In a reading slump? Don’t be.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

Well, this is all very debatable because everyone is different.  For me, a book that would pull me out of a slump is one with an immediate hook.  I do tend to read a lot of fantasy and some of those books can be long and some very dark so I think something light and fun would probably work best for me.  I’m going to split my list down into different headings because that way I might come up with something for everyone:

Fairytale retellings – you simply cannot beat Sarah Pinborough’s three delicious books, Poison, Charm and Beauty.  They are just brilliant.  On top of being beautiful little books with gorgeous illustrations each one is a mash up of more than one fairytale, they’re not overly long, they’re definitely tongue in cheek and they’re unexpectedly saucy in ways that you simply won’t see coming.  I think these are probably my favourite retellings because I was unable to put them down once I’d started.

Romance – ‘but you don’t like romance’, you may say.  Yes, yes, of course I’m always banging on about not liking romance – and that is in no way, shape or form a judgment on those that do by the way – we like what we like.  But, I don’t mind there being some romance in my books, I just don’t want it to be the main focus.  The Princess Bride by William Goldman – okay, maybe not everyone’s idea of romance but I like the humour so what can I say.  It’s frankly inconceivable that anyone should not like this book.  If you want something a bit more ‘typically’ from the genre but still fantasy then I’d go Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I’ve not read the whole series but the first book was very good.

Crime – I would suggest either Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle.  I love a good murder mystery and tend to find that both of these authors write in a way that just holds you captive.  Plus, the fun is in the trying to evade the red herrings and guess what’s happening following the cookie crumb trail left throughout the pages.

Sci Fi – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Quirky and fun.  Or, on the other hand, for something that is a bit more emotional – Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  I love that book so much

LitRPG – Death March by Phil Tucker.  I had a lot of fun with this book.  The possibilities are just mind boggling and for someone who isn’t a gamer and so was maybe a bit concerned as to whether this would be, well, to be frank, easy to understand – it was.  So rest easy and go give some rpg book a go.

death march

Fundark – okay, maybe I made that one up but I think there are a few titles that could fit the bill.  Most recently I’d say Angus Watson’s You Die When you Die.  I had a blast with that book, of course there was plenty of death and bloodshed but there was a huge dose of hope and characters to love all sprinkled with heaps of humour.

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Edgy/Thriller – The White Road by Sarah Lotz.  This one was a real treat.  I loved the opening scenes and the way that Lotz takes situations that you (1)  probably wouldn’t think to read about – but then makes you love them (2) wouldn’t think would grip you – but then they do (3) think shouldn’t be creepy – and yet she makes them so.   This one will probably give you goosebumps but if that’s your ‘thing’ then pick this up and consider the reading slump over.

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Adventure/Fantasy – three suggestions here.  Kristi Charish has written a great series about an Indiana Jane type character who steals ancient artefacts.  There’s all sorts going on in these books, a bit of romance, snark, all sorts of critters and fantastic settings, great pace and thrilling plots.  What’s not to love?  Or, Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.  A series where you can just tell the author loved writing the books.  Lots of great references.  A main character who is highly readable and even more so when you include his dog Oberon – I won’t spoil things but I highly recommend these books.  Or, the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell – OMG, these books are so good.  I defy anybody to stay in a slump – the gauntlet is down!

Scary/Horror – The Family Plot by Cherie Priest.  So, so good. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – modern day vampires.  Kill Creek by Scott Thomas – a number of horror story writers take part in an event at a haunted house on Halloween – what could possible go wrong?

As I often do – I leave the last spot open for suggestions.

Of course, I realise I’ve cheated somewhat because there are more than 10 books all told – but all the more to tempt you with (queue mad cackling).

 

 

 

 

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Top Ten Bookish websites

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Favourite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

Using this prompt I’ve decided to list mainly those websites that I seem to visit most frequently.  I have lots of blogs that I follow and regularly interact with so it would just be impossible to narrow it down to ten:

  1. Netgalley – This is a website that publishers, librarians, authors, reviewers, teachers and bloggers use.  If you review books then I definitely recommend you head over and check this place out.  You’ll need to open up an account and sort yourself out a bio but it’s all easy and straightforward and there are lots of helpful pages to assist you in getting started.  For me, I find that I read ebooks more often than not these days and so this site is perfect for me.  In terms of advice to others who haven’t used this site before – go easy on the requests at first.  Yes, letting a book lover loose on this site is the very definition of a child in a sweetie shop but bare in mind you can quite easily overload yourself.
  2. Edelweiss – Similar to Netgalley in terms of what this site is all about and who can join in.  Again, you will need to set yourself up an account with a bio.  Try to include relevant links and information so that potential publishers don’t have to work hard to find out who you are.  In terms of advice to others – again, go easy with the requests, don’t take it personally if your request is denied, and, also good to know, is you can review any books on this site – whether you received an ARC or not.
  3. Waterstones – I like to use this site particularly to look for events.  If you like to go to author events this is the way to go. Obviously this is UK only but I’m guessing that other countries have similar bookstores that regularly run author events?  Do they??
  4. Goodreads – I don’t need to explain about GRs.  Just really useful for keeping a track of your books, great for checking out highly anticipated releases, great for checking out covers.  Easy to check out what everyone else thought of a particular book and good for making new friends and contacts, plus a good place to take part in and keep track of readalongs.
  5. Twitter – again, great for making contacts, following authors and publishers, keeping up with blogs and all the latest book news.
  6. I follow various publisher’s newsletters – useful to keep up to date with events and authors.  Also, quite a number of authors similarly have newsletters that you can sign up to.
  7. Worlds Without End – this is a great web site.  My only advice is that you may lose many hours if you click on this – you’ve been warned – it’s like falling into a black hole.
  8. Wikipedia – simply a good information resource – I particularly like to check out information when a book has intrigued me with one of it’s plot lines, say, mentioning something historic for example.  I just become curious and have to go and check it out.
  9. Reddit – this is another site that if you click into it you’ll probably become absorbed for hours.  Lots of great chat on here plus regular author AMA events.
  10. I’ve told you mine now tell me yours….

 

Mash ups – it could work!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Books You’d Mash Together

Well, I actually struggled with this one so I’ve gone down a slightly tongue-in-cheek route just for a bit of fun.

  1. The Grey Bastards meets Emma – I think it would be interesting to see how Emma deals with the Hoof.  Will she start matchmaking, will she clean them all up and turn them into gentlemen, could the fun be in the struggle?  Jonathan French meets Jane Austen
  2. Harry Potter meets Name of the Wind – Harry and Kvothe could be study buddies!  They could swap notes about magic, Harry could learn to play an instrument and they could perform a duet together.  Don’t forget the cloak of invisibility – Kvothe could make good use of that to get into the stacks.  Rowling meets Rothfuss.
  3. Watership Down meets Charlotte’s Web – just think, a lovely happy ending – well, technically they both already had a happy ending but, Charlotte lives on a farm, i’m sure they’ve got a spare field somewhere that the rabbits could hole up in.  All the farm animals, the spiders and the rabbits could have a rave.  Richard Adams meets EB White
  4. The Woman in White vs the Woman in Black.  Wilkie Collins meets Susan Hill
  5. The Lies of Locke Lamora and the Copper Promise – lets put the cat amongst the bastards – Locke has a thing for redheads, love triangle!  Scott Lynch meets Jen Williams
  6. Dracula meets Twilight – an intellectual discussion about whether the practice of drinking blood is really acceptable in a modern and civilised world when their are perfectly reasonable alternatives.  Bram Stoker meets Stephenie Meyer
  7. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Shining – this is just wrong isn’t it – but why not – there’s lots of rooms in the Overlook Hotel, none of them are occupied – they all have wardrobes, the possibilities are infinitely horrible.  CS Lewis meets Stephen King.  I’d read that it would be scary as.
  8. The Road meets Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – there’s a strange sense of logic in there somewhere.  You’re on the road, with your cardboard plaque asking for a lift, next thing you’re on a Vorgon starship with a mission to build a bypass.  Cormac McCarthy meets Douglas Adams.
  9. Prince of Thorns meets Sleeping Beauty, a beautiful woman, ensorcelled, in the top tower of a castle surrounded by the thickest forest of thorny briars – all she needs is a Prince to kiss her and break the spell.  Could it be Jorg – he’s Prince of Thorns, not sure about the kissing part.  Mark Lawrence meets Charles Perrault. Update:  Mark Lawrence has already written a Sleeping Beauty story involving Prince Jorg – you can read it in The Road Brothers along with other stories about the characters from The Broken Empire.  I’ve read it and it’s very good indeed and highly recommended. (In case you’re wondering why I’ve come up with this mash up – I was thinking, literally of a fairytale retelling set in Sleeping Beauty’s world with Jorg thrown in.  I’d love to see how he would handle it, imagine the chaos).   Link for the Road Brothers is here.  If you love the Broken Empire I suggest you pick this one up – it adds an extra layer of something special to the characters.  

Don’t believe the hype. Or do.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

or, in my case:

Ten Highly anticipated books that lived up to my expectations

Okay, I’m not overly fond of the word ‘hype’ for me it seems to hold negative connotations so that’s why I’m thinking more along the lines of ‘highly anticipated’ books that I’m very happy to say more than lived up to my expectations:

  1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – I was really looking forward to this one, fairytale retelling – Rumplestiltskin, plus I loved Uprooted – this didn’t disappoint.
  2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – you may have seen the #wtf that ending – highly effective I thought.  A twisty turny novel.  Ms Pinborough, you twist and turn like a twisty turny thing.
  3. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence.  Having read Mr Lawrence’s other trilogies I think I can safely say this was one of my most anticipated reads of all time – it didn’t disappoint.  Kick ass, assassin nuns – who knew they’d be so damned good to read about?  Get thee to a nunnery indeed – is that what Shakespeare had in mind do you think?
  4. The Girl in the Tower – by Katharine Arden.  I loved The Bear and the Nightingale – absolutely loved it – so this had some big boots to fill.  To be honest, I think this burst the boots open at the seams and the feet then went and grew an extra couple of sizes.  This was fantastic.  The whole book is fantastic for more reasons than I’m going to mention here but there’s one particular scene where my heart was in my mouth – I kid you not, I was reading with my eyes trying to squeeze shut at the same time.
  5. Testament of Loki by Joanne Harris.  Joanne Harris has to be one of my favourite authors.  I just love her work so was really excited when Gospel of Loki was released – and what a treat that was. Testament of Loki, well, all I can say is, it was even better.  Don’t take my word for it though – go and pick up a copy.  I don’t want to give away spoilers here but Loki, and more to the point his host for the majority of this novel, are outstanding, fun, cheeky, creative.
  6. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – another ‘must read’ author for me.  I love her work and the Rules of Magic is an absolutely outstanding, gut wrenching and emotionally beautiful read and a first class sequel to Practical Magic.
  7. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – it feels like a long time since I read Holly Black’s dark fae series, Tithe, Valiant, Ironside – I loved them, they were so different than anything I’d read before, I was simply in awe.  When I saw The Cruel Prince I knew I had to have it but, as you do when you’ve loved a particular series by an author, you always worry if this might be the one that doesn’t win you over.  No worries.  I’m sold.  Take my money.  The end goodbye.
  8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  This was my first book by this author and you’re probably all crying out ‘for shame’ but sometimes you get behind with a series that really takes off and then it feels like such a challenge to catch up.  Ms Bardugo seems to have a very loyal fanbase following her Grisha books and so I was keen to give this a try – a new series but based in the same world.  I loved this book.  I do need to catch up with the next book but I do have a copy sat patiently waiting.  What the hell am I waiting for, really.
  9. Hunger by Alma Katsu – this is the author of the Immortal Trilogy – same as No.7 – I loved that series and so, I worry (I don’t know why I worry – it’s an odd thing, imagine what the author must be going through at such a time if I’m so keyed up?)  Anyway, I loved this.  It’s very dark, menacing, a scary tale and lots of death.  And scary – did I mention scary already.
  10. I’ve told you mine – now tell me yours…

Strangely, and quite by accident, I seem to have a list, almost, made up entirely of female authors – woohoo.

Now feast your eyes on my beauties:

 

TTT: Top 10 favourite novellas/short stories

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Favourite Novellas/Short Stories

I don’t read a lot of short stories, however, when I came to check my books I had more than I thought – here are the ten I chose which are either novellas or collections of short stories:

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – I love this story and have read it many times.
  2. Monstrous Little Voices – this is a wonderful collection of stories based on the works of Shakespeare.  You definitely don’t have to be an expert in the field, in my opinion, as I certainly am not – but the stories are all written by different authors and all the stories connect.  Such a good book.
  3. I am Legend by Richard Matheson – I don’t even need to say anything about this book surely?
  4. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – this is a fantastic story.  Brilliant.
  5. In Calabria by Peter S Beagle – ‘a unicorn fable for the modern age’
  6. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – I adore this book – I don’t know why I haven’t read the rest yet – I’m obviously a maniac and afraid to be happy.
  7. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – creepy as hell.
  8. In the Company of Thieves by Kage Baker – A wonderful collection of stories from Baker’s Company series.  Not to be missed.
  9. Road Brothers by Mark Lawrence – if you loved the Broken Empire then don’t be shy.  You need this book in your life.
  10. Poison/Charm/Beauty by Sarah Pinsborough – three books – each one connected, that include a bunch of fairy tales for grown ups.  Wonderful reading.
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