Apr 22 2012 3:00pm

Refreshing Reads: Kevin Hearne, Alma Katsu, Eve Silver, and Mira Grant

Hounded by Kevin HearneAs an avid reader, I find myself falling into period ruts. Where each book I read may be good, but it doesn’t excite me. It doesn’t make me run to Twitter and abuse the caps lock. And, well, it makes me watch more TV than is necessary.

And then you hit that one book that revitalizes your reading habit. Sometimes it’s a twist on a new genre, or a step out of your comfort zone or in the best cases a book that feels entirely fresh.

Sometimes I just need a refresher read. If you do, too, here are a handful of books that have reinvigorated my love of reading and reminded me why genre fiction is so damn fun.

Hounded by Kevin Hearne, the first in his Iron Druid Chronicles, reminded me that urban fantasy can be fun. I read darker urban fantasy frequently. And I love it. I do. But sometimes you need a good laugh alongside your ass kicking. Hearne does that well, while flaunting all the things we traditionally love about the genre. Also, I don’t often read male protagonists, but hero Atticus reminded me I can enjoy them just the same.

That said, sometimes I just need darkness done differently. Alma Katsu’s The Taker is at times both lush and visceral. Her prose is beautiful. Her literary fiction with a supernatural twist had me likening the book to Interview with the Vampire, but sans vampires. It’s full of bad people doing bad things, but written cleverly enough to cause you to feel pity for these twisted immortals. If you want to try something lighter on the paranormal, but heavy on the creeps, give it a go.

Body of Sin by Eve SilverIf you need something to make you swoon, pick up Body of Sin by Eve Silver. The world-building is top notch, but better yet the romance is her undeniable best. It may be the fourth book in a series, you’ll be sucked in reading it as a stand alone, too. This isn’t just a rekindling of lost love, but the realization that love slipped through their fingers when it seems too late. And just what two parents will do to find love together and protect the little girl most precious to them. You may cry. But it’s worth it.

Have you been on a YA dystopian bender? (It’s OK, we’ve all been there.) Ready for the grown-up version of a post-apocalyptic event book? Pick up Mira Grant’s Feed. She makes zombie apocalypse via vaccines feel way too real, but that’s not the best part of the book. It isn’t about zombies, but about the people who manage to survive and still make human connections within a world where anyone could turn into a zombie at any moment. No romance, but lots of heart.

What are your refresher reads? Do you go back to favorites like Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost or Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward to get your reading groove back, or have you found new books that thrill you? Share your flail-worthy favorites in the comments, and we’ll all expand our to-read lists.


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.) Bother her on Twitter - @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
This year I've been activelly seeking male writers and Kevin Hearn was just what the doctor ordered to inject a bit of testosterone into my must-read list. Love the dog best of all!
2. ChelseaMueller
@bungluna - Oberon is one of my favorite UF sidekicks. Right up there with Giguhl and Phineas.
Peggy P
4. Peggy P
I love the Iron Druid Chronicles and am so looking forward to the release of Tricked this Tues. - I have to say that the audiobook version is one of the best I've ever listened to - and Oberon is so perfect ... you just have to hear him!

The other books I rec over and over - The Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - excellent storytelling & a great characters. Kvothe is a great hero and the world building is A1, this is scifi/fantasy/mystery with just enough romance in a fascinating world.
Peggy P
5. greeneyelia
Absolutely adore Karen Moning's Fever-series (currently reading Shadow Fever, the 5th book in the series). Worldbuilding is topnotch, and it is fun to see MacKayla Lane evolve from Pink Barbie to black-leathered action goddess. The dialogues are well written and funny at times, especially the bantering between Mac and Jericho Barrons.

I once tried Eve Silver's Otherkin series (Sins of the Heart) but for some reason I could not get into it. Perhaps might give that series another go.
Marian DeVol
6. ladyengineer
Years ago to avoid getting into a reading rut or succumbing to burn-out, I used to force myself to vary the books I read - usually alternating between fantasy/science fiction and (at the time) historical romance. Maybe, I need to reinstate the practice or at least vary the sub-genres I read - historical romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/urban fantasy, science fiction, romantic comedy, fantasy (faery tale & other), etc. ;->

I think the modern trend toward fiction series (and away from stand alone single novels) may encourage reader burn-out. We may not be varying our reading patterns enough.

That being said, I've been meaning to check out Hearne's Iron Druid series for a while. Looks like it has now officially been added to the TBR list.
Pamela Webb-Elliott
7. Spaz
I loved Body of Sin - great recommendations. I need to be flogged because I still haven't read Hounded. Jeez Louise!
8. ChelseaMueller
@greeneyelia - Love, love, love the Fever series. That's one you binge on. Read them all in succession, because her endings are such brutal cliffhangers.

You might try just reading Body of Sin. It's a bit different flavor than the previous three, and OMG good.

@ladyengineer - That's a really good point. Our focus on series -- especially those we go on binges reading -- can definitely lead to burnout.

@Pamela - You have an epic TBR. It happens, but when you do read Hounded, you're going to love it.
Robbie Thornton
9. Button
Hounded rocked! I had been on a long haul of just reading romances, and I decided I wanted a break. Just a short break mind you. Hounded was perfect, the characters brilliant, the humor was well timed, and action well paced. Just about as close to a perfect book as they come for me. It manages that sometimes elusive goal of blending really good writing with humor and action.

Body of Sin, well, read the whole series, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Body of Sin was definately the icing on the cake.

But as to the point of the post, my "go to for comfort" books are really the only books I go back to often, Jean M Auel's Earth's Children Series.
Nicole Leapheart
10. BoxyFrown
Just discovered Nancy Gideon's Moolight series. I have a new boyfriend and he is a mobster-shifter named Max. Yum!
Lege Artis
11. LegeArtis
I like my books darker, too... Angst and carnage, that's me.
So, when I started thinking what is refresh read for me, I realised that's my old favorite UF's, but funny ones.
For example: Kate Daniels- I reread whole series so many times and I still laugh every time I read:" Help. I drowned the Beast Lord". Every time! :) Oberon and his antics are also priceless! Motormouth Jupe also puts grin on my face.
One of my favorite series is Downside Ghosts and I reread it often. But I don't have that refresh feeling...I feel emotionally drained which is also great. That's how I feel with Dark Jewels,too. Reread depends on mood definitely...
I do switch genres. Sometimes I just had enough of shifters,magic and saving the world and jump on rakes, dukes, scoundrels and breeches, then on Scandinavian serial killers, then on m/m and back again...
I like to try new UF series but lately I'm reluctant 'cause they cut it if selling isn't satisfying (burned twice this year)...
Body of Sin looks promising....
Great post, Chelsea!
Robbie Thornton
12. Button
@LegeArtis: Same for me with Downside Ghosts. Emotionally draining, but satisfying none the less.
Peggy P
13. Nicole Miller
Loved the Otherkin series and Body of Sin was amazing!!! It did make me cry too:( Dying to read the Iron Druid Chronicles!! I actually just re-read Lover Awakened by JR Ward and loved it all over again. Found Jeanine Frost books this past winter and love them as well. I am so grateful for all the books you mention on here as they have lead to many great reads. Thanks!!!!
Peggy P
14. Aryn
I prefer Eve Silver's alter-ego Eve Kenin's books. I just don't get into her Silver stuff.

I loved the audio version of Hounded, one of my favorites but his stuff got darker in the sequels; I didn't finish 3. I bought 4, but haven't started it. You darker hearted folk will have to tell me how it was.

My refresh read/series is First Grave on the Left. 3 was as good as 1, which is unusual in a series.

The Informationist also reminded me about good books. What a wonderful read and am looking forward to getting my hands on 2.

For non-fiction, I am looking forward to the release of The Story of Earth.
Peggy P
15. filkferengi
For a lighter, refreshing take on UF, I highly recommend _Discount Armageddon_ by Seanan McGuire. Crypto-zoology, roof-running hotties, and talking demon mice for the win! Best of all, DAW just contracted for 3 more books, for 5 titles . So, no worries about the series running out soon.
Post a comment