Honey and Pepper by AJ Demas
This one didn’t win any kind of vote, but I liked the octopus fritters and I decided I was in the mood for something by Demas. I wasn’t actually necessarily wanting a book that was totally angst-free, though I see why you all might have gotten that impression — just not too dark. I’ve read enough by Demas to know what this book was going to be like, and sure enough, it’s exactly what I expected — lots of charm, good writing, a sweet romance, enough depth not to be cutesy. I’m about halfway through it — I’m pouring time into Tasmakat, so even though I can read Other People’s Novels, it’s a lot slower than if I didn’t have stuff of my own to work on. But it’s great to be able to read fiction again without completely derailing my own projects!
WHAT YOU ALL VOTED FOR:
As you could tell by reading through the comments, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik got the most votes. Also some people declared that it wasn’t for them.
Reading through the comments to that post is actually a useful snapshot of how variable reactions can be, even in a self-selected group of readers such as commenters here. This isn’t actually surprising, of course — just interesting to see in action. I’m definitely keeping this one at the top of the TBR pile and will almost certainly read it This Very Year, as opposed to letting it get lost way down in the depths of the pile where, I imagine, a good many books are currently being compressed into coal by the pressure of the stack above them.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T Kingfisher got the second-most votes, and probably the most “meh, I don’t know what all the fuss is about” comments as well. I do like the titles I’ve read by both the Kingfisher and the Vernon names, and I’ve read a fair number of her books by now, though by no means all of them. I may well pick this one up next, partly because, like Demas, I think I know what I can expect. Thanks, Pete, for your comment that the protagonist might be a bit dense. That’s something that irritates me so much that I prefer to brace myself for it.
The Unselected Journals of Emma M Lion by Beth Brower are still high on my list, and I think this just about tied with Defensive Baking for second place. If I didn’t know it was (at least) a six-book series, I’d probably start it tomorrow. As it is, maybe not, but I’d really like to!
I’m still interested in Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell, but I will be prepared for the dystopian nightmare elements in the worldbuilding. That may kick me out of the story entirely, not sure. I’m not paying $15 for it any time soon, though, I’m sure about that.
You all gave me a thumbs up for almost every title I mentioned, and of course you then went on and made many suggestions, all of which I’m picking up as samples or full books right this minute, except A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske, because I have that one already. Probably because someone here mentioned it, and thank you, Manda, for mentioning it again now. You make it sound really inviting, and it is hereby moving way up the top with the other titles I most want to get to. Also, thank you for your kind words about Tuyo and the whole series! I appreciate it!
Kriti, it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Sanderson, and it wasn’t a Mistborn novel. I’ve never actually tried those, largely because there are seven books, which is kind of a lot, but partly because … I just haven’t, I guess? I really liked his novella The Emperor’s Soul, but I think the next thing I tried by him was Steelheart. While I liked it, how did I put this, oh, right, the extreme-ultra-mega-obviousness of Steelheart’s weaknesses took this books down several notches for me. Talk about the characters being dense, wow. I never did go on to the second book in that series, and this particular plot weakness was probably why. But I know Mistborn is very popular! I’m sure I should at least try the first book!
I didn’t order At the Feet of the Sun from Victoria Goddard’s website, which I sort of regret, but not necessarily, because by the time I get it — Dec 1 — hopefully I will be ready to send Tasmakat off to first readers and that would be a much better time to get into it. By the time this post goes live, perhaps some of you will have read it. I’m dying to know what you think.
I very much appreciate everyone’s suggestions for must-read titles, and shortly I’ll put together another post where I take a look at first paragraphs for everything you all recommended.