I thought I’d do my bit to help some of the books out there that might have got missed in the scramble for mass sales. I am very lucky to have an extensive book collection, (never too many) and decided to try and help those that haven’t.
Choosing a book can be a very personal choice. For me, I always pay careful attention to the cover, the first paragraph and the blurb. If any of these things are not to my liking, I’ll move on. This is how easy it is to miss little gems that don’t contain all three elements.
The following top ten list comprises of Fantasy, both dark and light, Science Fiction, or a blending of the two. I own each of these books and can thoroughly recommend them particularly, as is my intention with these posts, that you might not of heard of them and are even less likely to have read them. They are in no particular order.
I have included the blurb, cover shots and a few thoughts to give you a taster of each. I truly hope something takes your fancy.
All images courtesy of Goodreads.com. Please feel free to find ME on there via this link and follow.
The Portrait of Mrs Charbuque
This is a delight for the senses. A period piece with a distinct twist.
A mysterious and richly evocative novel, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque tells the story of portraitist Piero Piambo, who is offered a commission unlike any other. The client is Mrs. Charbuque, a wealthy and elusive woman who asks Piambo to paint her portrait, though with one bizarre twist: he may question her at length on any topic, but he may not, under any circumstances, see her. So begins an astonishing journey into Mrs. Charbuque’s world and the world of 1893 New York society in this hypnotically compelling literary thriller.
The Lord Of The Sands Of Time
It’s not right until the end of this that you suddenly think WOW!
Sixty-two years after human life on Earth was annihilated by rampaging alien invaders, the enigmatic Messenger O is sent back in time with a mission to unite humanity of past eras—during the Second World War and ancient Japan, and even back to the dawn of the species itself—to defeat the invasion before it begins. However, in a future shredded by war and genocide, love waits for O. Will O save humanity only to doom himself?
The Boy With The Cuckoo Clock Heart
This is brilliant because it appeals to the young, yet an adult will see the dark undertones in a way they will not.
Edinburgh, 1874. Born with a frozen heart, Jack is near death when his mother abandons him to the care of Dr. Madeleine—witch doctor, midwife, protector of orphans—who saves Jack by placing a cuckoo clock in his chest. And it is in her orphanage that Jack grows up among tear-filled flasks, eggs containing memories, and a man with a musical spine.
As Jack gets older, Dr. Madeleine warns him that his heart is too fragile for strong emotions: he must never, ever fall in love. And, of course, this is exactly what he does: on his tenth birthday and with head-over-heels abandon. The object of his ardor is Miss Acacia—a bespectacled young street performer with a soul-stirring voice. But now Jack’s life is doubly at risk—his heart is in danger and so is his safety after he injures the school bully in a fight for the affections of the beautiful singer.
Now begins a journey of escape and pursuit, from Edinburgh to Paris to Miss Acacia’s home in Andalusia. Mathias Malzieu’s The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a fantastical, wildly inventive tale of love and heartbreak—by turns poignant and funny—in which Jack finally learns the great joys, and ultimately the greater costs, of owning a fully formed heart.
The Girl with Glass Feet
The title says it all. So very clever and offers so many possibilities.
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Magical winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts who has only visited the islands once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.
The Snow Child
I thought this book had a sense of innocence that a lot lack.
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
Better known than some here, but liable to be poo-pooed because of the vampire theme. Don’t, it’s great!
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.
First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Gloriana or The Unfulfill’d Queen
I’m a fan as you know, but this book takes Historical Fantasy to a new level.
One of Michael Moorcock’s most brilliant and highly decorated novels, here isthe story of a powerful queen whose quest for sexual satisfaction could destroy her kingdom. A fable satirizing Spenser’s The Faerie Queen and reflecting the real life of Elizabeth I, GLORIANA, OR THE UNFULFILL’D QUEEN tells of a woman who ascends to the throne upon the death of her debauched and corrupted father, King Hern. Gloriana’s reign brings the Empire of Albion into a Golden Age, but her oppressive responsibilities choke her, prohibiting any form of sexual satisfaction — no matter what fetish she tries. Her problem is in fact symbolic of the hypocrisy of her entire court. While her life is meant to mirror that of her nation — an image of purity, virtue, enlightenment and prosperity — the truth is that her peaceful empire is kept secure by her wicked chancellor Monfallcon and his corrupt network of spies and murderers, the most sinister of whom is Captain Quire, who is commissioned to seduce Gloriana and thus bring down Albion and the entire empire.
Vampire Hunter D
The classic manga in written form. I loved it and bought loads more. PS. As an aside, if you get chance to google Yoshitaka Amano, his artwork is astonishing.
12,090 A.D. It is a dark time for the world. Humanity is just crawling out from under three hundred years of domination by the race of vampires known as the Nobility. The war against the vampires has taken its toll; cities lie in ruin, the countryside is fragmented into small villages and fiefdoms that still struggle against nightly raids by the fallen vampires – and the remnants of their genetically manufactured demons and werewolves. Every village wants a Hunter – one of the warriors who have pledged their laser guns and their swords to the eradication of the Nobility. But some Hunters are better than others, and some bring their own kind of danger with them. From creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, one of Japan’s leading horror authors with illustrations by renowned Japanese artist, Yoshitaka Amano, best known for his illustrations in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: The Dream Hunters and the Final Fantasy games.
Again, a bit better known than some here, but to all of you who don’t but love H.G Wells’s Time Machine, this is the official follow up. Works too.
Written to celebrate the centenary of the publication of H G Wells’s classic story The Time Machine, Stephen Baxter’s stunning sequel is an outstanding work of imaginative fiction.
The Time Traveller has abandoned his charming and helpless Eloi friend Weena to the cannibal appetites of the Morlocks, the devolved race of future humans from whom he was forced to flee. He promptly embarks on a second journey to the year AD 802,701, pledged to rescue Weena. He never arrives! The future was changed by his presence… and will be changed again. Hurled towards infinity, the Traveller must resolve the paradoxes building around him in a dazzling temporal journey of discovery. He must achieve the impossible if Weena is to be saved.
The Wood Wife
Of all the books here, I’ve had this the longest. A delight in its simplicity, I highly recommend it.
When Maggie Black comes to the desert home of poet Davis Cooper, seeking an answer to the riddle of his death, she begins a journey of self-discovery that will change her forever, coming face to face with the wild spirits that inhabit that strange and magical place.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into my reading history and recommendations. If you take even one book from this list then it’s been worth my time doing it. I shall do some more lists if this goes down well, possibly, crime books next. If there is any category you would be interested in me listing some recommendations from please leave a comment and I promise if I know them, I will.
Author of The Eternals. Book One available now.
Amazon Author (US)
Amazon Author (UK)