Sunday, March 25, 2007

Best books of 2006

Last year I read 52 books (not including university text books). There isn't time or the space to tell you about all of them so I'll mention the ones that I enjoyed the most.
The first book that I read that year was Across the Nightingale Floor (Lian Hearn), and the following two in the series Grass for his Pillow and Brilliance of the Moon. I won't give you the synopsis, but its oriental flavour (and setting), the story line and characters, are brilliant, and they're easy to read, so much so that its hard to put them down. This brings me to the book I read last in 2006. Shike: Time of the Dragons (Robert Shea) The style and setting very similar to Hearn's, it is however for an older reading level. I've yet to read the sequel for this one, and I'm also looking at buying the fourth in Hearn's series which was released towards the end of last year. As I've already discussed Kelley Armstrong I shall leave her from this post, just as I shall leave Rowling's Harry Potter.
two authors that must be mentioned are Theresa Tomlinson and Alison Croggon. Tomlinson's The Forestwife Trilogy (based on the tales of Robin Hood) I had read before, but I also managed to read Moon Riders and Voyage of the Snake Lady (both of which are based on the Greek Myths). These two were of particularly interest because I had studied Greek mythology as part of my first year of university. Alison Croggon is writing a fantasy series called the Books of Pellinor. The First Book of Pellinor, a.k.a. The Gift, has become one of my top ten favourite books. It mixes Lord of the Rings, harry potter and a Celtic feel, to give you a warm tale of adventure. The final of the series (book four) is not out until 2008.
However, if you like books with bit more of a literature feel, then Chocolat (Joanne Harris) and The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) are for you. Chocolat you may know from the film adaptation, and although I love the film, the book does have a lot more filling and makes the film more enjoyable after you've read it.
What is the equivalent in book to a "Chick flick"? How about "fem-fiction"? My recommendation from last year would have to be Sophie's Bakery for the Broken Hearted (Lolly Winston). This book was free with a magazine at one point, the only reason I bought the magazine was because I'd heard about the book. I'm glad I did.
My new Horror/supernatura/fantasy writer of last year was L.A. Banks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I found this book, completely by accident, when browsing the shelves of a bookshop in Worcester (UK): you know how people use the phrase don't judge a book by its cover, well taken literally I think the phrase is rubbish, the cover is what makes you pick up a book off a shelf before you even know what it is about. Anyway, it was the cover (or at least its spine) that made me pick it up; it was purple. So I took it off the shelf, looked at the cover (the best way i can describe its image is as a celtic symbol-style wolf), and then I read the blurb on the back, which read something like this:

Elena Michaels is your regular twenty-first century girl: self-assured, smart and fighting fit. She also just happens to be the only female werewolf in the world...
It has some good points.When she walks down a dark alleyway, she's the scary one. But now her Pack - the one she abandoned so that she could live a normal life - are in trouble, and they need her help. Is she willing to risk her life to helped the ex-lover who betrayed her by turning her into a werewolf in the first place? And, more to the point, does she have a choice?

I couldn't resist and delved into the prologue as I sat on the floor of this bookshop, until I was interrupted 20minutes later. There was no decision to be made - the book was mine. The first time I read it was probably about April 2005, and I have since read it several times. The book?

Bitten - Kelley Armstrong

Simply put, Bitten is my comfort book. I love it because I can read it over and over again, never getting tired of it, and because it suits my mood whether I am happy or having a hard time. It is not just another tale, where human meets supernatural and they flal in love and then have to problems and consequences arising from their relationship, it has a plot, a twisting storyline that you won't see coming. The characters are strong, and you find yourself associating with them.
If you want to take a look for yourself, I'd recommend Armstrong's website which has excerpts of all her published works plus lots of online fiction.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The storyteller takes a seat

Welcome one and all.
I love books and througout my life I hope to encourage other people to read. I have books that remind me of good times, and some are a comfort to me when life is hard. When I have time I write my own stories. What was the last book you read - can you remember? What is your favourite book? Or, do books remind you of old teachers forcing you to read aloud in front of the class? What I want to do is share my opinions of books I have read, tell you why certain characters are my favourites, and pick out my favourite lines. Books are a world into which you can escape, take a time-out, and relax.