Archive for mystery

Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2014: YA September

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. YA books have become a big part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the second one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2014: YA July-August

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. YA books have become a big part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the first one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Continue reading »

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Author Query – Helen Grant [Blog Tour]

helengrant-demonsofghentIt’s no secret I love Helen Grant’s writing. Ever since the lovely Liz de Jager gave me Helen’s The Glass Demon for Christmas, I’ve been an avid fan and have read all of her published YA books. So when Helen approached me about being part of her blog tour for her latest novel, Demons of Ghent, I immediately started thinking of interview questions to ask her. So much to ask! However. I behaved and only sent her about ten questions, the answers to which you can find below.  Continue reading »

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Sarah Jamila Stevenson – The Truth Against the World

sarahjamilastevenson-thetruthagainsttheworldWhen Olwen Nia Evans learns that her family is moving from San Francisco to Wales to fulfil her great-grandmother’s dying wish, she starts having strange and vivid dreams about her family’s past. But nothing she sees in her dreams of the old country–the people, the places–makes any sense. Could it all be the result of an overactive imagination . . . or could everything she’s been told about her ancestors be a lie?

Once in Wales, she meets Gareth Lewis, a boy plagued by dreams of his own–visions he can’t shake after meeting a ghost among the misty cairns along the Welsh seaside.

A ghost named Olwen Nia Evans.

Sarah Jamila Stevenson’s The Truth Against the World is a modern-day Welsh ghost story that proves that ghosts can be from any era and bound to earth for any reason. It’s about the secrets people keep and how a coincidental discovery of a tombstone out at a deserted ruin at the seaside can unravel those secrets decades on. While the story Wyn and Gareth discover is tragic, their story itself is lovely and astonishingly free of insta-love and relationship drama. Instead the focus is squarely on Olwen and helping her find peace.  Continue reading »

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P.B. Kane – The Rainbow Man

pbkane-therainbowmanWhen Daniel Routh, together with friends Jill and Greg, and little brother Mikey, discover a body washed up on the beach after a storm, it’s one of the most exciting things ever to happen on the island of Shorepoint. And, as the man in question slowly recovers, he befriends the inhabitants of this small fishing community one by one. Only Daniel suspects something might be wrong with the newcomer, who cannot remember who he is, nor how he came to be there. To start with, this John Dee (as they label him, short for Doe) brings prosperity and happiness with him, but it isn’t long before the tide begins to turn. Then John begins to worm his way into Daniel’s own family, trying to take the place of his late father, and the teenager knows something must be done. Little does Daniel realise that he’s now involved in one of the most ancient conflicts of all time; one that might decide the fate not only of Shorepoint, but of the entire world.

This is going to be a shorter than usual review for me since the book is a short one and there are a number of things that I can’t discuss without giving spoilers for the book’s big reveal. P.B. Kane, a pen name for Paul Kane, moves into the YA market for the first time with The Rainbow Man. And it’s an interesting story to make an entrance there, as it’s a slow-building story as mentioned in the introduction by Rachel Caine, in a way I haven’t seen it done very often in YA fiction.  Continue reading »

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Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen – The Rabbit Back Literature Society

jaaskelainen-rabbitbackliteraturesocietyOnly very special people are chosen by children’s author Laura White to join ‘The Society’, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back.

Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips.

But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, ‘The Game’? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura’s winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her?

Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light…

In this chilling, darkly funny novel, the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society is something special. Originally published in 2006 it was translated from the Finnish by Lola M. Rogers. It’s hard to judge how successful the translation is as I’m unfamiliar with both Finnish and Finnish literature and I don’t know whether the translation has kept the rhythm and the beats of its original language. Unfamiliarity with the original language also makes it hard to judge some of the linguistic quirks of the novel as it’s unclear whether things that bugged me were due to authorial choice or whether this is just a normal Finnish practice. One of the things that I really had to get used to was the fact that our protagonist, Ella is often referred to by not just her first and last name, but even by her full name, Ella Amanda Milana. This just felt strange to me and shook me out of the narrative a number of times at first.  Continue reading »

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Christopher Gortner – The Tudor Conspiracy

christophergortner-thetudorconspiracy1553: Harsh winter falls across the realm. Mary Tudor has become queen and her enemies are imprisoned in the Tower, but rumours of a plot to depose her swirl around the one person many consider to be England’s heir and only hope – her half-sister, Princess Elizabeth.

Brendan Prescott’s foe and mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings news that sends Brendan back to London on a dangerous mission. Intent upon trying to save Elizabeth, he soon finds himself working as a double-agent for Mary herself.

Plunged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a shadowy opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to retrieve a cache of the princess’s private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit – where power is supreme and sister can turn against sister – nobody can be trusted.

I first encountered Christopher Gortner’s writing last year when I reviewed The Queen’s Vow, about Queen Isabella of Castile. I loved the book and I was intrigued with this next book, written under a slightly different name – his biographical fiction is published as CW Gortner – and with a different approach to historical fiction. I have a weak spot for historical crime fiction and this historical mystery is close enough kin to that as makes no difference. Not having read the first book in the series, an oversight I’ll have to rectify in the future, I was worried that I might have missed too much back story, but luckily this book stands alone pretty well and the important bits get re-introduced quite organically in the narrative.  Continue reading »

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Rebecca Mascull – The Visitors

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rebeccamascull-thevisitorsAdeliza Golding is a deafblind girl, born in late Victorian England on her father’s hop farm. Unable to interact with her loving family, she exists in a world of darkness and confusion; her only communication is with the ghosts she speaks to in her head, whom she has christened the Visitors. One day she runs out into the fields and a young hop-picker, Lottie, grabs her hand and starts drawing shapes in it. Finally Liza can communicate.

Her friendship with her teacher and with Lottie’s beloved brother Caleb leads her from the hop gardens and oyster beds of Kent to the dusty veldt of South Africa and the Boer War, and ultimately to the truth about the Visitors.

One of my biggest fears is losing my sight. The thought of losing my vision and the ability to read and to watch my girls freaks me out even to contemplate. So when I read the above cover copy for Rebecca Mascull’s debut novel The Visitors, I was immediately captured by the visual of this little girl completely cut off from sight and sound and I wondered how Mascull would portray her and let her tell her story, as from glancing at the first few pages I’d seen the book was told in Liza’s first-person perspective. The answer to that question is beautifully. I found Liza’s story haunting and evocative and if it hadn’t been for the pesky need for sleep and the fact that I have two toddlers running around, I would have finished this book in one sitting.  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: YA April-June

2014We’re almost there! Welcome to the penultimate post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. Today I’m sharing the second half of my picks for books published for the YA crowd. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: YA January-March

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. YA books have become a big part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, YA too has been spread over two posts. This is the first half. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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