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.

 

Mysteries

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?

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?