Funny Historical Romance Books Xmas 2016

Funny Historical Romance Books Xmas 2016

The only thing better than historical romance at WhyToRead is funny historical romance novels. Who didn’t laugh and enjoy the witty repartee of Elizabeth and Darcy (Pride and Prejudice). Georgette Heyer is another historical romance writer well known for her humorous situations and dialog.  Today this list introduces you to more funny historical romance writers.

Some of these books are a bit hotter than Pride and Prejudice, but with the humor still prevalent worth a read by the most conservative.

1. Compromised – Kate Nobel

Funny Historical Romance - Compromised
What does a lady do when her sister is found in a compromising position with a gentleman? Gail is an intelligent, witty, funny and independent woman, but doesn’t really fit in a conservative, early 19th century English patriarchal society. Maximillian is some sort of messed up version of a knight in shining armor.

Compromised is an exciting historical novel fueled with intrigue, heat break, very funny dialogue and strong characters. Kate Nobel does an amazing job of placing strong willed women in a historical society, without making the reader feel like they are out of place. She also crowns this love story with steamy sex scenes that are the jewels of an illicit romance.

Enjoy reading as Gail and Max’s love story unfolds in this fast paced, beautifully written and funny historical romance novel.

2. Dreaming of You – Lisa Kleypas

Funny Historical Romance - Dreaming of You
Sara Fielding likes to find adventure in life with her pen and paper. Derek Craven, the lord of an exclusive gambling house, is a dark, mysterious and dangerous man. When Derek has to work with Sara after she accidentally saves his life, both their lives change, as unexpectedly as you can imagine.

Mousy Sara become a seductive, assertive and passionate woman that Derek wants to protect. Gradually Derek learns to let Sara into his life and of course slowly falls in love.

Dreaming of You is a steamy love story that reminds us of Jane Austin’s writing. The historical placement is beautiful, the romance is agonizingly slow to develop and the characters are flawed and well built with depth and realism. Top this off with steamy romance, strong characters and funny scenes that left us laughing out loud.

3. Romancing Mister Bridgerton – Julia Quinn

Funny Historical Romance - Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Romancing Mister Bridgerton is an historical romance with a twist on the “celebrity in the public eye” theme. Colin Bridgerton, a charming socialite of London wants to escape the gossip columns and prove that he is more than a pretty face. Penelope Featherington has known and liked Colin, her best friend’s brother, for most of her life.  When Colin returns to London and they meet again, and a spark is ignited. They both have secrets and they both try to keep them buried, but life has other plans for them.

We loved the forth installment of Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. Besides the steamy romance and the amazing love story, the mystery around the characters secrets kept us glued to the pages.  With strong characters so lively that we expected them to jump from the page into reality this series continues to amuse.

4. Trials of Artemis – Sue London

Funny Historical Romance - Trials of Artemis
Trials of Artemis is a historical romance novel with an unusually strong feminist perspective. The heroine of this novel grows up in a ‘club’ that replaces the woman’s name with their equivalent of man names and encourages them to to ‘boys’ activities. So Jacqueline plays being Jack; and grows up into an independent woman who is not that into the idea of marriage. Until she meets Gideon Wolfe, the Earl of Harrington. Gideon is also independent and smart but and with some typical preconceived ideas about women.

When the two of them are forced to get married, they struggle to make the relationship work. But it’s not that easy. They bump heads, fight about Jacqueline’s feminist views, and don’t take each other seriously. But in the end, after a steamy and emotional (and quite funny) rollercoaster, they figure out how to enjoy the relationship and each other.

Sue London stays true to the era, but the views Jacqueline has, makes Trials of Artemis a romance that surpasses time, and is quite relevant.

5. Forbidden – Tracy Cooper-Posey & Julia Templeton

Funny Historical Romance - Forbidden
Elisa is in a dark place in her life. Her cheating husband has died, she can’t find her son, she can’t support herself and vicious rumors are flying about her. The solutions to all these problems is to find a wealthy husband. Vaughn is attracted by Elisa’s innocence, and soon he will discover the raw sensuality she keeps hidden. A scorching seduction follows with a Forbidden romance.

The historical placement is accurate and gives the book an interesting edge. The characters are well defined and the writing is exquisite.

6. Desperate for a Duke – Ella J. Quince

Funny Historical Romance - Desparate for a Duke
Miss Heather Everly’s family is broke after the patriarch dies and leaves them in debt. After she writes the Duke of Ablehill offering her hand in marriage, he sends his stewart, Fallon Calder to be convinced that Heather is suitable to be his Duchess. There is an instant attraction between Heather and Fallon, and so their problems begin.

We loved Desperate for a Duke.  A well written historical romance with humorous dialogue, colorful characters,and steamy scenes. The love triangle kept the pages turning to unravel how the voice of reason or the desire of the heart would prevail.

If you might enjoy funny historical romance, or just need a break; then give these novels a try.

Visit some of our other Romance lists for more inspiration.

Best Sci Fi Detective Stories to Read

Best Sci Fi Detective Stories to Read

Sci Fi is a very popular genre on WhyToRead.com.  As are detective/thriller books.  Today our review list show cases some of the best ever sci fi detective novels ever written.  Plunge into the future with robots, androids, personality chips and lots of murders to solve.

1. The Caves of Steel – Isaac Asimov

Sci Fi Detective novels - The Caves of Steel
First in the Isaac Asimov’s Robot series The Caves of Steel introduces an unusual partnership between a New York City detective Elijah Baley and a humanoid robot R. Daneel Olivaw. These two are forced to work together after prominent Spacer, Dr. Roj Nemennuh Sarton, is murdered.
The story takes place three millennia into a future. The Earth is not a nice place to live. But the more lucky ones  live in the Outer Worlds – colonized planets known as Spacer worlds. These two worlds are polar opposites; while Earth is overpopulated and has strict rules against robots; Spacer worlds are lowly populated and use robots for everything.  Needless to say, Elijah Baley does not like either Spacers nor his assignment.

What is interesting in this story are two worlds that Asimov created and two complete opposite characters who are forced to work together and overcome their differences.  This well known, classic sci fi detective story published in 1954 is still intriguing and very interesting to read.

2. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams

Sci Fi Detective novels - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a lesser known series written by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It contains only two books. Adams wanted to add the third one to the series but unfortunately he died before he finished it.

This is a strange and funny novel. It has disparate plotlines. Actually the story contains several plots. At the beginning the reader will meet “Electric Monk” who is looking for a Door. After that the focus shifts to Professor Urban Chronotis at St. Cedd’s College in Cambridge. Soon the story is full of strange things and the only person who can make a connection between them is a Dirk Gently. Dirk Gently is Holistic Detective. In another words he understands and know that all things are interconnected. Dirk Gently is not major character, but he is definitely the central one and he is the character that make this truly unpredictable story so interesting. Funny and different this story is must read for all Douglas Adams’ fans and beyond.

3. Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan

Sci Fi Detective novels - Altered Carbon
Set 500 years in the future, Altered Carbon is a hard boiled cyberpunk crime novel. The world that Morgan creates is an interesting one. It is a world in which other planets are inhabited by human beings. The United Nation Protectorate oversees these planets. In this world it is possible to digitally store a personality and downloaded it into new body. But not all humans are doing that; only the richest want to live forever by moving their personality into new body when the old one dies.

The main character is Takeshi Kovacs, ex-soldier who gets tasked to find out what happened to Laurens Bancroft. Laurens Bancroft is one of the very rich who has committed suicide to take a new body, but lost 48 hours of his memory in the process. Takeshi Kovacs’ task is to find out what happened in that 48 missing hours. Was it suicide, or actually murder?
This is brutal novel but with a very interesting premise. In 2003 it won the Philip K. Dick Award for Best Novel.

4. When Gravity Fails – George Alec Effinger

Sci Fi Detective novels - When Gravity Fails
This is a first book in the series about Marîd Audran, originally published in 1987. Set in the 22nd century in which Islamic world is prosperous while the US, Europe and Soviet Union are in decline. The main character is Marîd Audran, freelance operator and hustler. He is extremely proud to be independent and free from cybernetic modification. Still, in order to alter his mood he relies on drugs and alcohol abuse. Everything will change for Marîd when his acquaintances start dying. In order to catch the killer he is forced to undergo advanced cybernetic modification against his choice.
Effinger builds a fascinating world in which people can easily modify their personality by plugging in chips. Other chips can also enhance or bestow skills like the ability to speak a foreign language, or suppress some physical and mental functions.

A sci fi detective story with twists and turns of a great plot. Further, the story has provoking ideas about personality modification and genders. All in all very interesting read.

5. The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester

Sci Fi Detective novels - The Demolished Man
Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man was a winner of the first Hugo Award in 1953. This is a so called inverted detective story, which means that the reader knows who the killer is from the very beginning. Therefore the story focuses on how the killer will be find and caught. Set in the 24th century where society consists of telepathic and non-telepathic humans. The murderer is an extremely smart non-telepathic human, Ben Reich. His goal is to get away with murder in a world where police officers have strong telepathic abilities. The telepathic police officer who tries to catch Ben is a Lincoln Powell. Lincoln Powell, despite of his telepathic powers cannot keep up with very clever Ben.

This is very interesting classic sci fi novel set far in the future yet does not involve aliens or robots. Definitely worth reading.

Best Sci Fi Detective Stories – continued

6. The Automatic Detective – A. Lee Martinez

Sci Fi Detective novels - The Automatic Detective
This is a story about Mack Megaton. Mack is not a human; he is a robot, a massive one. He is a robot built for destruction. But Mack is not destroying anything, because he is a taxi driver. When his neighbor and her family go missing Mack becomes an amateur detective on a mission to find his neighbors.
Although set in future the first half of the book is very much classical detective novel. The only difference is the characters/ suspects who Mike meets. They are every bit sci fi classics, some of them have extra limbs while some have tentacles instead, and then there are some monsters that are very Godzilla-like.

We found the second part of the story is a more action than talk oriented. But a great fun story.

The Automatic Detective is part noir, part action story full of very colorful characters. It is fun and interesting read

7. A Philosophical Investigation – Philip Kerr

Sci Fi Detective novels - A Philosophical investigation
A Philosophical Investigation was first published in 1992 and is set in 2013.  Researchers have discovered physiological basis for the most brutal criminal tendencies in men. Names of all men diagnosed with such a tendencies are stored in the database. The problems begin when one of diagnosed man breaks into the database, removes his name from it and start to kill other men in the database. The case is taken by Chief Inspector Isadora “Jake” Jakowicz who tries to catch the killer.

The story is told from two points of view. One is the POV of the Chief Inspector, and the other is diary entries of serial killer, code named Wittgenstein.  Although Kerr’s “future” is already past this story is still an interesting read in the genre of sci fi detective fiction.

8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K Dick

Sci Fi Detective novels - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a classic SF novel that was made very popular by the movie Blade Runner with Harrison Ford. Yet this sci fi detective novel was first published in 1968.

The story is set in 1992 post-apocalyptic, post nuclear war San Francisco. The biggest consequence of the nuclear war was extinction of most animal species. Therefore being an animal owner became very prestigious and a sign of empathy. In order to get a real animal and to replace his electronic sheep, Rick Deckard signs up to a mission. His mission is to find and destroy six escaped, rogue androids. Deckard’s biggest problem is that androids look exactly like humans.

The story focuses on Deckard’s hunt of the androids, but the main question of the story is about what it is to be human. This is a classic novel that asks very important questions about identity, empathy and being human.

Best Cultural Anthropology Books 2016

Best Cultural Anthropology Books 2016

Cultural Anthropology sounds difficult but is actually very interesting.  In the study of human kind, the cultural differences that make us who we are and what we are can be subtle or overwhelming.  These cultural anthropology books are some of the most popular in 2016.  They cover a wide range of topics, from the tragic story of Lia, a Hmong child in America; to elite athletes and learning to run.

Read these books and learn some cultural anthropology without trying too hard.  You’ll benefit in several areas from our list of 10 Reasons Why reading is important, including smarter, attractive, and self discovery.

1. Outliers: The Story of Success  – Malcolm Gladwell

Cultural Anthropology - Outliers
In this book, the author of Tipping Point and Blink, Malcom Gladwell writes about people who are exceptional. They are exceptional because they do not fit into normal understanding of achievement. These people are successful, smart and rich. So who are the outliers? Malcom Gladwell analyses lives and success of people like Bill Gates, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the popular band Beatles, among others.

There are reasons why outliers succeed. Why they become who they are? Gladwell goes beyond their intelligence and ambition to explain how and why these outliers become who they are. He shifts his focus from their career path and instead focuses on the environment they were born and grew up in. Gladwell sheds a different light on the way to the success and he is giving hope to all of us who want to succeed, because being an extremely intelligent person is not the most important thing for success. So if you want to learn another secret of success read Outliers: The Story of Success.

2. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging – Sebastian Junger

Cultural Anthropology - Tribe
People are social beings. But in this modernized world we live isolated lives which can lead to many problems. One of the problems is very noticeable among war veterans. Many of them commit suicide after they return home. Again, one of the reasons is because they feel isolated. According to the author of Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, Sebastian Junger, this problem can be resolved by learning from tribal societies.

What can the average person learn from tribal societies? We can learn about cooperation, inter-connection, inter-reliance and belonging. The tribal behavior, in our disconnected society, usually emerges when disaster strikes. In these situations people bond, they come together, they help one another. This has been seen over and over in major disasters like 9-11. This book is especially interesting because it explains how tribal behavior can be useful and how it can be achieved in our modern society.

3. Born to Run: A Hidden tribe, Superathletes – Christopher McDougall

Cultural Anthropology - Born To Run
To run a marathon is a dream of many runners, yet many runners are prone to injuries. In Born to Run: A Hidden tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen Christopher McDougall is unraveling the secrets of running. McDougall, a passionate runner himself, starts to do the research on members of the tribe Tarahumara. The tribe of Tarahumara is a Native Mexican tribe in the Copper Canyons in Mexico. They have amazing ability to run very long distances without getting hurt. In this book McDougall discovers and shares their secret of running.
Beside that McDougall promotes endurance running hypothesis. He tries to find the answer to why are humans the only species among primates that have developed a capacity for endurance running. This book should be read by all running enthusiasts, because it provides an answer to the question that bothers us the most; how to run and enjoy running without getting hurt.

4. The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell

Cultural Anthropology - Power of Myth
Myth is significant to human beings. It addresses the basic fundamental questions like who we are, and what the purpose of life is. It is deeply rooted in our lives and our cultures. The Power of Myth is a book that focus on the myth, its history, mythical heroes and everything else connected to the myth.

The Power of Myth is published as a companion book to PBS documentary: Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth. The book is based on the interviews between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers in the documentary. This is great source for all who want to learn more about  myths. Campbell & Moyers’ in-depth knowledge on the subject is amazing and encompassing. They approach the myth from different angles using different sources ranging from historical to popular culture.

5. The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman

Cultural Anthropology - The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down
In this heartbreaking and engaging book Anne Fadiman brings a documentary story without heroes or villains. She brings a story about the clash of culture. On one side there is modern US medicine and on the other the Hmong family whose child, Lia, is brain dead.

There is so much to learn from this book. Beside the Lia’s story, this book provides an insight into American involvement in the war in Laos, Hmong culture, customs and history, immigration problems such as discrimination and assimilation. Furthermore The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down is a book about cultural and medical anthropology. It became a base for the argument for greater cultural competence in medicine. It was cited by many medical journals. In 1997 it won National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction. In today’s world when societies are more mixed and multicultural; and migration flows are huge; this book can be a good guide to learn how and why is important to understand those who come from different cultures.

6. Seeing Like a State – James C Scott

Cultural Anthropology - Seeing Like A State
According to James C Scott, ideology of High Modernism is a bad thing especially when governments believe in them. High Modernism is an ideology that emphasizes technocratic and scientific rationality. i.e. It believes that for every situation there is one correct answer. But the universal generalization cannot be applied because each problem, situation, society and person is different.

Reading this book you will learn about State attempts to standardize society under the pretext of improvement.  According to the author, to date all States have failed in doing that.

This is an intriguing book that deals with the question about centralized planning and it argues that planning is not just risky, but it also can have unexpected outcome and effects on society. It is especially dangerous in the societies that are authoritarian and do not have developed civil society.

Seeing Like a State is provocative book that should be read in order to understand how exercise of centralized power and planned development can be very dangerous.

Political Thrillers: 7 To Read Before Election Day 2016

Political Thrillers: 7 To Read Before Election Day 2016

Political Thrillers seem appropriate this week. With the BIG DAY coming up soon, we can only guess at the behind the scenes intrigues, power plays and power deals going on.

But we can enjoy some of the best writers of political thrillers without being part of one.   We even feature the possibility of the first women President of the United States.  At WhyToRead.com we usually think of science fiction forecasting the future; but in this case… who knows.

1. A Devil Is Waiting – Jack Higgins

Political Thrillers - A Devil Is Waiting
As the President is coming to London, a mullah is inciting local Muslims to kill him. Sean Dillon, General Charles Ferguson and his gang, along with Sara Gideon, an intelligence Captain and Afghan war hero, are called to protect the most powerful man in the world.

“A Devil Is Waiting” follows Sara who tries to find the few people who answer the mullah’s call and stumbles into more and more tricky and dark situations. This is a fast paced novel, full of explosive scenes and interesting characters.

Jack Higgins gives us an insight on Muslim communities that is not as extremist as one may think. This book makes an amazing political statement on the war of terror and gives perspective to anyone who will hear it.

2. Executive Power – Vince Flynn

Political Thrillers - Executive Power
CIA superagent Mitch Rapp is the leader of the squad who prevented Saddam Hussein starting a nuclear war. After the President congratulates him on his success, all eyes are on him. The media and also terrorist eyes. CIA director, Dr. Irene Kennedy decides that he should help the country from behind a desk rather than on the field.

Then Navy SEALs are ambushed trying to save an American family kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in Philippines, and Mitch Rapp goes to a secret mission to help them.

Vince Flynn is the master of political thrillers. So it’s no surprise that “Executive Power” is a fast paced and intriguing book. It presents without embellishments the geopolitical struggle with the war on terror. Also, the political and the life of covert operatives is drawn in a realistic light and makes you more aware of the world we live in.

3. Poisonfeather – Matthew FitzSimmons

Political Thrillers - Poison Feather
When Charles Merrick, a convicted hedge fund manager, admits that the FBI didn’t find all the victims’ money, a treasure hunt begins. Gibson Vaughn, a legendary hacker and marine, enters the race when he finds out that one of the victims, Judge Hammond Birk saved his life a long time ago.

But the promise of easy money hand garners attention from a lot of outlaws, who are all racing Gibson Vaughn to the grand prize, the offshore cache.

The road to the money is full of challenges, and “Poisonfeather”, a geopolitical secret, is the biggest one for the skilled hacker.
Matthew FitzSimmons gives us a glimpse of world of political secret operations with the thrilling “Poisonfeather”. Another fasted paced story, full of unexpected turns and political games that we loved at WhyToRead.com. The second book in a great series.

4. Shall We Tell the President – Jeffrey Archer

Political Thrillers - Shall We Tell The President?
Finally, America has a woman as a president. No, we are not forecasting the presidential election; this is fiction in the person of Florentyna Kane. But for her is not an easy job. Between the political struggles she is facing, and trying to live up to the hype of being the first woman who runs the free world, she and her staff face life threats from extremist groups.

As an assassination attempt is diverted after a tip off by a reliable source, the FBI start to investigate. The plot thickens when merely an hour after the phone call that saved the President’s life, all but one of the investigating agents are dead. And FBI Special Agent Mark Andrews knows when the next hit will take place.

“Shall We Tell the President” is the third installment of the “Kane and Abel” series, with the first one published in 1977. Jeffrey Archer does offer a vision to what the future might hold for women, from a time when equality wasn’t a given.
We loved Archer’s strong and daring characters. And were astonished about how up to date this book is with the political agenda now. “Shall We Tell the President” shows that political thriller games can be timeless.

5. The Atlantis Plague – A.G. Riddle

Political Thrillers - The Atlantis Plague
“The Atlantis Plague” is a dystopia that presents us with a pandemic, a virus that doesn’t kill but transform humans at a genetic level. So the human race, as we know it, is going extinct. As the chaos develops first world countries find a drug, Orchid, that doesn’t treat the virus, only the symptoms.

The main conflict of the book is not between the humans and the virus but between two organizations, Immari International that favors doing nothing, letting natural selection runs its course; and the Orchid Alliance which advocates for combating the pandemic.

Doctor Kate Warner is working to find a cure and begins a journey to get to know the history of the human genome that is now changing the world.
Enter the world of chaos where everything is changing, but the human nature to negotiate and to obtain the power remains the same.

6. The Fixer – Joseph Finder

Political Thrillers - The Fixer
When investigative reporter Rick Hoffman’s life takes a turn to the worse, he moves into his miserable childhood home left decaying after his father suffered a stroke, 18 years ago. As he starts to renovate the house, he finds money stocked into the walls.

As he discovers bits and pieces about his father’s life, a man who hasn’t spoken for almost 20 years, the secrets become risky and intoxicating for the main character.

Follow Rick Hoffman in a story about corruption, Irish mafia, local politics and a 20 year old murder. Joseph Finder carefully crafts the perfect political thriller: fast paced, full of unexpected turns, old mysteries and smart characters.

7. The Whistler – John Grisham

Political Thrillers - The Whistler
Judges are human, and when money is involved, they can turn a blind eye to the guilty. This is not the case for most judges, but there are some who will tip the balance to money rather than justice.

When Greg Myers, a disbarred lawyer with a new identity, claims that he knows a judge who was involved in an illegal casino construction on Native American lands, the file goes to Lucy Stoltz, a lawyer who investigates this type of accusations.

John Grisham is the master of legal and political thrillers. And this book has everything you need to keep you glued to the pages: feisty lawyers, an intriguing plot, corruption, gambling and the honor of the judicial system is at stake