Happy New Year, Everyone! So many opportunities: new reading challenges, new authors to try, new genres to explore, and resolutions to abandon! You’re reading this at Fresh Fiction, where we obviously celebrate “fiction,” particularly romance. But in honor of new beginnings, allow me to alter course for just a moment with a few non-fiction titles. This year, like so many previous years, I resolved to improve my fitness and devote time to meditation (and if I can’t stick with meditation, then at least more mindfulness). To that end, I was delighted to come across Brett Larkin’s new book, YOGA LIFE Habits, Poses, and Breathwork to Channel Joy Amidst the Chaos. I’ve certainly got the chaos, so I’m grateful to anything that helps channel joy. Fortunately, the author understands that few readers or listeners will become devoted yogis, so she wisely parcels out suggestions to incorporate a little here, a little there, leading to results that compound like a high-yield CD. I’m never going to master a headstand, but even I can remember to do some deep, slow breathing whenever stress starts to build.
Santa was kind enough to bring me a copy of Patrick Stewart’s MAKING IT SO, and I’ve been delighting in both the print and the audio versions—read by the author, of course! Anyone who loves Star Trek, theatre, or just a darn good story, will delight in this terrific memoir.
But many of us are here for the romance, and we are truly lucky to live in a time when romance of every imaginable variety is available, often at the click of a button. Over the holidays I was fortunate to listen to a new audio version of GLITTERLAND, first published in 2016. Author Alexis Hall has found justified fame and fortune, and this early masterpiece, which so delicately focusses on identity, depression, and self-loathing, shows clearly why the author earned that fame. No matter how bright our outlook, shadows lurk for all of us, but this beautiful book shows how light continues to defeat darkness and how love can turn up when we least expect it.
Also full of glitter, but this of the Hollywood variety, WILL THEY OR WON’T THEY by Ava Wilder, offers a dazzling peek into the world of television superstars. Lilah and Shane are cast together, become stars, fall in love, and then fall in hate. Lilah’s character dies, but this is tv land, where resurrection is good for ratings, and Lilah and Shane are forced to work more closely together than ever before. I’ll let you guess what happens next, but if you, like me, could use a bit of escape from the mundane, this book is just the ticket.
Finally, the weather outside is frightful, and you know I’m not just talking meteorology. A great story is the perfect escape, as is that rare moment when you laugh out loud at the sheer magic of a funny line. Darynda Jones provides both time and time again in her many wonderful series. My favorite, however, is the three-book Sunshine Vikram series. Starting with A BAD DAY FOR SUNSHINE, continuing in A GOOD DAY FOR CHARDONNAY, and finishing with A HARD DAY FOR A HANGOVER, this series has it all: mystery, bad guys, a wonderful cast of characters including smart-ass kids, and a love story that will leave you with that delicious, belly-deep sigh of contentment. And then there’s the mirth! Laughter escaped me time and time again, and while I was forced to wait impatiently for each subsequent volume, they’re all out now, and I’m eager to start a reread. Sunshine is the heroine’s name, sunshine is the rule in the breathtakingly beautiful New Mexico setting, and sunshine is what will fill your heart when you read this enchanting series.
Meg's friends during her high school years all expected her romance novels to hit the shelves decades ago, but she foolishly allowed "serious pursuits" to get in her way. Now that her beloved children can feed, clothe, and most importantly, support themselves, she's free to turn her attention to her first passion - putting words to paper that capture your attention and make your heart sing in quiet joy. Her stories tell most frequently of second chances--in life, love, and sometimes even at rediscovering a soul-mate from a previous life.
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