My Top Ten Urban Fantasy of the Last Decade

The Angieville blog posted about a list of the Top 20 Paranormal Fantasies of the Last Decade at the Barnes and Noble Book Blog.

(As an aside, the article on the B&N blog is written by Paul Goat Allen. I read his articles years ago when B&N put out a paper science fiction and fantasy newsletter each month. That brought me into their store at least once a month and I found so many new authors that way. He introduced me to Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake books. I loved those early books by her. They were the first vampire books I read. I didn’t realize Allen still wrote for B&N. I will have to check that out.)

Anyway, as Angie did in her blog I’m going to post my top ten fantasy/urban fantasy books (not in any particular order):

Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee
I enjoyed this book so much. It’s about an amusement park in a tourist town on the coast in Maine. I read this book after our family had a family reunion in Maine and we visited an amusement park at the beach! That made the book so much fun to read, but I would like it regardless. One of my favorite books! Sharon Lee also writes science fiction favorites of mine with her husband Steve Miller.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
I was so sorry when I finished this book and then find out it’s a standalone book. This was my introduction to Robin McKinley.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
I love this series. Just finished Frost Burned and it was as good or better than the first!

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
This is the other series I love. They are my co-favorites right now!

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
This has been a great series, too. Hard to believe the last book is in May. I started reading at the beginning of the series and it lead me to the True Blood series on HBO which is also a favorite.

Tinker by Wen Spencer
I’ve read a lot of Wen Spencer’s books, but this is my favorite. She built a great world in this book.

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
A new author and series I found at the end of 2012. Really looking forward to the next book.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Another new author I read at the end of last year. Good series. I like the lore about the rivers of London.

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
October Daye is such a great character.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Another new author and series. I started this one in January and quickly read the next book when it arrived in February.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
I’m fudging a little with this book. It was written in 2001, but I do like it a lot!

Most of the books which are part of series I used the first book in the series. I admit I’ve liked some books more than others in some of the series, but I can’t choose a favorite in each series so quickly!

What are your favorite books in this genre?

I Had to Buy the Book…But Why Haven’t I Read It?

The Broke and the Bookish sponsors this weekly Meme.

I love books and have more books than I’ll ever have time to read. When I started looking through my books I realized I’ve got a lot of books I really want to read, but some of them have sat for years waiting for me.Why is that?

I’ve thought about that and I think one reason is that I like to savor things. I nibble and save things instead of gobbling them up and I do this with books, too. But I think it’s time to enjoy my books.

1. Killing Rocks by DD Barant–I read the first book in this series–Dying Bites–and thought it was great. Then I bought Killing Rocks in 2011 thinking it was book 2 when it was book 3! Now there are six books in the series!

2. Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes–I read the first book Raised by Wolves and really liked it; bought Trial By Fire in 2011 when it was published. It’s a trilogy and the final book and a short story have been published! Time to start reading.

3. The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Teresa Weir–I bought this book in June 2012 (on sale) after I read a great review of it. It was on several bloggers best of 2012 lists, but still haven’t even started it. I love the cover, too.

4. I searched and searched in used bookstores over the years and found some of Robin McKinley‘s older books (Deerskin, Dragonhaven, The Blue Sword, The Door in the Hedge, The Hero and the Crown, and The Outlaws of Sherwood, for example), but still haven’t read them.

5. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Bought in 2008, great cover, exciting premise…still unread.

6. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. I bought this book several years ago. I’ve read so many great things about Terry Pratchett’s books and I haven’t read any of them.

7. Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold–I love the Miles Vorkosigan books (and still have more of them to read much to my delight). I’m sure I’ll love the Sharing Knife series, too, and even bought all the books, but haven’t started them yet.

8. Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong–I bought, read and loved Bitten when it first came out in 2001. I think it might have been my first werewolf book! Then I bought five more books in the series, but I haven’t read any of them. I’ve stopped buying this series until I read what I already have.

9. Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily Mysteries, Book 4) by Tasha Alexander. I love the first three books in this series and now there are seven books in the series. Time to start again, I think.

10. Curtain by Agatha Christie. I read almost all of Agatha Christie’s books when I was a teenager. Hercule Poirot was always my favorite character. This is the last book published by Agatha Christie during her lifetime…tells of Hercule Poirot’s last case and his death. I just haven’t ever been able to read it. She actually wrote it during WWII and kept in a vault until she realized she couldn’t write anymore. It was published in 1975. She died on January 12, 1976 at the age of 85 and I have had this book for years and not read it. I don’t like endings.

What about you? Do you have books you had to buy, but you haven’t read them? Or maybe you don’t have exciting unread books…maybe you read your books when you buy them…tell me about that, too!

Blog Hoppy

I was doing a bit of blog hopping the last couple of days and decided to share some of my findings!

At Bunbury in the Stacks (a blog I found today!) I read that at BBC 4 you can listen to an audible version of Neal Gaiman’s Neverwhere and it has a quality cast (such as Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer). The first episode which is one hour long is already available online. The rest of the episodes will be 30 minutes long and will broadcast each night this week Monday through Friday. I’ve listened to the first hour and love it! Very excited!

Dear Author reported that Google Reader is dead (by July). I used Google Reader for awhile, but stopped using it a year or so ago. I don’t subscribe to blogs or anything to compile RSS feeds. I tend to visit a dozen or so blogs a day. Not always the same ones. I don’t use twitter. I have a facebook page, but seldom visit it and I don’t visit industry facebook pages or “like” them.

After reading the post at Dear Author I found many blogs had information about Google Reader in the last couple of days. The Intrepid Reader tells why she uses an RSS feed to follow her blogs. Maybe I need to rethink whether to use a news feed…and  I probably need to put a subscription link on my blog.

 

At the Angieville blog I was excited to see that Veronica Mars may become a movie! Did I mention I’m excited?!! There is a Kickstarter Project which people can pledge to so the movie can happen. I was really sad when the TV show was cancelled several years ago so I hope this happens and that it is great.

What are you excited about or up in arms about or sad to see happening?

Kindle Daily Deal Alert!

The Science Fiction/Fantasy Daily Deal for today at Amazon is Bec McMaster‘s Kiss of Steel which I read in January and enjoyed. The book is only $1.99 which is a great way to try a new author. A new book by Ms. McMaster (Taste of Steel) is arriving in May.

This book is more of a steampunk romance than urban fantasy, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. As I’ve mentioned in other posts I don’t like the romance to be the focus in my fantasy. To me when the emphasis is on the romance many times the worldbuilding suffers. Don’t get me wrong, I do like some romance just not too much. This book passed my test and I liked it!

Honoria Todd has no choice. Only in the dreaded Whitechapel district can she escape the long reach of the Duke of Vickers. But seeking refuge there will put her straight into the hands of Blade, legendary master of the rookeries. No one would dare cross him, but what price would he demand to keep her safe?
Ever since Vickers infected him with the craving, Blade has been quicker, stronger, almost immortal—and terrified of losing control of the monster within. Honoria could be his perfect revenge against the duke…or the salvation he never dared to dream of.

If you enjoy some romance in your fantasy or like the steampunk craze check out this book. For $1.99 you don’t have too much to lose!

BTW, I’ve never met the author, don’t work for Amazon and don’t accept books for review so I’m just letting you all know about a book I enjoyed available at a good price today only.

New Author Challenge–Kate Locke

Last year I read lots of historical romance (13 by the end of February); this year it’s lots of urban fantasy (11 by the end of February). I’ve also found a number of new urban fantasy authors which makes me happy! Because I’m finding many new authors to try this year I’ve joined the New Author Challenge 2013 at the Literary Escapism blog. I’ve challenged myself to read 25 new authors this year. This is my first new author blog post.

This new-to-me author is Kate Locke who is writing The Immortal Empire series. I’m so glad I found Ms. Locke and it’s all because the first book was on sale for $2.99 (the e-book…probably because the second book was coming out in February). I enjoyed the set-up in this first book–the world, the characters and the story.

God Save the Queen 
by Kate Locke
The Immortal Engine, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Orbit, 2012
E-book, purchased
368 pages
Grade: B+

Synopsis: Blood. Bloomers. Bedlam.
The Victorian Era never ended. It’s 2012 and her Ensanguined Majesty is still on the throne, the vampire ruler of the British Empire. There are werewolves too. And Goblins. All brought about by mutations caused by the plague.
 
Xandra Vardan is a half-blood, the daughter of a vampire and a human courtesan. A member of the Royal Guard, she’s supposed to keep the aristocrats (those of plagued blood) safe, but then her little sister goes missing and Xandra stumbles upon a secret that not only changes her life forever, but just might end it if she’s not careful.
 
And just what’s going on at Bedlam Asylum for the Insane?

I do like the premise of Queen Victoria still on the throne because she’s a vampire! This series is a lot of fun to read and the world Kate Locke has built is complex and interesting. The fact that vampires, werewolves and goblins were created because of mutations caused by the plague is interesting. I liked Xandra and her brother and sisters and by the end of this book I was definitely ready for the next book. Because I enjoyed the first book so much I bought the second book as soon as it was available in February!

The Queen is Dead
by Kate Locke
The Immortal Engine, book 2
Grade: B+

Synopsis: Humans are growing restless. Goblins are growing impatient, and the aristocrats are growing…hungry. Disappearances, hormonal human boys and Bubonic Betties — it’s all in a night’s work for Xandra Vardan, reluctant Goblin Queen.
 
Her brother Val has gotten into something way over his head. Someone’s sending not so subtle hints to Xandra (dead rats, anyone?). There’s tension amongst the wolf-pack, and the Human League wants blood. There are rumors of Horror Shows — humans being bled to death for entertainment — and half-bloods are being abducted.
 
Xandra just wants a moment’s peace, but she may have to die to get it.

I liked the second book and am looking forward to the third book (Long Live the Queen) which will be published in November. There is romance in these books, but I don’t view it as paranormal romance (which I tend not to like), because the emphasis is on the story, characters and a complete world which is not the case in many paranormal romances.

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2013 TBR list!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly Meme sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish Blog

When I looked over the list of books I want to buy and read this spring I had a hard time coming up with ten books! Many of the books on my list are hardcover editions and even as e-books they are $10 or more. I only buy a few of these books each year. Usually I will wait until they come out in paperback and hope that the e-book version is also reduced. It is frustrating when the paper version of the book is less than the electronic version, but this happens quite often. It has to be a favorite author before I spend that much money.

1. Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs–This is my most anticipated book of the spring. I haven’t bought it yet, but will probably do so this week. I don’t want to buy it and read it too soon because I have to wait another year for Ms. Briggs to write another book!

2. What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery by C. S. Harris

3. Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

The rest of the books I will wait to read reviews and buy as my budget allows:

4. Murder in Chelsea (Gaslight Mystery)
by Victoria Thompson

5. The Family Way (Molly Murphy Mysteries)
by Rhys Bowen

6. Death, Doom and Detention (Darklight series)
by Darynda Jones

7. Midnight Blue-Light Special: An Incryptid Novel
by Seanan McGuire

8. Written in Red: A Novel of the Others
by Anne Bishop

9.  Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
by Charlaine Harris

The following book sounds quite intriguing and has some good authors, but I don’t usually like short stories so I will wait and see:

10. Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
(18 stories from such writers as Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, James Blaylock, Gregory Maguire as well as new authors)

I’m looking forward to seeing what books others are looking forward to so I can find some new authors and books! What are you excited about this spring?

Top Ten Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

I found this Meme at the “The Broke and the Bookish” blog (http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com/) and I like the idea of making a list about books each week. After reviewing my list of series to start I realize I already have a number of these books and I need to start reading…so many books and never enough time!

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

2. The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner.

3.The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin.

4. The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold.

5. Shifting Circle series by Sharon Shinn.

6. The Sun Sword series by Michelle West.

7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor.

8. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

9. Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance.

10. The Touchstone series by Andrea K. Host.

March 2013 Books I Want to Read

These are the books I want to read in March:

Title: Written in Red: A Novel of the Others
Author: Anne Bishop
Part of a Series? Yes (first in series)
Genre: Fantasy
Date Available: March 5
Publisher: Roc
Formats Available: Hardcover, e-book, audio book
Why I want to read it: This is a new fantasy series by Anne Bishop. Her Black Jewels books are among my favorites. It sounds like an interesting concept.
Synopsis: “As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.”

Title: Frost Burned
Author: Patricia Briggs
Part of a Series? Yes, Mercy Thompson series, Book 7
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date Available: March 5
Publisher: Ace
Formats Available: Hardcover, e-book
Why I want to read it: This is one of my favorite series. I have read all the books in the series so far so I’m eagerly awaiting this one!
Synopsis: “Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…”

Title: What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery
Author: C. S. Harris
Part of a Series?  Yes, Book 8
Genre: Historical Mystery
Date Available: March 5
Publisher: NAL
Formats Available: Hardcover, e-book
Why I want to read it: I like this series, but I’m a couple books behind so I need to read the others before I buy this!
Synopsis:Regency England, September 1812: After a long night spent dealing with the tragic death of a former military comrade, a heart-sick Sebastian learns of a new calamity: Russell Yates, the dashing, one-time privateer who married Kat a year ago, has been found standing over the corpse of Benjamin Eisler, a wealthy gem dealer. Yates insists he is innocent, but he will surely hang unless Sebastian can unmask the real killer.”

Title: Midnight Blue-Light Special: An Incryptid Novel
Author:  Seanan McGuire
Part of a Series?  Yes, Book 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date Available: March 5
Publisher: Daw
Formats Available: Mass Market Paperback, e-book, audio book
Why I want to read it: I haven’t read the first book in the series yet so I plan to read that first. I am a big fan of the October Daye series.
Synopsis: “The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity–and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and when her work with the cryptid community took her to Manhattan, she thought she would finally be free to pursue competition-level dance in earnest. It didn’t quite work out that way…”

This is a short list for me this month and three of the four books are coming out in hardcover which means the e-book price is also more expensive. I won’t buy all these books right now, but they are on my radar!

What about you? What books are you hoping to read this month?

Two Urban Fantasy Series from 2012

I ended 2012 and started 2013 reading lots of urban fantasy. I like urban fantasy because they are usually mysteries with a twist…some sort of magical world or elements. The authors have to do some world building as well as usually some sort of mystery. Two of my favorite new-to-me authors from 2012 were Ben Aaronovitch and Cassie Alexander. They both are writing an urban fantasy series that’s interesting and fun to read.

Ben Aaronovitch is writing a series which takes place in London called the Rivers of London series. The three books in the series so far: Midnight Riot (called Rivers of London in the UK), Moon Over Soho and Whispers Under Ground starts with Probationary Constable Peter Grant in Midnight Riot having to guard a crime scene all night. He sees a ghost who talks to him about the crime. His life changes from that point and gets a lot more exciting. I think each book builds on the last one and should be read in order to enjoy them all. I am saving Whispers Under Ground for sometime I’m in a reading slump and need a book I know I will like or for when I know I will be able to get his next book! I broke an informal rule when I bought these books–not to spend the same amount for an e-book as for a mass market book. I’m not sorry I did, because I really like this author, but I sure wish the books were at least a dollar or two less than the paperbacks. A new book is scheduled for sometime in 2013. I hope it is published at the same time in the US as in the UK! BTW, I also enjoy reading his blog–Temporarily Significant!

A second series I read in 2012 by an author I’d never read before are the books by Cassie Alexander. Ms. Alexander is a registered nurse and her books are about Edie Spencer who is also a registered nurse, but Edie works in a secret wing of County Hospital. I’m not a nurse or any kind of medical person, but the hospital rang true to me. I’ve been in several hospitals for surgeries  and I could recognize several things from my stays in the hospitals–but luckily for me, not the fantasy creatures! The two books published so far in the series are Nightshifted and Moonshifted. The third book–Shapeshifted–will be published in June 2013. I’ve read both books in the series so far and enjoyed them. I was able to buy the first book in the series when it was on sale and then bit the bullet and bought the second book at full price! So, authors and publishers take note: sales on e-books do work!

Has anyone else read books in these two series or other new authors they enjoyed?

New Beginnings…Again

I have tried blogging in the past and not been too successful. I’ve even had a book review blog before. My problem was I felt guilty when I didn’t get a book reviewed, but I also started resenting the time I spent working on a review instead of reading. And I didn’t feel I added anything to my reviews that hadn’t been said a hundred times before.

This time I plan to write mini reviews of some of the books I read. Generally, if I read a book I enjoy it. Life is too short to read or finish reading a book I don’t like. I don’t love every book and sometimes I’m disappointed with a book, but usually I enjoy the books I read. I do appreciate reviewers who take the time and energy to review all the books they read even the awful ones, but I know that’s not my path.

I read genre books–mostly fantasy, science fiction, mysteries and romance. I love to find new authors and that is what convinced me to tackle a blog again. This year I’ve started reading a number of new-to-me authors and I want to share these authors and books with someone! Since very few people I know personally enjoy the same books I read I will share my thoughts about my reading here. I will see how it goes and whether anyone reads this blog or not this will help me keep track and remember the books I’m reading!