Review Round Ups: Spring Edition!

I had intended for these round ups to be once a month but somehow it’s March and I missed February completely!  I blame the fact that Feb is a shorter month.  Not my fault at all.  So, here’s a catch up on what I’ve read in the last month and a bit and what I thought about them:

Kill The Father by Sandrone Dazieri

I was loaned this book by a co-worker and it’s not my usual genre to dip into but I really enjoyed it.  I felt that it was a bit slow at times but had enough drama to keep me going along.  One thing I found tricky at first was all the Italian names used.  Being cops, they tended to call each other by their surnames and it was hard for me to keep up with who was whom.  A mostly good story but a bit too all over the place for me to want to read anymore more in the series.  Very interesting premise though but didn’t grip me enough.

How To Avoid Certain Death by Tom Clempson

New from the great Tom Clempson is How to Avoid Certain Death which is a completely action-packed, comedy-filled, nonsense book that I loved.  Aimed at a younger age range than his previous books but with exactly the same sense of humour, this new novel is like Monty Python’s Holy Grail aimed at a mid-grade audience.  Loopy, nuts and very silly indeed.  I hope this brings on a whole series of these books because you could so easily see these characters in more wacky situations.  If your little ones love silly, slapstick-type laughs then this is one for them!

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes is another one recommended to me by my co-worker and she simply insisted I read it so she had someone to talk to about ‘THAT ending’.  Every shift I was on was met with ‘Have you finished it yet?” followed by many irate noises when I said I hadn’t quite yet.  Behind Her Eyes is a complex family drama-thriller with a brilliant final twist that will leave you screeching ‘NOOOO!” at the book and hoping you’ve read it wrong.  Cleverly told between the points of view of three characters: the two central female characters in the present and younger male from his diary entries from the past.  I know Sarah has a new thriller out soonish and I’m already excited to see what that one is going to be like.  Smart, dark and a real thrill ride!

Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett

I picked up a copy of this at my local library (USE YOUR LIBRARIES PLEASE) as I’d been eyeing it up at my local bookshop but funds were a little low after Christmas so I borrowed it instead.  I’m a music junkie and this book sounded right up my street from the gorgeous cover art to the premise of a life’s history told through an album.  Loved everything about this book and if you like strong female performers like Janis Joplin, Stevie Knicks or Joni Mitchell then this book will be a winner for you too.  Heartbreaking at times, Greatest Hits looks at a life well-lived but perhaps not so well-lead.  Felt like I was reading a music biography rather than a fiction title.  Encore!

Battle of the Beetles by M.G. Leonard

This is the third and final book in the Beetle Boy series from M.G. Leonard and I’m so thrilled that I was sent a review copy to read.  I adored Beetle Boy and Beetle Queen was a very strong second act to the trilogy so I had mega high hopes for this as a closer to a great series.  After the dramatic ending of Beetle Queen, our trio of friends are out on a mission to follow the Beetle Queen and her captives to the jungles of the Amazon rainforest to stop her taking over the world.  It’s not an easy journey and twice as hard for our lead, Darkus, as he worries about his father, his friends and the fate of the world.  A superb end to the real champion of the mid-grade genre in the past few years.  I’m very excited to see what M.G.Leonard works on next and where her beetles will go next!

Tin by Pádraig Kenny

This is a new book from a debut writer I had pitched to me, I said yes on a whim and I’m very glad I did.  This a sweet, heart-warming tale that is bound to find a huge range of fans in the next few months,  It’s already been picked as the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month and it’s not difficult to see why.  A twisted version of the past set just after the First World War where the magic and mechanics has meant that robots are a big part of society. People are able to make them ‘come alive’ and essential work as unpaid servants.  We follow a gang of misfit mechanicals as they venture out to save their friend and uncover some of the mysteries of the past as they do so.  A delightful but slightly scary tale that is sure to be a classic in years to come.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman is a name in YA that I’ve seen on many award lists, recommended pages and so on but I’ve never actually read her work myself.  It happens sometimes that when there are SO many books that some names just pass you by accident.  I was sent a review copy of her latest book and I’m now looking to read all her back catalogue asap.  Following the lives of three very different people who all meet through a random set of circumstances and become bound together as they try to change their lives for the better all over the course of one day.  With the great backdrop of New York City, we meet Freya, Harun and Nathaniel as they quite literally collide and then the course of their lives jump onto a different rail line forever.  A big ideas story that looks at big social issues over the course of the book and tackles them well with a real gentleness.  A quick read for me but one I’ll remember.


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