Sunday, 21 September 2014

My Favourite Books of 2014 So Far

2014 has been a great reading year for me. After a mini-slump at the end of last year, I rediscovered my reading mojo and found some gems. So here - in no particular order - are my five favourite reads of 2014 so far.


1 - Going Postal - Terry Pratchett. A weird and wonderful ride. I hadn't read much of Terry Pratchett's work before this (just Good Omens, which is brilliant), but I'm glad I finally dunked my toe into Discworld. Any votes for which Discworld book I should read next?








2 - The Martian - Andy Weir. Reads like a film in book form. Once I'd finished it, I heard the film rights had been picked up and wasn't at all surprised. It's visual and suspenseful, and I do have a soft spot for space stories.








3 - The Maze Runner - James Dashner. Book 1 in a YA series, and I've already bought book 2. The grievers are terrifying.










4 - The Spook's Apprentice - Joseph Delaney. This series has all the ingredients I love: supernatural forces, peril, and a general creeping feeling of sinister intent. Great stuff.









5 - The Girl With All The Gifts - M.R.Carey. All right. I haven't actually finished this one yet, but it's already head and shoulders over some of my other reads this year. 200 pages in, it already earns a spot in my top five.








Station Eleven is next on my reading list. Will it be tough enough to wrestle one of these books from the top five? We shall see.

What have been your favourite reads this year?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!
I hope you're having a wonderful December.


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Brazilian Books (and Brownies?)


Wintercraft has reached Brazil! 

LIVRO PERDIDO, the first book in the trilogy, is published in Brazil this month!

All three books in the series have been translated by the wonderful Dilma Machado, who has done a fantastic job. The cover is glossy and gorgeous, and it is published by Rocco who also publish the Harry Potter series in Brazil.


It is a thing of beauty.

As a celebratory treat, one of my fellow baking-mad friends sent me a recipe for peanut butter brownies, which are absolutely divine. The recipe is so good, I can't keep it to myself, but I warn you, one brownie will never be enough. Even Silas wouldn't be able to resist these dark slabs of peanutty goodness.

The last brownie.
Peanut Butter Brownies

Ingredients:
100g dark chocolate
60g butter
100g caster sugar
150g soft light brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
150g crunchy peanut butter
80g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Grease an 8inch square traybake or cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pan of water.
  • Once melted, let the chocolate cool while you do the rest.
  • Whizz the butter and both sugars together with a hand mixer until fluffy.
  • Mix the vanilla extract into the beaten eggs and add it to the mix along with the peanut butter.
  • Stir the mix together, then add the cooled chocolate and stir again.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir them in gently.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.
  • Let it cool in the tin, then cut into slices and dredge icing sugar over the top.
  • Enjoy.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

American Book Birthday 2013

Happy Publication Day to Winterveil!

To all my friends who live in the US, you may notice a strapping new addition to the shelves in your local bookshop today. Winterveil is out and about, ready to charm you with its handsome cover and promise of adventure.

It is the third book in the Wintercraft series (called Wintercraft: Legacy in the UK and beyond) and the story carries on right where Blackwatch left off.  (So for those who have emailed over the past year, asking what happens next to Silas and Kate, now's your chance to find out!)

Speaking of which, one of the nicest parts of any publication day is opening up my email inbox to find messages waiting from fabulous readers.  I want to send HUGE thanks to everyone who sent me emails and Twitter messages today. It has made the day even more special and I'm replying to you all right now.

Blackwatch (book 2) is also out in paperback today, so if you haven't delved far into Kate Winters' world yet, you can catch up on the story that began in Shadowcry.  Writing this series has been an absolute pleasure (and seriously tricky at times! Silas Dane isn't a man to be corralled into a story very easily!) and I've loved sharing it with you all.

So, is this the end of the story?  For now, yes, but a certain file lurking on my computer suggests that the people of Albion may yet have more history to share. Right now, I'm living in three very different story worlds and trying to keep up with a host of new characters with their own hopes, fears and perilous lives.  I can't wait to introduce them to you all.

Today is Winterveil's day, but it also belongs to you, the readers, who have helped Silas and Kate's story come to life.  Crows, Wintercraftians and Silas lovers, I salute you.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Winterveil

With just three months to go before the third book in the Wintercraft series makes it onto US bookshelves, here's a peek at the cover (and new title)!


The image reflects one of my favourite scenes in the book and I just love it.

ARCs are already spreading out into the world and the book itself will be released in the US on 25th June.

For more information about Winterveil, click on over to HarperTeen.com

Thursday, 7 March 2013

World Book Day - Books From The Past

Once again, I've left it a while between blog posts, but since today is World Book Day I've popped in to share with you some of my favourite books from the past.  These are books I absolutely loved when I was younger and they still remind me of my childhood whenever I return to them, for lots of different reasons.

Here, in no particular order, are my memory makers.

Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl.

This was a real 'read by torchlight under the duvet' book for me when I was in junior school. I remember borrowing it from the 9+ section of the school library when I was seven and feeling very rebellious!







The House Of Tribes - Garry Kilworth.


This book will always remind me of the first proper stab I had at writing full length book chapters.  I enjoyed the story, decided to rewrite the last two chapters my own way - just for fun - and was bitten by the writing bug.







The Adventure Series - Enid Blyton.


The Sea of Adventure, The Island of Adventure, The Castle of Adventure... I read these books over and over when I was nine.





101 Dalmatians / The Starlight Barking - Dodie Smith.

I still keep a treasured hardback copy of these two stories.  The Starlight Barking  has stayed in my imagination and I think of it every time my dogs are barking outside, passing along messages of great importance to the neighbourhood dogs.



 



The Chronicles Of Narnia - C.S. Lewis.

I loved the later books in this series in particular: The Voyage Of The Dawntreader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle.







 Which books are your memory makers?  And what are you reading right now?

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Happy December.

2012 is about to take a bow and twirl off stage, while 2013 is practicing its lines in the wings, getting ready to make a big entrance.

A huge thank you to all the readers who've helped make this year a memorable one.

Happy Christmas, and I hope you all have a great New Year!