Thursday, 18 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas Blog Stop

Dec 18 - What is on your TBR list for this Holiday Season?

Ho, ho, ho! Happy Holidays! I must admit that I totally love this season. Everything about it is hectic but fun. And the memories last a lifetime. You never forget the aromatic smells – of fruits soaking in brandy, the gingerbread baking, the pine cones and needles on a real fir tree, the basting duck or turkey – and the sights, those glorious visions of Christmas with tinsel and pretty lights festooning the streets, the ‘Santa Claus’ and elves in every kids’ toy and department stores, the nativity scenes in front of the churches as you pass by, the twinkling decorations in your neighbours’ houses visible through their windows and decorating their porches in welcome – there’s so much about this season that brings with it warmth and happiness…

And if, like me, you can get over the craziness of the season – Christmas parties, kids’ concerts, carols in the park, shopping for Christmas presents, braving the roads/ car parking/ overcrowded shops, preparing the delicacies such as Christmas pudding or cake, duck or turkey, cranberry sauce, rice pudding, and so forth – then you might have some time to yourself for READING!!

So, as you’d expect, my TBR list is really looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggggg, especially as my tastes are slightly eclectic. I like reading everything from Indie books to mainstream bestsellers, history books to biographies. The only thing I don’t read – particularly when I’m writing – are bestselling YA/ NA books that feature angels or Nephilim (I seriously don’t want to be influenced by other great authors and their ideas). But here are some TBR books at the top of my ‘Happy Holidays’ pile…

·         Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. A novel of the cruelty of war, tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love. Blurb: “August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.” Doesn’t this just sound fascinating? I think, for me, it’s a must read as my grandfather was a British officer during WWII and gave his life for his men in a Japanese POW camp – so it is a novel that resonates strongly with my personal history and I can’t wait to read it.

·         Renita D’Silva’s The Stolen Girl. Blurb: “‘Your mother has been arrested. She stole you.’ For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else. Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby… Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her own childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister. Told through the eyes of Diya, Vani and Aarti, this is a heart-breaking story of friendship and betrayal, love and motherhood, which asks the question; how far would you go to protect your only child?” This book looks to be an enthralling read – and in D’Silva’s deft hands, I’m sure it’s told with great heart.

·         L.A. Starkey’s Deceived (Soul Keepers Series Book 1). Now I know they say: don’t judge a book by its cover – but this cover is eye-catching and makes me want to pick it up and read the book. Blurb: “They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life. But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most? The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union. But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?
What if your choices had eternal ramification? Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.” I love these kinds of novels that combine fantasy with mystery and romance…

·         Renee N. Meland’s The Extraction List. Another novel I would pick up just based on the cover alone (yes, I know that makes me seem shallow but what the hell – you can’t tell me that you don’t read with your eyes!!!) Blurb: “In a futuristic America where parenting is regulated by the federal government, fifteen-year-old Riley Crane knows exactly where to turn when she finds out her best friend is being abused. Her mother Claire is the writer and spokesperson for the Parental Morality Law, and she seems to have the unwavering support of the White House behind her. Until a knock on the door one evening changes everything. Faced with a government official standing on their porch ready to make Riley the law’s latest victim, both women must rely on Cain Foley, a gifted killer with a tongue as sharp as the knives he carries, to get them out of America alive. Together, they learn that a killer can save a life, and a mother can damn a nation.” Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? I’ve heard good things about this book – lots of plot twists and nothing predictable. It’s also part of a series – and I love that because I hate it when a good book ends.

·         Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. I’ve been dying to read this novel. The title is completely brilliant. I’d buy the book on the title alone. But the idea of this novel is just amazingly, emotionally stirring. Blurb: “This incredible debut novel tells, with astonishing insight and in brutal detail, the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. Not so much a stream-of-consciousness, as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, and a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation.” Doesn’t that sound just awesome? This book has won a fistful of awards but I think, for me, I can tell the writer wrote with passion – a love for her subject – and that’s why I buy a book.

 So, there’s just a few of the books I’ll be reading this holiday season (with a lovely cup of tea and slice of Christmas cake!)

Have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year…