In this issue: My favorite books and entertainment for October, plus the weirdest research I've discovered while writing this month. And yes, book 3 of the The Late Bloomer Series is coming soon!
Crisp autumn weather means more time for snuggling up to great books and movies!
Soon you'll be able to read Tiger Lily, the third book in my Late Bloomers Series. And wow is this one full of twists and turns and travel and food and romance—all the trademarks of my books for adventurous women over 40.
But until Tiger Lily makes her debut, I have new feature for you: Best Bets.
Best Bets is a peek into my favorite books, movies, shows, websites, and more. The Best from Betsy Talbot, in other words. If you're an adventure-loving woman over 40 like me, then you'll probably like my recommendations, too.
Shall we get started with the October Best Bets?
Books I Like
ROMANCE/PARANORMAL: Elizabeth Hunter is back with another story in her Irin Chronicles. Book 4 is The Staff & the Blade. She is one of my favorite paranormal writers, and if you like stories about ancient beings and modern love, you this is your cup of tea.
(Also, if you want to check out a great novella from her Elemental Legacy series, be sure to get Imitation & Alchemy. I love the playful bantering between the ancient Tenzin and the young Ben!)
MYSTERY: I gave my neighbors the side-eye for a few days after reading The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? This is a twisty story about societal norms, family drama, and manipulation...a kidnapping is the tamest part of the book!
DYSTOPIAN FUTURE: The foul-mouthed, hypersexed, body-modified assassin named Riko wakes up in an unfamiliar place...again. This time, though, she's lost 2 months of her life and has to escape from a lab. What happened? This hard-charging futuristic novel is what action movies would look like if they had female leads. If you like action with complex characters, then you'll enjoy Necrotech by K.C. Alexander.
SCI-FI: Check out the Outer Bounds Series by Sara King, which starts with Fortune's Rising. What I like about her books is that they are sci-fi for people who don't care to analyze whether a warp drive could actually work or not. :) Plenty of detail to get the gist of the future, but still focused mainly on telling great stories with love, betrayal, mystery, thrills, and action with a big cast of interesting characters.
NONFICTION: Lately I'm reading more on Stoicism and how to stop worrying about things I can't control (particularly helpful in an election season!). You don't have to read ancient philosophy to learn the most useful traits of a stoic. A book I found particularly helpful was The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman.
The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time, by Maria Konnikova, is a fascinating look at why con men are successful and just how easy it is to fall for a con. Konnikova is a journalist with serious chops, and her stories and research in this book are both informative and highly entertaining. If you like a good con, or want to avoid being the victim of one, you'll enjoy this book.
Book Research Treasures
My research takes me down a lot of rabbit holes. If you like weird, arcane bits of knowledge, here's a peek inside my very tormented brain. This month I'm in a bit of a dark place, research-wise.
I am now of an age where I regularly forget what I've done and wonder if it is because my brain is too packed with information or it is shrinking with age. Now I have to worry if the memories I'm searching for are even real. :) (Note to self: re-read the stoicism book.)
There's the internet you and I use, and then there's the wilderness of the dark web that the underbelly of society uses. (No, I'm not talking about Youtube commenters.) If you want a glimpse into this world of hackers and arms dealers and drugs and wars you don't even know about, visit Vanity Fair for an intriguing look at this shadowy world.
Want your self-help advice with some personality? Then look no further than Shaun Derik. His series, The Hard Part Show, was weekly Youtube watching for me this summer, and I'm anxiously awaiting the next season.
The Writer's Life
Today Warren and I are driving north for a 2-month stay in a cave house in the Granada province of Spain. The owners are a delightful artist/academic couple, and we'll be watching over the place and caring for their sweet dog while they're traveling.
Housesitting is a great activity for writers because it allows you to imagine a new identity for a short period of time. The ultimate in creativity! This time I'm the modern-day Wilma Flintstone, enjoying wifi, a modern sound system, a chef's kitchen, and a spa bathroom inside a 3-bedroom cave house.
A potential hazard is the homeowner's large library, which could make it hard to stay focused on writing. But the good news for you is that means more recommendations in next month's Best Bets email!
Got a book you'd like to recommend to me? Just reply to this email and tell me about it.
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Until next time,
Author of The Late Bloomers Series
Book Lover and All-Around Curious Person