Archives for category: For Teen – Adult


Image result for venetian games jones constable

Published by Constable

This is the Crime / Thriller Book of the Month for Waterstones (March). I don’t often read adult books – spending my time, as many of you will know, reading books for the world’s younger readers. This attracted me though, because it is set in Venice – and I have a sort of love affair with La Serrenissima.

Page one made me laugh and I was laughing throughout this wonderful mystery – absolutely wonderful. A superb intricate crime novel, mixed with humour and, what is more, it is a brilliant observational piece about people.

I love the attitude of the principle character/hero – so much so I have ordered the second book Vengeance in Venice, which isn’t out yet – (April 2018), and I can’t wait. Philip Gwynne Jones knows Venice (he lives there…) – and, as is always the way when someone writes a book set in a city they know, they take you deep into its depths – and this happens with The Venetian Game.

Nathan works as an honorary consul in Venice. It starts with him attempting to assist the Mills family who have had their passports stolen. I enjoyed the altercation he has with Mr Mills immensely. The story really develops, however, when a man asks for a small insignificant looking parcel to be kept in the consular safe. Not wanting to be too difficult, but being aware that a consular office isn’t exactly a left luggage office, he asks,  what is in the parcel.  On being told that isn’t something he needs to know, he advises the gentleman to go elsewhere…

Nathan also ‘owns’ a rather glorious cat – a cat with attitude – what more can I say?




Published by Scholastic

May 2018

A re-imagining of The Little Mermaid.

I received a copy of The Little Mermaid in 1971 – for a prize for attendance at my first school. Not really sure about such a prize. I think my mother should have received it. The fact that I never missed a day was surely down to her. It was an Emerald Book, published by World Distributions and retold by Mae Broadley and illustrated by Jo Berriman – sadly I can’t find a picture on the Internet of it. So it must be rare and obviously, all the more valuable, because I won it at school…

That aside, I have just gone downstairs and found it. Yes, I still have it – its in ‘good’ condition. Well, what would you expect from a girl brought up by an antiquarian bibliophile? I suppose I should really say, the daughter of a bibliophile who collects antiquarian books. Dad may be in his 80’s, but he’s not antiquarian, yet. It is a hardback picture book version with illustrations which are slightly dated, (none the worse for that) and pale; the book wasn’t printed on art paper. So it was a subtly produced volume, the colours were muted. Rather lovely.

I vaguely remembered the story when I received my proof of The Surface Breaks, but not in any great detail. This edition, is without doubt a teen / YA book – written just as Hans Christian Anderson wrote his tales. Without doubt this is a new rendition he would have approved of.

It is a story of coming of age. The patriarchal oppression of women. Of bravery, love and ultimately, sacrifice. This is not a ‘Disney’ version of this tale – it is a strong punchy and determined shout. Dark and twisted.

The cover on the proof has some rather lovely mermaid scales – whether that will translate through to the finished book is in the lap of the ‘Book Gods’.



Published by Macmillan

I am a fan of Chris Riddell. I have been for some time – he is extraordinarily talented (to a degree that makes me more than a little jealous), has a brilliant sense of humour and further, a sense of the absurdity, not to say horror of the world that we live in.

He is by turn a political cartoonist (Observer), a passionate believer in and campaigner for libraries and reading, he is the Children’s Laureate until the end of this year and can sketch a ‘Rarely seen six-toed Sloth’, within seconds of being set the challenge. I know this, because I set it, and have it framed on my wall.

I have a greater challenge for him, the next time I see him – I would like to see him sketch an aye-aye – they are such weird creatures, and so wonderful. I’d love to see how he goes about it…

That though is perhaps more about the man himself than this book – which is a celebration really of the work he did (and is doing, after all he still has six months to go) over the period of his Laureate-ship – if such a word exists.

It contains examples of everything you could imagine – the man’s work is prolific – political cartoons, characters from his books, and from famous stories too, his family, himself, of drawings and sketches of the world as it spins in its sometimes horrendous ways…

It is a snippet not only of his extraordinarily busy time over the last few years, but also of our lives too…

It is, in a way a coffee table book – one for dipping into. I would say one to enjoy when seated on the traditional throne, but it is too nice a book for that. Once picked up, you will want to flip to something else…and so on. A momentary drift into this volume turns into a half hour, when you should, as I, be hanging out washing, or hovering the house….



Published by Electric Monkey / Egmont

I know very little about cerebral palsy and found this introduction to the condition curious – though the situation that those with the condition find themselves cannot be said to be anyway curious at all – traumatic, and difficult to say the least. One of the good things about reading is that it often introduces you to subjects you wouldn’t normally investigate. This is Jemma’s story – her particular problems include a total inability to speak, she is unable to move around by herself, though she is liable to twitch erratically. Her brain, though, is certainly working on all four cylinders (to use a veterinarian term)….She is bright, resourceful and aware of people and their general machinations, hopes and desires. She is unlucky enough to be verbally bullied by a character in the book who tells her that he is responsible for a murder, but that after all is fine; after all she can’t tell any one, can she!

It is the story of families, belief in yourself and overcoming fears. It is also a coming of age book too – a super book from this always edgy publishing house.






Published by David Fickling Books

Garvie Smith, Like Sherlock – but lazier

This is the second volume in the Garvie Smith series. I wrote about Running Girl a while ago, having rather fallen in love with Garvie. A young man whose abilities that far out weigh his inclinations to work towards his up and coming  exams.

In this new book  his mother is nearing melt-down.

The school that Garvie ‘attends’ is now in the throws of examination time – everyone is revising, and spending their last few hours and minutes before each exam, studying, writing notes, and reading over stuff, just one more time.

Garvie, of course, is not…His uncle keeps taking Garvie aside to talk to him, explaining what needs to be done. At least to keep his mother happy.

His mother is desperate, and keeps pulling him aside to stare at her son, her voice becoming more and more stringent as Garvie stands before her in the kitchen, explaining yet again what happened.

Garvie would like to keep his mother happy. The problem though is that a pupil from his school has been murdered. The most unlikely boy to die, you might have thought. A violinist – who never allowed his violin out of his hands. So what happened to it?

Another gloriously funny crime novel – set around some of my favourite characters… Inspector Singh is still struggling to keep his sanity (and his job) with Garvie’s exuberance and ‘help’, and he finds himself doing things he’d never usually think of doing…

This one has been published in hardback – but is well worth the slightly increased expenditure.


Published by Walker Books

Not yet published at time of posting: 7th April 2016

Where will science take us? When does care turn into something else? Will or have we already begun to use science and genetic modification to enhance people as well as food and crops? Not just to help them become well, or to live as near a ‘normal’ life as possible, but to become more than human. Where does religion go from there? For that matter, where does religion fit now? Are those who are or will be enhanced by science ‘human’, as we know the concept, or something else?

Cillian has an understanding with numbers, and patterns. He sees them wherever he goes. The flow of people a the checkout in the supermarket, the steam clouds formed from hot chestnuts swirling into the atmosphere all draw him into the complex mathematics of daily life. Until he takes a regular train journey with his father and everything he knows is turned upside down and the beliefs he has lived by are suddenly not what he believed them to be.

Tess on the other hand has another set of beliefs and hopes. She is actively working towards a better world. At least that is what she believes.

When their two worlds collide the results have explosive repercussions.

Disturbing, modern – this book made me wonder about where we are going now. Perhaps a warning to the future, one which I am sure will be disregarded, but I hope somewhere out there someone is thinking about ‘the bigger’ picture…A lot has been written about eugenics and the history of eugenics too over the years. This goes a little further into that darkness.

Richard Kurti has written one other book – Monkey Wars, which also has a posting on this site. Both are extremely good, but very different.

Sadly Walker haven’t published the cover for Maladapted yet – the above image seemed to suit the book and is taken from the Internet.


Published by Electric Monkey / Egmont

Not yet published at time of going to post: January 2016

I couldn’t put this down – I read it in 48 hours – with interruptions for work and sleep.

A human story. Samantha Reed lives with her mother and elder sister next door to ‘the Garretts‘. A large rambunctious family. Their lawn is covered with plastic toys. The plants are bought as a splash of colour and then die later as they never seem to get around to water them.  They are noisy, full of life and Samantha’s mother has declared them unsuitable from the moment she returned after delivering the traditional welcome dish.

Samantha though is fascinated by this loud, relaxed family and wishes she was one of them. She Spends many hours lying on the roof of her house watching the family. She doesn’t realise that someone though has noticed her and is startled when Jase Garrett climbs the trellis and sits beside her…

I loved this – it was one of those books that I worried about, and didn’t want to end. It even had the ‘right’ ending – I thought that it might just go wrong, but didn’t – a marvellous book. Funny (I think George is one of the best fictional four year olds ever), touching and moving.

“Is Jase already gonna marry you?”

I start coughing again. “Uh, No. No, George. I’m only seventeen.” As if that’s the only reason we’re not engaged.

“I’m this many.” George holds up four, slightly grubby fingers. “But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family.”

Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. “George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on.”

George backs out of the room but not before saying, “His bed’s really comfortable. And he never pees in it.”

Teenagers are often under pressure to conform, to ‘do the right thing‘, and ‘to smile’; to behave as society, often their parents‘ society demand… This story is when all of that goes wrong and  how sometimes something more can come out of something wrong…if the people make the right decisions…

It is brilliant.


Published by David Fickling Books

ISBN 9781910200674

This was astonishingly good. Garvie Smith has the highest IQ and the lowest grades, ever recorded in his school. He is a young man who goes his own way. Applies his own logic and stands out a little from his friends and those around him. He knows about imaginary numbers (I don’t) – and applies the logic of mathematics to the daily conundrums that happen around him. Exams are on the horison, and getting closer, and his mother is worried.

Then an ex-girlfriend is found dead, and he finds himself drawn into the investigation. His curiosity is sharpened and he starts looking at the crime in his own inimitable way. In the process he meets DI Singh with whom he has a rather antagonistic relationship. The story is complex, the characters are superb – and I really rather ‘fell’ for Garvie. Which is strange as my brother would tell you; I have never been one for numbers. Perhaps he (my brother) can explain imaginary numbers to me. If he can’t it won’t matter, it adds to the ‘seasoning’ for want of a better phrase, of Garvie’s character.

This is a marvellous book. Another book for the Crime genre for young readers. It is extraordinary and I was sorry when the book came to an end, though pleased to see there is at least one more book about Garvie to come. I shall buy it.


Published by Indigo / Orion / ISBN 78 1780622095

Not yet published – 14th May 2015

Ash is in love with her boyfriend, isn’t she? After all he is all she talks about to her friend, until they have a fight about it. At least that’s what it seems to be about. Either way Ash hates not having her friend with her, particularly now when she should be working towards her ‘A’ levels, her parents are not talking and she just might be pregnant. Then there’s her English teacher, Miss Murray – how come she is suddenly so important? What is happening to everyone and everything around her?

This is Ashley’s story, her coming of age, finding out who and what she is, and what she knows is important…

It is an emotional roller coaster of love, friendship and ultimately bravery – a very twenty-first novel of life.


Published by Penguin / ISBN 978 0141354439

Not yet published – 16th July 2015

I wasn’t going to review a book today. I had a dental appointment in London, and thought I’d take the opportunity to do some shopping and purchase things I had forgotten to buy for my trip to Madagascar.

I started Stone Rider a week or so ago, along with at least two other volumes – Circus Mirandus / Cassie Beasley was finished first, so I reviewed that and have just spent the last 48 hours with Adam Stone.

This book reminds me of my youth. For a while I was a biker’s moll, (if I may claim such a status), travelling on the back of a Harley Davidson though never in quite the way Adam Stone rides – and I have never forgotten how glorious that was. I never did learn to ride a bike, but I am very aware of the special relationship bikers have with their bikes – and this is used to perfection in Stone Rider.

It made me want to find someone with a bike again, to ride behind him, with my arms wrapped around his waist and my legs around his – it was a superb time.

The plot and story line does have some semblance to the Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins), but it still has its own colour and there are some very important differences. The race is fundamentally a race, it is true many riders die, (actually, most of them)…including two important characters near the beginning of the competition, but there isn’t the darkness that I found in the Hunger Games. Not all the characters were necessarily out to kill each other, some were just trying to survive, (the organisers had made the race particularly treacherous), which gave this book hope and removed some of the violence. Though there is plenty of it…

It has two twists, that I didn’t see coming. One of which resulted in a lady in the train catching my eye to ask if it was a good book. I explained that something had just happened in the story I hadn’t expected, and she said she guessed as much from my face…

The English too was a pleasure to read, ‘A flash of coruscating light. A booming clap of thunder.’ really pleased me and it was good to read a book for teenagers/young adults that was well written and included small pieces of detail (mice and owls, in particular), that made the plot more believable…

The film rights have already been ‘optioned’ – so it seems a film will be on the way. Try and read it before you go and see it – as always the book will be so much more than the film, however, well produced it will be.

There is a question and answer section in the back of the book, and I am so pleased I read it, (as I have to admit I usually don’t), because I wasn’t sure if this was to be a stand-alone title, but it seems there may well be a second book about the characters to be published. I hope they send me a copy of that too…

It is due out on the 16th of July – you will want to read it – so get your orders in now.

Should someone called Paul Tilley who used to ride a Harley Davidson read this post, then I hope he reads it, if only for old times sake…