Category: Lists


So You Want to Read… (CLAMP)

Posted 18 January, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 4 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

New year, new edition of”So You Want to Read…”! Actually, this post was supposed to go live last month but with the migration and the issues that arose from that, this post got bumped to this year πŸ˜› I decided to shake things up for this round of the feature and focus instead on another medium, manga, with the manga artists known as CLAMP. Of all the manga artists out there, they are the ones I’ve read the most series from save for some of the earlier ones that I’m sure would’ve made this list in some form had I read them. I hadn’t, but nonetheless I have read enough I think to put together a list by them. Suffice to say I love CLAMP’s work (then moreso than now, for reasons not mentioned here) because of their art, the scope of their stories, the magic

  • Cardcaptor Sakura — If you follow anime and manga, this is definitely a title that should’ve cropped up at one point or another. I had watched the anime first before reading the manga, and suffice to say it is a solid outing from CLAMP with a story tightly told in 12 volumes about a girl that needs to collect a series of magical cards back into a book she accidentally opened (that’s a poor explanation, sorry!) and wrapped up quite nicely that doesn’t leave any massive story threads open like they’ve been doing in later series. The art is also lovely, light and dreamy (no heavy lines) that sort of reminds me of Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon.
  • Wish — As some of you may know, I don’t cry that easily whilst reading. Lots of things I read make me sad, but the eyes do not suddenly become clouded or anything with water. This manga is one of the few titles that have left me with tears springing in my eyes. I won’t say why, but suffice to say, yeah, it was affecting enough that I had to stop reading for a while to recover. But it’s a wonderful manga! (And short too, at 4 volumes) Definitely up there as one of my favourites πŸ™‚
  • Magic Knights Rayearth — Another one of their early titles, and definitely a classic! It’s about three girls who travel to another world where they have mecha suits and they fight bad guys in that world (it’s been a long time since I’ve read this, I forgot who the big bad was here). It’s absolutely kick ass, and like the first two series that I’ve mentioned the storytelling was pretty cohesive, tight, and fast-paced.
  • Kobato — I hesitate to recommend this manga just because it ties in to some of their larger works Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and xxxHolic but I don’t think you need to have read those two series to enjoy this series. The premise is whimsical and wonderful: to have her wish granted, Kobato has to do a series of good deeds, which each good deed adding a star to her wish bottle. But like any CLAMP manga it has its fair share of ;_; moments. My only quibble about this series is that I wished it was a volume longer so that they could properly wrap it up! (the final volume felt a little rushed) Nonetheless it’s a fantastic series.
  • X/1999 — Like Kobato, I hesitate to recommend this manga because it was never completed! (I think I read the manga artist in charge of this series got sick and couldn’t finish it) However, I do want to recommend it because it’s totally different not only from the other manga titles I listed here but also from other manga titles that the artists have created: it’s darker and grittier, with the end of the world upon them and families and factions fighting each other and starcrossed lovers thrown in there. The tragedy is ripe in this series, and yet story-wise it was quite the read, you are really rooting for everyone to just survive through this ordeal! The feels are real here, which is why I was absolutely crushed that they didn’t go ahead and finish this series…



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by CLAMP for the first time! If you’ve read their manga, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

So You Want to Read… (Kate Mosse)

Posted 16 November, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

And here we are, another edition of “So You Want to Read…” πŸ˜€ For this month I decided to feature Kate Mosse. I’ve slowly gotten around to reading her historical fictions over the years; hers are very distinct as they focus much on southern France in the Carcassone region. I’ve never travelled to the area but much of what I learned of it was through her books. Anyway, I finished reading all of her books on her bibliography earlier this year so here we are, me recommending to you wehre to start with her books πŸ˜‰

  • Sepulchre (review) — This was actually my first Kate Mosse novel and it continues to be the book I recommend first. I found this book to be absolutely atmospheric, haunting and mysterious with the tarot cards, the location, the family dynamic, the music, and the danger circling around the siblings. Set in the late 19th century France, I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy reading novels set in that period.
  • The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales (review) — It was a toss-up between this and The Winter Ghosts (review) but this book won out by a bit because it’s an opportunity to get a sampling of what her stories are like if you’re hesitant to delve straight into her two standalones or the Languedoc trilogy. Lots of ghost stories, stories of memory and loss, but not all of them are set in a historical period. And because they’re short stories, it’s also a nice change of pace from the usual novel-length books πŸ™‚
  • The Taxidermist’s Daughter (review) — Last on my list of Kate Mosse recommendations is her latest novel. What I like about this novel is that it’s more straight-up mystery than ghost story/historical novel; the ghosts in this novel lies in the main character’s memory, a deadly secret in another character’s past. It’s a much slower burn, I admit, but I grew further intrigued the more the mystery winds up and the more we learn about the characters.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Kate Mosse for the first time! If you’ve read her books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

So You Want to Read… (Neil Gaiman)

Posted 14 October, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 10 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

*cackles* It’s October again, which means Thanksgiving is coming! Err, well, that too for us Canadians (actually, our Thanksgiving was earlier this week), but Hallowe’en is also around the corner, and coupled with the autumn weather, it seems like the best time to read some speculative fiction, chilling reads, creepy horrors, etc. For this month’s So You Want to Read… it seems fitting to feature Neil Gaiman. His stories are always so fascinating and unique and eclectic, they’ll make you tear up and/or freak you out. He has quite a bibliography ranging different types of media, some of which are not as easily accessible I feel (as I came to realise with reading American Gods (review) but here’s a few titles I would recommend by him if you’ve never checked out his books and want to πŸ™‚

  • Stardust (review) — A great entry point to his books IMO (also happened to be my first Neil Gaiman novel, lol). It seems like standard fantasy fare, but once you start reading you realise it’s so much more than that. Character types and story tropes are turned inside out and the whole adventure was just wonderful and interesting.
  • Neverwhere — This was my second Gaiman read and in deciding which of his adult titles to add to this list of recommendations, it was the easiest to recommend. It’s like an urban fantasy version of Alice in Wonderland, with our main character Richard getting drawn into Neverwhere and the politics, the magic, and the adventure involved there. I found out last year that he released his definitive edition of this book which I still have yet to read but I think it’s awesome that it’s available.
  • The Graveyard Book (review) — I got around to this book some two years after it was first released and it is fantastic. It’s classic Gaiman with the eerieness (ghosts raising a baby in a graveyard? check) and the fantastic but also has themes of growing up and parenthood and the bond between parents and children. And I admit, it had me tearing up at the end so there you go πŸ˜›
  • Coraline (review) — Only recently got around to reading this book late last year, I can see why it’s a favourite. It will appeal to both adults and children because of the adventure and the mystery surrounding Coraline’s situation–the doorway to another house with another mother and another father–but also with themes of growing up, of bravery and loneliness. Plus, it’s pretty creepy at times, which makes for a great Hallowe’en read!
  • Fortunately the Milk (review) — A short but delightful read that will entertain and amuse both kids and adults! I went into the book not knowing much about what it was about or where the adventure would take the main character so I was pleasantly surprised. Skottie Young’s illustrations also really added to the story, so it’s double the treat with this book πŸ˜€



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Neil Gaiman’s books for the first time! What do you think? What’s your favourite novel by him? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books by her have you been meaning to check out?

So You Want to Read… (Guy Gavriel Kay)

Posted 14 September, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 4 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…” πŸ˜€ So for this month I decided to feature Guy Gavriel Kay and his books. He’s a Canadian historical fantasy author who has written a span of novels, some of which are popular and beloved within the genre. I had long heard of him and his works but I didn’t get around to reading any of his books until I was in grad school. Unfortunately I was busy then so I wasn’t able to review the books that I read then here on the blog. Nonetheless I enjoyed them enough to want to read his other books, which sat on my TBR pile for a number of years before I finally got around to reading them earlier this year πŸ˜› His novels are pretty amazing in that he really researches into ancient and great societies of the past, and then weaving it into an alternative history story. Historians and avid history fans may find it hard at times not to compare too much into actual historical events, but he writes some interesting characters and character arcs that it becomes easy to put aside the history (at least for a little while πŸ˜‰ ).

So without further ado if you’re interested in reading her books for the first time, here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • Tigana — This was the book that really showed to me how well Guy Gavriel Kay can not only construct this fully-realised world and society but also tell a story within a span of a single novel. I love how this book was about a lost people engulfed by another, larger empire, its people scattered and society and culture forgotten except to the minds of this people. It’s a story of survival and national identity all wrapped up in a storyline heading towards a common goal even as the major characters are all struggling with their own personal conflicts and interests. It’s a great starting point for new readers to his novels, but overall is also just an excellent fantasy standalone.
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan (review) — While I personally did not love this book as Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan is still a strong book in that it really showcases Guy Gavriel Kay’s ability to balance personal storytelling with the larger political landscape that is shifting as desert sands with the historical research that lends Rassan’s familiarity to medieval/Moorish Spain. It really felt like a tangible place for me and I cared for the pincipal characters and the stories that were before them.
  • A Song for Arbonne (review) — Wrapping up this list is the last book by him that I’ve read to date. Reminiscent of the troubadour culutre in Europe and the various kingdoms in Medieval Europe, like the other two above Guy Gavriel Kay does a wonderful job in not only creating the world of Arbonne but also the complex political and personal entanglements that these characters find themselves in. Themes of love and betrayal, the lengths you’d go for what you believe in or for a person, and cultural differences all weave in and out the stories of these characters, not to mention it was just a very absorbing read.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Guy Gavriel Kay for the first time! If you’ve read his books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

Books: Summer Wrap-Up [2016 edition]

Posted 3 September, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 4 Comments

Craziness, seems like yesterday that summer began…and now it’s September O_o So, this summer was a wee bit different from previous years as my reading has slowed down a bit thanks to work and other things that have been happening offline. Nonetheless I did get around to reading a number of interesting titles, enough to continue this yearly tradition of recapping some of the books I’ve read over the summer that I enjoyed πŸ˜‰

Please note that the reviews for these titles won’t be up until either later this month or later this year (because that’s how backlogged my blogging schedule is now πŸ˜› ). Anyway, on to the list!:

  • The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke — This was the only novel that Rilke had written and while it didn’t quite have a definitive plot, it was nonetheless a beautiful read with Rilke expressing experiences and feelings in such a moving way. Definitely left a lot of food for thought in me aferwards.
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — I had been looking forward to checking out this book ever since I saw the book cover and the book blurb pre-release. And it was just as amazing as I thought it was going to be; on the short side, but I was blown away at how much story and themes and characterisation that was packed into this story.
  • You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane — I picked this book up on a whim as it was on sale and I kept seeing It’s Not Me, It’s You on the internet and omg did these books not disappoint! I laughed, I sighed, I jotted down a lot of quotes…Reading her books also came at a good time as these characters are within my age range and talking about a lot of stuff that have crossed my mind recently. Between the two I’ve read, I loved this one more, but yeah, looking forward to getting around to her other books soon enough πŸ™‚
  • Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante — My first standalone Ferrante novel and it did not disappoint. Familiar themes of mother-daughter relationships, domestic violence, adulthood, and womanhood against the backdrop of Napoli, this book nonetheless grabbed me from the first page with the main character’s unique voice. I could not put this book down until I finished it. Now to get my hands on The Days of Abandonment and The Lost Daughter
  • Her Nightly Embrace by Adi Tantimedh — I received an ARC of this book from the publishers; it’s coming out in November and there’s a television show in the works based off this book but yeah, it was a ripping read that was perfect for the summer about a new PI working for a company solving sketchy cases. The group he works with were a fantastic cast of characters, his home life weaves in on occasion, and he happens to see the Hindu gods. It’s the first book in a trilogy and suffice to say I’m looking forward to reading the next books!
  • milk and honey by Rupi Kaur (review) — I kept seeing this book around all summer that I finally picked it up a few weeks ago. Wonderful and raw poems, definitely worth checking out and reading for yourself!



And of course, some honourable mentions that didn’t make the above list but where nonetheless wonderful to read:

  • Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Poetry of Rilke
  • Mhairi McFarlane’s It’s Not Me, It’s You
  • Arkady Ostrovsky’s The Invention of Russia: the Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War
  • Federico Garcia Lorca’s Collected Poems
  • Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm
  • Ian Rankin’s Knots and Crosses
  • M.K. Tod’s Time and Regret (review)
  • Kate Clanchy’s Selected Poems



And that’s my list! What were some of your favourite reads this summer (or winter, depending on where you are in the world)? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? Interested in any of them?