Tag: List: So You Want to Read…


So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part II)

Posted 18 April, 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! 🙂

Happy April! For this edition of “So You Want to Read…” I decided to feature Poetry again as it’s National Poetry Month. My first poetry post and list of recommendations for the form can be found in this post. I decided to feature this form again as I’ve read a ton of great poetry last year, some of which are worth checking out if poetry isn’t your thing or you’re hoping to read more of the form 🙂

So continuing where I left off, these three poets are also worth checking out if you’re reading poetry for the first time:

  • Pablo Neruda — One of the, if not the greatest poet from Latin/South America. Pablo Neruda wrote some really sensual and poignant love poetry, but he also wrote a lot of poetry about the political atmosphere of his country over the decades, the misery and suffering of the people under dictatorship. His poetry is both moving and also eye-opening. I read an omnibus of his work that was bilingual (review) which can be pretty daunting because it’s a massive book but worth checking out if you just want to dive straight into his work and you’re not sure where to start–or if you just want to read all of his work.
  • Dylan Thomas — Another poet from the 20th century, I first encountered his work around grade 12 high school when one of his works was used in a movie. I then used it for an English assignment and thought it really haunting but never sought to pick his works again until last year (review). The rest of his poems, especially later on, are very much in the same vein as “And death shall have no dominion” in the haunting visual, the mournful tone of was is lost, the use of imagery and tone. You may have to be in a particular mood to read his poems, but they’re still very accessible.
  • Edgar Allan Poe — Finally, for a turn to the nineteenth century, may I recommend Edgar Allan Poe 🙂 I only got around to his poems early this year (review) after having picked up the book late last year and omg, one of my better book-buying decisions, lol. Sometimes he uses phrases and passages repeatedly to drive his point across, but his poems are full of imagery and feeling with some stunning use of words and turn of phrases, yeah, I’d highly recommend checking out his poems if you’re delving into poetry for the first time. And the volume is not that long either, so that’s a plus!



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading some poetry, either for the first time or in passing. Have you read anything from the above poets before? Which poets would you recommend to first time poetry readers (or readers who don’t normally read or like poetry)? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Susanna Kearsley)

Posted 16 March, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 2 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! 🙂

For this month’s So You Want to Read… I’m going to be featuring books by Susanna Kearsley. I honestly never thought I’d be putting together a list like this by her if only because I never thought I’d get around to reading her backlist! However I finally got around to reading a good number of her books sitting on my TBR pile–including a re-read!–in the past year so I thought things were looking pretty good to put together a list like this 😉

If you’re a big fan of authors like Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, and Diana Gabaldon, you’ll like Susanna Kearsley’s books that blend of mysteries from the past, fantastic locations, lots of history, great cast of characters, a good romance to boot, and a bit of time slip depending on the book. My personal experience has been that it took a few of her books for me to get into her novels, if only because I hadn’t read many books featuring time slip before. But I’ve read enough now to say that I really like her books and do keep a lookout for the other books I either haven’t read or are upcoming 😉 So without further ado, here’s the titles by her that I’d recommend if you’re thinking of checking out her works:

  • The Winter Sea (review) — Definitely one of those books that left me sitting and thinking “Why didn’t I read this book sooner?!” lol. Sometimes books featuring a dual storyline–one set in the past and one set in the present–can feel a little uneven, usually with one storyline being far more interesting than the other, but with this book I thought the balance was perfect. All of the characters were all fantastic (I loved all of the interactions), the love stories were wonderful, and it really felt like you were at Slains overlooking the sea. I cannot recommend this book enough as a starting point for her works. And of course after reading this book you have to read the follow-up, The Firebird (review) 🙂
  • Season of Storms (review) — I mentioned this in my review but I could not put this book down once I started reading it. It’s a bit different from her other books in that there isn’t a paranormal element involved really (no time slips or characters with some latent psychic ability to connect to the past with), but the dual storylines were nonetheless interesting and do intersect over the course of the narration. I loved the theatrical elements involved, the mystery behind Celia Sands, the characters in the present day storyline…It felt like it was more about the characters here than anything else. Oh, and it’s set in Italy, what’s not to love? 😀
  • Mariana (review) — This was my first Susanna Kearsley novel, and it honestly left me a little baffled the first time, in part because of the time slip element and partly because I felt the reveal at the end came totally out of the blue and…dare I say ruined my experience of the book as a whole (because I was so baffled)? However, after reading a number of her books since and going back to it more recently, I’ve come to appreciate why that ending came about and just really appreciated the overall story a lot more. It does have great characters, great character interaction, and doesn’t plod a bit when it comes to the seventeenth century storyline so yeah, it gets a mention on this list now. But I’d recommend reading the first two before this book (unless time slips are your thing or you’re curious to know more of what exactly it is I’m talking about, lol).
  • The Rose Garden (review) — I initially was just going to list three books but I decided to add this book for readers who enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s books.The time slip here is a lot different compared to Mariana or The Winter Sea in that the main character, Eva, actually can slip back to the past. Not my favourite of Kearsley’s novels but it was still interesting and there were some characters that I really liked.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Susanna Kearsley’s books for the first time! If you’ve read her books, which one is your favourite by her? 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… (Julia Quinn)

Posted 3 February, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 6 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! 🙂

Happy February! So, as it is Valentine’s Day later this month and because this month’s scheduled book reviews are predominantly–if not all–historical romance, I decided to feature Julia Quinn for this month’s So You Want to Read… 🙂 I read my first book by her back in 2014 but last year revisited it again, resulting in purchasing a whole chunk of her backlist books, lol, as well as reading more books from the genre. Suffice to say she’s my favourite from the genre; the stories she tell are wonderful and the characters interesting and well-rounded. Her male leads especially are not so tortured and dark like in other historical romances–some are actually quite upbeat and absolute sweethearts from the get-go–and her female leads are unique, interesting, sometimes eccentric, sometimes just wanting a normal life for themselves. The romances are lovely, not overfraught with angst but fun to read. And did I mention the humour? 😀

Anyways, figured I read enough by her at this point to put together a list like this 😉 What’s really fantastic about her books is that for the most part they work as standalones even if they are part of a series, so you can almost start anywhere 😉

  • The Duke and I* (review) — Still one of my favourite book by her, but it was also my first Julia Quinn novel. It’s been recommended time and again as a great starting point for her books, and with good reason. It’s of course the introduction to the Bridgerton family, comprised of eight children, and they are loud, rowdy, and hilarious (I found myself laughing out loud a bit at some of the things this family gets up to when together–very rare btw for me to laugh out loud whilst reading). Daphne is a wonderful heroine, Simon is lovely and needs and hug, and together they are electric. One minute you’re laughing over character dynamics and the next you’re a puddle over the ups and downs and miscommunication this couple faces and just wanting everything to work out. [* – please see the bottom of my book review linked for additional/disclaimer note]
  • An Offer from a Gentleman (review) — For those of you who love fairy tale retellings, this book is Julia Quinn’s approach on the familiar Cinderella tale. It’s a great starting point for this story, but of course Julia Quinn adds her own touch to it, not to mention really fleshes out the lead couple and their own respective storylines and character struggles (being invisible and often in the background of their families, not being themselves, etc.). Plus, I think Benedict is a sweetheart, and this book just solidifies my opinion of him (even when, like any man in a historical romance, he makes a boo or two).
  • Romancing Mister Bridgerton (review) — I suppose at this point I should just say read all of the Bridgerton books, right? 😛 But this book gets a spot on this list because I finally got around to reading it late last year and omg it is so precious. Like, it’s the beloved title from the series, so there was a bit of apprehension on my part coming in to it in fear that it wouldn’t live up to everything I heard about it but I was wrong: it was amazing and so much more. You have to read the first three books to see how the leads ended up to where they are at this book but it is so worth it. The character journeys, the family mayhem, the communication that goes on between this couple (!!!). Yes, I <333 this book so much and recommend it whole-heartedly :)
  • Just Like Heaven (review) — The first book in the Smythe-Smith quartet, it was the premise of this book that really caught my attention (and thus became the second Julia Quinn book I ever read): childhood friends + shared love of desserts? Count me in! What’s also really wonderful about this book is that the romance is rather sweet (err, pun intended?); unlike other romances out there where the hero has this tortured part or a he or the heroine has a deep dark secret, these two are pretty normal (especially Marcus, the lead hero; yes, his childhood was as stiff as an aristocratic upbringing can get, but it doesn’t really define him or weigh him down like it would in another novel, you know?), they’re just a little lonely. I actually would recommend the first three books in this series, the lead men are actually quite sweethearts.
  • Ten Things I Love About You (review to be posted later this month) — I was debating whether to include this book in this list but in the end decided to just because I thought it was a hilarious read and the dialogue was fantastic (namely from Sebastian Grey). However, I would strongly recommend reading a few of the Bridgerton and Symthe-Smith novels before picking this novel up just because there’s one particular story thread that you will especially enjoy if you’ve read the other books–it definitely had me flailing and laughing when I found out! Anyway, Sebastian was awesome, Annabel is refreshingly straightforward; yes, the book can be a little meta but I thought that was pretty awesome/hilarious, and yes, the villain has to be the creepiest I’ve encountered in her books, but overall is was a great read.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Julia Quinn’s books for the first time! What do you think? What’s your favourite novel by Julia Quinn? 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… (Sarah Addison Allen)

Posted 22 January, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 4 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! 🙂

Happy New Year! And with a new year comes a new post for So You Want to Read… 🙂 For this month I decided to go with Sarah Addison Allen. I love her books, they’re like my comfort books whenever I’m feeling blah or I need a break from some heftier read or RL matters. To date I’ve read all of her books except her latest, First Frost, as I’m waiting for it to hit paperback 😉

  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon (review) — Hands down my favourite book by her. I love everything about it–the small town feel, the magical realism elements, the characters, the family aspect, of following your dreams, of second chances at life and love–yeah, this is usually the first book by her that I recommend to other people 🙂
  • The Sugar Queen (review) — Another wonderful read by her, I actually read this book a little later from the others. Definitely has a seasonal feel to it with the snow and everything, but I think readers can relate to the Josey’s plight in stepping out from her mother’s shadow and being comfortable with herself. But all the female characters felt very well-rounded and their respective stories were interesting.
  • The Lost Lake (review) — I consider this her most maturest book to date, probably because of the things that were happening in her personal life at the time before writing this book. But it still has all the hallmarks that make her books so wonderful: that of family, of friendships, of rediscovering yourself and what perhaps you thought you had lost or left behind.



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

So You Want to Read… (Russian Authors)

Posted 7 December, 2015 by Lianne in Lists / 0 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! 🙂

For this month’s So You Want to Read… I decided to go with Russian authors (seemed fitting as we enter the winter months here 😉 ). Regular readers of my blog know that I do read quite a bit of Russian classic literature: I find it to be rather unique in terms of the themes they tackle with in their stories, the overall stories told, and the general atmosphere of their stories. They tend to be pretty gloomy and I’d often note that you have to be in a particular mood to read their books (especially Doestoevsky–who is not featured here 😛 ). But okay, so you are in the mood to read some Russian classic literature but you don’t know where to start! Well, I’ve got you covered:

(Oh, please note: I’m covering classic Russian literature. No Soviet Russian authors here (and before you ask, yes, there is a difference! 😛 ))

  • Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers & Sons (review) — I had a conversation with a friend and classmate back in uni about this book as a good introduction point for Russian lit. This book is the best showcase of the ideas that were circulating in the Russian intellientsia during in the early to mid-19th century, which may go over the heads of some if you’re not familiar with the period or not as interested in the debates that were happening in society at the time. However, in my opinion, as a story this book is quite the page-turner, the characterisations and their thoughts astute. The commentaries are also not heavy-handed, which is a bonus (cf. Dostoevsky–again, sorry Fyodor!).
  • Anton Chekhov’s The Duelist — All of Chekhov’s stories are pretty fantastic in how all-encompassing and, well, human they are in thought and feeling. The Duelist was the first Chekhov short story I read (and probably one of the most familiar) and to date it still holds up as one of the best I’ve read just with all of the themes and characterisations present in the story.
  • Aleksandr Pushkin’s Yevgeny Onegin (review) — Okay, everyone knows about this play, surely, with the opera and the stage productions made. It’s a crowning feat in Russian because, like Dante’s The Divine Comedy or Shakespeare’s works, it sets down the tenants of the Russian language for the first time. As a story, it’s quite the epitome of gloomy and introspective and tragic reading.
  • Ivan Goncherov’s Oblomov (review) — I was plugging this book a bit last year because this book was such a pleasant surprise. There’s so much more to this story than the blurb says: it’s funny but it’s also heartbreaking as the reader reads and witnesses the decline of this character who has such potential. Regardless of whether you read it allegorically or an event happening to the individual, it does leave you thinking and wondering.

I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading Russian classic literature for the first time! Notice that I didn’t mention Leo Tolstoy in the mix; I would recommend him, but not for first-time readers of Russian lit, especially if you’re daunted by their size (his shorter works are all right, but not as amazing as Anna Karenina (review) or War and Peace). Who are your favourite classic Russian authors? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to check out?