Friday, December 31, 2010

Edi's Big Fat End of 2010 Post

Hello Dear Readers, Followers and Friends,

first of all let me say thank you for your visits, comments and mails. It is satisfying to see that there are people who are interested in what I'm doing. I hope you all will come back again and again in 2011.

This is the second time that I write a big fat end of the year post. The big difference between last year and this year is that this time I do it on my own blog.
What to expect?

I would like to tell you a bit about the blog and of course about books

Before I go into details I want to say a big thank you to all visitors, readers, followers and friends of Edi's Book Lighthouse for feedback since April and I hope you will come back in 2011.

Of course I want to say thank you to my wife for her patience and understanding when I spent hours and hours working on posts or surfing around.

And a special thank you goes to Shellie Nunn from Layers of Thought for creating my new header.


THE BLOG

Past and Present
This is my 130th post since I started in April 2010. That sounds not that bad but compared to my plans it is not the result I wanted. In the end I'm more or less happy with the result.
I know now that it is impossible for me
- to post every day
- to write and post more than two reviews per month (except while I'm on holiday)

Future
- Saturday will be still the day when I present you Edi's Weekend Wave.
This is the "heart" of the blog. I will try to present and comment book related things in a more individual style.
That means Edi goes experimental ...
- I will change the style of my reviews a bit -Details will be posted tomorrow
- Reviews will be posted on Sunday
- Whenever I find time, I will delight you with something special on Edi's Wednesday Surprise


BOOKS

When I would write about all the books I did not read this year ...... it would fill a book.
Of course I will present you all the books I read and I thought about how to do that.
The final solution looks a bit clumsy due to the different height of the covers.
I'm member of Goodreads where I maintain my books. Goodreads offers interesting widgets for free but not all work on every blog. The one I chose worked not in the way I wanted. Therefore I "modified" it a bit.
As a result I present you the covers of all books I read in 2010. Every cover is linked with Goodreads which means click on the cover in order toget detailed information about the book. I hope you like this feature.

Let's return to January. I wrote in my New Year Resolution that I want to read six books per month.
I failed. In the end I read 54 and 2/3 books.
Let me explain. I'm currently reading an omnibus which contains three books and I just finished two of them.
I talk about The Monarchies of God series by Paul Kearney (second omnibus, contains three books)
Century of the Soldier




KrakenThe Half-Made WorldThe Last PagePirate FreedomUnder the Dome
The Bone SwordHuman SecretsZero Gravity: Adventures in Deep SpaceHawkwood and the KingsBringing Forth the End of DaysTimeRidersThe Last Days of NewgateCassaStarThe Storm GuardiansHyperionSacred TreasonThe King's BastardDiscord's AppleThe Dream of Perpetual MotionThe Word for World is ForestThe Edge of the WorldThe CompanyGetting Old is Tres Dangereux: A NovelSwords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and SorceryDante's JourneyStop MeBlood RoyalA Plague of SinnersShadow ProwlerBurton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled JackThe Gaslight DogsThe Burning SkiesCity of RuinWintercraftThomas RileySilverBeat the Reaper: A NovelTwice DeadOnce BittenThe Sweet Smell of Decay: Being the First Chronicle of Harry LytleThe Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth CenturyThe Empress of MarsGhosts of ManhattanNot Less Than GodsCrossover
The Exodus GateFarlanderSoullessThe White Shadow Saga: The Stolen Moon of LondorSeeds of EarthSpellwrightThe BookmanDroodA Shadow in Summer

I reviewed 26 of the books I read. You find links to all reviews on the Review Index Page.


In July I posted my half time report. I posted my top six books chosen from 26 books I read until July.
Since then I read another 28 books. That means I chose the books for the following categories out of the 54 books I read. Everything else would have been nonsense like reviewing a book without reading it.

And now the time has come to unveil my top ten reads in 2010 and more .....
You will find following categories:
TOP TEN READS 2010,
TOP THREE FROM SMALL PUBLISHERS,
MOST DISAPPOINTING READ,
BOOKS REPRESENTING SERIES WHICH NEVER DISAPPOINT ME,
EDI'S BOOK OF THE YEAR 2010


TOP TEN READS 2010

My top ten is bit unusual because it contains eleven books. There is neither a fourth place nor a seventh place nor a tenth place. It sounds confusing but you will understand when you scroll to the following part of the post.

Countdown .......


NUMBER ELEVEN
This is the former number six from the half time report. Anyhow this book must be mentioned because this debut fantasy novel and first part of a trilogy contains one of the most interesting and convincing magic system. I wrote in my review: "XXXX breathes magic with every syllable".

Spellwright
by Blake Charlton



NO NUMBER TEN
No number ten this year because two books share number nine

NUMBER NINE
Two books share the ninth place. They are both historical thrillers and I could not decide which one I like more.

Around twenty years ago I spent a lot of time for reading books similar to our number five and settled in Medieval England. I still remember two series: I loved the twenty books in the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters and I loved a little bit more the ten books in the Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan series by Paul Harding (pen name of Paul Doherty). This year I discovered a two new authors (new for me), writing historical thrillers in the way I like.

One of them is Paul Lawrence. The second book in his The Chronicles of Harry Lytle is one of the books on the ninth place. The series is set in 17th century England. The main characters are Harry Lytle, a young, former clerk who is now working for the intelligence service and David Dowling, a devout, arcane and pious butcher with a knack for forensics.

A Plague of Sinners
by Paul Lawrence


The other one is Andrew Pepper. He is the author of the Pyke Mystery series and The Last Days Of Newgateis the first book in the series. Set in 19th century England, Pyke, a Bow Street Runner, gin house owner and rascal gets involved in the investigation of a brutal triple murder.... Pyke is an extraordinary character which you either like or not.

The Last Days of Newgate
by Andrew Pepper




NUMBER EIGHT
This is the number four from the half time list. When I read about it for the first time - 1926, New York, Jazz, Flappers, Prohibition, The Roaring Twenties in combination with steampunk - I have been electrified! A new book from the author of one of my favorite series Newbury & Hobbes. You know which author 'Im talking about? No? It is George Mann and he is the author of my number eight. I read the UK edition. But there is also a US version available. Therefore I show you both covers. The UK one on the left and the US one on the right.

Ghosts of Manhattan
by George Mann




NO NUMBER SEVEN
No number seven this year because two books share number six


NUMBER SIX
Two epic fantasy books share the sixth place. Both are part of series .

Let me start with the second book in a series which is definitely one of the 2010 fantasy highlights. I liked it a lot. You may ask why it is only number six when it is one of the fantasy highlights. The answer is quite simple. There have been books which I liked a little bit more. Coming back to the book. Let me introduce the first part of number six number three with the very first sentence of the book:
"It entered the deep night, a spider reaching taller than a soldier."

City of Ruin
by Mark Charan Newton


The other one is the debut of author Col Buchanan. I must admit that I forgot to take Farlander which is the first book in The Heart of the World series into consideration for the half time report. I wrote in my review
"For me, Farlander is definitely one of the best debuts in 2010! Exceptionally story telling, comprehensible and enjoyable characters and a story which puts assassins in a new perspective. It promises a lot for the future."

Farlander
by Col Buchanan



NUMBER FIVE
The half time number two has been topped by some other books. It is a debut novel. It is set in London and there is steampunk. Michael Moorcock wrote: "The best debut novel I have read in ages." I agree mostly with him. It is a great, great, great read. There are two completely different covers for UK (right) and US (left). For this reason I present you both covers of our number five:

The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack
by Mark Hodder
(review)




NUMBER FOUR
No number four this year because two books share the third place


NUMBER THREE
The half time number one dropped to the third place and shares the position with another book
In July I wrote: Our number one is the first book I read in 2010! It is a real door stopper. I know there are people who found it boring and some even could not finish it!
I wrote in my review:
"It is a novel where you can bath your mind without getting drug addicted."

Drood
by Dan Simmons



And this is the second book on the third position. The Half-Made World is the first book in a planned duology. I wrote in my review:
"It is a story set in a fantasy world full of western , steampunk, adventure, magic and mystery.
It is a story of love, hate, fanaticism, anarchism, convictions, beliefs, tyranny, religion, the status of individuals in a society, flora and fauna versus industry.
It is the story of four individuals trapped by their inner and outer daemons and the reasonableness of their existence. The Half-Made World will reverberate in your mind for weeks !!
It is as a great read as Drood. Therefore they share the third place. But there are

The Half-Made World
by Felix Gilman



NUMBER TWO
Number two is also the first book in a planned duology. And it is the debut of author Anthony Huso. I wrote in my review:
"The Last Page has been my most challenging and most extraordinary read in 2010. I know it can't be topped in these categories by my outstanding reads. [....]
Most people like to categorize things. It is the same with books. Fortunately it doesn't work with The Last Page.
Anthony Huso combined lustful elements of epic fantasy, dark fantasy urban fantasy, steampunk and more ...
There is magic, guns, zeppelins, horrible beasts, gods, assassins, emperors,armies, magic books, arcane secrets and more ...."
And therefore there has been no way out to choose

The Last Page
by Anthony Huso




NUMBER ONE
This maybe a surprise and maybe a bit unusual. My top read in 2010 is an epic fantasy series. I must admit I read only four of the five books so far. But I'm sure the last book will not change my mind. Kudos to Paul Kearney and his The Monarchies of God series . It is one of the best epic fantasy series I read in the past years. Fortunately Solaris reissued the whole series in form of two omnibus. As I don't have finished the last book in the series I can't deliver you a review. But fortunately someone did a great, great job with his reviews of the two omnibus. You will understand my choice immediately after reader the highly, highly recommended reviews from Adam, the mastermind of The Wertzone!!

Hawkwood and________Century of
the Kings_____________the Soldier
by Paul Kearney
(Adm's review)_____________((Adam's review)



TOP THREE FROM SMALL PUBLISHERS

This year I read and reviewed several books from small publishers. And I must say I have been surprised and also impressed by the quality of the stories. Following three books have impressed me the most. Be forewarned, there are no blurbs. In case you want to know more about the books just follow the links. Here we go:

Let me start with the science fiction debut novel CassaStaR (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0981621067] by Alex J. Cavanaugh. With 242 pages it is quite short compared to the books I read normally. Of course the number of pages does not tell anything about the content. But it is a limit. Fortunately Alex J. Cavanaugh did a great job which let me to following conclusion in my review:
"For me CassaStaR is a well executed, character driven, easy to follow debut novel about friendship, I mean real friendship, set in space including battles."
Alex J. Cavanaugh promised that the story will be continued ..... I look forward to read a new chapter set in the CassaStaR world.

For detailed information please read my review.



The next one is also a debut novel. This time we dive into the world of fantasy. I talk about The Bone Sword (November 1st, 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0982743720] by Walter Rhein. I know every year there are hundreds of new fantasy books and we can't read them all. In this case I have been glad that I read The Bone Sword which stands for 230 pages. Once again a short book compared to the ones I read normally.
I wrote in my review:
"The Bone Sword is a great read from entertaining point of view. Something to criticize? From my point of view the story is at times predictable. But hey, this is a debut novel.

The Bone Sword
is a well done action-packed interspersed with inner thoughts, fast-paced adventure, which will grip you from the first page.

I hope, there will be more novels by Walter Rhein in future after this excellent debut."
For detailed information please read my review.


The last book is of course another debut novel. But this time it is neither fantasy nor science fiction. It is a combination of mystery, adventure and thriller. I talk about Human Secrets (pb, 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-1848764408]by Linden Lewis.
I wrote in my review:
Human Secrets is such a convincing, lively, well executed debut novel about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

I recommend to everyone who is interested in to discover how people like you and me (yes I think I'm an ordinary person) cope with extraordinary circumstances without turning into super heroes. "
For detailed information pleas read my review.


BOOKS REPRESENTING SERIES WHICH NEVER DISAPPOINT ME

I know it sounds unwieldy. But I thought it would be worth (and they really deserve) to praise two series which on one side are totally different and on the other hand have one in common. Both series deliver intelligent entertainment the purest form. I does not matter which book you take. They are all on nearly the same level and you can be sure to have a good time with them.

The first one is the PAX BRITANNIA series (for a post history click here) by Jonathan Green.
"In the closing years of the 20th century the British Empire's rule is still going strong. Queen Victoria is about to celebrate her 160th jubilee, kept alive by advanced steam technology. London is a fantastical sprawling metropolis where dirigibles roam the skies, robot bobbies enforce the law and dinosaurs are on display in London Zoo. Welcome to Magna Britannia, a steam driven world full of fantastical creations and shady villains. Here dashing dandies and mustachioed villains battle for supremacy while below the city strange things stir in the flooded tunnels of the old London Underground." [Source]
The lastet book latest book in the series - Dark Side (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-1906735852] by Jonathan Green - is waiting on my shelf.
In June 2008 Graeme interviewed Jonathan Green. I must quote the last question and answer because there we find a hint how many books to expect:
" 10) Finally, why should everyone be reading your ‘Pax Britannia’ books?
Because they’re great fun reads and an entertaining way to take yourself out of the world for a few hours. Also, there’s a big story in there that’s steadily beginning to take shape (and which I had planned from day one), so you want to be there for the ride and the dramatic denouement in about… twelve books time (or thereabouts)."

I want to say thank you to Jonathan Green because he does exactly what he told in the interview. I really hope that more people will enter the world of . To make more "tasty" I post again the Dark Side trailer:


And the real good thing is that there will be more books in the series ...........



The second one is the GLADDY GOLD series by Rita Lakin.
"NEVER TRUST ANYONE UNDER SEVENTY-FIVE!"
That's the motto of the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency.

This year I read and reviewed Getting Old Is TRÈS DANGEREUX (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0440245421] which is the sixth book in the Gladdy Gold mystery series.

I wrote:
"You need to know that most of the people who are part of the story are not younger than 70.
But they are all young at heart, grounded, eccentric golden agers. Beside all the problems coming along with getting older they have a lot of humor and enjoy life. And it is a real life where even good friends can die.
No day is like the other even they have daily routine. Smart and sassy herione Gladdy with her incredible gladiators solve their cases in mostly unexpected manner. Of course the mysteries are not that difficult but the unbelievable presence of humor let you follow the story without any break.

Like all the other books in the series, Getting Old Is TRÈS DANGEREUX let you laugh out loud that when you read it in public people will think you are on a acid trip.

We still can't understand why there aren't any Gladdy Gold movies. I assume it would be like a mix of Golden Girls and Miss Marple.

Are you afraid of getting older, do you have problems to laugh, do you want to getaway from it all and see how it can be then we highly, highly, highly recommend to read ALL Gladdy Gold books!!

Final Advice:
You will be never too young to read a Gladdy Gold mystery ......

And don't forget to visit Rita Lakin's site.


MOST DISAPPOINTING READ

My most disappointing read in 2010 has been Under the Dome (pb, 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0340992586] by Stephen King. I started to read with great expectations based on all the hype and positive reviews. I don't want to repeat/quote my review. Just follow the review link for details.

Under the Dome
by Stephen King




EDI'S BOOK OF THE YEAR 2010

When I look at the 54 books I read in 2010 and when I look at my top ten I must say I have had a damned good time concerning reading. I happy with my choices and as one say you can't love all books. At half time Drood was in the lead. Now there are two omnibus on top of the list. In case you expect that these two will be automatically my book of the year then I must say you are wrong. I think book of the year should be one single book. It doesn't matter if it is part of a series or a stand alone.
The Last Page has been my most challenging and most extraordinary read in 2010. I know it can't be topped in these categories by my outstanding reads. And therefore I chose

The Last Page
by Anthony Huso




THE FUTURE
After the acclamation of The Last Page as Edi's Book Of The Year 2010 the time has come to have a look at 2011 releases. I highly recommend to read Adams post The Wertzone: The Shape of Things to Come: Books for 2011. From the 63 mentioned books 27 are either on my radar or I ordered them in advance. I don't want to bother with a list of these 27 books. Instead I would like to point at four books I'm really interested in and which have not been mentioned in all the posts I read. Maybe you will discover something interesting for yourself. I think you are not that surprised that the following books more or less are all steampunk related.

It was science fiction author K. W. Jeter who coined the term "steampunk. Read the excellent Wikipedia article about Steampunk. K. W. Jeter is the author of Morlock Night (1979) and Infernal Devices (1987) which belong to the early steampunk books. Both have been out of print. And they return in 2011

Morlock Night (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0857661005] by K. W. Jeter
Angry Robots (UK): 26 April
"What happened when the time machine returned? Morlock Night is a memorably different excursion in science fiction - a gripping classic adventure in past, present and future - with some startling surprising!" [Source]
For detailed information I recommend to read Morlock Night by K. W. Jeter: Review over at RetroSpeculation.


"It all began when the Brown Leather Man, a mysterious being with a secret older than humankind, asked proper Victorian London gentleman George Dower to repair a weird device. How coud George have known that this was but one of the many infernal devices his genius father had built, and that he himself would soon be pursued by former clients of his father? For George had always been the unsuspecting key to his father's incredible plans, a key that others would like to possess - from the automaton who wore George's own face to the mad Lord Bendray, bent on using George to destroy the entire Earth." [Source]
Infernal Devices (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0857660978] by K. W. Jeter
Angry Robots (UK): 26 April

I have been so excited that I ordered both books in advance!! I hope a lot more people will share my interest for these books.

In July 2010 I reviewed The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. For me The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack is still one of the debut novels of 2010. As you could read above The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack made it to my top ten reads in 2010.
Now I look forward to the next book in the series:
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. And again we will get to different covers. On the left you see the UK cover and on the right the US cover. Both have their allurement. Thanks to Aidan at A Dribble of Ink for posting the US cover.
"A clockwork man is abandoned in Trafalgar Square. A ghost displays a craving for diamonds. A lost aristocrat returns ten years after being lost at sea and instigates riots in London. The Rakes are indulging in seances. The Technologists are growing giant insects and transforming them into steam-driven vehicles. The British Empire's capital is in chaos, and in the midst of it all, Sir Richard Francis Burton and his wayward assistant, Algernon Swinburne, are beginning to suspect that someone, somewhere, is up to no good!" [Source]

In March 2011 the UK version will be published by Snowbooks and Pyr will publish the US version. I like the US cover a lot. I'm still not decided yet which version I will buy. Maybe both?

The second book will also be published by Snowbooks in March 2011. I talk about The Martian Ambassador by Alan Baker.
"WELCOME TO LONDON, 1899 It has been six years since the discovery of intelligent life on Mars, and relations between the two worlds are rapidly developing. Three-legged Martian omnibuses stride through the streets and across the landscape, while Queen Victoria has been returned to the vigour of youth by Martian rejuvenation drugs. Victorian computer technology is proceeding apace, thanks to the faeries who power the ‘cogitators'; while the first 'ther zeppelins are nearing completion, with a British expedition to the Moon being planned for the following year. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until Lunan R'ondd, Martian Ambassador to the Court of Saint James's, dies while attending a banquet at Buckingham Palace. The discovery of strange, microscopic larvae in his breathing apparatus leads Queen Victoria to suspect that he may have been the victim of a bizarre assassination. The Martian Parliament agrees, and they are not pleased. No Martian has ever died in such suspicious circumstances while on Earth. An ultimatum is given: if Her Majesty's Government cannot solve the crime and bring the perpetrator to justice, the Martians will! Enter Thomas Blackwood, Special Investigator for Her Majesty's Bureau of Clandestine Affairs. Along with Lady Sophia Harrington, Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research, Blackwood is charged with the task of solving the mystery of Ambassador R'ondd's death, before the Martians take matters into their own hands, possibly igniting an interplanetary war in the process!" [Source]

That sounds like an interesting mix of steampunk, private eye and War of the Worlds. I'm not sure whether this will be a stand alone novel or the first book in a new series.


Now you have reached the end of the post. The end of is 2010 is as near as the begin of 2011.

May you never run out of books

ENJOY READING ........

2 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I am honored you think so much of my book! Pressure's on for the sequel.
And this blog has only been around since April 2010? Wow, I'm impressed. You take such care to create detailed, thoughtful posts. I understand doing so on a daily basis would be time consuming.
Happy New Year, Edi!

ediFanoB said...

Dear Alex,
thank you for your kind words.
I think your book is great. I tried to express why in my review. When you look around nobody mentions books from small publishers in their posts about 2010. I wanted to to highlight there are also great books published from small publisher. I know I'm only a small "voice" inside the blogosphere but every words count. Therefore I will spread word about your book and also other books whenever it is possible.

Happy New Year, Alex!

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