Librarian’s Choice -Past Favourites

This weeks blog is from Lynn, one of our Senior Communities Librarians. There are some real classic blasts from the past here, as well as a more recent recommendation.

Although I’m an avid reader of crime I thought I would give you a taste of some of my favourites from the past, starting with

Lynn Lady of HayLady of Hay – Barbara Erskine

I can’t believe this book is 30 years old!

This story is about Jo Clifford a successful 20th Century journalist, who is set to debunk the idea of past life regression but when she is regressed under hypnosis she finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, the Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

Jo learns of Matilda’s unhappy marriage and of her love for another man and of the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John.

The plot is full of twists and turns as Matilda’s life and pain threaten to take Jo’s life as she spontaneously regresses…………………

Lynn Lorna DooneLorna Doone – RD Blackmore

A teenage favourite!

Lorna Doone is a romance set in 17th Century in Somerset and Devon and is the story of John Ridd a farmer who finds love amid religious and social turmoil. John is just a boy when his father a respectable farmer is murdered by the outlawed Doones, a lawless clan who live in Exmoor. Battling his desire for revenge John also grows into a respectable farmer looking after his mother and siblings. He falls in love with Lorna a girl he meets by accident who turns out to be the granddaughter of the Lord of Doones and is destined to marry (against her will) Carver Doone. A tale of secrets, lies and deceit. A fantastic story of star crossed lovers.

Lynn RebeccaRebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

The novel begins in Monte Carlo where our orphaned lady’s maid is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter- carried along on her giddy adventure it’s not until they arrive at his impressive country estate that she realises the threat his late wife is to their new relationship. Young, shy and socially awkward the new Mrs De Winter finds herself lonely and alone as she battles to establish herself as the lady of the house in a tense, sinister household headed by the mean and spiteful Mrs Danvers who is loyal to the ghostly presence of Rebecca. Surprisingly scary with a psychological edge.

Lynn Black BeautyBlack Beauty – Anna Sewell

One of my favourite childhood stories.

Black Beauty is a horse with a fine black coat, a white foot and a silver star on his forehead, a real beauty indeed.

Seen through his eyes, the story tells of his idyllic upbringing living on Farmer Grey’s farm with his Mum frolicking in the fields. When he turns four he’s trained to carry riders and pull carriages and then sold and goes to live at Birtwick Hall where he meets Merrylegs, Ginger and Sir Oliver.

Hardship and cruelty follow as he is sold to a number of different homes and worked hard until he collapses from overwork before he finds security and happiness in a new home.

Lynn Little WomenLittle Women – Louisa May Alcott

The novel follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. The four girls live with their Marmee in genteel poverty, whilst their father is away fighting in the American Civil War. Their mother encourages them to be the best version of themselves at all times and to celebrate their uniqueness, which for some of the sisters is hard, they pull together as a family in times of need, the loss of loved ones, feelings of failure, talent unappreciated, fear of the future and ever changing family dynamics just a few of the situations the family have to deal with.

Any finally something a little more up to date;

Lynn Elizabeth is missingElizabeth is missing – Emma Healey

Maud an ageing gran is slowly losing her memory – yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth who she believes is missing and in terrible danger, no one will listen.

Vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, could Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth – a hauntingly beautiful book.

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Top 10 – Science Fiction

These are the top 10 Science fiction titles borrowed from Leeds Libraries during November. Science fiction isn’t everyone’s bag – but why not try one of these for something different?

Heart goes lastThe Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

The Long WarThe Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

A generation after the events of ‘The Long Earth’, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth – but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind.

The Long MarsThe Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has ulterior motives.

A Storm of swordsA Storm of Swords by George R R Martin

The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud. Winter is approaching and the wildings are poised to invade the Kingdom of the North. Robb Stark must protect himself from them and the threat of his enemies in the south.

Lock InLock In by John Scalzi

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. 4% suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And 1% find themselves ‘locked in’ – fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. 1% doesn’t seem like a lot. But in the US that’s 1.7 million people ‘locked in’ – including the President’s wife and daughter. Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can fully restore the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge…

Fools assassinFool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife, Molly, for many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown. But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic and assassin: a man who has risked much for his king and lost more. On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends. But one is long dead, and one long-missing. Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives, seeking Fitz, only to mysteriously disappear leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Raising steamRaising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Change is afoot in Ankh-Morpork – Discworld’s first steam engine has arrived, and once again Moist von Lipwig finds himself with a new and challenging job.

Wards of faerieWards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

There was an age when the world was young, before the coming of humans, a time when magic was the dominant power. It was during this age that the Elfstones protecting the Elven disappeared. Now a clue to their location may have surfaced in the diary of a princess, and it will be the beginning of an adventure that no-one expected.

DragonbaneDragonbane by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan. Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded. But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humour. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

BattlemageBattlemage by Stephen Aryan

Balfruss is a battlemage, one of a vanishing breed, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears and despises him. Vargus is a soldier, and while mages shoot lightning from the walls of his city, he’s down in the frontlines getting blood on his blade. Talandra is a princess and her father’s spymaster, but the war may force her to take up a greater responsibility, and make the greatest sacrifice of all. Known for their unpredictable, dangerous power, society has left battlemages untrained and shunned. But when a force unlike anything ever imagined attacks their home, the few remaining magic users must go to war – to save those who fear them most, and herald in a new age of peace, built upon the corpses of their enemies.

Scifi and fantasy fans – enjoy these epic new books

FiefdomFiefdom by Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent. The last of humanity has taken refuge in hibernation at the poles, hiding from the giant invading insects that have conquered the Earth!

Visions by Kelly Armstrong who often gets 5 star ratings from our readers.  Latest in New York Times bestselling author’s Cainsville series. Olivia’s power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her new hometown. Paranormal.

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. Gothic haunted house story meets supernatural conspiracy !

Dark Skye by Kresley Cole. Must be OK as it’s instalment 15 in the New York Times bestselling Immortals After Dark series. A sultry tale of a mighty warrior scarred inside and out and the beguiling sorceress with the power to heal him—or vanquish him forever.

Assail by Ian Esslemont. Scifi. Final novel in the epic and awesome Malazan series. The ice in Assail is melting …

StormcallerFool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. Recommended by G R R Martin. Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods but behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer

Blood Games by Chloe Neill. More from Chicagoland Vampires

Dreamwalker by James Oswald. Reviewed as more epic than Gormenghast and a phenomenon for 2014

Stormcaller by Chris Wraight. Second novel in the Space Wolves series. Hours of Heresy series continues in October with ‘Scars’

Next Game of Thrones book?

Game of thronesFans of Game of Thrones both on TV and the novels want to know when the next instalment will be published.  ‘Winds of Winter’ which is being written by the author George R R Martin  but has no release date yet , may, according to analysts,  be released in 2017. That is, if author George R.R. Martin has the same writing pace as JK Rowling according to a geometry graph on Washington Post.

According to the Five Thirty Eight website  if GRR  Martin wrote 350 words daily, it would be released in August. It will be done in February next year if he writes at 300 words a day; or October in case his daily writing average is only 250 words!

Five Thirty Eight calls their method of calculating the next ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book’s release date “Martinology.” The blog has received its reputation for statistical analysis and predictions on politics and baseball.

Five Thirty Eight makes use of the following George R.R. Martin’s works for analysis:

– A Dance of Dragons – 422,000 words

– A Feast for Crows – 300,000 words

– A Storm of Swords – 424,000 words

– Clash of Kings – 326,000 words

– Game of Thrones – 298,000 words

– Winds of Winter – 1,500 pages (estimate)

It is a known fact that Winds of Winter has been 400 pages completed, as of October 2012, when the author told a reporter how far he’d got. After that, there was no news on his progress. He’s known to be a slow writer but Washington Post claims the author does not deserve such reputation. His works are though to be higher in quality than those of other authors of fantasy stories and his output is still on pace with Rowling’s.

However, the statistical predictions do not assure a definite release date for Martin’s book, and though they are good tries, they can end up signifying nothing. As to when the book finish, no one knows. The Winds of Winter release date will be whenever its author pleases.

Sci fi and fantasy to savour

The long warAll arriving in libraries now!

Cormick,  Craig – The shadow master  In a land riven with plague, in the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control – the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation. And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack. Assassinations, ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy – just another typical day in paradise.

Gibson, Gary – Marauder Pilot Megan Jacinth has three goals, and they all seem unattainable. She must find her friend Bash, who she’d left for dead to save her own life. Then she needs his unique skill-set to locate an ancient space-faring entity. Lastly she must use this wanderer’s knowledge to save human-occupied worlds from an alien incursion. The odds seem impossible, but the threat is terrifyingly real. Megan finds him, but the person she’d known and loved is a husk of his former self.  

Molles, D J  – Aftermath  -In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: rescue and rebuild.  

Newton, Mark – Drakenfeld  – Receiving news of his father’s death, Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld is recalled home to the ancient city of Tryum and has become rapidly embroiled in a mystifying case. The King’s sister has been found brutally murdered, her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty  

Pratchett, Terry The Long Mars 2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has ulterior motives. Meanwhile, U.S. Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman has embarked on an incredible journey of her own, leading an expedition to the outer limits of the far Long Earth

Strahan, Jonathan Reach for infinity   Sci fi anthology

Shadowmarch

ShadowplayAre you a fan of Tolkien and Lord of the Rings?

Tad Williams has been recommended as an author who’s similar and The Shadowmarch series recives  5 star ratings by Leeds readers too.

Shadowmarch (2004)

Shadowplay (2007)

 Shadowrise (2010)

 Shadowheart (2010)

For Generations the misty Shadowline has marked the boundary between the lands of men and the lost northern lands that are the lair of their inhuman enemies, the ageless Qar. But now, after centuries of stability, that boundary line is moving outward, threatening to engulf the northernmost land in which humans still live: the kingdom of Southmarch. A magical darkness is growing — reaching foggy tendrils from beyond the Shadowline, and those unfortunate men caught in the sorcerous mists of the Qar either never return, or are forever changed.

For centuries, the Eddon family has ruled in ancient, forbidding Southmarch Castle, guarding the border against the Qar’s return, but now this powerful royal line has been dealt a devastating blow. The monarch and head of the family, King Olin, is being held captive in a distant land, and it falls to his inexperienced heirs to lead their people in a time of growing danger and dread.

It is on the youngest Eddons, the twins Barrick and Briony, that the heaviest burdens fall. Barrick, haunted and sickly for most of his life, and tormented by inexplicable nightmares, must cling to his love of his family and especially of his sister, which may be all that can save him from madness or worse. Briony in turn can only watch helplessly while her brother grows more strange, even as she fights to hold onto her family’s heritage in the face of secrets and perils that no living mortal could have imagined.

But as the Qar end their isolation of centuries and reach out to destroy humankind, Southmarch is also threatened by more familiar enemies. The Autarch, great, mad emperor of the south, whose ambitions are as wide as the world and whose power matches his ambition, is poised to strike. And other human despots with conquest-dreams of their own, not to mention spies and traitors within the Eddons’ own court, attempt to strike them down in their time of weakness. Then a brutal murder turns the kingdom upside down, and the twins discover they can trust no one — perhaps not even themselves.

Series also downloadable from us as eBooks and his other series are available.

Thanks to The Thousand Monkeys blog  for the recommendation.

 

New Horror, Sci Fi , Paranormal, Fantasy

The bone seasonThe voices by Frank Tallis -In the scorching summer of 1976  Christopher Norton, & his family settle into their new home in north London. The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own. But soon in the long, oppressively hot nights, his wife begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris -Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own). Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay a while, and learn the truthMidnight crossroad

Sworn in steel by Douglas Hulick – It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and unexpectedly elevated himself into the ranks of the criminal elite. Now, as the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s learning just how good he used to have it

The bone season by Samatha Shannon – Dystopian novel set in 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals, scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds.

Terra by Mitch Benn Comic scifi about Terra – now aged 11 – and her search for answers about her past, not stinting on spacey technology, alien battles and knowing comic asides. Mitch Benn works the comedy circuit and Radio 4 satirical programmes like The Now Show.