Isn’t It Romantic?

This month Spotlight on the Stacks will showcase a romantic book & movie pairing each week. We are starting the month strong with Diana Gabaldon’s swashbuckling, time-traveling, genre-bending novel Outlander. After you finish the first book in this beloved series, be sure to check out the hit television show and its beautiful stars. ūüėČ


Summer of the (Unfinished) Series

I have a lot going on this summer, primarily being enormously pregnant and chasing around a toddler who is all set to become a big sister around August 7th.¬† As far as my summer reading goes, I need entertaining, exciting books that I know I’ll enjoy–that is why I¬†have christened this my Summer of the (Unfinished) Series.

As an avid reader and librarian, I am constantly overwhelmed by the sheer number of books I am dying to read.¬† Now, don’t get me wrong, I love¬†my time spent¬†reading, but in the back of my mind there is always pressure to read more and to read more widely.¬† As a result of this (self-imposed) pressure I rarely continue with books in a series, no matter how much I may have loved the opening novel.


This summer I will be revisiting those abandoned series where in each case I have read only the first book:

twelve passage

First on¬†my list is The Twelve by Justin Cronin, the sequel to 2010’s The Passage.¬† Unlike most “post”-apocalyptic fiction, the first half of The Passage is similar to Stephen¬†King’s¬†The Stand in that it shows the crisis that changes the world¬†as it unfolds.¬† The second half of the book takes place generations after government-bred vampires destroyed the world we know and left scattered, heavily armed and gated settlements in its place.


Margaret Maron’s series about North Carolina judge Deborah Knott is¬†so good that I’ve already broken my¬†one-book-trend and read the first two: Bootlegger’s Daughter and Southern Discomfort.¬† Next up is Shooting at Loons.¬† This Edgar award winning series follows Deborah Knott, a¬†wonderful character who has chosen to practice law even though she is the daughter of a notorious bootlegger.¬† Her eccentric family and the citizens of fictional Colleton¬†County, North Carolina guarantee that each novel is¬†populated with fascinating characters.¬† Plus, nothing helps you feel cool during a heat wave like reading about the¬†constantly¬†sticky and¬†oppressively humid weather in the south.


Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child wrote the page-turning thriller Relic¬†almost 20¬†years ago.¬† Filled with ancient creatures, credible science and an amazing setting (The American Museum of Natural History) I devoured this book, but never got around to continuing the series.¬† In Reliquary, “two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation. Margo must once again team up with police lieutenant D’Agosta and FBI agent Pendergast, as well as the brilliant Dr. Frock, to try and solve the puzzle. The trail soon leads deep underground, where they will face the awakening of a slumbering nightmare.” (Description from publisher.)


I listened to In the Woods by Tana French several years ago and the developed characters, stunning prose, and incredible narration continue to stick with me.  The story follows Detectives Ryan and Maddox as they investigate the death of a young girl in a Dublin suburb.  In The Likeness, Detective Cassie Maddox returns to the Dublin Murder Squad when her mirror image is murdered; and with no leads she goes undercover as the dead girl in an effort to solve the case.


It would have been impossible for me¬†not to¬†fall in love with Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap and its¬†protagonist–quirky Ave Maria Mulligan.¬† “It‚Äôs 1978 and 35-year-old Ave Maria is the self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, a sleepy hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As the local pharmacist, she‚Äôs been keeping the town folks‚Äô secrets for years, but she‚Äôs about to discover a skeleton in her own family‚Äôs tidy closet that will blow the lid right off her quiet, uneventful life.”¬† (Description from the publisher.)¬† I’m excited to discover what’s in store for her and all the other small town characters in Big Cherry Holler.


I think I may be the only person who has read Killing Floor and not immediately gone on to¬†Die Trying¬†by Lee Child.¬†¬†In Killing Floor¬†we meet “Jack Reacher, a drifter and ex-military policeman; a man of action unafraid to take justice into his own hands; a man of intelligence and cunning. Shortly after Reacher arrives in the sleepy town of Margrave, Georgia he‚Äôs arrested for murder. The next three days‚Äô events leave everyone stunned.”¬† (Description from publisher.)¬† I absolutely loved Child’s writing and Jack Reacher but I just never continued with the series.¬† This summer that will change.


FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not yet read even the first book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, but based on everything I have heard about these titles I will love them.  How could I not love books described in this way by their author?

“In essence, these novels are Big, Fat, Historical Fiction, ala James Clavell and James Michener.¬† However, owing to the fact that I wrote the first book for practice, didn‚Äôt intend to show it to anyone, and therefore saw no reason to limit myself, they¬† include‚Ķhistory, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul‚Ķyou know, the usual stuff of literature.”

I plan on saving this series for the weeks after baby2 arrives.  I have the first seven titles downloaded on my ereader to help get me through those early days & nights with a newborn marked by no sleep and constant nursing.

~ Patricia is a part-time librarian at the OWL.