Thursday, 19 June 2014

Day 19: The return of my long forgotten 1001 list...

So yeah, those of you who have followed my Blog for a while may well remember a little 1001 Authors And Books To Read Before You Die list...well, 'whatever happened to that?' I hear you cry.

The simple answer is Life. I don't get time to read for pleasure as much as I would like to anymore (something I never thought I'd hear myself say), and of course, I have been kind of neglecting the ol' Blog for a while now. Not anymore though...

You may have heard me mention a little someone called Susan Simone before; I work alongside her virtually at J.Ellington Ashton, and she has given me tremendous support both in my writing and in my editing - not just when I edit myself, but also when I edit for our other authors. She is a fabulous person, really giving, fully supportive and almost always positive and upbeat, and one of the kindest persons around unless you cross her. Then may the Gods themselves forgive you for stirring up her wrath!

But she is also, as well as being Senior Editor, a writer in her own right and a most excellent and amazingly talented cover artist. She alone came up with the design you see at the top of my Blog that is the cover of my debut novella, Time Of Tides, and captured the spirit of the story wonderfully first time around. I truly am honored to be in her company most days, and she has done nothing but encourage me since Day One.

It is two of her books that I would like to include in my 1001 List. 

First up is Silent Heart. This is what I wrote about it back in June last year:- 

"It is a fact that some of the best written fantasy fiction is that in which the reader almost can't tell that he or she is reading fantasy. This is why authors such as Robin Hobb and George.R.R.Martin have become so successful- their fantasy novels are so believable that you become caught up and totally ensnared in their worlds!

So it is for Silent Heart. This was the first book I have read by this author but it left me hungry for more!

Paige is a just young deaf girl living in the woods when she literally stumbles across a group of assassins in the process of decapitating an unknown man. Fleeing for her life and pursued by these armed killers, Paige falls into the arms of Stone; a warrior sworn to protect and to serve. He guards her and protects her from harm and, when he realizes what it is she has seen, devotes himself to escorting her back to the palace of King Evard. For the man the assassins killed was a Prince and Stone knows that the killers will not stop until

This was an absolutely amazing read! It is brutal, harsh and highly emotional but never anything less than compelling. I could not put this down and simply cannot recommend it enough! The descriptive passages are so amazingly well done that you feel as though you are there living the story with the characters, it simply is that believable! To say that this is an emotional journey would be an understatement but one thing is certain, authors as good as this don't come along very often and if you don't pick this up you will definitely be missing out!

Susan Simone proves with this story that she is a veritable tour-de-force and definitely a name to watch in the future. If any of her other novels end up being as well written and as cleverly thought out as this one, she deserves every success she gets ~ she has an inimitable style all of her own and I, for one, already consider this one of my best reads so far this year!"

the last witness to their actions is silenced forever. What follows is an epic and dangerous journey as Stone gives up everything to keep Paige safe..."

People who know me, and know me well, know that I do not ever recommend a book this highly unless I am very highly impressed indeed! The first time I read this novel, I never realized just how much impact on me this book had had. It was only later, when I started reading another of her books,Morning Song, my second recommendation tonight for my 1001 list, that I was once more captivated and ensnared by this woman's writing!

Here is what I had to say about Morning Song:- 

"Last year Silent Heart was one of my favorite novels. A fantasy book that ended up being so much more and that transported you into a fantastic and yet totally believable world with brilliantly conceived characters that stayed with you long after the last page.
Though I enjoyed her follow-up, Under A Twisted Moon, I thought it lacked some of the magic of Silent Heart.
Morning Song is a long awaited and very worthy successor!

Set in a dystopian future where the dark ages have returned, that is no more than a shadow of the world we live in today, Morning Song introduces us to Morna; an above average sized mystic who tends to the needs of her village despite daily abuse at the hands of the men folk who see her as fair game.
Into her life comes Arrick and suddenly everything changes.

Yes, this has strong elements of romance to it but you know what, I really really really really enjoyed this. It is as beautifully written, as you might well expect from this author, and once again really transports you into another world vastly different from our own.

Simone pulls no punches and though certain normally taboo subjects, such as rape, sexual abuse and the
Just like Silent Heart, I expect this book to stay with me for many months to come; if not years.

It is at once as beautiful as it is enchanting and kept me on the edge throughout the whole of my reading of this book.
I am wary of saying too much about the plot because i don't want to ruin enjoyment for other readers, but this book is every bit as magical as anything by Robin Hobb and though it lacks some of that writers more fantastical elements, there are moments in this book that are every bit as brilliantly created!

I cannot stop thinking about this book and how much I enjoyed it.

Truly Susan Simone is a brilliant writer and all I can say is I hope she continues with more such books of a similar vein because it is in this direction that her true talent really shines through!

Morning Song is one of those rare novels that refuses to be pigeon-holed into any one genre. Instead it has a universal appeal and you know what? I cannot recommend it enough!

degradation of women, are tackled head on and unashamedly, if you like daring, punchy writing then this is most definitely a book for you!"

 As you can see, I am a big fan of both these books, and quite frankly, that is why they make the List! Susan Simone quite literally breathes so much depth and personality into her characters that, for a while, you almost forget you are reading a book and start feeling as though you have fallen down the rabbit hole and entered into her world! And that is what good reading should always be about!


Another book that I read and enjoyed last year, and that fully deserves to make my list, was Helene Gremillion's debut novel, translated from its original French into English. 

Here is what it says on Amazon:

"A stunning debut novel in the vein of Irene Nemirovsky's 'Suite Francaise' from journalist Hélène Grémillon.  In 1970’s Paris, Camille receives an anonymous letter narrating events from pre-war France. She feels sure it was meant for someone else. Then more letters start to arrive…They tell of the unlikely friendship between village girl Annie and bourgeois Madame M., who encourages the girl’s passion for art. But when Annie
offers to carry a child for her infertile friend, their lives become destructively entwined, with repercussions that are still felt decades later."

 This short synopsis doesn't do it justice! This book very much reminded me of the tone and feel of such films as Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. I could so easily imagine Audrey Tatou playing the lead role!

What links all these three books together? None of them are my usual type of read, and yet I absolutely loved them all! All three could so easily be described as 'womans books', and yet, here I am to show that yes, a 40 year old male horror writer was able to take something very memorable away from all of them.

These are the kind of books my 1001 List was created for and inspired by. I said in the very first post I made about my List that the only books that should be included were those that provoked a reaction. In that respect, all three fulfill that criteria!

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