My Favourite Fiction Books for 2011

It seems to be the ‘in thing’ to write about your favourite books for the past year. And who am I to go against the grain. Of course, your favourite books are not ones you’ve heard about or like the cover of, they are fiction books you’ve actually read.

Here is my list of favourite books for 2011:

1. Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
2. Full Circle by Pamela Freeman
3. Hater by David Moody
4. A God-Blasted Land by Lee Carlon
5. The Broken Thing by Peter Swift

The first two books on my list are the final books in a series. It was difficult to determine which of the two would make it to the top of the list, but ultimately Hobb’s The Rain Wild Chronicles was read more recently so had a better imprint on my mind. The first two books of Freeman’s Castings Trilogy were read over two years ago and the story was not as vivid in my mind. However, having said that, both series were excellent and highly recommended.

The next book on the list, Moody’s Hater, was a good zombie type story that told of how our world (as we know it) might end tomorrow. I could relate to the main character and for that reason felt a strong connection to the story.

The fourth book on the list is Carlon’s A God-Blasted Land, which is a post-apocalyptic story. It’s a story where the characters ‘spoke’ to me and I loved the unexpected twists and turns.

And, last but not least, is Swift’s The Broken Thing, which is a scary story for younger readers. I love reading books for younger people and this book appealed to me from the moment I saw it.

I’d like to point out at this stage that I am not a fast reader, but I do consider myself to be an avid reader. I read most days, even if it’s only a couple of pages. I’d love to read more and faster, but that’s just not me.

I would also like to point out that I will read books by any author – well known, unknown, big publisher printed, indie printed. It makes no difference to me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not about how famous the author is, it’s all about the story and what it does for the reader. And two books on my list are written and released by the author. Those two books were more enjoyable (for me) than some of the ‘big names’ I read this year, such as Terry Pratchett and Cornelia Funke.

Before I end this post, I’d like to give an honourable mention to one other book – Write the Fight Right by Alan Baxter. It’s a short non-fiction book on how to write fight scenes and it’s written especially well and gives the reader the confidence to write the fight right.

That’s my list of favourite fiction books for 2011. What are yours?

eBook Review: Fright Files – The Broken Thing

The Broken Thing (Fright Files: Beware the Author, #1)

The Broken Thing by Peter Swift

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover attracted me to this book. The minute I saw it I paused and thought, “Now, that looks interesting.” It promised weird things with its vivid colours and wacky looking character.

Fright Files is a series for younger readers. As I write for younger readers and actually enjoy reading books for this age group, I thought I’d give the book a go. And why not, it’s free!

Stevie and Angie are best friends. She’s fearless and looks for adventure and he goes along for the ride, even when his better judgement tells him not too. That’s not to say he doesn’t like the thrill of excitement … he just isn’t so thrilled about the twisted creature that come with it.

The book started out well but hit a bit of a slump where I found myself wondering when the action was going to start. However, don’t give up on it as it quickly picks up again and then it’s full steam ahead. Actually, from that point on it’s full of action, fear and creepy scenes that will have you looking over your shoulder and into the darkened corners of the room.

I’d recommend the book to the young and the young at heart. I believe the second book in the series is due out next week.

eBook Available for Free!

The Land of Miu is the first book in a series for younger readers. It can be purchased as a paperback (refer to my official The Land of Miu page). Or, it can be downloaded as a free ebook from the following places:

Smashwords (available in various digital formats including epub and kindle)
Kobo Books (download to your Kobo device or any other device with a Kobo app)
Nook Books (download to your Nook or any other device with a Nook app)
iTunes (download through iBookstore or onto your computer)

ET Returns

Actually, ET never left, it just started behaving itself. ET, of course, stands for Essential Thombocytosis. But you knew that, right?

Back in July 2010, I wrote a post called The Disorder Has a Name. The disorder is a blood disorder I have and Essential Thombocytosis is its name.

I’ve been on medication for 18 months and for the first 12 months it seemed the medication was working. However, over the past six months my blood test results have been coming back with unsatisfactory numbers. And those numbers are steadily climbing. If you want to talk in numbers, here are my stats. My normal was always around 150. Prior to going on to the medication I was up to 790. After taking the medication I went down to an acceptable 435. My last test had me at 650 and when I have my next test in a couple of weeks, I know it number will be higher. I can feel it!

The worst thing is the headaches. Every day. All the time. Sometimes tolerable, mostly not. I have to grin and bear it because pain killers do nothing to ease the discomfort. Then there’s the tingling in my feet and that swollen feeling. They probably are swollen, of course, but I can no longer tell. I just ensure I do foot exercises on a regular basis to ensure my circulation improves. Although there are other side affects, the only other one I’ll mention is the tiredness. Extreme, totally exhausted fatigue. Not able to drag myself out of bed fatigue. Mind numbing, not able to concentrate fatigue. It totally sucks.

Yeah, that’s ET for you. It’s something that will never go away so I guess I’ll have to find a way to push it aside and not let it take over my life. But, honestly, sometimes it’s extremely hard to smile, let alone pretend I care, especially when my head feels as if it’s about to split open to release some alien.

Sorry, I’m feeling a bit down today. I’ll get over it and carry on as normal before a blink of an eye. Almost.

eBook Review: Jokers Club

Jokers Club

Jokers Club by Gregory Bastianelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb for this book was intriguing. I liked the idea of a man seriously ill with a brain tumor returning to his hometown to revisit his past. The fact that the man was having trouble distinguishing from reality and imagination also grabbed my attention. Of course, when you put this mix together there has to be some disturbing scenes.

When people start dying the reader is caught within the mind of a man who has no idea what’s really happening. And it’s an interesting journey, for sure.

I liked the way the author wrote two stories to illustrate the yesteryear and the today. Flashbacks are frowned upon in writing but this was done extremely well. It certainly kept me interested and I wanted to know what happened next then … and what would happen next now.

The only thing that I didn’t like much was the descriptions. They did slow the pace down at times because they went into two much detail. However, that might just be a personal thing as I know some people want to know everything … I prefer to have some of it left to my imagination.

Although part of me felt I wasn’t going to enjoy this book, when I first picked it up, I did. It kept my interest and I read it pretty quickly and found myself wanting to sit and read it. These are excellent signs and all I can say is that I’m glad I read it. It was worth it.

This is a suspense horror story. If you like that kind of stuff then I would recommend this book.

Released: The Land of Miu

On Friday, 25 November 2011, The Land of Miu was published.

It is important to note that this is the second edition of the first book of the Land of Miu series. I know it’s getting tiresome reading that sentence everywhere, but I want to ensure existing readers totally understand that this is not the next instalment in the series. The next instalment, The King’s Riddle, will be released on 25 January 2012.

The paperback version of The Land of Miu is already available from Amazon for $9.99. Of course, it is also available from Kayelle Press for the same price.

The digital version is free! It is available from Smashwords. At present, it is also available from the Amazon Kindle Store for $0.99 but I’m hoping that will change to a free download in coming weeks.

If you do not have a Smashwords account and do not want to create one then use the contact form above to send me a request to email the ebook to you. Don’t forget to tell me which format you prefer. It’s available in PDF, mobi, epub, LRF and PDB.

And please rest easy knowing that to me ‘free’ means exactly that, ‘free’. There are no catches or small print, and you will not be emailed for any other purpose than to send you your free ebook. Promise.

eBook Review: Hal Spacejock

Hal SpacejockHal Spacejock by Simon Haynes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book took me longer than anticipated to read, but that wasn’t the fault of the book … life demanded my attention elsewhere. Once those demands were met, I was able to immerse myself back into the story. It was easy to pick up where I left off too.

Hal Spacejock is a fumbling pilot of a run down spaceship. He is joined by Clunk, an ‘aging’ (meaning out-of-date, old technology) robot, and Navcom, the ship’s computer system. They all have great personalities but Clunk was my favourite by far. He made me feel sorry for him, which meant I cared what happened to him.

Together, they set out on a ‘job’ and trouble follows them every inch of the way. Honestly, these are not a group to get friendly with because they only leave havoc behind them … even when they are trying to help!

There are some funny moments, intentional clichés that will make you smile and some sexual tension between robot and computer that will leave you feeling quite uncomfortable. It’s all in good fun and great entertainment though. And it’s all done with smooth writing skills and a flow that makes it easy reading.

This book is light-hearted, fun and fast-paced. Something is always happening. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

A New Cover for The King’s Riddle

The King’s Riddle is the second book of The Land of Miu Series. This book takes us back to the four friends (Kate, Emma, Alara and Siptah) three months after the first book ends. And, this book is told from Siptah’s point of view so the reader will be provided with more background information in regards to the magical world of Miu.

Many thanks goes to Donna from DigitalDonna.com. She will be providing the covers for all three books in the series. And, I must say, they look awesome.

The book’s description reads …

Princess Alara and her guard-in-training, Siptah, have done something unthinkable. By accident, they activated the volcano deep below the tunnels in which they live. If they can’t stop the volcano from erupting the whole of Miu will be lost.

But that isn’t the only problem they have, their fathers are missing and time is running out, so it’s up to them to fix things by themselves. A clue found in the king’s chamber suggests their human friends, Kate and Emma, must come back to Manu to help them. Can the group of friends overcome their fears and frustrations and solve an ancient riddle in time to save the Land of Miu?

The King’s Riddle will be available from 25 January 2012.