Heidi blogged about her five favourite books, so I'm taking up the challenge to pick mine. I will admit this caused much whining in my brain, so I might have to sneak a couple of honourable mentions at the end of the list. But here we go...five favourite books:
!. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
I'll confess, I was late to the party with this book and with Robin McKinley in general. I wandered past Sunshine on the shelf, picked it up, read the blurb and put it down again before one day I just thought "what the heck, let's buy it". And fell instantly in love. It's a near perfect alt-earth quasi post apocalyptic urban fantasy romance. With food to die for, a hero to die for and a heroine to cheer for. And a world that feels endlessly deep, which is one of my tests for great world building. I don't know quite what makes me love it so much but I have read it at least ten times and I only first bought it in 2007. It's a favourite travelling book because I know it will hold my attention through long boring trips. And a favourite comfort read for that same reason. Everyone who likes fantasy, food or just damn good books should read it.
2. Welcome to Temptation - Jennifer Crusie
My favourite contemporary romance. A book I discovered not long after I started trying to write romance myself. The book that made me think "I want to write like THAT". Funny, intelligent and sexy. Crusie does perfectly structured, perfectly wonderful gems of books. Go forth and seek them out.
3. A Civil Campaign - Lois McMaster Bujold
I agree with Heidi, this is my favourite Bujold (though Memory, Mirror Dance, The Curse of Chalion and A Paladin of Souls are very high on the list as well). But like Heidi said this is Austen in space with one of the most engaging heroes in fiction making a complete hash of falling in love for real. Bujold's writing is wonderful, she does characterisation like nobody else and there's real heart and soul and honour in her books (though she is cursed with some terrible covers for the Vorkosigan books, so just ignore them and dive in!)
4. Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett
Again, like Heidi, I could put all of Terry Pratchett's books here but I will confess than in the depths of my heart, I love the witches best and Granny Weatherwax most of all. Witches Abroad is a story about the power of stories and good and evil and Granny meeting her match plus funny and witty and thoughtful like all of Terry's books. (The next runners up would be Thief of Time, A Hat Full of Sky, Reaper Man and Feet of Clay).
5. Anne of Green Gable - L.M. Montgomery
I loved the Anne books growing up and I still re-read them once a year. Anne, smart, in love with books and stories, dreamy and passionate is a heroine after my own heart (plus she has that wonderful red hair which sadly I do not. Nor do I have Gilbert Blythe). These books are like a slice of history though there is real joy and sorrow in them too, particularly as Anne gets older. And one day I'm determined to go to Prince Edward Island in Canada just to see where Anne's world is.
And, forthwith, some honourable mentions
Mr. Impossible - Loretta Chase (my favourite historical romance...if you've never read Loretta, run to a bookstore now, though she too displeased the cover fairies somewhere along the way).
Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey (breathtakingly lush writing, dark, sexy, political fantasy)
Queen of the Shadows - Anne Bishop (more dark, sexy though also funny fantasy in one of my all time favourite worlds)
Scout's Progess - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (or maybe Conflict of Honors...wonderful romantic space opera, also like Austen in space though in a quite different way to Bujold)
Working for the Devil - Lilith Saintcrow (brilliant futuristic/alt earth urban fantasy with a difficult heroine and a superb hero).
It Had to Be You - Susan Elizabeth Phillips (my other favourite contemporary romance writer. I read this book from a library in university I think and looked for it for years but had the wrong author in my head...then one day I was browsing somewhere and there it was and I fell in love with SEP all over again).
Melusine - Sarah Monette (more wonderful dark fantasy).