Books with Ghosts in Them

books with ghosts in

A Halloween influenced book list this month! These are a few of my favourite books with ghosts in 🙂

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynn Jones

A ghost story told from the point of view of the ghost! The ghost is one of four sisters but she doesn’t remember which one she is, or how she came to be a ghost.

The characters in this book are brilliantly done, each of the sisters is unique and complex. It’s very well written and the story had me guessing right up to the end.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Eden Moore #1) by Cherie Priest

Eden Moore is a tough young woman who can see ghosts. For most of her life, she has had three dead women who appear when she is in danger and when she starts to investigate who they were she starts uncovering secrets about her past.

This is a moody and atmospheric ghost story from one of my favourite authors. I love the voice of the main character and there are lots of creepy moments, including the investigation of an abandoned and haunted mental hospital.

Cthulu and Other Monsters by Sam Stone

This one is a collection of short horror stories about monsters and Cthulu.

Sam Stone manages to skip between and combine genres without it being jarring. The stories in this collection are all horror stories but they also combine other genres too. Some are a bit steampunk, and some are more sci-fi, some set in the past and some in the present. She’s clearly full of ideas and there’s a lot of originality in these stories.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is an orphan being raised by the dead in a graveyard. It’s written for children but has more than enough intelligence, humour and pathos for adults to enjoy it too.

If you want a book that’s full of ghosts then The Graveyard Book is it!

Rivers of London (Peter Grant/Rivers of London #1) by Ben Aaronovitch

Peter Grant is a probationary constable in London. When an eyewitness to a crime he’s talking to turns out to be a ghost, Peter uncovers a different side to London where gods, ghosts and magic are commonplace.

This is more of a supernatural police procedural than a spooky, ghostly book. But it’s funny and entertaining and had me gripped as Peter investigates the evil that’s rising in London.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding

I loved this book – it’s full of adventure and strong characters and there are plenty of genuinely scary moments. Plus, it has monsters and ghosts and airships! It’s supposed to be a young adults book but it certainly is suitable for grown-ups too.

Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra (Zodiac Starforce #1-4) by Kevin Panetta, Paulina Ganucheau (Illustrator)

zodiac starforce Cover

They’re an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures… as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests. They’re also battling monsters – not your typical after school activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself, and the world, from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions!

From Kevin Panetta (Bravest Warriors) and Paulina Ganucheau (TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors), this super-fun and heartfelt story of growing up and friendship, with plenty of magical-girl fighting action, delivers the most exciting new ensemble cast in comics.

Collects Zodiac Starforce #1-#4

My review of Zodiac Staforce: Power of Astra

Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of AstraZodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra by Kevin Panetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The artwork in this is absolutely stunning. The drawings, the characters, the outfits – everything is perfect! And the colours! Bright and bold and an almost dreamy mix of pinks and purples, yet it’s still vibrant.

This would probably be a four-star rating just because it’s so lovely to look at! Luckily the story and the dialogue lives up to the artwork. It seems very influenced by Sailor Moon. There are extras in the back and one of them is a one-page story with the characters in uniforms that look very much like the Sailor Soldiers. But it’s much more modern, and a lot louder and faster paced than Sailor Moon.

I started reading thinking that this was the first volume, but there must have been one before this that explained the characters and where they got their powers. It keeps referring events that happened two years ago, where they fought a big bad and I think one of the characters lost her mother? So I did kinda feel like I was missing something, but it didn’t impact on understanding the story in this volume.

The characters are well developed and easy to tell apart. They all have their own personality and their own style. My favourite is Kim! I’m also really liking Lily.

My only complaint is that I wish it were longer. I hope there’s more coming soon.

Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra
Zodiac Starforce
Kevin Panetta, Paulina Ganucheau (Illustrator)
Graphic Novel
Dark Horse Books
March 9th 2016
Graphic Novel
136

My Favourite Books with Tattooed Characters

books with tattooed characters

Tenuous link for my book list this month: I recently got a tattoo. So here is a list of my favourite books with tattooed characters in 🙂

It’s a lot shorter than I thought it would be, so if you have any suggestions please share them in the comments or on twitter.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

An obvious choice to kick off with, Lisbeth Salander is tattooed, independent, and doesn’t care what others think of her.

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

A romance where the main character Iris works in a tattoo palour and the love interest is a tattooist. I’ve mentioned Mariana Zapta before on this blog, she’s one of my favourite slow burning romance writers out there.

This couple go from hating each other to being friends before finally falling in love and their journey is believable (for a romance novel) and sweet. I could have done without the motorbike gang stuff, but other than that this is a lovely story.

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Loveday Cardew is a quiet, antisocial bookworm working in a small bookshop in York. She closes herself off from relationships and finds herself lost for words when she tries to talk to people.

But she wasn’t always this way, and through flashbacks and memories we find out what happened in Loveday’s past that has left her so guarded and reluctant to trust anyone.

I only picked this up because it’s about a bookworm with a nose ring and tattoos, and it’s set in York, a city that I love to visit. But this is a very thoughtful and beautifully written story, with flawed and interesting characters with a lot of depth to them.

One of my favourites of the year so far.

The Derby Girl (Getting Physical) by Tamara Morgan

Another romance, this time the main character Gretchen is a tattooed roller derby girl. I’m not blown away by the love interest, he’s a bit too corporate for my liking, but Gretchen is funny, feisty and flawed and I kinda want to be her.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Sci-fi where the main character has a full face tattoo. I’m not sure I’d say I enjoyed this book, there’s some pretty grim stuff in it, but it’s thought provoking and interesting. It’s also the only sci-fi I could think of to add to this list!

Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane

A series I think I’ve mentioned before, Downside Ghosts’ main character Chessie has full body tattoos that also help her work magic. It’s my favourite urban fantasy, and it has a bit of romance thrown in. The love interest Terrible is by far my favourite book boyfriend.

Nights of Blood Wine (Blood Wine, #4.5) by Freda Warrington

Nights of Blood Wine Cover

Nights of Blood Wine Blurb

Enter the spellbinding worlds of Freda Warrington. Fifteen tales of horror and darkness, taking the reader deeper into the vampiric and the unknown.

Warrington’s vampires haunt the borderlands of excess, and you can find them here in ten stories set in her popular Blood Wine series of novels. Then there are five further tales of fantasy and horror as Warrington takes you further into the worlds of imagination. Step gently, as you may not leave untouched!

‘The Blood Wine books are addictive, thrilling reads that are impossible to put down and they definitely deserve more attention.’ Worldhopping.net

‘A cross between Anne Rice and more edgy modern paranormal romances, only with Freda Warrington’s incredible voice … This author truly has a gift for storytelling.’ Not Your Ordinary Book Banter

My review of Nights of Blood Wine

Nights of Blood Wine (Blood Wine, #4.5)Nights of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It makes a change to read some vampire stories that are not cheesy and overwhelmed by romance.

My sister kept telling me about the Blood Wine series, that it’s the best vampire series she’s ever read. Finally, I listened and decided to start with this newly released short story collection.

The first, and largest, part of the collection is made up of stories that are based in the Blood Wine universe, the second part is stories based on the Elfland series, and there is an extra Dracula story added to the mix too.

I haven’t read any of the books (yet), but it didn’t stop me understanding or enjoying these short stories.

It’s a very sophisticated, very adult collection of stories. They’re mostly told from women’s perspectives and are stories about women. Love and sex are part of a lot of them, but it’s not the focus. This is about as far from Twilight as it’s possible to get.

Freda Warrington is a wonderful writer; I can’t understand why she’s not more widely known. Her stories are subtle and complex and draw you in without you noticing it. Suddenly you’ll realise you’re hooked and need to devour everything she’s ever written.

Her writing is captivating, her descriptions are almost lyrical and bring the rich worlds to life. Her characters are complex, otherworldly and yet somehow also relatable.

If you like vampire stories even a little bit, then do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of this.

Nights of Blood Wine
Blood Wine
Freda Warrington
Fantasy
Telos
March 31st 2017
Paperback
228

Books with Dragons in them

Books with Dragons in

St George’s Day today! Which is my tenuous excuse for sharing some of my favourite books with dragons in them.

Please share your favourites in the comments, I feel like I don’t have enough dragons in my reading list.

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Sebastion and Wydrin are mercenary sell-swords who free a dragon-god whilst investigating a ruined citadel.

At first they try to ignore the problem they have created, but the dragon starts destroying towns and villages and leaving a path of destruction across the continent.

A refreshing and fun story, full of magic, adventure, fights and taverns. I’ve only started reading Jen Williams recently, but she’s jumped straight to the top of my favourite fantasy authors list.

The Hobbit

One of the most famous dragon stories thanks to the films that came out a few years ago. I much prefer the book though, shorter and better paced and without all the boring bits they added to be able to make three films out of it.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

Neither good nor evil the dragons in Earthsea are wise and long lived. Scornful of humans, they will only talk to Dragonlords, humans that understand the language of dragons.

Written in the 1960’s, the Earthsea series is one of the most influential and best-loved fantasies to be published. If you have never read it do yourself a favour and get a copy.

The Dragon Keeper (Rain Wild Chronicles, #1) by Robin Hobb

The Dragon Keeper follows a pack of dragons born so weak and deformed that they can’t fly or hunt for themselves. Tired of having to care for them the people of the Rain Wilds want to move them up river to a place where they can live away from humans.

Thymara is hired to be a Dragon Keeper, she has to care for and feed her dragon on the journey to her new home.

So if you like dragons this series is packed full of them, and Robin Hobb is a wonderful writer 🙂

Note – this series follows the Liveship Trader series, but I don’t think you need to have read that first (I hadn’t), and this series has far more dragon page time in it.

Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) by Terry Pratchett

A secret brotherhood who want to gain control of Ankh-Morpork release a dragon into the city. Enter The Watch, the ragtag and incompetent town guards who have to restore order to the chaos.

This is one of Terry Pratchett’s best Discworld stories it has many of my favourite characters and is massively funny. If you want to laugh out loud, this is the one for you.

My Favourite Romance Books

My Favourite Romance Book Covers

It’s February, it’s Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect time to look at book romances!

I normally read sci-fi or fantasy novels but I do have a soft spot for romances, and if a book I’m reading has a bit of a romance in it even better 🙂

Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie

Jennifer Crusie has been my favourite romance writer since I was a teenager, and this is my favourite of her books.

Lucy Savage is divorcing her husband Bradley, Officer Zack Warren is trying to find him to arrest him for embezzlement. When someone shoots at Lucy and then blows up her car Zack decides he has to move into Lucy’s house to protect her.

It’s funny, fast-paced and entertaining with obvious attraction between the two characters that starts with conflict and a lot of banter, and builds slowly into the romance.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Mariana Zapata does slow burning romances so, so well. If you don’t like insta-love then this one is for you. It builds very slowly as the characters start out disliking each other but gradually become friends.

Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane

Downside Ghosts has one of my favourite book boyfriends in Terrible, a gruff  ‘enforcer’ working for the local drug lord who is more intelligent than he looks. He is also incredibly sweet and makes my heart melt.

It’s another slow-burner, in that it takes at least four books for them to sort themselves out, but there is enough magic, mysteries and ghost hunting going on for this series to be worth reading even if it didn’t have the romance.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The book that inspired the brilliant Studio Ghibli film. In my opinion, the book is even better than the film because it goes much more in depth into Sophie’s family, and we also get a lot of Howl’s backstory and family history.

Sophie has magic of her own in the book and is a much stronger and more complex character in general. Howl is also a more interesting character and we can see Sophie and Howl’s relationship builds into mutual respect.

The romance is there, and it is sweet and believable, but it’s not overly important to the story.

Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair

Linnea Sinclair writes romantic sci-fi, and she does it well. The sci-fi side is big and adventurous and the romances are full of sparks.

Here, Captain Trilby Elliot is a down on her luck trader trying to patch up her old spaceship on an uninhabited planet. When another spaceship crash lands nearby she thinks she can steal parts to fix her own ship. But the pilot is still alive, and he commanders Trilby’s ship for his own.

I loved the characters, and the sci-fi plot is well developed and could just about stand on it’s own without the romance.

Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen’s books are set in the real world but there is always something magical about them.

In Garden Spells the Waverly family has an apple tree in their garden, eat an apple and you will see your future.

Light and sweet, this is one to lose an afternoon in.

The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance

This is full of short sci-fi / romance stories. Some are good, some are not that great, but there are a couple in here that have stayed with me long after I finished reading.

The Derby Girl (Getting Physical, #2)

I play roller derby (with Wakey Wheeled Cats) and I like reading books set in the roller derby world.

This one is well written, the main character Gretchen is unusual and complex and love interest Jared has a bit more to him than the normal alpha male.

The romance is believable, Gretchen and Jared spark off each other and definitely don’t fall in love at first sight.

It’s a stand alone so there’s no need to read the first book if you don’t want to. I didn’t and I had no problems following this.

My Favourite Books I Read in 2016

Best books of 2016

My 10 favourites from the 160 books I read in 2016. It looks like I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy and children’s / young adult books this year! I found a couple of new favourite authors – Margaret Atwood and Dianne Wynn Jones.

I don’t read many new releases because I buy a lot of second hand books. From all of these I think only one was released this year!

What were your favourites from this year? Comment or leave a link to your own blog post 🙂

We Should All Be Feminists  by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Everyone should read this balanced, insightful, and very sensible short essay on feminism. Please someone make it required reading in schools!

We Should All Be Feminists on GoodReads

Jacaranda (The Clockwork Century #6) by Cherie Priest

One of my favourite authors, her Clockwork Century series is a brilliant steampunk zombie adventure. Each of the books focuses on a different character and has it’s own story arc .

Jacaranda is a shortish book about a cursed hotel, and a nun and a padre that arrive to investigate the rumours.  It takes place 20 years after the main story arc and can easily be read on it’s own.

Jacaranda on GoodReads

The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

A short story about a family gathering in their childhood home as their father is dying from cancer. Very difficult subject matter but it’s handled sensitively and is beautifully written. Sarah Pinborough manages to keep the human side of the story the most important thing without being overly sentimental.

The Language of Dying on GoodReads

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones

A ghost story told from the point of view of the ghost! The ghost is one of four sisters but she doesn’t remember which one she is, or how she came to be a ghost.

The characters in this book are brilliantly done, each of the sisters is unique and complex. It’s very well written and the story had me guessing right up to the end.

The Time of the Ghost on GoodReads

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

A beautifully written atmospheric story about an introverted bookworm writing the biography of a famous writer. The story itself is nothing ground breaking but this is all about the way it’s told.

The Thirteenth Tale on GoodReads

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones

I love the film but only recently found out it was originally a book. There are a lot of differences between the book and the film, which I like because it means if you’ve seen the film it won’t ruin the story in the book for you!

Howl’s Moving Castle on GoodReads

MaddAddam Series by Margaret Atwood

A man made plague sweeps the world and wipes out most of humanity. This is by far my favourite of all the series I’ve read this year. Each book has a different main character, and with them Margaret Atwood jumps backwards and forwards on the timeline, slowly filling us in on the story behind the plague.

The world before the plague is a near future version of our time with more advanced tech and genetically engineered species.  The rich live in compounds, walls and guards separating them from the poor ‘pleeblands’.  Atwood creates a scarily familiar, rich and well constructed world, before pulling it all to pieces.

MaddAddam series on GoodReads

Flora Segunda (Flora Trilogy #1) by Ysabeau S. Wilce

A gem of a book filled with magic, odd characters, and a house that has a mind of it’s own. It’s a children’s book but it has far more intelligence than most adult books I’ve read. Should be far more popular than it is.

Flora Segunda on GoodReads

Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

I waited far too long to read this. It’s very, very good, much better than the films.

Hunger Games Series on GoodReads

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

I read this before Christmas and fell in love with Laini Taylor’s writing. A fantasy filled with magic, vengeful Angels, war, and Chimera.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone on GoodReads