Monday, 1 December 2014

Holiday Summer of Reading List Love at the Palais Du Chook

Well, here we are – I only started this blog two years ago, with a post about writing something over the summer holiday break, and we’ve suddenly arrived at the same point again.  Yesterday was the first official day of summer here in Victoria, and it’s promising to be a hot, dry one.  We’ve finished our Palais du Chook (see left), just in time to start keeping up the water to the new crop of baby chicks, and the garden is already starting to brown off.  It seems bizarre that I was whinging about how we couldn’t get the washing dry only a few short months ago – stick around a bit, and you’ll hear me complaining about the heat.

My year of buying only books by female writers is also coming to an end.  I made that first commitment, to buy only books written by women, after writing this post on women and the NYT Bestseller List.  I have to say, it was an easy task I set myself – so easy that I almost forgot I was doing it.  Books by female writers make up the bulk of my reading and buying anyway, so it was no hardship (should I have set myself a more difficult task?). I did a bit of an audit, and figured out I only cheated twice: once when I bought a James Dashner book for my sons that they desperately had to have, and once when I bought Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer – but that was at the launch of the final Lotus Wars book, Endsinger, so I didn’t feel bad (Jay also writes kick-arse Japanese steampunk female protags, which alleviated any remaining guilt).  Every other book I’ve bought this year has been by a female author.

Which doesn’t mean to say I’ve stopped reading books by men.  No way – I’ve just been getting them all from the library.  And there are definitely a few books by guys that I’m rather keen to get my hands on, so I’m looking forward to being able to buy them.  The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion is pretty much the top of my list (although I’m hoping someone will give it to me for Christmas – HINT), and other male-authored books I’m lining up for are Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga (god yes), Winger by Andrew Smith, The Last Shot by Michael Adams (and the third one comes out early next year! Double happiness!), Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovich, and The First Third by Will Kostakis.  I’m hoping to have a very large pile of TBR books to take on our annual camping trip over the New Year.

Now I thought I’d get in early and write up my favourite reads of 2014, because last time I did this it was, like, February already.  Not all of these are new – some were published ages ago and this was the year they called to me.  But anyway, here you go, my favourite reads of the year!

Outlander: Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
Recced to me by loads of people, but most specifically Danielle Binks, and a hearty thank you from me.  I LOVED it.  An historical romance that gender-flips all the tropes? – I am so there.  And the teev series – wow! – reminded me of all the reasons I love Ron Moore.  And we won’t even mention Sam Hueghan…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Original, eerie, beautifully written and mysteriously plotted.  I loved the weird photos, which made me think of Carnivale and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg, and overall an amazing ride

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Such a beautiful book.  At the end of it, I felt like my world had been tilted on its axis.

The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna
This book was up for the 2014 CBCA Book of the Year award, and I’m so glad I wasn’t judging, I would be the most horribly subjective judge, but THIS BOOK.  Just a tiny heartbreaking sliver of Western Sydney in an incredibly crafted package that doesn’t feel crafted, but rather just feels like the most beautiful real life.

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
GAH.  Just…GAH.  I love Thomas Mackee.  And I love Melina Marchetta.  I have no idea why I haven’t read it before this year but I guess this was just the year I was meant to read it, and this book went off like a lightbulb exploding inside my head.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovich
I haven’t laughed so much or been so absorbed while reading a paranormal urban fantasy for a long long time. Incredibly diverse cast, and I just loved the protag’s voice.  Bizarrely plotted, but it’s all part of the fun.

Through the Cracks by Honey Brown
Have I said often enough yet how I’m in love with Honey Brown and want to have her book babies?  No?  This is another searing psychological ride, not so much a thriller, but you have no idea what will happen to the characters, and you don’t want to put the book down until you find out.  Gorgeous writing – just gorgeous.  And dialogue – omg.  I always have a Honey Brown book on my desk, it’s compulsory.  And she has a new one coming out soon!  Woot!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I have picked up and put down various Maggie Stiefvater books for the last few years – I don’t know why I kept putting them down, maybe it wasn’t the right time to read them.  But this one – this one I could not put down.  The most awesome character descriptions ever.  I’m already desperate for the next book, The Dream Thieves, and if this is what all of Stiefvater’s work is like, sign me up.

There you go – ta da!  Finally, I’m gonna end the whole Reading List Love thing with a nod at The Book I Have Been Waiting For: I am so very very happy (I cannot even tell you: I am FULL OF SQUEE) that The Shadow Cabinet, the final book in the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson, is about to be released.  How much am I longing for this book?  SO MUCH.  The only thing that would make me happier right now would be if Holly Black said she was releasing a fourth book in the Curseworkers series (please please say that could potentially happen!!  Holly, I love you and no pressure!!)

Okay, that’s it.  Just a few more parting words before I go about the Every series.

* Every Breath is going great guns in North America and the Philippines.  It was recently featured at The Midnight Garden here (wow!) and also on Jukebooks at theYALSA blog ( double wow!).  All you incredible readers and bloggers and book-buyers and librarians out there, YOU ARE ALL MADE OF AWESOME, and thank you so much!  I’m so very grateful for all your support, and especially huge thanks to Tundra Books for making it happen.  Also, so far as I’m aware, Every Breath will reach UK shores in Spring of 2015.

* Every Word is being prepped for a 2015 release in North America and the Philippines.  Woot!  Right now I’m going through typeset pages to check for last minute things before printing.
If you are keen for an Advance Review Copy of Every Word (and just gaze adoringly at those beautiful ARCs there for a second – aren’t they gorgeous?) then please drop into Instagram and gimme a follow – we’re giving them away to new-follower folks, so sign on up!

* Every Move – omg, we’re nearly at the finish line!  I’m doing final passes this week, and my eds and I are working our butts off to bring this book to print on deadline, which will make an early March 2015 release possible.  Honestly, after the writing and the re-writing and the editing and the copyediting and the proofing and the final passes, I must have read through this book at least a hundred times, so I’m getting tired and my butt is sore from sitting in front of the computer, and I am now also filled with the fizzy, scary nervousness of ‘will people like it?’.  There’s also lots of last minute anxiety about whether it’s going to live up to people’s expectations.  But in my saner moments, I’m pretty confident that you will like it (fingers crossed).  Either way, it’s coming very soon!

So that’s the end.  And I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, wherever you are in the world, and may you get lots of lovely books for Christmas! (and give them in return!)


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