A Year in Books – 2014

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Goodreads claims I read 84 books last year – including 3 of my own. I read 44 in 2013 so that’s pretty good. Lots of short stories in there, which accounts for the dramatic increase in the total number of books. There are also a lot more indie books. That wasn’t a conscious decision but I’ve been avoiding long books and indie books tend to be shorter than their traditional counterparts. One thing I did avoid as much as I could, was indie books that were blatantly part of a series. Not that I don’t like a good series, provided it’s executed well (the Lexy Cooper books are a good example of a well handled series). But I’ve seen too many indie authors sacrificing basic story telling in order to create a cliffhanger ending in the hope they can entice readers to buy the next book. I hit that at least once this year, and it was extremely unsatisfying. It’s a big part of the reason I’m skipping the rest of that particular series. I’ll probably take the plunge on a series or two this year but once bitten, twice shy. I also listened to a few audiobooks. I haven’t separated them out this year but I’m still enjoying Jim … Read More

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

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We arrived back from a trip to Banff late last night. It was one of those journeys where every step took a little bit longer than expected but we made it in the end. I’ve got a bunch of stuff to post, including some photos (and some metrics), but first, a few words on Jason Gurley’s Eleanor which comes out today. After reading, and loving, Jason Gurley’s short story The Dark Age and his short story collection, Deep Breath Hold Tight, I had high hopes for his science fiction/fantasy novel, Eleanor. I wasn’t disappointed. Eleanor took thirteen years to write and sticking with a story for that long, crafting and re-crafting it until everything is perfect, takes passion and dedication very few people have. The result of all that work is an inventive, vivid book with a haunting, lyrical feel and an intriguing plot that had me hooked right from the beginning. It’s not always a happy book, but it’s never a dull book and I found myself dragged from page to page as the layers of the story were peeled back, grateful that I had the time to dedicate to reading instead of less important things – like sleeping. A truly memorable read, Eleanor has cemented Jason Gurley as one of my favourite authors and I can’t … Read More

The Dark Age by Jason Gurley

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I first came across Jason Gurley on the writers’ cafe forums on kboards. He’d just lost his job and was selling some very impressive premade book covers. Since then he’s become one of the top cover artists for indie authors and the go-to guy for the biggest names in indie publishing including Hugh Howey, Mathew Mather and Michael Bunker. But he’s actually an accomplished author himself. He’s probably best known for his Silo novel, Greatfall and the Movement Trilogy. He’s also published several short stories and has a collection of them, Deep Breath Hold Tight, coming out on the 13th of May. I haven’t read any of his novels (yet) but I picked up one of his short stories, The Dark Age, in February and was completely blown away. I hate spoilers with a full-on fire raining down from the heavens vengeance so I’m not going to talk about the plot here. I’ll just repeat what I put in my Goodreads and Amazon reviews. A great story stays with you long after you finish reading it and that’s exactly what The Dark Age does. A heart-wrenching slice of sci-fi goodness – read this and then go and hug your loved ones. I was going to write something more here but … Read More