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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #8 - Book Recommendations

Welcome to my Thursday Thirteen #8! I had a couple of ideas, but I decided that they were going to take too long to research tonight in the time I had, so I'll put them aside for another time and fall back on a dependable standby: Books! I'm sure you'll see many more book related TT's from me, my first one was in fact!

This week I'll give 13 recommendations based on books that I read in 2007 that I really enjoyed and would like others to give a try. If they were part of a series, I've substituted the one I actually read with the 1st of the series :) These are not in order of like, just jumbled together as I came across them!

1. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle - This is a fun coffeehouse mystery series, packed with coffee facts, recipes in the back, and fun characters. Claire gets herself into a lot of trouble!

2. The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop - This is a darker fantasy, the first of the Tir Alainn trilogy, dealing with how the witches (keepers of the Old Places, and very in tune with nature) are being hunted down and destroyed. The Fae also figure in, some who are aware and wish to help, and many who would rather ignore what's happening as the tie between the worlds is erroded away. Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series is one of my favorites of all times as well!

3. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig - This is a fun historical fiction romp, the engine to get us back in time, slightly after the main popularity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, is a research paper on a little known spy, the Pink Carnation. This one was a lot of fun, the first one has been the best so far in my opinion, but the other books are fun too, and highlight different characters which were previously mentioned in the books before.

4. Storm Front by Jim Butcher - The Harry Dresden series, yay! Another in the dark fantasy genre. Harry is a wizard for hire, and gets himself into all kinds of trouble, magical and otherwise. There's a little bit of everything in this series, fairies, vampires, werewolves, you name it, Harry probably has to fight it or somehow get it's help, or something! They did a television series, which is now out on DVD, alas no longer being produced, but it was actually pretty good, so give it a try! You gotta love Bob the skull!

5. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke - a fun kids fantasy about a dragon looking for a safe place to live as the world of men expands, and the friends he meets along the way. I actually listened to this on audiobook, read by Brendan Fraser, and it was very good, my favorite character was the brownie, Sorrel.
6. Magyk by Angie Sage Another kids fantasy the first of the Septimus Heap series. from Fantastic Fiction: A baby girl is rescued from a snowy path in the woods. A baby boy is stillborn. A young Queen is taken ill. An ExtraOrdinary Wizard mysteriously resigns from his post. And all on the same night. A string of events, seemingly unconnected, begins to converge ten years later, when the Heap family receive a knock at the door. The evil Necromancer DomDaniel is plotting his comeback and a Major Obstacle resides in the Heap family. Life as they know it is about to change, and the most fantastically fast-paced adventure of confused identities, magyk and mayhem, begin. (I snagged their blurb because I wasn't sure how to describe without spoilers!)
7. I'm the Vampire, That's Why by Michele Bardsley There's a new soccer mom in town, and she's got fangs! This is in that paranormal romance category, but it's very humorous, I zipped through it and was laughing all the way. The first of the Broken Heart, Oklahoma series. The covers on these crack me up, I wish I had a better picture, love the apron, and the cupcakes with little vampire sticks in them!
8. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant - Historical Fiction, more serious than Pink Carnation. A Courtesan and her companion escape the sack of Rome in 1527 and make their way home to Venice where they must rebuild their life, and get back into society after starting once more from nothing.
9. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey More dark fantasy, are you sensing a theme here? heehee... I admit it, this one took me about 3 years to finally get through, it's a doorstopper, but well worth it, and I only mention it because I think it was funny that it took me so long. Nothing at all to do with how good it is, just my schedule. (another bit of blurb from Fantastic Fiction) Phedre no Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, and the arts of pleasure. Above all, she learns the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, yet talented spy, she may seem an unlikely heroine... but when Phedre stumbles upon a plot threatening her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice but to act. I'd put it in the Epic fantasy category.
10. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones - Kids Fantasy, while running her family's hat shop, Sophie makes a customer angry, the dreaded Witch of the Waste, and she is bespelled into being an old woman. She sets off to find a way to cure herself, and joins up with Howl in his moving castle (he's also regarded with some fear, though he's more of a dandy than fearsome). An interesting tale about finding yourself. I personally did not like the movie compared to the book, even though it was quite lauded. I just thought it came out very weird feeling, when the book was a lot of fun!
11. Catnap - Carole Nelson Douglas - The Midnight Louie mystery series. Unlike many mysteries lately that feature a cat on the cover, this series actually HAS a cat character in the story! Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine? DO NOT PUT A CAT ON YOUR COVER IF THERE IS NO PROMINENTLY FEATURED CAT IN YOUR STORY! ARGH! I'm a cat lover, I want cat characters! Okay, back on track, Midnight Louie is a big old black cat about town, who gets his own chapters as he is concurrently attempting to solve mysteries with his owner (read roommate, cause no one really owns a cat, do they?) Temple. Very funny, Louie gets himself into and out of many scrapes, most of the time without Temple knowing about it.
12. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich - The Stephanie Plum mystery series. This has got to be one of the funniest series I've EVER read in my life. This poor girl gets into more comic trouble than any character I've read. Stephanie falls into a bond enforcement agent job thanks to her cousin, in other words, a bounty hunter, and she couldn't be less suited. She hates guns, loves donuts and her hamster Rex (I think he's a hamster, he may be a gerbil), destroys many cars, never her fault of course, and somehow usually manages to catch her quarry (with help, and not necessarily on the first try). And their has to be love interest trauma right? So throw in a cop and another bounty hunter, and the great debate is on, Morelli or Ranger? My answer is, ya gotta have both! ;)
13. I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis - Historical fiction centered around the life of the girl in Da Vinci's painting, Mona Lisa. The Medici's figure prominently. I was drawn into the story and enjoyed it very much, highly recommend this one to historical fiction lovers.

Thanks for sticking with me! I'd love to hear if you've read any of these and what you thought, or if you're now considering any of them after my recommendation! If so I hope you enjoy them, and let me know!


  1. Thanks for the recommendations! I'm bookless right now and eager to start something.

  2. LOL! I just finished the most recent one (#14) in the Stephanie Plum series! She is GREAT to be sure! That coffee house mystery looks like a good one... I'll try it!

  3. Ooh, you've got some good stuff on here.

    But I've got a copy of the most recent Kushiel's book (in hardback). Want it? You know where to find me; I fell out of love with that series.

  4. I haven't read any of them, but I did just add I'm the Vampire, That's Why to my wishlist thanks to you! I'm sure Del thanks you too -- at least he will until there is no room for him the bedroom.

  5. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Gosh, I haven't even heard of most of these books - and they sound delicious! Thank you so very very much!

    Happy TT

  6. I've heard some good things about the Stephanie Plum books, maybe I'll try one someday. Because of your love for felines, I was surprised not to see one of "The Cat Who..." books my Lillian Jackson Braun on your list.

  7. Howl's Moving Castle is on my TBR although I have read the sequel. Happy TT.

  8. my hubby love to read fantasy fiction also. Great list

    Mine in here Thanks

  9. Great TT, especially since I need a new good book to read. The only one of these I've read is Howl's Moving Castle, which I really enjoyed. She's such an imaginative author and I think she has fun pushing the boundaries.


  10. My book reading time is diminishing of late, and I'm beginning to feel deprived.
    Must find time. Must find time!

  11. Haven't read any of these yet but thanks for the recommendations. I'm always looking for a good book to read. Great list. Happy TT and thanks for visiting.

  12. I never get tired of book TT's! Recommendations are always welcome. Btw, I share your pet peeve about cat characters! I added catnap to my wishlist. :)
    Thanks for visiting my deity TT!

  13. I've read Storm Front and the Stephanie Plum series(through #13). I have On What Grounds and I'm a Vampire, That's Why in Mt. TBR.
    I have the second book of that Anne Bishop series there too. (Happened upon it at a book sale and snatched it up.) Need to find a copy of The Pillars of the World because I hate to read series out of order. ;P
    Thanks for the other recommendations.

  14. Ooh, more books! Of course it will probably take me most of this year to get through the ones I already have, but you can never have too many books, right? :)

  15. #7 looks like a GREAT summer book! I'd never heard of it -- thanks for the introduction. (And thanks for visiting my TT)

  16. Anonymous11:29 AM

    I adore Howl's Moving Castle. Actually, I adore anything by her. One and seven on your list look really interesting, too. I'll have to see if we have them at my library.

    Happy TT!

  17. Awesome TT..I'm always looking for a new book to read...I've actually been re-reading books lately becuase I dont have anything new. I'll have to check some of these out..they look interesting :-D

  18. Anonymous3:28 PM

    I've only read four of these. Obviously I've been spending too much time gardening and on the computer! Great list. Thanks for the recommendations.

  19. I love Janet Evanovich's 9 year old boy find them hilarious too.

    I'm interested in Brendan Fraser's audio book...I'll line it up from my library.

    My T13 is over here.

  20. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke looks like something I should add to my wishlist!

    Magyk by Angie Sage is already on my wishlist but it could be a while before I get hold of a copy...

    Thanks for the recommendations!


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