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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Novel suggestions (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Novel suggestions
happymann
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So, my wife likes to devour books (especially when I'm deployed) and she has basically gone through the entire library (or so it seems to hear her talk) since I've been gone (three months).
I am looking for another series for her to try out and I was wondering what this community thought.

She really enjoys OSC (Bean is one of her all-time favorite characters).
She finds herself re-reading the Hunger Games series every few months.
She hated GRRM's ASOIAF (as did I) after reading the first four books.
She likes almost all of Robin McKinley's books.
She likes Brandon Sanderson.
She thought Twilight, the Matched series, the Mortal Instruments and the Divergent series were okay.
She liked Rick Riordan's Percy series and really liked the more mature (relative term) Heroes of Olympus series.
The Odd Thomas series is good.
She makes the occasional circuit through Michael Chrichton's most popular works.
She really likes Dresden, but was only okay with the Codex Alera.

So, that's just a little bit of a sample of the books she likes. Anyone have suggestions? I was thinking maybe the Iron Druid series next, maybe?

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Jake
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I generally recommend Octavia Butler to people who love Card. I'd probably start with either the Xenogenesis trilogy (they're short, so the books are widely available in an omnibus edition called Lilith's Brood), Wild Seed, or her last book, Fledgling.

I would also recommend:

Peter V Brett's Demon Cycle, the first book of which is The Painted Man.
Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon (she can read the first chapter here to see if she likes it)
Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death
Jim C. Hines' Libriomancer.
Robin Hobb's various interconnected series (she should probably start with Assassin's Apprentice)

I'll probably suggest more as they occur to me.

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Shanna
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Based on Robin McKinley and her willingness to read teen, I'd suggest Maggie Steifvater. I'm not impressed with her older "Shiver" series but so far her new series "Raven Boys" and its sequel "The Dream Thieves" were my most enjoyable reads this year. Interesting, multi-faceted characters. Wonderful mythology. Gorgeous prose.

I'd also suggest Libba Bray's series which starts with "A Great and Terrible Beauty." The creative use of magic and the complex character relationships won me over.

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TomDavidson
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Have her try Corey's Expanse novels, starting with Leviathan Wakes.
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happymann
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. Shanna, when you mentioned "Shiver" I remembered that I actually read that. It was one of those stories that I only kind of liked, but I could see my wife possibly loving it.
Jake, I keep seeing Assassin's Apprentice and I've been reluctant to pick it up. Is it like Brent Weeks' Lightbringer series (which I thought was pretty good), do you know?

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Lyrhawn
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A friend of mine is Saladin Ahmed's sister-in-law.

How many degrees of separation is that from knowing someone moderately famous? Two?

I keep meaning to read his book.

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tertiaryadjunct
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Stephen King? The Talisman would be a good start.

The Death Gate Cycle books by Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman.

The Wheel of Time series? But I assume she'd have already tried it through if she's a Sanderson fan.

I'm more of a scifi reader so that's about the limit of my ideas. She might like Commitment (and its sequel, Commencement) by Roby James though.

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happymann
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She will occasionally read Carrie. She has read most of The Wheel of Time but since her first read-through was when she was pregnant, reading it again makes her nauseated.

There are a lot of books out there, apparently. Most of these I don't recognize. How many of these series would be iffy for someone who despises GRRM?

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Shanna
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I couldn't get through "Shiver." The writing style is so significantly improved in "Raven Boys" its hard to believe its the same person. Though, as a study its cool to see a writer grow into their craft. I do intend to return to the series eventually just to see how it grows in later books.

She also has a stand-alone novel called "Scorpio Races" that won a bunch of awards and is currently sitting on my ereader waiting for a day when I'm off work and free to read it, in what I'm sure will be a single sitting.

Also, has she read "Maze Runner" yet? Its my immediate you-must-read recommendation after someone finishes "The Hunger Games." And she should definitely give it a go before the movie comes out this fall.

*I work at a bookstore and read alot of teen to keep up with my customers

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happymann
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I'm gonna have to look into all of those suggestions. Thanks!
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CT
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Try Lois McMaster Bujold:

Start the Vorkosigan Saga with The Warrior's Apprentice and then hop back to Shards of Honor and Barrayar at some point.

But best would be to start with a separate series, reading The Curse of Chalion and then Paladin of Souls. Chalion is good, good stuff.

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AchillesHeel
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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is a great book, the sequel A Wise Man's Fear is even better. The third feels like it will never publish soon enough, but his books and the kind of people his work attracts are good company while we wait.

I'm a huge endorser of Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar line of books and the stray accompanying series. Telepathic horses, thieves that are chosen to be heroes and some of the most inclusive fantasy societies that I've ever read. I suggest starting with The Last Herald-Mage as it is my favorite trilogy from her, and my favorite love story ever. From there you will find a treasure trove of books that while they may not always involve other stories, do follow a chronology over thousands of years that makes her world feel a bit more interesting.

The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy inspired some obsession on my part, Tad Williams wrote such a great story, that he hasn't played in that world since on purpose.

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dem
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The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King...Has a YA fill to it, but I loved it the first time I read it at 25.
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Wingracer
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Rothfuss. Rothfuss. Rothfuss.

Not at all like GRRM so no problem there.

Also, Sanderson's Book of Endless Pages comes out soon.

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happymann
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I have both Rothfuss books but she won't touch them until the third one is out. She's smarter than me.
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AchillesHeel
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Smarter than most of us apparently.

If she has any friends as smart as her in Arizona, I would appreciate an introduction!

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy inspired some obsession on my part, Tad Williams wrote such a great story, that he hasn't played in that world since on purpose.

His novella The Burning Man is set in that world. You can find it in Robert Silverberg's first Legends anthology. In googling, I see that it's going to be reprinted in an anthology called Epic: Legends of Fantasy (edited by John Joseph Adams)
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AchillesHeel
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Thank you!
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Jake
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[Smile] No problem!
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CT
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Daniel Abraham.
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Jake
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Oooh, yeah.
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happymann
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Slow down! I can't keep up!
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SteveRogers
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Maybe the Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch? Starts with The Lies of Locke Lamora. It's an ongoing series; the third book was released late last year.

Edit:

Also the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi is a pretty good "military sci-fi" series.

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Belle
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Your wife and I have very, very similar tastes in books.

So, I will echo the suggestion for Raven Boys and Dream Thieves. It is AMAZING.

It's my first Steifvater book, I missed out on Shiver, so I have no basis of comparison but I was blown away by the characterization, loved the mythology, loved the strong female characters, and the prose is gorgeous.

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by happymann:
She will occasionally read Carrie. She has read most of The Wheel of Time but since her first read-through was when she was pregnant, reading it again makes her nauseated.

There are a lot of books out there, apparently. Most of these I don't recognize. How many of these series would be iffy for someone who despises GRRM?

What I listed, at least, was specifically tailored to your description of her tastes. Some, like Saladin Ahmed, aren't all that sell suited to my taste, but probably would be to hers.
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tern
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If you are going to try Lackey, I strongly recommend her Heirs of Alexandria series.
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happymann
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I think I'm gonna have her try out Raven Boys.

Looking at Lackey's bibliography, I'm not entirely sure which to start with. Heirs of Alexandria and Heralds of Valdemar were suggested. Which should I start with and why?

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AchillesHeel
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Like I mentioned earlier, The Last Herald-Mage is IMHO her most powerful character writing, overall story and introduction to the world. But you could also start chronologically by the worlds timeline with the Mage Wars trilogy and the first book The Black Griffin is definitely a great place to star too. Though you could go with the order they were written in, starting with Arrows of the Queen, but there are some big spoilers in there and the the second trilogy that relate to the rest of the world as she was building it all.

Make sure you don't pass up Exile's Honor and Exile's Valor, these two are my favorite example of warriors and war I have ever read.

So yeah, Magic's Pawn. Her writing style, the history of Valdemar, how the magic works and the talking horses are really funny.

Edit.
But then again, I haven't read any of the Alexandria series.

[ February 15, 2014, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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Darth_Mauve
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I just finished a FANTASTIC book. Its not a novel, but a collection of novelettes.

Its called "Legends" and it has novelettes in it that represent a fun collection of our favorite realities.

Mr. Card has an Alvin Maker story.
There is a Game Of Thrones story from Martin (Hedge Knight)
There is a Pern story from McCaffrey
There is a Majipoor Story from Silverberg
There is a Gunslinger story from King
There is a Discworld story from Pratchett
And there are about half a dozen more.

Its like a stroll through almost all your favorite universes for just one more visit.

Legends edited by Silverberg. I don't know where you can find it. I found it at a library book sale. Just know I highly suggest it.

It is the most fun I've had reading in a long time.

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Jake
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Dan, that book was successful enough that Sliververg edited a second one. I thought that it was every bit as good as the first.
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Rick
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CJ Cherryh's science fiction, beginning with "Downbelow Station"... all the way through the "Cyteen" series and everything in between. It is very good writing and the characters feel real, like OSC's.

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle collaborations are good, too: "Mote in God's Eye," for instance.

There are a few authors whom I like to re-read; those whom I mentioned are among them.

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Vasslia Cora
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Okay, this was hard leaving out Card and all of Sanderson (turns out I own all but 4 of his book, the Alcatraz series) really made me dig into my library.

Magic and thieves:
I highly recommend the Riyria Revelations by Michael Sullivan, the main trilogy is finished but the author is currently working prequal books because the characters where so amazing. Make sure to read the Revelations books first though!

Rachel Aaron/Bach (married in the middle of the series) Eli Monpress series is wonderful. The world and magic system are nicely crafted.

Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, its been said already but it's too good not to mention again, this series is amazing. Now it's not finished but the Author is working hard on the next book (there was a 5 year gap between book 2 and 3 due to a nasty divorce that left Scott a wreck but he's recovered now)

Magic and life:
The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal. Think if magic was commonplace in Pride and prejudice, along those lines. It's an amazing series and MRK is a great author, she also did so well imitating Patrick Rothfuss in a "which is the real Rothfuss" competition that she won.

Post apocalyptic survival:
Silo Saga by Hugh Howey
These were good book, however I will note that book 1 and 2 are written very differently.

Modern Magic/Mature Harry Potter:
The Magician novels by Lev Grossman
I enjoyed this take on magic and the series so far (he is working on book 3) is good. However the main character did get a little whiny at times but he was a teenager...


Amazing start of a series
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
I just finished this book which is the first in the series (it just started unfortunately) and it was amazing. I only recommend it because it matches her tastes so much. I don't want to spoil anything so here is the publisher's summary:
quote:
"Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

Darrow - and Reds like him - are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity' s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society' s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies...even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. "

Young Teen books:
The Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson.
I'll admit I didn't finish this series because it's not the best writing but I enjoyed the idea and learned a lot that is true about the Disney parks.

Magic and steam:
The Edge by Ilona Andrews
Fun, neat magic system fairly restraint steamy bits (I'm not a fan of them but the first book was free and it got me hooked on the series)

Sci-fi/young adult growth:
WWW series by Robert Sawyer.
It's set in "almost present" and some of the tech in the book is actually stuff that we are making headway on in real life.

Young Adult:
All of John Green's Books

Magic/young adult:
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Sci-Fi:
Larry Niven's books, the Ringworld series springs to mind as a good start.

Issac Asimov's books, the classics that helped define science fiction. I really enjoy the Robot series but most of the book in the Foundation universe are good.

Fantasy/young adult:
Beyonders by Brandon Mull
Teens dropped into a magical world ruled by an Evil Overload, I enjoyed it even if the writing wasn't always as strong as I usually prefer.

Tamora Pierce's:
The Legend of Beka Cooper:
Fantasy police in a fantasy world (my favorite of her series)

and

Protector of the Small:
Woman squire in a men's world (it's late so I apologize that my descriptions are becoming weaker)

Stand alone Sci-fi
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:
Anybody that lived in the 80s or just knows of it really will enjoy this book, is a great read.

Detective:
The Issac Bell series by Clive Cussler:
Set at the dawn of the 1900s Private Detective Issac Bell solves crimes and is generally pretty awesome. I really love this series but I also really enjoy history so this tickles that fancy while reading it (without hitting you over the head with historical facts)

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Kwea
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Ilona Andrews - Both The Edge series and her Kate Daniels books (the books with "Magic" in the titles.)


The Magic series is a lot of fun. I liked the Edge series too, but I enjoyed the Magic books (first two are Magic Bites and Magic Burns, I think) more.

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Traceria
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I didn't read through every recommendation, so sorry if this is a repeat. If she likes some YA fantasy, I would suggest anything written by Patricia C. Wrede. Her Enchanted Forest series is a classic, but I also really enjoyed the Frontier Magic series, which is more recent.

I am also an obsessive Diana Wynne Jones fan and will pick up any book of hers that I don't already own should I stumble upon one (they are hard to find). She's probably most known for Howl's Moving Castle due to the fact that Miyazaki loosely based a film on it, but that's not my favorite of her books. I loved all the Chrestomanci books as well as The Dalemark Quartet. The Darklord of Derkholm and its sequel Year of the Griffin are also very good.

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Wingracer
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I've been looking for some good reading so I have been giving some of the ones in this thread a shot. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything great yet. I read Raven Boys and thought it was decent but just wasn't great enough to make me read the next one. Then there are these, my thoughts in bold:

quote:
Originally posted by Vasslia Cora:
Okay, this was hard leaving out Card and all of Sanderson (turns out I own all but 4 of his book, the Alcatraz series) really made me dig into my library.

Magic and thieves:
I highly recommend the Riyria Revelations by Michael Sullivan, the main trilogy is finished but the author is currently working prequal books because the characters where so amazing. Make sure to read the Revelations books first though!

Interesting characters and story but really amateurish writing. I thought I was in my high school creative writing class again. I mean holy wall of exposition batman. I made it up until they meet Myron who has to be the holy monk of free answers through exposition and just couldn't read anymore.

Rachel Aaron/Bach (married in the middle of the series) Eli Monpress series is wonderful. The world and magic system are nicely crafted.

Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, its been said already but it's too good not to mention again, this series is amazing. Now it's not finished but the Author is working hard on the next book (there was a 5 year gap between book 2 and 3 due to a nasty divorce that left Scott a wreck but he's recovered now)

I tried Lynch about a year ago and just couldn't get into it. Well written but a style that wasn't for me.

Magic and life:
The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal. Think if magic was commonplace in Pride and prejudice, along those lines. It's an amazing series and MRK is a great author, she also did so well imitating Patrick Rothfuss in a "which is the real Rothfuss" competition that she won.

Post apocalyptic survival:
Silo Saga by Hugh Howey
These were good book, however I will note that book 1 and 2 are written very differently.

Modern Magic/Mature Harry Potter:
The Magician novels by Lev Grossman
I enjoyed this take on magic and the series so far (he is working on book 3) is good. However the main character did get a little whiny at times but he was a teenager...


Amazing start of a series
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
I just finished this book which is the first in the series (it just started unfortunately) and it was amazing. I only recommend it because it matches her tastes so much. I don't want to spoil anything so here is the publisher's summary:
quote:
"Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

Darrow - and Reds like him - are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity' s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society' s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies...even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. "

Young Teen books:
The Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson.
I'll admit I didn't finish this series because it's not the best writing but I enjoyed the idea and learned a lot that is true about the Disney parks.

Magic and steam:
The Edge by Ilona Andrews
Fun, neat magic system fairly restraint steamy bits (I'm not a fan of them but the first book was free and it got me hooked on the series)

Sci-fi/young adult growth:
WWW series by Robert Sawyer.
It's set in "almost present" and some of the tech in the book is actually stuff that we are making headway on in real life.

Young Adult:
All of John Green's Books

I read Paper Towns and thought it was ok but a little boring. Many of the reviews I have seen say it and Finding Alaska are basically the same book so no reason to read that one. The Fault in our Stars sounds depressing and I'm not in the mood for that.

Magic/young adult:
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Sci-Fi:
Larry Niven's books, the Ringworld series springs to mind as a good start.

Issac Asimov's books, the classics that helped define science fiction. I really enjoy the Robot series but most of the book in the Foundation universe are good.

Already read Niven and Asimov so no help there but good recommendations still.

Fantasy/young adult:
Beyonders by Brandon Mull
Teens dropped into a magical world ruled by an Evil Overload, I enjoyed it even if the writing wasn't always as strong as I usually prefer.

Tamora Pierce's:
The Legend of Beka Cooper:
Fantasy police in a fantasy world (my favorite of her series)

and

Protector of the Small:
Woman squire in a men's world (it's late so I apologize that my descriptions are becoming weaker)

Stand alone Sci-fi
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:
Anybody that lived in the 80s or just knows of it really will enjoy this book, is a great read.

I have this one on my computer but haven't got to reading it yet. Soon.

Detective:
The Issac Bell series by Clive Cussler:
Set at the dawn of the 1900s Private Detective Issac Bell solves crimes and is generally pretty awesome. I really love this series but I also really enjoy history so this tickles that fancy while reading it (without hitting you over the head with historical facts)


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Wingracer
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On another note, Goodreads pointed me to Anthony Ryan's Blood Song. Now that I loved but now I'm stuck waiting for the next book (just have to wait until July). Might be a little too GRRM for her though.
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Vasslia Cora
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Hey Wingracer, your comments aren't showing up in the quote.

As for your comment about John Green's books, Looking for Alaska is better than Paper Towns in my opinion, they are similar but different. Pat Rothfuss just did a brief review of Looking for Alaska


I'll have to admit, I listen to most of my books while I work now, so I don't notice most of the poorer writing mistakes.

I would also recommend The Martian by Andy Weir.
It's about an astronaut, Mark Whitney, who gets stranded on Mars when a mission goes awry.

The writing isn't top notch but I just enjoyed the main character's sense of humor so much.
This book is a little unpolished because it was originally just a story Weir was posting online for fun and free. He put up for sale because people wanted a simple way to download it in one file and Amazon required at least 99 cents. A publisher found it a year later, signed it, helped edit and re-released it.
I recommend the audio version, the reader is wonderful with the main character, a little less so with everybody else but I haven't laughed so much while reading a book in a long time.

[ March 30, 2014, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: Vasslia Cora ]

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happymann
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So, this is what I bought. We'll get to reading them soon.

Mercedes Lackey "The Last Herald-Mage" trilogy
Libra Bray "The Gemma Doyle Trilogy"
Maggie Stiefvater First two books in "The Raven Cycle"

She has a few other books she wants to read before she gets around to this (Brandon Mull's "Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders" being one) and these are all books I could try out too. Hopefully they're good. I'll let you all know what we think.

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Wingracer
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Hm, if Pat likes it I might give it a try.
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Shanna
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Looking forward to hearing her thoughts on the purchases!!

On the subject of John Green, "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" is an interesting read. He and Scott Leviathan basically each wrote a book about a different boy named Will Grayson and the chapters alternate until the boys meet.

I'm halfway through Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor & Park" (and very much enjoying it.) John Green has spoken highly of her but I first heard about her because of her book "Fangirl" which reads like an awkward variation of my teen/college years mushed together. Really fun read especially for anyone familiar with fanfiction and internet fandom culture.

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Belle
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If you are a Sanderson fan, do not pass on Steelheart because it's listed as Young Adult. Easily one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in a while.
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Sala
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I really liked Steelheart as well.
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Wingracer
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I liked Steelheart but wasn't as blown away by it as most of Sanderson's work. Legion though had me gripped from the start. I really love that character.
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FoolishTook
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quote:
She hated GRRM's ASOIAF (as did I) after reading the first four books.
I really liked those books, but they are frustrating. And I'm still a little mad at George right now--but not as much as when I threw the book across the room after reading about the Red Wedding.

May I suggest Hannah Nakova ? A little suspense, fantasy, mystery. Described as tedious by some, fast-paced by others, and there's a chick lit vibe halfway through.

It's also written by a Hatracker (who lurks more than anything) who's currently working on the sequel.

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scifibum
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Go read the first page. I did. I ended up buying it. (I'll read it later.)
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Wingracer
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Well I broke down and read Looking for Alaska. Definitely better than Paper Towns. Still not quite my cup of tea but an enjoyable read.
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happymann
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So far my wife has read Libba Bray's "Gemma Doyle Trilogy". She liked it. She found that there wasn't really any other series to compare it to since it seemed rather different than she's used to.

I read Maggie Stiefvater first two books in "The Raven Cycle". I rather enjoyed them and look forward to other books by her.

At this point we're browsing for audiobooks since we're looking at some road trips in the near future. So, specifically where audiobooks are concerned, are any of these suggestions particularly good (voice performance, etc.) or something not suggested here? Our seven-year-old is also in the car so maybe limited to age appropriate material.

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
I liked Steelheart but wasn't as blown away by it as most of Sanderson's work. Legion though had me gripped from the start. I really love that character.

That was my first Sanderson book. I need more of that character.
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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
I liked Steelheart but wasn't as blown away by it as most of Sanderson's work. Legion though had me gripped from the start. I really love that character.

That was my first Sanderson book. I need more of that character.
I think he plans to write more for him but we have more Steelheart and Stormlight coming first.

Correction: It looks like he has completed the first draft and is looking at a fall release for the next Legion novel. He even has a sample chapter up:

http://brandonsanderson.com/legion-skin-deep/

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Wingracer
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Just finished reading Ancillary Justice and I quite liked it. Fits in pretty well with the others in this thread as well.

Getting back to John Green for a moment, since I liked but didn't love his most loved works, I thought I would try his lowest rated work and guess what? An Abundance of Katherines was my favorite. I still can't quite say I loved it but it came pretty close.

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