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Master List of Books 2014

1. Snowblind by Christopher Golden.

2. Helen’s Story by Roseanne Rabinowitz.

3. The Night Rainbow by Claire King.

4. Bird Box by Josh Malerman.

5. The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky.

6. Ping-Pong Diplomacy by Nicholas Griffin.

7. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.

8. Trouble by Non Pratt.

9. Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson.

10. Shopocalypse by David Gullen.

11. Hyperbole And A Half by Allie Brosh.

12. Gold by Matthew Hart.

13. Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks.

14. Regeneration by Pat Barker.

15. The Eye In The Door by Pat Barker.

16. The Ghost Road by Pat Barker.

17. Banished by Liz De Jager.

18. Fated by Benedict Jacka.

19. Department 19 by Will Hill.

20. My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish – Fins Of Fury by Mo O’Hara.

21. Dominion by C. J. Sansom.

22. The Copper Promise by Jen Williams.

23. Shattered by Teri Terry.

24. Gingerbread by Robert Dinsdale.

25. Hello Darkness by Anthony McGowan.

26. The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.

27. Cursed by Benedict Jacka.

28. Sawbones by Catherine Johnson.

29. Taken by Benedict Jacka.

30. Chosen by Benedict Jacka.

31. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig.

32. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig.

33. More Than This by Patrick Ness.

34. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.

35. The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock.

36. The Lost City of Z by David Grann.

37. Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer.

38. A Lovely Way To Burn by Louise Welsh.

39. Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman.

40. The Distance by Helen Giltrow.

41. The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin.

42. The Boy With The Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick.

43. The Last Refuge by Craig Robertson.

44. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.

45. Diamonds by Ian Smillie.

46. Snapshot by Craig Robertson.

47. The Devil in The Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson.

48. Cold Grave by Craig Robertson.

49. Half Bad by Sally Green.

50. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke.

51. Siege by Sarah Mussi.

52. Acid by Emma Pass.

53. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

54. Company Of Liars by Karen Maitland.

55. Prince Of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

56. The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld.

57. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.

58. The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham.

59. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

60. Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor.

61. When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan.

62. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.

63. Thirteen by Tom Hoyle.

64. One Kick by Chelsea Cain.

65. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

66. Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher.

67. Butter by Erin Lange.

68. Dead Ends by Erin Lange.

69. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

70. Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason.

71. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.

72. The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks.

73. Fangirl: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell.

74. Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

75. Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan.

76. Last To Rise by Francis Knight.

77. Rumpole Of The Bailey by John Mortimer.

78. The Trials Of Rumpole by John Mortimer.

79. Rumpole’s Return by John Mortimer.

80. Purity by Jackson Pearce.

81. Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick.

82. The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss.

83. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

84. The Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen.

85. Heretic by Sarah Singleton.

86. Tomorrow And Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch.

87. Sorcery & Cecelia (Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.

88. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes.

89. The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow.

90. Kill Your Boss by Shane Kuhn.

91. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris.

92. The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig.

93. Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire.

94. The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow.

95. Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff.

96. Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh.

97. My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish – Any Fin Is Possible by Mo O’Hara.

98. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.

99. Hotel Alpha by Mark Watson.

100. Summer Of Ghosts by P. D. Viner.

101. Vicious by V. E. Schwab.

102. City Of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.

103. The Clown Service by Guy Adams.

104. Rooms by Lauren Oliver.

105. Ruin And Rising by Leigh Bardugo.

106. Seven Princes by John R. Fultz.

107. The Hunted by Charlie Higson.

108. The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter by Malcolm Mackay.

109. How A Gunman Says Goodbye by Malcolm Mackay.

110. Parasite by Mira Grant.

111. Good As Dead by Mark Billingham.

112. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

113. The Rough Guide To Japan by Simon Richmond and Jan Dodd.

114. IBS Free At Last! by Patsy Catsos.

115. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

116. Already Gone by John Rector.

117. The Sudden Arrival Of Violence by Malcolm Mackay.

118. One For The Money by Janet Evanovich.

119. Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich.

120. Three To Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich.

121. Moxyland by Lauren Beukes.

122. Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

The Blurb On The Back:

When two young girls go missing in rural Hertfordshire PC Peter Grant is sent out of London to check that nothing supernatural is involved. It’s purely routine, Nightingale thinks he’ll be done in less than a day.

But Peter’s never been one to walk away from trouble, so when nothing overtly magical turns up he volunteers his services to the local police who need all the help they can get.

But because the universe likes a joke as much as the next sadistic megalomaniac, Peter soon comes to realise that dark secrets underlay the picturesque fields and villages of the countryside and there might just be work for Britain’s most junior wizard after all.

Soon he’s in a vicious race against time in a world where the boundaries between reality and fairy have never been less clear …

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The Verdict:

Given the explosive events at the conclusion of BROKEN HOMES, I was really looking forward to the fifth book in Ben Aaronovitch’s PETER GRANT SERIES. Perhaps my expectations were too high because this book fell curiously flat for me, with little action and an awful lot of Peter moping about trying to come to terms with his feelings. I could have forgiven that if the missing girls story had any urgency to it but Peter is so peripheral to that investigation that I didn’t care about the outcome or what was happening. Added to this, is the fact that the resolution has a number of issues and really didn’t make a lot of sense in the context of the overall story. I did enjoy the introduction of Hugh Oswald and the hints as to what exactly happened at Ettersberg and Beverley remains one of my favourite characters with her down-to-earth attitude to magic and sex – in fact Peter only really becomes interesting when she’s in the scene with him. Ultimately though my overall feeling was frustration that there’s no movement in the Little Crocodile storyline, the Varvara Sidorovna or the Leslie storylines and while it can be argued that there needs to be a ‘breather’ book where Peter comes to terms with all that’s happened to him, I found this to be a ham-fisted and dull way of doing it. For me, this is a blip in an otherwise excellent series, although I will no doubt rush to buy the next book in the hope that things will progress.

Moxyland by Lauren Beukes

The Blurb On The Back:

There is no blurb on the back, instead you get the following quotes:

”The larval form of a new kind of SF munching its way out of the intestines of the wasp-paralysed caterpillar of cyberpunk.”

Charles Stross

”A technicolour jazzy rollercoaster ride into a dazzling hell.”

Andre Brink

”I recommend it highly.

Paul Cornell

”Think V For Vendetta, but with third world angst, an outrageously narcissistic trust-fund blogger, and a township soccer team with an insurrectionist agenda. Tell your teacher you want to read Moxyland or you’ll shoot up your school.”

NAG Online

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The Verdict:

Lauren Beukes’s debut SF novel is a dystopian cyber-thriller with some great ideas that makes interesting use of its Capetown location and South Africa’s history but ultimately can’t rise above its two-dimensional characters. I loved the way Beukes uses phone disconnection as a literal means of cutting people off from society and how companies trawl orphanages and camps looking for young talent to mould into their corporate image. Unfortunately, none of the characters came alive for me – Tendeka is a cardboard cut-out angry revolutionary, keen to create social justice but blind to the motives of his supporters. Toby is a deeply unpleasant product of trust-fund privilege who slags off his uncaring mother while exploiting others to achieve fame on his own terms. Lerato and Kendra were more interesting given their backgrounds and how both have fought to overcome disadvantaged backgrounds to make it in their respective fields but neither show any savvyness when it counts and both are defined by their victimhood. I wanted to know more about Lerato’s relationship with the nanobots injected into her and Kendra’s views on corporate life but the book doesn’t examine this in any depth. I also found the ending downbeat and predictable, although there is potential there for a sequel. I’m a big fan of Beukes so it’s interesting to read her first book, but for anyone starting with her work, I’d recommend ZOO CITY or THE SHINING GIRLS as a more satisfying starting point.

Three To Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

The Blurb On The Back:

A “saintly” old candy-store owner is on the lam – and bounty hunter extraordinaire Stephanie Plum is on the case. As the body count rises, Stephanie finds herself dealing with dead drug dealers and slippery fugitives on the chase of her life. And with the help of eccentric friends and family, Steph must see to it that this case doesn’t end up being her last …

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The Verdict:

The third in Janet Evanovich’s STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES has some great humorous scenes in it but the plot meanders and Stephanie is slow to make obvious connections while the Plum/Morelli romance leaves me cold. This is a shame because the characters are great, particularly Lula who wants to discover more about Ranger and has an idea that she might join Stephanie in the bounty hunter game – a scene involving Lula, a car chase and a dead body literally had me in stitches. I also love Grandma Mazur, the Plum family dinners remain a gem of observation and it was good to see more of Ranger in the book and get a glimpse of Stephanie’s ex-husband. However Morelli’s alpha male antics leave me stone cold and although I’m supposed to root for him and Stephanie, I really don’t. Ultimately, this was an okay read and there’s still enough here for me to continue reading the series.

Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich

The Blurb On The Back:

This one’s double the fun!

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin VInne’s bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso – a suspiciously wealthy, working-class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend – the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli – who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch – only makes the hunt more thrilling …

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move … and his next move might be Stephanies last.

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The Verdict:

Janet Evanovich’s crime sequel is another sharply plotted and at times hilarious novel that has numerous plot strands that come together in a satisfactory way at the end. Grandma Mazur is by far my favourite character who steals every scene where she’s in and has all the best lines and I loved the funeral home scenes where she frequently spreads mayhem wherever she goes. I also love the Plum family dinner scenes, which are deft and light and completely believable. Where the book falls down for me is in the romance between Stephanie and Morelli and that’s mainly because Morelli is such an arrogant, double-crossing jerk and the way he tries to ‘protect’ Stephanie at times made my skin crawl. I also dislike the way Stephanie turns into such an idiot around him and while she does have a couple of good moments where she stands up for herself, it’s not enough to take the bad taste away. This is a shame because there’s a lot of fun here (and I was genuinely worried for Stephanie’s hamster at times). There’s enough here to ensure I’ll keep reading on with the series but I think the Morelli/Stephanie romance could rapidly become a deal breaker for me.

One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

The Blurb On The Back:

One fine mess.

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash – fast – but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family …

One false move.

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-I spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water – wanted for murder …

One for the money.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight – and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man …

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The Verdict:

Janet Evanovich’s debut Stephanie Plum novel sets the tone for this long-running crime series. Light-hearted and conversational in tone, it’s got some laugh-out-loud moments (particularly the Plum family dinners and Grandma Mazur, who is a scream) and a decent mystery revolving around the Morelli. Personally, I could have done without the romance element between Morelli and Stephanie, particularly as I found it pretty sexist and I’m bored with romances that are dependent on the female character making a fool out of herself or being constantly outwitted by the man. I also found Stephanie to be a little irritating at times because for all her mouthy sass, she makes some incredibly obvious mistakes and doesn’t seem to learn from them (particularly about where to keep her gun). Plot-wise, it rattles along at a decent pace but the main antagonist is incredible cliché and the ending a bit of a let-down. That said, there is a lot here that I enjoyed and I can see why it’s sparked such a successful series – it’s a decent debut and I will definitely be reading on.

The Blurb On The Back:

He’s touching the front of his coat, feeling the shape of the gun. Should have got rid of it. On any other night, any other job, he would. This isn’t any other job. This, he intends, will be his last …

It begins with two deaths: a money-man and a grass. Deaths that odder a unique opportunity to a man like Calum MacLean. A man who has finally had enough of killing.

Meanwhile two of Glasgow’s biggest criminal organisations are at quiet, deadly war with one another. And as a Detective Michael Fisher knows, the biggest – and bloodiest – manoeuvres are yet to come …

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The Verdict:

The conclusion to Malcolm Mackay’s GLASGOW TRILOGY is another tautly written, hard-boiled tale that ties up the loose ends and provides a satisfying conclusion to this strong crime trilogy. Callum’s really developed as a character over the books and the end game between Shug and Jamieson really comes good with Fisher lurking in the background, trying to put all the pieces together from the first book. There are some neat twists, the pacing works well and although the plot line is stripped down and simple, Mackay injects plenty of suspense and I enjoyed the parallels between Jamieson and Young and Shug and Fizzy. I really like the way Mackay shows the relationships and the distrust between the men in this story and how there can never really be friendships when you enter a life of crime. That said, the introduction of Alex MacArthur came a little too late in the trilogy for me and I wished that there had been some earlier interaction between him, Shug and Jamieson to provide a context to some of the events in this book and at times contrivance is relied on to keep events moving forward. I also wished that there had been some more female characters in the book – I understand that this is in keeping with the male world of crime in Glasgow – but it would have been interesting to have some more female perspectives on living with it and while Deana goes some way to do that it wasn’t enough for me. These quibbles aside, I’ve really enjoyed this trilogy and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mackay writes next.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the free copy of this book.

Already Gone by John Rector

The Blurb On The Back:

Jake Reese is an ordinary guy with an ordinary job, trying to block out the memory of his violent past by planning for the future with his new wife, Diane. But the past has a habit of refusing to stay buried …

When two men attack Jake in a car park and cut off his ring finger, he tries to dismiss it as an unlucky case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But when events take a more sinister turn and Diane goes missing, Jake knows he can no longer hide from the truth.

As he embarks on a mission to find Diane, Jake finds himself dragged back into the life he thought he had walked away from forever and the days ahead begin to unfold in terrifying ways …

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The Verdict:

John Rector’s thriller is a so-so affair about the impossibility of escaping your past and the secrets that can exist in any relationship. At times it reminded me a little of GONE GIRL (although it predates it by two years), notably the way Rector reveals information about Diane. The dialogue is crisp, it skips along at a decent pace and there’s a hard-boiled vibe to it but the plot threatens to fall apart at times with some twists that verge on ludicrous, especially as Jake never behaves like someone who had a criminal past (certainly he’s not ruthless enough given his former violent nature). Ultimately it’s an okay read that would make a good beach novel and there was enough here for me to check out Rector’s other work.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the free copy of this book.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Blurb On The Back:

Every year, the Scorpio Races are run on the beaches of Skarmouth. Every year, the sea washes blood from the sand. To race the savage water horses can mean death, but the danger is irresistible.

When Puck enters the races to save her family, she is drawn to the mysterious Sean, the only person on the island capable of taming the beasts.

Even if they stay together, can they stay alive?

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The Verdict:

Maggie Stiefvater’s critically acclaimed standalone YA fantasy is a well-crafted, exciting read that really conveys the magic of horses (both real and fantastical) while also establishing a credible romance between the two main characters. The story is a little predictable and I found Skarmouth veered at times towards being distinctly Oirish in flavour while Kendrick’s main antagonist Mutt (the cruel and vicious son of Benjamin Malvern) is two dimensional, but Stiefvater’s skill as a writer means there are still some surprises in the plot together with some beautifully observed and touching scenes. What really sets this book apart though is the fact that the romance is so well written – you see Puck and Sean grow towards each other and the love they share for horses. In lesser hands this could be clichéd but Stiefvater gives it life and a sweet intensity (and I say that as someone who doesn’t like a lot of romance). Also good is the relationship Puck has with her brothers, especially the sweet and fearful Finn who isn’t quite able to deal with the real world. Ultimately this was an interesting and entertaining read and I really look forward to seeing what Stiefvater does next.

IBS Free At Last! by Patsy Catsos

The Blurb On The Back:

IBS should not make you skip a beat – get your groove back!

Tired of missing the fun because of your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Confused about what to eat? Think you’re the only one who feels miserable while eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and yoghurt? You are not alone. IBS affects up to 15% of teens and adults.

If you could get your groove back in just a few weeks by trying a new kind of diet, would you do it?

High-fiber diets for IBS are old school. It’s time you learned about FODMAPs!

IBS - Free At Last! has the latest on how foods you eat can cause your IBS symptoms. Registered dietitian Patsy Catsos spells out a diet program to help you find your FODMAP food triggers. Thousands of readers of the first edition of IBS - Free At Last! were the first to benefit.

Now it’s your turn.

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The Verdict:

If you suffer from IBS then you already know that certain foods can aggravate your condition, so this book can help you to bottom out which foods work as triggers. However, it is a US focused book and US food labelling is different to that in the UK, which made it difficult to stick with it and there are a number of inconsistencies within the diet that aren’t explained. I’d recommend giving it a go because there’s nothing to lose but I think to really get the best out of the diet you need to sit down with a UK nutritionist and adapt this to the UK food market.

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