Saturday, 24 December 2016

Books That Kept Me 'Up All Night' In 2016...


It's been a pretty awful year this year, to put it mildly! Life on the blog hasn't exactly been wonderful but 2017 promises to be better. I won't be gallivanting about as much next year, hopefully, so posting will be a lot more regular than this year. Before I post my 'Best Of...' lists I wanted to put together a list of my 'five clocks' books, and there's been a few! It may have been a bad blogging year but it certainly hasn't been a bad reading year. The list includes my top re-reads (marked with a *) and is in alphabetical order, mostly...

13 Minutes - Sarah Pinborough
A Child of Books - Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston
A Fever Of The Blood - Oscar de Muriel
A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms - George R R Martin
A Perilous Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
A Portable Shelter  - Kirsty Logan
Alice - Christina Henry
All About Pumpkin - Natasha Farrant
*And Then There Were None
The Apprentice Witch - James Nicol
Barefoot On The Wind - Zoe Marriott
Becoming Unbecoming - Una 
Behind Closed Doors - B A Paris
Blackfin Sky - Kat Ellis
Blue Lily Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater
*Cinder - Marissa Meyer
The Creeper Man - Dawn Kurtagich
Cress - Marissa Meyer
*Crown of Midnight - Sarah J Maas
The Damage Done - James Oswald
The Darkest Part Of The Forest - Holly Black 
The Day The Crayons Came Home - Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater
Fables: Arabian Nights (And Days)
Fables: Homeland
Fables: March Of The Wooden Soldiers
Fables: The Mean Seasons
Fables: Wolves
Golden Son - Pierce Brown
The Hawley Book Of The Dead - Chrysler Szarlan
The Imaginary - A. F. Harrold  & Emily Gravett
In The Woods - Tana French
Lockwood & Co. - The Screaming Staircase - Jonathan Stroud
Luna: New Moon - Ian McDonald
The Marriage Lie - Kimberley Belle
*The Mysterious Affair At Styles
*The Mysterious Mr. Quin
Natural Causes - James Oswald
*The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D Schmidt
*The Owl Service - Alan Garner 
Painkiller - N J Fountain
Phoenix - S F Said
Poppy Pym & The Double Jinx - Laura Wood
Prayer For The Dead - James Oswald
Rat Queens Vol. I
*Red Rising - Pierce Brown
Saga Vol. I
Saga Vol. II
Saga Vol. III
Saga Vol. IV
Saga Vol. V 
Shadow Magic - Joshua Khan
Shadows On The Moon - Zoe Marriott
Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying Of The Light - Derek Landy
Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of The Wicked - Derek Landy
Skulduggery Pleasant: The Last Stand Of Dead Men - Derek Landy
Tadpole's Promise (picture book)
Things The Grandchildren Should Know
Time For Jas - Natasha Farrant
The Unquiet House - Alison Littlewood
The Whispers Of Wilderwood Hall - Karen McCombie


Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge


After watching the new Gilmore Girls episodes on Netflix I thought it was about time to have another stab at the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I did try this, about five years ago, but never really committed myself to it properly. I'm feeling inspired to try it again after my Stars Hollow visit at the end of November and seeing Rory in all her glorious bookishness. Having checked off the list I see I've read far more titles than I thought I had. Hopefully this means it won't be too daunting to knock a few more books off!

Here's a list of the books in the challenge, it's not complete because my 'copy & paste' skills were lacking and I need to go back over it!  If the title is crossed out I've read it, if it's purple I own it but haven't read it, and black means I don't own it & I haven't read it!

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess * I think I have read this but I'm not 100% certain
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Daisy Miller by Henry James
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr. Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Group by Mary McCarthy
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Eli Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez *I have read this but I want to reread
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs by McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E B White
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Ulysses by James Joyce *I have attempted to finish this 6 times, maybe this time will be the one?
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Unless by Carol Shields
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West by Gregory Maguire
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rowlings
The Year Of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #174 - Wicked Like A Wildfire

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. Does anyone know what's going with this? I notice Jill hasn't posted since August which is rather worrying...

This week's choice is -


Wicked Like A Wildfire - Lana Popovic
ISBN - 9780062436832
Publisher - Katherine Tegen Books
Release date - August 15 2017 

All the women in Iris and Malina's family are born with a gleam - a unique way of manipulating beauty through magic. Seventeen-year-old Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, her twin sister Malina interprets moods as music, and their cold, distant mother Jasmina bakes scenery into decadent treats at her confectionery in Old Town Cattaro, Montenegro.

Jasmina forbids Iris and Malina to share their gleams with anyone, and above all, she forbids them to fall in love - being discovered could shatter the quiet lives they’ve built in their tucked-away, seaside town. But Iris and Malina are tired of abiding by their mother’s rules and rebel in secret whenever they can.

Yet when a mysterious, white-haired woman attacks their mother and leaves her hovering between life and death, the sisters unearth an ancient curse that haunts their line - a wicked bargain that masquerades as a blessing, and binds the twins’ fates - and hearts - to a force larger than life. To save each other, they must untangle a thousand years of lies and reveal their own hurtful secrets. But even the deepest sacrifice might not be enough.


Wicked Like a Wildfire is the first book in a sumptuous, bewitching duology about the power of love, death, magic, and the many faces of beauty.


How beautiful is that cover?  I can't wait to read this, I'm fascinated by the idea of a gleam as magic but devastated I have to wait until August...

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Midwinter's Eve 2016 Giveaway!


Welcome to the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by Bookhounds! Up for grabs is any book you like, either YA or Adult and up to the value of $15 from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here. Think of it as an extra Christmas present that you get to choose :) The hop runs from now through to midnight on December 31st, 2016 and simply follow the instructions on the rafflecopter to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

December New Release Giveaway!


Welcome to the December 2016 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on December 31st, 2016. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as 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 December and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #118 - New-To-Me Authors In 2016


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous girls cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Not so many new-to-me authors this year for some reason as I've been reading lots of sequels and things but authors I'm already familiar with. Some of these are debut authors, some are authors I've been meaning to read for years, from Middle Grade to YA to Adult fiction, but I loved them all!










Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #173 - Luna: Wolf Moon

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -


A Dragon is dead.

Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed.

The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward - virtually a hostage - of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished off the surface of the moon.

Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point - that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey - to Earth.

In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.

Luna: Wolf Moon continues Ian McDonald's saga of the Five Dragons.

I have been desperately waiting for news of this book. Luna: New Moon was a surprise top ten read for me this year in that I absolutely loved it. I can only hope Luna: Wolf Moon, the concluding part of the duology, is half as good. Either way, it's going to be one of the few books I allow myself to buy in 2017!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Guest Post: Windows Into The Soul - Tim Major


My first novel, YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, is about a house. 

Well, it isn’t. It’s about a man called Daniel Faint who has stolen a time machine. He’s wracked with remorse about events in his past, and he hopes to travel back in time to put them right. It’s about his disorientation as he tests the machine, his growing certainty that he’s being watched – perhaps by the locals of an unfamiliar town, perhaps by himself from the future, perhaps by his dead brother.

But it’s about a house.

The starting-point for YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, when it was intended to be a short story rather than a novel, was an article about people who had no permanent home, who instead acted as housesitters-cum-curators for vast properties in undesirable locations – warehouses, abandoned retail parks. It struck me that such a setup would be ideal for somebody intent on remaining hidden. No ties, a low profile. In the novel, Daniel Faint believes he’s being pursued, and housesitting a remote Cumbrian manor provides him with cover.

It’s about a specific house, too. My first office job was based in a large country manor that had once been a hotel. When I started, it had only been partially converted, with beds and TVs still in the rooms that hadn’t yet become offices. The swimming pool and golf course were available for use. Peacocks patrolled the grounds and screamed outside every window. It was strange and disorienting and kind of magical.


It was only recently that I realised that houses are central to most of my stories. My first published novella, CARUS & MITCH, is set entirely within the walls of a rural house, based on the home of a family friend from my childhood. BLIGHTERS features a giant alien slug confined to a Cumbrian bothy. My Mars stories revolve around the construction of sand-sculpted buildings, modelled on houses from the colonists’ memories. An as-yet-unpublished YA novel features a virtual-reality replica of the house I grew up in. Another project, still in the planning stages, features a house capable of independent thought.


There’s something practical in this preoccupation, I think. Gaining a clear mental image of a location goes a long way towards ‘finding’ a story, in the same way that pinning down the characteristics of a protagonist is vital. Moreover, characters are shaped, in part, by their surroundings. Your home isn’t just an expression of yourself. It goes the other way, too. It changes you. It makes you.

So, YOU DON’T BELONG HERE may be about time travel, paranoia, and disorientation. But it’s about a house. And it’s a house that, once it wraps its walls around Daniel Faint, refuses to let go.


Tim Major's time-travel thriller novel, YOU DON'T BELONG HERE (Snowbooks) is available now. He has also released two novellas, BLIGHTERS (Abaddon, 2016) and CARUS & MITCH (Omnium Gatherum, 2015) – the latter was shortlisted for a This Is Horror Award. His short stories have featured in Interzone, BFS Horizons and numerous anthologies. He is the Editor of the SF magazine, The Singularity, and blogs at www.cosycatastrophes.wordpress.com.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

November New Release Giveaway!


Welcome to the November 2016 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on November 30th, 2016. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as 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 November and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Giveaway & Excerpt - The Wraiths Of War by Mark Morris


First and foremost, I'm going to admit my love of some of Mark's earlier work! I remember reading Toady, his first book, way back when, absolutely loving it and recommending it to anyone regardless of whether they enjoyed horror novels. Since then I've dipped in and out of his books whenever I've realised that he's released something new. Imagine my pleasure when I found out he was writing a new trilogy for one of my favorite publishers, the last of which was published by Titan on October 14th. To celebrate you lucky folks get to read a sneaky excerpt from the final book, The Wraiths Of War, and if you like it there's a chance to win a copy of The Wolves Of London (book #1 in the trilogy) down at the bottom! My review of The Wolves of London will be up on Thursday as part of my R.I.P. reading and make sure to check out the rest of the tour!


If you're not a horror/dark fantasy fan then maybe skip over the gory bits below!

The Wraiths Of War (Obsidian Heart #3) 

As if Fate were mocking me, the Germans chose that very moment to start firing. I made myself as flat as possible, closing my eyes as my cheek smacked into the mud. At first I assumed the shots were nothing but routine - now and again in the dead of night, those on sentry duty, whether on our side or theirs, let off a volley just to prove they were doing their duty, and to let the enemy know they were still around and alert - but when bullets started splatting into the mud somewhere to my left, I realised I must have been spotted. Perilous though it was to move, I knew it was more perilous still to just lie there, because sooner or later I would be hit.

Trying to still the frantic terror of my thoughts, I lifted my head a fraction and looked around, searching for a place to hide or something I could use as cover. Perhaps ten yards ahead of me I spotted what looked like a shell crater - a black depression in the ground rimmed by a ridge of earth where the mud had been forced upwards by the impact. I waited for the initial burst of gunfire to subside, knowing there would be a slight pause between one volley and the next, and then, my ears throbbing, I scrambled up into a semi-crouch, ran forward and dived into the shell crater.

Although I didn't have much choice, I was all too aware that throwing myself into an unknown hole in No Man's Land was a move born of utter desperation. Full of future technology I might have been, byt I knew that if I landed on the jagged remains of a shell and slashed my belly open, then no amount of nanites could repair me. I knew too that if the hole were more than, say six feet deep and full of thick, muddy water then the likelihood was I would be sucked under and drown.

Luckily, though, the hole turned out to be only four or five feet deep added to which I had a soft landing. Not so luckily, the soft landing was a dead and rotting German soldier. How long he had been there I had no idea, but he stank to high Heaven and was crawling with maggots. He was lying on his back, his head - what was left of it - partially submerged in a pool of black water.

I landed across his midriff, part of which promptly broke with a gristly snap. Worse than that though, was the feel of his flesh through his uniform. Decomposition had caused slippage, which meant that the violent pressure of my body resulted in the flesh, which had become soft like old bananas, sliding away from the bone beneath. In my revulsion, I unthinkingly put my left hand on his chest to lever myself up and away from him - whereupon his rib cage cracked like a lattice of dry sticks and my hand plunged into a cold, stinking pulp of rotting internal organs.

I clapped my free hand, which was caked in mud but not guts, over the bottom half of my face to stop myself from screaming. Not that it was likely the enemy would have heard me. Above my head, loud enough to make the bones of my skull ach, the Germans were still blazing away. Ordinarily I would have covered my ringing ears and kept my head down until it was all over, but in the circumstances the gunfire seemed oddly divorced from me. Gagging, I withdrew my hand from the dead German's innards with a slurping plop, then plunged it into the pool of muddy water between his booted feet.

The next few minutes were spent heaving and shuddering with reaction. I couldn't tell whether the appalling stench that seemed to have wrapped itself round my head like a warm, damp towel, was coming from the dead German or my own hand. Certainly the thought of using that gut-smeared hand to eat, or even scratch myself, in the immediate future made me gaf anew. As did the sight of the fat white maggots wriggling with glee over the dead man's body, some of which I had to brush off my own clothes, such was their eagerness to make friends.

About The Author

 Mark Morris became a full-time writer in 1988 on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and a year later saw the release of his first novel, Toady. He has since published a further sixteen novels, among which are Stitch, The Immaculate, The Secret of Anatomy, Fiddleback, The Deluge and four books in the popular Doctor Who range.

Website | Twitter




Giveaway

If you live in the UK, Ireland and Europe you can have a chance to win a copy of The Wolves Of London, the first book in the trilogy, simply by leaving a Twitter handle or email address in the coments! 

 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Spooktacular Giveaway 2016!


Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds! The hop runs from now through to midnight on October 31, 2016. The spooktacular prize up for grabs is a spooky, creepy book of your choice (either YA or Adult), up to the value of $15, from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are lots of blogs taking part in the Spooktacular hop so check out the list below for more chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Guest Post & Giveaway: How To Write A Sci-Fi World - Andy Briggs


How to write a sci-fi world

When I was first told the subject of this blog I got quite excited, then I thought, is The Inventory really sci-fi? Now, if you’ve read the book then you would probably wonder why I said that. I suppose the answer is I had always thought of The Inventory as belonging to a sub-genre: the techno-thriller.
     
And that got me thinking what makes good science fiction. For me, it boils down to believability. If the world, no matter how fantastic, has elements that we recognize – from characters to locations – then they become relatable to the reader. Authors such as Philip K Dick and Issac Asimov had the ability to create amazing sci-fi and wrap it up in a story and world that somehow feels believable. So I think that veneer between “real” and sci-fi is where the techno-thriller lives – and in the case of the Inventory, it bleeds into a full-fledged sci-fi world.
     
My first rule of what belongs in the Inventory was that the invention had to have a real scientific ability to exist. Now, I’m no scientist and my knowledge stretches as far as reading New Scientist and the wonderful Wired Magazine, so I will expand that to the ability to have a fudged scientific reason behind it. Thankfully we have quantum physics for that! So, when my bad guys produce a portable hole, it isn’t something out of Wile E. Coyote, it’s based on wormhole technology. That’s where the fun begins for me, creating a world that seems almost believable but is filled with marvels that could just possibly exist. Maybe.

The second part of the way I wanted to create my world was to ensure that the technology was there regardless if it was useful to the plot. For example, I love James Bond movies but he always seems to have the precise gadget on his person to deal with the peril he faces later in the movie. 

    In IRON FIST our heroes were surrounded by all manner of gadgets that would land them out of the scrape they were in. The fun came from the fact they had no idea how to use it properly – in fact, half the reason the gizmo was in the Inventory in the first place was because it didn’t quite work as expected. For GRAVITY they no longer have the choice of technology they once did, so have to use whatever is left… which means it’s often a need to improvise.

At the heart of all good sci-fi is the notion of something we’d all like to have, see, or know it’s true… that is, of course, until it horribly goes wrong. For example, yes the all-seeing surveillance in 1984 means, in theory, that we’re safe. The amazing robots in I, Robot are something we’d all like to have, helping us in our daily lives… that is until they become killers. 

It’s this promise of better days ahead (no matter how brief) that gives sci-fi a pulsing sense of wish fulfillment that we all crave… often backing it up with a healthy moral dose of dystopia. By its very nature, the Inventory is exactly that – a collection of the world’s greatest technology all under one roof. It’s an achievement of mankind that should be celebrated… instead, it’s hidden away. That is because some of it doesn’t work so well, or the dream died when the implications sank in. For example, hoverboots. I would love a pair of hoverboots – but then again I hate people who suddenly stop in the middle of the pavement and I don’t want those idiots stopping while I’m flying fifty feet above the ground at high speed. Hoverboots now suddenly don’t seem so appealing. If my books were set in a dystopian future (rather than a dysfunctional present) then the Inventory would be cast as a place where dreams come to die.

The final strand of great sci-fi is escapism. On face value that may seem at odds to my first point about believability, but it should go hand-in-hand. Look at one of the greatest sci-fi franchises ever: Star Wars… and I’m talking about the originals, y’know, proper Star Wars. Luke Skywalker is a farm kid who dreams of adventure. Only when he escapes from his home planet does that wish come true. He starts as a believable character – somebody stuck at home and tired of everyday life – and then offers escapism, which turns Skywalker into the galaxy’s greatest hero.

    It’s this combination of relatability, believability, and escapism that makes sci-fi such an interesting genre, allowing both characters and readers to explore – not on the edges of the universe – but beyond, into realms hitherto unimagined…

About the book 

Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far!

About The Author

 
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school, and library events.

Website | Twitter 



 Giveaway

Fill out the rafflecopter to win a copy of either Gravity or Iron Fist (which I reviewed here). Open internationally as long as you live somewhere that the Book Depository ships to!

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