Favorite urban fantasy

Five urban fantasy books which hooked me

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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I have more urban fantasy I like, but those are ones I’ve read more recently so I’ve left them off this list!

I really like urban fantasy. In fact, it’s one of the only types of fantasy I’ve read in the last few years. I got tired of some of the epic fantasies, but urban fantasy usually has a mystery that has to be solved. Since mysteries are one of my favorite genres it’s so fun when magic or fae or were-creatures or vampires are added plus an urban area. (For example, the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris has all the other elements of urban fantasy, but it’s not in an urban area so I left it off this list.)

For urban fantasy to work for me they need interesting characters plus interesting world building. When I first started reading them I wasn’t so jaded by reading about fae or vampires or magic, but now they need to have something fresh or unique about them to become a favorite. These are all books which I either continue to read the series or as is the case of War for the Oaks led the way to so much more.

This wasn’t the first urban fantasy I read, but War for the Oaks is considered one of the first urban fantasy books. (It was written in the 1980’s.)

I loved this book when I read it. There’s lots of music plus the fae in it–before the fae were so popular! Emma Bull won the Locus Award for Best First Novel for this book.

It’s not part of a series which seems to be the case for most urban fantasy written since.

Moon Called is the first book of the Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson series. This was one of the first “urban fantasy” books I read and I loved it.

I like the author’s depiction of werewolves and she’s great at writing interesting characters. I also like that the series is set in Spokane, Washington which is a nice little city.

Mercy is so fun as a coyote shifter. I like that she slowly finds out more about herself as the books go on.

Magic Bites, the first book in the Kate Daniels series, is still one of my favorites.

One of my strongest memories from this book is when Kate meets the leader of the Atlanta shapeshifters, finds out he’s a cat shapeshifter of some sort and says to him,”Here, kitty, kitty, kitty….” It was so funny and I knew I was going to love the books!

Rosemary and Rue immediately hooked me into this series. This is an edgier series than some urban fantasy. Seanan McGuire is very good with her world building and her imaginative plots.

I’m several books behind with this series. Hopefully, I will get started with the series again!

The other books in this list take place in the United States, but Rivers of London (book and series) takes place in England which I really enjoy.

I really like how Ben Aaronovitch uses the rivers and streams in the London area in these books. I also like that Peter Grant is a police constable who stumbles on magic in this first book.

Do you like urban fantasy? If you do, have you read any of these? What are your favorite urban fantasies?

Gothic fiction perfect for my Halloween reads

One Gothic horror story and four Gothics that lean more toward romance

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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My definition of Gothic fiction leans more toward romance than horror. The last four books which I read as a young adult are in that mode. They have some mystery, secrets, spookiness, romance and a female protagonist who doesn’t know who to trust and worries she may have fallen in love with the wrong person! Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is probably the first book of that type I read.

I read The Stranger Diaries last week and as I read it I thought, “this is my perfect book for Halloween.” It is a Gothic story within a police procedural. That made me think of the Gothic fiction I read when I was a young adult. And that is what the four other books I talk about today all are. But they are good books to read for Halloween if you just want a few chills and don’t want something too scary!

The Stranger Diaries is a police procedural, but the Gothic story “The Stranger” by R.M. Holland is gradually told throughout the book along with the modern murder mystery. That story is more in the Gothic horror genre, but perhaps because I read it gradually it didn’t scare me.

R.M. Holland is central to the book since he lived during the 1800’s in one of the buildings which is now a school where much of the book takes place. One of the characters in the book is an English teacher at the school and is writing a book about Holland.

Rebecca and Jane Eyre are two of the first Gothics I read. They are both considered classics.

I read and enjoyed most of Daphne du Maurier’s books during my teen years.

I read quite a few of Barbara Michaels’s books though I liked her Elizabeth Peters’s books better since they were more mysteries and less Gothic and/or supernatural. I especially enjoyed her Amelia Peabody series with Egyptology and mysteries central to the stories.

However, I remember enjoying The Master of Blacktower quite a bit when I read it!

Mary Stewart was also a great favorite of mine. I loved her adventure stories about young women in places like England, France or some other European country I dreamed of visiting. They had mysteries and danger and some were Gothics, but all were exciting and took me to new worlds.

Nine Coaches Waiting was one of the more Gothic novels of Mary Stewart’s I remember.

I read many of Victoria Holt’s books as a young adult. If I remember correctly most all of her books could be classified as Gothics. They have romance and suspense intertwined with scary looking lonely mansions. The young women in these books are often governesses so they are on their own with the child in a mansion with sometimes hostile servants and the arrogant often secretive and haunted father or guardian.

Do you like Gothic fiction? Do you tend more towards the horror instead of romance (that might turn to horror)? Have you read any of these books or authors?

Five 20th century science fiction books I love

Five science fiction books that helped build my love for science fiction

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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I read some of these books in the 20th century and others during the early years of the 21st century. The first three books on my list are space opera and/or military science fiction. The Postman is a post apocalyptic book and Doomsday Book is a time travel science fiction.

I plan to write a future post about 20th century classic science fiction authors I read as a teenager.

The main character in Once a Hero is Esmay Suiza who doesn’t come from a famous Navy family. However, she becomes the senior surviving officer during a space battle.

What happens after that makes for a good space opera/military science fiction. Elizabeth Moon writes some of my favorite science fiction.

I didn’t find out about the following two books until the early days of the internet in the 1990’s. At first I had to search for the books in used bookstores and libraries. Both of these books are in series which were started in the 1980’s and are still being written.

Conflict of Honors is one of the first books I read by Lee and Miller. The world the authors built in their books is so interesting. The Liadens are all about manners which might make someone think they’re weak, but that’s far from the truth. Much lies beneath the surface. Most of the books in the Liaden Universe series show one important Liaden family and the problems their honor can bring them both within Liad and with other races. I also like that there’s some romance in these books!

The Warrior’s Apprentice is the second book in The Vorkosigan Saga, but was the first one about Miles Vorkosigan. I was really impressed that Bujold wrote about a hero with physical limitations growing up on a warrior planet where physical strength is the measure of a man.

The Postman is a post apocalyptic book set in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Since that’s where I grew up the book was especially interesting to me.

It’s the first post apocalyptic book I remember reading and it hit me hard–both because it’s setting was one I recognized and because I grew up during the Cold War. We worried a lot about Nuclear War in those days.

The Doomsday Book is one of my all-time favorites. I read it in the 1990’s and it has stuck with me ever since. The book takes place in the future when time travel is possible. The time traveler goes back to the time period of the Black Plague. All sorts of unexpected things happen both in the past and future. A wonderful, sometimes heartbreaking book.

Do you like to read science fiction? Have you read any of these or other books by these authors?

Autumn colored book covers

Red, orange and yellow leaves, bright blue skies, spooky fog and black and orange

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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Sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to book covers especially since most of the books I read are either ebooks or audiobooks so this week I thought I would look at books I’ve read so far this year and look for ones that remind me of autumn colors.

When I think of autumn I think of blue skies, autumn leaves in reds, yellows and oranges and spooky Halloween with foggy gray skies and orange and black. Here are five covers that make me think of autumn. (Even though I don’t remember what season the books took place!)

I have to admit before I did this I hadn’t really thought of colors and seasons unless the book cover specifically showed a summer or winter scene or maybe took place during Halloween! It was fun looking at book covers in a different way.

Do you ever look at the colors on book covers and think of a specific season even if the book doesn’t take place during that season?

Five books I want to read in 2021

Do you have books you know you’ll want to read in 2021?

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

This week I’m talking about five books published in 2021 I’m looking forward to reading when they’re published. I know I’ll have many more books I’m excited to read in 2021. I just haven’t found out about them yet.

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A Stranger in Town

by Kelley Armstrong

Rockton #6

Publication date: Feb 2

I love this mystery series. It got me reading Kelley Armstrong again after a few years away from her books. And I’m loving the books she writes.

Wild Sign

by Patricia Briggs

Alpha and Omega #6

Publication date: Mar 16

Patricia Briggs is such a good author. I love the two intertwined urban fantasy series she’s writing–The Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha and Omega series. I really like the world and the fantasy creature Ms. Briggs creates.

Dial A for Aunties

by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Publishing date: Apr 27

I love the cover! And this sounds like such a fun book. This debut book shows us Chinese-Indonesian culture which I’m so looking forward to, but I’m also reminded of my husband’s Mom and her two sisters. They called themselves the Dolly Sisters! And he has three sisters who call themselves the Sisters Moving Company when they come and help us all move.

Fugitive Telemetry

by Martha Wells

Murderbot #6

Publication date: Apr 27

I love this series. Murderbot is such a “human” character. I also enjoy the adventure in these science fiction stories.

Project Hail Mary

by Andy Weir

Publication date: May 4

I loved reading The Martian and Artemis. Those two books are science fiction, but very different from each other. Project Hail Mary sounds like it will be another different type of story. I like it when an author writes different kinds of books.

What books are you looking forward to in 2021?

Connect 5 Friday: Five books I want to read before the end of the year

Five books from my TBR to read in 2020 I hope will make me happy

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books). This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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This week I’m talking about the five books I want to make sure I’ve read by the end of 2020. These are all books which have a good possibility to make me happy–and that’s what I’ve wanted with most of my books this year.

Night Shift Dragons by Rachel Aaron

I’ve read all the Heartstriker series–the previous series Rachel Aaron wrote. This DFZ series is set in that same world.

I like how original Rachel Aaron is with her dragons and with the world building in these books.

The Green Man’s Foe by Juliet E. McKenna

This is not horror (though the cover looks like it)! I read the first book in this series and really liked it.

Ms. McKenna shows a conception of fantasy in the United Kingdom I would love to see!

Dead Blow by Lisa Preston

This is the second Horseshoer mystery. I’d never read a book about a female Horse Shoer!

That was the first thing which attracted me to this series. Then I discovered the series takes place in Oregon in the area I grew up. And it’s a mystery with horses and a dog and some romance. All things I liked in the first series.

Stars Beyond by S.K. Dunstall

I like S.K. Dunstall’s science fiction space opera. She writes really interesting characters and exciting stories.

I have an audiobook version of this book and look forward to listening to it.

The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon

I’ve read several of Lucy Dillon’s books. Her books are a joy to read.

I love the way she writes about dogs, women’s friendships and that her books have some romance in them.

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? What books are you interested in reading before the end of the year?

Connect 5 Friday: Self-published sci-fi/fantasy that needs more buzz

Self-published Scifi/fantasy authors who don’t always get the buzz they deserve

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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This week I’m talking about five science fiction-fantasy books I’ve enjoyed recently from authors who either self-publish their books or publish them through a small independent publisher. (I have to admit I have trouble telling sometimes whether a book is self-published or the publishing name listed is the name of an independent publisher.) I think all these are self-published. If you know otherwise let me know.

I enjoy highlighting authors who aren’t as well-known as some of the authors who get lots of buzz and/or are published by the big publishing companies. Each of these authors write interesting, fun, well-edited and well-written books. I don’t always get reviews written, but I do want to give a shout-out to these authors.

Between Walls by W.R. Gingell

W.R. Gingell is one of my favorite writers. She mostly writes fantasies. I’ve read most of her books and always enjoy them.

The City Between series is one of my favorites. It’s an urban fantasy series and is a delight to read. Between Walls is number 6 in the series and was published at the end of May 2020.

The main character in the series is Pet who is cheeky and irreverent with a strict moral compass.

Ascending by Meg Pechenick

I’ve read both the books published so far in this series and really hope the author writes more books set in this universe.

Avery Alcott is a linguistic student who learns to speak the language of the aliens who came to Earth 25 years before and then abruptly vanished. When the Vardeshi return she’s recruited to go on a one year mission on one of their ships. She learns it’s not as simple as she had thought to become one of the crew on an alien ship.

Mantivore Dreams by S.J. Higbee

I really enjoy S.J. Higbee’s books. They have adventure, a protagonist to cheer for and usually a bit of romance.

She’s a good story teller and I’ve enjoyed each of the books she’s written. The third book in this series came out at the end of August.

This first book starts in a small village, but soon Kyrillia has to leave the village and many adventures ensue! It’s a fun book with a few twists and turns I didn’t expect!

First Flyght by S.J. Pajonas

Vivian is set to inherit the family business–a large farm. (Their society is matriarchal.) However, her brother has bankrupted the farm and the bank confiscates nearly everything.

Vivian follows leads to other planets in her search for her brother and the missing money. The series is full of adventure, many problems and some romance. Vivian is such a fun character and I really enjoy being inside her head!

Note: Some women in this society have more than one husband–often to build alliances. The first book mostly talks about Vivian’s need for consorts. However, by the third book there was more sex than I was comfortable with! (And I realize this is just how I felt–others may feel differently.)

I don’t mind romance and even some sex in a book, but find that too much sex often takes away from a story. I do enjoy the story the author is telling in these books and the characters are great–especially Vivian. And I do like the fact that Vivian has feelings for the men has sex with.

Termination Shock by Gillian Andrews

This is a good military science fiction. Ryler Mallivan is on a training ship that’s attacked. He has to step up to try to save his own life and other lives.

From there the book continues at a furious pace as this group of survivors find themselves having to try to save the universe. The characters are a diverse group that come together to create a crew that are loyal to each other.

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Do you like to read self-published authors?

Connect 5 Friday–Beach reads

Five books with a setting near a body of water

It’s Friday and I’ve decided to try a new meme since I have come back to blogging after a few months away. Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. The hashtag is #connect5books

The five book/reading list needs to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection are. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

This sounds like a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

Since the upcoming weekend is Labor Day in the U.S. and this traditionally marks the end of summer for the U.S. I decided to talk about five beach reads for those who want to stretch summer out. Of course, some beach reads are light and frothy books that have nothing to do with a beach. (You just wish you were at the beach when you read them!) I haven’t been to a beach or an ocean or lake lately so I read about those in my books and dreamed about them as I read.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

This even has the right name!

I read this a couple of months ago and really liked it. It’s about a romance author with writer’s block. She no longer believes in happy endings which makes it hard for her to write romance.

The beach is on Lake Michigan at North Bear Shores, Michigan.

It’s funny, sometimes sad, but also heartwarming.

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

I had lots of fun reading this book. I loved the characters–especially Conley Hawkins who has to come home to her family’s small town newspaper after a new job in Washington, DC falls through.

The Florida beach where lots of the action takes place sounds wonderful.

The Body on the Beach by Anna Johannsen

Takes place on an island off the coast of Germany. I really like reading about islands and I haven’t read any books taking place on islands in this area before.

A body is found on the beach and DI Lena Lorenzen is sent to investigate. She’s not too happy with the assignment since she grew up on the island.

Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego

Takes place on the island of Newfoundland in a fishing village called Stormy Cove. I’ve thought Newfoundland would be so interesting to visit.

Lori Finning is a freelance photographer from Vancouver, BC who’s hired to take photos in a fishing village. She tells everyone it’s for a coffee table book of a way of life that’s disappearing, but what about an unsolved murder that happened twenty years ago?

Holy Island by L.J. Ross

Takes place on the island Lindisfarne which has become known as Holy Island. It’s located off the Northumberland coast in the north east of England just a few miles south of Scotland. (It sounds like a fascinating spot!)

DCI Ryan travels to Holy Island when he’s forced to take leave from his homicide job. However, he can’t get away from his job when a murdered girl is found on the island.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have favorite beach reads? What do you think of when you think of “beach reads?”