it provides him a convenient reason to see a more of Lauren, the one that got away. 

All He Ever Desired centers around the theme of “what if.”

Review: All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey

{List-O-Rama} 7 Books About Love Guaranteed to Melt Your Cold, Cold Heart :)

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green 

Today my super-cute husband (who also knows how to make all sorts of household repairs and use power tools—swoon) and I celebrate our seventh wedding* anniversary. Since I am a big fan of True Love, I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite books about love to commemorate the day. 

Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (YA)

I just re-read this book (I think I’m going to write about it soon, more a reflection than a review), and it was pure magic the second time around. Anna is an extremely relatable character for me, and Etienne is a flawed character in realistic ways. I love that the relationship between the two grows over the course of an entire school year, as they go from being casual friends, to best friends to something more. Because the book is set in Paris and the teens are more independent than in most YA novels, I totally bought that Anna and Etienne will be together for the long haul. This is a stand out for me for a number of reasons, but I think more than many young adult novels, it’s very adeptly explores the difference between teen infatuation and Big ‘L’ Love and the importance of friendship in successful romantic relationships.

{Buy it at Amazon | The Book Depository}
{Add it on Goodreads

{Early Review} Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey

Can a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan see past their differences and fall in love? Unbelievable or not, in the world of Shannon Stacey’s Slow Summer Kisses, this is entirely possible. 

Few writers can entice me to read a short story. Shannon Stacey is one of those few.

She expertly translates her trademark believable—and likeable—characters and fresh, contemporary writing style in the short story/novella form. I’ve read and enjoyed her previous shorts Holiday Sparks (highly recommended) and Mistletoe & Margaritas (fun!), and enjoyed them quite a bit. Despite their being short (duh), they actually were complete stories with well-developed characters. Her latest, Slow Summer Kisses, is no exception. 

Slow Summer Kisses features Anna (the Yankees fan), a recently-downsized financial executive who’s taken up residence at her grandparents’ New Hampshire lake cabin while she looks for a new job that will keep her on the same rocketous career trajectory. Her next door neighbor, Cameron (the Red Sox fan), is a bit lot surly and rather reclusive, and definitely not very appreciative of Anna disrupting his tranquility on the lakeshore. The two were childhood friends who grew apart after Anna’s family quit visiting the lake, so there’s some history between the two (yay!). Obviously, the two reconnect, but there’s some healthy conflict between the two very differing lifestyles and goals.

Can Anna slow down enough to appreciate Cameron’s laid back ways?

Can Cameron cope with Anna’s city girl pace?

{I Love} The Kowalskis by Shannon Stacey

I recently texted my friend,

“I’m in love with a fictional character.”

 

 He responded,

“Matthew Crawley?”

 

I said,

“Please. Is there a Downton Abbey of Doom?? I think not.”

Him,

“WTF are you talking about?!”

 

This is what happens after you read Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski Family series.

First comes love,

Then comes mass texts to friends,

Then comes the delusional break from reality in a Kowalski carriage!

It’s awesome, even as it ruins other fictional men for you.