Okay, I did the Cyber-Monday marketing thing
the other day. Now let me tell you about a bunch of other amazing books you could—nay, should
pick up as gifts for your loved ones.
These are all some things I read this year (or I read earlier, but they came out this year). Nobody pushed for these, they’re in no particular order or anything, they’re just books I really enjoyed. And I’m betting you’ll enjoy some of them too.
Well, I’m starting this list with a lie, which isn’t great. I read this book before it came out, and it was so freakin’ good I put it on last year’s list anyway
, even though it didn’t come out until this year. Imagine if your strange mutant ability was bringing out the absolute best, self-actualized version of people, and you activated this gift with… sex. It’s thought-provoking, a bit naughty, and does some wonderful things with the ideas of what it means to be your best and the responsibility of having such a gift.
This story about two new workers at the local distribution center of a *cough
* large internet merchant has tons to say about relationships, technology, business practices, and just morality in general. I guess it’s technically sci-fi because it’s in the not-too-distant-future, and some of the tech is slightly
advanced, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a far-out, stretching-things-too-much element. It’s a fast, easy, and wonderfully disturbing read.
Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara
How have you not heard about his book already? It’s fantastic. It’s the true story of the woman who designed the legendary Creature from the Black Lagoon and then got pretty much erased from history by her jealous boss. It’s a brutally honest look inside Hollywoodthen and now that still manages to be upbeat and positive.
The Fat Lady Sings
by Sean Patrick Traver
Okay, this one’s more of a novella but it’s part of Traver’s absolutely wonderful Temple, Tree, and Tower universe (world?) that’s appeared on lists here in the past
. A centuries old wizard, currently inhabiting the body of a black cat, takes on a new apprentice to help him protect Los Angeles
. It’s ridiculous fun with just the right amount of creepy.
This book has one of the creepiest beginnings I’ve read in a while (serious Event Horizon vibes) and then it brings in… okay, I don’t want to ruin it. But this is a wonderful story of guilt and love and it’s kind of a gothic romance in space but with more infectious spores.
I’ve pushed the Eric Carter books on some of you before, about a necromancer in modern, Aztec-magic-influenced Los Angeles. With this latest one, book four in the series, Stephen moves his noir urban fantasy into a whole new level of amazing. These books have always been really good but this one was just fantastic. I think I shrieked with glee three or four times while reading it. Seriously.
Trail of Lightning
by Rebecca Roanhorse
Okay, look. To be shamefully honest, I picked this up because I saw it on a couple lists and I thought the cover was pretty cool. And y’know what? Sometimes you can
judge a book by its cover because this book is freakin’ magnificent
. It’s about Maggie, a professional monster hunter on a post-apocalyptic Navajo reservation. And if that doesn’t get you excited, I really don’t know why we’re even friends. Seriously. Stop texting me.
Our War by Craig diLouie
Full disclosure, I’ve known Craig years longer than any other author on this list, but he honestly still astounds me with the level of emotional gut-punching he manages to bring to everything he writes. This is the story of an all-too plausible second American civil war and the brother and sister child soldiers who find themselves on opposite sides.
Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
Odds are this one’s crossed your radar screen sometime this year. A fantastic story about what it’s like to be the sister who isn’t chosen to go to Hogwarts (so to speak). There’s a lot of emotions in this book, and that’s without the murder mystery aspect of it.
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Goddamm I loved this book. It has so many things I love. Fantastic characters. A good mystery. Some great twists. Cutting edge science. And considering how long he spent writing it (it’s a monster of a book) it’s ended up being eerily prescient in a lot of political/societal ways.
Holy sweet craptacular jeebus. A bunch of people told me I would love this book but I really didn’t expect to LOVE this book as much as I did. In a super-simplified nutshell, the foundling squire of a royal household of necromancers has to pose as their most decorated knight and serve as bodyguard to the adopted “sister” who’s made her life hell for years. Plus there’s some murders, tons of skeletons, and some wonderfully filthy humor. It’s just so much fun.
It’s been a looooong time since I’ve enjoyed a straight fantasy series this much. Although I guess this is technically a steampunk fantasy? The Sacred Throne series is the story of (again, quick version) Heloise a peasant girl who hides in a suit of steampunk armor, ends up fighting a demon, and is now lauded as a saint by all her fellow villagers and expected to lead them against the tyrannical church that rules over them. The characters are fantastic. The battle scenes are amazing.
And as a last note, I’m only about thirty pages into Black Leopard, Red Wolf
by Marlon James
but holy crap. If the whole book’s this good it might just be my favorite of the year.
There you have it. Some of my favorite reads of the year. If you check back in a week, there maybe more added to this list. And I think you can find almost all of them at your favorite local bookstore so… get going. You’re going to have to mail stuff next week if you want it to get there in time for the holidays.
Also, please please please let me know if you’re someone who might benefit from my Black Friday offer. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like. It’s not much, but if you need a hand, just say so.
Anyway… tomorrow let’s talk about writing.
Yeah, tomorrow. Let’s get back to it.
Until then, go write.