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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.


Unusual comic / horror comic collection. Definitely fun.

Ice Cream Man, Vol. 1: Rainbow Sprinkles - W Maxwell Prince



This short collection centres around an unusual ice cream man who gets involved in various ways in each story, all of which have a horror element. There’s humour as well as horrific situations. Artwork is clear and nicely coloured. Writing is sharp and occasionally witty. Different and worthwhile.


Norwegian noir detective thriller which is a slow-burner but nicely conceived

The Katharina Code - Jorn Lier Horst



This novel involves Inspector William Wisting working on cold cases about two separate disappearances of young women. An investigation is opened which uncovers new evidence leading to revelations and those responsible. The plot slowly unwinds and it also involves Witting's journalist daughter, Line, doing her own investigating. The characters are well-developed and the concept is reasonably original.


Recommended to all lovers of detective fiction, I read it over a few days. Well worthwhile. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


Science-fiction comic collection – colourful and quite good

Fear Agent Library, Volume 1 - Jerome Opeña, Kieron Dwyer, Rick Remender, Tony Moore, Francesco Francavilla



This colourful and action-packed comic collection involves Heath fighting various aliens on various planets, some time travel, betrayal, sex and more fighting! It's fairly straight-forward stuff with some characterisation but nothing particularly novel.


Quite enjoyable but I'm not too enthusiastic. There is a second volume which may prove to be more inspiring – we'll see.


Very enjoyable fantasy novel – highly recommended

Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett



I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed this fantasy novel, particularly the first half in which the original premise is established. Sancia is a gifted thief sent on a mission which has important consequences for her and for all the characters involved. The fantasy element of the novel centers around the ability to use sigils to "program" objects with individual powers. All the action takes place in one city dominated by merchant families (a bit like Renaissance Venice).


This is an exciting novel, well thought-out and developed with interesting characters and an engaging plot. The author has established the beginning of a trilogy by finishing with some issues unresolved. Highly recommended. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Finale to this series - undecided what to make of it

Ringside Volume 3 - Joseph Keatinge



I’ve not been over-enthusiastic about this series based in the world of wrestling, a subject of little interest to me. Admittedly it’s more popular in the US than here. This volume is very much about the different characters but the simple artwork didn’t help me to keep track of who is who. A relatively simple plot moves along but, in the end, I didn’t find much of interest. Shame really.


Very good thriller - enjoyable and action-packed

Pieces of Her - Karin Slaughter



This is the second Karin Slaughter book that I've read and, although I enjoyed it, I probably preferred The Good Daughter. This novel concerns itself with Laura, a speech therapist, and her daughter, Andrea, who suddenly find themselves embroiled in the death of a killer. There's quite a lot of complications behind what happens next and I shall not reveal those here. The novel is peppered with flashbacks to 31 years previously to explain some of Laura's background and how she has got herself into the present situation. The book also heavily involves the daughter, Andrea and her quest for answers in 2018.


There's a good deal of characterisation with several important characters involved and the plot moves long quite well although I enjoyed the present-day scenario more than the flashbacks. There's also a lot of introspection by all the main female characters, probably more than I needed. As thrillers go, it's very successful and well worth a look.


Excellent third part of this trilogy - worth the wait.

Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore, Ian Schoenherr

This third volume is mainly concerned with Bitterblue (of the title), now Queen of Monsea, 18 years of age, trying to make sense of her role as ruler and picking up the pieces after the demise of her father's wicked reign. All of the main characters from Grace appear and play an important part and contribute to the extensive plot. Bitterblue, quite rightly, does not know who to trust and meets some other interesting characters in the city.

Quite complicated and often less-than-uplifting plotting leads to a reasonably happy conclusion and an optimistic future. It's a great read although I would advise reading the first two volumes beforehand (Grace, Fire). Aimed at the young adult reader, all lovers of fantasy should enjoy it.

Detective thriller which is a exciting, engaging page-turner

Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben



This novel by Harlan Coben DSL’s with Nap, a policeman with a vigilante streak, investigating his twin brother’s death. It also involves several murders, cover-ups, betrayal and multiple revelations which throw several spanners in the works. There are plenty of interesting characters, some likeable, some less so. The book moves along at a good steady pace, chapters are short, and the plot is intricate.


Recommended to all lovers of detective fiction, I read it in a couple of days. Well worthwhile. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


YA fantasy novel that starts a series and sets the scene – interesting stuff

Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, Book One) - Tamora Pierce



This first volume of a series really is about setting the scene. With inevitable Harry Potter comparisons (two boys and a girl, all great friends, at magic school), this introduces a whole lot of interesting characters, masters and students. Arram is the main character and particularly gifted and it's his experiences that are at the heart of this novel. There's not a lot of action and moral themes are brought in, no doubt to be enlarged on in a further volume. Plot development is good as is the characterisation.


I came away thinking that, interesting as it was, there could be a lot more to it and it was a bit light. However it's definitely worth a look to those young adults and children who love fantasy books.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Norwegian P.I. thriller - a slow burner and worth it in the end.

Big Sister - Gunnar Staalesen



This latest example of Nordic noir centres around Veums investigation into the disappearance of a young woman. A more personal aspect of the case involves his own half-sister. The plot involves violence, rape, manipulation and a lot of lying. The first half has little action as the investigation involves asking a lot of questions then the action kicks in. Revelations resolve a lot of issues.


Enjoyable enough and a good example of a neat thriller, it is recommended to all lovers of the genre. My usual bugbear is many authors giving the reader detailed street directions which are meaningless to anyone apart from locals - in this case, residents of Bergen and the area near it.


Another look at the Witchblade legend - a new creative tram - quite good.

Witchblade (2017) #1 - Bryan Valenza, Roberta Ingranata, Caitlin Kittredge



This latest look at the Witchblade brings us a new possessor of the Witchblade with all her problems and doubts. It introduces a whole load of subordinate characters and the whole thing works well even if the reader is not familiar with previous incarnations. The plot moves along at a reasonable pace and the illustrations are not as refined as in previous series but are still of good quality. Quite good stuff – and now on to Volume 2.


Good second part of trilogy - original and recommended

Fire - Kristin Cashore

The second part of a trilogy, this volume centers around Fire, a "monster", whose characteristic is to bewitch those around her through her beauty. It takes place in a land to the east of the action in "Graceling" and Leck is the only common character to both books. Fire's life is changed when her power is seconded to the kingdom with dramatic consequences for all, especially those who love her or who she loves. She encounters many interesting characters, all of which are well-developed. A good yarn, this follows up nicely from the previous book and is well-told, engaging and original. It stnads alone but might be best read as part of the trilogy: I'm ready for the third part!

First part of fantasy trilogy for young adults - engaging stuff

Graceling - Kristin Cashore


I enjoyed this fantasy novel which deals with Katsa, a young lady with a Grace, which enables her to fight with a great deal of success. She gets involved in other Graced people from different nations, all with different abilities. She discovers a good deal about her Grace and is forced to get involved in plots and conspiracies.

There's a lot of interesting characters, well-developed, and a good deal of action keeping the reader involved and wanting to know how the story ends. Despite being aimed at the YA readership, any fantasy lover should enjoy this - although it can get a bit "soapy" at times. Recommended


Unconventional who-dun-it – recommended to all

Fault Lines - Doug Johnstone



An unusual thriller, this novel takes place in an imaginary Edinburgh where a volcanic island, the Inch, has materialised in the sea off the coast. Surtsey, our narrator, gets involved in a series of deaths, some of which are murders.

The story is well-told and is quite gripping. Characters are well-developed and interesting as well as being diverse. If the reader is sensitive to stories involving alcohol, drugs, sex etc .., then this is not for you. The book is not long at 215 pages and it makes for a worthwhile holiday read if nothing else. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Comic collection of short stories to support Bitch Planet

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Volume 1 - Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Conley Lyons, Andrew Aydin, Kelly Sue DeConnick


In this collection, there are a load of short stories by a variety of writers and artists to back up the Bitch Planet series. They show the fascistic dystopian world of often violent oppression of minorities and women. With such a collection, some stories will work better for the individual reader than others so it's a matter of personal preference.

Gruesome and reasonably entertaining, worth a look. Quite good.