I have discovered that I actually really like some fantasy books! I seem to like what I believe are called urban fantasy that have quite a grounding in reality. Or as I like to call them "here with a hint of fantasy".
I have really enjoyed books by Ben Aaronovitch, Paul Magrs and Jasper Fforde.
I have read all three of the books in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch and have absolutely loved them. In order, they are Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho, Whispers Underground.They follow Peter Grant, a young Police Officer in the Met as he discovers a new magical world right on his doorstep in London and ends up joining the wizarding division of the Met. He meets a whole host of creatures whilst investigating a series of imaginative crimes and mopping up the mess they leave.
It sounds a bit like what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Police force, but is much more witty and clever than that. All three books are truly works of genius full of brilliant characters and give a real sense of place as they describe the detail of central London. They are really fun, very tongue in cheek and definitely not children's books! I would highly recommend the series.
I have also read the first in the series of the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair.
I had been meaning to read this for ages and was recommended it by a friend when I couldn't decide what to read from my ever growing TBR pile!
The plot is based in an alternative world to where we live now where fantasy is reality and the dodo are being kept as pets. I really enjoyed the alternative reality element of the book as it mentioned a variety of historical events which ended up with very different endings including an independent, but very scary Wales!
Thursday Next works for what is in effect, the book police. Her job is to investigate literature based crimes and she ends up working on a case where the bad guy gets a chance to travel into classic works of literature and change the story, or threaten worse!
I thought the story was fast paced, with a lot going on, but was written in such a way that it was easy to keep up with the characters and events. I found it quite similar to the Rivers of London books, but also very different. I am looking forward to reading more from the series, and more from Jasper Fforde!
I discovered this book purely by chance as I saw it in a shop and was drawn to the cover. I know this is a very shallow way to choose books, but it tends to work for me (most of the time!).
The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen is a book about a young girl who lives in what seems to be the South Wales Valleys in the 1980s with her widowed father.
Judith is a ten year old girl who is seen as being different by her school mates, due to her "strange" ways and the fact that her and her father are immersed in an unnamed non-denomination religion. Judith is confronted with strikes at the local factory, bullying, vandalism and other major events which she believes are being caused by the model town she has made from old rubbish in her bedroom. I really connected with Judith as she reminded me of myself as a child.
I loved the way that this book was written and was actually very surprised that it wasn't longlisted for the Man Booker this year. I am looking forward to seeing more from this new writer and would highly recommend this book.
I have read more than this, but these are my top picks! I have also enjoyed some chick lit from Talli Roland and Jane Costello, and some humour in the form of the "Queen"'s diaries, Gin O'Clock.
I have listed all of the books I have read this year on the 2012 page, and will do my best to review at least some of my books for the rest of the year! I also rate and review over on goodreads. If you are on the site, please feel free to look at my shelves!