Top Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer
I've changed this slightly as I'm on vacation right now, hopefully with a bag of really great books, some great weather and getting some quality reading time in! This is pretty much what I'm going to try and squeeze in my bag, whether I get to read them all is another matter! I've picked a mix of new and old with a few re-reads thrown in and a couple of titles to finish off too.
A week after Mother
found her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is delivered to her new
school, Drearcliff Grange in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular
boarding school, Amy learns that Drearcliff girls are special, the
daughters of criminal masterminds, outlaw scientists and master
magicians. Several of the pupils also have special gifts like Amy’s, and
when one of the girls in her dormitory is abducted by a mysterious
group in black hoods, Amy forms a secret, superpowered society called
the Moth Club to rescue their friend. They soon discover that the Hooded
Conspiracy runs through the School, and it's up to the Moth Club to get
to the heart of it.
Umm, may I have this now please? I love Kim Newman and so this is probably one of my more anticipated reads of this year! Creepy school, magic, secret society... What could be any better?
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous gals cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is one of your own choosing so I've gone with -
Top Ten Nine Favorite Books I've Read But Never Reviewed
I know I constantly talk about certain books and/or authors on here even though I've never reviewed them. The more I like a book or an author the harder I find it to actually write a review without it consisting of me gushing about how awesome it was! That's going to change though so here is a list of some of my all-time favorite books that I'm going to re-read and write a review for - this year... If anybody is at all surprised by this list I'll be doubly surprised!
Welcome to the May New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight and Librarian Lavender!
The hop runs from today through to midnight on May 31 2015. Up for
grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $20 from the Book Depositoryas long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here. All
you have to do is choose any new release published in March and fill out the rafflecopter!
There is a house. Surrounded by a high wall. Behind which magic happens. Luke
Mountfathom knows he is special and odd. He is told so by everyone he
knows. His parents are special and odd too - they are the keepers of the
House of Mountfathom, a magnificent stately home where the wrong door
could take you to a far away land, and strange animals appear to stalk
the grounds at midnight. The house is his home - but it is also the
headquarters of the Driochta, a magic-weaving group of poets, artists,
politicians and activists charged with keeping the peace in Ireland.
They have many powers - have mastered Mirror-Predicting and
Smoke-Summoning and Storm-Breaching - and a final ability: that of
Mogrifying; taking on a unique animal form. But Luke's idyllic existence
at Mountfathom cannot last. Word reaches the House of protests across
Ireland. There is a wish for independence, a rising discontent and
scenes of violence that even the Driochta cannot control. In Dublin,
death and disease is running rife in the tenements; a darkness is
clogging the air, and is intent on staying. Then four members of the
Driochta are murdered. Luke's father is hurt and his mother goes
missing. And now it is up to Luke, his cat Morrigan and his best friend
Killian to worm out the heart of the evil in their land.
I absolutely adored Tall Tales From Pitch End and The Black North so I'm extremely excited for The House of Mountfathom. Nigel McDowell revealed the stunning cover at the end of April so I could finally use it as one of my Waiting On Wednesday choices. The artwork is by artist and illustrator Leo Nickolls and you can see more of his work here.
Will add links to Goodreads and purchase sites as soon as they're available!
I've been extremely lucky in my career as a bookseller to meet lots of amazing authors - Terry Pratchett, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Hill, Raymond E Feist, Jasper Fforde, Sarah Pinborough, Rainbow Rowell, Sarah J Maas, Jo Walton... I've also been lucky enough to go to some amazing events so this list probably isn't anywhere near as long as it could have been! There are also people I've met that I wouldn't have gone out of my way to do so. Bill Clinton anyone? Noel Edmonds? Here are the authors that I would do just about anything to meet, and I mean anything - except maybe get on a plane! Frances Hardinge shouldn't really be on this list as I saw her at YALC last year but thanks to being on the verge of fainting thanks to the insane heat I had to leave before the end of the panel she was on so missed out on the signing. This year? There will be nothing in my way, nothing...
A rich, dark fantasy of destiny, death, and the supernatural world hiding beneath the surface.
Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted
with sand. She's a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks
who don't call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing
else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not
even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the
heart with a chunk of wood, and he turns into black sand.
And just like that, Nettie can see.
But her newfound sight is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn't
understand what's under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else
is hiding -- at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she
knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits,
Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead to her
true kin... if the monsters along the way don't kill her first.
I don't know where I first stumbled across Wake of Vultures but I absolutely adored the cover and the synopsis sounds amazing. Another one for the wishlist!
The Difference Between Writing Crime and Writing Silver
It's hard to define my day job. Depending on
whether or not it's raining, it could be any or all of freelance
journalist, amateur cyclist, TV-watcher, slow cooker enthusiast,
old-man-napping-on-the-sofa, or - of course - author.
When it comes to writing, most of my time is given
over to creating crime novels. I have the Jessica Daniel series, the
Andrew Hunter series and other standalones with which to keep myself
going. Because three books a year simply isn't
enough and crime - fictional or otherwise - is far from my primary
passion, sometimes I find my mind drifting.
I do enjoy writing crime, the characters, the
situations - but it is limiting in the sense that it's set in the real
world. I've always wanted to write a crime book where, just as the big
reveal is about to happen near the end, aliens invade
and everyone realises there are much bigger issues afoot. It would
amuse me but, my word, would it annoy readers! Justifiably.
Anyway, it is those mind-wanders of future
technology, alternate worlds and so on that means it's liberating to
step away from the real world and try something else.
The Silver Blackthorn series came from that. I'd
written five, perhaps six, Jessica books more or less back to back and
my mind craved something new.
Growing up, I'd always been into science fiction,
fantasy and dystopia and so creating something within that genre was
always likely to happen sooner or later.
It's also emancipating to think beyond the 'real'
world. Setting the series in the near-ish future allowed me to create
whatever sci-fi type of future technology I wanted. It allowed me to
build a world without having it be too different
from our present-day one.
Beyond that, of course, books - good ones at least -
should always be about people. A writer can have the greatest
imagination that brims with ideas and creations - but if he or she can't
write characters, there's not much chance for a
connection to readers. In short, why bother?
Fortunately for me, the reaction to Silver from her
first appearance in Reckoning has been incredibly touching. I've had
lots of people contacting me in various ways to talk about her and her
gang of friends. I even had a pregnant woman
email to say she and her partner were thinking of calling their child
I loved writing Reckoning, Renegade and Resurgence
and frequently miss Silver, which, I suppose, is the spur to get on and
create something else. Either that or I'll write aliens or mutant
dinosaurs into one of my crime books.
About the Author
Despite two national newspaper reports to the contrary, Kerry Wilkinson is male. Honestly. He is an occasional sports
journalist and can frequently be spotted cycling the hills of
Lancashire. He was born in Somerset but now lives in the north west.
I have 2 copies of Renegade to give away, or if you would prefer, a copy of the first book, Reckoning! Just fill in the rafflecopter, it's open internationally too!
In the village of
Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of
Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This
coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society - Elite,
Member, Inter or Trog - but also determines that Silver is to become an
Offering for King Victor.
But these are uncertain times and no
one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into
Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it
to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?
in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world
of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear.
The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out...
I picked up Reckoning on a whim after reading several of the author's adult crime novels featuring Jessica Daniels. Intrigued by the completely opposite direction he has taken with his first YA novel I settled in not quite sure what to expect. Three hours later I turned the last page and was so pleased I had a review copy of the second book in the series, Renegade, to start! Imagine if you can, a dystopian fantasy version of the not-too-distant UK. Oil has run out, England and Ireland have been separated into four realms and Scotland has become the 'country who shall not be named'. On reaching the age of sixteen all children must go through something called the Reckoning, a test that is different for everyone who takes it, to determine their usefulness to society and, more importantly, their rank. It's here we meet Silver Blackthorn, named for the silver streak in her hair, her best friend Opie and her family. Silver is a very determined teenager whose strengths lie in technology, thanks to the illicit trips she pays to the dried out lake near the village where she lives. Full of technology that has been discarded over the twenty five years since the war began Silver teaches herself to put back together and mend things that she finds along with determining how her 'thinkwatch' works, the tech that all children now have and not beyond the realms of possibility in reality. Chosen as a Member, Silver thinks her Reckoning is over and with Opie she can begin to move on but there's a shock in store. Silver becomes the Member Offering for the North and is ripped away from everything she knows in the north to live in the south, at Windsor Castle, as a tribute to King Victor, the charismatic ruler who pulled the country back together again. The only problem is nobody knows what happens to the Offering when this happens as none of them are ever heard from again. Determined to make the most of her situation and quickly realizing that Victor is nowhere near the beneficent ruler he appears to be when in public Silver has to adapt to another life, one harder than the one she left behind. Thrust into a world of violence, starvation and isolation Silver struggles to survive but meeting Imrin, another Offering, helps her to look beyond the castle and to dream of escape. The castle is a horrifying place, with guards dressed in uniforms made from futuristic fabric hard to find, dungeons that are still very much in use and the Offerings pitted against each other as entertainment for King Victor. Silver knows that she has to get out and so starts to form a plan to do just that. Reckoning was a nail-biting read and a page turner, you never knew what to expect from one scene to the next and Wilkinson was not afraid to pull the punches. There are some great characters developing here, particularly Silver and a couple of the other Offerings from the girl's side. Apart from Imrin there's only really a couple of other male Offerings that we get to know, Lumin (who Silver works with), Hart (an Offering from Silver's village a few years prior) and Rush, one of the newest Offerings who we meet on the train heading south. It was hard to know who to trust, who was on Silver's side and to be honest I still have my doubts about Imrin but time will tell. The best thing about Reckoning though? That it's set in the UK. It was great to read about what had happened to England and Wales thanks to the raging civil wars and I am definitely intrigued to find out why we can't talk about Scotland...
The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.
With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. She’s his best ally—and his workhorse. And now he’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames…by a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.
And then the floods begin. Swaths of London are submerged as the people scramble to defend themselves against the water—and the monsters—that are flooding their streets. As mistrust of Lucy's magic grows, the king relies on Nat, Lucy's great love, to guide them through the storm. But Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.”
Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. But then she hears an eerie song within the water…can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all?
Sweepingly romantic and crackling with magic, Chantress Fury triumphantly concludes the powerful Chantress trilogy.
I looked at the mermaid, and she looked at me—and I gave myself over to listening.
At first I only heard the water in the barrel, and its vexation at being contained. Round and round it went, an endless circling melody. But then I caught a glimmer of something else: A chilling music that told me that something in the barrel felt hunted; something felt afraid. And it wasn’t the water.
Frustrated, I wrapped my fingers around the edge of the barrel. She was right there in front of me, but I couldn’t reach her, and I didn’t dare touch her, not when she was so frightened already....
The water in the barrel bobbled. As it washed over my fingertips, a wave of feeling washed over me, too: a bath of remorse so strong that it made me pull my hand from the water in shock.
The mermaid was sorry?
With a twist of her fins, she broke the surface again. Liquid streamed from her hair, and down over her skin. It took me a few moments to see that it wasn’t just seawater, but tears.
I touched the water again, and again the tide of remorse washed over me—remorse and pain and fear.
She hadn’t wanted to hurt anyone. I knew that now, without a doubt. And I knew something else, too: She was dying.
The gag wasn’t just cutting into her skin, and it wasn’t just stopping her from singing. It was suffocating her. The wadding had wound around her tongue, and now it was trailing down her throat, a little farther with every swallow…
Amy Butler Greenfield was a grad student in history when she gave into temptation and became a writer. Since then, she has become an award-winning author.
Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Oxford. She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double-dark-chocolate cake, and plots mischief.
PRIZES: Win (1) signed copy of Chantress Fury by Amy Butler Greenfield (INT)
Win (1) finished copy of Chantress Fury by Amy Butler Greenfield (US Only)