Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations

Top Ten TuesdayOooh, it’s TUESDAY!  I’m off from work (yay!  I’m off *every* Tuesday!), and that means I get to sleep in and hang out with a bunch of top ten lists all day if I want!  Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish!
This week we’re talking about recommendations, books we recommend the most.  This will be FUN!  I’m looking forward to others’ recommendations, as well!

Top Ten  Books I Recommend The Most

1.  The By the Numbers series by Janet Evanovitch–I LOVE these books, and while the last few have been kind of…meh, the first dozen or so are a HOOT, and a fun read.  I recommend these books to people who are looking for fast, fun reads.  I think my friend Susan put it best when she said “they won’t contaminate you”.

2.  Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake–I just…fell in love with this book from the first chapter.  Cas, as a character, was likeable and relatable, and the fact that he went around killing dangerous ghosts?  AWESOME.  I think I have only not recommended this book to one person, and that was just to say “yeah, don’t read this before bed…”

3.  Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger–this is probably the strangest book on my list.  Not because it’s steampunk, or deals with werewolves and vampires, but because I did not like the book.  I read the entire thing, and I liked the characters, I liked the storyline, I just…hated the way it was written.  I’m not a huge fan of Victorian area writing styles (the insistence on calling people by their last names and the overwrought descriptions) just drive me bonkers.  However, I know that there are people out there who like all of that stuff, and for them, Soulless and the entire series would be GREAT books for them, just…not for me, unfortunately.

4.  The Many Lives of Lilith Lane by EV Whitney–one of my favorite reads from last year, Lilith was originally an Amazon serial, but is now available in both ebook and hard copy forms.  I picked up the free first issue, and loved it so much I went out an immediately bought the serial.  I loved each installment, and I recommend it to people who are looking for something new/a new author to read.

5.  unEnchanted by Chanda Hahn–I got this for free of off the Kindle store, and it’s the story of a girl who happens to be descended from the original Grimm brothers–but they brought a curse down on the family, and each descendant is destined to relive each fairy tale until one of them completes every single one.  Mina’s father was the last Grimm to succumb to the curse, and now it’s Mina’s turn.  A great book for people like me who love fairytale retellings.

6.  The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon–one of my favorite series, EVER.  I love the characters, the settings, the storylines…everything about this series I love…well, except for The Firey Cross, but that’s what happens when you send a barely edited book to press…or at least that’s what I’ve heard.  The series starts out in post WWII Scotland, and covers the Jacobite rising, the 60s, and is now working on the American revolution.  LOVE seeing the world through Claire and Jamie’s eyes!

7.  Summer Sisters by Judy Blume–probably my all time favorite Judy Blume book, I read the covers off my copy practically.  It got lost in a move, unfortunately, but I remember several times reading it, then as soon as I finished the last page flipping back to the front and starting all over again.  It’s a great summer read, or for when you need a good tear jerker.

8.  The Anna Pigeon novels by Nevada Barr–set in the National Park system from Michigan to California to the very southern tip of Florida, you get to see the parks through Anna’s eyes.  These are great novels for anyone who loves the NPS, the outdoors, or mystery novels.

9.  The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough–one of my all time favorites, I’ve owned several different copies over the years as I leant it out and ended up rebuying it when I didn’t get my copy back.  My current copy is a coverless hardbound one that I “borrowed” from my last job and “forgot” to take back when I finished reading it (it was a decorative book on a shelf, no one even missed it).

10.  The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child–the first Aloysius Pendergast novel I read, I was fascinated by the story and the characters.  Now I devour just about anything these authors write, but I probably recommend this book more than any of the others because it was the one that made me fall in love with the series.


Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten TuesdayIt’s the best day of the week already, and time for Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish (click on the banner to be whisked away to their website).  This week we get to explore frustrating characters–which is great, because I know we’ve all read books where we’ve shouted out loud at something stupid the main character has done, and maybe even thrown a book or two at a wall in frustration.  Of course I would never abuse a book that way, no way.  *coff*

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

1.  Princess Mia from The Princess Diaries–I came close to DNF several of the books AND the series because there is only so much paranoid rambling I can take–it’s obvious to everyone BUT Princess Mia that Michael is head over heels for her for the entire series, but she second guesses everything he does and says, and manages to push him away to a different COUNTRY with her neurotic behavior.  I almost wanted him to find someone else to be with, because Mia was too much to handle.

2.  David Wong from John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders–with the conspiracy theories about the government and other oddball things going on these books, it’s almost easy to overlook David’s annoyingness and inability to actually react to a damn thing that’s happening to him.  I almost wish the books were told from John’s point of view, because in spite of the fact that he’s certifiable, he at least knows what he’s doing and how to do it.

3.  Aine from The Toadhouse Trilogy–she’s convinced she can’t do anything at all, and the lack of confidence in herself and her lack of trust to the people who are trying to keep her alive is just…frustrating.  Sigh.

4.  Bella Swan from Twilight–’nuff said.

5.  Every Character from the House of Night series–I’ve read them all, and I’ve enjoyed them all, but damn, you could not FIND a more annoying and frustrating cast of characters in ANY books, even the Twilight books!  Stevie’s too upbeat all the time, the evil guys are way too evil, Zoey’s inadequacies yet saves the worldness…I could go on, but I think you get the point.

6.  Stephanie Plum from the By the Numbers series–JUST PICK ONE ALREADY (and make it Ranger).

7.  “A” from Pretty Little Liars–let Ali die already and get your own persona.  The whole “A” thing got old about 1/2 way through the second set of books, mmmkay?

8.  Anita Blake/Richard starting around Micah–you used to have morals, Anita, what happened?  You also used to kick ass and I miss that part of the books.  And Richard, get the hell over yourself already.  You were a good guy, when did you turn into a judgemental hypocritical piece of crap?

9.  Ralph de Briccasart from The Thorn Birds–choose, buddy, choose.   The Church or Meggie, you can’t have both.  You should have been a better priest and cut yourself off when Meggie was little-it would have saved everyone in your lives a whole lot of heartache (though that wouldn’t have made for as interesting of a book, I guess)

10.  Stephan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries (the books, not the show)–tortured Italian vampire who won’t give into his urges and drink human blood or admit how much he loves Elena.  Sigh.  There are times you almost hope Elena picks the much less complicated Damon–what you see with him is what you get, there’s not much under his surface.

Top Ten Tuesday!

It’s Thanksgiving week everyone (well, if you’re in the United States, that is.  The silly Canadians had theirs already).  This week’s Top Ten list is going to be very thankful, and about a lot of things!  But only 10 of them!

Okay, I’m being silly–it’s the NaNo that does it.  It makes my brain go all to mush and makes me feel guilty when I type words somewhere that do NOT go into the Word file.  Heh.

 Top Ten Books/Authors I’m Thankful For

1.  Mercedes Lackey–I’m thankful for her because I know that I’ll have “go-to” fantasy as long as she’s writing books.  I may not read much in her Heralds of Valdemar series (mostly because she’s been writing it for so long that her original canon has gotten lost and/or forgotten as she continues to write them), but I love her Elemental Masters series.  I also really enjoyed that a lot of her early books are actually illustrated with some fascinating and beautiful drawings by Larry Dixon.

2.  The Harry Potter Series–I generally leave most HP references off of my TTT list (because I know I’ll see them everywhere else, too :D), but this is the prefect list to have it on.  I’ve enjoyed the books countless times and often escaped into Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, and Hermoine in daydreams.  I also appreciate it because I know that this series either brought people back into the world of reading, or introduced them to it.

3.  Judy Blume–my mom always made sure I had a never-ending stream of good books to read, and I loved Judy Blume.  She tackled the difficult adolescent issues with ease and made me feel like I wasn’t the only person in the world dealing with some issue or another.

4.  Fairytale retellings–there are a lot out there that I haven’t read, but a lot I have.  Mercedes Lackey does a wonderful job, I *love* Gregory Maguire’s books, and I’ve found a couple of cute free Kindle books that do a good job as well, notably UnEnchanted.  I love fairy tales in general, and when people put a new spin on them…it makes me happy.  I think my next “have to get” book is going to be Cinder.

5.  Faye Kellerman–she writes novels from a unique perspective that you don’t see very often in books.  Her main characters, Rina and Peter Decker are Orthodox Jewish.  She describes Peter’s conversion and Rina’s dedication to her religion and people intertwined with the cases that Decker investigates.  She works in little details that you don’t think about in normal life–such as places that serve meat will not serve cheese, painting a positive viewpoint of a people who have been beleaguered and oppressed for centuries.  I love her books (I read her husband, Jonathan, as well, but he always seems to stick in some stereotypical Jewish character or backhanded comment).

6.  By the Numbers series by Janet Evanovitch–this series was recommended to me around the same time by two completely different people–my friend Susan and my mom.  Mom and I used to pass these books back and forth, and she even got my dad into reading them, so now Dad and I pass them back and forth.  It’s one of the few series my dad will actually read (he’s not a reader at all).  They’re great “escape” reads and even though the books are getting a bit..meh, I’ll probably still read every one that is published because of how I was introduced to it.

7.  Louisa May Alcott–while I haven’t read her entire catalogue, she is one of the few authors from her era that I actually enjoy.  I used to read Little Women 2-3 times a year growing up, and I have a fantastic collector hard bound edition that has gilt edges that I just absolutely love.  She had a way of writing that somehow works even now.

8.  Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson–I still giggle when I hear “We pause for identification”, because this is the first place I read this joke.  “We paws, get it?”  The story of twins fighting for their parents attention is a fantastic coming of age story set on an island.  One of my all time favorite YA reads.

9.  Diana Gabaldon–her books are well written, well researched, and just overall fantastic (except for The Firey Cross, but I blame her publishers for rushing her).  I enjoy her Lord John books, even though I’m not fond of Lord John in the Outlander series

10.  The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough–I know this was on last week’s desert island reads, but…I can’t help it.  It’s one of my top 3 all time favorite books.  Meggie is one of my favorite heroines, and the forbidden love between her and the priest Ralph…is one of my top favorite love stories.  I just love this book–I cry when the baby dies, when Paddy dies, when Ralph leaves Meggie, and at other points.  LOVE this book.

Top Ten Tuesday!

It’s Tuesday!  Top Ten Tuesday is sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish, click on the picture to be taken to their blog!

I may have been a terrible blogger last week and …spaced on posting.  At all.  Oops.  But…there’s this little thing I like to play that came out with a new expansion…ON TUESDAY.  Shame on them!  But I’m back, and read for this week’s top ten list!

Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

1.  The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough–this book popped up on my Goodreads feed recently when a friend added it to his “to-read” list.  This is one of my favorite books of all times (along with Gone with the Wind and A Swiftly Tilting Planet).  I’ve read about Meggie and her family dozens of time, and I own two copies of this book–a paperback version and a cover less hardback version I took from work (I got bored one day and started reading it, took it home to finish it, and then…kept it).

2.  The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey–the Heralds of Valdemar had a big hand in shaping my thinking about homosexuals and same-sex relationships–the Companions don’t care, why should I?  Lackey is also a fantastic writer, drawing you into the Kingdom of Valdemar and making you wish you were Chosen, too.

3. The Last Rune series by Mark Anthony–I don’t know anyone other than myself that have read this series, but it’s really good.  It’s about two “normal” people from Earth who somehow manage to get transported into the magical world of Eldh, and they are destined to save it.

4.  The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens–the book starts with you having to sign a disclaimer (well, not really…) and then tells you the story of Elena.  It was the first fantasy series I read that actually killed off one of the main characters in the first book, and I found that very refreshing–don’t get me wrong, I love it when the good guys come through the battle unscathed as much as everyone else, but…in the real world, that just doesn’t happen.

5.  Earth’s Children (The Clan of the Cave Bear, etc) by Jean M. Auel–I’ve had the Plains of Passage on my TBR list since it came out (I bought the hardback soon after it was released) but haven’t managed to finish it.  I do, however, really enjoy the Earth’s Children books.  I read and reread Clan of the Cave Bear, and Valley of the Horses was my favorite in the series.

5.  The Wayside School series by Louis Sachar–I didn’t own these books growing up, my brother did, but I still think I read them more than he did.  There is no thirteenth story!

6.  The Redemption of Althalus by David and Leigh Eddings–I know, his stories were *all* based on the same storyline and characters, but out of all of them, Redemption is my favorite.  Maybe it’s because it’s distilled down into one book instead of 7, or maybe it’s because these characters were just…a lot more likeable than some of the ones from his other series.

7.  Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson–every time I hear “I Wonder as I Wander”, I think of this book.  Fantastic I want to go reread it…

8.  The Pendergast series by Preston and Child–I just entered to win the latest installment!  From the moment I picked up The Cabinet of Curiosities at the local fleamarket, I’ve been hooked on Preston and Child.  I even read everything they’ve written solo (as long as it’s fiction…one of them writes archeology texts, I think).  If you’re looking for creepy horror that keeps you awake at night…Preston and Child are for you.

9.  The Bunnicula books–I enjoyed these growing up, and I think read them even into my late teens.  I love Chester, and the ever patient Harold.  Howie’s a bit annoying, but he is a puppy, and will grow out of it…eventually.  I think my favorite is when Chester runs around toothpicking all of the white vegetables in the neighborhood because he thinks Bunnicula has drained their juices and is making an army of vampire vegetables to take over the world.  I hope to be able to give this series to my future children.

10.  The Birth of the Firebringer trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce–a great series for anyone who likes unicorns, especially the fighting kind.  I read the first book when it was published, but never managed to read the second two until they re-released (thank you!) the trilogy a while ago.  I managed to get my hands on the last two books, and I just…loved them all.