A favorite mystery series I’ve read since I was a teenager
Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!
I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.
Synopsis: Sergeant Jim Chee’s vacation to beautiful Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell has a deeper purpose. He’s on a quest to unravel a sacred mystery his mentor, the Legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, stumbled across decades earlier.
Chee’s journey takes a deadly turn when, after a prayerful visit to the sacred Rainbow Bridge, he spots a body floating in the lake. The dead man, a Navajo with a passion for the canyon’s ancient rock art, lived a life filled with many secrets. Discovering why he died and who was responsible involves Chee in an investigation that puts his own life at risk.
Back in Shiprock, Officer Bernadette Manuelito is driving home when she witnesses an expensive sedan purposely kill a hitchhiker. The search to find the killer leads her to uncover a dangerous chain of interconnected revelations involving a Navajo Nation cannabis enterprise.
But the evil that is unleashed jeopardizes her mother and sister Darleen, and puts Bernie in the deadliest situation of her law enforcement career.
I’ve read these books since I was a teenager (when Tony Hillerman wrote them). In the last couple of years I reread many of the older books which has been so fun. This is the seventh book Anne Hillerman, Tony Hillerman’s daughter, has written after her father died in 2008. I enjoy her books just as much as I enjoy her father’s.
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 mystery writers. These aren’t my only favorite mystery writers though these authors would all make a much longer favorite’s list. All these authors have written multiple books. I have read many of their books–sometimes all that they’ve written.
Two of these authors have died. I’ve included a sixth author since the daughter of Tony Hillerman has continued the series of books he’s famous for writing. I could have included Agatha Christie in this list since I’ve been reading her books since I was a teenager. I think she may have been the first mystery author I ever read. However, I wanted to write about authors you might not have heard of. I’ve also added four covers of their books to show a representative sample of their books.
I discovered Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James mystery series about five years ago. I think I read at least 10 books in the series that first year!
This is a British police procedural series. I especially enjoy the relationship between Duncan and Gemma. The characters live in London, but several of the books take place in other parts of Great Britain. There are 18 books in the series so far and I’ve read them all!
There are 12 books in this series so far. I’ve read 10 of them. I’m reading them slower now so I don’t run out too quickly. Elly Griffiths is writing more in this series–usually about one a year. I haven’t read the other series she writes yet so I do have that to look forward to.
The Ruth Galloway series is the series I’m reading and it’s practically a police procedural since Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and often assists the police. The books usually take place in the Norfolk area of England and the books contain bones–sometimes very old bones and sometimes bones that aren’t so old. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson is also a well-drawn character in these books. In fact, the books have so many interesting characters that I feel I know them. If I was introduced to any of them I would think of them as old friends!
Tony Hillerman & Anne Hillerman
I started reading these books when I was a teenager. I stopped reading mysteries for a while after 9/11 in 2001 so I’ve had a few I haven’t read. I have gone back and reread some of the books I read more than twenty years ago. Since Tony Hillerman wrote his first book (in the Joe Leaphorn series) in 1970 and I started reading them almost immediately I read the earliest books over 40 years ago!
The books take place in New Mexico and Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Joe Leaphorn is a lieutenant in the Navajo Tribal Police. Sgt. Jim Chee comes along later and for awhile Tony Hillerman wrote separate mysteries. Finally, he brought them together in book 7–Skinwalkers. Both characters are so good to read about and they both feel like old friends!
Ann Hillerman (Tony’s daughter) continued writing the series after Tony Hillerman died in 2008. Her first book Spider Woman’s Daughter was written in 2013 and she will publish the 24th book in the series (her sixth book) in April 2021. I skipped ahead in the series a couple years ago to read one of her books–Song of the Lion–to see if I liked her writing and I danced a happy dance!
There are 9 books in this series so far. I love the setting of the books in upstate New York. The name of the town is evocative–Millers Kill.
The series main characters are Reverend Clare Ferguson who is an Episcopalian priest. Before she became a priest she was a soldier–a helicopter pilot–so she’s a nuanced character! Russ Van Alstyne is the Chief of Police in Millers Kill. The titles of the books come from the Episcopalian hymnal which I think is pretty awesome! I grew up Episcopalian so that drew me to these books. In several books I worried I wouldn’t continue with the series, but Julia Spencer-Fleming managed a long arc in this series with aplomb and grace. I also really like that she tackles difficult topics–addiction, PTSD and a Veteran’s support group, for example in One Was a Soldier.
Dick Francis is another author I started reading as a teenager. Most of his books are stand-alone mysteries and all of them have something to do with horse racing. Dick Francis was a successful steeplechase jockey in Great Britain who began writing when he retired. He died in 2010, but his son Felix Francis is continuing to write books that have both their names on them. (I think Felix began writing with his dad before Dick Francis died.)
I love horses–and especially did as a teenager. His earliest books begin with jockeys and later on continue with main characters who aren’t jockeys and have more of a peripheral role in the horse racing world.
One of the other things I loved about reading Hillerman’s and Francis’s books is that my Mom also read them and we would talk about them. We were always so excited when we found out one of them had a new book out! I really miss talking about and sharing books since my Mom died in 2012.
Have you read any of these authors? Do you read mysteries? If you do, who are your favorite mystery writers?
In 2019 I read lots of books that made me happy I can read!
I’m finally getting my favorite books of the year completed. 2019 was a good reading year since I read many books I liked and many that filled me with joy. So I have lots of favorites this year!
I had set a goal for myself to read 95 books and only read 90, but that’s okay. I love to read. I think I’m reading a little slower these days. However, the important thing for me is that I’m still reading and that I enjoy most of the books I read.
I’ve added links to the books I reviewed (only three books). 😦
This series takes place in northern Minnesota’s lake country. I love the series which features wonderful descriptions of northern Minnesota and well-written mysteries. However, I need to read them a little quicker since there are already 17 books in the series!
Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima, Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries #4
This is another series I love. I’m up-to-date with this series and have read these books since started being published a few years ago. I love reading about working dogs and Robo is a great example of a K-9 dog in a police department. He and Mattie are a wonderful team.
Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong, Rockton #4
This police procedural is set in one of the oddest towns I’ve read about in a mystery and there’s lots of suspense. Each book ratchets up the suspense a little more.
Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong, Bone Gap Travellers #2
Former Marines Brynn and her K-9 partner Wilco suffer from PTSD and both carry the scars from an IED explosion. Brynn tries to control the flashbacks with alcohol and pain pills–not a good combination especially since she’s now working for the McCreary County Sherrif’s Department. She’s also trying to straddle two worlds–that of the Irish Travellers (a nomadic group from Ireland who came to the U.S. during the Great Famine) and the settled townspeople (most of whom distrust the Travellers.) The mysteries are good in this series and the world of the Travellers is fascinating.
The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman, Leaphorn & Chee #13
I’ve read these mysteries since I was a teenager. My mom and I would talk about the books through the years since we both loved them. One of the best things about this series is that it’s set in the United States Southwest. For a while I stopped reading mysteries so now I’m catching up with this series. And I’m so happy that Tony Hillerman’s daughter Anne Hillerman has continued writing the series after he died.
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8
The books in this series are so well written. Sometimes they’re difficult to read since heartbreaking things happen to characters I like. Things that happen in one book may have far-reaching impact several books later and then we see how skillfully Louise Penny has intertwined so much into her books.
A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie, Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #18
I was so happy to read this book since it has been several years since Deborah Crombie had written a book in the series. When I read about Duncan and Gemma and their family it’s like having a chat with old friends. And the mysteries are good, too!
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths, Ruth Galloway #9
I’m always happy to return to Ruth’s world. She’s such an interesting character and I love the mysteries which always have something to do with her forensic archaeology work.
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, The Murderbot Diaries #4
I’ve loved every single one of the Murderbot books. They are original, an adventure story and also thought-provoking.
Borderline by Janet Edwards, Hive Mind #4
I like everything I’ve read by Janet Edwards. This series is one I especially love. Ms. Edwards has a great way of writing exciting stories about characters I care about. And her world building is so good. It takes place in Earth’s future.
Mantivore Dreams by S.G. Higbee, Arcadian Chronicles #1
I like the way this book slowly unfolds so that it gives readers time to try to figure things out themselves. I also like that by the end of the book there are threads for future books, but that this book is a complete story. I need to get that next book read! The world building is especially good and I like the way Kyrillia grows and changes throughout the book.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher
I chose to read this book because it was about a dog! I love the bond between Griz and the dogs. However, the book is a post apocalyptic science fiction so the book is good, but also has an overall feeling of sadness.
The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
I feel like a lot of science fiction really makes you think in a different way and that’s kind of what this book did for me. It’s also post apocalyptic, military science fiction and during parts of the book I wasn’t really sure what was happening! It went different directions than I thought it would.
Ascending by Meg Pechenick, The Vardeshi Saga #1
Margaret (Meg) Pechenick is a new author to me. (S.G. Higbee @ Brainfluff reviewed this book. I find out about so many good books from her.) I loved this science fiction about aliens visiting Earth and inviting a group of Earthlings to visit their part of space.
Doing Time by Jodi Taylor, The Time Police #1
This was book one of a new series–The Time Police–that came out in fall 2019. It’s a spin-off of The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. These are both time travel series and so much fun. I’m doing a happy dance that Jodi Taylor decided to start another series which comes at the time travel idea from a slightly different angle. Can’t wait for the next book!
These are my favorite urban fantasies (which are about the only fantasies I read these days) and I’ve read every book as they’ve been published!
Wild Country by Anne Bishop, The World of the Others #2 (The Others #7)
The world building in these books is one of the most appealing parts of this series. It very different from other urban fantasy series I read.
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs, Mercy Thompson #11
Mercy Thompson is such a great character. She doesn’t always do the smart thing, but she’s such a loyal friend and she tries to do what’s right for the people she’s responsible for. And I love the world Patricia Briggs has created.
Between Homes by W.R. Gingell, The City Between #5
This series is so unique and the last book has really ratcheted up the suspense. I hope another book comes soon in this world where Fae often come and go in the human world, but very few humans manage to survive a trip either Between or Behind. And most humans don’t even know they exist.
I loved all the dogs in this book plus the human characters are great fun to read about.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
At the end of the book I felt so happy I’d read this which is one of the reasons I love reading. It’s set in Maine which is one of my favorite places and Evvie Drake is a great character. She’s certainly not perfect, but she’s someone I’d love to talk to. Linda Holmes is also one of the hosts of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast which I love to listen to.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
One of my most favorite books of 2019! So glad I read it. The language flows and the characters are so vivid–especially Kya (aka “Marsh Girl”). The book is heartbreaking at times, but ultimately a wonderful read. It’s historical fiction, almost a natural history of the North Carolina swamps and marshland and a mystery all set in swamps along the North Carolina Coast. It switches back and forth between Kya’s childhood in the 1950’s and a murder that happens in 1969. Cassandra Campbell narrated the audiobook and made my enjoyment of the book so vivid and immersive.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I don’t usually read memoirs or biographies, but I enjoyed this one a lot–especially since I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michelle Obama. By the end I felt like we had met! So interesting to hear about her childhood, her meeting and marriage to Barack Obama, and then her life as the First Lady in the White House. She’s such an inspirational person.
Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favorite books of the year?
Synopsis: Human bones lie on a ledge under the peak of Ship Rock mountain, the remains of a murder victim undisturbed for more than a decade. Three hundred miles across the Navajo reservation, a harmless old canyon guide is felled by a sniper’s bullet. Joe Leaphorn, recently retired from the Navajo Tribal Police, believes the shooter and the skeleton are somehow connected and recalls a chilling puzzle he was previously unable to solve. But Acting Lieutenant Jim Chee is too busy to take an interest in a dusty cold case … until the reborn violence of it hits much too close to home.
I’m loving reading (and in some cases rereading) these Hillerman books. Each time I start one of these books it’s like seeing and talking to an old friend again. I love both Leaphorn and Chee. They’re so different from each other, but also at a basic level very much the same. They both have a moral center that pervades all their actions. That doesn’t mean they’re never wrong or that they don’t make mistakes, but they try to do the right thing.
Chee has slowly become more self-confident as the books move forward and he learns from the things he does and from Leaphorn. He’s matured and is no longer so apt to jump into a situation without thinking. I always like a character who grows and changes as the series moves forward.
Leaphorn, on the other hand, has become older and sadder. His beloved wife has died and he has finally retired. At the beginning of this book he’s bored and finds himself roped into a 10-year-old case of a missing man. He investigated that missing person case at the time and didn’t find many clues to the man’s disappearance.
Now, however, bones of a man are discovered on a ledge on Ship Rock mountain. It looks like the missing man has been found. But so many questions remain–what was he doing on Ship Rock? Did he try to climb the mountain alone? If other climbers were with him, why did they leave him? Was he alive after the fall?
Follow the money
Of course, it looks like money is involved in this case. The man’s widow inherited the ranch he had just inherited. The man’s wealthy family wants that ranch back since there are mineral deposits on the ranch. They hire Leaphorn despite Leaphorn’s reluctance to investigate the man’s death. The widow just wants to live on the ranch and raise cattle.
Acting Lieutenant Chee (provisionally promoted after Leaphorn retires) is also investigating the case, but so far the death is ruled an accident. And Chee has other cases (cattle rustling, a shooting, gang problems) to investigate plus all the paperwork a lieutenant must complete. He doesn’t really like the job, but he’s trying to show his fiance, Janet Pete, that he’s responsible and ambitious–except he isn’t really very ambitious. Chee just doesn’t seem to date women who are very compatible with him!
I recommend this series if you like police procedurals, law officers trying their best to do the “right” thing, a good mystery without graphic violence, books taking place in the western United States, or if you just like to read…lol.
Synopsis: Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is troubled by the nameless corpse discovered just inside his jurisdiction, at the edge of the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field. More troubling still is the FBI’s insistence that the Bureau take over the case, calling the unidentifiedvictim’s death a “hunting accident.”
But if a hunter was involved, Chee knows the prey was intentionally human. This belief is shared by the “Legendary Lieutenant” Joe Leaphorn, who once again is pulled out of retirement by the possibility of serious wrongs being committed against the Navajo nation by the Washington bureaucracy. Yet it is former policewoman Bernadette Manuelito, recently relocated to Customs Patrol at the U.S. — Mexico border, who possibly holds the key to a fiendishly twisted conspiracy of greed, lies, and murder — and whose only hope for survival now rests in the hands of friends too far away for comfort.
I love Tony Hillerman’s mysteries. I’ve read them for years (though there was a time in the late 1990’s and 2000’s I stopped reading mysteries). I’m going back now to read some of the ones I missed and some of the older ones I don’t remember as well or that I just want to read again and enjoy.
This is one of the books I hadn’t read and I really enjoyed it. I’m reading the books as I find them for a price I can pay so I’ve been skipping back and forth with the books. Each book is a self-contained mystery, but the overall arc of the main characters’ personal lives changes throughout the series so this isn’t the best way to read the books! I’m not sure that I read the two books before this one so I’ll eventually read those.
This mystery involves Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee when an unidentified man is found shot in their jurisdiction. The FBI takes over the case and the case is closed when the Feds say the man was a hunting accident victim. This is a tense mystery. There were problems even in 2003 (as there have been for years before and years after) with illegal immigrants and drugs coming over the U.S. – Mexico border. And any time there’s lots of money involved people don’t want to give that up–so they don’t care who gets hurt or killed in the process.
Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito
Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito is a main character in this book and I like her. She quits her job with the Navajo Tribal Police and takes a job with the Customs Patrol at the U.S. – Mexico border. She’s curious about unusual things she sees during her patrols and that quickly gets her in trouble. Leaphorn and Chee begin to see that some of the things Bernie has seen may tie-in with their dead man even though no one at the federal level will talk to them.
One reason Bernie quit her job with the Navajo Tribal Police: she realizes she needs to get on with her life. She likes Jim Chee, but he doesn’t seem to notice her. I like that she realizes she has to be strong enough to leave that situation. She’s not only strong, but a smart, honest and conscientious law enforcement officer. And maybe Chee noticed her more than he let on!
A really good mystery and I recommend the series! I plan to read and review more of the books this year.
Note: I had trouble finishing up this post this morning after the terrible events in Boston yesterday. One of my daughters ran in the Boston Marathon a couple years ago so this brought back memories of my happiness for her that day with the horror of seeing those bombs go off blanketed over those happy memories. Plus I have a nephew and his wife who just moved from Boston. My hearts go out to all the people injuried or killed yesterday, their families and to all of Boston. My thoughts are also with the police, FBI and everyone working to catch the person or person who did this: I hope they are caught very soon and put on trial very soon.
My topic this week is apropos: Sometimes I want to escape this world reality and become immersed in a book’s world or setting. That’s one reason I read.
This week on Top Ten Tuesday we have a rewind–where we can pick a topic we missed the first time around or one we want to revisit. Since I have only done Top Ten Tuesday for about a month I have lots of past topics to choose from. I chose the Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings.
Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J. R. R. Tolkien
The world Tolkien created is one of the first fantasy worlds I learned about. It is certainly the richest and most complex world I had encountered at that time (as a teenager) and Tolkien has influenced many fantasy authors. I wanted to go to Middle Earth and the Shire after I read The Hobbit! I’ve always felt I could see the big trees walking. We had a Beech tree in our yard when we lived in Ohio that I could see walking away from our yard.
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
My mother read the Mary Poppins books to me when I was a child before the movie was made by Disney. We both loved them so much and were so excited when the movie came out. I loved to hear about Jane , Michael, the twins and Mary Poppins. As a child I wanted to know how these children lived their lives and I envied them having a nanny! I tried reading the books to my children and either I was too early or too late, because they weren’t interested. Sad, but true!
Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman
Tony Hillerman wrote about the Navajo Indians in the Four Corners area of Arizona and New Mexico and occasionally Colorado and Utah. I love this area of the United States and Tony Hillerman brought it alive for me. I started these books when I was a teenager and at first I thought he must be a Navajo to write the way he did. It doesn’t surprise me he won many awards for his writing or the Navajo Tribe’s Special Friends of the Dineh Award. The protangonists in this book are both Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. I especially like this book because it does have both characters. Both are Navajos, but they approach their lives and their investigations very differently. Jim Chee is studying with his uncle to become a yataalii (a wiseman or shaman). He is more mystical in his approach to the world than Joe Leaphorn is. Leaphorn is skeptical of the many Navajo traditions, but he does take rumors of Navajo witchcraft and other mysteries seriously. Tony Hillerman also wrote books about each character separately. Hillerman’s descriptions of the American Southwest, the weather, the people especially the Navajo Indians are all clear and strong in his books and I am swept away to the Southwest when I read these books.
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I read this book a number of years ago and it has stayed with me. It was a very emotional read and I also convinced one of my daughters and my husband to read it. They loved it, too. We’ve gone on to read a number of Connie Willis books, but this is still our favorite. Kivrin travels back in time (she thinks she is going to 1320), but the technician in 2048 makes a mistake and she arrives in 1348 England during the Black Plague. One of the interesting things for me is that she doesn’t immediately realize what year she has arrived since calendars and clocks aren’t common things during that time. The Church kept their church calendar which is how people knew what time of the year it was (that and the seasons, of course!) and the church rang bells during the day. It wasn’t until people began dying that she began suspect what had happened and then she finds she can’t return to 2048 right then and maybe won’t get back at all. This wasn’t an easy read for me. Many people die and the setting was so vivid to me. I felt I was there having to watch all these people die along with Kivrin. The characters were so vivid and as in life there were heroes and villains both in 1348 and 2048 (where an epidemic also occurs).
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The setting is a 1950 English village. The main character is 11 year old Flavia de Luce who is fascinated by chemistry and poison. She is also a neglected child, a prodigy of sorts and when she finds a murdered man decides to investigate. I felt part of the 1950 English village. Alan Bradley as a first time 70 year old author has written such a good series. The other books in this series are also very good. Flavia is such an interesting character and the 1950’s is a great setting.
Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
I like the world Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have created with all their books. They show the long history of the Liaden Universe. The Liadens are so interesting with their careful manners and complex language and I like that they aren’t perfect. In fact, there are some villains as well as the heroes. The Clan Korvel is the family followed throughout the books. Fledgling is a departure that doesn’t take place on Liad and seems not to be part of the series at first. If you read the earlier books it slowly dawns on you who some of the characters must be. The authors have created a new culture on a new planet which is very interesting. I feel like I could know these people! Each culture they introduce in their books are diverse and unique to me.
A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh
I like Mary Balogh’s books very much…especially her older Regency books. The Christmas books and stories she writes really evoke the English winter countryside at Christmas during the Regency era. They involve families and the adults are active in their children’s lives. There is often snow and they play in the snow, have snowball fights, go sledding or go ice skating. They bring in a yule log and greenery and decorate the house. They attend Christmas Eve services and sing carols. I realize it may be an idealized setting, but it is lovely for the Christmas season especially. It makes me feel I am there!
Secrets of the Night by Jo Beverley This is part of Jo Beverley’s Malloren series. They are historical romances which take place in England during the Georgian era. This is one of my favorites by Jo Beverley, but really I love all her books–the Georgian Mallorens, the Regencies and the Medievals. The Marquis of Rothgar is a character in all the books and is a very powerful person in Great Britain. In this book one of his brothers is kidnapped and Rothgar is incensed. He’s determined to find out who did this and why and them make them pay for it. Rothgar is a friend of the King and the Prince of Wales. Jo Beverley does a good job showing how powerful Rothgar is and the influence he wields both inside and outside his family. I like the romance in these books, but I also like how I feel part of the Georgian period and the politics of the time.
The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
This is not the first book in the Vorkosigan series, but it is the first one with Miles nearly grown. He’s physically handicapped on a planet where the warrior class rules. Miles is a brilliant strategist, very intelligent, but his body betrays him. Miles can’t pass the physical for the military academy so he leaves his planet–Barrayer–to try to cope with the fact he can’t be the warrior he wants to be. This is an adventure story, but Ms. Bujold also does a great job showing Miles coming to terms with his handicap, growing up and discovering just what he can do. The people around him are also vivid. Miles begins to come into his own. The world Ms Bujold creates a unique world with people I would like to meet (at least some of them!)
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
This is the first book in the October Daye series. I love the way this series starts. October (Toby) works as a private investigator. She is half human and half fae and has spent 14 years as a fish after a PI assignment went bad! After that, she doesn’t want anything more to do with magic, but of course, she’s drawn back into that world. The San Francisco setting and Toby’s job sucked me into her world…the human world and the fae world in the middle of it all.
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.
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.
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.
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?