Elizabeth: What are you reading?

With NaNoWriMo a fading memory, the holiday decorating done (mostly), and the sun setting earlier and earlier, evenings after work are the perfect time to curl up on the couch and indulge in a little pleasure reading.

Since conventional wisdom says that reading and writing go together like peanut butter and jelly (though fortunately not as sticky), I don’t even have to feel guilty (much) that my current manuscript is languishing over on my desk.

As my towering to-be-read stacks can attest, I have an embarrassment of choices available for my reading pleasure.  In addition, I’ve picked up a few advanced publication copies of books and some contest prizes, making the “what to read” decision more challenging than normal.

Studmuffin Santa by Tawna Fenske

First up, to get me in the holiday mood, I read Tawna’s novella Studmuffin Santa, which is her first foray into the world of self-publishing.  As the title suggests, it includes a buff hero in the role of Santa Claus.  Set at a Reindeer Ranch, the story is a quick, fun read, with a few heart-tugging moments woven in.  There were some great secondary characters, believable situations, and just enough sex to warm up the story.  I’m sure I’ll be reading this again before long.  Disclaimer:  As a beta-reader I received this novella for free.

“Jade King is hustling to get Jingle Bell Reindeer Ranch off the ground, and she’s not thrilled her sister hired a Santa with sex-appeal. The last thing Jade wants is a beefcake circus, and guys like Brandon bring sleigh-loads of trouble. But Studmuffin Santa proves more popular than anyone dreamed, drawing hordes of happy kids, lusty moms, and a mystery foe hell-bent on wrecking it all.”

What Unites Us by Dan Rather

As I mentioned on Friday, my current non-fiction read is Dan Rather’s book of reflections of patriotism.  I picked up the book because I have been following Rather on Facebook for a while now and have found his posts to be reasonable and very insightful.  So far, this book has proved to be the same.  I’m only part-way through it, but I’ve already learned a few new things, flagged some great quotes, and am starting to feel a bit more hopeful about the future.

“At a moment of crisis over our national identity, venerated journalist Dan Rather has emerged as a voice of reason and integrity, reflecting on—and writing passionately about—what it means to be an American. Now, with this collection of original essays, he reminds us of the principles upon which the United States was founded.”

Magic Bites / Magic Burns by Illona Andrews

These two books are next in the queue.  I know others on the blog are Illona Andrews’ fans, but I have yet to read any of their stories.  When I won these two, courtesy of a Goodreads giveaway, I figured it was a sign that it was time to give them a try.  I haven’t read much fantasy in quite a while, so I’m looking forward to them.

A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

The last of my current reading list, and the one I am looking forward to most eagerly, is this latest book by one of my favorite authors.    I resisted the urge to drop everything and read it the moment I got my hands on it, but I’ve been trying to wait just little, since I know there won’t be another new story for quite a while.    I’m thinking this will be just the thing to curl up with on Christmas afternoon – the perfect present – possibly with a nice mug of hot cocoa.

So, what have you been reading (or trying to read) recently?  Any recommendations to add to my overflowing queue (or suggestions to skip)?

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