Category Archives: Top Tens

Top Ten Books that Became Films

Today is my final Top Ten list, finishing off my top 100 books. Today’s choices, though, are not based upon the books but on the movies made from those books. I have chosen these movies not because the books were the best ever and not because the movie did a perfect job adapting the book. I chose these movies because they were good movies that happen to be based off books. (You might also notice that while my previous lists have been titled toward women writers, this one is not; it is half and half!)

A Beautiful Mind: The Life of a Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash by Sylvia Nasar
Book Synopsis: John Forbes Nash, Jr., a prodigy and legend by the age of 30, dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed “impossible” by other mathematicians. But at the height of his fame, Nash suffered a catastrophic mental breakdown and began a harrowing descent into insanity, resigning his post at MIT, slipping into a series of bizarre delusions, and eventually becoming a dreamy, ghostlike figure at Princeton, scrawling numerological messages on blackboards. He was all but forgotten by the outside world – until, remarkably, he emerged from his madness to win the Nobel Prize. A true drama, A Beautiful Mind is also a fascinating look at the extraordinary and fragile nature of genius.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Book Synopsis: Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

Different Seasons by Stephen King
This book is four novellas including the one that inspired Shawshank Redemption (Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption) and Stand by Me (both great movies).

The Firm by John Grisham
Book Synopsis: You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice — if he wants to live. 

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
Book Synopsis: Mrs. Threadgoode’s tale of two high-spirited women of the 1930s, Idgie and Ruth, helps Evelyn, a 1980s woman in a sad slump of middle age, to begin to rejuvenate her own life.  

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Books Synopsis: In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele–Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles–as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. Kaysen’s memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a “parallel universe” set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery

Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Book Synopsis: They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club–and forge a relationship that binds them for more than three decades. A celebrated novel in the tradition of Alice Adams and Margaret Atwood from the bestselling author of The Kitchen God’s Wife.

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Book Synopsis: An epic depicting the Great War of the Ring, a struggle between good and evil in Middle-Earth, in which the tiny Hobbits play a key role.

Psycho by Robert Bloch
The basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic horror film of the same name, Bloch’s Psycho is the first in a series of books about Norman Bates.

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Book Synopsis: FBI Academy trainee Clarice Starling hopes that Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a criminally insane psychiatrist imprisoned in a Boston hospital, can lead her to the serial killer known only as Buffalo Bill.

I would probably add to this list if I were going beyond ten Jurassic Park by Michael Creighton, Jaws by Peter Benchley, the Harry Potters, and the Da Vinci Code (which is a horrible movie because Tom Hanks was really really not the right person for that role, but the book is excellent). Again, these choices were made based on the quality of the movies not the books. Many good books have been made into bad movies. Having said that, though, maybe you will enjoy a few of these!

Happy Reading.

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Top Ten Read in 2010

I read 251 books by choice (things that I didn’t have to read for work / dissertation) in 2010. The list is here. I thought it would be easy to pick out my favorites, and it really hasn’t been. This list is very strange, eclectic really, and most of these have made my previous lists in one form or another. So, this list probably could have been skipped. However, it was on my to-do list, so here it is! 🙂 (in no particular order . . . )

Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking
I blogged this book when I read it (here), and I have it on my Urban Fantasy list. I mention it here, though, because I can’t reiterate enough that it was the book that hooked me on Urban Fantasy!

Product Description: All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party … and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead … or undead.

Blood Sins & Blood Ties by Kay Hooper

Hooper made my top Paranormal Writer’s list for her series featuring Bishop and his elite FBI agents who are known for the “super”natural skills in solving crimes and finding / hunting criminals. I read the two most recent in the series last year (2010), and they were two of my favorites all year. I really hope she does more in this series, though I haven’t seen any previews / teasers. To read about this series, visit the author’s website at http://www.kayhooper.com/books/bishoptimeline.html.

The Kitchen Witch (and others) by Annette Blair

Blair made my Witchy Chick list, and anyone who has read my blog knows I read all of her books last year. The Accidental Witch series is one of the best.

Product Description: Set in Old Salem around the Halloween season, this charming romantic comedy features a wacky, if good-hearted, self-proclaimed witch and her upstairs neighbor, a reformed bad boy trying to be a responsible father to his adorable four-year-old son, Shane. Needing a reliable baby sitter, Logan Kilgarven agrees to an exchange: he will find a job for Melody at the local TV station, where he is a producer, and she will be on call to baby sit Shane as needed. Melody, however, spurns his offer of a secretarial position, countering with a bid for a cooking show. The catch Melody can’t cook. At all. But with a combination of sex appeal and well-developed marketing skills, she sells the station owner on the concept, and several spicy encounters in elevators and on counters and desktops are the inevitable result. With both of them fighting their feelings, and several matchmakers as well as one marplot stirring the cauldron, Blair has crafted a fun and sexy romp.

Juliet Blackwell’s Secondhand Spirits

I blogged this book here. There have only been two in this series so far, but I really liked this one because it introduced a different model of “witch” in this kind of series.

Product Description: In the old days –the burning times– there was a distinction made between sorcerers and witches. It was said that a sorcerer learned magic through training, while a witch was born with innate talents and connections to the spirit world. The latter was true in my case, to an extreme degree. I hadn’t chosen this path, it had chosen me. It wasn’t easy growing up as a (super)natural witch in a small Texas town: The other children, the teachers, even my own mother was afraid of me

Devon Monk’s Magic to the Bone

I blogged this book here, I chose this one because it was really only my second Urban Fantasy series, and it kept me interested. I also chose this one because it offers a different view of magic than the current model is in that magic is something everyone could use if s/he was ready to pass the price (or pay someone to pay the price). I think that model and idea changes in the most recent books in the series but it is what appealed to me first.

The product description from the author’s website reads, “Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy tale hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got.”  Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user–maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they offload the cost onto an innocent. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster–and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.

Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune–and the many strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magical offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.

Now, Allie’s out for the truth–and the forces she finds herself calling on will overturn everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine…and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.

The Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series (all five) by Rick Riordan

I wrote about this series briefly when I read the first book in Riordan’s new series here. I can’t recommend this series enough. And, The Lost Hero suggests that the new series will be just as good. What appeals to me about these are that they are fun and have endearing characters, but we also learn a lot about Greek mythology (and Roman in the new series) without realizing we are even doing so. That’s the best kind of learning. To read about these series, visit the author’s site at http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.

Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

This one is the first in a newer series and was recommended to by my BFF who picked up the second one and liked it a bunch. I put this on the list because I haven’t blogged it yet, and it is quirky enough to be different than other cozy series, and it appeals both to me as a book lover and as a free spirit trapped in a suburban life (okay that was melodramatic!).

Product Description: The streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn’t be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration. With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless—and supposedly cursed—copy of Goethe’s Faust for safekeeping. Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless—but attractive—British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice…

Iris Johansen’s Eight Days to Live

I blogged this one here. It was supposed to be the newest (at the time) in the Eve Duncan series but was instead about related characters. It really appealed to me as a mystery, and I found the paranormal elements (small thought they were) tantalizing. I think Johansen could move this series completely into the realm of paranormal suspense and it would work well.

The product description reads:

Eve Duncan and her adopted daughter, Jane Macguire, are pitted against the members of a secretive cult who have targeted Jane and have decided that she will be their ultimate sacrifice. In eight days they will come for her. In eight days, what Jane fears the most will become a reality. In eight days, she will die. It all begins with a painting that Jane, an artist, displays in her Parisian gallery. The painting is called “Guilt” and Jane has no idea how or why she painted the portrait of the chilling face. But the members of a cult that dates back to the time of Christ believe that Jane’s blasphemy means she must die. But first. she will lead them to an ancient treasure whose value is beyond price. This elusive treasure, and Jane’s death, are all that they need for their power to come to ultimate fruition. With Eve’s help, can Jane escape before the clock stops ticking?

Wicked by Any Other Name by Linda Wisdom

This is the third book in the Hex series. It is my favorite of the series so far. The main character, Stasi,  is one of the 13 witches expelled from witching school. Stasi’s story is one of loyalty, gaining self-confidence, and love. That love, though, is not just for the male lead but for her friends, her witchiness, her community, and the hot wizard who is hired to sue her. In fact, her entire business is focused around helping others make love matches through her lingerie shop. She has never focused on her love before until a strange lawyer, who happens to be a wizard, walks in with hearts dancing over his head. This wizard is smart, loyal, and protective, despite the notion that wizards and witches aren’t supposed to mix.  He is the perfect match for Stasi, standing beside her to fight the evil threatening her town. It’s fun, fairly fast paced, and a smart light-hearted romance.

Product Description: Feisty witch Stasi Romanov was one of 13 classmates at the Witches Academy who was expelled seven hundred years ago for bad behavior. Stasi has since then settled down a bit, owning a lingerie boutique while dabbling in a brisk side business of love charms. Sparks fly, however, when one of those charms goes awry, and Stasi finds herself in a preternatural lawsuit matching wits with devastatingly handsome wizard attorney Trevor Barnes. Then mysterious magic from an unknown enemy threatens to turn Stasi’s quiet town into a modern day Salem, and Stasi’s witchy friends from long ago gather for the fight. They need Trevor’s powerful help. But every witch knows you can’t trust a wizard, and soon Stasi is fighting for her life and her heart.

Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts

This was the fourth in the Bride Quartet series. Sometimes I just need a little romance, and Roberts always comes through. I liked this entire series, but book 4 brings it all together!

Product Description: As the public face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has an uncanny knack for fulfilling every bride’s vision. She just can’t see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker is no exception. Both know that moving from minor flirtation to major hook-up is a serious step. Parker’s business risks have always paid off, but now she’ll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart…

See you Monday for my Final List! Happy Reading.

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Top Ten Cozy Mystery Series

I love to read Cozy Mysteries! If you are a fan of cozies, I suggest you spend a lot of time at the Cozy Mystery List (http://www.cozy-mystery.com/). This site is incredible, listing authors alphabetically and by theme. You can find anything you might be interested in there. I am not a fan of the traditional Agatha Christie kind of cozy. I prefer the young, contemporary sleuths. I also prefer series that are still being written and have a lot of books to them! So, here are my favorites.

China Bayles Mystery Series by Susan Wittig Albert

  1. Thyme of Death
  2. Witches’ Bane
  3. Hangman’s Root  
  4. Rosemary Remembered 
  5. Rueful Death
  6. Love Lies Bleeding
  7. Chile Death
  8. Lavender Lies 
  9. Mistletoe Man 
  10. Bloodroot  
  11. Indigo Dying 
  12. A Dilly of a Death 
  13. Dead Man’s Bones
  14. Bleeding Hearts  
  15. Spanish Dagger   
  16. Nightshade    
  17. Wormwood   
  18. Holly Blues   

Cooking Class Mystery Series by Miranda Bliss

  1. Cooking Up Murder  
  2. Murder on the Menu  
  3. Dead Men Don’t Get the Munchies  
  4. Dying for Dinner   
  5. Murder Has a Sweet Tooth   

Domestic Diva series by Krista Davis

  1. The Diva Runs Out of Thyme  
  2. The Diva Takes the Cake   
  3. The Diva Paints the Town   
  4. The Diva Cooks a Goose   

The Flower Shop Mystery Series by Kate Collins

  1. Mum’s the Word 
  2. Slay It with Flowers 
  3. Dearly Depotted 
  4. Snipped in the Bud 
  5. Acts of Violets   
  6. A Rose from the Dead  
  7. Shoots to Kill   
  8. Evil in Carnations   
  9. Sleeping with Anemone 
  10. Dirty Rotten Tendrils  

Fresh Baked Mystery Series by Livia Washburn

  1. A Peach of a Murder   
  2. Murder by the Slice    
  3. The Christmas Cookie Killer  
  4. Killer Crab Cakes   
  5. The Pumpkin Muffin Murder   

Glass Blowing Series by Sarah Atwell (Sheila Connolly)

  1. Through a Glass, Deadly   
  2. Pane of Death   
  3. Snake in the Glass   

Madeline Bean Mystery Series by Jerrilyn Farmer

  1. Sympathy for the Devil   
  2. Immaculate Reception    
  3. Killer Wedding    
  4. Dim Sum Dead   
  5. Mumbo Gumbo  
  6. Perfect Sax    
  7. The Flaming Luau of Death   

Mystery Shopper Series by Elaine Viets

  1. Dying in Style 
  2. High Heels are Murder  
  3. Accessory to Murder   
  4. Murder with All the Trimmings   
  5. The Fashion Hound Murders   
  6. An Uplifting Murder   

Orchard Mystery series by Shelia Connolly

  1. One Bad Apple   
  2. Rotten to the Core   
  3. Red Delicious Death   
  4. A Killer Crop   

White House Chef Mystery by Julie Hyzy

  1. State of the Onion   
  2. Hail to the Chef   
  3. Eggsecutive Orders   
  4. Buffalo West Wing   

Of course, I love cozies so I could go on and on with this list. For instance, I have already mentioned Alice Kimberly’s Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series, Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series, Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mystery Series, and Annett Blair’s vintage Magic Mystery series on my Witchy Chicks list and Paranormal list. Meg Cabot (on my YA list and Paranormal list) writes the Heather Wells mystery series. These are all cozies and some of my favorites! Happy Reading.

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Top Ten Urban Fantasy Writers

I haven’t read Urban Fantasy long (maybe only a year or so), but I began with Kim Harrison, and she hooked me. Urban Fantasy is fantasy in a city-setting. Many are contemporaries (though they can be historical or futuristic), and the ones I like all contain supernatural elements. Most of them include a strong female protagonist that kicks serious supernatural butt! Here are some of my favorite authors in this category.

Ilona Andrews
“Ilona Andrews” is actually married couple Ilona and Andrew Gordon. They have two series that would qualify in this category, the Kate Daniels series and the Edge series (which I have not read). The Kate Daniels series is described on the authors’s website with The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail. It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrappers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight.  But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back. The books are

  • Magic Bites
  • Magic Burns
  • Magic Strikes
  • Magic Bleeds
  • Magic Slays (coming out this year)

Patricia Briggs
This author’s Mercy Thompson Series is described with Mercedes is Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. Her native american heritage has gifted her with the ability to take the form of a coyote at will. She’s surrounded by far more powerful supernatural beings, including werewolves, vampires and an assortment of fey. The books are

  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
  • Bone Crossed
  • Silver Borne
  • River Marked (this month)

Rachel Caine
Caine has several series in this category, but the one I have read is the Weather Warden series. The author’s website describes it with Only the Wardens stand between the wrath of Mother Earth and the clueless masses of humanity around the world … and Joanne Baldwin is one of the best. Pity she’s on the run for her life … The series has nine books:

  • Ill Wind
  • Heat Stroke
  • Chill Factor
  • Windfall
  • Firestorm
  • Thin Air
  • Gale Force
  • Cape Storm
  • Total Eclipse

Suzanne Collins
Collins was mentioned on my YA list, but to reiterate she is the author of the Hunger Games trilogy.

  • Book 1:Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see. Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love. WINNING WILL MAKE YOU FAMOUS. LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH.
  • Book 2: After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying…  The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games.
  • Book 3: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12…

Jeaniene Frost
Frost is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Night Huntress series (among other things). I haven’t read them all, but what I have read is interesting.

  • Half-Way to the Grave
  • One Foot in the Grave
  • At Grave’s End
  • Destined for an Early Grave
  • This Side of the Grave (recently released)

Kelly Gay
Gay writes the Charlie Madigan series. There are two books so far. And, evidently, Gray is now publishing a YA series as Kelly Keaton. Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She’s recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by nightmares and random outbursts of strength…

Kim Harrison
Rachel Morgan’s world in The Hollows, a fictional version of Cincinnati, is what Harrison writes about. I have blogged about each book in this series, beginning on May 12 of last year with Dead Witch Walking. As I blogged, I didn’t expect to like this book or series, and it hooked me so much so that I now look for new Urban Fantasy to read (as long as the focus is not solely vampires). I have not read the newest one, but it has been purchased, downloaded, and added to my eReader so that it is in line TBR (to be read) soon, very soon. Harrison also has a YA series and some traditional fantasy that I have not read. The Rachel Morgan books are

  • Dead Witch Walking
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
  • Every Which Way but Dead
  • A Fistful of Charms
  • For a Few Demons More
  • The Outlaw Demon Wails
  • White Witch, Black Curse
  • Black Magic Sanction
  • Pale Demon

Devon Monk
Monk writes the Allie Beckstrom series. I blogged the first in this series here, and I blogged the others when Book 5 came out here. Books 3 and 4 are my favorites. I have not read the short story in this series.

  • Magic to the Bone
  • Magic in the Blood
  • Magic in the Shadows 
  • Short story – The Sweet Smell of Cherries in CRIME SPELLS
  • Magic on the Storm
  • Magic at the Gate
  • Magic on the Hunt (Coming Next Month!)

Kat Richardson
Richardson is the bestselling author of the Greywalker paranormal detective novels. I added them to this category instead of the paranormal one because the setting for Private Investigator Harper Blaine’s work is Seattle even though she moves between worlds (the “normal” world and the “grey” world) as she investigates paranormal threats against the grey world.

  • Greywalker
  • Poltergeist
  • Underground
  • Vanished
  • Labyrinth

Nalini Singh
Singh has two series that might count in this genre, though the second one more so.

Psy/Changeling Series

  • Slave To Sensation
  • Visions of Heat
  • Caressed By Ice
  • Mine to Possess
  • Hostage to Pleasure
  • Branded By Fire
  • Blaze of Memory
  • Bonds of Justice
  • Play of Passion
  • Kiss of Snow

Guild Hunter Series

  • Angels’ Blood
  • Archangel’s Kiss
  • Archangel’s Consort

I was reaching with this last one. I haven’t read it, but I didn’t want to not have 10! <SMILES> If you know of great authors in this genre, please let me know. Happy Reading!

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Top Ten Paranormal Writers

Yesterday’s post began my lists of writers of paranormal (non-Urban Fantasy) with the “Top Ten Witchy Chicks.” Today’s post focuses on writers who write about other paranormal elements, such as psychics and ghosts.

Nancy Atherton
Nancy Atherton is the author of the cozy mystery series about the ghost of Aunt Dimity. It is set in England and is “cozy” in the Agatha Christy kind of “cozy”–except it has ghosts. Having said that, it is the only English cozy series I read regularly, and I read it because it is funny.

  • Aunt Dimity’s Death
  • Aunt Dimity and the Duke
  • Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed
  • Aunt Dimity Digs In
  • Aunt Dimity’s Christmas
  • Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil
  • Aunt Dimity: Detective
  • Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday
  • Aunt Dimity: Snowbound
  • Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin
  • Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea
  • Aunt Dimity Goes West
  • Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter
  • Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon
  • Aunt Dimity: Paranormal Detective
  • Aunt Dimity Down Under
  • Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree

Jim Butcher
My husband reads Butcher’s Dresden Files series regularly with Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I., and I pick them up when he’s finished. These might actually be considered Urban Fantasy but since my Urban Fantasy list is going to be all female (protagonists), I thought I’d include him here.

  • Storm Front
  • Fool Moon
  • Grave Peril
  • Summer Knight
  • Death Masks
  • Blood Rites
  • Dead Beat
  • Proven Guilty
  • White Night
  • Small Favor
  • Turn Coat
  • Changes
  • Ghost Story

Meg Cabot
I will try not to repeat myself too much, but Meg Cabot (from my YA list) deserves a shout out in this category for her 1-800 series: What if you got struck by lightning and woke up with the psychic ability to find missing people? High school sophomore Jess Mastriani knows what she doesn’t want to do: work for the US government. With the help of hunky Rob (can you really trust a guy you met in detention?), Jess is trying to help people in need.

  • When Lightening Strikes
  • Code Name Cassandra
  • Safe Hours
  • Sanctuary
  • Missing You

MaryJanice Davidson
This author has several series that would qualify as paranormal, though I have not read many of them. I am including her on this list for her paranormal romances in The Undead Series.

  • The Undead Series
  • The Mermaid Series
  • The Wyndham Werewolf Series

Carolyn Hart
Author of the 21 and counting death on Demand cozy mystery series, Hart has taken on paranormal elements in a newer cozy series featuring a ghost as a protagonist, Bailey Ruth, a Member of Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions.

  • Ghost at Work
  • Merry, Merry Ghost
  • Ghost in Trouble

Kay Hooper
Hooper writes one of my favorite series of all time: the FBI / Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series. Bishop leads a unit of FBI agents who all have special talents (of the paranormal kind). Each book has both a mystery and a romance.

  • Blood Ties / January 2010
  • Blood Sins / December 2008
  • Blood Dreams / December 2007
  • Sleeping with Fear / July 2006
  • Chill of Fear / July 2005
  • Hunting Fear / August 2004
  • Sense of Evil / August 2003
  • Whisper of Evil / July 2002
  • Touching Evil / August 2001
  • Out of the Shadows / November 2000
  • Hiding in the Shadows / October 2000
  • Stealing Shadows / September 2000

Alice Kimberly
“Alice Kimberly” is a pseudonym for a husband and wife team, Marc Cerasini and Alice Alfonsi, who write cozy mysteries together. I like the Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series.

  • The Ghost and Mrs. McClure  
  • The Ghost and the Dead Deb    
  • The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library   
  • The Ghost and the Femme Fatale   
  • The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion  

Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle) 
Krentz also ranks up there with my super-high favorites. She has this paranormal series (actually two series according to her website–the Arcane Society and Harmony) that transcends all three of these names, with contemporaries under one name, historicals another, and future ones another.

Arcane Society (list adapted from Wikipedia)

Historicals

  1. Second Sight, 2006 (as Amanda Quick)
  2. The Third Circle, 2008 (as Amanda Quick)
  3. The Perfect Poison, 2009 (as Amanda Quick)

Contemporaries

  1. White Lies, 2007
  2. Sizzle and Burn, 2008
  3. Running Hot, 2008 (ties-in with Eclipse Bay series)

In Dreamlight trilogy

  1. Fired Up (2009) (as Jayne Ann Krentz)
  2. Burning lamp (2010) (as Amanda Quick)
  3. Midnight Crystal (pub date 08/31/2010) (as Jayne Castle)

In Looking Glass trilogy

  1. In Too Deep (pub date 12/28/2010) (as Jayne Ann Krentz)
  2. Quicksilver (pub date 04/19/2011) (as Amanda Quick)

Harmony (again list adapted from Wikipedia)

  1. “Bridal Jitters” in Charmed (1999) and Harmony (2000)
  2. After Dark, 2000 and in Harmony (2000)
  3. After Glow, 2004
  4. Ghost Hunter, 2006
  5. Silver Master, 2007
  6. Dark Light, 2008
  7. Obsidian Prey, 2009

Nora Roberts
Yes, the queen of romance is one of my favorites in this category. She has a long list of series with paranormal elements (see below), but my absolute favorite is The Donovan Legacy (one of her earliest). Others include

  • Three Sisters Island Trilogy
  • Circle Trilogy
  • Irish Trilogy
  • Signs of Seven Trilogy
  • Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

Wendy Roberts
Roberts writes the Ghost Dusting series, a cozy mystery series featuring an ex-teacher who runs the Scene-2-Clean cleaning service which specializes in cleaning death scenes and seeing the ghosts of the victims.

  • The Remains of the Dead
  • Devil May Ride
  • Dead and Kicking.

Again, some of these are better than others, and some start off well and then the series gets boring. But, nonetheless, they are all worth a try if you like this kind of stuff! Happy Reading.

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Top Ten Witchy Chicks

The term “witchy chicks” originally comes from the Witchy Chicks blog, which describes themselves as “Eight wicked good women who write about magic, fantasy, and the paranormal.” The blog itself is no longer posting,  but the archives are available.

I am using the term “witchy chicks” to refer to women who write about witchy women as their main characters. Some of the characters are witches, some wiccans, some just gifted with paranormal abilities. These authors are in this category for their non-urban fiction work. And, some of their books and series are better than others. Authors with asterisks have been associated with the Witchy Chicks Blog at some point or another.

Madelyn Alt*

  • The Trouble with Magic (2006)
  • A Charmed Death (2006)
  • Hex Marks the Spot (2007)
  •  No Rest for The Wiccan (2008)
  • Where There’s a Witch There’s a Way (2009)
  • A Witch in Time (2010)
  • Home for a Spell (2011)

Juliet Blackwell

  • Second-hand Spirits (2009)
  • Cast-off Cove (2010)

Annette Blair* (She has the most and the most interesting in this category!)

Accidental Witch Trilogy

  • The Kitchen Witch (2004)
  • My Favorite Witch (2006)
  • the Scot, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2006)

Triplet Witch Trilogy

  • Sex and the Psychic Witch (August 2007)
  • Gone with the Witch (May 2008)
  • Never Been Witched (Feb 2009)

 Vintage Magic Mysteries

  • A Veiled Deception (2009)
  • Larceny and Lace (2009)
  • Death by Diamonds (2010)

Barbara Bretton

  • Casting Spells (2008)
  • Laced with Magic (2009)

Shirley Damsgaard

  • Witch Way to Murder   (2005)
  • Charmed to Death   (2006)
  • The Trouble with Witches  (2006)
  • Witch Hunt   (2006)
  • The Witch Is Dead (2007)
  • The Witch’s Grave   (2008)
  • The Seventh Witch   (2010)

Yasmine Galenorn*

  • Ghost of a Chance   (2003)
  • Legend of the Jade Dragon (2004)
  • Murder under a Mystic Moon   (2004)
  • A Harvest of Bones   (2005)
  • One Hex of a Wedding   (2006)

Christine Feehan

The Drake Sisters

  • Magic in the Wind
  • The Twilight Before Christmas
  • Oceans of Fire
  • Dangerous Tides
  • Safe Harbor
  • Turbulent Sea
  • Hidden Currents

Candace Havens*

  • Charmed and Dangerous
  • Charmed and Ready
  • Charmed and Deadly

Heather Webber (these are more “psychic” and less witch, but there are hints that it might be more “witch-like” in the future)

  • Truly, Madly
  • Deeply Desperately

Linda Wisdom*

  • 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover
  • He Appeal
  • Wicked By Any Other Name
  • Hex in High Heels
  • Best Hex Ever
  • Give me Your Best Hex

 

Tomorrow, I will continue this theme by posting about other paranormal books / authors that I like. Until then, Happy Reading!

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Top Ten Young Adults Series

I love to read good Young Adult books. They give me hope! Here are some of my favorite YA series.
 
The Princess Diaries (10 books) by Meg Cabot
All she ever wanted was for her best friend’s brother to notice she was alive—and to pass freshman Algebra. But now that her dad’s told her she’s heir to the throne of the country of Genovia (and that her horrible Grandmere is going to be giving her princess lessons every day after school) Mia Thermopolis has enough problems to fill a lifetime of diaries….

 

1-800- (5 Books) by Meg Cabot
What if you got struck by lightning and woke up with the psychic ability to find missing people? High school sophomore Jess Mastriani knows what she doesn’t want to do: work for the US government. With the help of hunky Rob (can you really trust a guy you met in detention?), Jess is trying to help people in need.

Hunger Games (Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

  • Book 1:Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see. Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love. WINNING WILL MAKE YOU FAMOUS. LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH.
  • Book 2: After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying…  The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games.
  • Book 3: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12…

Wake (Trilogy) by Lisa McMann

  • Wake:  For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime. She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control. Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….
  • Fade: For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open–but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both. Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d even feared…
  • Gone: Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her. She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves–she has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both. Then a stranger enters her life–and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out…

Maximum Ride (7 books and counting) by James Patterson

  • Fang: FANG WILL BE THE FIRST TO DIE. Maximum Ride is used to living desperately on the run from evil forces sabotaging her quest to save the world—but nothing has ever come as close to destroying her as this horrifying prophetic message. Fang is Max’s best friend, her soul mate, her partner in the leadership of her flock of winged children. A life without Fang is a life unimaginable.
  • Max: Maximum Ride and The Flock have returned for a soaring new adventure. The fifth installment of the Maximum Ride series takes the flock into a death-defying new territory. Someone–or something–is destroying hundreds of ships off the coast of Hawaii. The government recruits the flock to help them get to the bottom of the disaster before it’s too late, while their every move is being carefully tracked by Mr. Chu—a criminal mastermind with his own plans for The Flock.
  • The Final Warning: Max and the other members of the Flock–six kids who share her remarkable ability–have been asked to aid a group of environmental scientists studying the causes of global warming. Their ability to fly could help the scientists conquer this epic problem. The expedition seems like a perfect combination of adventure, activism–and escaping government forces who watch the Flock like a hawk.
  • Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports: The time has arrived for Max and her winged ‘Flock’ to face their ultimate enemy and discover their original purpose: to defeat the takeover of ‘Re-evolution’, a sinister experiment to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race…and to terminate the rest.
  • School’s Out Forever: Max’s heart-stopping quest to protect her “family” and investigate the mind-blowing mystery of her ultimate destiny continues in the scariest, strangest, and funniest James Patterson thriller yet.
  • The Angel Experiment: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Angel. Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways—except that they’re 98 percent human, 2 percent bird. They grew up in a lab, living like rats in cages, but now they’re free. Aside, of course, from the fact that they’re prime prey for Erasers – wicked wolflike creatures with a taste for flying humans.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (5 books) by Rick Riordan
I have blogged briefly about this series at https://professorstacy.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/rick-riordans-the-lost-hero/ where I mentioned how much I liked it. In part, I wrote, These books share many characteristics with others in the quest genre (think Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.). However, they focus on the mythology of the Ancient Greeks as passed down to use through the works attributed to Homer. The mythology is represented accurately, so readers get more than just the stories of the contemporary characters (which are plenty good enough alone); they also learn about western culture and our mythos through Riordan’s writings about the ancient Greek gods and goddesses. I loved every minute of this series, and I was very sad to end it.

Harry Potter (7 books) by J. K. Rowling
These books probably need no introduction, but here are some facts about them from the author’s website:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in June 1997 and as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic in September 1998.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in July 1998 (June 2, 1999 in the USA) and was No. 1 in the adult hardback bestseller charts for a month after publication.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published on 8th July 1999 (September 8, 1999 in America) to worldwide acclaim and massive press attention. The book spent four weeks at No.1 in the adult hardback bestseller charts, while Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone simultaneously topped the paperback charts. In the US the first three Harry Potter books occupied the top three spots on numerous adult bestseller lists.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the series, was published in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia 8th July 2000 with a record first print run of 1 million copies for the UK and 3.8 million for the US. It quickly broke all records for the greatest number of books sold on the first weekend of publication.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the series, was published in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia on 21st June 2003. Published in paperback on 10th July 2004, it is the longest in the series – 766 pages – and broke the records set by Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire as the fastest selling book in history.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series, was published in the UK, US and other English-speaking countries on 16th July 2005 and also achieved record sales.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the series, was published in the UK, US and other English speaking countries on 21st July 2007. The book is the fastest selling book in the UK and USA, and sales are well over 400 million copies worldwide.

Pretty Little Liars (8 books) by Sara Shephard

According to the author’s website, this series is  now a hit TV show, but Pretty Little Liars began as Sara Shepard‘s bestselling eight-book series—and you’re cheating yourself if you haven’t read the books! Start the liar’s Rosewood adventure where it all began with Pretty Little Liars Book One. Then get hooked on Flawless. . . . The series will keep you guessing until the last shocking page of Wanted.

Tillermans (7 books) by Cynthia Voigt

With both parents gone, the four Tillerman children – Sammy, Maybeth, James and Dicey, who at 13 is the oldest and the one responsible – have to find a place where they can live together and, once they have done that, they have to learn how to be there, how to live their own lives and grow up into their own selves. The Tillermans – all of them, including Gram and Momma and Bullet – are not people who have things easy, or make things easy on themselves. These books tell the various stories of this family, and of their friends, too.

Little House (9 books) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • Little House in the Big Woods: Wolves and panthers and bears roam the deep Wisconsin woods in the late 1870’s. In those same woods, Laura lives with Pa and Ma, and her sisters, Mary and Baby Carrie, in a snug little house built of logs. Pa hunts and traps. Ma makes her own cheese and butter. All night long, the wind howls lonesomely, but Pa plays the fiddle and sings, keeping the family safe and cozy.
  • Little House on the Prairie: Pa Ingalls decides to sell the little log house, and the family sets out for Indian country! They travel from Wisconsin to Kansas, and there, finally, Pa builds their little house on the prairie. Sometimes farm life is difficult, even dangerous, but Laura and her family are kept busy and are happy with the promise of their new life on the prairie.
  • Farmer Boy: While Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the western prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Almanzo and his brother and sisters work at their chores from dawn to supper most days — no matter what the weather. There is still time for fun, though, especially with the horses, which Almanzo loves more than anything.
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek: Laura’s family’s first home in Minnesota is made of sod, but Pa builds a clean new house made of sawed lumber beside Plum Creek. The money for materials will come from their first wheat crop. Then, just before the wheat is ready to harvest, a strange glittering cloud fills the sky, blocking out the sun. Soon millions of grasshoppers cover the field and everything on the farm. In a week’s time, there is no wheat crop left at all.
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake : Pa Ingalls heads west to the unsettled wilderness of the Dakota Territory. When Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and baby Grace join him, they become the first settlers in the town of De Smet. And Pa begins work on the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the shores of Silver Lake.
  • The Long Winter: The first terrible storm comes to the barren prairie in October. Then it snows almost without stopping until April. Snow has reached the rooftops, and no trains can get through with food or coal. The people of De Smet are starving, including Laura’s family, who wonder how they’re going to make it through this terrible winter. It is young Almanzo Wilder who finally understands what needs to be done. He must save the town, even if it means risking his own life.
  • Little Town on the Prairie: The long winter is over. With spring come socials, parties, and “Literaries.” There is also work to be done. Laura spends many hours each day sewing shirts to help send Mary to a college for the blind. But in the evenings, Laura makes time for a new caller, Almanzo Wilder.
  • These Happy Golden Years: Laura is teaching school, and it’s terrifying! Most of the students are taller than she is, and she must sleep away from home for the first time. Laura is miserable, but the money is needed to keep Mary in a college for the blind. And every Friday — no matter what the weather — Almanzo Wilder arrives to take Laura home to her family for the weekend. Laura and Almanzo are courting, and even though she’s not yet sixteen, she knows that this is a time for new beginnings.
  • The First Four Years: Laura and Almanzo Wilder have just been married! Their life on a small prairie homestead begins with high hopes. But each year seems to bring unexpected disasters — storms, sickness, fire, and unpaid debts. These first four years call for courage, strength, and a great deal of determination. Always, though, there is love, especially for the newest member of the family — baby Rose.

 

 

Happy Reading!

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