Nancy: All I Want For Christmas…Are Books!

Reading List

I love a good list. I get an incredible sense of organization from writing to-do lists and a huge feeling of accomplishment by crossing off each completed task. I adore reading lists like those Michille shared last week, as they give me great ideas for new books to add to my TBR pile.

But one type of list I dread writing every year is my Christmas wish list (yes, I know, most adults don’t do this, but I have a few family members who still request it, even though my childhood years are…ahem…decades behind me). And sorting through reading lists right now (because really, what do any of us want more than books? 😉 doesn’t fit into my current schedule as I fight through multiple to-do lists, none of which have anything to do with the impending holidays.

That’s where my secret weapon comes in, because I have a built-in group of smart, well-read people who, I’m sure, won’t be shy about sharing some ‘best of 2014 books’ of their own with me. (Those of you reading the 8LW blog are the smart people, in case you missed that.) I’ve already started my Christmas wish book list, but there’s a problem. To illustrate, here’s my (annotated) list thus far.

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. This is Book 2 in the Peter Grant series. Book 1 (Rivers of London) is on my Kindle, and while I’ve only read the first few chapters, I’m already excited about the series. I bought RoL because Michaeline so highly recommended it, several of the 8LWs seconded the recommendation, and reviewers have compared Aaronovitch’s books to Mike Carey’s Felix Castor series, which is possibly my all-time favorite Urban Fantasy series. Which brings me to…

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. It turns out M.R. Carey is the aforementioned Mike Carey, and I have been anxiously awaiting a new novel from him since the last Felix Castor book. The Girl…is not a book in that series, and there is no definitive word about whether there will, in fact, ever be another Felix Castor story. But I loved his voice so much in those books, I am excited to follow him in this new venture.

Rise of the Spider Goddess: An Annotated Novel by Jim Hines. This is one of those projects where the author seems to have had so much fun, it must be illegal somewhere. Jim talked about the project over at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds blog. If you missed his post, you really should check it out.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh, This book is from the writer of the blog Hyperbole and a Half, a site of, well…life stories…hilarious anecdotes…totally embarrassing but relatable memories…you should probably just check it out for yourself. If your sense of humor is anything like mine (and that of daughter, who is wholly responsible for introducing me to this rabbit hole where I so often find myself when I’m supposed to be doing All the Other Things), you’ll understand why this book is on my list. (ETA: Not all posts are humorous! Just thought I’d better warn you. But if you do go there for a laugh, be sure to search for the birthday cake story.)

That’s what I have so far. Do you see my problem? There are no romance books on this list! That is not intentional. I love romances. In fact, my writing brain has been totally stuck on romances (specifically historicals) for the past few weeks, as I’ve been working on an historical romance novella, and have been thinking about a completed full-length historical manuscript whose many, many flaws I might now have the tools to fix.

Despite not having romances on my wish list, there are some on my TBR pile. My recent romance purchases include Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh (which is part of a series I haven’t read, so I’m hoping order of the stories isn’t important!), Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean, and The Mad Earl’s Bride, a novella by Loretta Chase. But I’m most of the way through two of those, and will probably have read all three within the next week or so (yes, I sometimes read multiple books at one time, which is probably not half so bad as writing multiple stories at one time, which I also have been known to do).

Next week, I’ll post a blog with some links to sites with fun (and sometimes free!) book suggestions for your holiday, winter solstice, or just plain ‘yay, it’s December’ gift-giving/receiving list. But this week, I need your help. What 2014 books would you recommend? What are your recent ‘must-reads’? Bonus points for romances (any subgenre), and extra shiny bonus points for historicals!

13 thoughts on “Nancy: All I Want For Christmas…Are Books!

  1. I can’t remember the author or the exact names of the books, but the Mara Dyer trilogy is awesome. Spooky (but no ghosts), intense, magical. With romance 🙂

  2. I just finished Never Judge a Lady by her Cover. I usually really like Sarah MacLean’s books because she has fabulous conflict locks, but this one dragged a little for me and there were a couple of events that struck me as too implausible. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it. I am looking for good romances, too.

    • That’s the one I haven’t started. I’m sorry to hear it might not be as good as some of her other work. I’ll let you know if I have the same reactions.


      • I also just bought this one, started reading it, and put it down. It just didn’t have a very compelling start for me, but that doesn’t mean the book will end up on my do not like list. I’ll have to see how the rest of it goes.

        • I was also a bit down on this book but then I haven’t loved the whole series so perhaps not best person to ask.

        • Ugh. I am thinking I will be through the TBR historical romances sooner than expected, as I am not feeling positive that I’ll get through this one. Bummer.

  3. I’m planning to read Foxglove Summer (Ben Aaronovitch/Rivers of London book 5) over Christmas, but I’d never heard of Felix Castor – now I’ll be adding those to my list. I enjoyed Anne Bishop’s Written in Red and Murder of Crows; they’re not romance, though – I’d say they are urban fantasy with romantic elements. I’m impatiently waiting for the next one. I might dig deeper into her back-list while I’m waiting 🙂 .

    Romance-wise I’m going to try Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair, which sounds like a fun and interesting read, plus it’s a debut novel, and a couple of people have told me I should try Miranda Neville’s historicals – I’d appreciate recommendations.

  4. Favourite historicals over the past few months: The Songbird’s Seduction by Connie Brockway (Edwardian Romp); the whole Pennyroyal Green series as recommended by Jilly; Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase (though I expect you’ve already read this).

    I’ve been diverted onto a New Adult kick recently, as I was interested to see what the fuss is about. I’ve just read a terrific series by Kylie Scott, 3 books: Lick Play and Lead. They’re about three members of a rock band, each falling in love. Not normally the sort of thing I like at all but I loved these. They are absolutely great romances (not of the sweet, clean variety!).

    I’m also reading Rogue Spy by Joanne Bourne (bit slow going but think that is just me, not her) and Julia Quinn, the Sum of alll Kisses (ditto) at the moment.

    And, to finish off, a brilliant short non-fiction read: The Pursuit of Perfection and how to harms writers by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Absolutely fascinating about the risks of critiquing and worrying too much about making the WIP perfect, rather than just finishing the damn thing and moving on to the next work.

  5. I read one of Bourne’s other books from the Spymaster series (cannot remember which one), and liked it. Rogue Spy looks like a good one from the description, so I hope it picks up for you – you’ll have to let us know how you feel about it at the end.

    It’s been ages since I read a Julia Quinn book. And thanks for the suggestion of the New Adult series. I, too, have thought I should pick up a few and see what all the fuss is about. The addition of a little romance will be a bonus!

  6. What a fun list, and what great recs from the commenters! My wishlist is going to be a lot longer today (-:.

    I haven’t got any romance on my TBR list from this century. Most of them aren’t even from last century. Which is kind of a problem. My SFF books TBR are slightly more up-to-date, but I am not keeping up with the field. I really want to read Ancillary Justice, though.

    And the big thing on my Christmas wishlist is last season’s Big Bang Theory. Not sure how I let fall go by without ordering it. Season Six had some painful “let’s embarrass the viewers” sort of humor to it that lacked some depth . . . maybe that’s why. Not a book, but there’s a story there.

  7. Pingback: Justine: All I Want for Christmas…Fantasy Style | Eight Ladies Writing

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