A few days ago I received the One Lovely Blog Award from the ever supportive E.M. Castellan. E.M. is a fantasy writer to watch. Check out her blog for writing tips, author interviews and book reviews here – or look out for her posts over at the There and Draft Again fantasy blog. Thanks, E.M. I really appreciate the award – it makes a girl feel special!
So the rules are; thank the person who gave you the award, share 7 random things about myself and pass the award on to 7 deserving others.
I’ve shared quite a few random facts about myself on this blog, so I thought instead I’d combine these with 7 great books I’ve read recently.
1. The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson.
A man recovering from 3rd degree burns, an enigmatic artist who is driven to carve gargoyles and a love story spanning the centuries. This book captivated me in a way few have. The prose is beautiful and interesting, the characters compelling and captivating and I literally couldn’t look away during the accident scene. The protagonist isn’t very likable and it’s more tragic than feel good; but keeps you guessing right to the end. I hadn’t heard anything about this one when I picked it up in a bookstore – but it has to go down as one of those books that really got under my skin.
Random fact: I’ve always been fascinated by gargoyles and their less functional friends, the grotesques. When we were backpacking around England I took many (non-digital) photos of the weird and wonderful ones we found. I always used to feel each one had a story to tell…
2. Ironskin, by Tina Connolly.
A steampunk Jane Eyre with disfiguring injuries, strange fey curses and a cast of interesting characters including; a disturbed young girl, a brooding Byronic artist, and a string of beautiful women travelling out to an isolated gothic manor. What’s not to love!
Random fact: Like gargoyles, windswept moors have also held great fascination. I blame Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and a great number of atmospheric BBC TV productions. Sadly in real life, I found them a bit of a let down. Mainly because I never got a glimpse of anyone vaguely resembling Heathcliffe and my sense of direction is shocking. I’d be the tragic ghost of the woman wandering the moors because she forgot where she left her car…
3. Revive, by S.C. Harrison.
A girl with no memory, and an emotionally distant uncle who blames it on an accident that killed her parents. What happens when you find the life you’re leading is a pale reflection of what it was meant to be? What I love about this book is that although it’s set in our world, when you scratch the surface there’s magic beneath. More than a teen love story, I can’t wait until Harrison’s next installment Sustain is released later this year.
Random fact: Although agents wax lyrical against prologues, I love them – especially when they are atmospheric and make you want to suspect everyone. This book has a great prologue. #savetheprologue
4. The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.
A magical story about an older childless couple who bury their emotional pain trying to carve out an existence in pioneering Alaska. I’ve always been a bit in love with the ruggedness of Alaska, but in Ivey’s hands it sparkles with the wonder of a hoar-frost at first light. (Okay I’m not very poetic – but this book makes me wish I was). One night the couple build a child out of snow – and the next day they find it gone, and what seem to be a child’s footprints leading away. Another story that always keeps you guessing whether there is a good explanation for everything – or if some things really are magic.
Random fact: After I read this I wrote a long and gushing review for Goodreads, but somehow the site crashed before I posted it. Gutted, I didn’t have the heart to write it again (but will stick this in instead). So another mental note to paste the draft somewhere else before I try to post…
5. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.
Actually I can’t believe I included this so far down the list – this was perhaps the best fantasy book I’ve read in a long time. A family tragedy sets a young boy on the road to exact vengence against beings that exist only on the edge of myth. With no money, no social status and nothing more than his wits and determination to get him where he wants to go this is a clever and captivating book, by an amazing writer.
Random fact: I won a cruise last year and read this book stretched out in the sun sailing around the Pacific Islands. I can not tell you how amazing that was!
6. Green Rider, by Kristen Britain.
Apart from the fact this book has one of the prettiest covers I’ve ever seen, this is proof that Y.A. Epic Fantasy is alive and on the Bestseller Lists. The heroine, strong-willed and running away from trouble at school finds herself giving a promise to deliver a message on behalf of a fallen rider. It’s life and death, dark powers in pursuit, a message that can change the fate of a Kingdom. Think the fantasy version of the Pony Express!
Random fact: I once had a pony called Pepper who I loved dearly. However because I lived too far away to hack to the local pony club (and we didn’t have a float) I learned to ride reading ‘The Pony Club Manual’ while sitting on her back. Needless to say I was pretty hopeless and Pepper spent most of her time trying to wipe me off under the macrocarpa trees in our house paddock. These days I much prefer to ride a bike.
7. The Miracles of Santo Fico, by D.L. Smith.
When two opportunistic locals steal the town’s only claim to fame – a religious relic, the local priest finally loses his faith. His niece, discovering the culprits, forces them to do whatever it takes to set things right. Deciding miracles don’t have to come from the hand of God, they set about creating their own. However God seems to have his own ideas and the man-made miracles go awry with hilarious – and quite unforseen consequences. This is a beautifully written book, which makes you believe in second chances.
Random fact: I’m starting to see a theme that I really love books that make you take a look at life at more than just face value!
And I’d like to nominate these people who also have lovely blogs. I’d highly recommend checking them out! (And if you don’t want to play – there is no pressure. It’s the thought that counts!)
How about you? Have you read any of these books or do any inspire you? Or feel free to leave a random fact about yourself!