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Discovering Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland

Once upon a time, my reading choices were limited to my favourite authors but since the purchase of my Kindle, I’ve discovered new-to-me authors. While romantic comedy and women’s fiction are still my number one choice, my reading tastes have broadened and become more eclectic. And IMO, one of my favourite parts of the reading experience is discovering a new-to-me author and then reading their backlist. To a diehard reader, this is better than chocolate.

So I’d like to share some of the books I’ve recently read and loved. First off is Hollowland by Amanda Hocking.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Amanda Hocking, she was unable to sell her books to traditional publishers so began to self-publish in April 2010. Since then, she has sold over a million copies of her books. In March 2011, she signed a four book deal with St. Martin’s Press and has gone on to have a book optioned for film and another one made into a graphic novel.

Hollowland is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’ll definitely be reading more. While I’d always intended to try one of Amanda’s books – she is, after all, a superstar in the self-publishing world – my Kindle is already filled with books that I haven’t yet had a chance to read. But the other day, when I received the Free Kindle Books & Kindle News email, I saw Hollowland on it. I immediately downloaded the book on to my Kindle.

My reading MO starts out with admiring the cover, reading through the reviews, acknowledgments, then finally delving into the opening lines of the book. Monday night, I started reading Hollowland and wow, does the story start out with a bang. To whet your appetite, here’s the first sentence:

“This is the way the world ends; not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

I’m halfway through the book and hope to finish it tonight. It’s that good. It’s the story of a nineteen year old girl’s quest to find her eight year old brother in the wasteland of a post-apocalyptic world that is filled with an army of flesh-eating zombies. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t enjoy carnage, Amanda Hocking has kept the unpleasant descriptions of zombie gore to a minimum.

If you’ve always wanted to try a book by Amanda Hocking but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, I highly recommend starting with this one. Last time I checked – just a few minutes ago – it was still free on the Amazon site.

I’m anxious to read the rest of the Hollowland series but see that book two hasn’t been released yet. It’s due out any day now but in the meantime, there’s Amanda’s My Blood Approves series to try.

So what new-to-you authors have you tried lately? And what books are high on your list of favourites?

For The Love Of Reading

Sheila Seabrook

I inherited my nose from my dad. I also inherited his calves, his easy going personality and his love of reading. He died in 2009 but my all time favourite picture of him shows him sitting on the beach in a lawn chair, a book in his hands with the sun shining down on his head.

The first book I remember holding was a beautiful hardcover copy of Cinderella, filled with strange words I couldn’t read and beautiful pictures I adored. Once I learned to read, I worked my way through Dick and Jane, on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and in between, the back of every cereal box my mom ever bought.

When I ran out of reading material, I would sneak into my dad’s book stash, which he wisely kept in the garage, and read his Harlequin romances. He also had some racier novels there, stories with – gasp! – sex, and if my mom knew I was reading those books – heck, if she knew my dad was reading those books – she would have banned them from our reading material.

These days I’m allowed to read whatever I want and I want to read a lot. In fact, I want to read more than I have time for. Favourite authors include Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Samuel (O’Neal), Ann Voss Peterson, Linda Style, Susan Vaughan, Virginia Kelly, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few.  And with the arrival of the e-reader, not only is my to-be-read pile contained within one small device instead of all over the office floor, but I’ve discovered indie authors like our own Women Unplugged bloggers Dianne Venetta and Christy Hayes. If you haven’t read their books yet, run to your nearest e-reader and download them now. I’ll wait ….

My DadShortly before my dad died, he gave me the book Volcano by Richard Doyle. When he told me I had to read this book, there was a tone in his voice that I recognized so well. It was awe and wonder for a can’t-put-it-down story, emotions I too experience whenever I fall in love with a story or an author’s voice. Although I have yet to read the book – I’ve become more of a love-to-laugh-out-loud reader – Volcano will forever remain on my keeper shelf because it was the last time my dad shared his love of reading with me.

This is how I will always remember my dad, with a book in his hands and another waiting to be read. This is, hopefully, how my children will remember me, too.

So who did you inherit your reading gene from? Who are some of your favourite authors and books? And if you had to choose, would you rather spend your hard earned money on books or food and clothes?

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