Tag: Books: Recommendations


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! 🙂

And here we are, another edition of “So You Want to Read…” 😀 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 😉

  • 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 🙂
  • 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! 🙂

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! 🙂

*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 🙂

  • 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 😛
  • 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 😀



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! 🙂

Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…” 😀 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 😛 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 😉 ).

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! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 13 September, 2016 by Lianne in Meme / 14 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre

Horrible topic! j/k, but how am I suppose to narrow it down to 10, lol? And there’s the matter of genre…have I done classic literature for a list like this? If not, yes, let’s go with that 😛 Note that I’m not including plays (sorry Shakespeare (see author tag)) and poetry (sorry, The Kalevala (review) & Dante’s Inferno) here, just straight-up literary prose.

In no particular order:

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (review) — Surprised, anyone? I think my review/commentary says it all 😉
  2. North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell (review) — Again, surprised? Thank you, BBC adaptation for introducing me to this wonderful classic *hearts and stars*
  3. The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster (review) — I also love A Room With a View (review) but this underrated E.M. Forster gets the favourite spot because of some of the themes it tackles. Highly recommended if you haven’t read it/come across it before!
  4. Fathers & Sons by Ivan Turgenev (review) — I was introduced to this classic in my undergraduate studies and it remains to date my favourite Ivan Turgenev novel and my favourite Russian classic. Turgenev does a wonderful job in portraying the ideas that were circulating during the time amongst the intelligentsia whilst weaving quite a story.
  5. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (review) — One of my earliest Dickens novels read, it remains one of my favourites with the themes it tackles, the story it tells, and of course introducing me to one of my favourite characters, Eugene Wrayburn 😉
  6. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (review) — I’ve read a number of her books to date and enjoyed almost all of them but this remains my favourite. It’s quite the tragedy (most of it self-inflicted) but very compelling IMO.
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (review) — Tolstoy is quite the master of telling a sweeping tale, but what I love about this book is how he balances that panoramic view of Russian society with the internal character drama. Stunning stuff.
  8. Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov (review) — Gah, I love this underrated Russian classic. The premise was hilarious–the guy spent half the novel in bed with people coming in and out and not leaving him alone–but in true Russian fashion the story takes a quick turn to the tragic with a lot of interesting themes to boot.
  9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (review) — What else is there to say about Jane Eyre? The characters, the story, the writing…
  10. The Notebooks of Malte Laurid Briggs by Maria Rainer Rilke — A recent read that quickly became a favourite for me with Rilke’s lyricism. There’s no plot per se but his presentation of the human condition and human experiences through the character of Malte Laurid Briggs had me glued from start to finish.



And that’s my list for this week! What are some of your favourite classic titles? What genre did you choose for this week’s TTT? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

Posted 17 August, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 14 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new 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! 🙂

So summer’s winding down a bit, and so for this month’s So You Want to Read… I’m going to be featuring books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Hands down he is one of my favourite authors, he really writes Gothic novels well and has written quite a number of books for both adults and children. It’s hard to describe, but he really sets the atmosphere up for his novels that it really feels like you’re there in the streets of Barcelona. There’s a splash of magical realism, of the supernatural, but it feels so rooted in our world.

So while we’re waiting for his next novel to come out (please please please let this be soon!), here’s some books by him to check out from him if you’re interested in reading his books for the first time:

  • The Shadow of the Wind (commentary) — The book that started it all for me. It’s his most popular title, and with good reason: it’s mysterious, it’s absorbing, it’s absolutely atmospheric. There’s plenty of intrigue and danger and drama and humourous moments to go around. Book lovers and avid readers will especially enjoy this (the Cemetery of Forgotten Books? I wish such a place existed!) and can relate to Daniel and his love of reading. I love how Zafon brought Barcelona to life in this novel, it will leave you wanting to go there! (which I ended up doing haha)
  • The Angel’s Game (review) — This books gets a bit of flack for not being TSOTW despite it having been released after it. It’s a prequel of sorts, but it also works like a standalone. If The Shadow of the Wind focuses on the reader, The Angel’s Game focuses on the writer and the writer’s craft. The supernatural/Gothic elements are also much more to the fore in this novel than in TSOTW, but it’s still a fascinating read and definitely worth checking out (especially as it ties in afterwards to The Prisoner of Heaven (review).
  • Marina (review) — Of all of Zafon’s young adult titles, this book stands out as my favourite. It’s also a standalone (unlike the other three books in his Niebla series), which is great. It reminds me a lot of TSOTW with the Gothic undertones and its setting in old Barcelona. There’s a lot in this novel–mystery, action, drama, a coming-of-age story, themes of death and memory. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you checked out TSOTW and loved it.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 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! 🙂