My favourite shows, films, music and books from 2018.

I have been very quiet on my blog and social media lately and I don’t really have any excuses other than I just haven’t been feeling the drive to write anything. However, looking back over my reading year has inspired me to share with you a few of my favourite things from 2018.

TV Shows

Starting with TV shows. We recently binge watched both seasons of Sneaky Pete and loved them. Roll on season 3.

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Then along came Lucifer…

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Wow, I can honestly say I have never been so affected by a TV show before. We’ve just watched the last couple of episodes of season 3 and I really don’t know what I’ll do while I’m waiting for season 4. To think they almost didn’t make it at all! How could they even consider leaving the fans with such a cliff hanger… forever?

Lucifer has everything you could want in a show – emotion, comedy, romance, friendship, fun, action, murder, mystery, and Tom Ellis is a wickedly sexy and camp devil that I adore. I’ve never been one for angels and demons etc, but I think I’m going to try some books along this theme. Any recommendations?

A final word about Lucifer; if it can grip my 14-year-old son’s attention, who would normally rather game on his Xbox ahead of eating and sleeping, then anyone should be able to enjoy the show.

 Favourite film this year…

Venom – This is the easiest one to call as I loved this film so much that I wanted to stay in the cinema and watch the next showing. I can’t wait to watch it with the family when it comes out on DVD, only a month to go!

Tom Hardy was excellent and really, what more is there to say. Action, laughs, adventure, love…

venom

Favourite band

I’ve just discovered Halestorm, and wow does Lizzy have the most incredible voice or what? One of her songs has given me the inspiration I’ve needed to get on with book 3 in my Silent Sea Chronicles series. ‘I am the Fire’ is an amazing song and it reflects the book cover for The Sentinel’s Alliance, which I hope to reveal soon.

 

Books of 2018

I just about completed my reading challenge on Goodreads, managing 35 books which was the target I set myself. Only 2 of those are audiobooks, which is a surprise as in 2017 I think I listened to quite a few.

You can see my book challenge on Goodreads here .

Here are my favourite reads from 2018.

Fantasy / YA

I discovered a new favourite author this year – Maria V Snyder. The two books of hers that I read, Poison Study and Magic Study were my favourite fantasy reads this year. I was totally gripped by the characters and the story, and I’m so pleased to see that she has quite a few more books written in this world.

Here are my reviews of Poison Study.

Writers Guides

I’ve read a couple this year but the most inspiring one has been Take off your Pants by Libbie Hawker. It’s all about outlining novels, something I have struggled with in the past. I have lots of ideas but no idea where they are going. This guide lays out a way to outline your book and keep the pace exciting. I hope to do a proper review of the book once I’ve used the method fully. In the meantime, I really recommend giving the book a go. Goodreads link.

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Thriller

I’m surprised to see that I haven’t read many thrillers this year. My favourite is by my writing hero fantasy author, David Gemmell. Rhyming Rings isn’t on the same level as his fantasy books were, but it’s still a great page-turning read and you care for these characters, which is a skill of David Gemmell’s I’ve always admired.

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Romance

I like to read a couple of romance books a year and this year I’ve really been spoilt with the quality of those I’ve chosen. They’ve all been excellent but if I have to pick a favourite I think I will go with The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick. Here is my review. I cannot sum up the story any better than Elizabeth Buchan does on the cover… Just read it!

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I’ve really enjoyed sharing my favourite reads from the last year, though these are not the books I planned to read during 2018. In fact I’d say my plan last year was an epic fail. I had good intentions of finishing a few trilogies and didn’t manage to complete any of them. It’s not that I don’t want to read them, I think it’s because I’m a mood reader and quite often pick my next read on the spur of the moment. Maybe in 2019 I’ll just see what takes my fancy and not put pressure on myself.

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What do you think of my choices? Have you read any of these books or watched Lucifer and Venom?

Join me again when I review my writing year and achievements of 2018.

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WWW Wednesday 12th Sept #amreading #fantasy #thriller

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I’m trying to finish the draft of my latest book. I have however been reading and am joining in the weekly meme WWW Wednesday to share some of those reads with you. Anyone can take part, just answer the questions below and link back to Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. I am about 80% through this book and am really enjoying it. It feels like there is a much bigger story to tell, so I’m really looking forward to the sequel already.

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I’m also reading The Copper Gauntlet – book 2 in the Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. It’s a mid-grade fantasy that can hook any reader of any age. I am enjoying the second instalment almost as much as I did the first book.

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What did you recently finish reading?

Over the summer I reading Poison Study for  my book group and wow, I loved it. A totally gripping YA fantasy that I wish I’d read when I was a teen. I can’t wait for my children to read the book and I can’t wait to continue with this brilliant series. A full review of the book will follow soon.

poison study

I’ve also finally treated myself to reading Rhyming Rings. It is the second to last of David Gemmell’s books that I haven’t read before, so I was excited and nervous to start it. Thankfully I loved it! A review of this will also follow soon.

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I am still listening to My Husband’s Wife. It is very slow going. I do want to find out what happens, but I am not compelled to finish it. I think I heard somewhere there will be a TV adaptation of it, so I will finish it to find out why it has been picked more than anything.

my husbands wife

What do you think you will read next?

It is Self Published Fantasy Month so I want to continue reading some indie fantasy books. I have a good selection to choose from – see my post here explaining the books I picked up during the SPFBO 2018 book sale in August and why I chose them.

One I have fancy because of the excellent cover is The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh, so I think this will be my first pick.

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I also want to read the How to book – Writing Young Adult Fiction, written by a very successful agent Juliet Mushens. I’m hoping this will give me an insight into the differences of writing YA and Adult fantasy.

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I’ve also been lucky enough to win two books over the last two months, so these will be going up high on my TBR list.

Thanks to Dan on Dan’s Book Blog (the site seems to be down at the moment so I can’t add a link) for my copy of Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft – a former SPFBO entrant.

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And thank you to Liz at Liz Loves Books for this wonderful signed first edition hardback book of the debut fantasy City of Lies by Sam Hawke. The book looks and sounds amazing! I think this will be a treasured book to take my time over.

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That’s about it from me today. Happy reading everyone and don’t forget to visit others taking part today.

#Tuesdaybookblog mini #bookreviews of my favourite #fantasy books in Rainne’s Five on Friday feature

During my blogging break I shared some mini book reviews of my favourite fantasy books over on Rainne’s Rambles. Please pop over to take a look at the Five on Friday feature and see what books inspired my love of all thing fantasy.

Rainne's Ramblings

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Five Books – Five Authors – One Reviewer

Looking for a new fantasy to read this weekend?
Try one of these books, reviewed by Suzanne Rogerson


I finally have space to bring back my Five on Friday feature and I’m kicking off with a guest reviewer:

Suzanne Rogerson is a self-published author of epic and heroic fantasy, who loves reading books almost as much as she love writing them.

“When Rainne asked if I would like to take part in her Five on Friday, I was excited to have a go and share some book love. But after many false starts, I just couldn’t work out which books to showcase. It’s so difficult to pick just five. In the end, I’ve opted for five fantasy books I’ve loved but never reviewed on my blog. Here they are…”

Title: Dream-weaver
Author: Jonathan Wylie

2030986As civil war threatens the land of Ahrenia…

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My summer reading plan #amreading #fantasy #thriller #romance

My reading has really been slow these last few months, what with publishing my own book and all that goes with it. I’m hoping to step up the reading through the rest of the summer and what better way to achieve this than to tell the world my plan!

I’m using the format of WWW Wednesday, as I didn’t get this post finished in time to share it yesterday.

What I’m currently reading.

Jo Thomas The Olive Branch.

the olive branch

I only picked this book up quickly last night to get a taste of the story. 50 pages later, I know I’m going to enjoy it. I’ve read one of Jo Thomas’s books before and loved it. Here’s the review of Late Summer in the Vineyard.

What I’m currently listening to

My Husband’s Wife

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It’s ok. Seems a bit slow, but there are intriguing titbits to keep me interested so far.

What I recently finished reading

Senlin Ascends Josiah Bancroft

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I’m not sure what to say about this book. I didn’t love it and felt it was slow in places. I found the tower concept very hard to picture and it was hard to really connect with Senlin. However, towards the end I did find myself not wanting to stop reading, so I’ll be interested to see what happens in book 2. I’ve heard the pace picks up, fingers crossed.

What I plan to read next

Anthony Ryan’s Collected Non-fiction

I think this is a newsletter subscriber offer and I can’t wait to read his non-fiction articles.

David Gemmell – Rhyming Rings

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I have been saving this book since my birthday last year as it’s one of the only books I haven’t read by my all time favourite author.

Poison Study

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This is my book group choice for August and a book I have been interested in reading for a while.

 

Knowing from experience how hard it is to get reviews, I want to read a couple of Indie books and support my fellow authors. So I intend to read;

The Exercise of Vital Powers – Ian Gregoire

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Not Like Anyone Else – Jennifer Leigh

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I still have a couple of trilogies I want to finish by the end of this year

Queen of Fire – Anthony Ryan

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Magic Borne – Crown of Stones – C. L Schneider

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There are 350+ on my goodreads TBR shelf so I have plenty of other great books to choose from. Plus my kids are always recommending books and I know I should get stuck into Robin Hobb’s latest trilogy. If I do, I won’t be doing anything else for a while!

I hope to do another post in Autumn, I wonder how many books I’ll have read by then and how many of the above will be finished!

Do you have any reading plans for the summer?

Indie Focus: Interview With Self-Published Author Suzanne Rogerson

It’s day 4 of the blog tour for The Lost Sentinel and I’m really pleased to share this indepth interview over on Another World Book Blog. Please come over and join us.

#Bookreview – David Gemmell Lord of the Silver Bow #fantasy #epicfantasy

Lord of the Silver Bow – David Gemmell

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My review

When I shared this book on my Fridaybookshare post, I found it impossible to find a line or paragraph to share. How can I when I love every part of the book? I’d have to transcribe the whole thing!

It’s my third read through of Lord of the Silver Bow and my passion for it hasn’t diminished. I loved every moment of it; the characters, the heroes, the writing skill, the world of Troy…

I wish I could get everyone to read David Gemmell’s work (especially would-be writers). Gemmell was a master of creating characters that you’ll love or love to hate, characters that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. See my little tribute to him here.

There were many times reading this that my eyes welled and my throat burned trying to hold back the tears. Having read it before I knew what I was in for, but I was still a snivelling wreck at the end of the book!

The best thing is knowing that I still have two more books in the trilogy to devour. I can’t wait to start, even though I know there is a lot more heartache and tears to come!

Please read this book and let me know what you think.

A 5 x 5 x 5 star read!

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Here’s the blurb in case you missed it on my previous post.

Three lives will change the destiny of nations.

Helikaon, the young prince of Dardania, haunted by a scarred and traumatic childhood. The priestess Andromache, whose fiery spirit and fierce independence threatens the might of kings. And the legendary warrior Argurios, cloaked in loneliness and driven only by thoughts of revenge.

In Troy they find a city torn apart by destructive rivalries – a maelstrom of jealousy, deceit and murderous treachery. And beyond its fabled walls blood-hungry enemies eye its riches and plot its downfall.

It is a time of bravery and betrayal; a time of bloodshed and fear. A time for heroes.

 

#FridayBookShare – Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell #fantasy

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Set up by Shelly on her blog. Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you enjoyed reading and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare. Be sure to like, comment, and share other participants posts.

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

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FIRST LINE – To sleep is to die.

RECRUIT FANS (BLURB) – Three lives will change the destiny of nations.

Helikaon, the young prince of Dardania, haunted by a scarred and traumatic childhood. The priestess Andromache, whose fiery spirit and fierce independence threatens the might of kings. And the legendary warrior Argurios, cloaked in loneliness and driven only by thoughts of revenge.

In Troy they find a city torn apart by destructive rivalries – a maelstrom of jealousy, deceit and murderous treachery. And beyond its fabled walls blood-hungry enemies eye its riches and plot its downfall.

It is a time of bravery and betrayal; a time of bloodshed and fear. A time for heroes.

INTRODUCE THE MAIN CHARACTER – Helikaon; brave, heroic, legendary

DELIGHTFUL DESIGN –

lord of the silver bow

AUDIENCE APPEAL – Anyone and everyone who likes fantasy. There is the historical element as well, and the myths of Troy etc. I would say the Troy trilogy is some of Gemmell’s best work.

YOUR FAVOURITE LINE – Utterly impossible to choose. I think I love every line in this book! Each sentence means something, and hints at events to come. I’ll go with this…

‘What is wrong, Odysseus?’ she asked him. ‘Is it the coming battle? Do you fear for your friend?’

Odysseus shivered suddenly. ‘I am filled with fear, but not for his safety. Helikaon is a fighter, but there are depths to the man which should never be plumbed.’

20 pages later we find out what Odysseus feared…

Buy it now at Amazon UK or Amazon US

David Gemmell – 10 year anniversary of my writing hero’s death #fantasy

This is just a brief post to highlight the wonderful work of David Gemmell. He was my inspiration to start writing fantasy and I’ve loved all of his books, without exception!

Whenever I’m asked who my favourite author is, the answer will always be David Gemmell.

I remember when I learnt of his death. I’d just found out I was pregnant with my second child and was contemplating the impossible task of typing up the scribbled first draft of Visions of Zarua before the baby’s arrival. David Gemmell’s death really affected me. No more Druss, Waylander, Skilgannon, Connavar or Jon Shannow… the list of wonderfully flawed heroes goes on and on.

I was so pleased to hear that his wife, Stella Gemmell, had agreed to finish the book he was working on when he died. The last book in the Troy Trilogy – Fall of Kings. I read the book with tears in my eyes for the great story teller that was lost, but also because that last book was brilliant and I knew I would never get to read any more of his work.

I read that he died at his desk. I don’t know if it’s true, but I like the romantic notion of dying whilst doing one of the things you love best.

I have a long list of books on my TBR pile, but to honour the great man I shall make this my next read.

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If you want to read a heroic fantasy story you could pick up any one of Gemmell’s books. I promise you won’t be disappointed.