For all its much vaunted “algorithms” I hate trying to find something new to read on Amazon. If I’ve got the title, or the name of a favourite author, yep, it’s a doddle to find a good book. But if you don’t know what you want, Amazon offers a rubbish browsing experience (imo).
I end up finding most of my books through recommendations. I put a note at the end of my last newsletter asking readers what they’d recommend me to try. I only got one response, but my, it was a doozy! The Girl from Everywhere is time travel and magic, folklore and heist, friendship and coming of age, and it’s entirely gorgeous.
I’ve finished The Girl from Everywhere now, so – what do you recommended, lovely reader? Anything good you want to share?
Excuse the shameless self-promo today, readers, but I’m wildly excited to report that not only is my series, A Clockwork War, complete, but it’s now also available as a bargain-priced boxed set.
Bingeing a series once it’s all available is apparently THE way to consume fiction these days. I feel out of step since I don’t tend to binge read books (I mean, I read constantly, natch, but jumping from one thing to another). I do tend to record TV series and watch them once they’re all out, but I think that’s a shortage of time more than a deliberate choice.
When it comes to books, however, I’ll grab them as soon as they’re out if I like them (case in point, I’m foaming at the mouth for two instalments in novella series I’m midway through that won’t be out until the end of the month, alongside a more distant yearning for the next Tides novel by Alex Lidell which doesn’t yet have a release date).
But, if you’re a binge reader (or even if you’re not!) and you like steampunk, genius heroines, gutsy heroes and dastardly antagonists, do try A Clockwork War. I had terrific fun writing about Clara, her friends and her fabulous brothers (she has five) in a world where England and Scotland remain at war in the 1840s.
This week I have got firmly back into my groove of reading (I always think I’ll have loads of time to write at holiday time, but somehow, it’s much easier when I’m back in a routine of work/school).
I was helped by already being mid-way through Megan Crewe’s brilliant Fallen World series. As mentioned last week, I moved straight on to book two, The Lives We Lost, and because that was so entirely excellent I had to put all my other waiting-for-review books on hold so I could gobble up the finale, The Worlds We Make. Oh my giddy aunt, I feel like I barely breathed while I was reading that. It was so tense I was constantly on edge in case Kaelyn and her friends didn’t make it. The resolution was utterly stupendous. I recommend you read this series even more now I’ve reached the end.
Because I’m eschewing my Kindle for late-night reading-in-bed, alongside Fallen Worlds, I also read Nicholas Bowling’s Witchborn. That was fabulous (catch my review).
And then yesterday I got back into my review reading and caught up with Nile, Dominic and Prince Tamiath in Alex Lidell’s Tides series. Sea and Sand is the third in the series and it’s out – wowzers, today or tomorrow, I think. It’s another glorious fantasy and while I didn’t warm completely to new-girl Kyra, I am now YET AGAIN waiting impatiently for the next instalment. If you haven’t read these books, you should check them out IMMEDIATELY.
Phew, back to normal has never felt so good!
Check back next week to see what I’ve been reading – and please do let me know if you try out any of these books. I’d love to know what you think.
My Christmas was, basically, books and chocolate. Sounds like a perfect festive season, to me!
Except that now I’ve got an even larger TBR pile than usual. I guess I’ll just have to read as quickly as I can, sustained by Green & Blacks and dark chocolate brazils. It’s a tough life, but I’ll do my best…
This week I zipped through Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall. I’ve read Megan’s writing before (A Mortal Song is ACE) and it really shouldn’t have taken me so long to pick up something else by her (except – mammoth TBR pile, did I mention?). The Way We Fall is completely different, and equally fantastic.
It’s told from Kaelyn’s point of view, a girl who thinks herself a misfit and is missing her best friend fiercely … and then she needs to deal with a strange virus that means the island she lives on is abruptly cut off from the rest of the world.
The thing with Megan is that she writes emotion so well. It was all very small and understated, and yet my heart was cut into teeny tiny pieces in the way that good books can do to a person.
I loved it so much I’ve moved straight on to the next, The Lives We Lost (sorry to everything else waiting on my TBR pile).
This week I finally got around to reading a sequel that’s been on my reading radar for yonks. Way back in the summer I read Ember Burning and loved it. I would love to psychoanalyse myself for this, because I’m not sure what drives me to go straight on and read more by the author IMMEDIATELY, or just to nod and say to myself, “Yep, I’ll look out for more from her/him.” I read Ember Burning, enjoyed it, put it down and that was the end of that, I’m sorry to say.
I wish I knew what triggered me to think, “I love this author and I know I’m in safe hands, where’s more?” versus, “I really enjoyed that, but, hmm, can their next one be as good? I don’t want to be disappointed…” because there’s got to be something.
Anyway, spool on several months and Oshun Rising jumped into my awareness and I actually loaded it onto my kindle and started reading.
Oh my giddy aunt, it’s AMAZING. Jennifer Alsever has outdone herself. Ember Burning was good, but Oshun Rising entirely blew my socks off. I think I hardly breathed through the second half of the story.
That’s a nudge to my cautious self. Sometimes a second book might disappoint. But other times it will catapult the author into, “Give me more. NOW,” territory.
And now I have to wait for the third in the series, which is a whole other kind of torture I’ll probably address in another post.
Share, readers, what book did you delay reading (for any reason) that you later wished you’d got on with?
This week I read A G Henley’s The Scourge. This took me by surprise in a lot of very good ways. What seemed at first to be a pre-industrial fantasy world turned out to be set in a post-apocalyptic future. There were other twists like that, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. But in short, very little was quite as it seemed. Narrator Fennel was ideal to experience this story with us, because you really couldn’t always believe your eyes (Fennel is blind, so doesn’t have the option to trust her eyes!).
And that’s the only reading-for-pleasure I’ve managed this week. I have been busy with my own books, though: proofing the paperback of The Clockwork War, the Kindle version of An Airship from Ashes, and revising The Tinker Queen ready for editing while working on the first draft of finale The Immortality Device, so it’s all go in my house!
If you’ll forgive me a bit of self-promo, I’m delighted to say that The Clockwork War is now available as a real life ink-and-paper book. If that’s what floats your boat, check it out.
I’m looking forward to next week when I should have more time for reading. Check back next week to see what I’ve picked from Shattered Worlds.
Having enjoyed my Alphabet Challenge tremendously, I’ve found myself a new challenge to keep me focused on my reading for the next twelve weeks.
Today marks the start of my Shattered Worlds challenge. My new book, The Clockwork War, is one of the YA novels in Shattered Worlds, which became a USA Today bestseller last week (yippee!). The collection will be exclusive to Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited) for the next ninety days, and I’ve set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing one of the books each week that it’s out.
(Please note, I’ll be reviewing here and on the Paisley Piranha blog, not on Amazon itself, because I’m a contributing author to the set and impartiality and terms and conditions, blah, blah.)
I have already read one of the other stories. I started with Cortney Pearson’s The Perilous In-Between, because that was the other steampunk story in the collection and I wanted to read her take on the genre. Check out my review on the Paisley Piranha blog, but in short: it’s deliciously glorious.
So, I’m moving on to the apocalypse. Check back next week to see what I’ve made of Rebecca Rode’s Richard’s Story.
Oh my goodness, I thought I might slacken off when I didn’t have my Alphabet Reading Challenge to keep my nose in a book. I’m delighted to say that hasn’t happened at all!
Since blogging last I’ve had a lovely week off, taking a holiday by the seaside. I also caught up on some of the books I wanted to read “just because” rather than because they start with the necessary letter of the alphabet to fit my challenge.
I got through the whole of Rachel E Carter’s Black Mage series (terrific – the list of imaginary worlds in which I want to take a holiday grows exponentially!). I read an out of left field 5* book that just happened to catch my eye in a Facebook group I’m a member of. Ember Burning was unsettling in the best way – creative, eerie and populated by fabulous characters.
And finally, I read a book by a fellow author in the Shattered Worlds collection. I decided to start with Cortney Pearson’s The Perilous In-Between to check out her take on steampunk, and it’s glorious – delightfully fantastical and beautifully written.
I’m now back to work and writing hard on my clockwork war series – book two is about to go to my proof-readers, and I’m on the home straight to complete the writing of book three. While I’m doing that, my reading is research for what I’m going to write next (ideas are coalescing, but I’m not certain which story I’m going to pick just yet). I’ll keep you posted!
If you’ll excuse me a plug, Shattered Worlds is out now and today is the last day to get it at launch-day-bargain price of .99. Next week it will be going up to the regular price of $2.99, so if you’re dithering, dither no longer and grab a copy!
I had terrific fun with my alphabet challenge. It made me look beyond the books and authors I always choose, with the result that I’ve found some absolute treasures that I’ll be looking out for more from.
Having to (mostly) stick to a particular letter of the alphabet provided some structure and there was a lot less dithering over what I was going to read next, which probably gave me more time to actually read. Although to counter that, there were a couple of letters where I spent far too much time trying to find something that fit the alphabet criteria but also seemed bearable to read. I admit to being fussy, but I was also surprised by how incredibly difficult it is to browse Amazon if you don’t know what book or author you’re looking for.
One book/review a week felt like a hectic schedule at times, but I managed it pretty much consistently (even if there were a couple of weeks where I needed to cheat mildly). I do read a lot and this challenge demonstrated that a book a week is more than do-able for me.
I will definitely be back with another challenge, although I’m not sure what. Shout out if you have a suggestion, otherwise I’ll think something up for myself in a week or two. Until then, though, I’m going to have fun reading more from some of the new writers I’ve discovered. Rachel E Carter and Rhonda Sermon are priorities (I’m halfway through First Year already), but I also want to find out what happens next in the Clearwater world created by Madeline Freeman, I hope David Kudler will be releasing a follow-up to Risuko soon, and I just saw on Facebook the other day that there’s a new Kitty Peck novel available.
Maybe that’s the best result of my alphabet reading challenge – it’s reminded me what terrific writing talent is out there and what wonderful worlds are waiting for me to step into them. Now, please excuse me, I have reading to get on with…
I always knew filling the X slot in my alphabet reading challenge might be difficult, so when I spotted a book titled Xoe early in the year I grabbed it. Due to my lack of choice I wasn’t especially hopeful.
Fie on me for a cynical doubter! Actually, Xoe was mostly a fun read. The relationships between the female characters was great fun and well-depicted. The paranormal elements were good and intriguing (we had the introduction of demons to bring a different slant to the customary paranormal vampires and werewolves fare). What I enjoyed less was the romantic element which felt slightly forced and clichéd, as though the author had been told to make the romance more obvious. And there were an awful lot of fashion reports. Maybe this stuck with me because I rarely describe my characters, and never in detail (I’m often told off by editors for this). But what do you need to fix a character in your mind? I don’t think very much – maybe hair and eye colour, and then if something’s remarkable about them mention that: they might be very tall, or always wear a hat. But in Xoe we seemed to constantly get a run down of what each character was wearing when we met them, which I found unnecessary.
But maybe I’m the one out of step, reader – do you like a full and detailed description of characters, or just a broad stroke of description that you can fill in for yourself?
And it’s hard to believe I’m nearly at the end of my alphabet reading challenge! Check back next week to see what I’ve found starting with Y.