AWESOME Authors I Discovered in 2017 *and* Am Looking Forward to Reading More From

Technically this was a Top Ten Tuesday topic… buuut it’s not this week’s, so this is a fail 😉 Ah well, pish posh, who cares about rules when it comes to sharing great books? I certainly don’t. And I really wanted to do this topic, because there’s nothing I like more than talking about AWESOMENESS (aside from griping about suckfests… moving on…). Besides, it was this or talk about *nothing* for Nothing Day (yes that’s a thing to, happy Nothing Day everybody!)

Anyhoo enough rambling- gonna try to not repeat myself too much from my best of 2017 post, although it can’t be entirely avoided 😉 Here’s some amazing authors I discovered in 2017:

solzhenitsyn

Solzhenitsyn– I’m beginning to sound a lot like a broken record when it comes to the Gulag, but that’s not the only book I read by Solzhenitsyn last year. I started off my journey into the Siberian wastes with One Day in the Life of Ivan Densovitch and that motivated me to continue reading. Speaking of Siberia…

ruta sepetys

Ruta Sepetys– WOW what a writer. Of the two books I read by her last year, I preferred Salt to the Sea to Between Shades of Grey, but either way her stories pulled me in and were impossible to forget. There’s no question that I want to read more by this author.

murder-on-the-orient-express-agatha-christie

Agatha Christie– two things happened on my blog last year relating to Christie: 1) I announced that I had zero intention of reading her work and… 2) I actually read her work. I have since seen the error of my ways and plan to read more soon 😉

ice twins

S. K. Tremayne– gosh Tremayne reminded me reignited my zest for thrillers… I have to read MORE!

alan partridge

“Alan Partridge”– I read two books by “Alan Partridge” last year- I don’t think I’ve ever laughed at a book so much. It’s easy for me to say, considering that there are hilarious (yet totally mundane) asides on getting a car into gear in these books, that Steve Coogan could literally put out *anything* for this character and I’ll read it.

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Robin Hobb– it took me long enough but I finally read Assassin’s Apprentice last year! And as some of you may know, I was so blown away it that I ended up going a little crazy, reading both the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies in one go… Yeah, it’s no wonder I got a bit Hobbed out by the end of my massive binge. Still, though my appetite may have been dampened temporarily, I want to *jump right back up on that horse* and continue reading in 2018!

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Mark Lawrence– I read a very respectable 4 books by Lawrence last year and they were all fantastic fantasies- now I want MORE… Lucky for me Grey Sister is out this year 😉

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Ed McDonald– Blackwing was certainly one of the best debuts I’ve ever read- WOWEE- you can make a safe bet that I want to read the next one!

bear and the nightingale

Katherine Arden– what list about 2017 would be complete without Arden? You all know by now how much I loved Bear and the Nightingale (if not, hi nice to meet you, I’m the Orangutan Librarian and I loved this book). So naturally I’ll be reading and reviewing Girl in the Tower soon- watch this space.

snow child

Eowyn Ivey– gorgeously atmospheric and beautifully written- I adored how this was a fairytale retelling woven together with a historical setting. I will definitely have an eye out for her other books!

Phew- managed to only repeat 3 from my top ten! Have you read any of these? What’s the best author you discovered in 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Wacky Happy Books

Hello all! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! Inspired by Furiously Happy, I thought I’d do a post about some wackadoodle books. Plus tis the season and all that jazz- time for a little dose of pure joy! In no particular order…

witches abroad

Witches Abroad– I can’t not have a Pratchett on this list- and I’ve always found the witches stories the most bonkers of all the Discworld books (and that’s saying something). This one in particular is a satirical take on fairytales and is endlessly fun- so it’s a win all round!

Alice's_Adventures_in_Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland– how could I have a list about wacky books without including this? And who doesn’t love this flawlessly mad classic? Do I even need a reason for including this?

anansi boys

Anansi Boys– technically this comes after American Gods (although I read it first, because I’m a numpty that didn’t know that) so you should probably read that before this, but this is the one that made me fall head over heels for Gaiman’s work!! It’s wacky and funny and pretty ingenious- basically perfect for this list!

charmed life

Charmed Life– moving over to the sweeter and less crazy of the books on the list, I reckon Diana Wynne Jones deserves a shout. I don’t think I talk about this author nearly enough, considering my love for her work growing up. Her books are always wonderfully original, quirky and full of eccentric characters, so are all worth picking up. Charmed Life in particular brought me endless joy as a child, so I had to mention it here. Speaking of childhood faves…

phantom tollbooth

Phantom Tollbooth– I actually recently reread this one (thanks very much to the book voucher I found in a used book which inspired me to go into a Waterstones and nab a copy) and mannn I totally get why this blew me away when I was a little ‘un. Heck- it blew me away now! The story weaves in impossible directions and has such depth of imagination- there’s no doubt it’s a classic for a reason.

Importance_earnest_dvd

The Importance of Being Earnest– this is actually a *double* recommendation, because I not only recommend the hilariously witty play by Oscar Wilde, but I also highly suggest watching the 1952 movie version, because it’s basically one of the best adaptations of all time (not the modern version- it veers on the cringey side)

i partridge

I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan– okay, so this might seem like the most random recommendation on the list, because a lot of people won’t know this character or have any reason to pick it up- which is why this is also a double (possibly triple) recommendation. Because Alan Partridge is a fictional character, first appearing on screens in Knowing Me, Knowing You (a parody chat show) and then I’m Alan Partridge (a mockumentary after the fallout). If you like comedy, and especially if you’re a fan of the Office, then this is SO WORTH IT (plus, it actually came first and in my humble opinion is actually better). Now I do recommend all of that for serious book pleasure BUT this is still a FANTASTIC parody of celebrity biographies in its own right- so definitely read it!

So do you agree or disagree with any of the books on this list? Do you have any of your own to add? Let me know in the comments!

8 For 8 – August Mini Reviews

Wow- it’s August?! What the hell happened? What’s even scarier is that I somehow am not struggling to find books stuck in my backlog, even though it’s the eighth month (and that means 8 reviews according to my strange system). I genuinely don’t know how I have so many?! Anyway, this is guaranteed to be a long post, so let’s get on with it!

the falconer

The Falconer–  this was a thoroughly enjoyable book- I loved loved loved the intricacies of the world building. The relationships were done really well, the characters were complex and this was so fast paced that I whizzed through it. All credit to Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku for her excellent review for this one, because it made me pick it up and it was well worth a read.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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mountain in my shoe

The Mountain in my Shoe– this had such a compelling, intriguing start. Actually scrap that: I was utterly absorbed from beginning to end. There was a lull in the middle, but overall it was as well written as you would expect from a book of this name (because wow that title!) There were a few moments of info dumps- but done in such a clever way that it really worked! (I know “info-dump” and “works” don’t normally go into the same sentence). Furthermore, this addressed raw and real subjects that I can’t normally bear to read about this- but this was an exception to my normal rules! Also I want to say another THANK YOU to Meggy for her amazing review that made me pick this up too 😀

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian– I didn’t connect to this*at all*. Mostly I think that was down to the writing style: it read as whiny, a little gross and I had constantly to remind myself that these were serious issues because the voice was so distracting. I liked the cartoons, but this was yet another sign that this was not out for me because the style put it way out of my age range. I would really put this in the category of being for people who liked Tracy Beaker (I didn’t even like that even as a child) just with an American slant. To be honest, it was the Americanisms that made this feel more than a million miles away in the end- I think this will be far more relatable to an American audience.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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don't stop me now

Don’t Stop Me Now– okay moving on from a whiny character to me being a whingebag… I feel like a grumpus for not liking this one cos it’s supposed to be feel-good and yet… it didn’t work for me. To be honest the main character and I got off to a rocky start, partly cos I’ve had similar mishaps in my life (aka dreams not coming true/things not going to plan) and yet I wouldn’t have got through if I’d mentally handled it the way she did. Putting myself in her shoes felt like shaking hands with worst parts of my own psyche. But mostly, I got kind of annoyed at the book because the radio hostess was a bit of a caricature of Katie Hopkins and I ended up playing devil’s advocate for her in my head- and that’s not somewhere I want to go as a general rule (and if you don’t know who she is just count yourself lucky and move on with your day). Basically, this ended up feeling like a hit piece on her, rather than taking on her ideas in a mature debate, which you know, is pretty darn easy to do considering she’s the person who said she wanted euthanasia icecream trucks for old people… Ughh see why I felt uncomfortable when this book made me accidentally relate to her?

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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a confession

A Confession– okay- let’s talk about something more uplifting. This rather short book is quite excellent and really resonated with me, because it explores both the depths of nihilism and, inversely, more spiritualistic pursuits. I do think this might work more for people of a Christian background (and even more so for people who are religious) but I still got a lot out of it and definitely think I’ll reread this in the future.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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prisoner of heaven

The Prisoner of Heaven– I liked this the least of Zafon’s work so far. It was still really well written, but it felt disconnected at times and more of a footnote to the previous two books. I did enjoy the link to Count of Monte Cristo though.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

nomad partridge

Alan Partridge: Nomad– this takes the word “rambling” and runs with it: the subject matter, style, and structure all embody the word. What wasn’t rambly was the punchy humour. This did make me laugh less than Alan’s previous book, but it was sheer gold at time and when it did crack me up I couldn’t stop.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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ice like fire frost like night

Ice Like Fire/Frost Like Night– I literally got nothing out of this- I have only one thing to say about it: why the hell did I bother to continue this series? Between them they managed an average of:

Rating: 1½/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I Partridge: We Need To Talk About This Book

i partridge

Why am I writing the review like this?

Because this is how the book starts.

That’s very meta- will you do the whole review like this?

No cos that’s not how Alan does it.

I notice you call him Alan- do you actually know him well enough to use his first name?

Ermmm next question…

Sooo what did you think of this book then?

I’m glad you asked. This book was killer- almost like that time Alan killed someone on live TV (something I’ll admit he’s a bit touchy about in this memoir). But seriously- this is the funniest book I’ve ever read. It stars Alan Partridge- the nation’s *ahem* favourite broadcaster. This book was stuffed with every kind of humour, from satire to silliness to literal toilet humour. Prepare to belly laugh your way through four hundred pages of pure comic genius- where “needless to say I had the last laugh” (not just a random quote- that came from the book- he says it *a lot*). Jam packed with clichés and awful puns, this book embodied the character we all know and love…

Wait a sec- I don’t actually know who Alan Partridge even is?!

AHA! Well then you have not lived! Be prepared, because you are about to go down a rabbit hole of TV from which you will not recover any time soon, starting with his flagship show Knowing Me Knowing You:

And don’t worry, even though that show was not picked up for a second season, you can still watch Alan’s time at North Norfolk digital on the I’m Alan Partridge and of course the full length feature film Alpha Papa. When you’re done with all that come back and read this book. You’re welcome! 😉

(Yes I have just sorted out your free time for the next year)

What do you know- I did do the whole review in Q&A form! “Back of the net!” (another Partridge gem). And of course I’m giving him a whole bunch of bananas

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So I’m not even gonna ask if you’re gonna read this- I know you will 😉 What’s the funniest book you’ve read lately? Let me know in the comments!