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Children's fantasy novel, first of a series – quite fun

Dragon's Green - Scarlett Thomas



Effie Truelove lives in the Realworld and discovers a lot about magic and her role in the Otherworld where magic reigns supreme. Along the way, she finds schoolmates who develop abilities and become friends. There's plenty of action and a fair amount of original ideas in this novel and lovers of children's fantasy will enjoy it. The style reminds me of the Septimus Heap books and Harry Potter fans will probably enjoy the storyline.


The downfall of a “celebrity” using the media – a salutary tale – an eye-opener

No. 1 With A Bullet #1 - Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona

This is a review of the whole series


This comic collection deals with a media personality, Nash Huang, whose life is ruined by social media, jealousy and betrayal by many around her. It shows how social media and fans can turn from positive to negative in an instant. There are a few related sub-plots and the characters are quite well-developed.


Artwork is reasonably clear and colourful and the story moves along at a fair pace with flashbacks. The digital edition has a series of relevant essays at the en as well. Quite good and it makes a “pleasant” change.


Another fun nonsense Stephanie Plum novel

Tricky Twenty-Two - Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum gets involved in on-campus high jinks and more serious crime as she continues to balance her bond management job with her two suitors. She must be attractive and sexy to have such an effect on the men around her and the novel has the usual mix of fun, nonsense and family inter-action that you'd expect from an Evanovich thriller. Well worth a read if you like silly crime novels although reading some of the previous 22 books will help to understand her situation.

Science fiction comic collection about corporations and aliens – worth a look

Port Of Earth #1 - Zachary A Kaplan, Andrea Mutti



The premise behind this comic collection is that, in the future, Earth strikes a deal with an alien corporation to exchange water for technology via the title – the Port of Earth. Aliens are not supposed to leave the port but things do not turn out as planned as corporations allow a lot of leeway.


I don't know if this is only a first volume as it ends controversially. A few characters are introduced and fleshed out. The end result is an engaging and exciting story with reasonable artwork (not always clear in the digital version).


Hard to categorise – and review - but highly recommended

I Kill Giants Fifth Anniversary Edition Hc - Joe Kelly, Jm Ken Niimura

This comic collection centres around Barbara, a young schoolgirl, who claims to be a giant-killer. The story involves friends, family, a school counsellor and others. All the characters are well-formed and the story is also about personal tragedy and self-belief. The artwork is black-and-white line drawings on the whole which does not always make it easy to follow, especially in digital format. However the plot is touching and illuminating – which is why I recommend it to all and sundry.

Enjoyable collection of crime short stories

CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour - Martin Edwards


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

This collection of CWA short stories about various crimes is most enjoyable and by a variety of thriller writers including Ann Cleeves and other well-known authors. The stories are gathered under the theme of travel and, as one might expect from a collection of short stories, some are better than others – or rather more pleasing depending on the individual's taste (for example, I particularly enjoyed the last one by William Ryan).

I read these between full novels as a nice short alternative and I recommend them to all lovers of crime fiction.


Highly recommended prequel

The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

This first prequel to the Dark Materials trilogy is a joy to read. It sets up a lot of what transpires in the successful trilogy regarding Lyra, a newborn baby in this book. Introducing Malcolm and Alice as well as many other important characters, the book tells us about various agencies trying to take Lyra for their own purposes.

The writing is engaging and fluid and entraps the reader into the plot. Highly recommended.

Quite good sci-fi comic collection - interesting

Planetoid Vol. 1 TP - Ken Garing



Good first volume about Silas crash-landing on the planetoid of the title to discover that an alien race is using it to enslave humans, using AI-powered junk. The story revolves around how his life develops amongst the locals as he hopes to escape the planetoid and help the survivors below to overthrow their captors.


Enjoyable enough and reasonably well-illustrated. I'm about to start Volume 2 to see how things develop. Not sure yet how much I like it.



Reasonably good story about a hobo in the USA

Rock Candy Mountain #1 - Kyle Starks, Kyle Starks

 This first volume introduces us to Jackson, a hobo, in search of the Rock Candy Mountain of the title and various characters that he encounters along the way. These include the Devil and the FBI. The story is pretty straight-forward and includes a fair amount of fighting and some bloodshed. The illustrations are very simple but reasonably effective. Ending on a bit of a cliffhanger, it will be followed by another volume at some point.

Lots of bloodshed and well-produced comic collection but lacking in variety

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode - Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, Felipe Sobreiro

This is a review of all the Luther Strode books from one volume


This collection brings together all the Luther Strode volumes and I only gave it three stars because it’s all a bit samey. The basic idea is that Luther gains powers, strength, speed and invulnerability, and uses them to fight and defeat similarly-endowed beings in a variety of ways while preaching a more peaceful way. A few other characters are included, especially a girl called Petra.

With lots of bloodshed, this is clearly and well-illustrated and reasonably well-written. I just would have liked more variety.


Old-fashioned detective thriller - with a bit too much boating!

Deceived: A Sam McClellan Tale - Laura S Wharton



Sam, a detective, finds himself investigating his partner’s murder and a lot more besides. Various characters, seedy or helpful, get involved and this reads like a nice old-fashioned detective novel (see Ross McDonald, etc..)


Because it takes place among North Carolina’s boating community, there’s a lot of description of various types of boat, lots of yachting detail and terminology which will mean nothing to the lay person i.e. me. Also, (another of my pet peeves), is the unnecessary amount of directions, on road or boat, which will mean nothing to anyone not local.


However I found the novel very engaging and enjoyed it a lot. Very good and recommended to fans of detective fiction.


Fairly rubbish fantasy novel, poorly written

Gates of Heaven - Pamita Rao

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


A fantasy novel, this book is an easy short read. However I found the writing style to be stilted and repetitive, even boring. The plot is relatively straightforward: a fantasy world with an evil ruthless power-greedy emperor and brave villagers trying to survive and prevent him extending his power and magic. The characters are fairly stereotypical and two-dimensional. There are few surprises and fantasy lovers will not benefit from reading this novel, the first of a series. Disappointing and not recommended.

Involved crime comic series - quite good

The last days of American crime #1 - Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini

This is a review of the whole series.


The premise behind this comic collection is that the US government will activate a device which prevents its citizens committing crimes. In the weeks leading up to this, criminals of various persuasions are getting their last acts in. Our main character has his own plan but needs to involve other dubious characters. Double-crossing (and double-double crossing), murder and mayhem ensue.


The artwork is colourful but not always clear. If you’re offended by bloodshed, torture, sexual acts etc.., this is NOT for you. Good crime series - recommended


Quite fun comic collection - like the film

Kingsman: The Secret Service - Mark Millar, Matthew Vaughn, Dave Gibbons

Having already seen the film, I knew what to expect from this comic collection. From a creative team like Millar and Gibbons, this series tells us about a young man recruited into the British Secret Service, what he has to go through to make the grade and various steps in his development. There’s unsurprisingly bloodshed, death and some sexual content. The series works well, slightly tongue-in-cheek, well-illustrated and interesting.


Recommended to all fans of Mark Millar and of fun exciting comics.


Cosy crime novel aimed at female readers - good if that’s your “bag”

Mud to Ashes - Gayle Wigglesworth



Karo, divorcee and acquirer of two dogs, moves to Belle Vista, California and gets involved with the local potters as well as crime-solving by accident!


Involving murder and fraud, this “light” novel also works as a romantic tale. Aimed at a female readership in my opinion with a fair amount of description of clothes and decor, it works on a variety of levels. Quite good and certainly an easy read.


Grant Morrison takes us on an action-packed ride at Christmas - very good stuff!

Happy! - Grant Morrison, Darick Robertson

Firstly, if you’re easily offended by bad language, this comic is NOT for you because swearing abounds. As does bloodshed and quite a body count. This tale of an ex-detective down on his luck teaming up with an imaginary blue flying horse is original, nicely-illustrated and well worth a look, especially if you’re already familiar with Grant Morrison’s dark writing. I enjoyed this for its storytelling and it kept me interested until the inevitable ending. Recommended to all lovers of crime comics and fans of the creative team.