Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIt’s the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in November 2014 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we’ve also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

We’ve got a couple of giveaways still current. Find those here!


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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17 comments

  1. As usual, I have a long list of good books from last month, in no certain order:
    Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers – this is a middlegrade historical urban fantasy and I listened to the audio version which is excellently narrated by Charlotte Parry. Theodosia is clever and smart but also knows when she needs help. Very fun stuff. I’m now listening to book two.

    All The Turns of Light by Frank Tuttle – sequel to All The Paths of Shadow, this is steampunk magical fantasy with a whimsical bent although this time around Tuttle puts his characters through a great deal of strife.

    Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough – this is book five of this series and this is the perfect example of characters that evolve over time. Great ‘assassin/thief’ fantasy with good and complex characters and magic.

    Cybermancy by Kelly McCullough – same author as above, very different modern urban cyberfantasy – using computer code and Greek/Roman gods.

    Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger – like Theodosia above, this book is greatly enhanced by the audio version’s actor.

  2. Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

    A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

  3. Trey Palmer /

    The City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett.
    This was an interesting and entertaining novel of fantasy, espionage, politics and colonialism. And I really would like to see what the author can do with the world.

    • This is one of m favorites of 2014.

      • You and me both. I also like it because it gets into how weird fantasy can get – and how people living with the rules of that sing can use them to good effect. Max Gladstone does a lot with this too.

  4. RedEyedGhost /

    Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch – my favorite book in a series that I already love.

  5. Skye Walker /

    I agreed to read The Name of the Wind with my partner. He works full time, so we set reasonable goals on a weekly basis according to his schedule.
    WORST. IDEA.
    I WANT TO READ IT ALL! Definitely the most engaging book I’m reading right now/over the past month!

  6. Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier was hands down the best book I read last month and the best one all year!

  7. I re-read The Lord of the Rings and watched the movies again. Awesome!

  8. Melanie Goldmund /

    November was a good reading month for me, so let’s see. I loved The Shotgun Arcana, by R.S. Belcher, and Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch.

    The only complaint I had with Stories of the Raksura: The Falling World and the Tale of Indigo and Cloud, by Martha Wells was that it was a book of short stories and not a long novel, but I did like all the stories, no matter how short they were. Especially the one about Chime. I’m going back to re-read The Cloud Roads now, just to enjoy that world again, while I wish and wait for more.

    My best re-read was The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold.

    I also enjoyed listening to Doctor Who: The Silver Turk, produced by Big Finish, where the Eighth Doctor and Mary Shelley visit 1870’s Vienna and run into Cybermen. And I liked The Scarifyers: The King of Winter, produced by Bafflegab Productions. I can never get enough of Crow and Dunning and MI-13.

    • Melanie, you know about the two novels following The Cloud Roads, right? Just in case they escaped your notice, they’re The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths.

  9. Liat vd /

    I think my favorite this month was Catherynne Valente’s Deathless. I was very interested in Russian mythology and fairy tales (I read, not that long ago, Ekatrina Sedia’s Secret History of Moscow, and although it wasn’t very gripping, I loved the atmosphere and the mythology itself) and I heard a lot about Valente’s writing. The book was wonderful! It started a little more straightforward in the style of writing and storytelling and became more and more dreamlike as the story progressed, It wasn’t an easy read for me, but I finished the book with a “wow!” sort of feeling, and that’s what I look for mostly when I read.
    Honorable mentions: Ready Player One. I think that if I wasn’t a fetus in the eighties I might have enjoyed it more, but even if I only understood half of the (many many) references, this book was a lot of fun!

  10. Favorite of the month would have to be The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. In the vein of Groundhog Day or Ken Grimwood’s excellent novel Replay, it’s about a guy who relives his life over and over again. While the mechanics of it had more than a few holes, the story was compelling and the characters were great, particularly the lives-long relationship between Harry and Vincent.

    The book I expected to be my favorite though was actually the biggest disappointment. I finally got around to reading Ancillary Justice and it did not live up to the hype. The first half of the book was a slog with so little narrative momentum. And I’m pretty sure the whole second half of the book was entirely about drinking tea and wearing gloves.

    • Ben — I agree with you that there is a very long slow spot in the first half of Ancillary Justice, and that was a disappointment. I loved that book,though, and part of what I loved was how much information and suspense Leckie could pack into an “innocent” conversation over a cup of tea.

  11. Mulluane, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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