Helene Wecker's début, The Golem & The Djinni, is a masterfully told tale of magic, mystery and a little bit of romance, set to the backdrop of late 19th century New York. It tells the story of two magical creatures, one a a Djinni recently released from a lamp after hundreds of years of captivity, let loose on an unfamiliar landscape thousands of miles from home, the other a Golem, brought to life but left masterless, terrified and alone. Despite these mythic protagonists and a plot with plenty of spells and sorcery, what makes it such a special book is just how human the Golem and the Djinni are. It's a raw and emotional tale, one that needs to be experienced.
Halloween is upon us, and to celebrate we're delighted to present a guest blog post from author Neil Spring. Neil's debut novel, The Ghost Hunters, is a historical ghost story that skillfully weaves fact with fiction. The Ghost Hunters is creepy and haunting, and is a perfect Halloween read. Here, the author explains where fiction and research and speculation meet.
Neil writes: "It's a ghost story, based on a ghost story," I explain, whenever anyone asks what the book's about. But that's not to imply that this is your average, run of the mill tale about a spooky old house. The novel is a commentary on a bygone age - a war torn nation, beside itself with grief, longing for purpose and hope.
Halloween is upon us one more, which can mean only one thing: The Great IwishIwasabook.com Halloween Book Recommendation Halloween Listing...Book...Read...Something About Cthulu... Brain... Hurts...
Right. Last year we focussed on traditional ghost stories and their ilk, so this year we've gone for some less-traditional beasts. These books are weird, creepy and unique. Enjoy! And don't forget to lock the door.
Recently released in audiobook through Audible for the first time, The Unsettled Dust by the late Robert Aickman is a collection of "strange stories" by the old master of the supernatural.
Lucy Brown writes: I'm not really into vampires. Don't get me wrong, like every nineties teenager I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it was always more about the human characters for me, the vamps were an amusing backdrop. When Angel finally did the right thing and buggered off to LA I certainly did not join in the wailing and gnashing of teeth, I'm actually one of the minority that really liked the first 'college' season. I went to see the first Twilight movie because a friend had read the e-book and said that sparkly vampires were hilarious. We snickered, we chuckled, we slowly realised - with growing horror - that we were the oldest people in the cinema (at 23) and everyone else was taking it seriously...
I digress, but the point I am trying to make is that when I was sent a book called Anno Dracula by Kim Newman there was this little internal groan and suddenly a lot of books that I wanted to read instead. Just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover (especially when it's on Kindle and doesn't even have a cover) because I really liked it.
Countdown City by Ben H. Winters is the follow up to 2012's The Last Policeman, and continues the adventures of ex-detective Hank Palace. Hank's on a mission to 'Do The Right Thing', even in the face of the end of the world.
Lucy Brown writes: I had a lot of trouble writing this review. Not because the book is bad, that would have been easy, but because it's so good that I couldn't think of anything else to say about it. After all, it's a new book by Neil Gaiman. What more do you need to know? 'May (or may not) contain witches' and 'sorta-kinda based on a true story' were some of the other notes I had jotted down but forming my scribblings into a coherent whole was a real challenge. It's a new book by Neil Gaiman. His first novel since The Graveyard Book in 2008. In fact why are you bothering to read this when there is a new book by Neil Gaiman out there for you to shove into your eyeholes?
The Machine was my first foray into the work of James Smythe, and as such I didn't know what to expect. What I discovered was one of the most interesting, compelling and affecting novels I've read in some time...
Brandon Sanderson first came to my attention thanks to the award-winning Writing Excuses Podcast, which he hosts. Then IWIWAB had a guest review from Lucy Brown of The Final Empire, which was glowing to say the least. So when offered a review copy of the audiobook of The Rithmatist, Sanderson's first Young Adult book, narrated by Michael Kramer, I snatched it up.
We're once again delighted to offer a guest review from Slipstream editor Lucy Brown, this time of Chuck Wendig's brutal Urban Fantasy The Blue Blazes.
Lucy writes: Below the bright lights and bustle of New York City, men toil in the vast network of tunnels that keep the city alive. One day, they dug too deep...
The Kobo Aura HD is the next generation of ereader. Unfortunately, no one was really complaining about the previous generation, and this new device from the Canadian company feels a little... pointless.
That's not to say there aren't some fantastic features, such as the beautiful high definition screen and the super-responsive touchscreen, but it seems like traditional, eink devices are as good as they need to be. And that's before we even start on the design of the thing.
The Water Closet Press is a collaboration between Richard Worth (writer) and Jordan Collver (illustrator).
They're the team behind the fantastic Ladies & Gentleman, a group of crime-fighting misfits in Victorian London. It's all pretty exciting, and you can read the first issue for free here.
Issue 1 & 2 have already been launched, but for issue 3 the guys are planning something a bit special. And that's where you come in...
Welcome to the 2nd edition of our Bookshop Spotlight feature!
So, what makes Tome unique??
Morals morals morals. This is not a post about whether or not you'll go to hell if you illegally download the latest episode of Game of Thrones. You will. It's as simple as that. And I'll be there waiting for you, sitting on the iron throne.
No, this is instead the morals of illegally downloading that which you have already purchased. A grey area in my mind.
Regular readers of this website will know that I am a Kobo fan. I love their ereaders, their ebooks and the whole underdog success story of the company.
That being said, the Barnes & Noble Nook SimpleTouch has just been reduced to a measly £29.00 in the UK. That has got to be one of the bargains of the year so far!
Welcome to a brand new feature on IwishIwasabook.com!
Bookshop Spotlight aims to put the focus on the very best independent bookshops across the UK, finding out what makes them unique and why you just need to visit them.
Our very first edition puts the spotlight on Slightly Foxed on Gloucester Road, London. Enjoy...
The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes is an odd little book. Described, quite rightly, as an urban fairy tale, it tells the story of the eponymous Arthur, an outcast teenager with an absent mother and a distant father, and the solace and companionship he finds in the strangest place imaginable.
This is a short story written as part of Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction writing challenge over on Terrible Minds.
The challenge was to randomly choose 5 aspects from a list, which then had to be in the story. The factors I got were:
Setting: The Devil's Palace
Conflict: Poltical Manoeuvring
Aspect: A Severed Hand
Theme: Vanity Is Man's Downfall
Inspiration is a bitch.
Really, it either alludes me or pesters me. This week it has been the latter. I've been full of ideas and motivation, writing every day and even adding a whole new section to the website (it's this one, about writing...). But, because of all this new found inspiration, I can't sleep.
This short story was written as part of the Fantasy Faction steampunk writing challenge in mid-2012. It's about loneliness, fear, self-doubt and clockwork robots.
I hope you enjoy. If you do like it, please do get in touch and let me know. If you hate it, please do keep it to yourself!