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joyce
Dear lovely people of my friends list, I read a lot, as most of you… 
27th-Oct-2007 05:44 pm
book3
Dear lovely people of my friends list,

I read a lot, as most of you know, and I read a lot of series. I like series; I like reading about characters I know and love. It's a comforting thing, and it (generally) guarantees that I'll like a book. I'm kind of looking for a new series or trilogy to chew through. Series I love:

- Madeline Robins Sarah Tolerance books (well, okay. Does it count as a series at 2? I'm still holding my breath that we'll get more of these.)
- Sue Grafton's alphabet books. I'm something like number 12 on the list for T, woot.
- Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, but only the ones with numbers in the title that are part of the series proper. I find the bonus books insipid.
- Kage Baker's The Company novels. I just finished the series. (Well, I still have Gods and Pawns left, but it's not part of the series proper).
- Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott books. I had Hard Row out from the library, but didn't get to it before I had to return it, because I was busy reading the latest Stephanie Plum book and then the latest Company novel, and now I'm 106 on the list again. Le sigh.
- Laurie King's Russel books, and her Kate Martinelli books. It's rare that I'll like 2 series from the same author, but I would read LRK's grocery list, if she saw fit to publish it.
- S.M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time books, and the accompanying Dies the Fire trilogy. I still need to read Meeting at Cornwallis.
- J.D. Robb's In Death series, though lately I've been bouncing off them the first couple of times. They're fine once you get past the initial angst, but I've been bouncing off of that.
- Elizabeth George's novels; I've read the first two, and it's about time I pick up the third. These are great but extra chewy, so I'm spacing them out.
- Elizabeth Gunn's Jake Hines novels
- Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody novels. I've read through Lion in the Valley.
- Dorothy Gilmans' Mrs. Pollifax novels. (Great big heaping fun, if you haven't read them. A grandmother goes to the CIA and asks for a job, and they give her one. Wacky hijinks commence.)
- Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books, until she went off the deep end. I read through Blow Fly, which was one too many.
- Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books, ditto. I've gotten through Narcissus in Chains, and I hear they improve after that, but I haven't been ready to devote my time to the next 800 page tome yet.
- Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's Cecelia and Kate books.
- Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow books
- Stephen King's Dark Tower books.

Wow. That list was fun to make, which is why it ended up going on and on and on... :)

So, from this list we can surmise that I like:

- real characters with real human reactions and issues, not cardboard cutouts that are there only to drive the plot along.
- mysteries, and especially mysteries that read like novels.
- strong female narrators and protagonists. (Not that I don't care for male voices, but it is a trend; out of these, 12 are told from female points of view, some first person, some not)
- some sci-fi, but again, it's got to read like fiction, and not just "hey look at this bright shiny neat plot device here"
- police procedurals
- magic, especially when it's a normal part of the world of the books and not some odd and strange (one of the things I loved about Cecelia and Kate was that the magic was a given part of their universe)
- books that let me see into subcultures or parts of the world I don't know a lot about (the Judge Knott books are nifty because you get a glimpse into the court system)

I don't like:

- books that are just running descriptions of battle scenes. This totally did me in on the one Harry Turtledove I tried.
- present tense. I don't know why, but use of present tense for more than a page or so in a novel will make me bounce off it, hard. It's like nails on a chalkboard.

So... does anyone have a recommendations?

love,

joyce
Comments 
27th-Oct-2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
The Traveler, John Twelve Hawk. It's the first of the trilogy, the second has just been released, Dark River. I'm now dying for the third to come out.
27th-Oct-2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
Looks interesting, and our library has it. I'll check it out. :)
27th-Oct-2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Hm. I'm in fantasies right now, so ... but the Sharan Newman series with Catherine LeVendeur is fantastic; mysteries with a female protagonist and wonderful descriptions of 12th century France.
28th-Oct-2007 01:59 am (UTC)
They look totally interesting. :) I'll grab the first one the next time we're at the library. :)
27th-Oct-2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
Kim Harrison. Start with Dead Witch Walking, I think?
28th-Oct-2007 02:00 am (UTC)
She looks fun. :) Library doesn't have it, but I've put it on my wishlist on Bookmooch and I'll troll the local used bookstore.
27th-Oct-2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed the Monica Ferris needlework mysteries, and, oh, who's the other one? Maggie Sefton! There's quite a lot of yarn-and-crafting porn amidst the mysteries, which makes me giggle.
28th-Oct-2007 02:00 am (UTC)
I'll have to check them out. Thank you!
27th-Oct-2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
I really like Laurell K.'s Merideth Gentry series. Fairy politics and sex. What more can a girl ask for?

There's also Tamora Pierce's "Tricker" series. The books are "Tricker's Choice" and "Trickster's Queen". YA fantasy I think and part of a larger world, I also think.

You might like C.J. Cherryh "Foreigner" Trilogy (I'm on the 3rd one right now). It's sci-fi, but solf sci fi. While it's from the male perspective, she has a built a very nice alien world that is truly alien. There are just certain things they feel that we don't and vice versa.

Also "The Shadow of Albion" and it's sequel "Leopard in Exile" by Andrea Norton and Rosemary Edgehill was quite fun. I'm praying for more, even though Andrea has passed on *crosses fingers*

There, done babbling now. Nothing I listed meets all of your listed items, but they might be fun for you.
28th-Oct-2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
I've heard that the Medideth Gentry books are better than the Anita books because they start out with the sex. :) Most of what I mind about the Anita books is that she's gone from this kick-ass stompy vampire stopper to... something else. I'll have to try them out.

I love good YA fic, and the library has both of the Pierce books. Woot.

I don't mind male perspectives, I just seem to end up reading more female POV books, ya know? I don't actively seek them out, that's just what I seem to end up reading. :)

And please, babble away. It's good for me to try things that I don't normally read; otherwise, I get in ruts. Reading is a good place to be adventuresome. :)
28th-Oct-2007 12:09 am (UTC)
For a light read, I love the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency by Alexander Mcall Smith. http://www.amazon.com/No-1-Ladies-Detective-Agency-No/dp/0375423877/ref=pd_bbs_1/105-5125134-5283630?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193529894&sr=1-1

It's set in Botswana, is witty and also has strong female characters that grow and develop with the series.
28th-Oct-2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
I'll add it to the list. Thank you. :)
28th-Oct-2007 12:26 am (UTC)
Steven White - Alan Gregory series
Michael Connelly - Heronomous Bosch series
Bill Fitzhugh - no series but each is a treat on their own
Thomas Perry - Jane Whitfield series
P J Tracy - Monkeewrench series
28th-Oct-2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
Holy recommendations, Batman. :) I'll take a look. Are these all in your books DB on your website? :)
28th-Oct-2007 12:41 am (UTC)
Bujold's Vorkosigan series!! (scifi) Start with Shards of Honor. Twisty plot *and* character development *and* world-building!

*Maybe* Robin Hobb. I liked her (fantasy) series some, but it drove me nuts in other ways. I'll post about it soon.

Brust's Vlad series (start with Jhereg). These remind me in tone a lot of the Kage Baker books, though the plot premise is worlds apart (fantasy). Vlad is a snarky assassin who goes through a fairly pronounced character arc over the course of the ten or so books, and actually reminds me a fair bit of Mendoza in some ways.

I think you've read the Dorothy Sayers Harriet Vane/Lord Peter (mystery) series, right? If not, I think you would absolutely love these (Gaudy Night is a really great book, plus which it's a mystery without a murder in it :) ). Start with Strong Poison. The Lord Peter books without Harriet aren't nearly as interesting, I think.
28th-Oct-2007 02:37 am (UTC)
You know, I bookmooched a volume with Shards and the next book the last time you told me to read Bujold, and then I got distracted. Into the queue it goes! :)

Vlad sounds fabulous. I'm being thwarted at the library; I'll have to check ye old local used bookstore. :)

And I haven't read Sayers. :) I'll have to check her out. The ones without Harriet are skippable, then?
28th-Oct-2007 01:28 am (UTC)
If you like the Anita Blake series, you might want to give The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher a go. It has a similar flavor, but without the sex. Also, it is from a male perspective, but there are several strong female protagonists and antagonists throughout the whole series.

Here is the website. It has a couple of short stories down the page a bit to give you a bit of a taste.
28th-Oct-2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
I've had the first Dresden files book sitting on the bookshelf-that-functions-as-a-nightstand for awhile now; I'll bump it up in the queue. Thanks!
28th-Oct-2007 02:35 am (UTC)
I think you tried Terry Pratchett before? Certainly the Discworld books are quite the series.

Have you tried the Ender series by Orson Scott Card? I wouldn't recommend going into the Shadow series (which is an extension of the Ender books), but the original four books are good.

I loved the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. That's a four-book series.

The only mysteries that I've ever read were the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. I think that the earlier ones were significantly stronger than the later ones, but it's another good long series. I'll probably re-acquire the earlier ones sometime.
28th-Oct-2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
I've read (and loved) Going Postal, and read (and much liked) Mort and the second death book, and then my competeist streak said "You should start at the beginning and read through" and got through The Colour of Magic, even though it wasn't as good, and got mired in The Light Fantastic. I need to either muscle my way through it or just skip it and work on another sequence, but you're right, getting back to Discworld would be good.

I got through the first four Ender books, and by the end, I was wishing I'd just stuck to Ender's Game. =/

Dan Simmons looks great, I'll take a look. :) And I'll check out the cat books, too.

28th-Oct-2007 04:14 am (UTC)
I'll second the vote for the Ender Series - really amazing stuff.

I really enjoyed Emma Bull's Territory - it's not a series YET, but she's writing a sequel for certain, so...who knows? Mildred is really cool, though. Honestly, anything Emma Bull has done - including her work with Steven Brust, whose Vlad Taltos series is also fun - is fabulous.

I'm currently reading Gormenghast by Mervyn Peak - it's one of the oddest things I've ever read. I like it, but it's not like anything else. Still, it's definitely got real people, even if they're in a highly stylized world.

I've bee avoiding series a bit, because, well, busy, but I want to try Tanya Huff's Blood Ties books. Mock me if you will, but the Lifetime TV series is actually pretty good!
28th-Oct-2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Well, that's two votes for Taltos. I'll start keeping an eye out for a copy. I'm starting to buy more books new, even on a grad school salary, but I'm not paying new prices until I know I like the series, ya know? :)

I had out Territory and didn't get to it. =/ I'll have to try again. :)

28th-Oct-2007 06:44 am (UTC)
I'll second the Vorkosigan series and Kim Harrison definitely.

I'd recommend Jennifer Crusie (thank you plantgirl), starting with Welcome to Temptation or Anyone But You perhaps.

Also C.E. Murphy's Walker Papers series and Patricia Briggs' Blood series. Tanya Huff did an excellent trilogy called the Keeper Chronicles which also has a spinoff trilogy about one of the smaller characters. I like her Valor books as well, but they may be too battle-heavy for your taste. Charlaine Harris' Shakespeare series is also excellent, mystery + strong female protagonist.

Let's see, so far, all female authors somehow. Last but not least then, I'd recommend the whole lot of books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, also Child's solo works, as they're all extremely good, particularly the Pendergast-centric ones.
28th-Oct-2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
I'll do some looking and see what looks like it'll appeal. Thank you! :) You guys are fabulous.
29th-Oct-2007 03:35 am (UTC)
I know I'm coming into this a bit late, but have you tried the "Ender" series written by Orson Scott Card? They are fantastic. :)

PS- I admit that I haven't read the responses, so I hope this isn't the 50th time you've heard about this series!

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