Runner up book of the year

This book felt very much like sitting down with an old friend I hadn’t seen for years and years, but was very pleased to see once more. I wish I hadn’t read it on Kindle because it ruined the mood somewhat and wasn’t the same as sitting down with a new hardback book like I did back in the day.  Still, it didn’t ruin this most excellent book for me.  I’m talking about (of course) Doctor Sleep, by arguably the greatest writer of our time, Stephen King. First off, it’s time literary snobs stopped looking down on Mr King and his works.  Yes, I know he created Pet Semetary…..but he also crafted the stories behind The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Stand by me.  He is the master of his craft and although he did seem to lose his way a little around Gerald’s Game (argh!), he came back fighting with Duma Key and every work since then has been back on form – the form of the old days.

Doctor Sleep in no exception.

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We are back with that little boy Danny Torrance from The Shining, but now he’s all grown up and disappointingly, he’s a bit of an asshole.  His father would be so proud…..

With a huge drinking problem (he drinks to dull the ‘Shining’), a drifter existence and not a lot going for him, the book catches up with Danny at a pivotal moment in his life, as a young girl Abra reaches out to him.  She has the Shining so bright it makes Danny’s Shining look dull.  She first connects with him when she’s a baby. They continue to have dialogue through various forms during the following years, until one day she is much older and then she’s suddenly reaching out to Danny for help.

Rose & her crew are ancient beings.  They survive by consuming ‘The Shining’ from kids – they extract it from them by torturing them to death.  Abra has just hit their radar as the meal of all meals and now Abra needs Danny’s help.  Except Danny is now ‘Dan’, drunk drifter……can he help her?  And why does he have this special connection with Abra?

You’ll have to read to find out, and if you’re a King fan it’s one you will not want to miss! There’s an excellent twist and a couple of great cameo appearances 😉

View Stephen King’s fantastic online library here. A great part of his website and a good chance to cross off all the books you’ve read and read up on the ones you’ve missed.

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My book of the year

This one is a no brainer (as Kevin Bacon would say).

I enjoyed this book more than I can say. From the moment I picked it up, I was completely lost in this story.  No book has gripped me this way since The Graveyard Book.  Neil Gaiman has some serious, unrivalled storytelling talent.  This one was a long time in the making apparently, and the result is sheer, unadulterated magic. I won’t be reviewing the book.  For that, you can click here. All I will say is that I wish his publishers would stop bringing out special editions because a) I can’t afford them and b) they make my signed copy imported from the states seem less special edition-y!

Anyway, whatever country you’re in, whatever your cover might be…..here it is.  My book of 2013. If you haven’t read it yet – do.  You will not be sorry.

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Author of the day – Marian Keyes

Author of the day today is Irish writer Marian Keyes.

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Although she often doubts her own epic talents, she’s a fantastic writer whose books are full of warmth, humour and cracking storylines, but sadly (and unfairly) she often seems to get thrown into the ‘chick-lit’ category (as though books aimed at women are bad!). I don’t class her books as chick-lit.  Books that tackle death, loss, addiction, domestic violence, rape and other hard-hitting subjects are to me just books attempting to tell a damn good story about life in general. They don’t deserve the derogatory label of chick-lit and it is a derogatory label, almost as if anything in this category is for bubble headed thick types who can’t handle real books…..anyway, at least they can’t put Saved By Cake into the chick-lit category!!

Marian loves her fans and because of that, we love her.  She Tweets, holds prize raffles, blogs, writes back to you if you write to her and is so lovely if you are lucky enough to meet her at a book signing/reading.  She also loves fashion and beauty and writes lots of lovely beauty columns on her website.  But back to the novel writing!

My favourite books (although I love them ALL) are about The Walsh Sisters.  There are 5 sisters and they each have a book.  The books are funny, brilliant, addictive, fantastically written and each one has been a bestseller.  Here they are in order of how much I love them!

1. Rachel’s Holiday  – Featuring Rachel Walsh.  This is not only my favourite Marian Keyes book but my favourite book of all time.  Yes, it’s that good. Read it and I dare you to not fall in love with Luke Costello, or Rachel’s touching story.  Sheer brilliance.

2. Anybody out there? – Anna Walsh’s story.  If you see the twist coming early, then good for you – it took me awhile and as the penny dropped, I actually gasped out loud to myself and put the book down for a moment to process….

3. Angels – Featuring the oldest sister, Maggie. I love this book because one of the main stars in my beloved City of Angels, LA. I also adore the book because it’s brilliant.

4. The Mystery of Mercy Close – This is the youngest sister’s story – Helen is the prettiest, most sarcastic sister of all but she suffers from debilitating depression…..something Marian can truly write from the heart about.

5. Watermelon – Claire’s story and Marian’s first novel.  I do love the book, but I love the others more! It’s still a cracking place to start with the collection.

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One reason why I find Marian herself so awesome is because of everything this lady has had to deal with and go through and how she has come out the other side, still smiling (most days), still writing (excellently), and still fighting.  She’s battled and won against alcoholism and addiction and even now battles daily with debilitating depression.  Did she let it get the better of her? As if she did! Instead of acting on strong and persistent impulses to end her life and instead of going under completely, she made cake (or several hundred). Now, how fantastic is that?!

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You can read about Marian’s latest news and her struggles and get advice and see fabulous videos on her lovely website : HERE. You can also access a full list of her books HERE.

Why not let yourself be drawn into the world of Marian? If you don’t fancy the Walsh Sisters, she has plenty more offerings – all wonderful, all well worth a read.

Author of the day – Neil Gaiman

I won’t be making Author of the day posts every day….just naming my favourite author on any day that I can be bothered to blog 🙂

Neil Gaiman

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Is there anyone with a wilder imagination that Neil Gaiman? Probably.  Maybe people like Stephen King (legend), Clive Barker (a world woven into a rug? Obviously) and JK Rowling (I’ll forget the Casual Vacancy if you will).  But Neil Gaiman has just captured my imagination lately like no other writer.  I’ve read in very quick succession : Stardust, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Anasi Boys and my next book all lined up on my Kindle ready to go is American Gods.

Anyone who has a section header on their website entitled Cool stuff & other things gets my vote. I know Neil writes for younger readers but I don’t really care – I am reading everything and anything I can get my grubby mitts on, and it all feels like it’s been written just for me. So far, The Graveyard Book has stuck with me the most and I am really hoping to see a movie of this….the potential for it to be good is really out there. I didn’t think they did too badly with the movies of Coraline and Stardust. Speaking of, I really need one (or all) of these:

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I would also love the Stardust Gift Edition, but at £163.99 I will need to win the lottery first.

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Anyway, after being thoroughly dragged into the world of Neil Gaiman, I have resolved to read all of his books, somehow manage to get ahold of the book above, meet him and get  him to sign it.  After American Gods, I wonder what I should read next…?