Monday, January 15, 2007

Favorite Paranormal Reading...

I always have enjoyed seeing what is on the reading lists of my favorite people, so after I ran through this exercise for the Witchy Chicks, I thought I would share the same over here. So, with that in mind, here are some of my all-time favorite paranormal reads:

The Classics:

Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier
What's not to like about this book? DuMaurier does sinister foreboding like no other author I know of. Being big on atmosphere, I absolutely worship at her feet. Is this a paranormal novel? Rebecca, beautiful Rebecca . . . she was a Thoughtform, kept present on the physical plane by the memories and guilt and desires of those she affected most. Without a doubt she was a force to be reckoned with, ghost or no ghost.

Salem's Lot, by Stephen King
Well, at least with this one there's no question as to whether it's paranormal or not. I wasn't a King devotee when I picked this up from my then-boyfriend's-now-husband's bedside table. I still can't say that I'm a devotee, mostly because I'm a wuss and I have a hard time with the hardcore gore that pops up. {My problem, no one else's...} What I can say is that, to this day, the image of little vampire babies creeping and dragging their way across the floorboards, desperate for a 'feeding', haunts my nightmares still. THAT is the power of words and story, my friends. And King is a master at it.

The Bast Series, by Rosemary Edghill
I found this series when I was trying to decide whether to pursue writing what eventually became the Bewitching mystery series. Having a background in straight historical romance, not mystery, I had not a clue whether the concept I had, combining my love of the paranormal with my reading love for a good traditional mystery, was viable and fresh or not, so I started to research paranormal mysteries. Edghill's Bast books predated the current paranormal trend -- at the time, there simply wasn't a whole lot of other books of that type out there. One thing I was fascinated by was her portrayal of the urban magic scene. It was so alien from anything I'd ever encountered before {evidently I have lead a fairly sheltered life, heh}, and it was so interesting to read how Bast experienced her world. My only quibble was that the murders she encountered all took place in the witchy world.

Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
Magical realism at its best, whatever the book. Alice Hoffman's prose is spare enough to be erudite, lush enough to convey atmosphere {there's that word again} in spades, and her understanding of the inner workings of the human psyche leaves me breathless. Another author at whose feet I worship. {I am unworthy!}

Three Sisters Island Trilogy, by Nora Roberts
Another series I found when I started researching paranormal fiction. What can anyone say about La Nora? The woman is a phenomenon. Like Rebecca De Winter, a force to be reckoned with {only a whole lot nicer and with a lot more class...}. The Three Sisters is like taking a heaping helping of Practical Magic, blending it with a goodly portion of Sleeping With the Enemy, and mixing well. This is Nora Roberts at her very best. My favorite character was Air, although Fire resonated on a deep level as well. I may have to dig this series out from the depths of my bookshelves and reread them, ASAP.

The Up-and-Comings:

The Rachel Morgan/Dead series, by Kim Harrison
A kickass bounty hunter-slash-witch in an alternate universe Cincinnati , a wiseass pixie named Jenks who runs interference for her, a scaryass vampire roomie named Ivy, and a bunch of nastyass and paranormal criminal types who make me pull up the covers to my chin and wish for a good, thick, cashmere scarf to tie around my throat for protection. You want a wild ride? Read Kim Harrison.

The Psychic Eye series, by Victoria Laurie
What is not to like about a real-life psychic who is writing a romantic paranormal mystery series about Psychic Detective Abby Cooper and her real-life Detective boyfriend, Dutch. Abby knows her psychic powers are real, but she's as down-to-earth as they come about anything else that goes bump in the night. This is a fun series, a lot lighter than Harrison, but I have different tastes at different times. One thing I really love is the way Victoria describes the way being psychic works, straight from her own experiences. She illuminates the subject in a way few others can, and it brings a freshness to Abby that I love to read. Trust me on this -- Victoria Laurie is a talented and fascinating contributor to the mystery genre. You will enjoy these books.

And my pick for the #1 Paranormal Novel of all time???

Ammie Come Home, by Barbara Michaels
This ultimately belongs in the Classics breakdown as it was published in the early 1970s, but it deserves a label all its own. Ammie Come Home tells of a case of ghostly possession that is as shiver-inducing as it is sinister. I love, love, love this book. Just one mention of the "Otherness" behind her eyes . . . wooooooooooooh! Just don't read it on a dark night with the wind blowing and no one in bed next to you.

Wait! Have I mentioned yet Dolores Stewart Riccio's Circle series, or Molly Cochran & Warren Murphy's The Forever King, or Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, and of course not once did I mention the Harry Potter series {as if it needs my help...}, and . . . not once did I mention the Witchy Chick's utterly incredibly fabulous books, which required a whole lot of restraint, let me tell you. My Girrrrrls are wonderfully talented storytellers and writers.

You know, one thing that I realized when I finished this exercise: Clearly I need to find the time to read more. I miss it!!!

Love to all,

Mad {madly!}


Kristi said...

I just have to say that I love your bewitching series. I found your blog by doing a search to find any other books by you.

I bought your second one not realizing that it was 2nd in the series. I had to rush out and get the 1st to read first.

I read both books in 3 days and love Maggie and Marcus and all your other characters. I'm just disappointed that I have to wait so long for your next adventure, but I can't wait!

I've read every book and series you've commented on and loved them all. Barbara Michaels most of all.

I easily read at least 4-5 books a week, but few become my favorites. You are one of them. Thanks for bringing me such pleasure with your books.

Julie said...

Delores Stewart Riccio's Circle girls are a hoot, aren't they? Is Barbara Michaels by any chance Elizabeth Peters...?

Halfway through your 2nd book, and I'm bewitched by it. :)

Madelyn Alt said...

Hey, Kristi! Thanks so much for buying both TTWM and ACD. I'm so glad you're enjoying the series! Sorry to make you wait for the next, but I hope to make it worth your while. I'm so excited to be one of your favorites!

You know, I am terribly upset... I have misplaced my copy of Ammie Come Home. I know it has to be around here somewhere, but I've been cleaning and sorting and haven't come across it yet. I was just thinking that a re-reading of Ammie was just what the doctor ordered for my post-manuscript funk. Sigh.

Hi, Julie! Of Riccio's characters, I love Fiona and Cass the best, with Heather a close third. Oh, and yes, I'm pretty sure that Barbara Michaels is now writing as Elizabeth Peters.

So glad to hear you're enjoying ACD!

Mad {madly!}

Moonfire said...

I must agree. I love to read books every since I was a child. especially whenever I was grounded and sent to my room. My parents would take out the TV, Radio, Video games as punishment until they got wise and left those in my room and took my books instead. I throw fits to get my books back to no avail. Now I'm much older, but not much wiser. I still have a passion for reading which sends my boyfriend into a banshee at how I can spend $100 for books but won't spend the same amount for cable TV?! *Wink* What can I say, I find better entertainment reading then having to sit through an outragous reality TV show that crosses the line or pushes the boundaries of tolerance of morality and values.

My favorite authors are:

Kelley Armstrong, Otherworld Women Series
Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stockhouse Series
Laura Childs, A Tea Shop Mystery Series
Susan Wittig Albert, Herb Shop Mystery Series
Also Sherlock Homles, Agatha Christies, and other old classics.

And I honor to add to the list of reading is Madelyn Alt. Your writing in strong and excitingly "edge of the chair what's next." I love the characters, the details, and your method of storytelling. I lent "The trouble with magic to a friend of mine and she loved it also and immediately read the second book as soon as I was finished with it. Now we're both awaiting the next book to be released.

Madelyn Alt said...

Wow, thank you, moonfire. I am so honored to be added to your list of favorite authors!

I agree with you, by the way -- books are much better than TV. I do also love a really well-made movie, though. That's what DVD players are for. :)

Mad {madly!