- Poppy Z Brite
This is the book that changed who I was as a reader, and who I wanted to be as a writer.
The story follows the fortunes of two serial killers, as their lives and passions collide with climatic results. It's bloody and brutal and brilliant.
The characters are well written and unlike any you will have come across before. Through the charismatic Andrew, lost-boy Tran, and loose canon Luke, Poppy Z Brite tackles issues such as HIV and homosexuality with unapologetic realness, allowing us a glimpse into a terrifying and emotive world we may never otherwise see.
This is one book you won't ever forget.
- Neil Gaiman
If you love pure, joyous escapism, then Gaiman will always be a good choice. He is a master storyteller, who gives the reader the ability to utterly suspend disbelief throughout the book.
For me, Neverwhere is my favourite of all his works. It's packed full of clever little moments that will have you smiling, crying, and laughing. The characters are larger than life, and even the bad guys are kind of likeable. The setting is both comfortingly familiar and excitingly different.
If you want a magical adventure with a little bit of everything thrown in, then this is the book for you.
THE DOLL FACTORY
- Elizabeth MacNeal
This book blew me away. I literally couldn't put it down.
The first thing that hooked me was the setting. The story unfolds in London, during the time of The Great Exhibition, and we see it through the eyes of our heroine, Iris.
From the moment taxidermist Silas sets his eyes on her, he knows he has to have her. For Iris, trying to break free from a life of drudgery to pursue her dream of becoming an artist, his obsession could be the death of her.
For any fans of historical fiction, this is an absolute must-read.
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
- Arthur Golden
The most beautifully evocative and immersive book I think I've ever read. It really does take you into another world and another time. It's wonderfully researched and detailed, and the character of Sayuri is so enjoyable.
The story follows a young girl from a small fishing village, who, along with her sister, is sold by her father following the death of her mother. Finding herself working as a maid at an okiya in Gion, she soon becomes determined to become a geisha, and win the heart of a man whom she falls in love with on the street one day.
This book is not something I would usually have read, but it instantly became a favourite. I've read it numerous times, and I know I'll read it more in years to come. It's honestly stunning.