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Hello, Ladies ([personal profile] helloladies) wrote in [community profile] ladybusiness2018-12-07 06:35 pm

December Rec Roundtable: Unconditional Love

It's December: the end of the year and the time of 1000 recommendation lists. We thought we'd get in on the action with some sweet themed recs! It's a lovefest for some of the books we adore the most!

Theme for December 7: Your favorite book by a favorite author


JY Yang is a brand new-to-me favorite author, and the third novella in the Tensorate series really blew me away. I read the first two Tensorate books earlier this year and dug them, but The Descent of Monsters combines all the feelings and worldbuilding of the previous two books with playfulness of format—it’s set up as a report about a disaster, which makes it SOMEWHAT EPISTOLARY. I loved it. I can’t wait for the last novella in the series, and also for whatever JY Yang does next.


I’m going to cheat and use a short story "Flow" by Marissa Lingen. Lingen, who has never published a novel, is one of my all time favorite authors, and this story published this year just blew me away. I just loved how it thought about disability, the environment and caretaking.


I reread Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (again, for maybe the sixtieth time) and it reminded me all over again how much I loved it and how much it shaped what I look for in stories. Sophie is cursed by a wicked witch, and foists herself on the heartless wizard Howl while she looks for a way to break the spell. I adore the relationships that build between everyone living in the moving castle, and between Sophie and her family.

A more recent favourite though is Aliette de Bodard's The Tea-Master and the Detective, which is a Xuya-verse gender-swapped riff on Sherlock Holmes, and it is spectacularly my thing. The mysteries were satisfying, I adored the characters, and I would gladly read an entire series just about them. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.


A new to me favorite author this year is Anna-Marie McLemore, and I am both thrilled and sad to have consumed her entire backlist this year. Every book Anna writes tackles issues of family, legacy, romance, self-seeing, and queerness in all the many shades of the rainbow. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I think my favorite might always be my first, Wild Beauty.

The story of the Nomeolvides women and the land they live of, La Pradera, this is a fantastic magical realism young adult novel about first love, sacrifice, and the histories we bury. Fel, the male lead, stole my heart, and there isn't a day that goes by since I read it that some bit of the beautiful prose doesn't come back to me.


My very favorite John Scalzi book is Lock In—I find the questions it raises about humanity in a post-body society to be fascinating and well examined; the protagonist, Chris, is a fantastic character; and I was totally sucked in by the mystery at the heart of the book. So it's an easy pick to call the sequel, Head On, my favorite book by a favorite author in 2018. Another mystery, some more worldbuilding, and the introduction of a sport that could only be played in this world all combined to make this a satisfying continuation of the story.


The Fifth Season is probably my favourite book by N. K. Jemisin, but it was a really hard call to make because all of her books are so good. In the end, I picked The Fifth Season over all her other novels because, while Jemisin always makes a clever use of structure in her novels, I think The Fifth Season is the novel where her structuring choices produce the biggest emotional impact. Usually I devour Jemisin's series as they come out, but I'm still holding off on the final volume of the Broken Earth trilogy because I know it's going to make me feel a lot, and I want to have time to really absorb the emotions that Jemisin is throwing down.


Tamora Pierce has been a favorite author of mine from a young age and while I love all her books, Lady Knight is probably my favorite. Kel is my favorite of her Tortall characters (I love my giant determinator Hufflepuff girl), and Lady Knight is a perfect culmination of her journey. It focuses on what makes Kel who she is and how it all informs the choices that she makes moving forward. This book is a combination of a gut punch and a warm blanket, and it’s one I re-read constantly because Kel is my girl and this is the perfect capstone to her journey.


Everyone is expecting me to say Black Wolves by Kate Elliott, because obviously, but I'm still mad because it seems like we will never get Dead Empire. I mean, I love some of the authors Orbit is publishing and that they send me excellent ARCs of books people are really coveting so I'm not sending them Intense Letters saying "What the Heck My Dudes?" (because it's always dudes at the top ruining everything). But someone at Orbit wants me in particular to suffer and have no one ever trust my series-in-progress recs again. I am real heated about this, y'all. I loved Black Wolves but I can't really rec it without saying that the sequel is MIA (Goodreads says 2020, and who knows when it comes to Publishing). But you can read the prequel series, which starts with Spirit Gate, which is equally epic and good, and I will allow to stand in place for my love of Black Wolves and the work of one of the best writers/students of history working in modern fantasy who is criminally under promoted by her publishers and incredibly under read. IT IS AGAINST 16 INTERNATIONAL TREATIES!!! Read everything Kate Elliott has ever written, the end.