Reading/Watching/Listening: Summer Random

With the move and everything this summer, life was pretty chaotic. There’s no rhyme or reason to this RWL. No theme or gist. Just bits and pieces of what’s been entertaining to me. Well, this and painting. I’ve started painting again. Because I didn’t have enough to do.

Reading: The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

I love when a book makes me feel like I’ve been dropped into a foreign world. And the world building in the Kate Daniels series, which begins with Magic Bites, is truly exceptional. It is Urban Fantasy at its best. Here’s the series synopsis from Ilona Andrew’s website:

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

…In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight.  But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.

I’m reading the last available in this series, Magic Slays (there are five right now) and I’m looking forward to the first full-length novel featuring another character in the Kate Daniels world, Gunmetal Magic. If you haven’t found this series, I highly, highly recommend it.

Watching: Sherlock, BBC

I love mystery. I remember reading The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was… ten or eleven and being a bit confused and a lot enthralled. This BBC update of the classic Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson stories has set the pair in modern day, technology-rich London, while still maintaining the action, adventure, and calculation that was at the heart of the Doyle books.

Even if you’re a Holmes purist, check out this series. Benedict Cumberbatch is the best Sherlock I’ve seen on a screen ever. And Martin Freeman as Watson, the military doctor back from Afghanistan, is a stroke of casting genius. I’ve liked Freeman since he was on The Office (the original one) and his low key presence is the perfect counterpoint to the manic Sherlock. (Side note: I can’t WAIT to seem him as Bilbo in The Hobbit.) Fabulous series. I own both seasons on DVD and that’s saying something. I think the first season is on Netflix, or it used to be.

This is an example of television writing at it’s best. It was co-created by Stephen Moffat, the brilliant mind behind my favorite sitcom ever, Coupling. It’s odd how you can recognize certain writers no matter what genre they’re writing in, but I recognized Moffat’s dialogue in the very first episode of Sherlock, “A Study in Pink,” and the writing has remained exceptional. Fans get obsessive about this show and when you watch it, you’ll understand why.

Listening: Born and Raised, John Mayer

I’ve never been a devoted fan of John Mayer. I think he’s a really gifted songwriter, but none of his albums have really grabbed me the way Born and Raised did. I think it’s very, very honest, and exhibits thoughtful writing, as well as a very rootsy blues sound which I love. The guitar work is great, as always. I’ve listened to this album over and over since someone linked me to “The Age of Worry.” It was just so ‘where I am’ that I bought the single immediately. Then the album. And it’s great.

Close your eyes and clone yourself
Build your heart an army
To defend your innocence
While you do everything wrong

Don’t be scared to walk alone
Don’t be scared to like it
There’s no time that you must be home
So sleep where darkness falls (The Age of Worry)

Some albums can be listened to on shuffle, but do yourself a favor and listen to this in the order intended. It’s a great listening experience. Good road trip music, in particular. Some of my favorite tracks are “The Age of Worry,” “Born and Raised,” “Queen of California,” “Speak for Me,” the very quirky “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test,” and “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey.” Oh, and “Something Like Olivia.” Really, the whole thing is great. Buy it. Listen. Think. Enjoy.

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  1. Thanks for the reading and music recommendations. Definitely will check out Magic Bites and John Mayer. Just finished The Genius and the Muse. Loved everything about it and I am not a romance novel fan. I have recently started painting as well and dabbling in mixed media art, so your latest novel kinda inspired me to look beyond the surface of things and plow into the depths underneath. I just downloaded the Cambio Springs story as well. Did I mention I was a fan? 🙂

  2. The Kate Daniels series is fantastic! Check out the Ilona Andrews website. There is a couple of freebie downloads from Curran’s POV. 😀

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