Tag Archives: holiday reads

Holiday Reading List 2014

Every year I save up some special books to take on holiday with me. Books that I’m really excited about, books that are sequels in a series I’m reading, or just fantastic sounding books by familiar and also new authors. I normally managed 5-6 books in a week on holiday, which is a massive increase on my usual reading speed of 2-3 books a month, but with fewer distractions and only a pool to tempt my away from the page, I manage a lot of reading.

Aalphalpha by Greg Rucka – I’m a big fan of Greg Rucka and his work in general, but particularly his independent comic book work (Stumptown, Lazarus, Veil, Lady Sabre, Queen and Country) and I have also read and enjoyed several of his Kodiak novels. Alpha is the first in a brand new series with brand new character and I’ve heard great things about it from other people who have already read it. Someone kindly bought me a copy for my birthday so I’ve been saving it for a few months now already.

king11/22/63 by Stephen King – I’ve been reading King books for decades and think he’s an amazingly creative writer with a remarkable imagination. I love time travel, always have. From Back to the Future to the hammy Time Cop, I just love time travel and this is the ultimate version of, ‘what if I could go back in time and change an event earlier in my life?’ This goes far beyond something  small and personal. It asks, what would happen if someone tried to change the horrific events on that tragic day in Dallas in 1963?  I’m sure there will be plenty of twists and turns, a lot which I won’t see coming, which is another real plus for me as I like to be surprised but often see them coming ahead of time. King always surprises me with his choices and where a story goes so I’m really interested to see what he does with this.

jackalThe Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding – I loved the first two of this series and flew through them as they’re so funny, dark, exciting, clever, packed full of ideas and great characters. An easy touchstone is Firefly, but it goes far beyond that into a world that is completely its own thing. The story in these novels fly along at a cracking pace and are full of great characters, moments of genuine creepy horror, and clever twisty turny plots, dog fights in the sky and laugh out loud moments. It’s incredibly rare that a novel actually makes me laugh out loud. I smile, I might almost chuckle, but properly laugh is one in a hundred but Wooding does it.

heavenThe Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams – I’ve read a few of his novels over the years, starting back in the day with his fantasy books, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and then his massive Otherland books which were remarkable in their scope and achievement. This new series sounds exactly like my kind of thing, noir crossed with supernatural and urban fantasy. No doubt it will have his own unique  twist as well and this is another one I’ve been desperate to read but have been saving it for a time when I can read it without interruption and can just sit for hours at a time and sink into the book. The second book in the series is already out so if I really like this I’m sure I will pick up the next one in record time.

I’m going to add at least one more, if not two books to the list before I go. Do you save books up to read at a later date? If so what books are you saving up? It might give me a few ideas to add to this list.

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Recharged

I’m back from my holiday, feeling refreshed and recharged and ready to face the second half of the year. I saved up some favourite books I’d been holding onto for months, and a couple of new ones, and then spent most of the week lying by a pool, drinking cold beer and reading in the Portuguese sunshine. I’m not the fastest reader but still managed to get through four and a half in a week, which is pretty good for me. There is an earlier post about which books I took with me and below are my initial thoughts.

This was my second time reading The Name of the Wind, and actually, it was more satisfying this time. It must be two years since I first read it, and although I had an idea of the overall arc of the story, I had forgotten so much. So many details, so many little clues and nuances, and now, with the whole story fresh in my mind I am ready to dive into The Wise Man’s Fear. It’s a monster of a book, plus I have the weighty hardback, but apart from it being a tax on my wrists, I can’t wait to start it.

Small side note. It was recently announced that The Kingkiller Chronicle has been optioned for a TV series. In the wake of the enormous, galactic success, of Game of Thrones, it was inevitable that TV execs and others would be looking for another fantasy series they could adapt. I’m really not sure about this. It’s far too early to be worried, it may never actually happen and could get stuck in development hell, but my initial gut reaction was not one of celebration. Now, I love Game of Thrones, and I read the books before the TV series, and am also a fan of the TV series. The Kingkiller Chronicle is not even remotely like Game of Thrones, it’s so very different, maybe more so than some people might realise. It’s definitely a wait and see. I could be proven totally wrong and the TV show might be amazing, so for now I’ll say no more and just stay quiet.

The Eighth Court was the final book in The Courts of the Feyre series by Mike Shevdon and although I really enjoyed it, so much so that I read the whole thing in one day, I was left feeling a little sad because there will no more tales of Blackbird and Dogstar. I feel that Shevdon has barely scratched the surface with some of the characters and the world he has created but it’s not my book or my world, or my story for that matter. I’d love to see more stories set in this world and I guess only time well tell if Shevdon comes back to it. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve very picky about my urban fantasy, and this is a brilliant series that I highly recommend. So if you’ve never read them, savour the books and don’t race through them, as four is all you are getting.

I gobbled up Exit Kingdom in a day as well. This is the second book by Alden Bell, set in the same world he created with The Reapers are the Angels. It’s a prequel, of sorts, but it also references a few events in Reapers, but without spoiling anything. So in theory you could read this first and then Reapers and it would not spoil the story. The dialogue is glorious and overly dramatic at times, but it is also very in keeping with the world Bell has created and I found myself loving the rhythms and sound of it. The story is dark, twisted, unpredictable and bleak at times and once again it is a story not about zombies, but about humanity. In my opinion, this and Reapers are far superior to some of the other zombie material out there at the moment that is flooding the comic book world, our TV screens and even the cinemas. A fantastic read and I am keen to read more by Bell, whether set in this world, or something completely new.

Ack-Ack Macaque is just a giant bag of fun, wrapped up in a monkey shaped blanket. Ok, I admit that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but suffice to say there are a lot of ideas thrown onto the page and they all gel and come together nicely in the end. Powell has a lot of fun with the story and dialogue in particular and it really translates into making it an enjoyable experience for the reader. I know that this is only the beginning as there is still a lot to explore in this strange new world Powell has created with its own alternate history. Hive Monkey, the second book featuring AAM is due out next year and after reading this I am really looking forward to seeing where he goes next.

Can’t really comment on the fifth book, Ice Forged, as I’m still reading it, but so far it’s a down and dirty fantasy series with several likeable characters and some rather hideous villains.

Next up will be The Wise Man’s Fear, and then Rebellion, the second Blood and Feathers book by Lou Morgan.

So what have you been reading over the summer? Can you recommend any new urban fantasy series I might not have heard about before?

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