Book Recommendations Thread

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Postby Riona » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:31 am

My favorite dark fantasy without vampires:

Glen Cook's Black Company series...though the first four books are better than the later ones. We're talking about A+ books as opposed to B+ books.

I also really like the Abhorsen books. Also try Tanith Lee's Unicorn books. Both of these are YA, and therefore suitable for everyone, though still pretty dark. Some of Tanith Lee's other books are very disturbing and very adult in all senses of the word, though some of them I also think are very good.

I know everyone is just sick of vampires now (me too!) but there are actually some terrific vampire books that were written before the current craze. For non-romancey vampires with a kind of SF feel, try Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night (1988) and Travelling With the Dead (1995). I just finished the new one, Blood Maidens, and wow, these are great books. Robin McKinley's Sunshine is also terrific.
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Postby A_Yellow_Dress » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:53 pm

Riona (post: 1503125) wrote:My favorite dark fantasy without vampires:

Glen Cook's Black Company series...though the first four books are better than the later ones. We're talking about A+ books as opposed to B+ books.

I also really like the Abhorsen books. Also try Tanith Lee's Unicorn books. Both of these are YA, and therefore suitable for everyone, though still pretty dark. Some of Tanith Lee's other books are very disturbing and very adult in all senses of the word, though some of them I also think are very good.

I know everyone is just sick of vampires now (me too!) but there are actually some terrific vampire books that were written before the current craze. For non-romancey vampires with a kind of SF feel, try Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night (1988) and Travelling With the Dead (1995). I just finished the new one, Blood Maidens, and wow, these are great books. Robin McKinley's Sunshine is also terrific.


Unicorn Books!!!!!?????!!!!!???? THAT. SOUNDS. EPIC. I'm guessing, that they're a "high fantasy" series? Maybe I'll have to look for them.... :)
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Postby Riona » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:43 pm

No, Tanith Lee's Unicorn books are not what you think of as high fantasy at all...I guarantee that they are unlike any other unicorn books you ever thought of, and at least the first two definitely qualify as dark. The third one, well the third one is so odd that I don't know what to say about it. Let's just say that Lee's books are as unlike My Little Pony as you can get. Except that the protagonist is a girl...

They go in the order Black Unicorn, Gold Unicorn and Red Unicorn, and it would be a crying shame to read them out of order. Each of the three Unicorns is quite different and all of them are kind of creepy.
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Postby Atria35 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:49 pm

^ That series just went on my to-read shelf, and on my group's eventual book-of-the-month shelf.

I know I've seen them, but I was afraid to pick them up because a lot of unicorn books are just... meh. Now I have to read them.
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Postby A_Yellow_Dress » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:38 pm

I'll look into the series for sure. :)

I don't think I've ever read a Unicorn book, of any variety. Yay for new experiences! Thank you. I enjoy dark novels, so this should be good.
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Postby mysngoeshere56 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:43 pm

First off, thank you for starting one of these! :D I started thinking of asking for book recommendations awhile back, but wasn't sure if this site had a thread for it. Now, it does! ^_^

Anyway, has anybody else read the TrueBlood/Southern Vampire Mystery/Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris? I read "Dead Until Dark" because I heard good things about it, and heard that the sexual aspect of the books wasn't as bad as the TV show... But honestly, "Dead Until Dark" had a lot of content in it that was really heavy as far as sexuality goes. The plot was very solid and I really liked the mystery, though. Does the sexual aspect get any lighter in the later books? If not, I think I might as well stop now...
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Postby Atria35 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:54 pm

mysngoeshere56 (post: 1503689) wrote:Anyway, has anybody else read the TrueBlood/Southern Vampire Mystery/Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris? I read "Dead Until Dark" because I heard good things about it, and heard that the sexual aspect of the books wasn't as bad as the TV show... But honestly, "Dead Until Dark" had a lot of content in it that was really heavy as far as sexuality goes. The plot was very solid and I really liked the mystery, though. Does the sexual aspect get any lighter in the later books? If not, I think I might as well stop now...


I don't like chick lit, but I adore this series. But... the sexual content stays pretty high. It happens at least once a book. Sorry. You could try the live-action tv show, but I don't know what the content is like in it.
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Postby mysngoeshere56 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:10 pm

Atria35 (post: 1503692) wrote:I don't like chick lit, but I adore this series. But... the sexual content stays pretty high. It happens at least once a book. Sorry. You could try the live-action tv show, but I don't know what the content is like in it.


I don't like chick lit either, but some of it ends up being a good read. XD

Hmmm well, I can handle it every now and then (once a book isn't great, but it's not so bad). It happened quite a bit in "Dead Until Dark", though... I guess I'll read one or two more and then make my decision from there. Thanks for your feedback!
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Postby Riona » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:14 pm

I read the first Sookie book because I heard such good things about it, and I kind of enjoyed it, but not really enough to look for the other books, since there are so many good books out there. I actually found the mystery rather annoying (and I read a lot of mysteries too). I mean, from the romance point of view it's cool to have a psychic who likes the vampire guy because she can't read his mind, but from the mystery point of view I could see that you'd have a psychic and always some reason why she can't read the minds that would solve the mystery on page 2. I thought I'd get tired of that pretty quick.
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Postby Atria35 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:43 pm

^ They change it up because she's not really solving mysteries in the later books- it's just her being around people (usually vampires! Which... well, makes it less boring) and dealing with the politics of humans vs. vampires.

So the 'mystery' part of the title is only really applicable to the first novel.
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Postby Neane » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:23 pm

I have a couple of questions:

Are Terry Goodkind's books good?
And are there any of his books that you recommend?
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Postby Atria35 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:57 am

Neane (post: 1515096) wrote:Are Terry Goodkind's books good?
And are there any of his books that you recommend?

Depends. He tends towards epic fantasy, so if you like DragonLance, LoTR, or various other longer series, then you should enjoy him.

I've only read the first Sword of Truth book, and I did enjoy it, though I've heard the series goes off a cliff after the 4th in that series.
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Postby Adorima » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:20 pm

I recently discovered Francine Rivers and her "Mark of the Lion" trilogy.

I read the third installment and I have to say, I doubt the first two will be the same...well yeah.
Let me explain. First of all, this trilogy followed the lives of characters who have somehow met at the crossroads of their journey to Christ, and it doesn't happen in the same way.
The novel I read was called "As sure as the dawn" and it followed the later half a German gladiator names Atretes' life, who you will see hulking it up in the front of the novel like some dime-novel hero. He's a free man as of the beginning of the novel, having won his freedom after defeating so many opponents in the arena. The story begins as he's speaking to the soon-to-be-executed Christian Jew Hadassah, about how his ex-lover Julia, supposedly killed their infant son, but Hadassah tells him that the son is alive and living with a woman called Rizpah living in the where abouts of St. John the Apostle. Finding his son in the crowded town of Ephesus, where he is well known from his gladiator days, was hilarious. Especially the part where he interrupted St. John's batisms and the crowd all thought he was coming to be baptized. Lol, to say the least.

As you read the story, I think that you will appreciate more and more, the illustration/painting of Atretes. It seems cheesy with his huge muscles and anger and well-chiseled features, but it symbolizes who he is and I love that about characters. Their outter reveals something integral about their inner.

Anyway, I love this book because while you accompany Atretes and the Christian Jewish wet nurse for his infant son - Rizpah, you accompany not only their brokeness as human beings and as sinners. On their way back to the Germanic regions of the Roman empire, where Atretes was captured and indentured into a ludus, their relationship gets closer and closer, and while theres only a few small and two significant miracles that happen during the latter half of the book, through the interaction of their stubborn banter with one another, you encounter minute and gradual transformations within their characters. The tone turns darker and darker as they travel onward, Atretes clever jabs are less light-hearted, his resolve is tested and both are more tempted to despair.
I won't give more away, but the last third of the book displays the darkness unflinchingly in Atretes past and pagan heritage, and how the two unlikely partners brave the evil brooding in his tribe.

Bonus points for including Theophilus - "friend of God" who is a major secondary character and just as burley and larger than life than Atretes. A true foil.

There however, was a little problem I had with Rivers making most of the Apostle John's dialogue with others verses from his book. It would have been clever, but it doesn't seem to reveal anything revolutionary or applied in a different context than what we all are familiar with. I don't think Rivers was too much concerned with being an apologist or theologian in that sense. It's a minor issue though, and doesn't conflict with the believablity of the story, the plot or character development, but it doesn't do anything to help it either.

In any case, I'm glad she's being faithful to the bible. That's always an excellent thing.
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Postby Esoteric » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:04 am

Hey all, I'm looking to do some reading. Specifically, I'm looking for urban/contemporary fantasy in which the existence of supernatural creatures is known to the general public. Like in Robin McKinley's Sunshine, for example. I suppose even something like X-Men with super-powered mutants being known about would be okay. Basically, I'm trying to get ideas and insight on how this knowledge/reality would effect modern society--culturally, politically and otherwise. So I'd like to see what other authors have done with the theme. Thanks for anything you can recommend!
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Postby Atria35 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:41 pm

Esoteric (post: 1524586) wrote:Hey all, I'm looking to do some reading. Specifically, I'm looking for urban/contemporary fantasy in which the existence of supernatural creatures is known to the general public. Like in Robin McKinley's Sunshine, for example. I suppose even something like X-Men with super-powered mutants being known about would be okay. Basically, I'm trying to get ideas and insight on how this knowledge/reality would effect modern society--culturally, politically and otherwise. So I'd like to see what other authors have done with the theme. Thanks for anything you can recommend!


Anything? ... the Trueblood series, but I will warn about the sex content, and it doesn't delve too deeply into the social/political consequences.
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Postby Adorima » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:56 pm

Esoteric: There's the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, it's about these genetically mutated teenagers/children/half bird/half human (but are real cuties and look like angels, meaning they have great, big, pretty wings) who are born to...SAVE THE WORLD! The catch is that there are scientists that made them are also trying to use them. Liken their desire to have a "birdkid" to countries wanting nuclear weapons.

That's for young adults, it's not necessarily very complex, but it's pretty good writing from the 1st person perspective of a young teen girl.
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Postby Esoteric » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:40 am

Atria35 (post: 1524652) wrote:Anything?
Right, I should have clarified. Adult content is fine. I don't mind some sex, language or violence as long as it's not super gratuitous with gore or erotica.

Thank you both for those suggestions! I'll check into them.
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Postby mysngoeshere56 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:30 pm

Atria35 (post: 1524652) wrote:Anything? ... the Trueblood series, but I will warn about the sex content, and it doesn't delve too deeply into the social/political consequences.


This was the very first thing that came to mind. I've read the first four books in the series. The story itself is pretty interesting, and the characters are very memorable. Atria put the disclaimer there for good reason, though. The sexual content is pretty high, especially in the first book. There are also some underlying references to the LGBT community throughout the series, so you will want to be wary of that.

Oh and if you look this series up, you'll probably want to know that it has multiple names. The original name was "The Southern Vampire Mysteries", and then HBO did a live-action adaption of the series called TrueBlood. The series as a whole has been retronymed as "the TrueBlood Series" because of the show now. So, if you see a series of books called "The Southern Vampire Mysteries", those are still the same books. :)
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Postby FllMtl Novelist » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:30 pm

Adorima (post: 1524740) wrote:Esoteric: There's the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, it's about these genetically mutated teenagers/children/half bird/half human (but are real cuties and look like angels, meaning they have great, big, pretty wings) who are born to...SAVE THE WORLD! The catch is that there are scientists that made them are also trying to use them. Liken their desire to have a "birdkid" to countries wanting nuclear weapons.

That's for young adults, it's not necessarily very complex, but it's pretty good writing from the 1st person perspective of a young teen girl.

I... did not like those books. I enjoyed them at first, but around the end of book 3 the series just wanders every which way without any real direction, once-important characters are ignored or forgotten entirely, and the author starts pushing environmental messages. There are other reasons I could elaborate on, but those were my biggest issues.

Unfortunately, I don't have anything to recommend in its stead.
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Postby Neane » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:14 am

While this Thread is open, can someone to recommend to me some Japanese Works of Literature and/or Novels/Light Novels that I can purchase. [Currently I have been reading some Fan-Translated Ones and I wish for something that my hand can hold.]

Pretty much the only ones I have are:

Welcome to the NHK
Battle Royale
All You Need Is Kill

What I am currently planing on getting are the following:

Boogiepop And Others
Train Man

I am quite new and I wish to read more works from Japan.
Thanks for anything you recommend!
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Postby Atria35 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:11 pm

Hrm. Well, I rather like the Kieli light novels, and have read and enjoyed Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse (think Lovely Bones for the latter)
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Postby Neane » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:28 pm

Thanks Atria! I look forward to reading them when they arrive!

As for Terry Goodkind's books, I can't get any enjoyment whatsoever from these books.


Atria35 (post: 1515141) wrote:I've only read the first Sword of Truth book

Quit while the series is still good..
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Postby rocklobster » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:36 am

Agreed. After book 4, Terry decides to get on his soapbox and turns into a male Ayn Rand. Half of book 5 is his dissertation on the evils of communism. I was like, "Terry, get back to the steamy stuff with Richard and Kahlan please! I'm begging you!"
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Postby Neane » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:18 pm

rocklobster (post: 1529631) wrote:Agreed. After book 4, Terry decides to get on his soapbox and turns into a male Ayn Rand. Half of book 5 is his dissertation on the evils of communism. I was like, "Terry, get back to the steamy stuff with Richard and Kahlan please! I'm begging you!"


Yes, you are right about him turning into a male Ayn Rand. :D
One of the big problems I had with the books was that Goodkind spends 90% of the time beating the reader over the head with his philosophy on life and only spends 10% of the time writing fantasy. Anyway, the books started out great and then entertained me less and less as I went on. I kept on reading after book 5 hoping that it would get better but then all my hope was completely destroyed.
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Postby Esoteric » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:50 pm

My dad is looking for a new thriller to read. He likes Lee Child, Vince Flynn and David Baldachi and has exhausted most of their books. He likes his prose tight and trim without much descriptive fluff or literary wordiness. Can anyone recommend some more writers like these he can check out?
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Re: Book Recommendations Thread

Postby SierraLea » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:59 pm

Has anyone read the series Vampire Kisses? I want to try it but also want to ask if it's a semi-safe read.
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Re: Book Recommendations Thread

Postby steenajack » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:17 pm

Soooo....I'm curious about the book "Warm Bodies". I've never really been into zombies per say, but I just like good stories. Is the book any good as a story? It sounds interesting on wiki.
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Re: Book Recommendations Thread

Postby SierraLea » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:17 pm

I may have recommended this already, but there's a series out there that any Narnia lover would go for. It's a bit more serious, has more in-depth Harry Potter style storytelling that focuses a lot on one character, and has some major spiritual themes flowing through, although they aren't blatent or pushy as far as I could see. The Door Within is the first book in the series, and to find out more, go to Teen Lit Review, a site a lot like this one but mainly for the other kind of books.
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Re: Book Recommendations Thread

Postby yukoxholic » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:30 am

I'm looking for books like John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak & Wintergirls, and Ruta Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray. ALL recommendations welcome and greatly appreciated.


steenajack wrote:Soooo....I'm curious about the book "Warm Bodies". I've never really been into zombies per say, but I just like good stories. Is the book any good as a story? It sounds interesting on wiki.


I LOVE Warm Bodies. It had such an interesting take on the Zombie subject. One HUGE difference between the movie adaption and book were they cut out vital chunks to character stories. Also, Isaac Marion isn't shy with dropping a few ( alot) of f-bombs, just an fyi. :) If you're looking into reading it you may want to try the library first before purchasing but it is most certainly a book I would recommend!!

sierralee wrote:Has anyone read the series Vampire Kisses? I want to try it but also want to ask if it's a semi-safe read.

I've read the first 3 Vampire Kisses books and as they are very quick reads I wasn't too thrilled with them. They are safe. There wasn't anything explicit AT ALL in them aside from kissing. I guess what got me was that I was expecting more from this series. Granted, they are quite funny! It's just the story falls flat in a few chapters and you basically know "who the bad guy" is the whole time. :) But overall, if you're looking for an easy, quick read for sheer entertainment than Vampire Kisses is definitely worth checking out. ^_^
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Re: Book Recommendations Thread

Postby impact777 » Tue May 14, 2013 11:14 am

Hey! :)
Could you please recommed me some books? It would be nice if there isn't "bad religion" stuff in it. I like action, thriller, crime, sci-fi, mystery and drama. Would you recommend Alex Cross for example? Thank you very much!!!
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