This Is A Good Book Thursday, December 27, 2018

Since this is the last Good Book Thursday of 2018, how about posting The Best Book You Read All Year? I mean to go back through the comments on the Thursday posts to get a reading list for 2019–Murderbot is obviously one of them–but let’s go with your top read, just to simple things up. If somebody else has already mentioned your book, go ahead and post it again; the more times a title is posted, the likelier it is we’ll give it a shot. And then you can talk about what else you read this week or whatever else you want to.

70 thoughts on “This Is A Good Book Thursday, December 27, 2018

  1. Oooh. Every damn thing that Talia Hibbert and Suleikha Snyder published this year.

    Suleikha Snyder’s Tikka Chance On Me is a f—ing MASTERCLASS on how to write a full and fulfilling romantic novellas.

    I tend to dislike short stories and novels because they leave out bits to keep the story moving. Not in this case. These books are well written, well characterized, and incredibly satisfying.

    Talia Hibbert’s books are slightly longer and very, very funny. She writes diverse characters who live lives dealing with various issues from autism to lycanthropy. No, really, go read Mating The Huntress.

    I’m currently reading Manhunting thanks to the e-sale a few weeks ago. A Crusoe it turns out I hadn’t read. I’m FREQUENTLY laughing aloud.

    Oh and The ROOKERY ROGUES series from Erica Monroe. Kickass historical romance with HEA but not among the nobility. Can’t wait for more.

    Happy Everything, Argh people.

    12+
  2. Ugh, I’m so bad at making these decisions! If you absolutely held a gun to my head and made me choose my favorite book I read this year, it would be “Earth Bound” by Genevieve Turner and Emma Barry. A male engineer and a female computer (mathmatician) fall in love during a fictionalized version of the 60s space race.

    They’re both super super smart and keep their professional life and personal life completely separate and it’s so satisfying to watch their walls come down. It is fairly explicit, so don’t read it if that’s not your thing. The whole series is good, but that one is my favorite so far. I read it in one night and have gone back and reread my favorite parts multiple times.

    Other really good reads this year.

    “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare – fluffy historical with hilarious doll funerals

    “The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You” by Lily Anderson – “Much Ado About Nothing” as modern YA. So funny and sweet.

    “Undateable” by Sarah Title. Low Angst contemporary set in a city with a wonderful well-rounded librarian heroine.

    “Saga” graphic novels

    Everything by Courtney Milan. Just everything.

    5+
    1. All the Courtney Milan, especially After the Wedding. LOVED it.
      I dug the Winternight series and can’t wait for book three this month as well.

      1+
  3. There are probably wonderful reads escaping my mind just now, but I very much enjoyed The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which was recommended here several times early in the year. A Closed and Common Orbit was also very good, and I just saw that there’s a third book in this universe out called Record of a Spaceborn Few. I have just reserved it at the library.

    6+
    1. Yes, thirded! These books are fascinating and kind. Come for the sprawling, imaginative sci-fi, stay for the diversity and basic optimism. Becky Chambers creates a world that has strife and pain, but that also reflects a belief that most beings, most of the time, are pretty decent, and for me that is way more fun to read than so-called “gritty” stories where you slog from the frying pan, into the fire, and from there into hell. (I also think it’s more realistic, but then again I may just be lucky.)

      5+
  4. I read all of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. Hard to pick a favorite, even looking back through the list, but Gone Too Far (#6, Sam and Alyssa’s book) and Breaking the Rules (#16, Izzy and Eden) were the hardest to put down.
    My brother in law bought me “A Wizard of Earthsea” for Christmas, so that’s next on my list after “finishing my dang grading” (grades due Dec 29 at midnight so I’d better get to it!).

    6+
  5. I’m going with ‘How to Bang a Billionaire’ by Alexis Hall, since it was the discovery of a new author, whose backlist I then devoured.

    At the moment I’m enjoying ‘Devilish’ by Jo Beverley, which is one of my all-time favourites.

    8+
  6. For me it was Goblin Emperor and the Murderbot books, I have about 50 pages to go in Exit Strategy and I’m sure it won’t let me down. I also really liked City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. Also, I listened to The Grand Sophy and it was so much fun. I loved Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny but something happened at the end which, while A Good Thing, I am not happy about at all.

    12+
  7. Thanks to this group, I have had the most diverse and best year of reading in my life! I don’t know that I can pick a single favorite, but the top of my list would be:

    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    Educated by Tara Westover

    I recommend these because they are complex, compelling, insightful and beautifully written.

    Based on recommendations here, this year I’ve also read and loved the mystery series by Louise Penny and Charles Todd. Oh, and Ben Aaronovitch, and Trisha Ashley and Courtney Milan. This week I read To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis, which I thought was great.

    Goodness, no wonder I don’t get anything done!

    8+
  8. Murderbot without a doubt. First thing that came to mind before I scrolled down far enough to read that line. I have read many other delightful books this year, many of them mentioned here, but Murderbot’s the winner.

    Right now I’m reading a bunch of books, as usual, but the one that stands out is Kelly Jones’ Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, which is a juvenile epistolary fantasy novel. I can’t remember how I found it, but I don’t think it was here. The narrator/letter writer is a Latina girl whose family have moved to a farm inherited from her father’s uncle, and chickens with strange powers begin showing up. The best part for me is that aside from levitation and turning things to stone and so forth, the chickens act exactly like chickens.

    6+
  9. The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. I loved them both! Duchess is the first book in the series.

    For nonfiction, the two books that I really enjoyed were Your Best Year Ever and Living Forward by Michael Hyatt. Your Best Year Ever is about goalsetting and Living Forward is about creating a life plan. It would make a lot of sense to create the life plan first and then set your goals to move you toward completing that life plan. Both are easy reads.

    4+
  10. Read many great books, but the one that stands out is “To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Connie Willis which I heard about here. I then went on to read “Blackout” and “All Clear” which I enjoyed, as well, but TSNotD was my favourite.

    9+
    1. I got to TSNotD through Bellwether and although I plowed happily through all the backlist and continue to read her, those two remain my favorites.

      2+
  11. Darius the Great is Not Okay, Murderbot, Emergency Contact, Educated.

    I listened to Darius and the narrator was fabulous. If I’d read it to myself all the Persian names would have been mispronounced.

    4+
  12. According to my book blog, the top reviews this year were:
    * If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say by Leila Sales–about the consequences of fucking up irrevocably on the Internet
    * Obsidio, the third book in the Illuminae Files trilogy. I highly recommend that entire trilogy, but if you get it, don’t do e-book. Paper is required for the things they do in this one.
    * He’s Scared, She’s Scared because I had no idea I wasn’t the “bad one” for being “too clingy” in relationships back in the day.
    * Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep–great empowerment book.
    * Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut books.
    * 180 Seconds by Jessica Park, which is kind of the flip side of If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say and features trying to do niceness on the Internet.
    * An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Roberson, great take on faeries I haven’t seen before and creativity.
    * Imposter Syndrome, the third and last book in Mishell Baker’s Arcadia Project trilogy. I recommend all three–a disabled woman with borderline personality disorder gets recruited into working with faeries.

    4+
  13. I’ve been mostly reading fanfiction these past few weeks. But I did manage to finish “Falls the Shadow” by Stefanie Gaither, and the “complex ambiguous feelings between siblings” the underlined the whole thing is catnip.

    Also started Lucifer on Netflix (hah), and I haven’t adored a show’s sense of humor this much since Leverage (there are a few Leverage and White Collar alum in the writer’s room). Everyone in the cast is on their comedy A-game, they keep switching up the character combinations, and very importantly, everyone gets to deflate everyone else. I even enjoyed Season 1, as they realized that the comedy angle was their strength, constantly deflating Lucifer himself on the regular.

    I think the divergence in my experience with the show from Jenny is that I was going in looking for a low-stakes comfy procedural, not anything PoI level, so I had low expectations and didn’t care about a myth arc. The Amenadiel scenes were indeed bad in S1, but thanks to streaming, I could skip past them. I was very charitable with the Maze scenes, because I knew from other sites how great she would be in the future. And, importantly, I was reading Lucifer as pansexual from the start, which meant all of the smarm and guyliner was interpreted through a camp lens rather than a sleaze one. I never took Lucifer seriously as a hero, especially knowing that these shows take forever for the romance arc to pay off, so I didn’t need the main couple to have sizzling chemistry. Honestly, they still don’t, but that makes their few moments of connection sweeter, somehow.

    I’m more here for the comedy, anyways.

    But, also, it struck me that Lucifer isn’t unlike The Good Place, as a secret “how to morality” show, but doing it by having all these celestial beings learning/not-learning psychology 101 on the therapist couch.

    4+
  14. I spent most of this year comfort reading old books (worryingly)

    New books I really liked and remember:

    Star Island by Carl Hiassan (did not put this down until I finished it)

    The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (I liked the whimsy)

    5+
  15. NOT FAIR!

    It is not fair at all to ask me which of the books I read this year was “my favorite” or “the best.” Even if you break it down into genre or sub-genre, I don’t think I can deal with that question, or mandate.

    I mean, there are first reads and re-reads, and re-reading doesn’t necessarily say “best,” it says “really liked.” I’ve read and re-read Marion Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape” series, especially “Recursion.” I’m re-reading that series now. I’ve re-read Patricia C. Wrede’s “Frontier Magic” series, her magician series, and for the first time, her Cecelia and Kate series.

    During 2018, I’ve re-read the entire Bujold bibliography, especially the Penric and Desdemona novellas. And “Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance.” She just announced a mini-novel coming out in January in the Sharing the Knife series. I can hardly wait!

    I’ve re-read the entire Crusie bibliography (except “Getting Rid of Bradley”) and I’m really, really looking forward to your next. I can hardly wait!

    Then there’s Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire series – a small West Virginia town gets sent back to the year 1631, the middle of the 30 years war. Baen Books just made available the eARC for “1636: The Polish Maelstrom” and I’ve read the sample (12 chapters) and I think Ima hafta shell out the $15 for the rest. Don’t even ask which parts I’ve read and re-read in that series.

    David Weber annoys and delights. I think I only re-read “On Basilisk Station” and “The Honor of the Queen,” but I’ve read the newest, “Uncompromising Honor,” at least twice.

    Then there was “A Civil Contract” by Georgette Heyer. You read Bujold’s “A Civil Campaign” and especially where she uses words like inspired by and homage to and you just gotta go see – and I liked it!

    And then there were the free books via The Fussy Librarian. There were duds on that list, but there were hits, too.

    It’s Not Fair, I tell you!

    6+
    1. Update: From Jan 1 to today, I bought 84 Kindle eBooks, 22 audiobooks from Audible and 64 audiobooks from Downpour (Blackstone Audio). Other authors I enjoyed were Mia Archer, Tom Clancy, Robert Heinlein, Jim Butcher, JoAnna Carl, Jo Walton, Melanie Brown, Robert Conroy and J.K.Rowling.

      Looking over the list, the leaders are Bujold, Crusie and Harmon by a country mile. Yes, my eBook library has about 1500 legally acquired titles, and yes, many books purchased prior to this year are in my re-read lists, especially those three authors.

      3+
  16. Other than Murderbot, already on the list, nothing really stood out this year. I think I did more tv-watching (bingeing — or is it binging? they both look wrong — some old British shows through Hulu and Acorn) than reading this year. Just a phase when even reading seems to take too much energy. So it was mostly re-reads except for Murderbot. I liked Aaronovitch’s new book (but it’s not my fave of the series), and liked Donna Andrews’s cozy mysteries (but again, not my fave, although the Lark one was fun, more of a caper than a cozy mystery), and that’s about all I can recall. Oh, I read the NK Jemison’s The Fifth Season, and it was compellingly written, but ultimately just so damn depressing that I can’t get inspired to read the next in the series.

    3+
  17. Okay, I’m going back through my notes, looking for the ones marked ‘wonderful!!!’ Just ‘very good’ or ‘enjoyable’ doesn’t make the cut.

    Reservoir 13 by Jon Macgregor. A murder mystery that is really about the rhythms of the natural world, and the aftershocks of tragedy.

    Melissa Keil’s gorgeous YA novel, The Secret Science of Magic.

    Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Breadcrumbs.

    Anne Bishop’s Others series, starting with Written in Red.

    Sarah Winman’s Tin Man and When God was a Rabbit.

    Kelly Barnhill’s middlegrade The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

    Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill.

    And I reread The Goblin Emperor, which is one of my all time favourites.

    7+
  18. There were so many!

    On a gut level, I would have to go with In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle, Tsumiko and the Captive Fox by Forthright, and Why Art? by Eleanor Davis. Not necessarily in any order. Just for shear beauty and surprises.

    3+
  19. Besides the Murderbot stories, the one that stuck the most is Pride by Ibi Aanu Zoboi.

    I’m not sure why this retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern Brooklyn is so … sticky, but the characters and writing just … stuck with me.

    And Goblin Emperor, and Sunshine by Robin McKinley, both rerereads.

    2+
  20. I’ve been in a fantasy phase this year: Robert Jackson Bennett started a new series with Foundryside (I love him- his characters and world-building are excellent and his women are badass).

    More recently I’ve been reading Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series. These start slow but pick up speed as you go, and I’m enjoying Irene, the main character. Another badass.

    5+
  21. I always have trouble with this sort of questions. What is the best? It is so subjective. Besides, I don’t really remember what I read in January or February.
    I agree that the Murderbot series is one of the best. Furthermore, all but the first novella came out in 2018. They definitely make the cut.
    I noticed that many people here mention re-reads of their favorite authors’ old books. I’ll go with that trend. This year, I re-read the entire Wen Spencer’s repertoire. She is one of my favorite writers. Her stories make my heart beat faster. And I write fan-fiction set in her Elfhome universe – the only fan fiction I’ve ever wrote. So yes, she is one of the best, IMO. Tinker, anyone? I truly love Spencer’s Tinker, both the book and the heroine.
    Another author I like a lot is Sarah Wynde. I love her Tassamara series. The last book came out in 2018, and I re-read and enjoyed the entire series again. And then, her latest book, Cici and the Curator. What a romp – a pure fun to read from start to finish. Those dogs, oh gosh, those dogs! Especially minimized…

    5+
    1. I love Tinker! I have read it many times. I like all of her books, but Tinker is my favourite. I had not heard of Sarah Wynde but will check her out.

      2+
  22. Two that stayed with me for a long time were The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani.
    Currently reading The Thorn Birds, got the eBook yesterday for $1:99. It has been a lot of years since I read it, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

    8+
  23. I kept returning to THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, which I love. I was delighted to see that Katherine Addison has a new book out with Elizabeth Bear, THE COBBLER’S SON, which I’ve bought but not yet begun.

    4+
  24. (trying to think … trying to think …) Oh, I know, Everything I want to Eat by Jessica Koslow. Profiles her resto in Silver Lake (L.A.), the workers, clients, farms and food. She started out with jams made in her home kitchen – Persian mulberry, Bleinheim apricot and its kernel, raspberry and cardamom, strawberry and rose geranium, yum. In her commercial space, she expanded offerings to Bowls, typically broth, beans or rice, greens, eggs. Famous for the tumeric tonic, for which they keep blowing out industrial juicers – ten last year. Revived Green Goddess dressing and taught me how to make pirri-pirri sauce. I’ve eaten there, albeit not dressed to code in grey t-shirt and jeans. So not a hipster, but I keep showing up in hipster haunts. Go to the library, grab the book and sit a while. Peruse the index. The schmears alone …

    Other than Jessica, I found solace in Heyer, Stout, and new-to-me Charlotte MacLeod. Last night I had a kickin’ fun time with Hot Toy, my annual read. Really an extended Meet Cute full of witty banter, mistaken identity and protags at cross-purpose. Ends with promise of good times ahead. And, Arghers, I need that promise.

    7+
  25. (trying to think … trying to think …) Oh, I know, Everything I want to Eat by Jessica Koslow. Profiles her resto in Silver Lake (L.A.), the workers, clients, farms and food. She started out with jams made in her home kitchen – Persian mulberry, Blenheim apricot and its kernel, raspberry and cardamom, strawberry and rose geranium, yum. In her commercial space, she expanded offerings to Bowls, typically broth, beans or rice, greens, eggs. Famous for the tumeric tonic, for which they keep blowing out industrial juicers – ten last year. Revived Green Goddess dressing and taught me how to make pirri-pirri sauce. I’ve eaten there, albeit not dressed to code in grey t-shirt and jeans. So not a hipster, but I keep showing up in hipster haunts. Go to the library, grab the book and sit a while. Peruse the index. The schmears alone …

    Other than Jessica, I found solace in Heyer, Stout, and new-to-me Charlotte MacLeod. Last night I had a kickin’ fun time with Hot Toy, my annual read. Really an extended Meet Cute full of witty banter, mistaken identity and protags at cross-purpose. Ends with promise of good times ahead. And, Arghers, I need that promise, so thanks for all your happy recommendations.

    0
  26. I think my two favorites were “The Sacred Art of Stealing” by Christopher Brookmyre and “The Coroner’s Lunch” by Colin Cotterill. “The Sacred Art of Stealing” is very intricate and fun and a surprising romance or romantic novel, and I’m pleased to see that Brookmyre is a prolific author. “The Coroner’s Lunch” is the first in a series that I’ll be starting in the new year. So glad to have good things to look forward to!

    5+
  27. This year has been a re-read year b/c it has been a helluva year. Re-reads which top the list are: Agnes and the Hitman, Faking It, Loretta Chase’s Royally Ever After (short story) and her Dukes Prefer Blondes, Barbara Delinsky’s Coast Road, Barbara O’Neal’s All You can Eat Dream Buffet and anything from Mary Balogh. Cracking open Fast Women soon.

    New reads: Skinny Dip and Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen, (several scenes are in my head forever),The Paris Key by Juliette Blackwell, a couple of historical novels by Joanne Bischof, and a non fiction book Beethoveen’s Hair. Thank goodness we didn’t live in his era when medicine was still emerging. Beethoven died from lead poisoning and was sick for years, years.

    TBR books are The Goblin Emperor, The Sweetness in the Bottom of the Pie, The Kiss Quotient, and a few more listed on good book Thursday.

    Thank you for new favourites.

    Cheers

    3+
  28. Hard to pick a favorite. I pulled up my checkout history from our library and since 2012 when I stopped deleting them on a monthly basis we’ve read or seen a total of 1153 books, dvd’s or magazines. Authors aplenty with the Kristen’s no matter how you spell the first name, Higgins, Hannah, Ashley, J A Jance (Ali Reynolds) Dorothy Garlock, Diana Gabaldon, Emma Chase (lawyer series), Mary Balogh, the Susan’s, Wiggs and SEP, a Cruisie or six etc. Before my husband bit the bullet and got his own card I would get his favorites Connelly, Sandford, Jo Nesbot, Ian Rankin, Adrian McKinty, Ken Bruen, Peter May, Nick Oldham etc. Dvd’s included Blue Murder with Caroline Quentin, The Last Detective, New Tricks, Rebus, Peaky Blinders, The Brokenwood Mysteries, The Heart Guy to name a few. Without library access we would have gone broke or not read or seen a lot of good stories.

    7+
    1. I’m surprised your library keeps check-out records. Our library started erasing on return because of (distant, I suspect) hovering threat of federal subpoenas. Maddening sometimes when I want to track a favorite author or book I read, though I do appreciate the layer of protection.

      1+
  29. I didn’t read all that many new books this year, and very few of them stood out, really. But I very much enjoyed Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver – maybe even more than Uprooted, to be honest. And I reread The Goblin Emperor again, and it was just as good as ever, a real antidote to 2018.

    7+
  30. Okay, my favorites for this year:

    Devils Within by S.F. Henson – YA novel about a boy who was raised in, and then escaped, a white supremacist commune. It is from his perspective as he struggles to get the hateful voice of his father out of his head and build a normal life for himself.

    The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson – Magic! Time travel! Schrodinger’s cat! This was pretty long but I found it compelling throughout.

    Gods, Wasps, and Stranglers by Mike Shanahan – Nonfiction about fig trees. Enjoyable and informative, and I am not, generally speaking, a member of the fig tree fandom.

    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – Magic realism, and a balm for every sore soul who has spent time wondering where the world they belong actually is, since this one doesn’t seem to be it. This is the book I was looking for when I was 14, and I recommend the whole series.

    And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness – YA, quasi-graphic novel, with the core question being “can you hunt monsters without becoming one.” Patrick Ness writes weird-ass stuff and I love it.

    Also, I know that no one asked, but I have to recommend a podcast: The Adventure Zone. It’s a group of brothers and their dad playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time, and the 69 episode first story, titled “Balance,” is hilarious, raunchy, and ultimately very successful storytelling in a challenging format. I listened to it twice in a row and now I’m making myself listen to the new stuff they’ve been creating since the first story ended.

    4+
  31. I was scrolling through my reading challenge books yesterday and it turns out I’ve been rereading more than reading new stuff this year… Which isn’t strange, it’s been a hell of a year at times. So if we narrow things down to non-rereads and books I’ve given a 5-star rating we end up with:

    “Green Rider” by Kristen Britain. Great fantasy, good world building and characters and an awesome horse. What else do you need? 😉 I was planning to explore it further, but… it didn’t happen. Perhaps in 2019.

    “The Kane Chronicles” (all 3 books apparently) by Rick Riordan. Because Riordan. I don’t know how he does it but he’s damm good at pulling you into the story and making you attach to the characters. Smart and funny about magic and Egyptian gods and mythology. Children’s/YA (I’m not really sure where the line goes).

    “Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison Allen. Lovely book about finding yourself, accepting and respecting who you – and others- are and reuniting with your family. I think many of you have read it already.

    “The Burning Maze” by Rick Riordan. Yep, he did it again. Apollo has really started to grow on me. Also, chapter title haikus!

    “The Invisible Library” by Genevieve Cogman. I saw someone mention that the series will pick up speed later – now eager to continue this adventure!

    “De Delta Deceptie” (“Deception Point”, Dutch translation) by Dan Brown. The most thrilling thriller I’ve read since that one about viniculture/vineyards by Nora Roberts (I don’t remember the title, unfortunately) which I read…perhaps 8-9 years ago. Wow.

    “The Shepherds Crown” by Terry Pratchett. It’s so final, somehow. And yes I cried at the end. And no I couldn’t give it anything but 5. Because.

    “The Problem Child”, “Tales from the Hood” and “The Council of Mirrors” from Michael Buckley’s “The Sisters Grimm”-series. The rest all gort 4 stars, so they are also very good and worth reading. Go check it out if you like fairytales and detective work and flawed characters that you wanna beat up sometimes but still grow to like quite a lot. Supporting roles are also very good. Start with “The Fairy-Tale Detectives”, that’s book 1.

    Other books that I have enjoyed a lot were:
    “All creatures great and small” by James Herriot
    “P.s. I love you” by Cecelia Ahern (this book made me cry floods and rivers and oceans)
    The first 3 books in the “The Gower Street Detective”-series by M.R.C Kasasian
    “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher
    “Het Juvenalis Dilemma” (“Digital Fortress”, Dutch translation) by Dan Brown
    “The Night of Wishes” by Michael Ende.
    “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella. I wanted to slap the MC at first but the book really grew on me after a while. Plus, the narrator from the English talking book library was very, very, very good.

    …And a whole bunch of others that got 4 stars. Plus one billion rereads.

    Last two days I’ve enjoyed the two first books of the “The Magic Misfits” quartet by Neil Patrick Harris, about a bunch of kids that want to learn to be magicians. Charming characters, good world, nice insights in the ways of magicians through trick tutorials spread out through the books. I would definitely give it to any curious kids with a fondness for tricks and a thirst for knowledge about magic. Inspirational and fun. Only downside is I don’t know any kids of a suitable age that like reading. 🙁

    I’ve also reread the last two Magnus Chase-books by Rick Riordan.

    Now reading “The A.B.C. Murders” by Agatha Christie. Sometimes a Christie is exactly what you need.

    4+
    1. P.s. The title of the Nora Roberts thriller I mentioned above is “The Villa”. Another one of hers I also know I enjoyed a lot around the same time, perhaps even more than “The Villa”, is “High Noon”. Will have to reread them and see if they’re as good as I remember.

      3+
      1. Thank you! It was so much better than I had expected, perhaps because I wasn’t convinced by “Confessions of a Shopaholic” when I read it one lifetime ago (so it feels). But that’s probably because I’m far from a shopaholic myself. Twenties Girl was really good! 🙂

        0
  32. This year my favourite new-to-me reads were

    Murderbot #2, #3 and #4 (of course)
    and also…
    Frances Brody – ‘Death in the Stars’ (Kate Shackleton)
    Lois McMaster Bujold – ‘Paladin of Souls’
    Genevieve Cogman ‘The Lost Plot’ and ‘The Mortal Word’ (Invisible Library)
    Jenny Colgan ‘An Island Christmas’ and ‘The Endless Beach’ (Mure)
    Sally Gardner – ‘Maggot Moon’
    Louise Penny – ‘The Cruelest Month’ (Gamache)
    Stella Riley – ‘Cadenza’ (Rockliffe)
    Judith Rossell – ‘Withering-by-Sea’
    Patricia Veryan – Practice to Deceive (Golden Chronicles)

    Best Re-reads
    Jennifer Crusie – Hot Toy
    Noel Streatfeild – Ballet Shoes
    Patricia Veryan – Mistress of Willowvale

    Some of these I first heard of here, so many thanks again to the people who recommended them

    6+
  33. I can’t believe this year was the first year I discovered the Vorkosigan Saga, but it was. If a series could get my vote, that would be it. My favorites of the series have been Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance or Mirror Dance. And I just finished The Others series by Anne Bishop, which was very sweet and heartening. But Book 1 of the series was the best, in my opinion.

    5+
      1. Yes! And Memory is one of mine as well, but it gave depth to Miles, who in spite of all his trials and tribulations still had many loving, supportive people in his life. Mirror Dance gave depth to Mark, and did it enough to a truly unlikeable character that I was really rooting for him by the end.

        Also, I’d never read such a cogent depiction of how severe trauma can give rise to an extreme psychological defense working for the good of the wounded individual.

        And Mark had no one to love or support him except, much to his surprise, Cordelia, who was her usual brisk, logical, principled self, with a sharp sense of humor. (And the honor pouring from her like a fountain thing, of course.)

        2+
  34. Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere- both by Celeste Ng. What a writer- both haunting and heart-warming.

    4+
  35. I’m terrible at this because I can’t remember when I read anything. The most recent installments of two historical mystery series I read were for sure standouts this year; I loved them both. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn and Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris. Keep in mind these are both series so you may want to start at the beginning. I also read and re-read a ton of Nalini Singh and loved it all.

    This week I read the most recent Ashley Weaver mystery, An Act of Villainy (1930s historical mystery with married couple investigating). I think it was better than the last one. I didn’t guess who the killer was, but I figured out a different part of the plot. The solution didn’t feel like it came totally out of nowhere like in the last book; looking back, she dropped some hints and clues that I missed because I wasn’t paying enough attention while I flew through it in one night. Something that makes this series a library checkout for me instead of a buy is that the romance between the protagonist and her husband can be really frustrating. The author seems to go back and forth with unnecessary mistrust in their relationship, and it isn’t helped by the fact that this is first person and we never know what the husband is thinking. That also means that he sometimes has information vital to the mystery that isn’t shared with the POV character or the reader until later than it should be. So keep that in mind if you are interested in the series. Just needed to vent some of my issues with the series.

    2+
  36. Wait, wait, I remember a stand-out book (duology) from this year! It just feels like it’s been more than a year since I read it, given all the chaos of this year!

    It’s T. Kingfisher’s (a/k/a Ursula Vernon) Clocktaur Wars (fantasy with a bit of romance, and there’s another book, more a romance with a bit of fantasy, set in the same world, Swordheart, which is the first of a trilogy). It made me a huge Vernon fan, and I glommed her backlist (for adults and a bit of the Hamster Princess series).

    3+
  37. So hard to pick a favorite! OGH always comes to mind – Bet Me is my personal favorite. I’m casting another vote for Murderbot and Goblin Emperor – I hope there will be more to come. Also, I think someone(s) mentioned Ursula Vernon and based on that I found and devoured the Hamster Princess series and the Dragonbreath series before passing them on to my small cousin. Thanks for the recommendation! I also liked Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine series about young Asian women acquiring superhero powers and learning to handle them. In terms of comfort reads in the fantasy area, I like Lynn Kurland’s Nine Kingdom fantasy series which feature a variety of strong women, anything by Patricia McKillip (such a lyrical writer) and Nina Kiriki Hoffman (The Thread that Binds the Bones and The Silent Strength of Stones are both standouts) and Rachael Neumeier (I started with the Griffin Mage series and then inhaled the rest of her backlist). Robin McKinley is always fabulous and her urban fantasy novel Sunshine is a particular favorite. The Morrigan Crow series is a good YA fantasy read if you are suffering from Harry Potter withdrawal. Julie Czerneda is a fun SF read as well – I think she has some sort of scientific (maybe biology?) training and so she can really craft believable aliens and alien worlds; Search Image is one of her most recent novels. Lisa Shearin has several fantasy series that are a hoot – the latest book is The Phoenix Illusion which is urban fantasy. Devon Monk is another urban fantasy author I really enjoy – I think her latest series is West Hell. In terms of mystery, Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series is quite interesting because, among other things, the heroine is an archaeologist and I love archaeology. Dana Cameron has another archaeological series featuring Emma Fielding who is another strong and smart woman. Lyn Hamilton wrote a mystery series about an antiques dealer named Lara McClintock who travels the world. If I’m looking for mystery with a sense of humor, I look for books by Donna Andrews or Nancy Fairbanks. Ok, nuff said! I must get back to my reading – so many books, so little time! 😉

    1+
  38. I have two that come immediately to mind: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Noir: A Novel by Christopher Moore. The first is like a mix of the movie RED and an epic fantasy, and is so awesome I don’t even have words for it. The second is an hilarious, diverse, spoofy noir whose leading lady is often referred to as The Cheese.

    Oooh! Also, two by KJ Charles: The Henchmen of Zenda and The Band Sinister. Basically anything by KJ Charles is good for this list, but these are two without supernatural elements. What they do have are villain-types behaving heroically, even as they remain villains. That’s a terrible explanation, but oh, well!

    0

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