Book Oscars 2016

We’ve an Oscars special over on the new site – Book Oscars and there’s awards for best female in a novel, best male, best original soundtrack featured in a novel, best picture (on the cover) and best foreign fiction

So put your glad rags on and join us on the red carpet! Oh there’s an interview with the man who’s just won an Outstanding Achievement Award!

http://www.thebooktrail.com/book-oscars-2016/

OSCARS

Booktrail “Most inventive” booksawards 2015

2015-awardsBooktrail Awards for 2015 

This was hard to decide on as there are many novels that deserve an award to be honest. We’ve read and enjoyed so much this year and there are so many more Booktrail statues we could have awarded but I narrowed it down to these little beauties…

TITLE-AWARDS

Most tears shed over a novel

the-nightingale-978144728307201The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah

Set in Carriveau France

We can’t recommend this novel enough. It’s sad, utterly heartbreaking but so so good and evocative of what women went through during the war. The challenges and choices of two sisters keep us reading through the night and we shed more than a tear at what they went through. Carriveau seems so real we had to check it wasn’t a real place. It’s so evocative and the story of rural France during war time is just brilliantly written and we are giving this as a present to many people this year.

Best North v South banter

edinbThe Strings of Murder

Oscar de Muriel

Set in Edinburgh

Oscar de Muriel is one funny man. Not only does he get Scottish banter spot on, but he weaves so much Scottish culture and supernatural intrigue into his plot that this is a real treat to read. We know and love Edinburgh well and this was so much fun! Creepy too but the humour and banter between the two main characters had us in stitches. And the memory of the policeman from London trying haggis for the first time will never leave us hehe


Best dual culture crime

death in rainyDeath in the Rainy Season

Anna Jaquiery

Set in Cambodia

There’s something very intriguing and special about a French detective investigating in Cambodia. France meets Cambodia was a very new crime backdrop and revealed an evocative setting for murder, politics and a great Cambodian sidekick called Sarit. Morel is a great character – one of the best in a crime novel we’ve read in a long while. The entire plot was just so immersive and so different to anything we’d read before and the way Anna Jaquiery weaved so many strands together in a complex yet smooth and poetic plot – hats off to you.

Best Dubious drama group

snowblindSnowblind

Ragnar Jonasson

Set in Siglufjörður

If you’re ever tempted to join a drama group, don’t join the one in  Siglufjörður will you? That’s if you ever get through that small snow tunnel that links or cuts off the town from the rest of the world. The goings on in this very small place with the writing as crisp and chilling as the dubious dealings are quite ingenious. The entire Siglufjörður setting and the silence which is broken, the screams, the 24 hour darkness….blimey this is one killer of a novel

Best use of a boat

sea maidSong of the Sea Maid

Rebecca Mascull

Set in Portugal

Now if we had a boat we would want to sail and have our own adventure.

Kudos then to Dawnay Price who is something of an anomaly. She was a woman who lived in the 18th century and is based on a real person. She defied men and others who said she couldn’t explore. A gutsy herione who fuels her passion and goes off on an adventure is the story we loved to read. With such evocative writing, we were right there with her and we felt as if we learned so much about the Berlengas Islands and history but never did it read like a history lesson. Rather like a song as in the title…

Most inventive use of an elephant

elepahantThe Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

Vaseem Khan

Set in India

Ah this has to be a favourite. An elephant as sidekick, a most beautiful colourful cover, a funny and witty author interview. Ah this is a labour of love and was so funny as well as being a gritty crime novel too. The setting and nature of the crimes were unique and the culture seeped into each and everyone. As soon as we put this novel down, we wanted to read the second.

What are your special reads and why? It’s fun to look back at your literary year!

Booktrail Awards in honour of Britcrime

booktrail-crime-awardsThis has been a good year for all things crime. Criminally good in fact as the variety of books with all things ghoulish and deadly have been the highlight of booktrailers everywhere. Those who are brave enough to venture into places with literary links to lurid tales that is.

Let’s go on a little adventure….with some highlights from 2015

Screen shot 2015-12-13 at 12.39.00AWARD FOR THAT ‘PUNCH IN THE STOMACH’ FEELING

Eva Dolan

Tell No Tales

Set in Peterborough

Author info: loiteringwithintent | @eva_dolan

Neighbour against neighbour, nobody feeling safe to walk the streets. Then the vigilantes step in…

Eva Dolan came onto the booktrail radar for a crime novel that was so much more than a crime novel. This hit me right in the stomach  with its gritty realism and devastating sense of realism. A hate crimes unit in Peterborough and the nature of the crimes and the investigations which follow. This really stood out for me for the premise, the reality of the situations described in the novel, the sad reality of present day cities in and around the UK and for the fact that this is not a subject often written about in fiction  – gritty gritty stuff.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/tell-no-tales-peterborough-eva-dolan/

AWARD FOR MAKING SMALL TOWN SCOTLAND HUGE

downloadBlackWood

SJI Holiday

Set in Haddington (Banktoun)

Author info: www.sjiholliday.com | Facebook | @sjiholliday

This was a real gem to find. Not just because the author is from the place she writes about and the events in the book are based on true fact, but that it all comes together in such a unique way. Banktoun is fictional yet is based on Haddington near Edinburgh and SJ perfectly captures the sense of small town Scotland, its idiosyncrancies and the shocking events which follow. The sense of isolation and that chilling moment in the woods with someone watching will stay with me for a long time. Can’t wait to see what she writes next!

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/blackwood-haddingtonbanktoun-scotland-sji-holliday/

AWARD FOR FREAKY FOOTPRINTS AND FANTASTICAL FOLKLORE

Dark tidesDark Tides

Chris Ewan

Set on the Isle of Man

Author info:  www.chrisewan.com | Facebook | @chrisewan

Now I’m really proud of myself for reading this scary one. I mean folklore and curses etc often give me the heeby jeebies  to use a technical term so this book based on the Manx Halloween and a dare that went very very wrong was just the thing I probably should not have read at night. I ended up reading it into the early hours, so the chills and the atmosphere went sky high. A car went past at 3am and the dancing lights on the window almost made me scream. Thus book was that good as I was totally and utterly transported to the night of Halloween and the Manx spirits. I’m still singing the haunting song…”Jinny the witch flew over the house…” even now and am very careful about how I leave footprints in the snow when leaving a house.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/dark-tides-the-isle-of-man-chris-ewan/

AWARD FOR MOST DEAD BODIES IN A CANAL

23636123

Daniel Pembrey

The Harbour master

Set in Amsterdam

Author info: http://danielpembrey.com | Facebook | @DPemb

Daniel Pembrey was a gem to discover. He already had a trilogy under his belt so I was able to really delve into his AMsterdam and discover the dark truths of life there. A policeman who lives on a boat, the Dutch whose seafaring ways are in their blood and a murky world of power and politics and the grim reality of human trafficking. Henk Van de Pol was a fascinating man to meet, his work in the city’s police force despite his retirement was personal – this fight was personal. Daniel has captured the best and the worst of the city and made Henk one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across in a long while.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/the-harbour-master-amsterdam-daniel-pembrey/

AWARD FOR MOST INVENTIVE USE OF (Family) TREES

in bitter chill

Sarah Ward

In Bitter Chill

Set in Derbyshire     fictional Bampton

Author info: crimepieces.com | Facebook | @sarahrward1

Sarah Ward you deserve a medal quite frankly for having even a  cover for your book that made me shiver. What is it about trees at night? Open the pages and there’s kidnappings and recriminations with the case taking the police back to 1978 and a suicide thirty years on connected to that date in history. There were more twists and turns with this novel than I will reveal here but it was chilling as the title suggested and I was left with a feeling of shock and awe at the denouement and the ending.

As well as being a blogger with bite, a Petrona Judge and an all round fabulous friendly person, I was privileged enough to be an early reader of this cracking crime novel and I’m excited that she is now on the Derbyshire part of the Booktrail literary map.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/in-bitter-chill-derbyshire-sarah-ward/

Join Britcrime for more fantastic authors and for a celebration to remember http://www.britcrime.com/

Book Oscar Awards 2014

Well, the votes are in and this was not an easy task let me tell you!

 

Winner of Best leading lady in a novel goes to……drum roll please……

Winner of best leading lady in a novel  -  Vera
Winner of best leading lady in a novel – Vera

And the nominees for best leading male were getting nervous in the wings…..

Winner of Best leading man in a novel
Winner of Best leading man in a novel

Well, the 12 years a slave was the deserved winner of the film oscars, but this was based on a book afterall so the book won that award as well. For the book that worked well in Black History month, our vote went to  –

The Secret Life of Bees - winner of Black History awareness month
The Secret Life of Bees – winner of Black History awareness month

The next award was a tricky one – which book should win the coveted award of Best foreign fiction? The award went eventually, after some shaking of heads and nashing of teeth….to

Best Foreign Fiction award for this episode in The 'Cemetery of Books' series
Best Foreign Fiction award for this episode in The ‘Cemetery of Books’ series

The award for Best translated fiction was equally fraught with nashing of teeth and pulling of hair to decide a winner –

The President's Hat was a worthy winner and also a mighty fine  fashion accessory on the night
The President’s Hat was a worthy winner and also a mighty fine
fashion accessory on the night

 

The next, booktrail awards were the most nailbiting of all as how on earth do you decide which book is best for a booktrail?

So the award for the best book set in France went to  –

How can we choose between Fogas, Carcassone and Paris? All are very worth winners indeed.
How can we choose between Fogas, Carcassone and Paris? All are very worth winners indeed.

 

Best book set in Canada was up next……

Aah this had to win purely for the dual timeline story, the story of one woman's quest to find the truth and of course for highlighting the plight of orcas
Aah this had to win purely for the dual timeline story, the story of one woman’s quest to find the truth and of course for highlighting the plight of orcas

 

Best book set in Northumberland next……

All of Northumberland is brilliant!
All of Northumberland is brilliant! – Low Newton, Bamburgh and the rocky crags of the rural hills

 

Best set design and all round sumptuousness ?

aah that Forgotten Garden
aah that Forgotten Garden was not forgotten in the Oscars tonight

But these two won for overall intrigue and glory with best award for soundtrack – ie lyrical language –

All round award for Best Lyrical soundtrack and also Best Picture (on the front cover)
All round award for Best Lyrical soundtrack and also Best Picture (on the front cover)

 

Best historical drama?

Gillian Bagwell is a worthy winner indeed! Also won the award for best historical costume design
Gillian Bagwell is a worthy winner indeed! Also won the award for best historical costume design too

Despite all of this excitement, the children were not forgotten. Of course the books you read in childhood are often the ones that shape you and your reading for the rest of your life. If you are like us at the book trail towers where we still read and love children’s books even though we are not of the intended age range and do not even have the excuse of having children ourselves, we appreciate the wonderful stories and beautiful illustrations – remember how Hugless Douglas was very keen to be at the front of the red carpet?

Well, he won. Bless him

Hugless was a worthy winner. He is still hugging his oscar as we speak and even took it to bed last night and wouldn't let go
Hugless was a worthy winner. He is still hugging his oscar as we speak and even took it to bed last night and wouldn’t let go

At the end of the night – The after party is still going strong  – all of the winners that is all of the books had a lovely group photo taken –

All books are the real winners in the Booktrail's eyes
All books are the real winners in the Booktrail’s eyes – thanks to a great host Peter James!

We hope you have enjoyed the Booktrail Oscars. It’s been great fun to do. Now we’re off in our gowns by Orion, Quercus and a stunning Transworld gown if I say so myself. Raise a glass to the winners and join us for more red carpet events!

 

Book Oscars ARE the only Oscars that matter. Films that won based on books – well the best ones of that other oscar ceremony they were having somewhere in LA was it? we went to LA thanks to our hostess for the evening who provided the magic and the setting as well as all the glitz –

Our setting for the evening - Hollywood for the Booktrail oscars and our lovely hostess Lindsay Kelk!
Our setting for the evening – Hollywood for the Booktrail oscars and our lovely hostess Lindsay Kelk!

Applause applause…..

Much excited rustling of pages….

A few wine stained covers by the end of the evening….

THE END

 

Book Oscars – the build up

Well yesterday The Book trail did a little twitter thing where we posted nominations of books under various categories just like in the real oscars. And we got quite a response! Most unexpected but very very welcome indeed. Instead of looking at dresses and what they were wearing, we focused on the important – the story, the narrative and the words of novels, their settings and yes, ok there was one award for best costume design –

This was the start of the evening –

The books pose on the red carpet
The books pose on the red carpet

Book trail towers was a hub of activity and there were light bulbs popping all night. The paps were actually trying to get in this door that you see in the picture -we had a job to keep the paps at bay. The walk up the bookish red carpet went off without a hitch however and all books were very excited to be there. You will notice of course that Hugless Douglas was the most keen, being first on the red carpet and wanting to remain infront to get ‘the best angle in the pics’ as he put it.

This was the scene inside the BookTrail auditorium –

The seats have been filled and the tension is mounting
The seats have been filled and the tension is mounting

Notice the wine and the empty popcorn containers and it hadn’t even started yet – those books are keen!

Then, when you thought the tension couldn’t get any higher, the lights went down and the host appeared – Peter James, the Dreamer. What an inspiration for the evening!

Peter James The Dreamer was your host for the evening
Peter James The Dreamer was your host for the evening

And as for the award categories – so many and so many excited nominees – here is a highlight  –

Here are the nominations for –

The booktrail award for Best leading lady in a novel
The booktrail Oscar nominees for Best leading lady in a novel
Book trail Oscar for Best Leading male in a novel
Book trail Oscar nominees for Best Leading male in a novel

 

Booktrail Oscar for Best novel set in France
Booktrail Oscar nominees for Best novel set in France

 

Booktrail Oscar nominees for Best Novel set in London
Booktrail Oscar nominees for Best Novel set in London
Booktrail oscar nominees for Best novel set in Canada
Booktrail oscar nominees for Best novel set in Canada

 

Booktrail oscar nominees for Best set design and overall sumptuousness
Booktrail oscar nominees for Best set design and overall sumptuousness

 

Booktrail oscar nominees for Best Childrens story
Booktrail oscar nominees for Best Childrens story

 

Booktrail oscar nominees for Best Book set in Northumberland
Booktrail oscar nominees for Best Book set in Northumberland

There was also the obvious fashion statements made as the books made their way up the red carpet – Essie Fox’s The Somnabulist got all of the tongues wagging with its sumptious red cover and lace detail design –

The fashion feelers were out in force with Essie Fox winning lots of admiring looks for her red sumptuous cover with white lace detail by Orion
The fashion feelers were out in force with Essie Fox winning lots of admiring looks for her red sumptuous cover with white lace detail by Orion

What were the other leading ladies wearing? Lucy Atkins was wearing a beautiful Quercus design – an off the page vignette effect dress cover with wave detail with a dash of red . Stunning!

And What about Kate Mosse wearing an limited edition Orion design? Stunningly unique and understated. White on white with such intricate labyrinth detail to encapsulate the inner thoughts of this novel. A beautiful woven tapestry of adventure, love, history and place.

The night is not yet over and the awards will be announced very very shortly. Ooh the books pages are rustling excitedly in anticipation!

Listen to the rustling!

Can you hear it?

Results will be announced over the page…..

Book trail birthday

Happy WordPress birthday to me!
Happy WordPress birthday to me!

It’s my second blog birthday today and I’m so excited to have reached such an milestone that I wanted to write a little post on my special day. I’m celebrating with some literary friends and more are coming over. I hope you will want to celebrate with me as I never could have imagined that the book trail blog would be going and at such strength two years after I started it to chronicle my travels as a hobby. Thank you to everyone who reads the book trail and for all your comments. I have made lots of new friends via this site and love chatting about books with you all!

Which made me think – if I were to have a literary party, invite my favourite authors for example, then who would I invite? I can’t imagine selecting only a few of my favourite authors – I would have to invite them all. What a party we would have! I would be so honoured to have people from the past as well as from the present. Imagine chatting to Charlotte Bronte over a slice of cake? Or waiting to talk to Charles Dickens as he enjoys a smoke with Wilkie Collins? I have had dreams about such events.

So, for this party, I would like to invite you all to a literary party, a literary gathering at Deyning Park from The Last Summer- the surroundings of which  I became  totally immersed in during my time there wandering its halls and gardens when I first visited. Now it’s the setting for my special day..

My literary party awaits...
My literary party awaits…

Then as it gets dark, we will step out side to watch the Night Circus….courtesy of Erin Morgenstern

this would be the circus spectacular we would watch later
this will be the circus spectacular we would watch later

Now what literary delights will we eat? – let’s have a literary feast of foods including peaches and chocolat…courtesy of Joanne Harris

Monsieur Le Cure would provide the beaches
Monsieur Le Cure would provide the beaches

Now as for the rest of the guests..Let’s  turn the music up loud and shout for people to come on to the dancefloor. Yeah let’s get this party started!

Sara Sheridan has a hair raising experience at the literary party
Sara Sheridan has a hair raising experience at the literary party

I like it when my guests appear relaxed and happy…

Val McDermid seems like she's happy
Val McDermid seems like she’s having a good time!

Now, I did explain to my guests that they could come dressed as they were. No need for dressing up fancy or borrowing a dress even though we were having the party at Deyning Park. They should come dressed comfortably and ready for action. I guess someone didn’t get the memo…..

There is always one who doesn't get the memo
There is always one who doesn’t get the memo – Steve Cole yes I mean you

Yes, Arne Dahl, you may well look disgusted at this last guest. There is always one wanting to break the rules isn’t there!? Nice to see you yourself have made a fine effort and are dressed for Deyning  –

At least Arne Dahl is dressed accordingly
At least Arne Dahl is dressed accordingly

I shall leave you as the party continues – probably into the night. There will be a few sore heads tomorrow but a literary party is totally worth it as it is the best mix of characters, writers and locations I have ever had the pleasure of immersing myself in.

I’m off back to my party. Please come and join me won’t you? Happy blog birthday to all you other people out there on your special day!!

images are of book covers and from publicity photos taken at Edinburgh book festival

The Polari Prize 2013 – an update

mari hannah book

The longlist for the 2013 Polari First Book Prize was revealed earlier this year and is sponsored by the UK lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network of the banking company Société Générale.

This was the full longlist announced earlier this year:

The January Flower by Orla Broderick (Council House Publishing)

Five To One by Chris Chalmers (Wink)
Counting Eggs by Peter Daniels (Mulfran Press)
Realisations by Andie Davidson (Bramley Press)
The Governess by Rachael Eyre (self-published ebook)
The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah (Pan Macmillan)
Tony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)
The Sitar by Rebecca Idris (self-published ebook)
Catching Bullets – Memoirs of a Gay Bond Fan by Mark O’Connell (Splendid Books)
Readings from the Book of Exile by Pádraig Ó Tuama (Canterbury Press)
The Tale of Raw Head & Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf (Chatto & Windus)

It has now taken its rightful place on the shortlist! Whoo hoo hooo

SHORTLISTED FOR THE POLARI FIRST BOOK PRIZE 2013

Why I think The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah win the prize outright:

photo-152

  1. The opening scene is gory, chilling but it is one of the most captivating I have ever read.
  2. Kate Daniels race to find the killer is shared by the reader at ever step of the way.
  3. The voice of the killer rings in your ears as your eyes both flit and linger over the words of the book.
  4. All characters matter and even those on the edge of the action are carefully swept with the detail brush.
  5. Mari Hannah combines her experience and background to write a crime novel that is unlike any other in its characters and procedural descriptions.
  6. My book trail in and around Newcastle really swept me even further into the heart of the characters mindsets and personal lives. The places were vivid in my mind even before I visited them. This is probably one of the most comprehensive book trails I have done in a while and it really brought the novel to life!
  7. Newcastle and the North East now has a perfect showcase of some of the more interesting parts of town – bar the murders of course – The Quayside, Jesmond, Exhibition Park and of course the village of Corbridge.
  8. Kate Daniels is easy to identify with  – her job and her lifestyle may not be the same as yours but she is human and we get to accompany her on a personal mission in The Murder Wall – and it’s a thrilling journey.
  9. All the characters have flaws and foibles – there are delays and frustrations in the police investigation but this just adds to the novel’s punch
  10. A strong female DI at the centre of a male dominated environment is a refreshing change in the police procedural genre – we see where Kate lives, we see where she goes for a drink – we see WHO she is – and that makes us care and her cases all the more shocking.

 Oh and one more – probably the most compelling reason I think it should win:

The novel is detailed, layered, complex and very very well written

The Murder Wall is a triumphant debut and one which immediately had me reaching for the second and indeed third installment…

photo-151

I can’t wait for the fourth Kate installment. Until then, may the Murder Wall get even more of the great recognition it deserves.