Liz Loves Indie Authors…..Its Indie Author Week!

Just a very quick post this morning to kick off Indie Authors week….those unsung heroes of the book world who provide us with great storytelling but are often overlooked by mainstream readers. This week we will hear from a few of them about writing, publishing and the general mayhem that comes with it all. Personally I adore discovering those little gems that are not immediately in the public eye – perhaps during this week you will find some too! Happy Reading folks!

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Books….Then come the movies Part 3: HARRY POTTER!

So there is no way on earth that we can have a week on movies and the books that inspired them without mentioning Mr Harry Potter. The creation of J K Rowling, Harry is now a worldwide phenomenon and it will endure for generations to come, I have no doubt! Admittedly my knowledge in this area is basic – I know lots of people will shout at me but I have never sat down and properly read the books – and the movies have been watched with half an eye with my young boys who of course adore all things Potter! However I’m lucky. My good friend Victoria is what is affectionately known as a Potterhead – so I will hand over to her and she will tell you about all things Potter! (No Victoria I DIDNT edit – your enthusiasm shines!)

Thanks Victoria. To see more of Victoria’s reviews click here : https://victorialovesbooks.wordpress.com/

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This may possibly be my most favourite subject.
Harry Potter is a series that WILL live on forever. JK Rowling is a genius. Nobody can deny this, wether you love or hate her, she managed to write a series of books that got the world, yes world, reading!
Kids that didn’t read started reading, and some of those are huge 500 + page books, adults started to read it also to find out what all the fuss was about.
Kids and adults alike then camped out in order to get their hands on the latest book. How often does this happen? Especially when it comes to kids books!

It’s not often. And how often do you come across a book, let alone series of books, that adults love and enjoy as much as the children.

The reason Harry Potter will live on forever is because of the fan base, the Potterheads, are the most loyal fans there are. We re-read avidly and as we grow up, we then read to our children and the magic of Harry Potter starts all over again for the next generation.

So as a huge bookworm, I’ve always absolutely hated any film adaptions that are made. I’ve sat there and moaned about parts missed or parts that aren’t portrayed right to how I saw it in my head. I’ve even been known to be so angry with certain film adaptions (The Time Traveler’s Wife) that I had to throw it it the bin!

But…. With Harry Potter I adore the films as much as I do the books. Why is that? The films do vary massively to the books yet I’m willing to accept this and still love them.

The detail in the films really are quite outstanding, in EVERY way! The ideas Rowling sets in your head whilst reading really do come alive on the screen. Each character looks exactly like what you expect, it’s incredible. The scenes are set perfectly, but, the castle is surely the most magical. As is the great hall, it’s absolutely spot on.

Now of course the films aren’t exactly perfect when it comes to what we greedily take from the books, but if we are really honest with ourselves, if they didn’t edit things out we would be sat in the cinema for 12 + hours (yes! I hear you Potterheads we would of managed that no problem, but its those muggles, you can’t deny them a little magic!) So of course in order to get them onto the big screen they of course have to do LOTS of editing, which does unfortunately mean we lose some of the best bits!

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What we miss from the books is that the Dursley’s actually treated Harry a lot worse. They sent him the most pathetic Christmas presents, we all remember that year with the dirty sock! (That’s if you read the books).
We don’t get to see the time that Dobby decorated the Room of Requirement in hundreds of Baubles with the caption “have a Harry Christmas” (a personal favourite), or just how big a part Dobby actually plays in the books. He is rarely seen in the films, compared to the books but actually plays a huge part in Harry’s school life, it wasn’t Neville who gave Harry the Jellyweed in Goblet of Fire it was our lovely Dobby. We never even get to meet Winky in the films another BIG part in Goblet of Fire, which is actually so far from the book it’s unbelievable, she is a drunk and sobbing mess. Which then gets Hermione setting up S.P.E.W (no I’m not telling you what that stands for read the books!).
We never fully appreciate Harry’s sarcasm in the films something I find quite sad as its really rather brilliant to Read and inagine. His and Ron’s humour shines through within the book and although we see snippets of this in the films I sometimes feel we could of seen more.
Harry really is an angry little teenager too, we can’t blame him his had such an awful start in life. But of course the books are always so much more detailed and we are told exactly how he is feeling at every stage, whereas in the films we have to work it out for ourselves by how he looks or by what he says.
Hermione’s character is portrayed really well in the films and I wouldn’t say there is too much that is massively different, of course there are some. Hermione is not only a geek, bookworm, nerd, teachers pet, whatever you can think of, she goes out of her way to help people. Remember Hagrid and Buckbeak’s dilemma in Prisoner of Azkaban? Well in the books Hermione goes out of her way to research and spend all of her time getting Hagrid ready to face the “jury”. As well as doing all her work and trying to get to two classes at one time! Lets also not forget those boys wouldn’t of survived without Hermoine and her books.

The relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is really very special and although we do see this in the films, what we get from the books is something so much more. It really is remarkable just how much Dumbledore loves Harry.
It’s the same with a lot of the older characters take for example Mrs Weasley, she really does take Harry on as another son. Another brilliant example of this is, in the Goblet of Fire when the tournament starts, members of the champions families come to wish them luck and Harry has no-one, well in the book it’s Mrs Weasley and Charlie Weasley who are there to support Harry.

We never truly get to know Lockhart (Chamber of Secrets) through the film either. He was self obsessed, arrogant, egotistical and had us being sick in our mouths, yet we loved to hate him. He organised a dwarf dressed as Cupid to follow the kids round the school reading aloud Valentines notes. Poor Harry was rugby tackled to the floor and sat on by him. Missed that in the film didn’t you?
He also pops up in the Order of the Phoenix book, no really he does, see that doesn’t happen in the film either. (Not telling you! Nope, you will have to read them).

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With my favourite book The Half Blood Prince we see Harry spending a lot of time with Dumbledore, which is possibly why it’s my favourite. Even though we sadly lose him (I cried for hours) it’s brilliant to spend so much time with him in the books and gain more knowledge of him. We all remember the part where Harry uses a spell from the Half Blood Prince’s book/film and causes Draco to become really hurt. Well in the book Ginny DOES NOT HELP HIM! He hides it alone. We also don’t see anything that Draco is up to with birds and cupboards in the book, because well, we only ever follow Harry around.

The last two films are very special and I can see why they did it (money) but I also am so pleased they did two because it allowed more of the book to be shown than in earlier books when HUGE chunks were just missing. (Read the end to Goblet Of Fire and you will see just how different it is).
They were different and they missed parts out that still to this day really upset me, for example, when Harry saves the day and all is well, he goes back to Dumbledore’s office and Dumbledore’s portrait is there and has tears down running down his face, and Harry asks him more questions, he then, (and this is the most important) FIXES HIS WAND! I was furious they didn’t do this in the film because that wand was part of Harry. He also tells Dumberdore that he is putting the Elder Wand back where it belongs, but in the film he snaps it and throws it!!!!!!
Let’s also highlight that once Harry comes back to “life” he doesn’t run from Voldemort, he hides under the invisibility cloak whilst Neville is causing a commotion, then starts firing jinxes and curses at any death eater he can whilst trying to find Voldemort. He finds him in the great hall and reveals himself. He and Voldemort then face each other and Harry explains EVERYTHING. He then finishes Voldemort once and for all. The epilogue is pretty fantastic though and ended how it should of so I was very pleased with that.

The books are so detailed and so epic that you really feel as though you are living the story. Nothing will ever come close to them and I don’t imagine we will ever discover anything that will top Harry Potter.

The films although are different and lacking the detail that only books can portray, they are still absolutely magical and bring the story to life that little bit more. The films also help to bring more people to the books (I hope) because anyone who watches them and hasn’t read them, if they like them and it makes them slightly interested in giving the books ago then what does it matter too much if the films are different? Because by making the films they are allowing a wider audience to become part of the Wizarding world and allowing those that don’t read to fall in love with Harry also.

The films are also brilliant for those who maybe haven’t got time to re-read them when they want, but want to go back into Harry’s world and can by watching the movie.

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The films are so enjoyable and I love them dearly but I urge anyone who has only watched the films and never read the books to go out and read the books. They are truly magnificent and so incredibly detailed more than the films ever could be.

So I honestly love the films, yes they miss out my favourite parts or in some of the films, vital parts, but they are REALLY good and I wouldn’t have them changed. I like to think of them as a refresher of the books.

I really could of gone on and on some more (don’t groan!) but I must dash as I have a Potions Lesson with Snape (now you can groan)

 

 

Books…..and then come the Movies. Part Two.

So in my previous blog I talked about those well loved novels that are made into movies, either good or bad and I ended with two words. Jack Reacher. Now then, how many Reacher fans are there out there? Are you one? I am. I love those novels. I have followed Jack since his beginnings and a new Reacher novel is something to look forward to. I’ve often wondered over the years how well it would translate to screen – the stories do seem to be appropriate for a great action movie that also has a great plot – so I was pleased initially to hear that a movie was in fact going to be made. Who would play Reacher I wondered? My mind sifted through all those rugged actors, tall, well built, not so good looking or clean cut maybe but hey, Reacher is not supposed to be the handsomest of men. But going back the main thing about him, the one thing that is described over and over…the MAIN thing about how Reacher looks is his height. Yes? So please for the love of God, tell me why anyone, including the actor himself, would think that Tom Cruise would be a perfect fit. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong – I am not in fact a hater of Mr Cruise – his personal life and what some would call strange attitudes have no bearing on whether or not I enjoy his movies – and he’s actually a pretty good “action” hero – The Mission Impossible films are great fun. But he’s not now, nor will he ever be, an actor that can pull off Reacher. I had many online discussions about the possibility that Lee Child had just sold us readers out to the highest bidder, but you know thats probably not it. How much control can an author realistically keep over his character once he gives the rights to any movie studio? I find this a difficult one. I have no evidence that the Cruise controversy has affected Mr Child’s  readership – certainly I would not allow my annoyance at that to stop me enjoying future novels. I think its an interesting discussion. Some research tells me there ARE ways for an author to have some say over what happens to their characters in the visual medium, but many it seems choose to just go down the easy road. And thats fine. After all they own the characters and stories they create don’t they? How much do they REALLY owe their loyal readers. Writing may be an art form and a calling but its also a job. And when you are working who doesnt go for the highest paycheck possible?

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So how was the movie? I watched it. My inner voice that said it couldnt be THAT bad compelled me to see just how bad it was. To be fair it wasnt bad. It was pretty good as action movies go. Once I allowed myself to let go of the image of Reacher I had in my head I enjoyed it – as an action movie. Mr Cruise did his best. He captured to my mind the SPIRIT of Reacher in some senses. Still, the problem I had was that the wonderful actor Jai Courtney was playing the bad guy. And frankly he was MUCH closer to the image of Reacher I had in my head – so confusion reigned for a lot of the time. Standing at over 6 feet tall he is perhaps a little too clean cut for Reacher but if he had been given the role I would not have been nearly so dismayed! In some scenes, towering over Mr Cruise, it was difficult to remember that no, he’s not the good guy.  Anyway. I had a lot of fun with the film so it wasnt all bad news and if you are a fan of the novels this probably won’t distress you too much. After all, its not REALLY Jack Reacher its just a great action popcorn movie.

 

So. There are my thoughts on that particular adaptation. I would be interested to hear which adaptations you have been dismayed about…have you ever felt let down by a film version of a much loved book? The thing I most want to know is…which character has been destroyed for you by a particularly strange or insane piece of casting? Because in this readers opinion – casting is key when you are trying to bring a much loved novel to the screen.

Thats it for now folks! In part 3 I will be talking all things Potter. Yes Victoria, I’m going to ask you to contribute. https://victorialovesbooks.wordpress.com/ Your knowledge in this area far outweighs my own.

Happy Reading everyone!

 

Books……and then come the Movies. Part One.

So, my last little blog was about the tv shows inspired by books and how they can often be disappointing. This week my thoughts turned to movies and that is a huge subject. So much so that when I started writing this blog I knew that one post wasnt going to cut it. So this will be in several parts over several days. When a movie is made based on a popular novel, the pitfalls are huge. That old saying “You can’t please all of the people….” springs to mind. No matter how true to the source material they are, no matter how much thought goes into the casting, someone, somewhere will say – “well it wasnt nearly as good as the book and they left this bit out. Oh and this bit.” I know. I do it myself. And of course, some movies are so far removed from the books they are supposedly based on, that really you wonder why they even bother saying it IS based on that book. When it works though its terrific – those characters you have come to know and love pop off the screen and its sheer brilliance – in reality however my own opinion is it more often fails to live up to the reading experience than not. Occasionally, to be fair, it improves on it. My problem I believe is I tend to cast in my head if I’m reading a good book – and rarely if ever does the casting director agree with me! Who else does that? Come on, admit it, I KNOW you do. So lets look at a few…

 

I’m going to start with Stephen King. OF COURSE YOU ARE I hear those that know me well cry, who else? For years I watched every adaptation of a King novel going – both in the television and movie format. I despaired I really did. In fact until recent years “The Shining” was the only film I enjoyed – and we all know how much Mr King hates that adaptation, and it really doesnt do his novel justice. But hey, Jack Nicholson – can’t complain about that! He was scary. The book was scary. So ok we’ll let them get away with that one. Mr Kubrick was a genius. None of the others ever came close to capturing the sense and feeling of the books. Even “Carrie” which really tried its best. Then. A Miracle. That miracle was one Mr Frank Darabont. Any King fan will know the story “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption” and what a completely great little tale it was. But it WAS short. Mr Darabont and his crew took that little story and turned it into one of the most amazing movies that has EVER been made, let alone a book adaptation. Expanding the story, imagining a life, that movie is uplifting and awe inspiring and I have yet to meet a person who didnt like it, most LOVE it. Pure joy. Then, Mr Darabont obviously knowing he was onto a good thing,  took on “The Green Mile”. Originally published as a series in 6 parts I remember being desperate to get my hands on the next instalment – another tale of Prison life but with the old King twist, this was absorbing and heart wrenching in equal measure. Now of course you can buy it in novel form and read it start to finish – but back then you had to wait. I was interested to see the adaptation and wow. My God. Whoever decided that Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan should play the leading roles MUST have read the book. Readers, you remember the description of John Coffey from the book? Isnt Mr Duncan perfect? Everything pretty much about that adaptation was. Perfect. Finally (so far) for Mr Darabont, another short King tale – The Mist. With this adaptation he was completely true to the story……..until the end. Well. If you have read it you know that there is zero chance of Mr King’s ending satisfying most movie going fans – so what happened? Well. If you’ve seen it you know. How many gasps of shock do you think rang out around Cinema’s  everywhere when that was being shown? I’m guessing a lot. I know when I saw it everyone literally cried out. The tension was palpable. And I bet not many of us slept well afterwards…

So. There you go. Hopefully you will take my advice – watch the King adaptations that are GOOD and leave the rest for heavens sake. Just for me.

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I’m going to talk about one more set of books today – extremely popular novels that were made into extremely popular films. In this case I ADORED the films and hated the books. Hey, sometimes it does work that way you know! Vampire fans unite – Team Edward or Team Jacob? Well Team Jacob all the way for me! Yes its Twilight. The craze that swept the world, lovers of the books united to make these some of the most popular movies ever. And I LOVED them. Visually they were stunning – the casting was superb and all of them put their heart into it. Whereas in the novels the constant gazing into each others eyes and periods of time where absolutely NOTHING happened drove me crazy, when transferred to the visual medium they became much more emotive. It helped of course that the movie was peppered with good looking young people who were easy on the eye – even the villains – but still I felt this story much more when engrossed in the films than I did while reading the books. Not that the books were bad, don’t get me wrong…well loved by teenagers and adults alike, they were easy reads but too drawn out I felt. The movies took some poetic licence – the finale to “Breaking Dawn Part Two” was amazing – heart stopping action that had everyone on the edge of their seats. In the books it was a much more stagnant ending – which worked beautifully in novel form but might have been slightly boring in visual form. So no, I was not fond of the books and admittedly (sorry Twilight fans!) I skipped a lot of pages and didnt appear to miss much. In the cinema I lived every moment with Bella – superb storytelling and superb camera work made for a great cinema experience.

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Ok thats your lot for today. In “Part Two” I shall be talking about “When good books go bad” …those film adaptations that have caused controversy in the reading world when well loved characters get mangled in the pursuit of riches and it seems as if no-one has really given TOO much thought to the fans. Hey. It happens. Now of course, if  authors sell their book rights they can’t really be expected to worry that much about what happens to it next. Or can they? A point for discussion I believe. Prior to writing my next piece I would be VERY interested to hear opinions on that. SHOULD an author TRY and ensure that at least a nod is going to be given to those readers who have been faithfully following them, sometimes for years, before a movie adaptation is made? Or is it very much – ok you can use my idea and do what you want with it. If you are an author OR a reader, please do leave me a comment with your opinion – and perhaps an example of an adaptation you have loved or hated. I’m going to end with two words. Jack Reacher.

Books. Then comes the TV show…..

So, on Monday, Stephen King’s “Under The Dome” premiered in the U.S. and it got me thinking about when books you may have loved are turned into mini series or series in general. Later this week I will talk about film adaptations but for now, lets stick with television. I havent yet seen Under The Dome but I have to admit I have not been that enamoured of Stephen King adaptations in general when it comes to mini series. Bag of Bones, one of my favourite King books was on a while back – with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role. Anyone who has read Bag of Bones might wonder at that rather weird bit of casting. Mr Brosnan did his best of course, but really, with the changes to the story as well, it just didnt work for me. Now of course, you can’t expect television adaptations to be exactly the same as the novels – the visual medium is far different to the one you may create in your head while reading a novel – but personally I’ve always found that the best adaptations are true at least to the spirit of the story that inspired them.

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Another of my favourite series of books  – The Lynley Novels from Elizabeth George – became a very popular television show. I watched it. Again I wasnt too happy with the casting but hey, if I ruled the world and all that…but it was pretty good. It definitely had the SPIRIT of the novels in there, even though after the initial series the story took a very different turn than had happened in Lynley’s literary life, it still stayed fairly true to its source material. In the case of the Lynley mysteries it was very much a case of actors moving on and therefore changes having to be made to reflect that. At least they didnt cast a different actor in the role and expect you just to accept it – hey we’ve seen that happen yes? And doesnt it drive you mad? So in my opinion this adaptation was better than a lot that I have seen. Lets look at a (from this readers point of view) bad adaptation that still managed to be a terrific show…..

 

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Who reads Kathy Reichs? The Temperance Brennan novels are superb. Entertaining and absorbing I have yet to read one I disliked. Temperance has a cool name and a cool personality to go with it – so when I heard that they were to be the basis of the tv show “Bones” I was very excited. I watched the entire first series and found that it bore little to no resemblance to the books, apart from the name of the main protagonist. The “Bones” of the show was a very different kettle of fish to the Temperance of the novels – the supporting characters were all pretty much new – and yet I loved it once I was able to view it as a completely separate entity. Sometimes you have to do that because often tv adaptations are NOT that loyal, they simply take the bare bones – pun intended! – and turn it into something people will love to watch. Bones is going strong and although I left it behind a series or two ago you can’t deny its popularity or that it worked!

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So. I’m interested in opinions. Do you love it when a favourite book or series of books hits our television screens? Do you approach them with trepidation or a sense of anticipation? I am very much looking forward to seeing what they have achieved with “Under the Dome” – from reading articles in the media and from Mr King himself it seems as if this is going to be great. But will it actually be? We’ll see. Do you have a favourite book or series that then became a show you are obsessed with? How about Dexter? True Blood? Both great adaptations and shows I watch avidly. I wonder what will be next……

Blog Tour – Mercy Row by Harry Hallman

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Mercy Row is a novel set in 1920’s and 1930’s Philadelphia. It’s the story of the rise of a North Philadelphia crime family who was also responsible for building the homes and factories that make up this blue collar area of the city. Despite the violent trials and tribulations caused by rival gangs from South Philadelphia and Chicago Jacob Byrne and Franklin Garrett, with the help of the Irish immigrants that settled the Kensington area, build a formidable Irish mob.

This legal and criminal enterprise kept North Philadelphia free from the Mafia for two generations. Jacob’s and Franklin’s organization was built on the blood of those who opposed them, the sweat of the laborers who built North Philly and the tears of the wives and mothers whose loved ones were lost in the struggle.

 

Harry Hallman
Hallman was born in 1944 and raised in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia. His father was Harry Hallman Sr., a champion billiards player who also owned a poolroom located at Allegany Ave. and Lee Street, called Circle Billiards. In his youth, the younger Hallman spent many hours after school at his father’s pool hall. These youthful experiences laid the groundwork for his novel Mercy Row, including the colorful language used in the text.

He served four years in the US Air force including two tours in South Vietnam as a photographer. He is married to Duoc Hallman, who he met in Vietnam, and has two children, Bill and Nancy and one grandchild Ava.

Hallman is a serial entrepreneur who has created several marketing services companies and continues to work as a marketing consultant.

“My favorite possession, from my childhood, is a baby book my sister gave my mother (Florence) when I was born. There’s a passage in this book, written by my mother in 1991 when I was 47, that seems to sum up what I have endeavored to be all my life. It reads:

– Bud (my childhood name) grew up to be a great boy and man. Gruff, but a heart as big as could be.-

This is what a man from the Kensington section of Philadelphia is.”

Hallman wrote this book, in 2012, when he was 68 years old. This is his first novel.

 

Social Media Links:

Web site www.mercyrow.com

Facebook ihttps://www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel

Twitter https://twitter.com/mercyrow1

Goodreads.com Book page is https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17563290-mercy-row

 

Review

Admittedly I wasnt that fond of this book upon completion but that is not to say that it did not have its redeeming features. For me, as a first novel it didnt live up to the standard of many other debuts I have read. First lets get the bad news out of the way from this readers point of view. I didnt feel that the story flowed that well and even allowing for the subject matter I felt that the bad language was way overdone – and bad language in novels generally does not bother me one iota, however here it did feel rather gratuitious. That kind of thing is always in the eyes of the beholder however, and the next reader along from me may disagree! I also felt that the characterisation was rather static – not fleshed out enough if you will and I didnt really relate to any one therefore for me it fell a bit flat.

However, having said the above I would also say the author definitely has something. The story was there – no doubt about that. Also Mr Hallmans sense of place was very well done – I may not have related to the characters so much, but for me the biggest character was Philadelphia. The nuances of the period of time were also quite clever – again I would say not QUITE there but still nicely done. If you are interested in stories from this time period and you like a good “crime family” story I would certainly say give this one a go…all readers are different and it may not have been for me but thats not to say the next person would not get great enjoyment out of this.

To finish I would like to say – this book has not put me off reading further offerings from Mr Hallman because I think that he could write a GREAT novel. This one, for me, just wasnt it.

 

Which Serious Series of Books?

So today my thoughts have turned to that wonderful thing – books in a series. We all have our favourites – the ones that can’t be missed. The ones that we chomp at the bit for, and I thought I would tell you about some of mine. In return, I hope to hear about some of yours – perhaps ones I SHOULD be reading but have missed out on. In order to not be overwhelming I’m going for my top three. You of course, may tell me about as many as you like!

First and foremost we have Mr John Connolly and that wonderful creation Charlie Parker. Mr Parker is a Private Investigator. But is that all he is? Tragedy gives him focus – and he lives in those grey area’s of life. The people who surround him do as well. The magnificent Louis and the heartfelt Angel. A killer and a thief…two characters who are worthy of their own set of novels (and indeed Mr Connolly did give them one of their own!) Each novel also has its own nightmare. I’d call them “The Bad Guys” but that doesnt even begin to cover it. And Mr Connolly’s ability to use a hint of the Supernatural without ever completely going down that road means that each book brings its own answers – and its own unending questions. I hope Mr Parker lives for a long time. I hope that when John Connolly finally completes his story that he will have a happy ending. But thats in no way certain….

Every Dead Thing is the first in this series. If you havent picked it up already I would HIGHLY recommend that you do.

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So, moving on. How about that wonderful literary detective Inspector Lynley? Not met him? Oh you should. He’s posh. Except really he’s not. He may be the 8th Earl of Ashington but his heart is in catching killers. And catch them he does! Along with the indomitable Sgt Barbara Havers and with the help of his great friend Simon, the lovely Helen and his first love Deborah, no murderer is safe from detection. But these books offer so much more than intriguing mysteries. Inspector Lynley’s own ongoing life dramas could be novels in themselves. And the characterisation and people you meet in each separate novel are always brilliant. Sometimes Lynley and cohorts are only secondary. The wonderful “Playing for the Ashes” brings us Livie, a girl living on the edge. This is more her story than anyones….and it remains to this day one of my favourite in the series. “A  Traitor to Memory” gives us Gideon Davies, a violin playing virtuoso who has lost the ability to play – unlocking his past is key to his future and this is his story. Of course Inspector Lynley is always around and almost always is the one who unravels the tangles – but hey, Havers also stands on her own two feet. She gets her book, Simon and Deborah also get theirs. This amazing cast of characters has kept me company for many happy times over the years. Elizabeth George will have her own page here soon – my rereading schedule includes all the Lynley novels so keep a weather eye out. Just in case you don’t want to wait for my reviews, the first in the series is “A Great Deliverance”. Start there. And don’t stop.

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For my final choice I was torn. That other great literary detective, Sophie Hannah’s creation Simon Waterhouse is equal in my mind to Lynley. However, if you visit Sophie’s page on this very site you can find out all about him and see why you should perhaps give them a go. Instead I’ve chosen Nelson Demille and John Corey. Wisecracking, totally male John Corey. A man I would happily marry. In the first book to feature him, Plum Island, he is on leave from the NYPD recuperating from injuries received in the line of duty. Living the quiet life on Long Island he is asked to consult on the murder of two biologists who worked on the mysterious Plum Island. By getting involved he finds himself entangled with the FBI and the CIA – an entanglement that will follow him through future novels and have a huge impact on his life. Corey is a superb character who grows in stature with every book but also somehow stays reassuringly familiar – he won’t let you down! Mr Demille is the master of misdirection, often you will scratch your head in wonder at the sticky situations Mr Corey ends up in but they are all extremely enjoyable and make for a fantastic reading experience. Wait until you meet The Lion. Enjoy!

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So there we go. My kind of top 3 series. Of course I follow many more literary greats in their ongoing tales  – but have I missed any? Please do leave me a comment telling me YOUR favourite series of books and why. Perhaps I’m missing out and if you follow my blatherings on Twitter or elsewhere you know thats something I HATE to do! Happy Reading folks.

Sleepless nights, Caffeine fuelled days…and books.

So, that rather wonderful author Mr Tim Weaver had a sleepless night last night…Twitter keeps us informed of all this important stuff, and it inspired me to think about my recent sleeping habits. Mostly they involve not doing much sleeping. The odd doze here and there. Sometimes even two whole hours at a time. But generally my life seems to have settled down into sleepless nights, caffeine fuelled days and, well, books. Lots and lots of books. Good books, which you can read about in various places on this very site…bad books that go sailing out of the window..and vaguely indifferent books that take the edge off but don’t really go anywhere.  Everyone who suffers insomnia has their own way of getting through those darkest hours just before dawn, my thing at the moment is to indulge in a few pages of a few books that are on my waiting list to see which ones inspire me to keep going. And then you wonderful readers of my blog get to see which ones are worth your time..in my humble opinion. Since starting this website I have been offered so many wonderful opportunities to read books that perhaps would not even have entered my world and for that I am grateful. At 2am, when the sleep just won’t come, a book can, in my case did, save your life. Anyone who follows my random blatherings will know by now the impact that “The Humans” by Matt Haig had on my life and outlook – but other books have contributed, supported and saved me a little bit at a time. At some point in the future you will find on here a review and thoughts about “The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly. A fairytale of sorts, this was perhaps the first that started me back on the road to recovery – at the time I couldnt vocalise how the reading was making me live not die, it wasnt until Mr Haigs wonderful book that it started to come into focus. But watch this space – The Book of Lost Things is stunning. And will touch your heart. Of course, a book doesnt have to speak literally to your soul as these two did in order to make life fun. After all, what else is a good book for but to entertain you, make you think, perhaps even engage your brain in a little bit of the old “beat the author” game…I’ve read some stunning novels lately – What Lots Wife Saw was heart stoppingly good, as was The 5th Wave and currently, The Unquiet Dead by Steven Dunne has me desperately trying to decide whether I’m right about the solution or if he’s leading me down the proverbial garden path. Again, you will be able to read about that one soon. So, pick up a book. Any book. For whatever reason. And keep your heart happy.

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Welcome…And yes, its getting there!

So here is my Brand New Website, Liz Loves Books, because, well, Liz does! Its very much a work in progress but at some point you just have to let it out there so here we are. More content is being added daily and you will be able to find the latest great reads right here on the front page. Since I started this endeavour to try and get more people reading I have learnt a lot and I have to give a huge shout out to Mr Mathew Williams an amazing friend who has seen me through this first part of the process and is continuing to do all the technical bits and bobs required for me to be able to manage it perfectly – even with my complete and utter lack of knowledge when it comes to these things. You COULD follow him on Twitter if you were so inclined. https://twitter.com/_mathewwilliams

So here we are. Some of the pages have more content than others currently but I am in the process of adding all the great books I have read lately as well as a few favourites from over the years, so if you keep visiting over the next few weeks and months who knows what you will find? Perhaps a new author to add to your list of “must reads” or perhaps something you might not necessarily have picked up without a little push…when it comes to reading anything goes – you never know what you might find out there in the world. If you are interested, a few of my favourite authors old and new can be found under “favourite authors”…take a look at their websites and find your people! If you fancy some lovely signed books or anything mail order wise the Coles Bookstore link at the top is where you need to be!   So enjoy with me the journey so far and I hope to see you here again soon…