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Literary Detox

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We finished shooting Season 2 “The Guild” around the 13th of Dec and to be honest, I was quite crispy around the edges when we wrapped. Filming two web shows (The Guild and my Machinima project), acting on four episodes of a sitcom (Roommates), traveling to panels and conventions and keeping up with my online “obligations” for 3 months straight led to me to total burnout. I think I slept for 2 weeks before I was feeling anywhere human. Ideally I would have written another project over the holidays, but honestly I had absolutely nothing left, I needed a creative refresher. So I played some video games, cooked, cleaned up my very dirty house, etc. but the real focus of my relaxation was reading. To be precise, reading about 26 J. D. Robb mystery/romance/suspense novels. In a row. And yes, I call that relaxing.

I love book series, I love living with a set of characters book after book. I discovered the “In Death” series from some online forums of authors I enjoy in the “other things you’re reading” section. I was a little dubious at first because I generally go for straight fantasy, or at least books with some supernatural element, but I remember a few years back I went on a Stephanie Plum jag and read like 10 of those mystery-ish books in a row, so I decided to give this series a try. It was around Christmas and my bank account was low, so I tried to save money and went to the library to be very frugal and check them out one by one instead of buying them. After book one, well, fat chance for that. I needed these books, and I NEEDED THEM NOW! That picture above? Yeah, I bought all of those. If they aren’t all there, it’s because I lent them out. Trying to spread the gospel of Eve Dallas, lol.

I have no idea why these characters got my attention so tightly, but I’m absolutely possessed. The series follows Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her (eventual) love Roarke, and is set in a mid-21st century New York City. The books have everything you’d ever want with your brain candy: Great plot, cool world, arresting characters and good romance scenes (yes, girls will probably like these more than boys, but whatever). Eve is a loner with a traumatic past, she doesn’t get along well with people, she’s not a girlie girl and she’s absolutely believable in every way. Part of me relates, LOL. The romance subplot between the two main characters is fantastically juicy and wonderful in every way. I rarely crush on imaginary characters, but Roarke definitely gets his hooks into me. 😉 The dialogue is very clever quippy, and my favorite thing is that as the (VERY LONG) series progresses, the secondary characters morph into main characters, so the world and cast is constantly growing. All of this is happening amongst crime and murder and the books are relatively stand-alone. Some plot twists made me laugh with their ridiculousness, but that made me love them even more! It’s like the best TV show I’ve ever read.

Admittedly, by reading one of these every day, or every other day, or a few times TWO in a day, the wonderful tension between the main characters isn’t what it was in the first 15 books or so (15?!?), but that makes me want to go BACK and read the early ones again, which I never do with series. I read somewhere that the author plans to continue for a long time and I’m excited about what twists and turns she can come up with to shake up the marital bliss a bit. Bottom line, I would definitely recommend checking it out. But have care; 26 books is a big investment.

Don’t they look pretty all stacked together like that? That’s why I can’t get a Kindle. 🙂

  • Jai

    Hey, beyond singing the praises of The Wheel of Time in terms of huge fantasy sagas, have you ever read Robert Rankin? He’s a Brighton (UK) based “Far Fetched Fiction” writer and I can’t recommend him enough. Plus you’d also get through about four of the books a day, the rate you seem to go through novels. Try “Snuff Fiction”, one of my favorites, and let me know what you think. If you have time, of course. Ps – Almighty huge fan of your work, gush gush. Never fails to make me smile. x

  • Wow–what an amazing description of the IN DEATH books. I hope Nora Roberts gets to see this….

  • Jess

    There is another one out on February 24. Yay!

    • Ed

      Thanks for the heads up.

  • I am a strong woman. I get my books from the library 99% of the time. The only time I gave in was with the Harry Potter series, and that was only because I thought that all four of my kids would want to read them. Would you like me to lend you some of my willpower? 🙂

  • I use the library plenty…but as a writer, I also depend on some people buying their own copies. In this economy, that’s a terrible business model: how can you expect people to buy books when they’re worried about food and shelter and health insurance?

    One of the things I admire about Felicia is that she went ahead and created something very fine without any guarantees beforehand. I wrote fiction for twenty years before I published any, but now that I have a novel coming out next year, I want to write more. And that depends on sales. Not Nora Roberts’ sales, but enough to make my publisher–or another one–want to stick with me.

    Like I said, a lousy business model. But for what I do, there’s currently little other choice. And I love what I do, and don’t want to give it up.

  • Since I was long-winded above, but not clear, I also meant that whenever I can afford to I buy books, so other writers can keep writing too. And also so the independent bookstore in my town can stay in business.

  • Wait, so since around xmas ’till now you’ve read ALL of those books?
    O.o

    I’m a little afraid of you now.

  • Damn. You read like Johnny 5. Impressive. However, I have to advocate the Kindle. Not only because it is the best gadget ever (almost…damn you, iPhone!), but because I work for Amazon…and the more you buy, the better. Haha. Seriously, the Kindle helped me slow down my habit of coaching our stock price like Han coached the Falcon. However, I am in agreement that a nice stack of books is much more fun to have on a shelf. Did I mention we sell those too? Sorry, I don’t mean to promote…but I can’t help it. Sad.

  • Mimi

    I love this In Death series but unfortunately I didn’t start at the first book. Then I bought some, borrowed some from the library and borrowed a few from my sister. Now I’m totally confused. With such similar titles I’ve lost my ability to differentiate between them. I have no idea which ones I’ve read and which ones I missed unless I read the blurb inside the cover. And then I’m not necessarily sure where they fall within the series and if I’m going out of sequence because I can’t remember the titles of the ones I’ve borrowed, read and returned already. So I wish I had bought them. That way I could go back and see where the holes are. All I can say is that if you decide to borrow them from a library, I recommend you make sure to start at the beginning, keep a list and keep track of the sequence or else it will drive you crazy. Seriously, crazy.

  • On a collection quest, I see.

    A friend of mine does book reviews on her blog. She likes romance and MMOs, so y’all might have similar tastes.

    I’ve been a bit turned off book series since the last two I’ve read (The Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire) were unfinished. To be honest, I’ve been doing more gaming than reading lately.

    The Death Gate Cycle is a great fantasy series that not everybody’s read. And in case you don’t already know these, some other good ones: The Shannara series, Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold!, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

    Nevermore by Harold Schechter is a favorite. It’s a murder mystery with Edgar Allan Poe and Davy Crockett as the main characters, and Schecter writes it from Poe’s perspective. Hilarious and fun.

  • alienufo

    The only series I’ve read more than a few of is the Dragonlance series. I have like 20-30 of those books, some of which I haven’t read yet. Ive been reading a lot more non-fiction lately though because the election got me really interested in certain subjects that I wanted to find out more about.

  • FYI…Nora Roberts’ hubby owns an indie bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland, called Turn The Page (http://www.ttpbooks.com/)…and, checking the website, I see that on February 21, J.D. Robb will be signing her new In Death book!

    I visited that store once, but my main memory is of trying to keep my little kids from shredding the place…that was embarrassing.

  • Are there any good pick-up lines in these books? I mean ones that would actually work?

  • I thought I read a bunch of stuff. I currently read a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and some books on Zen and writing. Your “Bird by Bird” recommendation is my new bible for writing.

  • Ooo book recommendations.. looks dangerous (for the wallet, that is). I’m gonna check those out once I’m done reading my current books (reading the Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb).

    And holy shit you read books like that in one day?! I wish I could read that fast, that’s just hyper efficient.

    • alienufo

      yeah, I’ve only ever read one book in a day. Slaughterhouse Five. And thats a short book.

  • mcC

    I have this thing with books that I need to own them. Have them on my overflowing shelves, be able to see them and potentially read them again, even if I rarely reread. But they just have to me all MINE 🙂

    Especially series do bad things to me, like not ever being able to look up again until I’m through. So I’m usually quite happy to discover them after all the books are out and the series is finished. Cause that means no waiting time. In case of the Marla Mason series by T. A. Pratt (which you should definitely try if you haven’t yet… they’re awesome, one of the best female (anti)heros I’ve read in forever) I am desperately waiting for the next one to come out end of February. Once it’s here I’ll tear through it within a day – maybe two if I can stretch it out a bit by going to work – and then I’ll be sad and, again, desperately waiting for the next one. And fearing there won’t be another one. It’s a very vicious cycle.

  • I used to be able to read a lot faster than I do now….

  • They look gorgeous. Absolutely sexy. I love having my books stacked up on a shelf proudly for everyone to see and for myself to look over and talk the nasties to them. “That’s right biotches, one of ya’lls gettin’ it tonight”.

  • Emily

    Wow !!! So are these books in the same arena as the Stephanie Plum?? I really liked those and am desperate for a good book right now??

    Thanks

  • Has anyone else noticed that literary detox isn’t literally detox?

  • Ladyofthemasque

    Emily, if you want a good romance author who actually has PLOT in her stories (as well as the requisit smut, and some laugh out loud moments) and don’t mind if it’s fantasy as well as romance, I recommend this author: http://www.JeanJohnson.net

    ~Lotm

  • NotaViking

    Have you tried Terry Pratchett’s comedy fantasy Discworld series, Felicia? It’s excellent and there’s over 30 of them. I’ve followed it for about 15 years – probably take you about a week to catch up. 😉

  • ML

    I love this series!! I have been reading them for years now and cannot wait until the next one comes out. Rourke is amazing and I love that Eve is so no nonsense but at the same time, really cares for people. Thank you for writing about them and letting others know.
    If you are looking for some other good fantasy, a little vampires, demons, and sex, then check Laurell K Hamilton and Kelly Armstrong. They are both great writers and have some interesting characters. The Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton is another book about a kickass female. Lots of sex scenes as the series goes on but it also has great character development. Just a thought!!

    • ML

      After perusing the site a little more, I see that you have read some of Anita Blake. LOL. Figures I would be too late!! I understand why you stopped reading but I continue. Think I am addicted 😉
      Anyway, if you haven’t checked out Kelly Armstrong’s series, check it out. Not as much sex as Anita Blake but very interesting characters.

  • Elvi

    Hey, do you do LibraryThing? I love the In Death series, too, and sounds like your taste is a lot like mine; I’d love to do a library comparison!

    My library doesn’t have near enough of these books, so I was forced to search them out in used book stores. Getting quite a stack of them by now…

  • Lell

    If you like Eve Dallas as a character, I would recommend checking out Tanya Huff’s Confederation Novels. They start with “Valor’s Choice,” and the best one is “The Better Part of Valor.” They’re a little–okay, a lot–more on the sci-fi bent than the In Death series, but Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr shares a lot of characteristics with Eve Dallas. They’re both completely badass, career-oriented (Kerr is in the Marine Corps…in outer space), insanely smart, and the dialogue in both is extremely quippy. If it ever came down to “Who would win in a fight? Dallas or Kerr?”…I would be torn on who to vote for.

    My roommate in college had all of the In Death books, luckily for my budget, and I plowed through them in a semester. Which reminds me that I still have one of her books…three years later…whoops.

  • hey felica it alysha i met you when you where doing the show roomates i took a pic of you on my phone and it wldnt wrk with the both of us lloll but i told you tht i wanted to be an actress well i have all my life i moved here by myself in july 5 days aftergturning 18 i write act sing n model. Its hard to make it in the buz specially when im doing it all by myself but i m still out here and i havent given up i jus wanted to thank you for talkin to me those times being here alone the show really became my first fam i hope to hear from you one day luv always your biggiest fan alysha monique ivory oh and ill never forget ”can i get a mark mark” lloll

  • William George Ferguson

    This is an sidebar comment. I noticed in your Goodreads that you got Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4) when it was released and immediately gulped it down (I think you said you had Amazon overnight it, I didn’t go that far, but…). Just wondering, given the hunky highlanders in kilts post, if you laughed as much as I did when Adam “growled ‘Mine!'” 🙂

    • LOL yesssss but I giggle every time I read that, it’s even in the “In Death” books, although Rourke is so yummy, I didn’t giggle as much as swoon…a bit. 🙂

      • Who’s the equivalent of Roarke for us guys? And what genre do we have that appeals to us as much as romance does to so many women? There’s no mostly male equivalent that I can think of. Well, maybe repair manuals….

  • @JoeW John Krakauer.

  • Vi

    Have you read the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris? I got into them recently because I had been watching True Blood (a new tv series based on the books). It’s basically a great combination of mystery, humor, fantasy and romance. Although the books generally have the ‘main’ stand alone story for each one, the character development is continuous. I admit that it’s not perfect, but like you, I love going through a series with the same characters.

    • Yeah, I read those YEARS ago, told my BF they would make a great TV series, lol. Unfortunately, True Blood doesn’t really hit me like the novels do, they’re missing a sense of humor/innocence that I loved about the books.

      • If you ever get to see Charlaine Harris at a panel or signing, don’t miss the chance. She’s an absolute riot, whip-smart and unafraid to share her opinions.

        (My having published a few mystery stories has brought me into contact with some extremely cool people in the genre, even though everyone else knows each other far better than they know me.)

  • @Kiala So funny! And true. And Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm), he’d be kind of a twofer.

  • Vi

    Ah, okay. 🙂

    When I first read the books, I didn’t think they were as good at the television series. And now that I’ve read more of them, I’m starting to lean in the opposite direction. I think overall though, that as long as I think of the books and the tv series as two different interpretations of the same world… I’ll still enjoy both.

  • another nora roberts fan!! SUCH a guilty pleasure.

  • korkster

    YES! A new addiction!! Thanks for the recommendation, Felicia. I’ll be checking these out… albeit at a slower pace than you LOL. I have to save money for Guild merchandise. 🙂

  • I can see reading your blog is not going to help my book addiction 😉 And I suddenly have the urge to stack my books in an attractive fashion and take photos…

  • I started In Death when my hubby got me #6 as an audiobook for my long commute to work. A week later I had ordered the entire existing library and buy the new one every time it comes out. Curse You Nora Roberts! At least the older books were cheap on half.com!

    As a fan of The Guild, and reading one of your recent Twitter comments, I have two questions…wait, make that three — 1) Alliance or Horde? 2) Which server? 3)Are your toons’ names a state secret? 🙂

  • Alliance. Our official guild has a group on the community.watchtheguild.com forum, if you want to check out the group, go ahead! 🙂 My toons will remain anonymous but they have a “sweet snack” theme hehe.

  • I’m currently 2/3 of the way through “Naked in Death” at your recommendation and I have a sneaking suspicion I’m about to acquire a shelf full of books just like yours Very Soon. If I didn’t live 400 miles away I’d ask to borrow (lol). Well, this is why we have used bookstores on the Internet. We can support the independents and save a pre-read book all from the comfort of the couch.

    Thanks for the review!

  • mcC

    oh no, what have you done to me!? I decided to try out the first “… in death” book, since you recommended the series and I was looking for reading material anyway – and now I’m going to have to buy the next one, and probably the next one after that etc etc.

    I’m loving that it’s such a fast – and admittedly guilty pleasure read with all the romance going on – while having this perfect little sci fi flavour to it. Must. Go. Buy. Now. Even if that means my girlfriend is going to laugh her ass off about me reading the series 🙂

  • Yay mcC! I love to hear that I’m not the only freak eating this series up like heroin cookies! 🙂

  • Janet

    Hello Felicia! Long time fan of yours and used to watch Buffy religiously lol . I was reading your post on series books and if you like supernatural books have u ever read this author.. http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/. My fave book of hers was The Obsidian Butterfly. It’s part of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. I couldn’t put it down. I was so enthralled with it. Hope you have a nice day! Much love! Oh and I LOVE THE GUILD!!! 😀 cant wait for season 3!

  • byatrobe

    okay am very envious of your collection now. i’ve got about 12 books, including the latest “Promises in Death” (which has an excellent storyline in the series context btw). every time i see an In Death book that i don’t have in the bookstore, i have to stop myself from grabbing it and heading straight to the checkout counter :p

  • Vicki Brown

    I want to thank you for posting this. Spouse and I started reading Eve and Roarke and all on your advice and we’re still reading. I came back to this post today to share about the series in Facebook and saw the line: “Bottom line, I would definitely recommend checking it out. But have care; 26 books is a big investment.” and had to laugh. There are 40 now, plus assorted novellas, and more coming. There are still twists and turns and plenty of new material. And I still wish I could invite the primary characters to my home for a quiet dinner… although, Eve might prefer not to come. Perhaps if I guarantee that she doesn’t have to dress up?

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