What are your 5 favorite books?
I love so many books that it’s hard to choose between them. Here are 5 of the best in no particular order.
1) The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I always enjoy dual time mysteries where the protagonist uncovers secrets from the past, and this one is set in Cornwall which is where my own book is set; a personal favorite for a dramatic backdrop to a story.
2) Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
This is one of the few books I’ve read more than once and it never fails to amuse. It’s so cleverly written and paints a humorous image of the situations the characters find themselves in; it’s very entertaining.
3) The Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney
Not strictly one book but a whole series! These are aimed at younger readers but are very compelling. I like the style of writing which is somehow both easy to read, yet incredibly atmospheric. They’re set in Pendle in Lancashire, England which is famous for its witch trials in the 1600s, one of my favorite periods of history.
4) Twopence to Cross the Mersey by Helen Forrester
This represents yet another genre in my eclectic book collection. An autobiographical memoir of the author’s life growing up in hard times in Liverpool in the 1930s, it is an eye-opening and immersive tale.
5) Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
I had to include this one because it’s not just an excellent story but is actually the book that inspired me to get on with writing my own. I’ve always enjoyed writing but had never been able to sit down and create a full length novel, but this one encouraged me to do it. It’s very well-crafted with descriptions that make you feel like you’re there on the beach at Lyme Regis with the real historic characters Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpott who became known for finding fossils and making our understanding of geology what it is today.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Song of the Mermaid
Author: Melissa Davies
Published: January 15th, 2012
Genre: YA Mystery Adventure
Recommended Age: 11+
“Yesterday morning, local boat-builder Mr Roger Trevithick was found dead at the foot of the cliffs on the Zennor Coast…”
When Stef Brightbay goes to visit her Aunt May in the village of Zennor in Cornwall, she expects to have an uneventful trip. But when her mother persuades her to research their family history and she begins to uncover a tragic event that took place there in 1812, she is determined to find out more. She also learns of the local folklore; the legend of Matthew Trewhella who was enticed to his death by a beautiful mermaid.
Why is her aunt so uncommunicative? What secret is being hidden by a strange local family who seem to want to put a stop to her investigation? And even more mysteriously, why are unusual things happening at her aunt’s cottage?
With the help of sea-salt fisherman Arthur and his faithful chocolate Labrador, Stef pieces together the past and realises that a frightening parallel is unraveling in the present day. Will they be able to take action before it’s too late?
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Excerpt from The Song of the Mermaid
by Melissa Davies:
Once outside, Stef inhaled deeply, feeling her lungs expand and her mind sharpen. It was strange how rarely she actually remembered to breathe – just to stand in the open air and take deep, cold, sparkling breaths of clean, clear air. It felt so invigorating. She could taste sea salt on her lips even through the mist, and it wasn't so thick that she couldn't quite easily see where she was walking. Even so, she stayed far from the edge of the cliffs and strolled in the same direction as yesterday, towards the church and the rest of the village. She wondered if she might bump into Hayley again but it didn't look like anyone else was around as far as she could see, and the mist gave sounds a muffled quality, making her feel like she was wrapped in a cocoon that she couldn't get out of, and which nobody else could enter. It was a pleasant experience for a while, but after about ten minutes it grew a little eerie, and Stef shivered, beginning to feel the cold, and pulled her scarf more tightly around her neck and folded her arms to keep in the warmth. She turned to head back to the cottage. Her eyes darted around in panic. The mist had thickened and all she could see of the way she had come was a swirling cloud of white. She tentatively walked a few paces and waved her arms in front of her but it made no impact. She turned back again – she had been able to see ahead of her without many problems so maybe she could continue towards the church and wait there until it cleared. But the fog had fallen thickly all around her suddenly and silently, and she was no longer sure in which direction she was facing. Breathing heavily, she stopped and tried to remain calm. She knew that the most important thing was not to walk blindly, in case she roamed too close to the cliff-edge in her disorientation. She suddenly heard a sound to her right and she spun uncertainly.
The mist was silent.
She sank down to her knees and crawled carefully in the direction she thought that Mermaid Cottage should be. Although she wasn't totally sure where she was going, she knew it was a lot safer to feel with her hands in front of her on the ground than to go blundering off on foot as she might easily trip. Her knee scraped across a sharp stone and she swore, feeling a trickle of blood. Her jeans felt damp and heavy as she crawled on, her hair was plastered across her face and she breathed quickly, heart thumping. She was vaguely aware in the author’s part of her mind that she would laugh about this later, crawling through the mud not half a mile from the cottage, totally lost. But right now it was far from a joke. She knew distances could be deceptive but surely she was nearly at the cottage now? She stopped and peered around again in case the mist had lifted. It was still as thick as ever.
She thought she could hear something. Like someone speaking? No…she strained her ears, keeping her body completely still…it was like someone singing.
“What the hell?” she growled. “I’m stuck in the mist and someone is singing?”
It struck her as odd that she could actually hear anything anyway – even when she spoke aloud the sound was oddly dampened, but the voice she could hear was clear even though it was distant. She carefully turned on her knees, feeling around on the ground to steady herself, and painstakingly made her way in the direction she perceived the voice to be coming from. If someone was there, albeit someone weird enough to be singing outside in the morning, she wanted to head in the direction of civilization rather than go blundering further away. From time to time she paused and listened. The singing was definitely growing louder. It was melodic and female. She couldn't detect any words but she was suddenly struck with the feeling that she had heard it somewhere before. In a dream! That was it – the half-remembered dream she had the night before had been about mermaids singing.
“Christ, I am really cracking up” Stef muttered, heart pounding furiously. Even underneath her coat, the hairs on her arms prickled and a chill tingled at her spine.
“I am thinking way too much about my book. I swear I’m going crazy”.
But still the voice continued, and Stef very carefully followed it, half out of curiosity and half out of desperation because right then, she had no better idea of how to find her way back. Her knees throbbed and her head ached, and the singing was now so loud it filled her ears with a haunting melody. She stopped and closed her eyes and shoved her hands over her ears to block it, crying out in frustration. The music stopped. She opened her eyes tentatively and removed her hands.
The mist was gone.
About the Author:
Melissa Davies is a young author who has to date released 3 books available for the Amazon Kindle. She has always enjoyed reading and writing, and loves to craft short, fast-paced adventures which are particularly aimed at young adults aged around 11 or 12 and upwards, but they have also been enjoyed by adults of all ages.
Her premise is to write stories which she would want to read herself. She feels strongly that people shouldn’t be put off reading by books which try to be too literary and obscure, so instead she focuses on the story itself, making it engaging and exciting, rather than worrying too much about using as many long words as possible. However she also refrains from including drugs, sex, swearing or excessive violence because she feels they take away so much from the plot.
Her other hobbies and interests include animal rights, veganism, healthy living and yoga, and she hopes to spend more time on creative writing and improve her work in the future.