Books that have stood the test of time.

I’ve been reading a lot lately. Way more than usual. I was ill last week and when I’m ill, all I want to do is watch a film or read a good book. I need heartwarming things to heat the cold slamming my system (can you tell I’m a tit when I’m ill? ‘slamming’ lol).

I watched a really good film based on a recommendation from a good friend. It was called Hope Floats and it was just the sort of film I like to watch in between yelling ‘I’m poorly’ at my poor husband. As I said, I also read a lot of books. This week I’m back to critiquing, writing, marketing (which I suck at) etc, which leaves little time to read all of the books that I want to. This got me to thinking. I recently had a discussion with a friend about all the books we’d love to reread. She wants to try and fit in Harry Potter. I thought I’d share the books that I would love to reread, and why. These books have stood the test of time with me, and I often find myself thinking about them.

A Tale of Redwall by Brian Jacques.

redwallThere are 22, YES, 22 books in this series and I want to read every single one of them again. I plan to buy them all for my children too. These books are exceptional and provided me a whole different world to escape into for much of my crappy childhood. The characters – a bunch of mice, crows, voles, squirrels, snakes, ferrets, magpies, hares….the list is extensive and each one is as interesting as the next. The description is vivid, from summer feasts to bloody battle scenes, oh my gosh – stunning. I just clicked on the ‘Look Inside’ on amazon and a contented sigh escaped my lips. These books are MAGICAL. If you haven’t read them yet, whatever your age – I highly, HIGHLY, recommend them.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

whjpgHow sad I am that this was Emily Brontë’s only book. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it – lots. Highly criticized in its time, Wuthering Heights went on to become…..YOU KNOW!!! It’s a beautiful classic that has inspired many productions for film, television, opera and stage plays as well as many retellings. And let’s not forget the song – THE SONG!!! The themes and issues were deemed too controversial in the mid-nineteenth century, however by the later part of that same century, more people argued its corner and saw it for what it is – a haunting and beautiful tale of love, jealousy and loss. And how beautiful is is that her sister, Charlotte Brontë, edited it after her death to create a second edition?

Vale of the Vole by Piers Anthony

vovAnother wonderful, magical fantasy. This is one of the first books that I vividly remember reading. It was like nothing I had ever read before and opened me up to the fantasy genre. Absolutely fantastic.

 

 

 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

thoWho doesn’t want to reread this one? After reading Vale of the Vole, off I went in search of something similar and this is what I found. I adored it. In fact, I loved it so much that when I found out that Bilbo Baggins wasn’t starring in Lord Of The Rings, I threw a strop and wouldn’t read it (I was a child!).

 

 

I, Houdini by Lynne Reid Banks

ihI want to read a lot of these types of books again, I was a big fan of Dick King Smith so those are on my list too, but this book by Lynne Reid Banks is amazing! It’s the tale of a Hamster who, as the title suggests, is a bit of a Houdini, always escaping his cage and going off on fantastical adventures. When I reread this book, I’m going to read it to my youngest daughter, Phoebe – she’s inherited the bookworm gene and I know she’ll enjoy it.

 

There are a lot of classic books in that list, so now on to the modern. All of these I’ve read recently. Usually I delete books from my Kindle once I’ve read them, unless I really, really love them. So, here they are!

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

av_This book is soooo beautiful. Archer is the town pariah. After an accident left him mute, Archer has lived a very sad and solitary existence. I’m not going to go into the blurb, but suffice to say that love finds a way to bring Archer the happiness he truly deserves. I am a MEGA FAN of Mia Sheridan. Her books are so beautiful and poignant – I can’t get enough of them.

 

 

Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

sbI’m going to hold up my hands and say ‘I have a thing for stepbrother books’. The premise to them all seem fascinating. Forbidden love, often a jerk of a stepbrother (gotta love those bad boys!) and how it’s all overcome. This one is my favorite – I love it and I will be reading it again. Like Mia Sheridan’s books, I have also read all of Penelope Wards books – I ❤ her!

 

 

Drive Me Sane by Dena Rogers

dmsThis book sang to me because of the issue it explores. So often I find that psychological problems are brushed over in fiction or that they’re easily fixed. Not so with this book. This is the poignant tale of an ex soldier struggling to deal with events that haunt her. Realistic and poignant – a beautiful romance.

 

 

There we have it! Those are SOME of the books that I want to reread. There are many, many more, but these ones instantly sprang to mind. If you have a moment, I’d love to know what’s on your list – maybe I can add more to my TBR pile!

 

 

 

 

Halfskin by Tony Bertauski

Cover - HalfskinBiomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.

We become better.

At what point are we no longer human?

Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he’s not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human. Halfskins have no legal rights and will have their biomites shutdown. It’s not called murder, merely deactivation.

Cali Richards has been Nix’s legal guardian since their parents died. She has lost far too many people in her life to let the government take Nix. She is a nanobiometric engineer and will discover how to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And technology can’t cure insanity.

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Excerpt

THE REAL AVENGER’S BLOG
Shooting Truth-Bullets Since Birth
Subscribers: 3,233

It’s the end of time, peeps.
Mark this date, put a black X on your calendar because it’s all over, starting today. It used to be that if you didn’t like the laws where you lived, you just moved to another state or another country. Freedom existed somewhere in the world. We had a choice. I mean, hell, if you were desperate enough you could live on the South Pole with penguins and shit.
Not anymore.
Today, it’s all over.
Today, M0ther was born.
Who’s M0ther? Our M0ther. Already got a mother? Now you got two, only this one will know everything about you. You can’t hide from her, she’ll know when you’re full of crap, know where you stash your porn, know when you pick your nose and when you eat it.
You’ll hate her, and she’ll know that, too.
Case you’ve been asleep for the last 10 years, the Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is what I’m talking about.
Let’s just call her M0ther.
A mother that doesn’t bake cookies or wash your underwear. She’s not getting up to make you French toast or wipe your nose. Nope. This bitch is going to spy on you until you’re dead. Which may be sooner than you think.
M0ther is somewhere in the frozen plains of Wyoming. No pictures of her exist because no one’s allowed to even flyover. But rumors say she’s this massive dome, a computer the size of a football stadium, like some artificial brain heaved out of the frozen soil that’s wirelessly connected with every biomite in existence.
Did you catch that? EVERY BIOMITE IN EXISTENCE!
Hear that buzzing on your phone? She’s listening.
Feel that tickle on your laptop? She knows you’re tapping.
All that Do Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife crap? Yeah, that’s the real deal, now. M0ther might tell your wife what you’re thinking about doing to Joe-Bob’s wife mowing the lawn in a tube top.
George Orwell wasn’t even close, man. I mean, Big Brother was just a pea shooter compared to M0ther. Big Brother was pissing on a forest fire; M0ther’s bringing the goddamn ocean.
Here’s the official statement from Marcus Anderson, Chief of the Biomite Oversight Committee.
(BTW, he looks like a gargoyle. Right?)

It is with great pleasure that, after ten years of global effort, I present to you the greatest feat of humankind. I present to you a regulatory system that will keep all people safer and healthier for centuries to come. Bionanotechnolgy has put us on the brink of greatness, but with that comes uncertainty and danger. The human species has the potential to live forever. Or end tomorrow.
I prefer the former.
Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is linked to every booted cellular-sized biomite living inside our bodies. Its primary function will be to monitor individual levels of biomites and take appropriate action if, or when, they cross a previously determined threshold. This will keep us human.
This will keep us safe.
Forever.

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ATA

During the day, I’m a horticulturist. While I’ve spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I’ve always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I’ve always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I’m a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I’d rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That’s the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it’s only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer’s Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult’s struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I’m a big fan of plot twists.

You can find out more on the authors website and blog.

New Release: Guardians Awakened by Kimiko Alexandre

GA4Raegan Fischer is eye candy for the rich socialites of the world…she also uses that pretty façade to protect them. When she gets dragged into a murder with “supernatural” like trappings, she never believes it’s going to not only test faith she doesn’t realize she has nor ever wanted, but make her enter a world of Angels, spirits and the unknown. Blackmailed into helping, she must find a missing angel and her sister while protecting a gargoyle that holds the soul of mass murder. It’s believe or risk a whole host of costs that are too high to bare.

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I am also pleased to be able to show you the print cover too!

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photoKimiko Alexandre runs the Parsec Nominated Podcast, Talechasing, for writers and readers of urban fantasy. Angels and demons are her first love when it comes to urban fantasy and paranormal romance so it’s no surprise that her debut novel, Guardians: Awakening, features a host of both and puts a twist to the whole mythos of where bad souls go when they die.

Also a voice actress, she has been in many commercial projects as well as audiobook and podiobook titles. She even ran a stint at being a female voice artist for European Hardstyle Dance music for a few years.  Just search for ‘ft. Kimiko’ on Youtube and you’ll find her.She loves her books, her music, and her cats. She sports a pair of brown and blue wings on her back and it doesn’t come as a shock that her favorite show is Supernatural. Team Dean, all the way.

You can find Kimiko on Twitter, Facebook and on her Podcast.

New Release: Faith by Kristie Cook

This is IT! The one I’ve been waiting for. Faith, the FINAL installment in the Soul Savers series is now LIVE!!! I’m excited. Can you tell I’m excited!

 

 When her eyes see only darkness, her soul must uncover
faith’s light.

Evil reigns the world. Earth’s been ravaged. Only
supernaturals roam the surface, while anyone else who escaped the fallout
remains hidden deeply underground. The only signs humans survived at all come
from those who serve the Daemoni. To finalize his conquest of humanity, Lucas
prepares to rip down the veil between Earth and the Otherworld, opening the
gates of Hell into the physical realm.
So why do the Angels insist on Alexis fighting a war that’s
already been lost? Defending a world that no longer exists?
With a soul that’s been battered and beaten by both Heaven
and Hell, Alexis holds onto a single conviction—her love for her family. Her
only mission now is to save her husband’s and her son’s souls. Once she does,
She’ll plead with the Angels to allow them off this world God has obviously
forsaken.
But has He? And can she give up on her people so easily? On
the souls of all humanity? Or will she find the faith she needs to defeat the
Daemoni and win back the world? Just how far will she go to save the souls she
loves . . .  and those she does not?
This epic finale of the bestselling Soul Savers Series will
break readers’ hearts, put them back together, and leave them demanding more.

 

Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various
genres, primarily New Adult paranormal romance and contemporary fantasy. Her
internationally bestselling Soul Savers Series will be complete and all seven
books available by early 2015. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis:
A Soul Savers Novella, currently available. Over 350,000 Soul Savers books have
been sold, with Promise peaking at #54 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid list and at
#1 in the Amazon Fantasy category, and Wrath peaking in the Top 10 on 5
international iBooks stores.
She has also written The Book of Phoenix trilogy, a New Adult
paranormal romance series that includes The Space Between, The Space Beyond,
and The Space Within. The full trilogy is available now.
Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and
riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently
calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, a beagle, and a puggle, but
spends many weekends with her three sons at UCF, cheering on the Knights.

 

Kristie Cook Interview with Red Coat PR

Are you a fan of angels and demons? Discovering new worlds and how they interact with our own? Do you like to ask the “what-if” questions?  Check out the amazing, Kristie Cook and her Soul Savers series, now a completed series with the release of Faith.
RCPR: I have to say I am extremely excited about the release of Faith, your final book in the Soul Savers Series. Are you sad to see it ending? Do you have any plans for a spin off?
KRISTIEOh, gosh, it is so bittersweet to see it ending. With seven books plus a novella and a collection of short stories, it’s been a huge part of my life. Saying goodbye to the characters is like saying goodbye to family. But it’s also been rewarding and quite an accomplishment, especially when I started, I wasn’t entirely confident I’d finish one book, let alone a whole series. As far as plans for what’s next…my lips are sealed. For now.
RCPR: You have so many great characters in this series. If you could either be a character in your book or have a power that one of your characters have who or what would you choose?
KRISTIE: Alexis can read minds, and I think a lot of people would love that power, but I don’t think I would. I already have too many characters in my head. I wouldn’t want the rest of the world in there, too! Not to mention how disturbing most people’s thoughts would be. *shudders* But I do think her power of levitation/telekinesis would be awesome.
 RCPR: I know some authors know their story from beginning to end before they write it. Did the Soul Savers Series end how you thought it would or did it throw you for a loop and go completely off the track?
KRISTIE: I had a general image of the final battle scene in my mind and the big turning point for Alexis since I finished the first book, but not everything play by play. So much of the storyline evolved over time – I was thrown for a loop many times, but every surprise led me beautifully back to where I intended to go. That’s what I love about writing
RCPR: Do you listen to music while you write; and if so what kind or do you need to write in complete silence?
KRISTIE: I have to actually write in silence, with white noise, like a fan. Lyrics distract me. But I do listen to music that is right for the story when I’m doing other work, exercising, cooking, etc.
RCPR: You’ve taken a different approach to writing characters like Vampires and Shifters along with Angels and Demons. What inspired you to write this series so creatively and pushed you to create a world like you did?
KRISTIE: I’d had the idea of writing angels and demons tumbling in my mind for years before I decided to start writing fiction again. When I finally decided to play, I sketched out some angel and demon-type characters. Around the same time, I was scanning through reader and book forums one day and came across a thread of young girls crying because they wanted the Twilight characters to be real. And I thought, “Well, then the bad guys would kill the author for exposing their secrets.” Immediately, the “what if” question popped into my head—“What if the supernatural creatures a big-name author wrote about showed up in her home, threatening to kill her if she didn’t stop exposing their secrets?” Then I realized this author and my character for the angels and demons idea were one and the same. The mythology snowballed from there.
RCPR: What book or series do you have in the works for us next?
KRISTIE: Top-secret…for a little bit longer. I have a lot of stories I want to discover about secondary characters in the Soul Savers world, but I also have other things in the works. Announcements will be coming after Faith releases.
RCPR: What has been your craziest fan interaction so far?
KRISTIE: Tattoos! Several fans have tattoos from my books! I do, too, but you know, I’m the author. I just never thought… The craziest is a tattoo of my skull-and-wings logo, including my initials – breaking her own rule of never tattooing someone else’s initials on her body. Haha! My fans are unbelievably awesome. I’m always blown away and humbled by how many people love my characters as much as I do.
RCPR: Is there a snack or drink or drink that you must have for while you are writing?
KRISTIE: Chocolate. And when under deadline, coffee.
RCPR: Are there any authors that you go Fan Girl over?
KRISTIE: So many I fan girl over even though they are friends now! But the ones I’d completely freak out and probably lose all brainpower with would be J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. I know, not very original, but there’s a reason people love them.
RCPR: What are some events that you have coming up for 2015?
KRISTIE: I’m doing a UK Tour in April, utopYA (Nashville) in June, PennedCon (St. Louis) in July, and InD’Scribe (Palm Springs) in September. That’s what I have planned so far for this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Release: The Dracula Deception by Jake Devlin

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I was really lucky to read this book prior to release and I have to say, it’s genius! Like all of Devlin’s books, the humor will have your belly shaking with laughter.

draculaThe setting: The Transylvania Institute for the Terminally Insane (TITI; pronounced “Tie-Tie”), where patients are not treated to be cured, but are allowed to live out their delusions in relative comfort in a supportive environment.

The plot: A down-on-his-luck actor’s audition for a role to support one particularly peculiar patient plunges him pathologically into a nightmarish maelstrom of madness and mayhem.

The characters: A manic mix of patients and staff catapults the roller-coaster plot to its shocking, heart-stopping finale.

Adapted and updated from the hit 1974 stage comedy of the same title. (The print version includes photos from one of the original productions.)

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People Appreciation

My amazing critique partner, Kathy, wrote a post this week about some of the things she’s experienced on the road to getting published. It’s a great article, and you can read it here.

Throughout most of Kathy’s writing life, she’s been flying solo, doing it all herself, with very little (as in zero) in the way of support. Her achievements are mighty and I’m in awe of everything that she’s done. Which leads me to think about my own experiences, which are not at all like Kathy’s.

When I started out writing Fractured Immortal, it was just me and a pad for maybe a couple of weeks. Then I found Twitter and met some amazing people on there who were all in varying stages of the writing process. Of course, I had the internet to run to whenever I ran into a problem too, so that was very helpful. Because of changing times, there’s a plethora of information on writing available to anyone who runs a search – which I did, on many, many occasions. This wasn’t the case for Kathy, she really did do it all on her own.

In June (I think) of last year, I dipped my toe in the slush comp pond and from that I met more amazing writers. Everything I thought I knew changed. Turns out I didn’t know very much at all. I partnered up with Kathy and Kate, Sarah cast her eyes over my queries too, then I partnered up with Tasha as well, who orchestrated a new critique partner group consisting of me, Kathy, Tasha and Diana – so I gained Diana too – I’m such a lucky girl.

This is us!

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Then NaNoWriMo hit and Dena, who I’d been friends with for ages on Twitter (and someone I totally fangirled after reading her awesome book), took part in NaNo and we spurred each other on. From that, another new partnership was forged. So, on my side I now have: Tasha, Kathy, Sarah, Kate, Dena and Diana. These guys are all, in some way, responsible for my growth as a writer. Add to this the people who beta read my manuscript – Jake, Nancy and Nori, Kate too – (she can basically do everything, that girl, AND she edited Fractured Immortal!) as well as some others – wow, check out all the support I had and still have.

Years of learning and information was canned up and fed to me in a short space of time and the change in my writing because of it is massive. I still have a lot to learn, but I have so many people to lean on, it’s pretty amazing. I appreciate everything these guys have done and continue to do for me. I honestly don’t know how Kathy managed it all by herself – she’s flippin superwoman.

I can’t begin to express my gratitude to these guy’s, which is a bit crap – being a writer and all, but all I can say is that someone, somewhere, must’ve been watching over me to have brought these people into my life. So here’s some major people appreciation to the people who gave up their time to support me. Thank you. I love y’all dearly.

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From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock

I’m really excited to show you the cover and blurb for Julie Stock’s debut novel. It’s exactly the kind of book that I like to read and I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on it. You can preorder it now, using the links below!

fh2n_From Here to Nashville is a contemporary romance novel with a country music theme.

Can Music Really Bring People Together?

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset.

When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together.

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about

julieJulie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels and short stories. If you would like to keep up-to-date with news of her forthcoming releases, you can sign up here:

She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and is a Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. You can also connect with her via her Facebook Author Page and on Twitter.

When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.