Tag: Books: Recommendations

So You Want to Read… (Brandon Sanderson)

Posted 15 June, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 8 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! πŸ™‚

For this month, I will be featuring Brandon Sanderson. He’s pretty well-known in the fantasy genre, both in adult fantasy and YA fantasy. I first encountered his novels sometime in the mid-2000s but I didn’t really get around to his books until a few years after that. He’s written a ton of novels, both full-length and shorter novellas, not to mention he finished Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. The scope of his novels are astounding, imaginative, and the stories are just entertaining with great characters and dialogue. And I wish I wrote as fast as him πŸ˜›

So without further ado, here’s 5 titles I’d recommend by Brandon Sanderson if you haven’t read of his stories yet (which you should πŸ˜› ):

  • Mistborn (review) — Naturalmente πŸ˜› Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn books (especially the first trilogy) is absolutely amazing and engrossing: it’s funny, it’s epic, it’s fascinating, just all the feels. I cannot recommend this book enough, go read it now!
  • Elantris — This was Brandon Sanderson’s first novel (incidentally also the first novel by him that I read). People say it’s his weakest novel of his bibliography, but I find it just as fantastic as his other novels. That he was able to tell such a tale in one novel was very impressive (normally you’d see such stories stretched into a trilogy or more) and the worldbuilding was absolutely vivid. This book still holds a special place for me, I recommend it πŸ™‚
  • Warbreaker (review) — Another standalone (for now, at least) that tells quite a story on an epic scale. Brandon Sanderson’s pretty good at writing antiheroes and this book epitomises this quite nicely. The main character is so totally not meant to carry out anything resembling “the right thing” or “for the good of everyone” and just wants to be left alone but gets sucked into events. Oh, and like every other Brandon Sanderson book, the magic system here is pretty awesome.
  • Legion — For a change of pace, Legion is a start of a sci-fi series of novellas about a guy who has the ability to converse with other avatars within one person and whom you can gather skills and information from (like Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse). I haven’t read the second novella yet but I really enjoyed the first one. And it’s shorter than the other books listed if you’re looking for something a little on the short side to start with.
  • The Rithmatist (review) — I’ve only recently gotten around to checking out some of Brandon Sanderson’s YA titles, starting with this book. Again, the magic system is intriguing, along with a rather interesting alternative history look for the setting. The tone’s different from his other books but younger readers and YA readers will have a lot of fun with this book.

And that’s about it! I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading any of Brandon Sanderson’s books πŸ™‚ Which books of Brandon Sanderson have you read? Which were your favourites? Which would you recommend for first-time readers?

Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 26 May, 2015 by Lianne in Meme / 13 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: Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

I’m not one for the beach, but there are plenty of great books out there that would make fantastic books to bring with you on vacation…Provided you’re prepared to maybe stay in to focus on finishing it! lol.

In no particular order:

  1. Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham’s Mr. Kiss and Tell: a Veronica Mars novel (review) — If you’re looking for a mystery to bring with you to the beach, and you happen to be a fan of Veronica Mars, check out this novel.
  2. Frances Whiting’s Walking on Trampolines (review) — I’m not sure if it’s the book cover or the location that compelled me to add this book to the list (Australia), but here it is πŸ˜› It’s a coming-of-age novel that follows Lulu’s ups and downs. There’s just something about it that reminds me of sun-drenched days, and for a novel that encapsulates quite a bit of time in the characters’ lives, it’d make for an interesting beach read.
  3. Lucinda Riley’s The Lavender Garden (review) — For a bit of historical fiction weaved in with a present-day mystery, check out this novel. Set mostly in France, it’s an interesting story of bravery and intrigue during the Second World War interwoven with a present-day family drama, mystery, and taking charge of your own life.
  4. Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law (review) — I’d recommend any of Brandon Sanderson’s books, really, but I went with The Alloy of Law because it’s such a page-turner; I finished this book in a day because I couldn’t put it down! It’s a new adventure set in the world of Mistborn (review) and now’s a good time to pick it up if you haven’t because the next installment will be released this autumn.
  5. Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (review) — A book for all book lovers, it’s just magical and wonderful. I think it’ll make for a wonderful beach read.
  6. Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You (review) — I read this book last summer and absolutely loved it. The Foxmans are pretty crazy, both separate and when you put them together under the same roof. I think it would make for a fun beach read, haha.
  7. Lucy Clarke’s A Single Breath (review) — I read this book last year and have been recommending it ever since. Are you looking for a beach read that has drama? Twists and turns? Set in a rather remote location (Tasmania)? Look no further, pick this book up πŸ˜› Also check out her first novel, The Sea Sisters (review).
  8. Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (review) — A wonderful, introspective, and quirky read about a man who walks out of his home and off to see an old friend miles and miles away without so much as a cell phone or a good pair of walking shoes. If you’re looking for a quieter beach read, I’d recommend this book.
  9. Isabelle Lafleche’s J’Adore New York (review) — I think I’ve been recommending her books for the past few summers, and with good reason. They’re light, they’re fun, they’re fashionable. Be sure to check out the second book as well, J’Adore Paris (review), which is just as fun, if not more (and set in Paris!).
  10. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (review) — Because no list of mine is ever complete without a classic πŸ˜‰ I decided to go with Northanger Abbey because it’s pretty light and fun, with Catherine spending time in Bath, meeting new people, and being propelled into an adventure of her own πŸ™‚

And that’s my list of books for this week! What books would you recommend for the beach/vacation?

Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 19 May, 2015 by Lianne in Meme / 13 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: FREEBIE

Oh man, you guys, I thought long and hard as to what to feature for this week’s freebie (the possibilities!!!). In the end, I decided to go with straight-up book recommendations. Because I like reading and giving book recommendations πŸ˜›

In no particular order:

  1. If you liked Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See (review forthcoming), read Sebastien Japrisot’s A Very Long Engagement (review) — Doerr’s book was on every list last year (and rightfully so), a historical fiction title set in World War Two. Japrisot’s A Very Long Engagement is set in World War One in France as well, and both books share a lead protagonist with a disability but who are strong and inquisitve and do not allow their disabilities to keep them back. Both are wonderful books.
  2. If you liked Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You (review), read Stuart Rojstaczer’s The Mathematician’s Shiva (review) — Read both these books last year and absolutely loved them. Both books share the common element of a shiva involved in the plot, but both novels also feature themes of family and family dynamics and how these dynamics shape who we are and our memories.
  3. If you liked William Shakespeare’s Richard II (review), read Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (review) — Okay, these two plays often go hand in hand, both when it comes to academic discourse but also theatrically, but I really love both plays. Well, came to love Richard II over time but I loved Edward II from the get-go, and it needs more love and attention πŸ˜› They’re both intense, featuring kings who are not quite strong and resilient and whose respective downfalls result from their own flaws and failings to understand and negotiate with their courtiers.
  4. If you liked Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44, read Travis Holland’s The Archivist’s Story (review) — I read Child 44 years and years ago before it was even considered for a movie option. I thought it was interesting, setting a murder investigation during the Stalinist period. If you thought that book was interesting and want to read other books in that setting, I recommend Travis Holland’s The Archivist’s Story. There’s no murder investigation, but it portrays life in Stalinist Russia very well.
  5. If you liked Jane Austen’s Persuasion (review), read Amanda Grange’s Captain Wentworth’s Diary (review) — Some of you know that Jane Austen sequels and spin-offs tend to be a hit-or-miss with me, usually the latter. Amanda Grange’s books are the exception. She does such a good job of telling the story from Captain Wentworth’s perspective. She also gives readers a glimpse of what happened the first time he and Anne met, which was a lovely bonus. Definitey worth checking out for fans of Persuasion!
  6. If you liked Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, read Ildefonso Falcones’ The Cathedral of the Sea — If you loved the epic scope of The Pillars of the Earth, the catheral-building process, the characters and the politics of the time, you’ll love The Cathedral of the Sea. It has all of those elements but set in medieval Barcelona, which was really cool because I didn’t know much of what was going on there at the time (I believe this book was set before the union of Isabelle and Ferdinand, so again, very interesting if you’re unfamiliar with the period!).
  7. If you liked Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road (review), read Tricia Dower’s Stony River (review)Stony River isn’t anywhere as visceral as Revolutionary Road but I think fans of the Yates novel will like Stony River. It’s quieter but it’s just as intriguing in the way it looks at these families in this community and the dysfunctions and secrets and otherwise that happens behind those closed doors, underneath the facade of the perfect, calm, respectable elements we come to know from the 1950s.
  8. If you liked Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (review), read Grant Buday’s The Delusionist (review) — Lewycka’s novel is an insane story about two estranged sisters trying to deal with their immigrant father’s eccentricism/madness/whathaveyou and decision to marry a young woman from Ukraine. Hijinks and dysfunctionalism of all sorts ensue as interweaved in the text are their father’s memories of life in Soviet Ukraine and his knowledge of tractors. For the flip side, The Delusionist is a tale of a Ukrainian family who moved to Canada shortly after the Great Famine and the war and never talked about their experiences to the youngest son of the family born afterwards. It’s quite an opposite effect of dysfunctionalism and experience within a family and worth checking out.
  9. If you liked James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes (review), read Rachel Bach’s Fortune’s Pawn (review) — Love space opera? Love James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series and their adventures (and accidental stumblings into larger, political events) across the solar system and the unknown? Then I highly recommend Rachel Bach’s Paradox books. I’ve only read the first book so far but it’s so much fun and kick-ass and filled with intrigue and questions…and did I mention the female lead character is absolute kick-ass?
  10. If you liked Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (or any of his books, really), read Robert Shearman’s Remember Why You Fear Me (review) — If you love Neil Gaiman’s sense of storytelling and the fantastical worlds and characters that he creates, then you should check out Robert Shearman’s stories. This collection I linked is a bit darker than Neil Gaiman’s stories but they’re just as interesting and compelling.

And that’s my list for this week! What topic did you feature for this week’s TTT? Happy Tuesday πŸ™‚

So You Want to Read… (Sir Terry Pratchett)

Posted 11 May, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 6 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! πŸ™‚

For this month’s edition of So You Want to Read…, I will be featuring Sir Terry Pratchett. He sadly passed away on 12 March 2015 from a rare for of Alzheimer’s that he was diagnosed with back in 2007. He was known for his Discworld novels, which are fantastical, thoughtful, and satirical, though he’s also written a number of non-Discworld novels as well.

Because there are plenty of Discworld novels with one forthcoming (I think we’re sitting at 40 right now, but that could’ve been the count a few years ago), it can be a bit overwhelming to start. Luckily you don’t necessarily have to start with the first novel, The Colour of Magic; Discworld is divided into a number of “series” featuring/following a particular character or theme/storyline. You can check out this guide to know what the reading order is for those storylines and work your way through there. Or you can check out the following recommendations I have on which Discworld novels to check out πŸ˜‰

  • Mort — This is the first of a number of books featuring the character of Death. Death is my favourite charcter from the Discworld novels (and Death of Rats…and the talking raven Quoth…and Death’s manservant, Albert); indeed he is the personification of death and he does start off rather cold and impersonal as you would imagine, but he’s my favourite character because he’s always seeking to understand humanity and what it means to be alive. This can lead to some rather hilarious moments and situations, but he also has some really profound thoughts on a wide range of subjects. Oh, and the premise of this book? Death gets an (human) apprentice πŸ˜›
  • Guards! Guards! (review) — This is the first of a number of books featuring Sam Vines and the City Guard of Ankh-Morpork, which is the city’s police force. The novel itself follows a plot from a secret brotherhood that wants to overthrow the current government of Ankh-Morpork and sets a dragon out to cause some chaos. It’s down to the City Guard, which is pretty much in shambles at the start of the novel, to uncover the plot and stop the dragon, leading to hilarity all the way. So yeah, hilarious and it features another favourite character, the Patrician Vetinari, the leader of the city πŸ™‚
  • Hogfather — This book features Death quite a bit again (Death as…the Hogfather? What in the world?) but also the University of Wizards and an assortment of other characters including the Auditors, who wrecks havoc in Discworld by constantly fidgeting around with reality and eliminating figures and elements because it doesn’t fit into their view of order (I imagine them as Dementors from HP…only these guys talk…). It’s an interesting novel, and feels quite seasonal if you’re looking for something like that.
  • Going Postal — A more recent title, this book is the first featuring Moist von Lipwig (yeah, his name, anyway!), a con artist who narrowly avoids hanging when the Patrician (yup, he’s back! And played by Charles Dance in the television adaptation so I can never read anything about the Patrician without conjuring an image of Charles Dance speaking the lines, haha) who presents an offer to him to become the Postmaster of the city. Hijinks ensue as the task is larger than it seems, not to mention some dangers along the way. It’s fun, and the underlying satire and commentary very amusing.
  • Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman) — For something outside of Discworld, Sir Terry Pratchett was also known for this novel, co-written with Neil Gaiman, which covers the Apocalypse, the coming of the Four Horsemen, and the attempts of an angel and a demon to stop the end of the world. It’s been a long time since I read the book but I remember finding it rather amusing, albeit a wee bit complicated at times re: Adam’s storyline. Nonetheless, Sir Terry Pratchett’s wit is out in full force in this novel.

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading some of Sir Terry Pratchett’s novels! What do you think? Have you read any of his books? Which were your favourites and/or ones you’d recommend to first-time readers? He will be greatly missed.

So You Want To Read… (Poetry)

Posted 1 April, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 6 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! πŸ™‚

Happy April! I decided to do this post earlier than usual because it is National Poetry Month and thus for this month’s So You Want to Read… I will be featuring poets. I do read poetry on occasion, but I’m not a big reader of it or anything. It is an art I’d like to read more of, hence my goal at the start of 2015 to read more poetry collections, but I understand that it’s not for everyone: it is something to savour more. Nonetheless, I thought to spotlight on a few poets for those who may be interested in checking out some poetry this month, especially for starters who want some more accessible poems πŸ˜‰

  • Federico Garcia Lorca — Hands down my favourite poet ever. I forgot how I first encountered his works–it was from coming across one of his ghazal poems, but I don’t remember where I encountered it on the internet–but I was immediately intrigued. It was haunting, but the imagery his poems evokes were fascinating. Reading his poems, I love how simple and short they are, but filled with imagery and emotion, with longing and despair and love. I have his poems in the bilingual edition (with original Spanish on one side; Collected Poems (review) for example), which is cool and adds to the experience.
  • William Shakespeare — His sonnets, of course πŸ˜› I finally got around to reading the whole batch last year (review) and was amazed at how diversified they were. We studied a few when I was in high school, but it was interesting to read his poems as a whole. I think they’re a great place to start, especially as some of his love poetry are very famous.
  • T.S. Eliot — For a more modern flavour, I can finally see why some have said that T.S. Eliot embodies the confusion of the early 20th century. Indeed his poems do evoke that sense of aimlessness that came about around the period of the world wars, and touches on the feelings of uncertainty and doubt. The Waste Land and Other Poems (review) is a great collection worth checking out.
  • Emily Dickinson — I only finally gotten around to reading her collected works recently (review to be posted later this month) but I’ve often encountered her poems here and there and in miscellaneous collected poetry volumes. The themes she touches on are varied–on love, on life, on the passage of time, of nature–and the different styles she’s embodied are pretty interesting. Not to mention her poems are pretty short so it’s easy to pick up a poem or two here and there πŸ™‚
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning — Another poet whose collected works I only got around to recently (again, review to be posted later this month). Her style is different from Emily Dickinson’s but the passion and focus of her poems in Sonnets from the Portuguese are wonderful, with a few well known ones you’ve likely encountered elsewhere πŸ˜‰

I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading some poetry! What do you guys think? Do you read poetry often? Who are your favourites? Whose works would you recommend?

Edit: For emerging poets, check out Versopolis, supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme. The platform aims to spotlight and provide exposure for new European poets.