Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A New YA Genre? Para-Historical Fiction

With the relatively recent success of the "insert Jane Austen or classic title here" and "Monsters" books and subsequent films, I've noticed a certain trend emerging in YA and elsewhere - paranormal historical fiction (or that's what I'm calling it).

Maybe this recent trend is a result of Cassandra Clare's popular Infernal Devices series or perhaps we're all looking for a Downton ala Buffy fix? As someone who ADORES historical fiction and paranormal/supernatural/fantasy this is the perfect Mash Up!

So what do I think qualifies as Para Historical Fiction?
1. It occurs in a recognisable time period like regency, ancient egypt/rome, victorian etc.
2. There is some element of supernatural/paranormal/fantasy. This can vary from something of a subplot to the main story.
3. Once you have these two factors - have FUN! So a perfect example of this form (IMO), is Gail Carriger's Soulless series - A Victorian novel with supernatural beings crossed with alternative history and steampunk.

Regardless of definition, 2016 seems to be fast shaping up to be the year for this sub-genre. (and I LOVE IT).

Here's a taster of some of these (ranging from alternative history to steampunk, all with a dash of the Sup or Para)

First - Queen of the Form has just released a new book/series

Gail Carriger's Poison or Protect Novella - June 21st

Alison Goodman's Dark Days Club Series (just bought this off the book shelf. Cannot wait to read.)

Evelyn Skye's The Crown's Game Series 

Jessica Cluess' A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1)

I'm currently compiling a lovely list of books for this Genre - so please any further suggestions would be great!

NOW come one let's do the MONSTER MASH!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moon Called: Mercy Thompson Series

US cover

UK 2011 Cover

On a separate note: UK vs. US cover? Which do you prefer? I don't like how overtly "sexy" Mercy is in the US cover (because I don't think she would wear something like that), but I absolutely love the artwork and it really catches the eye, whereas I think UK cover is very bland and could be anyone (or any PR cover). Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Emperor's Edge

Emperor's edge tells the story of Amaranthe Lokdon, a female enforcer in the city of stumps who (in no fault of her own) ends up on the wrong side of the law. Trying to redeem her place in history, she gathers together an unlikely team of "heroes" called the emperor's edge in order to protect the young emperor from danger and hopefully in doing so, get back on the right side of the history books.

Blah - that was a pretty dry summary for such a fun book!

EE is the first of 7 books which tells the story of how Amaranthe Lokdon and her team (of misfits and Sicarius, cause he's no misfit) try to redeem themselves and save the empire. In my opinion this book (and series) are just such fun to read (and re-read - always a good sign). Although set with a serious setting (i.e. political instability etc.), and with certain themes like morality and leadership running through the series, it manages to be a light and adventurous read which captured me from beginning to end (and then made me go and read all available books in the series in 3 days).

I believe Lindsay Buroker's great talent (which is reflected in all her books) is her character development and dialogue. The characters in her books come alive, with us rooting for them from beginning to the end. I think any other writer would be very much in danger of making Amaranthe unlikable or a Mary-Sue, but Lindsay instead makes both a strong and talented character which is also very likable that (like in the books) draws you in and wants you to be on her side. Similarly, the character of Sicarius the taciturn assassin could easily have been a paper-cut out/assassin stereotype or Gary-Stu, but through out the series (and with various eyebrow twitches) we slowly see a much richer character. In seeing these characters grow during the series, and seeing them grow closer - it adds both romance and a believably element that these two characters know each other and belong together (rather than typical UF/PR romance of insta-love which can often be too prevalent). Beyond the great characters, dialogue and funny moments, it was Sicarius and Amaranthe's growth and their relationship which made me come back again and again to these books to get that lovely warm feeling of reading a very enjoyable book!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone if you enjoy a fun light adventure series with great characters and lots of laugh-out-loud dialogue!!

It is now FREE on all major e-book websites so go on read it!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Wounded by Lindsay Buroker

Two small disclaimers before I review "Wounded"

1. I received Wounded as a review copy but I promise this is an honest (if not a bit gushy) review.

2. I do NOT read contemporary romance. . . or well contemporary anything for that matter. When I read a book, I want someone to either be in a corset, wearing a sword, howling at the moon, flashing fangs or flying in a steam-punk dirigible.

So when I say I could not put this book down - I want you to realise how much I enjoyed this book.

"Wounded" is a contemporary romance with a dash of mystery/thriller which Lindsay Buroker does so well. Wounded tells the story of Tara, a feisty blogging expert, who ends up living in an eco village for the summer. Low and behold, the very night Tara arrives she finds a chicken's head on her doorstep. Enter Mr. Grouchy but hunky Malcolm Ashcroft who has a feud running with the leader of the eco village and is the prime suspect for poultry decapitation. Tara being an investigative or rather nosy soul lands herself in the middle of the mystery and is looking for answers.

I'm a huge fan of Lindsay Buroker's fantasy series "Emperor's Edge" (if you have not read this - SHAME on you!). I think fans of her EE series are going to find a lot in this book to like as this book also has great characters and witty dialogue that is similar to EE-universe books.

I think the sign of a great author is having a "voice" and Lindsay's "voice" which is alive in the EE series - remains here in Wounded. The witty remarks, the lovable and sarcastic characters, the great relationships that stay with you long after you're finished - it's all here.

I also think people new to Lindsay and more contemporary readers (really, you don't like assassins or vampires - what?!) will really enjoy this book as it is light and fun with great characters. I especially liked the side characters of Jasmine and Mandy - and would of liked to have seen more of them in this book. Also although it might of darkened the mood of the book - it would have been nice to delve more into Malcolm's background - but then again - the character is quite taciturn and the book is written from Tara pov. (Lindsay does great job of changing POV in EE, so I think I kind of missed this a little here).

Anyhoo - like I said previously, I'm not a contemporary reader - but this was such a fun read with loveable characters and a hunky fireman - so what was not to love! So in sum, I really enjoyed this book :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My conversion is complete. . .

In the beginning, I was like. . .

Then as a PhD student, I was like. . .

Then I discovered indie e-books that were FREE . . .

Or really cheap (Yes to Indies!!).

And I was like. . .

And that Ladies and Gents is how I am now an e-book convert!!

Although I do still read book Books now and then because . . .

Yes I am one of those people!

Friday, August 30, 2013

RIP Seamus Heaney

Absolutely devastated to hear the news that Seamus Heaney, Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in literature has died today.

There are no words to describe this man's impact on Irish poetry, literature and society.

The only thing I can think of, is to share one of my favourite Heaney poems.

From Seamus Heaney's "North" collection, 1975


There was a sunlit absence.

The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

Rest In Peace, Seamus Heaney, you were much loved and shall be missed.

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