Log in

[sticky post] Master List of Books 2016

1. Swords And Scoundrels by Julia Knight (STARTED IN 2015).

2. Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor.

3. Front Lines by Michael Grant.

4. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman.

5. Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty.

6. The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher.

7. Twenty Questions For Gloria by Martyn Bedford.

8. Legends And Liars by Julia Knight.

9. Warlords And Wastrels by Julia Knight.

10. Hour Of The Bees by Lindsay Eagar.

11. Beyond by Graham McNamee.

12. Nancy Parker’s Diary Of A Detective by Julia Lee.

13. The Relic Guild by Edward Cox.

14. Judged by Liz de Jager.

15. Perijee & Me by Ross Montgomery.

16. Maladapted by Richard Kurti.

17. Bitter Sixteen by Stefan Mohamed.

18. My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.

19. Disclaimer by Renee Knight.

20. Suffer The Children by Craig DiLouie.

21. Your Brother’s Blood by David Towsey.

22. The Cathedral Of Known Things by Edward Cox.

23. Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan.

24. Kill Shot by Vince Flynn.

25. Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad.

26. The Beauty Of Murder by A. K. Benedict.

27. The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland.

28. The Pledge by Kimberly Derting.

29. Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson.

30. Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

31. Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle.

32. Time Of Death by Mark Billingham.

33. Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens.

34. 13 Days Of Midnight by Leo Hunt.

35. Natural Causes by James Oswald.

36. Bird by Crystal Chan.

37. My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: Live And Let Swim by Mo O’Hara.

38. Burned by Benedict Jacka.

39. Girl Out Of Water by Nat Luurtsema.

40. Hamster Princess – Harriet The Invincible by Ursula Vernon.

41. The Book Of Souls by James Oswald.

42. Poison City by Paul Crilley.

43. Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence.

44. Help! I’m An Alien by Jo Franklin.

45. Mystery & Mayhem edited by Katherine Woodfine.
The Blurb On The Back:

Twelve dastardly crimes have been committed.
They seem impossible …
But can you solve them?

The twelve stories in this collection contain murder, mayhem, poison and plot, dognapping, safe-breaking, sabotage and biscuits.

Only the intrepid young detectives – and the reader – can crack the cases and save the day. Are you up for the Crime Club’s challenge?

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

Introduced and edited by Katherine Woodfine, this anthology of 12 crime fiction stories for readers aged 9+ is a perfect introduction to the genre. Woodfine has divided the anthology into four sections – Impossible Mysteries (essentially locked room mysteries), Canine Capers (crimes where dogs help or feature in the mystery), Poison Plots (self-explanatory) and Closed-System Crimes (crimes where only a limited number of people could have committed it)

MYSTERY AND MAYHEM was released in the United Kingdom on 5th May 2016. Thanks to Amazon Vine for the review copy of this book.

Help! I’m An Alien by Jo Franklin

The Blurb On The Back:

”I have nothing in common with my family!”

Daniel Kendall is different – different to the other Kendalls anyway. After all, he’s the only one with brown hair and brown eyes, and what’s more, he’s taller than his family, his friends and probably everyone else in the entire world.

Big sister Jessie has made it clear just how different Daniel is, by explaining that he is in fact, an alien, kindly adopted by her parents. Confused, Daniel turns to his two friends, Freddo and Gordon the Geek, for help to return to his home planet. But when things don’t go according to plan Daniel has to decide whether he is an alien or a human after all.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

Jo Franklin’s debut book for children aged 8+ is a warm and funny story that will appeal to any child who feels like they don’t belong and the illustrations by Aaron Blecha do a great job of drawing out the humour. Daniel is a likeable character – gawkily tall, enduring a meaner older sister and certain that his best friends aren’t cool (and yet desperate to keep them) – it’s easy to understand why he so readily believes Jessie’s claim that he’s an alien and Franklin does well at showing his point of view (especially as the facts point to something being wrong). I also enjoyed the depictions of Freddo (who comes from a colourful family of market traders that I hope to see more of in future books) and Gordon (who has OCD, loves his laptop and is tight with his money), both of whom support Daniel in their own way while also having their own issues to worry about. There are some great set-piece comedy scenes (my favourite being a meeting in a kiddie’s wendy house but closely followed by an escapade with a home satellite dish and experiments in cryogenic stasis) and Franklin packs a lot of plot into what’s actually quite a short book. There are two sequels planned for this and I will definitely be checking out what Daniel and his friends get up to next.

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence

The Blurb On The Back:

Not cool enough, not clever enough, not street enough for anyone to notice me. I was the kid people looked straight through.

Not any more. Not since Mr Orange.

Sixteen-year-old Marlon has made his mum a promise – he’ll never follow his big brother, Andre, down the wrong path. So far, it’s been easy, but when a date ends in tragedy, Marlon finds himself hunted.

They’re after the mysterious Mr Orange, and they’re going to use Marlon to get to him. Marlon’s out of choices – can he become the person he never wanted to be, to protect everyone he loves?

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

Patrice Lawrence’s debut YA novel is a thoughtful mix of thriller and contemporary drama with well drawn characters. Marlon’s home life and how his family have already been tainted by violence due to Andre’s involvement with gang culture forms a strong central spine. Andre is sensitively drawn – having been left brain-damaged as a result of a car accident brought about by a rival gang leader – and his scenes with his mother and Marlon (who he doesn’t remember) are touching. Also good is Marlon’s friendship with neighbour, Tish, a mouthy teenage girl drawn to bad boys but who always has Marlon’s back, while Marlon’s mother is easy to sympathise with – determined for Marlon to make the most of his life, fiercely defensive of him and all the time scared to death that he’s going to get drawn into making the same mistakes as Andre. Unfortunately Sonya didn’t work for me (mainly because she’s such a cypher) and I think that the thriller elements didn’t work as well as they should, mainly because the pacing isn’t there to maintain tension while there are a couple of scenes where I didn’t believe Marlon’s reactions (notably with regard to knowing he needs to get rid of incriminating items). That said this is a strong debut that gives a new perspective on what it is to be a black teenager in London and the prejudices and pressures that they face.

ORANGEBOY was released in the United Kingdom on 2nd June 2016. Thanks to Amazon Vine for the ARC of this book.

Poison City by Paul Crilley

The Blurb On The Back:

The name’s Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London

I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things – finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I’m going to do to the bastard when I catch him.

Life is pretty routine – I solve crimes, I search for my daughter’s killer, I try and keep my dog away from the booze. Wash, rinse, repeat. Until the day I’m called out to the murder of a ramanga – a low-key vampire – basically the tabloid journalist of the vampire world. It looks like an open and shut case. There’s even CCTV footage of the killer.

Except … the face on the CCTV footage? It’s the face of the man who killed my daughter. I’m about to face a tough choice. Catch her killer or save the world? I can’t do both.

It’s not looking good for the world.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

Paul Crilley’s debut adult novel is a strong blend of urban fantasy and crime fiction that will be familiar to fans of Ben Aaronovich. What’s great about the book is the location - Crilley really makes the most of Durban, bringing the geography and people to live and setting his plot against the politics and economic situation of South Africa. Also great is the extensive world building that Crilley does here – there’s a lot going on and while there are times when it’s a little too dense, this does feel like a fully realised world with a lot of potential. I particularly liked the details about how the Delphic Division is set up and operates and how that works with South African politics and Crilley’s put a lot of thought into his magic systems (known in the book as shinecraft). Character-wise, Tau was for me a little too stock a detective character (alcoholic drowning in grief) and his relationship with his ex-wife was spartan to the point of being a plot device. However the dog is great and I loved Tau’s boss, Armstrong, who’s a strong female boss with a mean line in Harry Potter jokes and who undertakes a massive development that holds a lot of promise for future books in the series. There were some pacing issues, mainly due to the weight of the world building but all in all this is a solid start to what promises to be an interesting series.

POISON CITY will be released in the United Kingdom on 11th August 2016. Thanks to Amazon Vine for the ARC of this book.

The Book Of Souls by James Oswald

The Blurb On The Back:

Every year for ten years, a young woman’s body was found in Edinburgh at Christmas time: naked, throat slit, body washed clean.

The final victim, Kirsty Summers, was Detective Constable Tony McLean’s finacee. But the Christmas Killer made a mistake and McLean put an end to the brutal killing spree.

Twelve years later, and a fellow prisoner has murdered the Christmas Killer. But with the festive season comes a body: naked, washed, her throat cut.

Is this a copycat killer? Was the wrong man behind bars all this time? Or is there a more sinister explanation?

McLean must revisit his most disturbing case and discover what he missed before the killer strikes again …

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

The second in the INSPECTOR MCLEAN SERIES has pacing problems and the heavy handed supernatural elements that don’t gel with the crime elements. The big issue for me is that Oswald struggles to bring together the drugs operation, the murders and the arsons in a convincing way – the arson storyline in particular could have been easily dropped and I think that the supernatural element would have been stronger for it. I also found the identity of the antagonist to be easy to guess and the chapters told from their point of view didn’t make a whole lot of sense in the context of the story. This is all a shame because I liked the insights we get on Tony’s personal life (alluded to in NATURAL CAUSES) and would have liked more information on his relationship with Kirsty (who’s rather flat and two-dimensional) as a contrast to what’s going on with Emma. Tony’s forced therapy sessions could have helped with this but the set-up was artificial and the relationship unnecessarily antagonistic. I enjoy Tony’s relationship with Grumpy Bob and his squad and enjoyed the introduction of DS Ritchie and I like how Oswald forces his character into new situations while weighing him up with guilt. As such, while this book didn’t work for me, I do want to read the next one.
The Blurb On The Back:

Harriet Hamsterbone is not your average princess.

For one thing, she’s a hamster.

For another, she prefers sword-fighting and fractions to sighing and fainting.

So when Harriet finds out that she was cursed at birth to fall into a deep sleep at the age of twelve, she doesn’t exactly react the way her parents were expecting.

After all, no good curse goes to waste, and so until the age of twelve, Harriet realises she’s … invincible!

Of course, there is still that whole curse thing, but she’ll worry about that later.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

Ursula Vernon’s self-illustrated book for children aged 8+ is a laugh out loud spin on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that delights from beginning to end. Harriet is a fantastic hamster heroine – spirited and determined, she’s got a smart mouth on her and a habit of jumping in first and asking questions later – and I loved her friendship with her quail, Mumfrey and her relationship with her exasperated mother who just wants her to be more princessy. The illustrations are brilliant and do a great job of adding to the story and the humour by serving to continue scenes rather than merely illustrate what’s been described. I loved the twists on the Sleeping Beauty storyline (my favourite being the scenes where Harriet discovers that her reputation has preceded her) and without wanting to spoil anything, I absolutely adored the unadventurous Prince Wilbur and his hydra, Heady (which was my favourite illustration). I was thrilled to discover that there is a sequel to this book and I will definitely be checking it out.

Girl Out Of Water by Nat Luurtsema

The Blurb On The Back:

I am Lou Brown: social outcast, precocious failure.

5’11” and still growing.

I was on the fast track to Olympic super-stardom.

Now I’m training boys too cool to talk to me.

In a sport I’ve just made up.

In a fish tank.

My life has gone weird very quickly.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

Nat Luurtsema’s debut YA is a laugh-out-loud read about family, friendship and getting over crushed dreams. Although the plot is paper-thin that actually didn’t bother me as Luurtsema does such a good job with the comedic pay-off to each scene and because Lou has such a great first person voice. I also enjoyed the unconventional relationship between Lou’s parents, who live in the same house despite splitting up while Lou’s dad tries to find a new job and the complete lack of indulgence both they and Lavender (who’s a bit of a self-consciously cool and gossipy elder sister) show to Lou’s pain – similarly I found Debs to be a hoot as she callously drops Lou for being a failure. Unfortunately I did find the boys thinly characterised, particularly Gabe (whose ME doesn’t really serve as anything other than a plot point and who lacks chemistry as a love interest) and I wished that there had been more between Lou and Hannah than text messages because it undermined the nature of their friendship and downplayed Lou’s real emotional turmoil. That said, there isn’t enough humorous YA out there and I did find this a fun read that kept me turning the pages – as such, I’ll definitely check out Luurstema’s next book.

GIRL OUT OF WATER will be released in the United Kingdom on 2nd June 2016. Thanks to Walker Books for the review copy of this book.

Burned by Benedict Jacka

The Blurb On The Back:

Alex Verus has a magic shop in Camden, London, and an uncanny ability to see the future.

But suddenly it’s his future that seems inescapable. Because the Mage’s Council of Great Britain has named him a traitor and ordered his death in seven days’ time, and there’s no way anyone can get out of that.

Alex’s friends – Luna and other apprentices he’s taken in – are tainted by association. They’ll also be marked for death when the ruling comes into play, and very quickly Alex becomes locked in a race against time to save them.

Perhaps he might even remember to save himself.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

The 8th in Benedict Jacka’s ALEX VERUS SERIES has an explosive start with stakes that have never been higher but it cannot escape the filler feel (an issue that affected my enjoyment of VEILED) in part because you have a good sense of how it’s going to end up while little of note happens in the overriding series arc concerning the return of Richard Drakh and his plans for the future. This is a shame because there are some great scenes in the book and some fascinating developments (my favourite being what happens in the always fractious relationship between Alex and Caldera), I welcomed Sonder’s awkward return and Jacka continues to strip Alex of allies and things he cares about (which partly makes the end of the book so inevitable) while setting up a possible romance between Alex and Anne. However the central mission goes on for too long for the ho-hum pay-off, I was disappointed by the resolution to Luna’s storyline and for once the political manoeuvring failed to keep me interested – mainly because so much of it consists of having alliances explained by other characters. That said, the ending promises a truly thrilling 9th book and while this book didn’t quite do it for me, I will definitely check it out.
The Blurb On The Back:

The name’s Goldfish.

Zombie Goldfish.

Frankie, the world’s only BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH, ends up swimming for his life when his owner, Tom, takes him to an aquarium. Can Frankie defeat a vampire kitten, sharks and a very hungry psychic octopus? In story two, TV show My Pet’s God Talent has come to town. But someone is stealing all the pets’ amazing abilities. Can Frankie stop the thief without revealing his secret zombie skills?

Two big fat fishy stories that will keep you hooked and make you laugh out loud!

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):Collapse )

The Verdict:

The fifth in Mo O’Hara’s ZOMBIE GOLDFISH SERIES is another action-packed highly enjoyable affair divided into two stores that each pit Tom, Pradeep and Frankie against evil big brothers intent on riches and world domination. I really like the fact that Pradeep’s younger sister Sami now seems to be a regular part of the group (and I adored the little shark fin life vest she wears in the illustrations for the first story). Speaking of the illustrations, Marek Jagucki once again nails the illustrations – the flipper page corner animation is a lot of fun and the pictures are perfect for the action and events of the plot. O’Hara packs a lot of plot into each of the stories – I enjoyed the introduction of the mysterious Mr Oddjobz and his relationship with Antonio (who was exactly what I’d hope from a psychic octopus) and I equally welcomed the return of Solomon Caldwell and Geeky Girl (who seems to take a shine to Pradeep). The talented pets are hilarious (my favourite being Toby the tortoise) and Sanj, Mark and Fang are suitably boo-hissable (and as liable to try and get one over on each other as they are their younger brothers). There’s no sign of this series flagging and I really can’t wait to read Frankie and co’s next adventure.

Latest Month

June 2016



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow