2015 focused a lot more on my writing than reading. (I mean, I got an agent this year and a two book deal with a dream publisher so I can’t really complain about the limited reading time!) But that means the books I did read this year were all high on my TBR list. There are still many (so very many) books I want to read and as soon as I have time I might go into a reading cave and not come out for months. Of the ones I did read, these were the ones I would (and did!) push on everyone I knew because I love them that hard. (Note: they’re not all from 2015. Two aren’t even out yet!)
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Come Away With Me by Karma Brown
The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
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The Gameshouse I
by Claire North
Fantasy | Novella | 100 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2015
Claire North has been on my radar ever since she was Catherine Webb and publishing novels at the grand old age of sixteen. However, despite this early success, it wasn’t until The Gameshouse series appeared on my feed that I picked up her any of her novels. With a sumptuous, seventeenth century Venetian setting and an enchanting premise, The Serpent is a novella which had me trapped in its web of intrigue and politics from the very start. This is The Gameshouse, where fortunes are made and empires are broken. Will you place a bet?
In 17th Century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse.
There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon and every other game under the sun.
But those whom fortune favours may be…
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A story in the paper during the Holiday Season was the basis for my writing this poem.
Paul J. Stam
Beside the flowing drainage ditch,
The little child sleeps.
The sitting mother seldom smiles,
And very often weeps.
A block away the K-Mart lot
Is filled with shiny cars.
A child with a brand new toy,
Has no apparent scars.
In the lot the Christmas trees
Have all just gone on sale.
That means nothing to this hungry child,
Fevered, sick and pale.
The scrawny tree gives little shade,
Nor protection from the rain.
Pretty words are little help,
To an abandoned mother’s pain.
The wall behind is strong and stout
Shielding from prying eyes.
Well made to keep the bullies out,
Muffling a hungry child’s cries.
Paradise the place is called,
With mountains to the sea.
Tourist drop money everywhere,
But not at the scrawny tree.
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Spoilers. I’ve tried to avoid names as much as possible, but there are spoilers.
This is going to be a difficult book to review in that I’m not sure if I’ve just finished one book or two or three. This edition includes two novels that were originally published separately (as Crown Duel and Court Duel) and a short story that was published first in this edition. That short story I can set aside as wonderful, fluffy fluff but with perhaps the best use of page formatting and white space that I have seen in a long while. The very bottom of the last page reads (and I’m truncating the sentence to avoid spoilers):
“[…] and kicked the door shut behind us.”
Because the line goes to the very bottom of the page, there’s no indication that this is the end of the story till one turns the page and…
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Summary (from http://www.goodreads.com)
The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town…
But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet. Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive. Prosperous, and the secret that…
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