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Once Upon a River
Diane Setterfield

Science fiction novel with loads of real science - still quite interesting

The Martian - Andy Weir



If science bores you, then this is probably not for you. As in the film, Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars and the novel deals with how he survives, using his scientific knowledge and later NASA’s. There’s buckets of science information which presumably is correct but may put readers off. Despite my limited knowledge, I got quite a lot out of the book and there’s tension and adventure involved.


Quite good novel and I’m sure that many will enjoy it.


Third in the series and Kate Shugak's investigations are a pleasure to read.

Dead In The Water - Dana Stabenow


This detective thriller takes place mainly on a crab fishing vessel in the Aleutian Sea off
Alaska where Kate Shugak has been hired to investigate the disappearance of two sailors, working undercover on the ship. There's plenty of drama and danger and, as usual, it is an enjoyable and engaging read. This is the third that i've read and I've enjoyed every one of them.

Ordinary "cosy crime" novel

The Perfect Paragon - M.C. Beaton

I was not particularly impressed with this "cosy crime" novel which turns around three murders but also involves blackmail, betrayal and conspiracy. Agatha Raisin is not a bundle of fun, agonising about her love life while trying to solve crime. It's OK as a crime story but not really my cup of tea. A quick read (a couple of days in my case). Only recommended if you're a fan of MC Beaton and Agatha Raisin

Down-to-earth tale about an imaginary town – not particularly uplifting

Royal City, Vol. 1: Next of Kin - Jeff Lemire



In this comic collection, we meet a family living in Royal City, a town centred around a failing manufacturing plant. The family are introduced to us, one by one, as they deal with grief over a dead relative and how this affects their everyday life. The plot is straightforward and the artwork consists of simple drawings which are reasonably clear. There is nothing particularly cheery about the story at this stage. The story will continue in further volumes and is worth a look.


Post-apocalyptic fantasy series - very good so far

The Realm #1 - Nick Filardi, Seth Peck, Jeremy Haun, Tony Moore



In this comic collection, Will Mason is a bodyguard for hire in an Earth now invaded by orcs and goblins. Hired to take some scientists West, he encounters various challenges and interesting characters. Some of the story starts out with lack of clarity but it slowly begins to make some sort of sense. The artwork is clear and detailed and visually pleasing. The story will continue in further volumes and is worth a look.



Wanted - J.G. Jones, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughan



This comic collection, reissued and amended, tells us about Wesley, leading a humdrum and unhappy existence, until he is taken into hand by the Fraternity and trained to be a killer supervillain. Adapted and changed completely into a film with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, the series is nicely plotted and the artwork is clear, detailed and well-executed. The story is original and well worth a look for all fans of comics, particularly fans of Mark Millar.


Amusing or unusual anecdotes from a doctor with some criticism of how the NHS is expected to function

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor - Adam Mickiewicz



Adam Kay writes about his experiences as a doctor throughout his hospital career. The anecdotes are funny, some laugh-out-loud, others are just painful or unusual. At the same time, he describes the plight of the NHS doctor: overworked, underpaid and not appreciated.


This is an easy read and I finished it in just a few days. It really should be a must-read for NHS management and government ministers so that they can perhaps improve the lot of medical staff in our hospitals. Highly recommended.


Mysterious horror comic collection – artwork ruined it for me

Underwinter: Symphony - Ray Fawkes



This comic collection is about a string quartet asked to play for a lot of money for a “special” audience and the effect that this has on them. Scenes of substance abuse and sex abound and the whole thing is quite wordy and mysterious (never truly explained – or maybe I'm just thick!). The artwork is vague and unclear which bothered me. We'll see if Volume 2 is any better.


Alex Cross serial killer thriller – usual fare, exciting and engaging

Pop Goes the Weasel - James Patterson



This is the fifth Alex Cross novel by James Patterson and centers around a serial killer called the Weasel. The plot involves those close to Alex Cross, the detective, and includes murder, kidnapping and conspiracy. James Patterson novels tend to follow a certain pattern: they are an easy read, chapters are short (over 100 of them in 500 pages) and the characters are well-described. There are usually a few surprises, mostly unpleasant. This book is no exception. Quite good if you want something easy and “dependable”.


Exploration of a lifestyle choice – sexy and quite enjoyable

Swing Volume 1 - Linda Sejic, Matt Hawkins

 A couple marry and find that their life, especially their sex life, is becoming too ordinary and humdrum. They investigate the swinging lifestyle with mixed results at first. With scenes of a sexual nature, this volume is an easy read and a second volume is announced so that the plot can progress. The artwork is clear and enjoyable and I can recommend this to lovers of sex comics, especially if you enjoyed Sunstone.

Wow! A hell of a read! Excellent novel, beautifully written.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits - Carlos Ruiz Zafón



This long volume brings to a close the series started in The Shadow of the Wind. I read The Shadow in the Wind a long time ago and enjoyed it but haven’t read the two books that followed it. This latest novel takes place mainly during the Franco regime and revolves around Alicia Gris, agent for the Government, embarking on the case of a Minister who has mysteriously disappeared. The book also still involves the Sempere family but Alicia is the main character and catalyst. The plot involves all the worst aspects of living under a Fascist regime including betrayal, murder, torture amongst others.

The style is literary and witty and makes the experience well worthwhile, resulting in a wonderful novel, highly recommended.


Romance comic for the 21st century – quite good

Sugar #1 - Matt Hawkins, Jenni Cheung, Yishan Li



Julia is a waitress and student finding it hard to make ends meet. John is recently divorced and finding it hard to date. A chance meeting brings them together and this is the story of how their relationship develops. With scenes of a sexual nature, this volume is an easy read and, although a second volume is announced, the story seems complete. The artwork is clear and enjoyable and I can recommend this to lovers of romance comics.


More interaction between the Old World and the Dream World - still mystifying

Black Cloud Volume 2 - Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon



This second (and probably last) volume of this series continues Zelda’s story involving Frank and Todd as well as a vast assortment of strange creatures, all with different agendas. I can’t say that I really understood all that was going on but I enjoyed the language involved and what I got out of it. The artwork varied: some I liked, some less. It’s colourful and quite detailed. Reasonably enjoyable but not something I can easily recommend.


Fairly short black-and-white sad tale. Entertaining and quite good

Clover Honey - Rich Tommaso



This collection is about Trevor and Abbie, both working for the family gangster firm. Trevor gets into trouble which brings about a sequence of eye-opening events in the New York / New Jersey area.

Told in black-and-white with simple line drawing, it is primarily about the characters and their introspection. Reasonably entertaining and certainly worth spending a bit of time on.


Harry Bosch teams up with another detective - as usual a good read

Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly



This latest novel by Michael Connelly sees Harry Bosch, still getting older, teaming up with Renee Ballard, a detective working the night shift in LA. He is investigating a cold case about a young runaway murdered nine years earlier. She joins him while they both also get involved with other crimes. As one might expect, this is a fairly fast-moving police procedural with quite a lot of action and strong developed characters. We already know Boschs personality and learn a lot about Ballard and their colleagues. The only annoying thing for me is the unnecessary LA street directions which will be meaningless to anyone outside of Los Angeles.


Enjoyable and engaging, this thriller will please Connelly fans and anyone who enjoys well-written American detective stories. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



Cartoony science fiction/fantasy comic collection - reasonably fun but..

Complete Multiple Warheads TP - Brandon   S   Graham



This collection deals with two main female protagonists in parallel stories: they both are involved with powered organs, smuggling or capturing. There’s a huge amount of strange creatures and few humanoid beings. The artwork is simple, colourful, detailed and a little weird. The stories are reasonably interesting and packed with puns, some of which I skipped or didn’t spot, many of which require a wide knowledge. Plenty of sex and bloodless violence. Enjoyable enough but I didn’t like it enough to bother with Volume 2.