As is likely the case with most bloggers out there, there are so many books I loved long before I took an interest in reviewing them. So many that I can’t actually remember enough of the highs, lows etc … to do a comprehensive review. I’m tempted to do a post every so often where I’ll do a tiny little mini-review of books from my past (based solely on memories and vibes I get from thinking about the time spent reading them) but, that’s for another time.
Below are the covers and blurbs of books I loved from the past. Please note, that where I put up numerous books in a series, the blurb will only ever be from the first book (I’m not about that spoiler life). Please note that the vast majority of these were listened to as audio books, so I just took all covers from Audible to save time. That will be the reason if you see covers you are unfamiliar with.
Have you read and loved/hated any of these?
As with all posts of happy fun times, there will also be a post, in the coming days, of unhappy bad times where I list the books that I have looked forward to and yet felt were incredibly underwhelming.
The Jeeves and Wooster series by P. G. Wodehouse:
This is an absolutely charming collection of hilarious hi-jinks from high society back in the day. Well worth a read or listen if anyone fancies light-hearted, addictive comedy. I look forward to carrying on with this series.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Comedy
Containing drafts of stories later rewritten for other collections (including Carry On, Jeeves), My Man Jeeves offers a fascinating insight into the genesis of comic literature’s most celebrated double-act. All the stories are set in New York, four of them featuring Jeeves and Wooster themselves; the rest concerning Reggie Pepper, an earlier version of Bertie. Plots involve the usual cast of amiable young clots, choleric millionaires, chorus-girls, and vulpine aunts, but towering over them all is the inscrutable figure of Jeeves, manipulating the action from behind the scenes.
Early or not, these stories are masterly examples of Wodehouse’s art, turning the most ordinary incidents into golden farce.
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon:
For anyone who enjoyed The Stand by Stephen King but thought ‘I wonder what would happen if there was a faster pace, more action and a lot more excitement’ this really is an essential purchase. It’s got a fantastic story-line and great characters.
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen – from the president of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City – will fight for survival.
Swan Song is Robert McCammon’s prescient and shocking vision of a post-apocalyptic nation, a grand epic of terror and, ultimately, renewal.
In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth’s last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity. They include Sister, who discovers a strange and transformative glass artifact in the destroyed Manhattan streets… Joshua Hutchins, the pro wrestler who takes refuge from the nuclear fallout at a Nebraska gas station… and Swan, a young girl possessing special powers, who travels alongside Josh to a Missouri town where healing and recovery can begin with Swan’s gifts. But the ancient force behind earth’s devastation is scouring the walking wounded for recruits for its relentless army, beginning with Swan herself.
The Green Mile by Stephen King:
Having not watched the film (and to this day I still haven’t) this was a book that I was uncertain of and only plumped for it due to my going through a King phase. I was blown away by how great this book was. The way I was made to empathise with the characters and how easily I got sucked into the story made me happy I wasn’t reading it when it first came out serialised. That would have been a nightmare.
Genre: Fiction/Supernatural Fiction
At Cold Mountain Penitentiary, along the lonely stretch of cells known as the Green Mile, killers such as “Billy the Kid” Wharton and the possessed Eduard Delacroix await death strapped in “Old Sparky”. Guards as decent as Paul Edgecombe and as sadistic as Percy Wetmore watch over them.
But good or evil, innocent or guilty, none has ever seen the brutal likes of the new prisoner, John Coffey, sentenced to death for raping and murdering two young girls. Is Coffey a devil in human form? Or is he a far, far different kind of being?
There are more wonders in heaven and hell than anyone at Cold Mountain can imagine. In The Green Mile, Stephen King builds the tension page by page and then delivers a revelation that will truly blow your mind.
The Burton and Swinburne Series by Mark Hodder:
Ordinarily, I am not one for Steampunk. But there was something about this that just hooked me and, in a rare moment where my literary guard was down, I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did as it is one of the best series I have ever experienced. It also opened my eyes to the great man that Sir Richard Burton was. Seriously, google his name and just marvel at all of the things he did.
For some reason the latter three no longer appear to be available on Audible.
Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman. His reputation has been tarnished, his career is in tatters, and his former partner is missing and probably dead. Algernon Charles Swinburne is an unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade, for whom pain is pleasure and brandy is ruin. They stand at a crossroads in their lives, and are caught in the epicentre of an empire torn by conflicting forces: Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier, and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; and Libertines oppose repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity, while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, drugs, and anarchy.
The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum, when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack, and to find out why werewolves are terrorizing London’s East End. Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age, and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn’t exist at all.
The Cycle of Arawn by Edward W. Robertson:
This was something I originally picked up as it was one credit for the entire trilogy and I thought that close to sixty-six hours of story for a single credit was too good a bargain to pass up. It has fast become, along with the series that follows it (The Cycle of Galand which is currently up to book six) one of my favourite series. The banter between Blayz and Dante … and just about anyone they talk to never gets old. The nine books revolve heavily around a ‘heading to find something but, in order to get that we must do something else etc …’ so quest after quest after quest … and yet it’s a formula that I still haven’t tired of. If anything, it’s only served to help delve deeper into an already deep world.
In Mallon, the dark magic of the nether has been banned for centuries. Its users have been driven out or killed. Its secrets lost.
But the holy book of the nethermancers has just been found by a boy named Dante.
As he works to unlock the book’s power, he’s attacked in the street. The nethermancers aren’t gone—and they want their book back. Caught between death cultists and the law, Dante fights for his life, aided by his growing skills and a brash bodyguard named Blays. Together, they’re drawn into a centuries-old conflict that brings Mallon to the brink of civil war.
Surviving won’t be easy. But if they make it out alive, they’ll step down the path to becoming two of the greatest warriors the world has ever known.
The Fear Saga by Stephen Moss:
This is a science fiction trilogy for those who love the alien invasion aspect of the genre. With the Fear Saga, however, we are treated to a much more slow burn, infiltration-style invasion and it was this little nuance, along with some excellent character work that make it a fond science fiction memory for me.
Genre: Science Fiction
In eleven years time, a million members of an alien race will arrive at Earth. Years before they enter orbit, their approach will be announced by the flare of a thousand flames in the sky, their ships’ huge engines burning hard to slow them from the vast speeds needed to cross interstellar space. These foreboding lights will shine in our night sky like new stars, getting ever brighter until they outshine even the sun, casting ominous shadows and banishing the night until they suddenly blink out. Their technology is vastly superior to ours, and they know they cannot possibly lose the coming conflict. But they, like us, have found no answer to the destructive force of the atom, and they have no intention of facing the onslaught of our primitive nuclear arsenal, or the devastation it would wreak on the planet they crave. So they have flung out an advanced party in front of them, hidden within one of the countless asteroids randomly roaming the void. They do not want us, they want our planet. Their Agents are arriving.
The Matthew Corbett Series by Robert R. McCammon:
Another entrant from McCammon and this time its in the form of historical fiction. If you fancy a bit of historical fiction set in the USA rather than UK or Europe, then this is the series for you. It’s well written and incredibly engaging. I have since noticed that there are three more books in the series since I last listened. Looking forward to diving back in.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Judgment of the Witch
The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies – and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel’s innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal….
After hearing damning testimony, magistrate Woodward sentences the accused witch to death by burning. Desperate to exonerate the woman he has come to love, Matthew begins his own investigation among the townspeople. Piecing together the truth, he has no choice but to vanquish a force more malevolent than witchcraft in order to save his beloved Rachel – and free Fount Royal from the menace claiming innocent lives.
The Farseer Trilogy (and all series set in this universe) by Robin Hobb:
This will always stand out as one of my favourite fantasy series ever written. So much so that it’s the first series I ever recommend to people who want to get stuck into a good fantasy series. As much as following the world’s most miserable and un-optimistic man in existence should be an equally miserable experience, it truly isn’t. I loved following Fitz along his journey and never wanted it to end …which is probably why the final book in the latest series still sits unread on my kindle. Every one of her series in this world deserves a listing, but there are far too many books and the entire page would be full of them otherwise!
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chilvary Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely.
Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility. So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribbing, courtly manners, and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.
Jurassic Park & The Lost World by Michael Crichton:
Dinosaurs, alive and roaming the wilderness in our time. What’s not to love about that? This is truly one of those books that proves, to me at least, that no matter how good a movie can be, the book is always way more enjoyable. Absolutely loved this and even preferred the Lost World out of the two. Looking forward to re-reading at some point. I’m also looking forward to getting stuck into other books by Crichton.
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them – for a price.
Until something goes wrong….