Author Topic: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...  (Read 42440 times)

Aamartin

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I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« on: September 12, 2012, 07:38:27 pm »
This is a thread not for what are you reading or what will you read next but for making recommendations of totally awesome, freaking ridiculously great, must read, and read again and again books.

So, what have you got?

I'm going to recommend the five book Gregor The Underlander series by Suzanne Collins (yes, that Suzanne Collins. It's middle grade fantasy.

I've reread the series a bunch of times. I love the protagonist. I love his love interest. I love the puzzles and mysteries in it. And the host of really interesting supporting characters. And the tension between the real world and the fantasy world: Gregor stumbles into a fantastical world under NYC but the books are filled with the problems that he brings from home to the Underland, and the problems of the Underland that follow him back home. Also, Gregor's three-year old sister is an important character and (having a 3 year old myself) I find her very funny and very well done. And I think that Collins' treatment of destiny vs. free will is (if you read through to the final book) very interesting and insightful.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 09:03:53 pm by Aamartin »
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sweartoad

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 07:55:20 pm »
Ok I have:

Garth Nix's "Abhorsen" trilogy - I effing love this series and regularly reread it.

Juliet Marillier's "Wildwood Dancing" and "Cybele's Secret" - ok I actually reread 'CS' way more that 'WD' but both are really good.

JK Rowling - I recently rediscovered my love for the fifth book, which had for the longest time been the one I hated most.

Terry Pratchett - I mostly reread his later novels but I'm happy to have anything by him when I'm stuck in a reading drought.

Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London" series - I really do love these books. They have just the right amount of humour, a dash of romance, and a supernatural element to make me a very happy reader.

Michael Pryor's "Laws of Magic" series - a turn-of-the-century steampunk/magic YA series. It's a little slow but I have a deep and abiding love for these books. There are six in total - the first four are really good and the last two are probably not so much, but I still loved the series overall.

I'm sure I'll have more as I think of them but I think this is a good representation of books that I continually go back to.

EDIT: Forgot to mention Scott Lynch's "Lies of Locke Lamora" - possibly the best book I have ever read, ever. It's like a fantasy Ocean's 11 type book but with enough twists and turns to knock you on your arse. Unfortunately knowing how it ends does diminish the re-read factor (I find that I've had to leave it for a year or two to sufficiently 'forget' how it goes before reading it again) but if you want something that is genuinely good, read this book. Little to no romance in it though, so if you base your book choices on that you may want to steer clear.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 08:00:11 pm by sweartoad »

kchighley

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 07:55:59 pm »
This is a thread not for what are you reading or what will you read next but for making recommendations of totally awesome, freaking ridiculously great, must read, and read again and again books.

So, what have you got?

I'm going to recommend the seven book Gregor The Underlander series by Suzanne Collins (yes, that Suzanne Collins. It's middle grade fantasy.

I've reread the series a bunch of times. I love the protagonist. I love his love interest. I love the puzzles and mysteries in it. And the host of really interesting supporting characters. And the tension between the real world and the fantasy world: Gregor stumbles into a fantastical world under NYC but the books are filled with the problems that he brings from home to the Underland, and the problems of the Underland that follow him back home. Also, Gregor's three-year old sister is an important character and (having a 3 year old myself) I find her very funny and very well done. And I think that Collins' treatment of destiny vs. free will is (if you read through to the final book) very interesting and insightful.

Seven?! Wait--my set only had 5. *scurries to Amazon* I LOVE those books. My son does too. I love how she pulls no punches--the kids suffer and are changed, as they would be in real life.
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kchighley

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 08:01:06 pm »
Related (and cliche) The Hunger Games trilogy changed the way I read YA. Amazing, gritty, harsh--it was great story-telling.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (and it's soon to be released sequel Days of Blood and Starlight) by Laini Taylor...I have no words to describe this book other than Evocative. Haunting. Lovely. Amazing. I see something new every time I read it.

I'm currently retreading A Ressurection of Magic and Sacred Scars (book 3 pending) -- thinking Harry Potter meets Lord of the Flies. Fantastic and dangerous. It has two storylines, 600 years apart. 
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Sara M.

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 08:17:34 pm »
From the earlier thread: Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier -- somewhat dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but not depressing. I love the slow, realistic buildup to a romance between two realistically hesitant characters.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley -- okay, it's a vampire urban fantasy, but it came out way before Twilight and it's really good. Actually, most of Robin McKinley's early work I thought was very good -- Beauty, The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, etc. Deerskin is a powerful book, and I've read it several times, but it's not an easy book.

The Kate Daniels series by Ilana Andrews and, to a lesser extent, the Edge series. The Daniels books are urban fantasy with a pretty kick-ass heroine. The Edge books are hard to categorize, and the sequels are less awesome than the first but still pretty good.

For super light-hearted YA fun, Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith is good.

The Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne is very well-written and funny.

I'm sure I'll think of more later.

maggiej117

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 08:31:48 pm »
Okay, I know that this may have been an experience thing, but Safe by Aviva B. Is a beautiful book. I'm going completely against my personality by saying this, but I was incredibly inspired by it and it gave me so much hope. I think that will always be the number one book in my mind.

rklonewolf

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 08:36:30 pm »
making recommendations of totally awesome, freaking ridiculously great, must read, and read again and again books.

This is my mindset whenever i try to recommend the Emperor's Edge to someone. They NEVER want to pick up a book and read it. :( It's so sad.

Anyway, I recommend The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. I have read it about seven or more times and I never get tired of it. Love it!

Also, thanks all for your recommendations. After reading Blood and Betrayal, I'm at a loss of what to read. :D
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Aamartin

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 09:03:17 pm »


Seven?! Wait--my set only had 5. *scurries to Amazon* I LOVE those books. My son does too. I love how she pulls no punches--the kids suffer and are changed, as they would be in real life.

Sorry! Meant 5, wrote 7. Don't know why.
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kchighley

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2012, 09:25:04 pm »


Seven?! Wait--my set only had 5. *scurries to Amazon* I LOVE those books. My son does too. I love how she pulls no punches--the kids suffer and are changed, as they would be in real life.

Sorry! Meant 5, wrote 7. Don't know why.

 :(  I wish there were seven and that I missed some....
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riamachia

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2012, 09:26:44 pm »
Okay, so this is crazy long and I will probably eventually make an addendum post to add to it, but these are the special books, off the top of my head.

I will have to include a few slightly younger classics first -
A Little Princess & Anne of Green Gables - these two got me through a LOT of the awkwardness and bully-induced pain of middle school and will always hold a special place in my heart.  If I pick them up, I read the entire book. 

The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy - I'm not actually a Hardy fan, but this book is magic to me.  There's something amazingly special and yet so familiar about Eustacia Vye. 

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett - A stand alone in the Discworld, and kryptonite to a turtle lover like me.
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Lady of the Forest, by Jennifer Roberson - Robin Hood, from the POV of Marian.  I've always been a "bit" obsessed with Robin Hood, and this is... I don't even have the right words for it. 

Beauty, by Robin McKinley - My personal favorite rendition of Beauty & the Beast, bar none.  I have read it countless times and it never disappoints. 

Remembrance, by Jude Deveraux - So, newer JD is pretty hit or miss for me, but this was the very first book I read by her and I kind of went and ordered every single thing she'd written (16yrs ago).  It's a story of love that literally transcends lifetimes, as you start in the present, then regress and follow the same couple through three lives.  Her books can be smutty, but they usually aren't so graphic that I'd be embarrassed to recommend them to a friend and worry that they'll look at me differently.  btw, if you enjoy funnier romance, may I heartily suggest The Heiress and a lot of her other books.

Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones - which I did not discover until AFTER the movie, and I don't know why that is because I should have been magnetically drawn to it.  It's so completely different from what Miyazaki did with it, and honestly the parts that I liked LEAST about the movie (the war and the monstrous bird thing) were not even in it. 
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riamachia

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2012, 09:29:16 pm »
:(  I wish there were seven and that I missed some....

I had to go check, too.  *sigh*
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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 09:43:08 pm »
Sunshine by Robin McKinley -- okay, it's a vampire urban fantasy, but it came out way before Twilight and it's really good. Actually, most of Robin McKinley's early work I thought was very good -- Beauty, The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, etc. Deerskin is a powerful book, and I've read it several times, but it's not an easy book.

I reread The Blue Sword so many times throughout middle and high school, my English teacher joked it'd grow attached to my hand. I loved that book. I didn't discover any of McKinley's other books until I graduated

Night Watch
and Thud! are two Pratchett books that have permanent spots on my headboard.

Night Watch, Day Watch and Twilight Watch are fascinating books with great re-readability, and originally Russian, so you can tell your friends you're branching out culturally ;)

The Elfstones of Shannara - how has no one mentioned Terry Brooks yet? :o I picked up this book in sixth grade to be precocious and never looked back!!

I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb changed my entire high school life I've had a copy of each book on my bookshelf for the last 10 years. If you haven't read any of his books... do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. She's Come Undone was especially life-changing and I still feel that way when I reread it at least once every 6 months.
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Sara M.

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 09:57:52 pm »
Sunshine by Robin McKinley -- okay, it's a vampire urban fantasy, but it came out way before Twilight and it's really good. Actually, most of Robin McKinley's early work I thought was very good -- Beauty, The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, etc. Deerskin is a powerful book, and I've read it several times, but it's not an easy book.

I reread The Blue Sword so many times throughout middle and high school, my English teacher joked it'd grow attached to my hand. I loved that book. I didn't discover any of McKinley's other books until I graduated.

I was so disappointed when I read on Robin McKinley's website that she knew more of the Damar story but had no immediate plans to write it.

http://www.robinmckinley.com/faq/faq.php?q_id=19

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 10:29:12 pm »
--All of the Discworld Pratchetts, with the exception of the first few.  The ones that I've read most often are Monstruous Regiment, Night Watch, The Last Continent, Going Postal, and Lords & Ladies.  I also love Good Omens, by Pratchet & Gaiman.

--The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters.  Lady Egyptologist, solving mysteries and having adventures, set around the turn of the last century.  Lots of books and lots of characters (including the best bad guy ever); so far about 40 years of her and her family's lives have been chronicled.  The author, also an Egyptologist, is in her 80s, and had better live a whole lot longer. 

--Hero and the Crown, the Blue Sword, and Sunshine, all by Robin McKinley. 

--Almost everything by PG Wodehouse, except for the stuff about golf or cricket.  Wait, let me rephrase: except for the stuff that is primarily about golf or cricket.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to read any Wodehouse at all.

--If you can hold your nose on the racism in Wodehouse, you might also be able to hold your nose against the occasional appearance of it in the Tish stories by Mary Roberts Rinehart, who was a famous-but-not-my-taste early 20th century mystery writer (best known for starting the whole "the butler did it" thing), but also a great early 20th century comedic novelist.  Tish is... hilarious, and impossible to describe, but not at all what you expect of a female character from the 1910s & 20s.  She's a lot more likely to shoot you, for starters. The Adventures of Letitia Carberry (don't bother with this one unless you're a huge fan), Tish, More Tish, Tish Plays the Game, and Tish Marches On are the names of the books; there were also Tish stories published in magazines. The Best of Tish is probably the best shortcut. 

--The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour, which is not a western but rather a 12thC warrior/merchant/pirate/alchemist/con-man/etcetcetc type adventure.  I read my first Louis L'Amour novel at age 6, which explains a lot about me, and have read and re-read the rest of them many many times since then, but the Walking Drum is so much of a favorite that I only allow myself to read it occasionally: the highest mark of honor I can give a book.  Other LL'A novels worth mentioning are Ride the River, Jubal Sackett, and Fair Blows the Wind.

--The Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout.  It's hard to write a mystery book that's re-readable, but these are.

--Anne Perry's WW1 series

--And of course, currently tied with Pratchett for #1, the EE series by LB!  :)


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kchighley

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Re: I totally and wholeheartedly recommend...
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2012, 10:38:20 pm »
Ooh, Nero Wolfe--love that! I'm percolating my next YA to be something along those lines : )

And how could I forget to mention Ender's Game? That was a tough, but brilliant, read.
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