Everyone seen Wonder Woman yet? Yes? Good!
(No? Don’t tell me, just go see it.)
There have been so many great reviews written about this movie that I don’t need to pile anything on. (There’ve also been some awful reviews written about the movie, rebutted by some movie reviewers in articles worth reading, for anyone interested in such things. I highly recommend this one, from Jennifer Wright at Medium.)
But somehow this movie was kind of everything for this summer, the perfect celebration of women and honor, a victory movie in a year when so many feel attacked or diminished. Diana, *this* Diana, is such a pitch perfect rallying cry and antidote, at least spiritually, for some pretty dark stuff.
Also, in this year that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the US entry into WWI, it seems a fun revisionist tale of Good vs. Evil while serving as a reminder that, as accosted as we may be or feel, we’re not yet in the trenches (at least literally).
I was grateful to have the opportunity to attend a workshop with Damon Suede last weekend, sponsored by Chicago’s wonderful Windy City RWA (thanks guys!), and he repeated in his program what he often states about the romance genre:
Romance is the literature of HOPE.
Diana is doomed to an unhappy romance—she is immortal, and her beloved will always die before she does. But the love, at least, inspires her and informs her outlook on humanity and its own struggle in good vs. evil.
I am an eclectic reader and read (or listen to) all kinds of titles. I am a pure romance fan, but really I love any book with a big romantic arc. And I really want a Happy Ending. But occasionally, it doesn’t make sense for the book or the characters.
And sometimes it does make sense for the book and the characters, and the author writes it wrong! (Or is that just me? I won’t name names or titles, but really?!)
So I loved Wonder Woman. And I hope you do too. (I expect you will.)
And since we’re talking superheroes, let’s talk superstars - in books that is.
I’m loving Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy Trilogy, and book 3 comes out in July. Book 2, White Hot, received a Kirkus starred review which includes this:
Andrews (which is a pen name for a husband-and-wife writing team) is a prolific and popular author, and her magical worldbuilding is brilliant and compelling. Her imaginative use of magical personalities and traits is spellbinding, and Nevada, Rogan, and the other characters jump off the page. Add breathtaking romance and sexual tension plus a complex, layered plot, and you have a book that’s hard to put down.
I will attest to the main characters, Nevada and Rogan, sizzling on and jumping off the page. This series is a terrific read, which I highly recommend, and both the writers and the characters are pretty much superheroes! I can’t wait for #3, Wildfire (7/25).
One of my all-time favorite authors, Joshilyn Jackson, also has a new book coming out in July, The Almost Sisters, which also received a Kirkus star.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy - an unexpected but not unhappy development in the 38-year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional Southern family, her stepsister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved 90-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s at the top of my “Must Get My Hands On A Copy” list. And if you haven’t read this author yet, and you love complex, emotional stories and breathtaking writing, I suggest putting her at the top of your TBR list, too.
Finally, I had a double dose this week of the fabulous author known as both Beatriz Williams and Juliana Gray. I listened to her upcoming Cocoa Beach (written as Williams; releases 7/4) which I will admit was a little labyrinthine, and I really did want to shake a few characters a few times on the journey. I had faith in the good guys and was pretty sure I knew who the bad guy was, but it was tense and twisting. Almost a little too much. So this was the first Beatriz Williams title I didn’t exactly swoon over, but it was, as always, beautifully written and cleverly crafted, so I definitely recommend it. She also tied the characters to The Wicked City and A Certain Age, and while you don’t have to read either of those to enjoy this one, you’ll likely be intrigued enough to go find them if you do.
I also had the pleasure of listening to the audio of Juliana Gray’s A Most Extraordinary Pursuit, which I really enjoyed, even though it started with the death of the legendary Duke of Olympia and did not have a resolute ending. The story is a fascinating combination of Greek myth, supernatural artifacts, and, of course, terrific characters and an intriguing plot around those things. I love this author, no matter which name she’s using, and again, can’t wait for the next installment of this series, A Strange Scottish Shore, which releases in September. (There’s also a kind of superhero element to the book, but it’s a spoiler, so I’ll leave it for you to discover.)
So—some books with Superhero elements by some Superstar authors. (In my humble opinion, anyway.)
What are you reading, or looking forward to this week?