Last night, I headed over to Shaftesbury Avenue for a Robin Hobb book signing. It was pouring with rain but trivial things like terrible weather have never stopped me celebrating my geekdom. Robin Hobb, for me, is the Holy Grail of fiction writers and apparently I’m not alone in thinking that. When I got there, the queue was very long. Fortunately my friend Maria had arrived in plenty of time to save a space for us. S.E. Berrow rocked up a short while later, bringing clear skies with her, and the door to Forbidden Planet opened. Continue reading
Last Sunday was International Children’s Book Day, so this week’s Top 10 Tuesday is, of course, about children’s books. There are lots of excellent series out there for children but sometimes stand-alone novels get left in the dust. Several publishers and editors have commented on the difficulty of selling a stand-alone novel due to lack of ‘shelf-presence’, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less worthwhile.
Here are ten of my stand-alone recommendations for children: Continue reading
It’s International Women’s Day on the 8th March, so today’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about female inspirations in fiction. I’m a big believer in children’s fiction setting an example for developing girls and young women, and seeing strong, independent female characters is a huge part of that representation in literature. Here are a few of the characters who inspired me when growing up.
10 – The Wrestling Princess – The Wrestling Princess by Judy Corbalis
I remember the Wrestling Princess as my earliest fictional role model. This was in the very early nineties, when I was just starting to read by myself and I wanted something a bit meatier to sink my teeth into. Cinderella and the other Disney princesses (with the exception of Belle) never really caught my interest as a youngster, but this princess did.
She’s smart, and strong, and she doesn’t like being ladylike or proper, and she has absolutely no interest in finding a handsome prince to settle down and marry. She loves dirty engines, and fixing things, and wrestling, and all the things that princess shouldn’t like at all. Exasperated by her behaviour, her parents decree that if someone can beat their daughter in a wrestling match, then she will have to marry them. Many try, many fail, until the Wrestling Princess finds and chooses her own husband: someone who she can respect exactly the way he is, and who respects her, exactly how she is.
Also she could throw grown men over her head. What’s not to like? Continue reading
Verdict: Intricate and well-written, with a page-turning ending, this great tech-crime novel surpasses its predecessor in ambition and delivery.
Brody and Jenny are back!
Still recovering from the dramatic events of the last book, and the subsequent loss of Leroy as a friend, Brody is seeking purpose and professional legitimacy. His growth from white hat pen-test hacker to his application for the Vorovsky Mir take-down team at GCHQ is no doubt helped by his relationship with Jenny, who requires honesty (and legal compliance) from him in order to continue their romance – despite the complications this job would bring geographically. But Brody receives another offer which sorely tempts his secretive side, and it might be too early to put his online persona Fingal to rest.
Jenny herself is facing trouble at work. Her boss is relentlessly penalising her for how the last case went; punishing her for making the final arrest and, in his view, making him look like a fool. She too is entertaining a career change, one that might place her relationship with Brody in jeopardy, but then something happens that throws both our favourite hacker and kick-arse policewoman back together, whether they want to be co-workers or not. Continue reading
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 Continue reading
Verdict: A very welcome return to Red London and the lives of Lila and Kell. I’m a bit terrified for the next book.
Question: What’s better than a cross-dressing thief and a royal magician at the end of his tether?
A Gathering of Shadows picks up a few months after the last book left off. Things in Red London have changed – and not for the better. Continue reading