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A closer look at what you should be reading

When the fabulous Gina Frangello approached me to write a monthly column about books that cross my desk, my first thought was, “There are so many books, how will I decide what gets mentioned?”What I’ve realized is I have no formula for that except to say, if it’s unique in style or voice, I keep reading. Cover art is often alluring when I decide to pick up a book but ultimately, what matters most are the words on the page, how they fit together. Do they tell me a story or evoke emotion? If the answer is yes, I turn the pages. I think of writer in the same way I do an architect.A writer is in charge of building something beautiful and making it their own with style and imagination. Whether they place the words on the pageso they sound and feel good to say out loud or create a text that’s visually interesting to read or develop multi-faceted characters that feel as if they could be you or someone you know—all of these things make writing fascinating and help to build amazing stories. It’s what really happens between the pen and paper, or rather the fingers and the keyboard that count. What I do know is there are far more books than there are hours in the day for me to read every single one that’s sent to me; however I’ll try to keep you abreast of the best in my TBR pile. So, here’s some of what I’ve recently read. I hope that it resonates with you, dear reader, in some way.

1.  Swell

SHE WENT on one car date with her older cousin’s friend from the Army—six months prior to going out with the guy who becomes her serious boyfriend, Talon “T-bird” Blaze.  She had a night off from babysitting, and Army boy picked her up in his dad’s sedan and took her to Shoney’s.  It is the date place.  After dinner, it was night and dark.  They parked on the bluffs above the beach.  It is the make out place.  Music swooned from the speakers in the doors.  Army boy put the moves on Janine McQueen.

So, Marisa, your first book is coming out in a few weeks.  To someone who hasn’t read it, how do you describe Drenched?

Ok, I’ve been working on this answer.  It’s a collection of offbeat love stories that are all interconnected. And by offbeat, I mean strange things happen.  It takes place in a recognizable, natural world, but there are impossible elements folded in.  In the story “Hotmouths” one of the main characters has teeth made of rose quartz crystal.  When this character gets turned on sexually, his teeth fire hot and he burns his girlfriend when they kiss.  Why his teeth are rose quartz and why they get hot is not addressed, it is just a fact of the world.