Durand Fantasy Expo and Book Giveaway
Announcement: I’ll be at the Durand Fantasy Expo this Saturday. From about 11 until noon I’ll be at the Durand Memorial Library doing a writing workshop/discussion which is open to everyone. For the rest of the time, I should be at the expo itself, hanging out and signing books and taking pics of the 501st in their awesome Star Wars costumes.
Book Giveaway: As some of you know, every time you click one of the [Amazon] links I put next to book titles, I get a few cents back from Amazon. When they send me a gift card, I try to give that right back to y’all in the form of free books.
Well, I got another one yesterday, so it’s time for a book giveaway! Two winners will receive their choice of one of the following books (autographed, of course).
To enter, all you need to do is post a comment about the best book you’ve read so far this year. I’ll pick two winners at random next week.
One entry per person, please. Anyone can enter — this is not a U.S.-only contest.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:01 am
The Android’s Dream, by John Scalzi. It involved more plot twists and more reveals than a Scooby Doo marathon, and somehow still developed both the main characters and gave us some Sci Fi shinies to look at.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:24 am
I’d have to say it is a toss up between Goblin Hero and Dead Matter (by Anton Strout).
September 1, 2011 @ 10:27 am
Don’t worry Jim, I won’t feed your ego this time :p Plenty of others will 😉
The best book this year for me is probably J.A. Pitts’ Black Blade Blues. I generally don’t go near Urban Fantasy, because I mentally lump it in with Paranormal Romance (Everytime I’ve tried UF I’ve ended up sighing and giving up after the heroine starts quaking in her boots thanks to Mr McHugeGirth), but something struck me as interesting about Black Blade Blues. It has a lesbian protagonist, and a Dan Dos Santos cover. Win win win!
It turns out to be one of the best risks I’ve taken this year. Like you and your own Talia, John Pitts shows that Straight White Guys can write lesbian characters without them being an object of the author’s strange fantasy. Sarah is tough, she’s pretty damned hot (If any book got me crushing on a character, it’s this one), but more importantly, I connected a lot with her as she was struggling with her identity.
Plus there’s a big dragon. And helicopters. And explosions.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:27 am
Namaah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey. It’s been a bit since I devoured a book in a day and I did with that. I love Jacqueline Cary’s novels and enjoyed seeing how things wrapped up from the massive build up of the earlier books. It was a massive adventure as usual and we got to see the new World for the first time in this universe. It was nice.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:38 am
One of the best books that I’ve read this year (it’s so difficult to choose just one!) would be the first volume of Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. It’s a lovely manga being translated and published by Fantagraphics about gender identity.
Jim C. Hines
September 1, 2011 @ 10:42 am
You’re just trying to get me and Anton to throw down again, aren’t you?
Jim C. Hines
September 1, 2011 @ 10:43 am
Heh. I thought about putting in a line saying people couldn’t list my own books, but that felt a little egotistical.
And I’ve got Black Blade Blues sitting on the To Be Read shelf at home! Sounds like one I’ll enjoy.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:44 am
Namaah’s Blessing for me too. As always, Jacqueline Carey brought something new to the table in every way, with the New World setting, the strange new magic, and the growth and maturing of her characters. I also ended up reading it through in one setting; I accidentally stayed up until 2 AM as I made the mistake of starting it in the evening, but I honestly thought it was only like 11 until I looked at the clock–it pulled me in THAT completely.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:54 am
Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. Fascinating story about the history of Hawaii, specifically the quarantine colony (leper colony) of Kaluapapa. It was a period of history and location that I’d never read much about and I really enjoyed it.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:55 am
So far this year, the best book I’ve finished is Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s the first Stephen King book I’ve ever read. I loved it and learned a lot from it.
I’m currently juggling several books in the “reading” category, but that is the best one I’ve finished.
September 1, 2011 @ 11:01 am
You may very well do, and I hope that you do.
I’m not sure Ash by Malinda Lo will crop up, but I’m sure you said you have it, and that’s certainly in my top reads of this year along with its semi-prequel, Huntress.
September 1, 2011 @ 11:02 am
Tough choice. I’d have to say Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story is my favorite, though Brandon Sanderson’s Alloy of Law comes in a close second.
September 1, 2011 @ 11:16 am
This year I’ve been primarily rereading the Wheel of Time. It’s taking me a lot longer than I expected. So, I guess the best book I’ve read this year is The Shadow Rising. Dang, I like that book.
September 1, 2011 @ 11:41 am
Favorite books so far was Demon Glass, sequel to Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.
September 1, 2011 @ 12:21 pm
I think your Goblin series is the best, Mr. Hines. It’s a dedication to my favorite and most under-appreciated magical creatures: goblins.
September 1, 2011 @ 12:28 pm
Why does Durand, MI have to be so far away!?!
I think the best book I’ve read this year is The Warded Man by Peter B. Brett. I really got into that one. The sequel was good too, but it was a little harder to get into.
September 1, 2011 @ 12:52 pm
The Downside/Chess Putnam series by Stacia Kane. Though I have to say I think the second one, Unholy Magic, was perhaps the best in it’s complexity and heartbreaking accuracy.
September 1, 2011 @ 1:27 pm
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is the most memorable book I’ve read this year. It is about the Jewish roundup that occurred in Paris in July 1942, and how an American expat living in Paris is unexpectedly linked. Also I recently reread the Kate Martinelli series by Laurie R. King, and I love how the author can mix a bit of humor to grim storylines
September 1, 2011 @ 2:45 pm
Name of the Wind (although to be fair this was a reread otherwise it would be Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle)
September 1, 2011 @ 2:54 pm
I loved Goblin Hero (read all your books for the first time last week) but I think it’s about to be upstaged by Erewhon, by Samuel Butler.
Jim C. Hines
September 1, 2011 @ 2:59 pm
Curse you, Butler!!!!!!!!
September 1, 2011 @ 5:36 pm
So many to choose from! I think I’ll have to go with Carol Berg’s Lighthouse Duet (I know, technically that’s two books, but only one story, and I can’t decide if I liked one better than the other).
September 1, 2011 @ 5:56 pm
My favorite so far this year is Stardoc by S.L. Viehl. A very character driven story about interstellar and cross cultural interaction amidst a pathogen mystery and bureaucratic intrigue. Plus humor, to boot!
Ms. Viehl has a fluid way with letting main character Cherijo voice her thoughts that’s very refreshing from just a possible staid narration, so I’m enjoying this quite a bit.
Apparently there’s a whole series of over 10 books now. Going to have to start cracking. ;p
September 1, 2011 @ 8:31 pm
So far, no one book has stood out for me this year. I will mention my current book I’m enjoying though: Encounters by Milan Kundera. It’s light but dense, made up of small essays about books he’s read. It has the nice inconsequential feel of someone saying nothing with a lot of pretty words.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:00 pm
Probably the best so far this year is Hounded by Kevin Hearne. It’s really fun urban fantasy.
September 1, 2011 @ 10:43 pm
My choice goes to Connie Willis’s Blackout & All Clear. I now need a month to re-read and pay attention to the dates in the chapter titles.
Funniest bit I’ve read is the Mysterious Benedict Society first couple of chapters covering the tests. (Yes, it’s a few years old and a youthful book, but I found a copy for 50 cents).
Why weren’t you in Durand a couple of weeks ago when we were vacationing in MI?
September 2, 2011 @ 2:21 am
I believe it would be The Snow Queen’s Shadow for me. I don’t care if that’s a disqualifier, since there’ll be far too many participants for me to have a hope of winning, but it’s true. Pretty certain I read Leviathan and Behemoth last year, just a’fore Christmas.
Anyway, I really don’t want ANY great series to end, but if they have to, there is nothing better than getting the ending you didn’t even realize you wanted all along. That’s what I got in Snow Queen’s Shadow. I don’t want to drop any spoilers ‘cos I’ll always hope someone new will pick up the series. It just.. well.. made me happy and sad at the same time.
I have started reading The Dresden Files series, though. Those are fun.
September 2, 2011 @ 2:33 am
Sorry, Jim. I love the blog, but have never tried one of your books. Perhaps we can remedy that!
Favorite read this year: the White-Luck Warrior, by R. Scott Bakker. Bakker is an incredible stylist. The content is is hard for some, but man, what a writer.
September 2, 2011 @ 7:27 am
I like ure Goblin novels, cause they made me laugh so many times (which is pretty good for a book. Its hard to cause emotions at the reader, who is just imagining and constructing this humor out of the written).
But the only book ever made me cry (a stronger emotion, much harder to achieve for an author with his book) was Thomas A. Barron’s “The Wings of Merlin”. The Merlin saga was my first book series to read.
Jim C. Hines
September 2, 2011 @ 8:55 am
Dave – no worries. There is absolutely no requirement or expectation that readers and commenters here read my books. If they do, great! If not, that’s not a problem either.
September 2, 2011 @ 9:00 am
Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez, a kind of nice compilation of all nightmares you’ve ever had. 😉
September 2, 2011 @ 9:23 am
So many books, so little time…hmmm. Well, I really loved Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles Trilogy (Hexed, Hounded, and Hammered) and I am just finishing A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness which has also been a lot of fun. Glad to see Wayne up above discovered Stardoc. Love love love that series!!
September 2, 2011 @ 8:18 pm
So many good ones but the best so far has to be The Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. It sneaked into an already impossible reading list after I read a scathing review. Curiosity led me to download a sample then I had to buy it because I couldn’t stop reading. It made me pause in the middle of reading Perdido Street Station so it was that good.
September 2, 2011 @ 10:00 pm
I’ve read a ton and it’s a tough choice, but I’ll go with Choices of One by Timothy Zahn. I’m a sucker for his Star Wars stuff. Honorable mention: the short story Corsair by Slava Heretz.
September 3, 2011 @ 11:55 am
Would that scathing review happen to be my own? 😉
September 3, 2011 @ 3:25 pm
Hmm…don’t think so. I don’t remember her name but if it was you, thanks! So there really is no such thing as bad publicity! It was a review that the editor of the book responded to which then snowballed into a whole other discussion. It’s the greatest thing about fantasy books now — there’s something for everybody!
September 3, 2011 @ 5:23 pm
Oh, that review? No, that wasn’t me. Mine was rather equally scathing, though.
September 3, 2011 @ 6:23 pm
Took me two days to think it over, but in the end I’ll have to say it was the book I’d been waiting years for,The Flight of the Renshai by Mickey Zucker Reichert. I got to fall in love with old characters all over again and meet new ones, some of whom did surprise me. After just finising Simon Green’s The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny in one sitting it makes me feel a bit of a traitor, but Mickey’s book wins hands down.
September 4, 2011 @ 2:00 am
I read a lot of Patrica A. McKillip this year, best one of that bunch was The Bell at Sealey Head. I love all of her books, but this one seemed to be the most concise and well defined story line. I also reread the Way of Kings when I was supposed to be refreshing my Wheel of Time. I’ll get around to that eventually 😉 . Also sticking out in my memory is the Throne of Fire by Rick Roirdan. It is the second novel in the Kane Chronicles. Better than the first, but not as good as the Percy Jackson novels or The Lost Hero which was excellent, but I read it last yr so it doesn’t count.
September 4, 2011 @ 11:27 am
This is a tough one for me, since I seem to have only picked up good books this year! I think my favorites come down to the newly-published books that I had been waiting a long time for, which come down to three: Snow Queen’s Shadow by you, Ghost Story by Jim Butcher, and Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. All three were fantastic and I devoured them all in no time. I’m not sure I could choose between them, except for that Snow Queen’s Shadow was a little more satisfying to finish (though incredibly sad) because it didn’t leave me waiting for the next book in the series. I went into it knowing that I shouldn’t expect anything after it, and it finished with a satisfying wrap-up of the characters, whereas Ghost Story practically ended on a cliff hanger and Patrick Rothfuss weaves so many hints of what is yet to come that it’s impossible to not want to continue reading! So what I’m trying to say is that Snow Queen’s Shadow was probably my favorite and most satisfying book of the year so far.
September 5, 2011 @ 7:23 pm
Hm. I’ve read 125 books so far this year. Pick one??? That is HARD. Ok, I’ll compromise, I’ll pick one of each genre:
Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (Epic Fantasy)
First Grave on the Right, Darynda Jones (Urban Fantasy)
Ruby Red, Kerstin Geir (YA fantasy)
Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase (Historical Romance)
Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding (Steampunk Fantasy)
Lye in Wait, Cricket McRae (Cozy Mystery)
Ok, I think that’s enough 🙂
September 6, 2011 @ 12:05 am
I’ve read a lot of great stuff this year (although not quite as much as April).
I’m going to go with one of my non-fiction favorites this year: “Gods in Polyester: A Survivors’ Account of 70’s Cinema Obscura” edited by Suzanne Donahue & Mikael Sovijrvi.
A wonderful survey of lower-budget 70s films, with anecdotes by the writers, actors, directors. And plenty of pictures. A brilliant coffee table book. I only wish it (or its sequel, Gods in Spandex) were available for purchase somewhere. As it was, a friend got it via Inter-Library Loan, and there was but one copy in the system.
September 7, 2011 @ 9:43 am
I think I would have to go with _The Shirt On His Back_ by Barbara Hambly
September 7, 2011 @ 10:06 am
I’m still in love with Mira Grant’s Feed, which I re-read to get ready for Deadline. I didn’t like Deadline quite as much although I still really enjoyed it, I’m really looking forward to Blackout though to see if it was just the point of view shift that threw me. I do have to say that as a marketing tool the Countdown that she did on LJ is what made me eager to buy Deadline the instant it came out.
September 7, 2011 @ 12:35 pm
My favorite book so far this year is the latest in the Dresden Files, Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. The series is at a much darker place than previously, and I think Butcher handles the transition gracefully. Harry is in a completely new situation, one that runs the risk of being dull, and Butcher manages to make it just as interesting as his normal circumstances.
September 7, 2011 @ 12:41 pm
Kindred, by Octavia Butler. Beautifully written & totally chilling.
September 7, 2011 @ 12:52 pm
One of the best books I read this year was “Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill.
It is a novel about an African woman taken into slavery and follows her life, when she is freed and trying to live as a free women when many think she should still be enslaved.
It really gave me a new perspective on the history of slavery and made all those experiences so much more personal.
September 7, 2011 @ 2:39 pm
Mind of My Mind, by Octavia Butler.
September 7, 2011 @ 2:53 pm
At the moment, my favorite of the year is Deadline by Mira Grant, but the one I thought was best-written (which I also really enjoyed) is Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan.
September 7, 2011 @ 2:54 pm
Best book I’ve read this year is hands down Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Started off really slow but it got super interesting.
September 7, 2011 @ 4:23 pm
I finally found the time to read Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. It’s been in my ‘to read’ pile since it came out, and it was as fantastic as I thought it would be.
September 7, 2011 @ 4:31 pm
I’d like to read it, if you don’t mind. Where can I find it? I really like reading what other people think of books I love/not love.
September 7, 2011 @ 6:42 pm
The best book I’ve read this year is “Don’t Look Behind You, But…” which is the second book by former safari guide, Peter Allison. It was hilarious! He has some great stories.
September 7, 2011 @ 9:09 pm
I’ve been reading mostly non-fiction recently, for some reason. I’d have to say I enjoyed the Seven Ages of Paris the most, I think. Or…maybe…The Greater Journey…
September 7, 2011 @ 10:03 pm
I have to pick one!?
I’d have to say Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I am completely enamoured with the characters and the world setting. Freaking amazing, and I can’t wait for the last book to come out later this month.
September 8, 2011 @ 4:46 am
Well… I supose “Ender’s Shadow” by Orscon Scott Card has to be it, i loved Ender’s Game when i read it a few years back and it has been a favorite of mine, reading the same story from someone else point of view was great.
September 8, 2011 @ 11:06 am
My favorite series so far has been Chronicles of the Necromancer by Gail Martin. I don’t normally go for ghost stories or vampire stories, but this is a really, really good yarn.
September 8, 2011 @ 1:53 pm
Favorite overall so far is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, simply because the man is so utterly unapologetic about the opinions he has that you can’t really hate him.
But to be fair, a friend got me to pick up The Stepsister Scheme this year, and I can definitely say it’s my favorite fiction of the year.
Jim C. Hines
September 9, 2011 @ 8:22 am
Congratulations! Random.org has chosen you as one of the two winners. I just sent you an e-mail with info.
September 26, 2011 @ 12:32 pm
Glad you enjoyed the story. There’s been great response from the science fiction community, so I’ve begun to continue where the book left off and create a series. The next installment will be “Letter of Marque”, out September 30 on Kindle.