A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Review

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Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: Prestwick House Inc.
Publication Date: 1843
Length: 86
Series: Stand Alone
Reason for Discovery: I have seen every incarnation of the movie. I thought I should read the book.

This is a book that I got for free, so it satisfies COYER's requirements!

From GoodReads:

In his "Ghostly little book," Charles Dickens invents the modern concept of Christmas Spirit and offers one of the world's most adapted and imitated stories. We know Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, not only as fictional characters, but also as icons of the true meaning of Christmas in a world still plagued with avarice and cynicism.

For those of you who don't know, this book is about a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. These three ghosts teach Scrooge the importance of Christmas and of kindness.

I have watched lots of different versions of A Christmas Carol on the television and in the theater. I have seen Scrooge played as an animated character, a woman, and an alien or two. I thought it was time for me to sit down and read this short book. I had tried to read it back when I was in high school, but I didn't find it compelling at the time. I think I had seen one too many movies of the story, and I was burnt out.

I must admit that I was rather impressed by this little story. It is a short story and the writing is very tight. You move at a brisk pace but You never feel rushed. I was pleasantly surprised that to discover that there were a few bits of the text that I haven't seen (or at least rarely saw) in movie versions of this tale. These little discoveries sprinkled through the text made reading the book enjoyable, because I was on the look out for parts of the story that don't usually make it to the screen. 

If you are a fan of one of the movie versions of this tale or love a Christmas story of redemption, A Christmas Carol is for you. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Because lots of folks will be spending today eating turkey and watching football, Thoughtful Thursday is taking a vacation today. Thoughtful Thursday will resume next week. In the meantime, I hope that you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving (or a regular Thursday)!

I leave you with William Shatner and the dangers of deep frying turkeys!

A Feast for Crows by GRR Martin: Review

Title: A Feast for Crows
Author: GRR Martin
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: Jan 2005
Length: 1060
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (#4)
Reason for Discovery: Sword & Laser Book Club, Game of Thrones TV show, the Internet
From GoodReads:
With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making.

After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
This book contains 13 POV (point of view) characters (this includes the prologue POV character). This book predominately follows Cersei Lannister, Brienne, Samwell Tarley, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, and Sansa Stark. Cersei is despertately trying to keep hold of Westeros and maintain her standing as Queen Regent, even though Margery who is married to King Tommen is making trouble for her. Brienne is on a journey to find and protect Sansa and Arya Stark, so she can keep her word to the now deceased Catelyn Stark. Samwell is traveling to Oldtown to beg the maesters for help for the Night's Watch. Arya is learning how to be a faceless man, while Jaime is trying to be a better man. Sansa is just trying to survive. Also, the Greyjoys are fighting over who should be king, since Theon's father has died. Okay, I think this sums up what is happening with limited spoilers. :)
There are a lot of POV characters in this book. I should admit that I didn't pay close attention to the Greyjoy chapters and had to go to the A Song of Ice and Fire Wiki to find out what happened in those chapters. I think I got a bit frustrated with all of the different POV characters and decided not to pay close attention to any except for the main characters (i.e., Cersei, Brienne, Samwell, Arya, Jaime, and Sansa). It was very neat to learn what was happening in lots of different places at the same time, but I think having 13 "main characters" is a bit much.
In regards to the story itself, I found it interesting. I didn't feel like it was dragging. I kept finding myself surprised how quickly I was moving through the book. Even though A Feast for Crows was barely shorter than A Storm of Swords, this book felt shorter than A Storm of Swords. This is surprising, because the majority of the book focuses on explanations for characters' actions and the history of the Seven Kingdoms. At one point, Littlefinger gives a monologue to Sansa on why a young man born out of wedlock will be Lord of the Vale one day. Towards the end of the book, there is a good amount of action and a few little surprises that make the reader want to read the next book. Some of the action is due to what the characters have been doing up until that point in the book; however, some of the surprises technically pop out of nowhere. There are hints of these surprises in the book; however, the when and where of the surprises could have happened at any time. For example, something happens during Brienne's POV chapters. This something was not really related to anything that Brienne had done up until that point.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked being able to follow Cersei and learn more about how she thinks. Arya and Sansa are two of my favorite characters, so any book with them is going to be enjoyable for me. Plus Jaime, Brienne, and Samwell are always great. I do wish that some of the story lines like the Greyjoy story had been written up as novella that takes place during this book, because I thought there were just too many POV characters. I also wish that maybe some of this information could have been put in A Song of Ice and Fire encyclopedia instead. At the same time, Martin's goal (at least I am assuming this is his goal) is to write an epic high fantasy story that shows that lots of things are happening all over the place. This series is not about how one person changes a world but how lots of people are changing lots of things at the same time. I hope that we haven't read a book's worth of extraneous information over the course of this book series. I think I just need to withhold judgment until the series ends (hopefully in the next 5, 10, 15 years?).
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things That I Am Thankful For

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week bloggers post a top ten list related to a specific theme. This week's theme is the Top Ten Bookish Things That I Am Thankful For.

1. Kindle Paperwhite -- I love my Kindle Paperwhite so much. It is lighter than my old Kindle Keyboard, and I can read it in the dark! I also love that I never have to worry about marking my place or about how big a book is (all books weigh the same on my Kindle). It is my constant companion.

2. Overdrive -- Overdrive is the most amazing app in the world. I can get books and audio books on my phone, Kindle, and computer for free! I am constantly checking my library's Overdrive website for new books.

3. Library -- As a poor grad student, I cannot buy lots of books. My library is my savior. They have all the books, audio books, DVDs (including Blu-Rays), and video games that a girl could want.

4. Midnight Book Releases -- One of my favorite bookish memories is going to the midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at a local bookstore. It was so cool to seek kids and adults excited about the book.

5. GoodReads -- I love making lists; it may be one of my favorite things in the world. GoodReads lets me organize the books I have read and books I have yet to read. I also have made friends and got free books through this site!.

6. ARCs/Galleys -- I am not a patient person, so being able to get books before they are published is simply fantastic. Getting ARCs for The Republic of Thieves and Happy Hour in Hell pushed me to start blogging more regularly.

7. Sword & Laser Book Club -- In October 2012, I started watching a lot of YouTube videos. I ended up discovering the Sword & Laser Book Club. They had a YouTube show for a "season," but they also have a long-standing podcast. This show got me reading again, after a long hiatus due to grad school keeping me busy.

8. Authors -- Without authors, I wouldn't have all of these amazing books!

9. Bookmarks -- When I read physical books, I usually just grab any piece of paper that is handy; however, I LOVE bookmarks. I have an embarrassingly large collection for someone who mainly reads books on her Kindle.

10. Book Blogging Community -- I love talking about the books I read, but there is only so much that I can discuss with a lot of my friends and husband, before they plead to change the subject. I love having an entire Internet community to discuss my favorite books with!

Too Cute Puppies by Animal Planet: Review

Title: Too Cute Puppies
Author: Animal Planet
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: October 2013
Length: 96
Series: Too Cute
Reason for Discovery: GoodReads First Reads Program

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From GoodReads:
The first eight weeks of a puppy's life are an epic adventure. And every impossibly adorable moment of that adventure is captured in this book, based on Animal Planet's hit show TOO CUTE.

Millions of viewers have joined their favorite pups as they take on the journey from helpless baby to rambunctious best friend. Now they can hold on to every precious moment through the exclusive photographs in this book. Every beautiful, entirely-too-cute photo illustrates the everyday dramas of puppies as they grow up and learn to navigate the world.

From their first sight of the world, to their first wobbly steps, to their first trip outdoors, these cuddly pups are coming of age in the most adorable ways. This book is for anyone who needs a little or a lot of extra cuteness in their life!

I thought I would start the week off with a smile. :) Every Saturday night, I turn on Animal Planet, so I can watch Too Cute. This television show follows three groups of puppies or kittens during the first 12 weeks of life. A few of the puppies or kittens will get names, and their adventures will be described as the little animals do adorable things. For example, "Little Oreo doesn't want to take a nap like his brothers and sisters, so he is going to explore the edge of the blanket instead." Seriously, each episode is like one hour long YouTube video but with better video and audio quality. You cannot help but smile when you watch this show. There is now an entire season on Netflix, and I am excited to turn it on when I need a pick-me-up. When I saw Too Cute Puppies was a GoodReads First Reads book, I knew I had to throw my hat into the raffle.

Here is a two-minute video showcasing some of the adorableness of the show:

This book is a collection of adorable pictures of puppies with a few facts about the different dog breeds shown and a few mentions of some of the puppies that were on the show. This book does not contain enough facts on dogs to really justify buying this book for dog facts. At the same time, this book doesn't really have very much information about the dogs that were on the show; the puppies are just given random shout outs here and there. The book doesn't even have an introduction. It is literally just a book with cute pictures of puppies.

I really struggled with figuring out who is supposed to buy this book. I showed the book to my husband who went from having a bad day to smiling, because cute puppies are fantastic. He agreed that the book is not really for the Too Cute television show audience either (he is forced to watch this show with me every week). After thinking a moment, he said, "the book is for people who don't know how to use the Internet." I have to admit that I think he is right. One of the two main reasons the Internet was invented was to show off cute animals (the other reason the Internet was invented was for "sexy times"). If you need to look at cute puppies at a moment's notice, and you don't regularly have access to the Internet, you should get this book.

When I organizing this review in my head, my mind immediately jumped to giving this book a 4/5, because the puppies were just so cute. I felt guilty about this, because the text wasn't really impressive. Again, I turned to my husband, and I asked him what he would rate this book. Without a moment's hesitation, he said 4/5. When I asked him why, he said, "it is a book full of adorable puppies." So there you have it.

I have to give this book 4 out 5 for sheer adorableness.

Sunday Update!

This has been a fun weekend! First, I got to watch the new Doctor Who episode. It was the anniversary episode, and it was quite fantastic. I had been a bit disappointed with the last few Doctor Who episodes; however, this episode was quite strong. I was quite happy with it. I was also happy that the episode was being simulcasted on BBC America. I got to watch it legally and at the same time as everyone else! Yea! :)

Second, I discovered that wma audio books from Overdrive can be played on my iPod shuffle. I didn't think I could play Overdrive audio books on it (I had tried previously but something went wrong, and I just figured I couldn't do it), but I can! This opens me up to so many more library audio books. Before this discovery, I rarely listened to wma audio books (versus mp3 audio books), because I thought I could only listen to them on my computer. Although my library has a lot of mp3 audio books, which I can listen to on the Overdrive app on my phone, there were quite a number of wma audio books that I desperately wanted to listen to. 

Weekly Book Haul

ARCs & Giveaways
I have been good about requesting ARCs; I only got two! I got Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly by Agatha Christie (because Shaelyn from Shae Has Left the Building mentioned it) and Beyond the Rift by Peter Watts (because Tabitha from My Shelf Confessions liked it). I also received two books from Goodreads: Too Cute Puppies by Animal Planet and Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself by Sarah A. Chrisman.

I got volumes 2-8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie: Yeah, I haven't been really reading this book. Because the month is almost up, and I don't want to miss out on my book club's discussion, I will probably push through and finish this book.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: I have been focused on finishing A Feast for Crows, so I haven't been listening to Divergent. Now that this is my only audiobook and that I discovered that I can listen to WMA audio books from Overdrive on my iPod shuffle, I imagine that I will finish this book quickly.
Read This Week 
A Feast for Crows by GRR Martin  
A Touch of Temptation by Tara Pammi
Foolish Games by

Foolish Games by Tracy Solheim: Review

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Title: Foolish Games
Author: Tracy Solheim
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: December 2013
Length: 320
Series: Out of Bounds #2
Reason for Discovery: ARC

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book meets the COYER requirements, because I received this e-book for free!

From GoodReads:
Bridal gown designer, Julianne Marchione knows better than to lose her head at a client’s wedding. But, much to her embarrassment, a mix of migraine medication and a smoking hot football player lead to a steamy one night stand resulting in a surprise pregnancy. Julianne has every intention of leaving her NFL hookup far in the past until her son, Owen, is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.

Will "William the Conqueror" Connelly grew up tough, shouldering the stigma of being a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks. He refuses to let any child face the same discrimination. When he finds out about Owen, he’s furious that Julianne kept his son a secret. But when he sees her again at the hospital, he realizes that his feelings for her go far beyond anger.

Will insists that Owen recuperate at his home in North Carolina, and he’s adamant that Julianne become his wife—even if it’s only a temporary marriage in name only. But will their simmering attraction ever lead to a real connection?  Or are they just playing foolish games?

Julianne and Will had a one-night fling. Nine months later, unbeknownst to Will, Julianne gives birth to little baby Owen. Julianne had planned never to tell Will, but Owen is sick and needs Will's blood for his medical treatment. Will is angry that Julianne did not tell him that he was a father. Julianne agrees to marry Will and live with him, so Owen gets a chance to know his father. Julianne and Will struggle to find common ground, while Julianne's brother investigates Will and Will's former football coach for intentionally harming opposing football players on the field.

This is another contemporary romance that is perfect for fans of the alpha male protagonist. At one point, Will thinks to himself that he wants to hit Julianne but he knows that he can't do that, so he is going to kiss her instead. A few times, Will does put his hands on Julianne. During one of these moments, Will's mother sees him do this and kicks him out of the house. I know this is the MO for alpha males, but this just sends up red flags for me. Fortunately for me (maybe not for the alpha male fans), most of the fighting ends about halfway through the book as Julianne and Will begin to trust each other.

I must admit that I liked the secondary characters more than Julianne and Will. In fact, I felt that the secondary characters like Will's teammates and Will's mother were written more consistently and were more believable. Will's teammates and mom were like a breath of fresh air, because they seemed more realistic about Julianne and Will's situation (they didn't think jumping into a marriage was the best idea) and more grounded (they didn't think yelling at Julianne first and asking questions later was a good plan). Unlike these secondary characters who sent the same message time and time again, Will and Julianne seemed to change their minds on a regular basis. The change in their opinions and attitudes seemed to come from the need to keep the anger or love making going. For example, a few times, Will starts psychoanalyzing Julianne in an effort to just be cruel. This behavior didn't feel right for who Will was as a character, but it helped keep the fighting (and crying) going. 

This book has a secondary romance that I thought was quite sweet. Will's mom and his team manager end up falling in love. In "real life," I don't see this type of relationship working. I think it would be a bit awkward for everyone; however, in these type of serial romances, everyone falls in love, so I am okay with it. This romance has a tiny bit of fighting, but these two characters are able to share their feelings and talk openly. It was sweet, and I wish I got to see more of their romance.

Overall, this book is better suited for romance readers who like alpha male heroes. Will's behavior worried me, and I wouldn't want a friend of mine dating him. Of course, this is a romance novel, and with the love of a good woman, Will won't be cruel to her ever again. I really liked several of the secondary characters, and I need to see if Brody Janik (one of Will's teammates) has his own book in this series. He seemed a bit more thoughtful than Will.

For me, this book was just okay, so it receives a 2 out of 5. If you have different feelings on alpha males, you might like this book better than me.


Thoughtful Thursday: How Far Will You Go For An Author?

I noticed recently that bookish questions keep popping up while I am reading. I really wanted to have a space to express some of my thoughts and to get your thoughts on these questions too! I would like this to be a weekly segment, but we shall see how many questions I have. :)

I really want to encourage anyone stopping by to share your thoughts on the bookish question of the week. I am curious to hear what you have to say! There are no wrong answers, and these discussions are not meant to spark angry debates. Alright, so on to the question!

How far will you follow a favorite author out of your reading comfort zone?

Within the past year, I noticed that I read several YA/children's books, because I loved the authors' adult books. For example, I recently read Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School series) by Gail Carriger, because I loved her Parasol Protectorate series. I didn't even think about the fact that Carriger was writing for a different audience, I knew that I wanted to read this series, because the Finishing School series was set in the Parasol Protectorate universe, so I was going to see some of my favorite characters in this new series. Interestingly, Carriger has two fantasy short stories available that are not within this same universe, but I don't seem to be excited to read them. I like Carriger's writing style and the stories sound great, but I always find something else to read.

This pattern also seems to fit with my JK Rowling reading. I have reread the Harry Potter books multiple times. I have also read Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Quidditch through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. When it comes to The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling, however, I never seem to find the time to read them, even though they both sound interesting.

On the flip side, I have read books by Neil Gaiman that are considered children, YA, and adult literature and none of them are in the same book universe. It felt perfectly natural to go from reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane to Fortunately, the Milk. It didn't even cross my mind to think that I would not enjoy a children's book by Neil Gaiman. Additionally, I get excited when I discover that Neil Gaiman has penned an episode of Doctor Who that I am going to watch. At the same time, outside of The Sandman, I don't have a burning to desire to read his other work in graphic novels or to read his nonfiction work (BTW, he wrote a biography on Duran Duran).

I have some friends who LOVE certain authors and read everything by them. I definitely have authors that I love, but apparently my love tends to have certain limits. I seem willing to follow an author outside of a demographic (e.g., from adult to YA books), but I can't think of any authors (at least in this moment) that I have followed outside of his/her genre. Wow, writing this post has made me realize that I don't seem to want to make a leap of faith even with authors that I love. I wonder, if I have been disappointed in the past by this type of jump and now I am just blocking the memory out.

Wait a minute! I have made a leap of faith! There was a time in which I read a lot of Nora Roberts books (contemporary romance). Recently, I read Naked in Death, which is a SF-thriller romance, and liked it. Does this count? The books are all romances.

I guess I am a 'fraidy cat.

So, I pose this question to you! How far will you follow a favorite author out of your reading comfort zone? Will an author compel you to leave YA and try an adult book (or vice versa)? Will you leave SF&F for contemporary fiction if your favorite author is writing it? Have you made the leap of faith and have been pleasantly surprised? Have you made the leap of faith and decided not to leap again?

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger: Review

Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 2013
Length: 320
Series: Finishing School #2
Reason for Discovery: I loved Carriger's Soulless series

From GoodReads:

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing. For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ships boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is at first apparent. A conspiracy is afoot one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot and survive the London Season with a full dance card.
 In this latest Finishing School book, a test is completed, romances are started, and mysteries are solved. Sophronia and the rest of her cohort begin their semester with a test to see how they are doing and whether they are up to Mademoiselle Geraldine's standards. The test does not go well for many of the girls, and as a result, friendships are strained. A simple test does not damper the ladies' spirits on the romance front, however. Dimity, Sophronia's dear friend, continues to be head over heels in love with a boy from their sister school. Sophronia is also starting to attract some attention of her own both from Soap, one of the young men who works at their school, and from Felix, a young man from their sister school. Although Sophronia is not ready to throw her hat into the courting ring, Soap and Felix are both ready to catch it. Finally, a school for finishing is also not without its danger. Some kidnappers appear to be intent on snatching Dimity and her brother, and when the villains are not after these two, they seem to be after a certain mechanical piece.

Before I say anything else, I want to give one caveat. If you are not familiar with the Finishing School series, you should start with Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1). Although I will start a series in the middle at times, this series relies on the reader know what is going on. You are given a little background to remind the reader of what happened previously, but a new reader to this series will only be confused.

This book was so much fun. I think I might actually want to go to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality more than I want to go to Hogwarts. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but I love the idea of learning how to be a spy and how to "finish" someone (pun intended), while at the time, acting the part of the lady. I know it may sound crazy, but I think learning how to manage conspiracies and curtsies seems a bit more practical than magic. 

Alright, I should probably talk a little bit about this book. Just like in the first book, I found the characters to be quite lovely. Sophronia is definitely the most well-thought out character; however, the other characters are well-described as well. The girls are almost like Carrie and the gang from Sex and the City. What I mean is that Sophronia (and Carrie) are well thought out, because their adventure is the main one; and Sophronia and Carries' respective groups are a little less three-dimensional, but they are still loads of fun. Because Sophronia's relationship with her cohort are strained in this book, we don't get to learn a lot about the girls in this book, and this makes me sad. Some of the characters in this book are seen later in the Soulless series, and I would love to get to know them even more.
The B plot line spun through this book is a blooming love triangle with Sophronia, Felix (boy from the sister school), and Soap (boy who works at the school). I do not know what to think about this! There are reasons for Sophronia to end up with either of these young men, but there are also reasons for her not to be courted by either. I feel that this storyline reminds me more of a Gale versus Peeta situation (it wasn't until the final book that I saw which way the tide was going) than a Edward versus Jacob situation (was there really any doubt which way Bella was going?). Because this is a YA book, I think Sophronia will end up having some sort of romance. I must admit that I am really hoping that Sophronia will end up single in the end. I don't get the impression Sophronia is ready for married life just yet, even if that was the status quo for the era.
Okay, we should probably discuss the central plot to this book. As I mentioned above, someone is trying to kidnap Dimity and her brother. Also, people are after certain mechanical pieces. The plot was tight and worked well. It probably would have made a bit more sense, if I wasn't trying to inhale the book in one sitting. I wish the story arc that is being thread through this series was a bit more interesting to me. I am personally not that interested in this amazing piece of technology. I am hoping that once the series is complete and the final parts of the storyline completed, I will be more interested in it. This happened with the Soulless series. During my reread, I became fascinated with the overarching story arc.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The plot was fun and the characters are great. Some of the little plot twists seemed a bit obvious to me, but this may be because the book is YA. If you are a fan of Carriger and/or supernatural steampunk, you should try this series out. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.

I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To "X" Person

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week bloggers post a top ten list related to a specific theme. This week's theme is the Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To "X" Person. My "person" is someone looking to read more science fiction and fantasy and prefers a female POV. I have several female friends who don't think that the SF&F genre don't have anything to offer them. :( All links lead to GoodReads. 

1. Among Others by Jo Walton
This book is probably the most controversial SF&F book on here, because some argue that it is not SF&F. I listed it, because this book really can be interpreted as just general fiction and not SF&F, if someone is really uncomfortable with SF&F. One warning, the POV character mentions lots of book titles; however, you don't need to be familiar with the books to enjoy the book. 

2. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
This book has two different POV characters, one male and one female. Outside of a bit of time travel, this book is pretty quiet on the SF&F front. Someone could read this book as a combination of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. 

3. Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris

This book is straight-up fantasy, because it contains vampires. I included this book, because even people who are not SF&F fans can tolerate vampires. There are sexy times too!

4. In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker

This book is probably the one that a newbie SF&F fan would run from, but I still want to recommend it. I have never read anything like it. This book has time travel, a little romance, and botany. You see, you probably haven't read anything like it. 

5. Soulless by Gail Carriger

This book is straight-up fantasy with some steampunk thrown in for fun. Like Dead until Dark, this book has vampires and werewolves, which I feel that a general fiction audience can typically tolerate even if they are not game to jump into SF&F.

6. A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan 

This book might work for someone who loves memoirs, because it is written as so. The twist is that in this book's world, there are dragons.

7. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

This is another book that can work for people who want to put their toe in the SF&F world. Even people who do not read SF&F are familiar with The Wizard of Oz, this fantastical world usually feels comfortable for people.

8. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I added this book for people who like to read YA. Although this book is quite fantastical, The Golden Compass's world is fairly similar to our own, so it can be a comfortable read for someone who doesn't normally read SF&F. My one caveat about this book and trilogy is that the story has a negative view on Christianity.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I added this book for the YA readers, for those who enjoy reading books and movies together, and for those who like a lot of action in their books. This book and series are action-packed and quite thrilling. 

10. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This book is for those who like haunting, adult books. Although this is a SF book and the SF elements are necessary for the plot, the heart of this book is the main character and her relationship with her true friends. 

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