Monthly Archives: December 2013

Parmenion Books 2013 in review

2013: Has for me been a year of exceptional quality when it comes to books, books of many genres, types, skills and authors.

For my reading pleasure this year I had a few attempts at trying something different. (on that note, always listen to twitter, when enough people say a book is exceptional ….well it often is)

EG:

Phil Hogan A Pleasure and a Calling (review) 

a pleasure and a calling

Simon Beckett Stone Bruises (Review)

stone bruises

Sarah Pinborough The Language of Dying (Review)

language

Apart from the authors, the people who have helped make this year possible are the publishers, this year, more than any other they have been amazing, I balk at saying one might be better thank another, even at naming the individuals, if i missed just one i would kick myself, They are all so wonderful. This is a group of people who spend their time helping someone (the authors) succeed in their profession and passion, and to do it they help another group of people, like me explore a love of reading, at the same time many of them exploring their own deep passion for words, books, writing and being nice.

So a huge huge thank you one and all, to the great people, in PR, marketing, sales, editing etc at all the publisher. You know who you are, please know i appreciate everyone of you, and every book you send.

Special mention also to book shop of the year (IMHO) Goldsboro Books, who keep the fine art of book collecting alive and well.

I found it impossible to do a single top 5 or top 10 of books for 2013, so i did 3 genres instead (cop out) and even then i feel i cheated so many great writers and books out of a mention. These lists are books that just spoke to me directly this year.

Best Thrillers of 2013:

1: Terry Hayes: I am Pilgrim

pilgrim

2: David Gibbins: The Pharaoh

Pharoah

3: James Douglas: The Excalibur Codex

excalibur

4: Chris Kuzneski: The Hunters

the hunters

5: Hugh Howey: Dust

Dust

Terry Hayes book was a revelation in thriller terms, a book that was just simply superb, if you have not read it you really must.

David Gibbins, not only an amazing author who gets better with every book, but a truly nice person whom i have had the pleasure to get to know a little this year.

Chris Kuzneski, brilliant new series, and for me great to know there is a whole other series i have not read and has no joined my TBR pile.

Hugh Howey, probably one of the finest dystopian series out there at present.

Best Fantasy / Supernatural books of 2013

1: Nathan Hawke: Crimson Shield

crimson shield

2: Nathan Hawke: Cold Redemption

cold redemption

3: Luke Scull: Grim Company

grimm

4: James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell: Blood Gospel

gospel

5: Ben Aaronvitch: Broken Homes

Broken Homes

2 amazing debut authors arriving with a bang (Nathan Hawke and Luke Scull), and some stalwarts of the genre staying where they belong.

Best Historical Fiction of 2013

1: CC Humphreys: Shakespear’s Rebel

shakespeareicc81s-rebel-3b

2: Paul Collard: Maharajahs General

MG

3: Christian Cameron Tom Swan and the head of St George (Parts 1-6)

Book 1

ts 1

Book 4

ts4

Book 5

TS 5

Book 6

TS6

4: Nobel Smith: Sons of Zeus

zeus

5: Robert Fabbri Romes Fallen Eagle

eagle fallen

Historical fiction was the hardest list to write, so may others were deserving of a place, Ben Kane Fields of Blood, Michael Arnold and his Highwayman Ironside short story and his wonderful Assassins Reign, SJA Turney: Priests Tale, Conn Iggulden with Stormbird and the last in the Emperor series Blood of Gods, James Wilde Hereward End of Days, Nick Brown Far Shore,  David Gilman Master of War, the fabulous Anthony Riches and his Eagles Vengeance, James Benmore Dodger, Julian Stockwin and the amazing Kydd series , Steven Mckay and his new Robin Hood series Wolfs Head, the every fabulous Angus Donald and his unique Robin Hood series .

So many of these authors can be found at The HWA web site and forum

There are more than this list, so many more great books and authors. this last year has been so full of amazing books choosing 5 was amazingly hard.

My top 5’s are the books that stayed with me as well as offered enjoyment, books that immersed me so deeply I lost where and who I was. Its even harder to write a list like this when so many authors are friends and are wonderful people as well as writers, people who have given so many great books and keep doing so year in year out.

Its a list you all deserve to be on.

What continues to amaze me is that so many of the really great books are by new authors.

2014 holds the same promise, having just finished the fantastic Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements a debut title that could have taken top spot in 2013, I know there is an amazing year ahead.

I look forward to enjoying the journey with all the authors, publishers, readers, bloggers and those kind enough to read my blog.

Happy new year all.

(Parm)

 

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Rebecca Cantrell and James Rollins: Innocent Blood (2013) Review

The Author’s

James Rollins

rollins

JAMES ROLLINS is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages.  His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People Magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets–and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight. James Rollins decided to become a writer as a boy immersed in the scientific adventures of Doc Savage, the wonders of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and pulps such as The Shadow, The Spider, and The Avenger. He honed his storytelling skills early, spinning elaborate tales that were often at the heart of pranks played on his brothers and sisters.

Although his talent emerged and grew, writing was not James’ original profession. Before he would set heroes and villains on harrowing adventures, he embarked on a career in veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Missouri and establishing a successful veterinary. This hands-on knowledge of medicine and science helps shape the research and scientific speculation that set James Rollins books apart.

The exotic locales of James Rollins novels have emerged as a hybrid between imagination, research, and James’ extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe, as well as New Zealand, the South Pacific, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America. Recent travel includes book tours and stops across the country and several European nations to meet readers and give talks, seminars, and media interviews.

In recent years, much of James’ travel has involved meeting readers in small and large groups, at writing and fan conferences, and even aboard seagoing “seminars.” James’ mentoring temperament and coaching skills have made him a sought-out writing instructor and guest speaker for workshops, symposia, conventions, and other forums throughout the country. He is among the core faculty of the annual Maui Writer’s Conference and Retreat.

James Rollins is the author of seven thrillers in the bestselling Sigma Force series (Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, The Doomsday Key, and The Devil Colony); six individual adventure thrillers; the blockbuster movie novelization, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; and the Jake Ransom middle grade series (Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow, Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx, and more coming in 2013). The eighth Sigma Force adventure, Bloodline, is coming in Summer 2012.

In 2005, James joined other luminaries in the genre to create the International Thriller Writers, Inc. ITW recognizes and promotes the thriller genre, provides opportunities for mentoring, education, and collegiality among authors and industry professionals, and grants awards for excellence in thriller writing. James is currently the Co-President of ITW, serving alongside Steve Berry. (From Author’s Bio)

Rebecca Cantrell

Rebecca Cantrell

 Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel mystery/thriller novels have won the Bruce Alexander and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Barry and RT Reviewers Choice awards; her critically-acclaimed cell phone novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. She and her husband and son just left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at Authors Website.

Innocent Blood (2013)

(The second book in the Order of the Sanguines series)
A novel by Rebecca Cantrell and James Rollins

Innocent Blood

Innocent Blood

A vicious attack at a ranch in California thrusts archaeologist Erin Granger back into the folds of the Sanguines, an immortal order founded on the blood of Christ and tasked with protecting the world from the beasts haunting its shadows and waiting to break free into the sunlight.  Following the prophetic words found in the Blood Gospel–a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries–Erin must join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and the dark mystery that is Father Rhun Korza to discover and protect a boy believed to be an angel given flesh.

But an enigmatic enemy of immense power and terrifying ambition seeks the same child–not to save the world, but to hasten its destruction.  For any hope of victory, Erin must discover the truth behind Christ’s early years and understand His first true miracle, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that yet remains unfulfilled and holds the only hope for the world.

The search for the truth will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty plains of the Holy Land to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, from the catacombs of Rome to an iron fortress in the Mediterranean Sea, and at last to the very gates of Hell itself, where their destiny–and the fate of mankind–awaits.

With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell breathtakingly combined science, myth, and religion and introduced a world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. In Innocent Blood they again take us to the edge of destruction . . . and into the deepest reaches of imagination.

Review:

Review of book one Blood Gospel

A second book is always a concern, was the first a flash in the pan? or will book two be w bridge to book three and the finale of the trilogy? The fact of Innocent blood is its neither, its a fully fledged wonderful thriller, a book that could stand alone and do so as one of the best of its genre this year (personally i would read Blood Gospel first though).

As in book one we follow the perils of The Warrior of Man (Jordan) the Woman of Learning (Erin) and the Knight of Christ Father Rhun, the trio of prophecy confused by the death of the last of the line of Bathory? The first angel needs to be found to fulfill the prophecy, the Damnatus has his own agenda and wants to bring about the ruin of all, Rasputin is back and up to his old tricks, and Cardinal Bernard still thinks he can control destiny/ prophecy.

This book see’s the culmination of centuries of prophecy, and manipulation, history guided by two hands but with separate goals, The Order of the Sanguines are not the only immortals in the world.

The thing i love about James Rollins books is the flight of fancy, the dazzling and fantastic journey all his books take you on, occasionally that can be bordering on the edge of the imagination. What i love about this series is that despite the vampires, and the angels, the miracles and the secret world, it all feels so much more grounded, so real. I have to put that down to the influence of Rebecca Cantrell. Its like a perfect confluence of writing style and skill. It happened once before for me in a fantasy series with Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts, both splendid writers, but paired for a trilogy they produced one of the most remarkable fantasy series i have ever read. For the vampire Genre this is turning into something similar.

A truly splendid and terrifying world hidden in plain sight, believable while at the same time fantastical imagining.

very highly recommended

(Parm)

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Filed under James Rollins, Rebecca Cantrell, Supernatural, Thrillers