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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Best Book/Author Round-up of 2012 - Part 1

As promised, I've put together a list of my favourite books from 2012. Some of them are indie authors, some traditional. Some of the indie folks I know through social media like Twitter & Facebook, the rest wouldn't know me if I did the Funky Chicken on their keyboards. Some of them you'll probably know, a lot (I hope) will be new adventures waiting for you to discover them.
Not all of these were published in 2012, but that's when I read them, so they make my list. What they have in common is that I loved their stories. I'd also say that I discovered at least 70% of them through free book uploads and ended up buying everything I could get my grubby little paws on and afford to buy in my budget. (My budget rules are simple - I can't afford to pay more than £4.99 for a book, and that only happens if I'm feeling very optimistic and my bank manager hasn't send me love-letters in pretty red ink for a few months. The average price tends to be lower.)

One of the best resources for new indie books has been Scot over at Indie Book Blogger. Be warned, once you click that link you're going to lose a few hours, but it's very much worth it. The blog is constantly updated with give-aways, author interviews and guest posts, and it's put me onto some truly amazing authors.

So - I'm going to try to keep this alphabetical by author surname, with a brief description of the genre and what hooked me about the series or book. I'll try to link straight to Amazon.com on the author name (bear with me, gentle reader, for I have the uncanny ability to nuke the internet and/or my computer, but I'll try. Ahem.)

I'm also trying to keep it only to the very, very best (all my opinion) which means a few very good books might not hit the list, but if I don't, I'm going to be writing this list until 2013. So I'm selecting the
books that grabbed me by the heart and mind and often, funny bone, and made me wish I'd never reach the end of the story.

Part 1 of the list is below for you - Part 2 coming soon.

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Ben Aaronovitch - PC Grant Series. This is an urban fantasy series set in London, with a great wallop of humour, moments of darkness, and a fresh take on the genre. Addictive.

Ilona Andrews - Kate Daniels Series. Post-magic-apocalypse action with some real laugh-out-loud moments. I've picked on the Kate series because they are just some of the best out there, but I've never read a book or story by these guys that didn't totally rock my world.

Thea Atkinson - Water Witch. A nicely dark fantasy tale, with elements of romance and a good deal more gore than I expected when I started. I've referred to Thea Atkinson elsewhere as one of the most elegant writers I've ever come across; this story points out why beautifully.

Philippa Ballantine - Order series. I picked up Geist and was blown away. Creepy, dark and gorgeous world building. There is nothing cute and fluffy in that first book, and I loved every word.

C.L.Bevill - Bubba Series. This series falls under comedy mystery, I guess. It's a great feel-good series, with characters I thoroughly enjoyed.

Naomi Clarke - Deva Chronicles. Urban fantasy with a good dose of mad scientist action thrown in, plus strong romance elements. The main character is flawed, headstrong, and great to follow.

Charles Colyott - Randall Lee series. Mystery series following an acupuncturist and martial arts expert who seems to fall into trouble a lot. So far, only two books in that series that I can find, but great reads.

Richard Crawford - Soul Mate. As of right now, that first book is free. Hit that button if you like spooky, intense stories that linger.

Joseph Garraty - To Rule this Broken Earth.  Garraty  took a step away from his previous horror, sci-fi and urban fantasy mode and went into fantasy with guns blazing. There's a strong element of what I'd call cowboy fantasy in this, and it just floored me. (By cowboy fantasy I meant the feel of outdoors, rough-and-tumble-Wild-West with magic, not Brokeback Mountain.) Once again, I'd recommend everything you can get your hands on by this author. Strong language warning, but it's dark, gritty, Oh-crap-I-didn't-see-that-coming stuff, and in between he can break your heart in a single sentence.

Kelly Gay - Charly Madigan series. Great alternative reality/urban fantasy cop series. Fun sense of humour and high stakes make this a must read.

Glynn James - Diary of the Displaced series. If you like dystopian fiction/nightmare alternative reality, get your hands on everything you can.

Amanda S. Green - Nocturnal series. Following a cop who gets turned into a shapeshifter, this is a great ride. Often stories about shifters "passing" as human are clumsily done; this one makes perfect sense and a lot of fun to boot.
 
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There you have it folks - the first part of the best of 2012 list. I'll post part 2 in about a week for you. In the meantime, if you have recommendations you'd like to share, mention them in the comments.

I did promise a quick review of my writing plans for 2013, so here goes:

The WolfSong follow-up is starting to shape up nicely (several re-writes down the line). Although I'm not going to make my Christmas deadline (sob), it's the first book I'll be releasing next year. Apologies for those of you waiting for it, but I want to make sure it's worth the read, and hopefully you'll think it was worth the wait in the end.
In the meantime, and if my PC co-operates and remains on the planet for the next few weeks, I'm hoping to release a new collection of short stories very soon.

The next Blue Moon Detectives book is called Fur Thing. I'm aiming for release of that one in the second quarter of the year, between April and June. There are another two Blue Moon books planned over 2013 as well, beta readers willing and happy.

Overall, 2012 was a great year for me. A few nasty migraine attacks & other assorted Moments of Life mean I didn't hit my publishing schedule as planned, but that's not always a bad thing. If it means the final writing product is better (and I think it will be), then that's actually a very good thing.

Until next time folks, when if I can figure out how the GIF thing works I can present highly public evidence of my ability to fall over my two feet. Stay tuned...