Seize the Day Sunday (Some Rousing Demon-Hunting Adventures)

What topic could be more appropriate for a leisurely Sunday afternoon blog than a little demon slaying? Well, it just so happens that I recently finished two free reads on just that topic, “Carpe Demon” and the short “The Demon You Know,” both by Julie Kenner, so in terms of perfect fodder for my blog, I’m in luck!

“Carpe Demon” is the introductory book in the “Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom” series. At the beginning of the novel, our heroine, Kate Connor, is a “retired” demon-hunter who is also the mother to both a teenager and a toddler. When she suddenly finds herself under attack by the forces of evil, Kate must make adjustments that leave her juggling her “perfect” life as wife and mother along with returning to her devil-demolishing ways.

Although enjoying the fast-paced readability and humor of this book, about halfway through the book, I found myself groaning at the predictability as I assumed that I’d guessed a major point in the plot that would be part of the “big reveal” at the end. Then, I groaned even louder when I was three-quarters of the way through the book before the heroine, predictably, began to suspect the same. And then, as I neared the end of the book, I fell in love with Kenner’s style when I realized that she’d thrown the reader a curveball – the plot that was so predictable was entirely a diversionary tactic and the book ended with a fast-paced, surprising ending.

I love the characters in this novel, and as the mother of a toddler and an infant found her to be highly relatable. I suspect mothers of teenagers would find her just as relatable as well, so I think the age gap between Kate’s children really spreads out the audience of these books. Not to say that if you’re not a “soccer mom” yourself you won’t enjoy these books, but if you are, I think you’ll find yourself really immersed in the fictional world Kenner has created.

This is a series I could definitely see myself returning to at some point in the future.

“The Demon You Know” is a short story in the same series. As another glimpse into the life of Kate Connor and her family, it was an enjoyable read, but it doesn’t really have enough “meat on the bones” to really bring readers into the series, I feel. You’ll need to already know and love the characters in this short to enjoy it. But if you’re reading the “Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom” and have somehow managed to miss this short, you should definitely get it right now.

At the time of this blog post, both “Carpe Demon” and “The Demon You Know” are still available for free on Kindle, as is the first book of another series by Kenner, “Aphrodite’s Kiss” of the Protectors Superhero Series.

Kenner is a New York Times and USA Today Bestseller.

As I have previously mentioned in my blog, although a lot of the free books available to “purchase” on Amazon are independent writers (and this is a great way to find new talent), there are also a number of opportunities to pick up books by bestselling authors, so those who prefer tried and true authors aren’t completely out of luck in looking for free reads.

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“Twirty-Something”

I’m currently struggling through a longer, rougher selection in my reading list (which I do intend to finish, for reasons I’ll reveal in the review, so I won’t mention the title here). So I’ve been lightening the mood with some other, lighter reading in between.

One gem I have found in the interim is “Twirty-Something: A Young Woman’s Guide to Giant Underwear” by Ingrid Rienke.

I readily identified with every one of these essays, and loved the humor and wit with which they were presented. This is exactly the advice I would give my younger self if I could go back in time, but to which I probably would not have listened.

From reading, it’s hard to tell if the target audience truly is younger women, or whether it really is us “twirty-something” women who have already been there, done that, and gotten the T-shirts. Because I know, as a younger woman, I never would have thought there would be a day when these words rang so true for me. But it’s a great book for those of us who’ve already had the experience – reading Reinke’s book is like having a best friend there to commisserate on all the ways our lives have changed since our younger days. And at the very least, it’s amusing to contemplate the thought of someone explaining these changes in great detail to a younger generation, or to wonder how our lives might have been changed had someone explained all of this to us before we had to learn it on our own.

I’d recommend this short collection of essays to women of all ages – to the younger women who might still benefit from the wisdom of slightly older women, to those of us “Twirty-Somethings” who can readily identify with the very real plights of life expressed in these pages, and even to women who have moved past that point in their lives, who might be able to wistfully look back to the days when these were their struggles. And who knows, some of those older women might even be encouraged to share their wit and wisdom with those of us “Twirty-Somethings,” and perhaps we have grown up enough now to listen. Otherwise, perhaps we’ll have to wait for Reinke to share with us the issues of menopause, graying hair, hair dye, and the numerous other issues we’ll face in the future, hopefully still with the same delightful humor.

After the laughs and groans of “Twirty-Something,” I was excited to find that Reinke also has a debut novel, “Dead End Job,” part of her Louisa Hallstrom series, also currently available free for the Kindle. I look forward to reading it soon.

 

Fortunate to find best-selling free reads

While Kindle freebies are a great marketing strategy frequently employed by indie publishers and small publishing houses, occasionally you’ll find works by best-selling authors, as well.

One of the first free books I picked up for the Kindle was “The Fortune Quilt,” by Lani Diane Rich, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

Although the free “purchase” was a limited time deal, it’s available for $2.99 regularly on Amazon and is eligible for the Kindle Lending Library.

The the tagline on the front of the book was part of what caught my attention, “She’ll tell you love is waiting … she just won’t tell you where.” And while this apparently builds interest (or did for me, anyway), this book is so much more than that.

The real crux of the story, rather than romance, is actually that of a young woman rediscovering herself. There’s a touch of family drama thrown in to explain why Carly, the main character of the novel, seems to flounder a bit at life. Throw in a cast of sometimes highly unpredictable characters, add a touch of romance, and you have a really enjoyable read.

Although liked this book, I’m really glad that I didn’t pay anything for it. Not that I would have, because it’s not the type of book I ever would have purchased. But I’m glad that I read it. And I’d definitely check out her other books or e-books from my local library if I find myself at a loss for light reading material. It appears that Rich is a fairly prolific writer in the “chick lit” genre. Since I enjoyed this book outside my usual reading “comfort zone,” I don’t feel it’s surprising that the author would be a favorite among fans of her brand of fiction.

If you haven’t read anything by Rich and chick lit is your thing, I’d definitely recommend Rich and more specifically, “The Fortune Quilt.” And if it’s not your thing, but you happen to stumble across a free copy, you might just want to give it a try, too.

To find limited-time offers on best-selling authors in the genres you prefer, be sure to check out some of the listing services. My top picks are Book Gorilla (which has an app that makes reviewing the free book lists even easier than checking your e-mail) and Book Lending.