The Books I Recommend to Friends

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme sponsored each week by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week I’m listing the ten books I recommend the most. I’ve sorted them by genre. I had difficulty keeping this to just ten books! I love so many different books and authors and want to share the love!

In a series with an ongoing story arc in which we slowly find out more about the characters as they grow and change I usually recommend the first book and that they be read in order. Other books in a series are more standalone and it doesn’t matter as much the order they are read.

Urban Fantasy 

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy is an auto mechanic who can change into a coyote because of her Native American heritage. She grew up with werewolves and in Spokane where the stories usually takes place there are a variety of other supernatural beings. There is adventure, mystery and wonderful characters. The characters grow and change during the course of the books–sometimes in surprising ways.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews is also the first book in a series–the Kate Daniels series. The books are set in an Atlanta where magic is leaking back into the world and defeating the technological world (causing skyscrapers to tumble down, plants to take over in places and other strange events). Again lots of adventure, mystery, romance and great characters.

Science Fiction

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller is a space opera written in the Liad Universe created by the authors. All the Liad Universe books are full of adventure, romance, characters you care about and are just fun books to read. This is the one I recommend my friends start with though the books are not a linear series about the same characters. However, there are a few books with the same characters. The authors give several suggestions about reading order!

Archangel by Sharon Shinn is part of the Samaria series. This book and this series by Sharon Shinn are ones I recommend over and over to friends. Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors. This is my favorite of her series. This book is also her best selling book. The series features angels who sing to change the weather on their planet. The worldbuilding is incredible, characters aren’t infallible and don’t always act for the greater good, different characters see the events and settings differently and events aren’t always what they seem. This is also a series set on the same world, but with different main characters over a great many years. A great series.

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon is the first book in the Vatta’s War series. Ky Vatta is expelled from Spaceforce Academy after making a mistake. Her family is a powerful trading family and give her a wreak of a spaceship and a remote trading route, but Ky finds adventure anyway! This is a great series. I like military science fiction and Elizabeth Moon has several good series.



In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming is the first book of the Claire Fergusson/ Russ Van Alstyne series. These are very good mysteries, but it’s also the relationship between the two main characters which grows and changes throughout these books that I look forward to in each book. The characters act in very human ways. Sometimes they are difficult books to read because the characters are human and not infallible.

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman features both Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navaho Tribal Police. I’m fascinated by the way they each look at their Navajo heritage and interact with their world. Some of Tony Hillerman’s books feature Leaphorn and some Chee and some both. The characters age and things change for better or worse in their personal lives through the years. I’ve recommended Tony Hillerman’s books to many people. He evokes the Southwest setting and the Navaho so well.

Mandarin Plaid by S. J. Rozan is part of a mystery series which features Lydia Chin and Bill Smith who are private detectives. The books generally take place in New York City and every other book is written from either Lydia’s or Bill’s point of view . Also the mysteries feature either the Chinatown Chinese American community or the Caucasian world. Very good mysteries, great settings and complex characters.

Historical Mystery

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander is the first book in the Lady Emily series. The mystery, the setting, the characters all create an atmosphere which makes this a book and series many people will enjoy.

Contemporary Romance
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie is a great book to offer to people who don’t think they like to read romances. Jennifer Crusie always creates such fun romances with quirky characters. Her books make me happy. I love so many of her books, but this is the one I come back to again and again and recommend. This is a book I re-read every couple years.

What about you? Do you recommend books? Which ones and why?

Sunday Post Meme

I found the Sunday Post Meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and decided to participate. This sounds like a fun activity for a Sunday…kind of like reading the Sunday paper. 

News I found from around the Internet:

The Science Fiction/Fantasy Daily Deal today:

I read this book in January and wrote about it on my blog. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke is really good and today it’s only $1.99. If you use a Kindle and like fantasy buy it today!!


A few things about favorite authors:

From the Ilona Andrews blog:

Andrews/Gordon Ink Two

The husband-and-wife writing team of Ilona Andrews and Andrew Gordon have signed two deals, with different houses. Agent Nancy Yost, at Nancy Yost Literary, handled both agreements. In the first, Yost signed the pair up to continue their Kate Daniels at Ace Books series for mid six figures, with Anne Sowards acquiring world English rights. In the second deal, also for mid six figures, Yost sold world rights for the first three books in a new series to Erika Tsang at Avon. Yost said the Avon series will be set in a world controlled by “modern Medici-like dynasties with paranormally enhanced abilities.”

The new series sounds good and I’m so glad they will continue the Kate Daniels books, too.  I enjoy their books and stories so much! Congratulations to both of them. A new Kate Daniels book is set to come out at the end of July.

When I was looking at Sharon Lee’s blog for a blog post I wrote on Friday I discovered there are going to be more books in this series! I loved this book and wanted more after I read it, but at that time when I visited Sharon Lee’s Carousel Tides blog she didn’t mention more books. However, now the second book Carousel Sun was turned in to the publisher in February 2013 and Sharon Lee is working on the third and last book in the series.

I loved Archer’s Beach and could relate to it since I’ve spent some time at the Maine coast. My husband’s sister and brother-in-law live in Waterville, Maine (fairly close to where Sharon Lee and her husband Steve Miller live, I think). I read the Liad Universe books Sharon Lee and Steve Miller write together and love those, too.

I visited  Sharon Shinn’s website and discovered there will be a sequel to Troubled Waters. I like her books so much. You can also find t-shirts showing blessings from Troubled Waters. Such a good writer and I’m always on the lookout for more of her books.

On my blog this week I hope to write at least two posts:

  • Top Ten Tuesday post (sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish blog ) about the top ten books I recommend the most.
  • A book review of a new author I’ve read.

What are you up to this week…on your blog or in real life?!?


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 ( 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?