My book addiction is well documented and, this year, there are a few titles I can’t wait to get my hands on. Some have (just) come out in 2017, others won’t be here until 2018 is nearly knocking on our door… but here’s my top ten.
1 – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
As this blog post is published, I should be receiving my copy of Conjuring, the much anticipated third book in Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy. This author came out of nowhere for me and I immediately fell in love.
The first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, introduced me to the enticing worlds of a royal magician (Kell) and a cross-dressing pirate (Lila) and the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows, ending with me whimpering in utmost terror for their fates.
In order to stay sane, I pre-ordered my copy and I am hastily finishing my current read so I can be sure I can start on Conjuring of Light as soon as the post hits my doormat today.
Due date: 21st February 2017
2 – Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb
Mere words cannot express what this book means to me. I’ve been a huge fan of Robin Hobb since first reading her Liveship Traders trilogy (I should have technically read the Assassin’s trilogy first but I didn’t because I’m a maverick, just deal) and I have shed actual. blubbering. tears. over the Realm of the Elderlings books.
The Fitz and the Fool trilogy was an installment I never expected after Fool’s Fate left me an emotional, gibbering wreck. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the first two books, Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Quest and since became addicted to any snippets I can find about the last of the series [link].
I already know Assassin’s Fate will utterly destroy me, because that’s simply what Robin Hobb does. She takes my heart, she makes me love like I’ve never loved before, and then she crushes my heart into itty bitty pieces. And then, I’m pretty sure, she laughs manically. But you know what? I can’t wait to let her do it again.
Due date: 4th May 2017
3 – My Evil Twin is a Supervillain by David Solomons
I read a lot of children’s books – it’s part and parcel of my efforts to write and publish one. I need to know what’s out there, and what kind of competition I’m up against. Well, David Solomons wins that competition. He just does.
Hilarious, heart-warming and immensely readable, if you’re looking for a great children’s book this year – or any year – grab anything with Luke Parker as the main character.
You won’t regret it.
Due date: 6th July 2017
4 – The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
Since being bowled over by the odd-ball romance that was The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion has been permanently fixed on my auto-TBR list.
The Best of Adam Sharp focuses on happy introvert Adam, who, after a young life as a pianist, has settled down as an IT consultant and is enjoying an unremarkable but comfortable, pleasant life with a woman called Claire. But then ‘the one that got away’ comes back into his life out of the blue: a smart and sexy, strong-willed actress Angelina Brown, who taught him what it meant to find – and then lose – love.
I’ll admit, the book doesn’t sound like my usual fare, but neither did The Rosie Project before I read it, and that is now firmly on my favourites list. I have high hopes for Adam Sharp too.
Released: 9th February 2017
5 – The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
Who ISN’T excited for this book? No, seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Twitter and Facebook feed so stirred up about a novel.
His Dark Materials is one of the most beautiful children’s series to ever exist, and any return to Lyra Belacqua’s world will be met by me with a standing ovation.
For those who haven’t read His Dark Materials yet (are there any of you left out there?) my advice is to get off the computer right now, go to the nearest book store, buy it, and don’t eat or sleep until you’ve read all of it and are well prepared for this October.
And no, watching the film doesn’t count. Ever.
Due date: 19th October 2017
6 – Cormoran Strike Book #4 by Robert Galbraith (update: now called Lethal White)
I honestly know nothing about this book, because it doesn’t even have a title (update 14th March 2017: It is now called Lethal White), much less a synopsis. I don’t need to know what it’s about though, because I know who’s in it: Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.
I’m relatively new to the crime genre but the Cormoran Strike books have opened up a whole new reading world to me. Thanks to Galbraith, I now linger by the Crime shelves in my local bookstore instead of going straight to Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I’ve read the whole available series and love each one in its own way, although I wasn’t too fond of the second book. The plots themselves are entertaining, and well-written, but the strength of these books are the characters – I would happily read a boring story of Cormoran and Robin going food shopping if it meant I could see more interaction between them.
… And after the way the third book ended? Well. I’ll be pre-ordering Strike #4 as soon as I’m able.
Due date: Sometime in 2017 apparently… (im)patiently waiting for an update!
7 – Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection by Derek Landy
I’m very new to the Skulduggery Pleasant series, and each time I finish one I find myself wondering where I was when this epic of children’s fiction first hit the shelves. Thanks to persuasion from two directions – my writing partner S.E. Berrow and my cousin – I picked up the first book some time last year and have never looked back since. In fact, I’ve become hopelessly addicted.
I still have a couple of books to go until I’m at the stage where I can read Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection, but I was utterly thrilled to hear there was going to be another book out – my shelf seemed to contain too few of them already; diminishing every time I finished another title. I met Derek Landy last year at YALC and he’s fast becoming one of my writing heroes. He’s also a great way to wind S.E. Berrow up: he instructed me to tell her we went out for pizza together, simply because she couldn’t go to YALC to meet him herself. I think I saw steam coming out of her ears.
I have until the 1st of June to catch up with the rest of the Skulduggery Pleasant world, which I can safely say I will do without any trouble whatsoever – once I pick them up, I can’t seem to put them down until they’re finished.
Due date: 1st June 2017
8 – Shtum by Jem Lester
Recommended by Graeme Simsion who is also on this Top 10 list, Shtum is one of the alternative children’s books I’ve begun to read and thoroughly enjoy over the last few years.
Ten-year-old Jonah lives in a world of his own. He likes colours and feathers and the feel of fresh air on his skin. He dislikes sudden loud noises and any change to his daily routine. Jonah has never spoken, yet somehow he communicates better than all of the adults in his life.
I’m growing particularly fond of this sub-genre of children’s literature because it explores something completely different to the run-of-the-mill characters. This book was also inspired by the author’s experiences with his own son, and already hailed as a tear-jerker that will stay with the reader for a long time. Perhaps I’m a masochist, but that sounds like too good a novel to pass up.
Released: 26th January 2017
9 – The Romanovs: 1613 – 1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
I won’t lie. I’m addicted to Russian history. This is simple fact. I love it because it’s so bizarre, so rich and – after the revolution – so elusive! The Romanovs were a dynasty that spanned from the end of The Time of Troubles (my era of particular interest) until the Russian Revolution, making them the most successful royal dynasty of the modern European era. How could I resist?
This book covers the whole family, and is an immediate ‘must-buy’ addition to my growing collection of obscure Russian historical titles.
Just as a taster of why I love Russian history so much: this is a world where obscure strangers suddenly claim to be dead monarchs reborn, brides are poisoned, fathers torture their sons to death, sons kill fathers, wives murder husbands, a holy man, poisoned and shot, arises, apparently, from the dead, barbers and peasants ascend to supremacy, giants and freaks are collected, dwarfs are tossed, beheaded heads kissed, tongues torn out, flesh knouted off bodies, rectums impaled, children slaughtered; here are fashion-mad nymphomaniacal empresses, lesbian ménages à trois, and an emperor who wrote the most erotic correspondence ever written by a head of state.
…How can I not buy it?!
Released: 1st February 2017
10 – The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan
This is the third book in a fun, different series about a retired Mumbai policeman-turned-Private-Detective who solves cases with the help of his adopted pet elephant, Baby Ganesh.
Yes, it’s really as bizarre as it sounds, although it works really well. Not only do you get a real sense of what Mumbai life is really like, there’s an underlying sense of spirituality and connected mysticism that really makes this series worth reading.
The first two were immensely enjoyable, and I’ve no doubt that the third novel in this “crime series with a difference” will be equally worthy of everyone’s time.
Due date: 4th May 2017