Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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What SFF title have you recently enjoyed, which you picked up on a whim?

Here’s an interesting “Mind Meld” post by Rob B at SFFWorld: Recent SF/F/H You’ve Read & Enjoyed About Which You Knew Little

Meaning SFF titles you picked up not because of a detailed review from a trusted blogger, but, as I say, basically on a whim.

This post caught my eye mainly because the first answer, from NE White, was: The Emperor’s Edge by Buroker. Oh, hey, yeah, I said when I saw that, and read the rest of White’s entry and then the rest of the post.

I remember I picked up Buroker’s book because of Sherwood Smith’s comments about it. That’s usually how I do wind up dropping a book — or at least a sample — on my TBR pile: someone I trust writes a review and there you go.

Anyway, Yanni Kuznia also mentions The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, which I’ve heard good things about; and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, which ditto.

Let me see, let me see . . . I guess actually I just started a book about which I know nothing, in a sense. Kingfisher by McKillip. I mean, of course I know it’s a McKillip. But I specifically didn’t read any reviews or the back cover copy or anything. Does it count if you go into a book cold but know the author’s work really well?

This morning I read the first chapter and it is beautiful so far.

I guess back when I read The Thousand Names by Wexler, I didn’t know anything but that it was military fantasy and had a woman disguised as a man. It was the first book of Wexler’s I ever read, so I would say that’s going into it pretty cold. Loved it, of course. I’m trying to remember whether the 4th book, due out this summer, is the last? If so I will so much enjoy starting back at the beginning and reading the whole series.

How about you? Anything come to mind for books you love that you read cold rather than on the basis of a trusted friend or reviewer? I’m not sure that happens so often for me anymore, now that I live way out here and no longer browse in bookstores very much.

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8 Comments What SFF title have you recently enjoyed, which you picked up on a whim?

  1. James Pailly

    I haven’t done this in a while. I tend to take a lot of time deliberating over which book on my reading list I want to get next.

    I used to be more spontaneous about buying books, and maybe it’s time I got back to that.

  2. Sandstone

    These days, I tend to read reviews a lot more than I used to, if only because there seem to be a ton of books out in the past couple of years with LGBT characters that tragically die at or near the climax of the story.

    However, I do have a story of one time this worked out quite well! In 2013, I read a blurb online for a SF debut by a local St. Louis author that cited Cherryh influence- always a good thing in my book, and as it happened the book launch party was just a short drive from where I was working then, so I decided to attend. I was a little nervous- I think I was the only person there who wasn’t in the author’s family or a close personal friend of the author- but there was a reading, and cake, and the author was super-nice. As it turned out, the book, Ancillary Justice, was quite good too, well worth taking a chance on :)

  3. Elaine T

    I think the last one was Graydon Saunders’ The March North a couple years ago. Picked it up because I recognized the name as someone who’d always made interesting contributions to discussion threads in a ‘net place I hung out. He thought differently. And the book was quite worth it, as are the sequels.

  4. SarahZ

    My reading time is pretty constrained these days, but the first time I read a Patricia Briggs book it was just based on cover art, and then the fact that the protagonist was a female mechanic sealed the deal. So, that one turned out quite well :)

  5. Mary

    Hmm. . . I picked up Red’s Planet while it was still a webcomic on a whim. And now it’s a book: Red’s Planet: Book 1: A World Away from Home by Eddie Pittman .

    But the last book I picked up on whim with good results was Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell.

    I also picked up Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon on a whim — it’s great.

  6. Rachel

    I do pick up a lot of books based on reviews, but I also pick up some just based on a single twitter comment — if the right person makes the comment, and if the book is not expensive. (If the book is pricey, I usually just put it on my wishlist so as not to lose track of it.

    Sandstone, pretty neat to just happen across Ancillary Justice that way! I’d heard about it EVERYWHERE by the time I finally read it.

    Sarah, you know, I liked the cover art and the mechanic thing right from the beginning, but I didn’t actually start the Mercy Thompson series till I was put on a panel on werewolves at a convention. I thought, Well, better read some werewolf books! And since I’d always liked the cover art, I started with that one. As you said, it turned out well!

    Mary, I’ve got several of Vernon’s on my TBR pile now, since I really liked her recent shorter work and her Beauty and the Beast retelling. And I agree about Quarter Share, too, though I’d heard a little about it before I picked up a sample.

  7. Pete Mack

    Well it wasn’t recent, but I once bought a book by a new author name Neumeier entirely on spec. The book concerned Griffins.

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