As the CQ team’s resident Brit, I’m very proud of the literature that’s come from the British Isles, so I decided to bring you my list of “The Best of British Books.” Some, I have read numerous times over, some only once, and some are on my TBR list.
91ssa1Ggt8LThe Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
Perhaps the most well-known British book series, and the reason I (and many others) got into/ back into reading.
I was first introduced to the series when I saw Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the cinema. I instantly fell in love with the boy wizard, and his magical world, and experienced all the excitement along with Harry during his first shopping trip to Diagon Alley, boarding the Hogwarts Express, arriving at Hogwarts and getting sorted into Gryffindor.
After watching the movie, I quickly found a Harry Potter forum online, and discovered the book series, which I then devoured.
As I waited for book five, The Order of the Phoenix, I re-read the series and it was having Goblet of Fire as a constant companion during the summer of 2002 that got me through some difficult times, and set me on a path that I continue to walk today.
Thanks to the series, I discovered online forums and fanfiction. I made many fantastic friends, some of whom are still in my life ten years later, and Harry Potter fanfiction reignited my passion for writing.
Almost fourteen years after first watching Philosopher’s Stone, I sit here in a Hogwarts t-shirt, writing this. Harry Potter is still very much part of my life, and I take the time to re-read the series, and try to introduce it to my two sons. Recently, I met for the first time, one of the friends I made on the Harry Potter forums, and we went to a costume party, where I dressed as Molly Weasley!

LionWardrobe13The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia were a childhood favourite of mine. At an early age, I was introduced to the late ’80s/ early ’90s BBC TV Series of The Chronicles of Narnia. Witches, magical wardrobes and talking lions appealed to my love of fantasy, and I read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
However, it wasn’t until many years later, as young-adult, that I discovered the other books in the series. I bought the boxset, and raced through it, becoming wrapped up in the magical world of Narnia.

Operation Chimera, by Tony Healey and Matthew S. Cox - CoverOperation Chimera, by Tony Healey (and Matthew Cox)
The first CQ book on my list, Space Opera Operation Chimera, by Tony Healey (and Matthew Cox).
Generations of war with the savage Draxx have left humanity desperate for a way to gain the upper hand.
A chance to turn the tide in their favor is all legendary Captain Nicholas Driscoll needs to hear to lead an expedition behind enemy lines to the Chimera Nebula - a region of space so unstable it remains largely uncharted.
Lieutenant Michael Summers sees an opportunity to matter, a chance to let future generations exist in a universe without constant war. He and other brave young cadets join the Manhattan for its first dangerous mission - to penetrate the Chimera Nebula and discover what it is the Draxx are doing in there.
But first the ship and her crew will be tested by enemies both outside and within…
8140SC1GmqL._SL1500_The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Another fantasy series I got into as an adult. Hubby introduced me to the Lord of the Rings movies (in exchange for me introducing him to the Harry Potter Series), and after seeing The Fellowship of the Ring, I brought the series. Although it took me many years, and multiple attempts to read the whole series, I eventually did.
20130826_101945His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman
Yet another fantasy series making my list - why are all British author fantasy writers? Or is it just the ones I like? My brother-in-law brought me the series one Christmas, after we’d spent months discussing books we loved. This led to a tradition of buying each other books for Christmas and birthdays, and it’s through him that I’ve been introduced to many great reads.
The Other Lamb, by Katie Young - CoverThe Other Lamb, by Katie Young
The second CQ book on the list, Katie Young’s young-adult LGBT urban-fantasy, The Other Lamb.
Incarcerated on Earth as punishment for breeding with humans, the Watchers found a way to escape. Zach is living proof of that… even though someone has cut out his heart.
When Zach turns eighteen he develops an insatiable thirst for blood, but he tries to bury his fears and go on enjoying his birthday. His best friend Kim has scored them tickets to the hottest gig in town. But a charged encounter with his idol, the enigmatic rock star known as Grigory, leads to a revelation that shatters everything Zach thinks he knows about himself and the world, and places everyone dear to him in grave danger.
Zach is a Naphil, the forbidden offspring of a mortal woman and a Watcher. When those who seek to destroy him snatch Kim, Zach is forced to embark on a journey of discovery spanning continents and ages. With the help of a mysterious stranger named Sam, Zach must unearth the truth about his parentage, find Kim, and discover who has stolen his heart… before he triggers the apocalypse.
o-THE-WITCHES-facebookThe Witches, by Roald Dahl
Growing up, Roald Dahl was a staple in British schools, and his books were read in story-time, and even formed the basis of lessons. Movies were also made based on many of the books, and my favourite was The Witches. Even those these witches were evil, and hated children, I still thought they were fantastic (and creepy), and I got swept up in the magical world.

216231Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
I was introduced to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland thanks to the Disney movie, and loved the magical world of Wonderland. As a child, I read a simplified version of the book, and as an adult, became re-introduced to the world through America McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns video games. I have Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass on my Kindle, to read at some point.
The Zero Point, by Nafeez Ahmed - CoverZero Point, by Nafeez Ahmed
Political thriller, Zero Point, is the third CQ book on my list.
Near future Great Britain is on the brink of collapse. Mass riots. Economic meltdown. Blackouts. And a new oil war in Iraq to keep the world economy afloat.
Iraq War veteran and war crimes whistleblower David Ariel is sick of violence, and trying to make ends meet working for Specialist Protection. But after Prime Minister Carson is brutally assassinated by extremists on Ariel’s watch, he is covertly targeted by a compromised police investigation.
When forensics discover that Carson’s assassination inexplicably defied the very laws of physics, bodies drop like flies as key witnesses are murdered in impossible circumstances.
Fleeing for his life while London is locked-down under martial law, Ariel gets a phone call from Iraq he will never forget. His estranged girlfriend, journalist Julia Stephenson, warns that the Carson killing is just the beginning of a wider plot to bring the West to its knees. Then she disappears.
Ariel’s blood-soaked race against time to track the terror cells behind Carson’s death tumbles into the cross-fire of a hidden battle between mysterious rogue intelligence agencies. The goal: to monopolise black budget technologies which could unlock the universe’s darkest, arcane secrets.
As the world he thought he knew unravels, Ariel faces off against bent coppers, double-crossing agents, psychic killers and super soldiers to complete a black ops mission like no other: stop Quantum Apocalypse.

cvr9781416523734_9781416523734_hrHard Times: For These Times, by Charles Dickens
Confession time: I hate Charles Dickens. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve seen a few film adaptations of his work, and enjoyed them. But while studying A Level English Literature and Language at college, one of the set texts was Hard Times. Our authoritarian teacher read the novel in the same monotonous tone, and sapped any enjoyment out of story. Since then, I haven’t been able to face any of Dickens’ work. Perhaps it’s time to try again.

MacBeth, by William Shakespeare
In contrast to my experience with Dickens, Shakespeare was another British author I was introduced to through school set texts, but this time - partly due to subject matter and partly due to teacher - I fell in love.
When I was nine, we had a student teacher who taught us MacBeth, and under her guidance, we were to perform a production of The Scottish Play. As with many literary discoveries in my childhood, teens and adult life, I was drawn to the role of one of the three witches, and was gutted when I didn’t get it. I really wanted to stand on stage reciting: “When shall we three meet again.In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
Alas, I didn’t get the role. I was, however, given the role of The Third Apparition, who prophesises to MacBeth: “be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care who chafes, who frets… until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill /Shall come against him.

Cipher, by S.E. Bennett - CoverCipher, by S.E. Bennett
The next CQ title on my list is young-adult, cyberpunk romance Cipher, by S.E. Bennett.
Cipher Omega is sixteen years old and a failed experiment.
She is an identical clone of the brilliant, damaged woman whose genome the scientists of the Basement were trying to copy and improve. Without the modifications they wanted, she isn’t just worthless: she’s a liability, a ticking time bomb of instincts and human weakness.
All her life she has dreamed of the freedom of life outside the laboratory, on the surface world, but when her home is destroyed and she’s left the only survivor of a hundred-year human cloning project, she is forced to face the reality of the military-ruled nation that created her. Aided by the only other surviving child of the Basement, an enigmatic solider named Tor, and two rebel journalists named Bowen and Oona Rivers, Cipher finds herself searching for answers in the wreckage of a once-great city. When the time comes, will she be able to chose between freedom and love?

91aC4cYBeQL._SL1500_Discworld, by Terry Pratchett
As a Brit, and lover of fantasy literature, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never read a single book in the Discworld series, though it’s been recommended to me numerous times. With witches, wizards and other magical beings, I’m sure I’d love them, and will have to add a few to my growing TBR pile.

9780755322824Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
The second British fantasy book on my list that I haven’t read. I’ve actually had Stardust on my Kindle since Christmas. I really should get round to reading it!

Darkness Watching Emma AdamsThe Darkworld Series, by Emma L. Adams
Emma L. Adams’ new-adult, urban-fantasy/ paranormal romance series is the final CQ entry on the list.
The Darkworld series follows eighteen-year old Ashlyn, who thinks she has a pretty firm grip on sanity - until the day she sees a sinister, violet-eyed demon watching her.
She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits- and the darkness is staring back.
Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone - little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world. Ashlyn is soon caught between the life she’s gained and a secret community of magic-users living under the Venantium’s radar, who could give her the answers she’s looking for.
As she becomes a target both of the Venantium and of sinister otherworldly forces, the discoveries Ashlyn makes about her own identity will change her life forever.