Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)


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What an exciting and unexpected ending for Bab and his family! Jessica Roberts' black-and-white cartoons add fun and drama, different text styles engage the readers. Little snippets of Egyptian history also make The Spongy Void an exciting, slightly madcap novel for fans of history and humour. Rhyllis Bignell. Bloomsbury, Lex Croucher is an English vlogger whose videos cover a range of topics including feminism and animal rights. She uses her influence to advocate for empowering women and girls. In this book Lex makes use of her extensive experience with technology and social media to explore the nexus with real life for teenagers.

Immediately relevant to young people are topics such as: family and friends and creating that team of supporters; relationships familial, platonic, romantic, jealousy , body confidence acceptance, self-care and mental health dealing with negativity, goals and asking for help. The writing avoids preachiness and provides a healthy insight into the pitfalls and pleasures of living in or through an online world.

There is hope in this book.

Lethal White

Lex reminds us all that the offshoots from the path we had mapped out can become the new map. These offshoots can lead to opportunities that were not dreamed of and yet are just right for you. As a common sense guide to being comfortable in your own skin this book excels. The formatting, anecdotes and the humour will appeal to the teenage reader but it is the hope and positive examples of ways a young person might engage with real life that make this book an unexpected joy to read.

Linda Guthrie. Black Dog Books, Themes: Thylacine, Extinction, Environment, Tasmania. The image of the last thylacine in its cage in Hobert is monumental in encouraging people to understand that extinction means that these incredible animals are no longer on this planet. This emotionally draining picture book showing the plight of these animals, unique to Australia and last seen in Tasmania in the early years of the twentieth century, will force readers to ask questions about how this was allowed to happen, and help them take steps to prevent it happening again.

The stunning cover sets the scene with its dark shades camouflaging the rear of a thylacine walking in its forest. The arresting cover forces readers to pause and look before opening the book, gleaning information about the animal before they proceed. Readers will be ale to see why it was called 'tiger', its doglike features, its habitat, while in awe at the skill of the illustrator in referencing the animals's demise as it walks off the cover. Each page will draw gasps of wonder as the journey of one thylacine is followed from her home in the Tasmania bush to her capture and incarceration in the Hobart Zoo, where, one careless night the keeper forgets to lock her away and she dies of the cold.

Her days in the forest are spent hunting, teaching her cub how to survive, running from the shapes that come into the ancient woods to kill, encouraged by the government bounty on the tigers's head. But the hunters capture her and she is taken to the city where she is surrounded by a forest of metal, where she must rely on a keeper to bring her food and lock her up at night against the cold. Booth's skill at using digital techniques are nowhere as perfectly realised as with the illustrations in this book.

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They are simply breathtaking, making the reader stop on each page, drinking in the image presented, looking for the tiger and absorbing clues about its life. The sparse text accentuates the stunning illustrations, the words placed on the page contrasting with the images, the font used impelling the reader to read and think about the words presented. The author's note at the end followed by the government advice about the bounty round off an emotionally stunning book, forcing readers to think more carefully at how easily things are lost forever. Teacher's notes are available.

HarperCollins, Jaclyn Hyde is a girl whose desire in all of life is to be as perfect as she can be. Mostly she is quite successful at being perfect, but as is the way with some high-achievers, she always dreams of more success. The discovery of a science recipe for a Perfection Potion in the rather scary abandoned Enfield Manor leads to a series of transforming moments. Jaclyn's best friends, Paige and Fatima, work alongside her in trying to resolve the disaster that is unleashed at school by the Jaclyn-Jackie confusion. This is a wonderful, funny story with some endearing, subtle and sometimes more obvious humour and some explosive moments!

Set within a USA Middle School context in fictional Fog Island, there are moments of insight into psychological issues for the young characters, but mostly this is just a fun reconstruction of the Jekyll and Hyde story. A performance of a school musical has some positively ridiculous moments involving a Moose costume! Male and female readers will enjoy the hilarious journey.

Carolyn Hull.

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Rhiza Edge, Themes: Suicide, friends, family, depression. Academic, talented, with the lead in the school musical, good friends and a part time job at Woolworths, it would seem that Tiger has everything a 16 year old girl from a small Tasmanian town could want. However, with absent parents, she feels fragmented, hiding the broken part of herself by filling her days, running from one thing to another, proving herself.

Raised by a loving aunt and grandparents, Tiger has been in a tight group of friends since primary school. Best friend Nick Wallace, Wally, a star football player, son of a star football player tragically killed when Wally was three, is expected to be selected to play AFL and leave to play on the mainland. He shares a more sensitive side with Tiger, quoting poetry, making her feel special and she starts to wonder if he will ask her to go with him or if he too will go away.

The chapters are interspersed with letters to 'Dear Dad' and later 'Dear Mum' revealing the writer's innermost thoughts, when Wally suicides, the ultimate abandonment, her friends try to help but she pushes them away. With the help of a friend outside her closest circle she gradually comes to terms with her losses and gets help with her grief.

The stand out character is her Aunt who is always there for Tiger, sensitively supporting her with unconditional love, willing to wait until Tiger is ready to do what no one else can do for her. The story has a strong sense of place and Aussie flavour with a lot of recognisable references and I like that Grandma's chook shed is a special place. I found friend Melody a bit over the top, 'Sometimes people don't want to live inside a feminist echo chamber' p.

There were some characters who seemed as if they would have a role to play but were left behind. A quick read which will be devoured by middle school girls. Sue Speck. Allen and Unwin, Age: 5 to adult Highly recommended. A wonderfully inventive chronicle of one man's life unfolds as pages full of those well known cheeky dogs punctuate his journey from Lake Nash to Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Elliott, and all places between in the eastern part of the Northern Territory abutting Sandover Highway.

Here Dion was born in , his mother going to Alice Springs, but returning to Lake Nash after his birth. From there he travelled all over the area, Soapy Bore, Elliott, Ampilatwatja, Canteen Creek, with his mother, finally living with his grandfather at Mulga Camp after her death. Each place has a mix of cheeky dogs coming in all shapes and colours. Once when Dion went to the shop several big angry dogs surrounded him and scared him. But now he loves riding his mobility scooter around the town of Tennant Creek where he lives with Joy and her husband, Tony, feeding the dogs and collecting rocks and images of dogs for his artwork.

Joy, an old white woman, took Dion in when his grandfather died and is now his carer. Being profoundly deaf and contracting muscular dystrophy has not stopped this young man taking life as it comes, greeting every new day with purpose as he feeds and watches the dogs. His memoir is full fo life and humour and is intoxicating in its portrayal of a life lived so far from the cities where most of us live. His lively illustrations are full of the dogs he sees in all the places he has lived and on each page readers will spot the dogs - on the roads, travelling in packs, fighting, surrounding the edges of the page.

Beasley's marvellously naive style documents the many places he has lived, with his flat maps of the communities and camps, drawings of the houses, swimming pool, shops, images of the environment as well as drawings and photos of his journey through the footpaths and laneways of Tennant Creek. Readers will learn of the remote townships where he has lived and the life he lives now in Tennant Creek, of the events which fill his day. This is an absorbing look at one man's life in remote Australia, his affinity with his environment, his love of family and the place called Lake Nash.

Angus and Robertson, Jackie French has written over books, and each one contains its own magic. This book though contains a healthy measure of fairy magic and the essence of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream - a potent and enchanted mixture to entrance the reader. Told from the perspective of Peaseblossom, a servant of the Fairy Queen Titania, with his fairy relative Puck as his guide and mentor, we discover the fairies' perspective of the love stories and lives that are woven in the Shakespearean tale.

The characters of Lysander, Demetrius, Helena, Hermia, Hippolyta and Theseus appear, with the rule and authority of Oberon and Titania; but we are also introduced to other participants in the fairy kingdom and the fantasy powers of fairies including the tooth fairy , selkies, vampires, banshees and other assorted magical creatures that inhabit the world. Note: even Elvis Presley makes an appearance in this world in the lead-up to Midsummer night! Are you lonesome tonight? The essential story of love and power, and freedom and responsibility, is told through the dramatic tale of love when Peaseblossom, posing as Pete, discovers the entrancing Gaela a selkie who makes the best pizza in the world.

Will the discovery of love create chaos in the controlled fairy world? Even without a prior knowledge of Midsummer night's dream , this book is accessible for young readers, but the occasional inclusion of a direct quote from the play may confuse some. This book has its own joys and delights, and the inimitable Jackie French has explored and untangled some of the threads of the Shakespearean play in a way that will be enjoyed by both Shakespeare-focused readers and those who have only a passing knowledge of his work. And the world of fairies has a wonderful charisma with time-travel adventures and magical potions, as well as the ability to paint the world with colour!

The author's notes at the end of the book imply that this is the last of the Shakespearean literary excursions. Six Tudor Queens. Hachette, Anna is forced by her brother, Wilhelm, ruler of the duchy of Kleve, to marry the English King Henry, in order to align their countries. Henry had liked her portrait and finds that he likes her, but cannot make love to her to produce the important extra heir to the English throne.

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In this new historical novel, part of her series Six Tudor Queens , Alison Weir has vividly recreated Anna's story from the surviving historical documents. At the bus station, Allan meets a young man trying to wedge his large gray suitcase into a very small bathroom. Allan kindly takes charge of the suitcase and conveniently forgets to return it before he boards his bus. Upon arrival, Allan is surprised to find a large quantity of cash and an angry young man in pursuit. In his efforts to evade both pursuing thugs and the police he has no desire to return to the nursing home , Allan meets a cast.

Without Sin tells the story of Garret Harrison, a twenty-four-year-old who has joined up with the U. Border Patrol after a tour of duty in Iraq. His Cuban ancestry and fluency with Spanish make him an anomaly among the agents working on the border of Mexico and southern California. Harrison seems equally comfortable inhabiting both the Latin American culture of illegal immigrants and the rough-and-tumble culture of his predominantly lower-class white co-workers. It is a great irony of the book that Harrison and his fellow agents spend most of the day trying to prevent individuals from entering American illegally, while at night these very same officers drive into Mexico to do things that are illicit on the American side.

On one such visit to a Mexican brothel, Harrison meets a beautiful girl in her late teens. As Harrison. Vigilante justice is swift, but it comes at a cost. A book rich in insights about the illegal immigration crisis and the interpersonal dynamics on the Mexican-American Border, Without Sin is a fast-paced work of characterdriven fiction. Its major theme is the role that duty plays in our lives. It explores deeply the tension between our duties to other individuals, our duties in society and to our jobs, as well as the duty religion expects of us to do good, and certainly not to sin.

At each visit the doctor pronounces her normal even as she grows at an alarming rate. Ruth is nearly five feet tall when she starts school, and she is seven feet tall at the age of thirteen. Her father James spends most of his free time renovating the house—raising doorframes, altering furniture—in order to accommodate his ever-growing offspring. Under his command are evil, despicable men who kidnap and rape locals. One of them aspires to own a brothel one day; another is a vicious womanizer.

Their dark dynamic is thrown off course by the arrival of an apparently good officer, Chrysostome Liege. His puritanical nature makes the men hate him instantly, yet nothing will be quite the same again after he arrives. Seven Houses in France was written by an acclaimed Spanish novelist and translated into English. Some things may have been lost in translation, or perhaps cultural differences made this novel so shocking. I stopped reading it several times because it was so disgusting. The raping was repulsive.

The virginity checks and locking girls in cages until the men were ready to have sex with them were disgusting. That reader was not me. I will not be keeping this book on my library shelf. I was gravely disappointed with it! Reviewed by Jennifer Melville. His novel unfolds with the inspired events of the First Crusade, which introduces to the reader an age-old scroll detailing the last days of Jesus Christ that may or may not go contrary to the universally accepted biblical account of the day. This serves as an equally canny and masterful outline to the remaining plot lines in the book, which diverges between three different groups of characters: first story is set in NYC with an entrepreneur savant, Robert Whiteside and his wife, a defec-.

Thus amplifying the circular quality of the work, these characters are all interconnected through the peg of this ancient and extremely valuable religious text. And just like the typos and grammatical errors in the book, there are abrupt situations that interrupt and interfere with the cohesiveness of the various stories. All and all, too much is going on in these pages rendered with arbitrary sex scenes and coerced dialogue, that of which becomes suddenly catastrophic with cancer, death, love triangles, and abduction.

Also, much of the labyrinthine flair and quality to Red Fox Knight is overly wrought and therefore falls flat because of the heavy handed banter; throughout the course of the book, the characters are on their soapboxes about moral, ethical, and legal issues, so no real action is hereof. Spanish wine-making family needs closure on the issue of whether she is dead. Instead of taking his sexy girlfriend, Sunny Alvarez, trout fishing on the Rogue River, Mac travels alone to Barcelona, where he is startled to encounter the woman who was his first true love. With the help of friends and their private jet, Sunny quickly joins him and puts the kibosh on any further rekindling of the old relationship.

She likes to write about rich people with expensive habits romping around Mediterranean countries. This is her twenty-third such novel: the fourth in a series starring Mac and Sunny and. Adler believes you can tell a lot about people by their choices of clothing, furniture, and accessories.

Dandelion Gilver as the detective. There are two rival families in Dumferline, the Aitkens and the Hepburns. As the story unravels, Halpern bends narrative standards by resisting fixed fates and the happy ending format many readers have come to expect. This speculative side urges readers to not only keep reading but to go back and search for the minutiae that could have been overlooked.

His detective dialect will keep readers captivated like a cigarette-smoke voiceover from a gritty film noir. The complicated hero compellingly careens this action-packed joyride. Add in the fact that each family owns a well-established dry goods store in Dumferline, and the potential for disaster is even greater. The period details; language, costumes, manners, etc. This is not your everyday, hastily read book, not by a long shot. His insouciant manner reminds me so much of my grand-puppy Tramp, the most loveable pit bull that ever was.

Chet is the canine half of the Little Detective Agency, with his human, Bernie Little, as the other half. Chet watches, listens, and on occasion takes down the bad guys, but only when Bernie. It is only a matter of time before Kiel and the Bakke family are embroiled in a desperate battle for survival. It would be completely understandable for readers to be skeptical after reading the back-of-the-book synopsis of The Colony; the story sounds a little, well, lame. However, Blaine C. The charac-.

Readler is a writer who knows how to use language to his advantage; the dialogue does not sound forced at all, and while some plot points are patently unsurprising, others come seemingly out of nowhere, which is always refreshing in a thriller. Kiel is a bit of an enigma, with a background story that gets revealed in fits and starts, while Cam, the super-smart-but-mildly-embittered thirteen-year-old, will easily be a favorite. The crablets were both fascinating and extremely creepy; the mental imagery of the shapes they formed could potentially be the stuff of nightmares.

Overall, The Colony is a great page-turner and definitely worth picking up. When you get all this in a bargain paperback package, you keep your bank manager happy and yourself smiling. So off we go as she spends her Christmas Eve running around the landscape, picking up rocks to see what crawls out. To make the experience worse, the police think her boyfriend has something to hide and, when she starts making waves with her own.

Faced with this drama, our heroine talks herself into going undercover at the school as a teacher. After befriending the girls, winning the trust of the servants, and impressing the Bow Street Runners with her keen intellect, Jane works out who killed the girl and why. It plays fair with all the clues in plain sight. In this installment, Grace Wheaton, the curator and manager of the elegant Marsh-. At the same time, she discovers a budding new romance, while still negotiating the complexities of a prior relationship.

All of this combines to make for a light, fun read. Solving the mystery is not especially challenging, and this book seems to presume significant knowledge of the first two books in the series. That said, the characters and setting are strong enough to make fairly certain that readers who enjoy one of these mysteries will want to read them all.

Instead, what we have is a true crime novel which explains what led up to the murder. This rather eliminates any tension or suspense. It starts as a devastatingly accurate recreation of life in the upper reaches of British society in , nicely capturing the paper-thin hypocrisy of those in positions of influence.

It also skewers the class divide between the wealthy. Although the life of service was withering after the end of the war, some were still forced into the work, finding little thanks and even less pay for their trouble. What terrible thing did the husband do to deserve such an end?

The answer is a fascinating commentary on the times. A small southern town, Niceville is beautiful to look at, but the main problem is that people keep disappearing into thin air. There are certainly chills, but those are greatly tempered by the humor inherent in the plot, dialogue, and characters. The principal protagonists are Nick, a C. Criminal Investigation Division guy, and his wife Kate, who is an attorney. As for antagonists, there are many, as there are several plot lines running simultaneously. Although it is sometimes difficult to keep all the characters and story lines straight, the book is worth reading.

It has wit; sharp writing; quirky, vivid characters; and a few surprises. Reviewed by Leslie Wolfson. This book is a conspiracy thriller matched with a police procedural. The characters constantly philosophize about the conflicting mores of the British; the Hong Kong money makers; and now the former communist, but more gangster-like Chinese already buying up Hong Kong and ready to take it over officially. Burdett, a former lawyer in Hong Kong, knows the island. At least in Bangkok they have fun. Reviewed by Phil Semler. That was his seventeenth book about Matthew Scudder, my absolute favorite private eye.

It may be the last for the year-old Grand Master of mystery fiction. Now we have—ahem—69 Barrow Street by Sheldon Lord, written in This was his third book. Strange Embrace was written by Ben Christopher in just three weeks. These books are published for the first time in half a century. Written just for money? Subterranean Press presents the books in a classic Ace Doubles format with new trashy cover art by the legendary Robert McGinnis, illustrator of naked women. The writing style is beautifully done but the lack of likeable characters and that true zombie action is missing may be a turn off for some.

So when the world goes crazy and there are dead people beating down the doors trying to eat people, Sloane is ready for it all to end. Instead she ends up hiding out in her high school with five other students who want to live. For those looking for the typical zombie book with nonstop action and gore, look elsewhere. Her confusion and self-pity also shade the way she reacts and treats the other teenagers hiding out in the high school. None of the characters. A young man meets the strange caretaker of a town slowly crumbling into the sea. A couple is reminded of a horrific trip to Greece.

Two friends are trapped on a bridge by a mistreated sociopath. Townspeople discover curious holes bored into a recently buried coffin. A man explores the moors that inspired The Hound of the Baskervilles. Humanity finds itself waging an endless war against a terrifying and unexpected force. Brian Lumley is an elder statesman of Weird Fiction and one of its foremost practitioners; No Sharks in the Med and Other Stories just reaffirms his seat at the Algonquin Table of unnerving and horrifying storytelling.

A sense of foreboding accompanies each of his tales, no matter how innocuous the opening paragraphs seem, and his uncanny ability to draw terror out of the mundane makes a great Lumley story an unforgettable experience. Reviewed by Glenn Dallas. Nick Carter. Well, for the first time, we have a real contender. Year Zero is laugh-out-loud funny, clever, and completely mad.

From the wimpy planet names to the myriad ways our music has influenced alien culture, every page has another wrinkle to add to the ludicrous and delightful tapestry unfolding. This book is utterly silly and incredibly smart. Aliens have been listening to it since stumbling upon it in Scandalous begins in eager anticipation of a party at Hampton Court Palace. Each character prepares with a different goal in mind. Belinda, beautiful, vain, and attended by fairies, vows she will not eat until she has found a husband. Lascivious Baron Charles also plans for conquest.

Society matrons hope for scandal and ruin to add variety to the dull affair. The event progresses without incident until Belinda scorns the Baron and defeats him in a heroic game of cards. Goaded by the interference of an evil fairy, Belinda rails against the Baron and destroys her reputation.

While the characters are highborn, beautiful, and wealthy, base deeds are not beyond them. Madame Usugumo invents two women to The Incense Game, and all three die just before a massive earthquake devastates Japan, preserving the bodies. When those bodies are found Sano Ichiro is blackmailed into finding their killers with the threat of civil war, should he fail. Meanwhile, events swirl around his son, Masa-.

The murder mystery of this book works rather well, with all of the prerequisites of a modern mystery present and appreciated. That aspect of the book is a fun look at how Japanese culture works and how it can inhibit an otherwise simple murder mystery. It may obvious to a fan of the series, and they are well served here, someone new to the series will feel somewhat cheated. Reviewed by Jamais Jochim. Growing up in rural Indiana gave Sheryl St. George and her sister Tara an unbridled sense of adventure and the feeling that they could survive anything.

Which is good, because for them life has been one hysterical turn after another, constantly putting them in situations that teach them the importance of laughing at themselves. An uproarious journey from childhood to adulthood and the bumps, bruises, and stitches in between, St. George delivers an uncommonly funny and lighthearted look at life and all the damage it can cause. A rollicking, riotous look at two women who have the gift of making life as ridiculous as possible at every turn, St.

Full of good-natured laughs and familial warmth, A Tale of Two Sisters is an extraordinary gift that will teach you how to enjoy life and laugh at all of its misadventures. The main plot focuses on a romantic relationship, but the story includes so many other kinds of love as well: love of nature, lost love, remembered love, passion for life, and more. It is also obvious that the author loves her subject. Every page makes it clear that this story is very important to Lindh, and that, in turn, makes it more important to the reader. The book follows Oceana, a surfer with a traumatic past, and her new neighbor Guy as they meet and develop a serious relationship.

Problems arise when Oceana begins exhibiting symptoms of early-onset dementia, and the couple must cope with both the immediate problems and the future possibilities. This is a tender story that spurs contemplation of love, life, death, and personal passions. Unfortunately, it is not without its flaws. A story of this scope could easily fill a novel, and the brevity of Oceana means that some parts are skipped over or not fully explored.

For example, when Oceana and Guy meet, she is hostile towards him. She later slams her door in his face. Then, just a few pages later, she teaches him to surf and invites him to dinner. This quick change in feeling seems rushed and unrealistic. The book could definitely benefit from added exposition. Also, the writing is a little stilted. It feels like the author wants to be so sure that the readers understand everything exactly as she imagines it that, in the parts of the relationship that she does show us, she includes excessive descriptions. This keeps readers focused on the minutiae and prevents us from becoming fully involved in the story.

That said, the more I look back on the book, the more I like it. As the particulars of the writing fade, and I am left with the plot and emotions of the tale, I find that the heart of the story is beautiful. This would be a great book for teenagers or for anyone who enjoys details but does not need an in-depth exploration of larger themes.

Lastly, at the end of her book, Lindh asks readers to support organizations that focus on dementia. Through this story, she certainly draws attention to the importance of dementia research and care, and, for that, I say this book is a success. There should be. The life in question belongs uniquely to Beatrice Bernstein, not to the raffish, incomprehensible world at large. Beatrice, a desultory student at Barnard, has a poet sister, Gertrude, who holds salons and studies Proust.

Their fa-. Their mother curates contemporary art exhibits. None of them has a lick of sense. For no discernible reason, Beatrice is cornered into taking on the job of ghost blogger for the fabulous and gorgeous socialite Veruca Pfeffernoose, who is apparently too busy with personal maintenance, event sponsorship, and party attendance to write her own blog. Sweet Bea quickly acclimates to a life of luxury fantasies come true. If you believe that talking about your hopes and fears independence and a raucous lifestyle to a disdainful Manhattan pigeon who responds by defecating on your blank moleskin notebook is the pathway to dream fulfillment, this is a book you will want to keep under your fluffy pillow.

Otherwise, feel free to hurl it across the room. Frank provides a novel of pride, passion, and purpose. Their home was her castle, but not his. Never divorced, they have had little communication over the years. Now, approaching sixty, Annie is lonely and her stubborn need to be needed is raging. Her daughter, Jackie McMullen, has just tragically lost her firefighter husband. She and her ten-year-old son, Charlie, are struggling through a very rocky period of mourning. Mid-thirtyish Jackie, who has had three tours of duty in Afghanistan as an army nurse, cannot begin to imagine her future.

Though she has had a strained relationship with her judgmental, hard-to-please mother, this disoriented young woman has decided to leave New York temporarily. Magic is truly in the air. A Southern tonic of climate, community, and consideration introduces a gradual process of reconciliation, healing, and self-discovery.

Steve Plofker — who shares with Jackie the recent loss of a spouse — and also Buster Britt who, in the process of aiding his daughter and grandson, rekindles his relationship with Annie. Atmosphere is everything in this winning tale in which family values are made vivid and tangible.

Frank exhibits perfect pitch in tuning the elements of her enchanted, lowcountry, island. These diary entries are interspersed between episodes of current day events, some of which involve Charlotte, even if she knows nothing about them as they happen. Charlotte has not willingly seen nor talked to her daughter Taylor since the seventeen-year-old disclosed her pregnancy.

She strives mightily to mend the broken fences in her life, and to leave the world a better place than the one in which she was raised. Have the tissues handy! She has been living the lie of being legitimate for fifty-some years! How can she hold her head up at the family reunion? Meanwhile, her teenage niece, Kirsten, has missed two menstrual periods.

Could she be pregnant, or has she just been exercising too vigorously? Will she sacrifice her shiny life to motherhood, or will she consider abortion? Will she be shunned by her peers for breaking her vow of chastity? How will her pastor father and pro-life crusading mother react to her situation? Answer: everyone will cry a lot, pray a lot, wallow in selfpity, and whine.

Oh, and bake and eat pans full of cookies, washing them down with gallons of herbal tea. If the characters had been individuated enough to distinguish them from one another, some meaningful interactions might have occurred. As presented, these godly folk are so self-absorbed and unimaginative that it is very hard to care what happens to them. Reviewed by Elizabeth Benford. In childish retaliation, he writes a program that profiles her computer use and makes it impossible for her to ever find him electronically.

When his former lover sends him a book titled The Thousand and One Days, Alif draws the attention of the jinn as well, and he finds himself running for his life. A deft combination of the digital and the mystical, Alif the Unseenasks questions about the evolution of religion and of the totalitarian state in the modern age.

What impact do computers have on religion? What does it mean for a state to be free? What does revolution look like? Profound and entertaining, the novel is a page-turner. Reviewed by Tammy McCartney. This book picks up with all interested parties converging for the final confrontation.

Needless to say, you should not start with this book. Knowing who everyone is and how they relate to each other is an essential part of the reading experience. This will represent the rousing climax you can expect, followed by quite a long epilogue as the survivors of the battle make sometimes emotional decisions about their personal future and the world they live in. In many ways, this tetralogy is a remarkable piece of work. Our Earth is destroyed quite early on and all life might have perished were it not for the efforts of key characters who create temporary stability in other realms.

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch is the third in the Rivers of London series and, if you enjoy British humor at the expense of urban fantasy, this is a must-read. Instead of a powerful woman striding around town and keeping everything in apple-pie order, young Peter Grant defends London against an alarming underground threat. The history of the Victorian butty gangs and their implication for modern Londoners is but one of the myriad delights as you read this.

At one level, this book is a police procedural but, when the supernatural comes to the fore, we can see the depth of invention with the author expanding the range of the types of magic on display as new groups of players join the fray. Put all this together and it signals the development of a major new voice in British fantasy. With this third book continuing the high level of entertainment from the first two, you should be adding this author to your must-read list. Reviewed by David Marshall. Assignment in Eternity combines four stories into one book.

These is a great collection for those interested in his earlier fiction or s science fiction; otherwise this is an easy pass. Robert struggles daily with his troubling past, while Darryl dedicates himself to curing people of their attachment to love. As recruits of the Isaac-Abraham Insti-. What is the alternate dimension known as XynKroma? Is this STD a gift or a curse? Are they changing the world for the better, or dooming it? Broken Angels is a curious mix of the fantasy and detective genres, blending magical abilities with medical science and police procedures, and liberally dashed with moments of body horror.

The book sets an ambitious pace, loaded with lots of fascinating ideas, but stumbles quite a bit along the way. Grey-Sun has a phenomenal amount of world-building to do here and manages to avoid info dumps or other hamfisted attempts at exposition. Interesting and frustrating all at once, Broken Angels succeeds as often as it missteps.

Together with her siblings, Luma helps solve problems for anyone who can pay. This is a world where monsters of all types are real, and private companies hunt them down for the protection of the world…and because the pay is amazing. Rather than being eaten, Pitt throws his boss out the window of the office building. Pitt is soon approached with a job offer to work for Monster Hunter International, a private company that hunts down monsters that are loose in the world. Pitt soon becomes the only shot keeping the world from being destroyed.

And, of course, Pitt needs to get the girl: the beautiful and intelligent Julie Shackleford. MHA is a spin-off story following one of the best side-characters of the first two novels, Earl Harbinger, one of the greatest werewolves to ever live. There is a plot that surfaces in Michigan to spread a werewolf plague using a smalltown as ground zero. Harbinger recruits a member of local law enforcement to help him, Heather Kerkonen, and they go about uncovering an even deeper conspiracy.

The first thing any reader should know is that these novels are geared towards those who love pulpy, B-Movie, action-packed stories. The first novel, MHI, is probably the weakest. Things dramatically improve in MHV. The characters are more well-rounded, the humor is even better than the first—though it can stray into the silly at times—and the story is more focused. MHA is, by far, the darkest of the three novels.

Where Pitts PoVs lend to humor, Harbinger has such serious gravity to his character. What I like best about this series is the progression every character goes through over the course of the series. Characters never escape unscathed, and usually end up permanently damaged in body and soul. This is currently one of the most entertaining series in Urban Fantasy. Highly recommended. His next novel, Monster Hunter Legion, will be available September All of his books are available in eBook format, but currently only from www.

Audio versions of most of my books are available from www. And yet, despite being the oldest, Luma has never really fit in with her siblings, and the feeling is clearly mutual. However, when she finally decides to stand up for herself, everything goes very wrong. Luma is a delightful heroine: smart, savvy, competent with a blade, and wronged by those she loved she is out for bloody vengeance. Robin D.


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So when Bob is unofficially tasked with a special assignment, he packs up his good suit, some chicken feet, and his grab-bag of tricks. His job? Keeping an eye on Persephone Hazard, a freelancer investigating a dangerously persuasive American televangelist. Bob Howard might not be ready for the Apocalypse, but the Apocalypse is certainly not ready for Bob Howard. Although mainly science fiction in form, there are overtones of both supernatural and fantasy as we watch the final days in the life of one scientist who ignores the imminence of his own death to continue observing the adaptation of some species out in the desert.

Sixty years ago we were recovering from World War II, and therefore keenly aware of the absurdities around us. That said, Erikson produces a sly deconstruction of many features in our modern lives and, with a wry sense of humor, suggests they are worthy of reevaluation. It would have been good at half the length. Handeland has fun with both Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, mashing them up gleefully with her own monster-rich storytelling. Zombie Island hits some surprisingly resonant emotional notes, while maintaining a lighter tone via the tongue-in-cheek references to popular culture past and present.

Monster Hunter Legion is the fourth book in the best-selling series. There they meet hunters and their competition from all over the world. When the hotel is quarantined and locked down, it is up to Owen Pitt and his team to save the day. Readers unfamiliar with the books should start with the first one to fully enjoy the series.

Correia is a firearms expert so he knows his way around weapons. This shows in his writing. But virtually every character is so intolerably bitchy or obnoxiously laid-back and lackadaisical that the otherwise peppy banter suffers for it. They often play more like caricatures than characters. There are soap opera theatrics at every turn, which would have worked better for me had I been less irritated with much of the cast. Similarly, there are revelations that probably served as well-earned reveals for longtime readers, but definitely left a newcomer to the series somewhat baffled.

At the beginning of Simon R. In order to avenge them, he must armor up and set out with Molly to find the villain responsible. But wait! Eddie routinely comes up against baddies with weapons like the Hand of Glory it can uncover any secret, open any lock, or take command of any magic , elven wands, guns made from alien technology, teleport devices, and biting bullets made from the bones of uncaught murderers. He gets to play with all the neatest toys, compliments of the family Armourer who creates the latest and greatest weapons and.

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Point the Protein Exploder at any foe and, with the push of a button, all that is left are bones. Do yourself a huge favor and begin with the first Secret Histories novel. Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, able to pull items from a book. Along the way he finds out a few secrets that should have remained secret, and that the dryad may be in love with him. For those with a love of books, this is a rare chance to get their geek on. Hines writes a really fun book, looking at book-based magic.

Between some of the best action scenes out there, combining dramatic actions with realistic after-effects, this makes for a great book. It is also the first book in a series, but rather than the usual dread of a new series it looks like it could be fun; although it could be a stand-alone book, enough threads are dangling that a sequel looks promising. This is how a series should begin, and it is still a great book.

Instead of recycling tired old tropes with dragons, dwarves, and general magical folk, he creates a new context for a son of Merlin story. Of course, the old boy is still around to beget the youngster and hover in the background while his offspring earns his spurs, but this is an engaging story of conflict taking off along a brand new plotline.

Behind it all are the warring forces of Fate and Chaos. In order to destabilize the Wardlands, they incite the dragons to attack in the north where the dwarves, the traditional enemies of the dragons, have their mines and homes. Fortunately, young Morlock is in the right place to confront the invaders. Even though the prose tends to be slightly functional, the overall result is a tense race to save as many local people as possible while inflicting the maximum damage on the dragons.

Put simply, James Enge presents us with a must-read for anyone who enjoys elegant ideas converted into pure adventure. Philip K. Dick was a s avatar who produced mind-bending work which challenged our perception of reality. Dick struggled with mental illness and depression; he himself was not al-.

His characters could have been anyone, not just the super scientists or space explorers. This is just one of five volumes. He also wrote over twenty novels.

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Here one will find a variety of fascinating stories he wrote between and , before he was famous and awardwinning. Though there are metaphors and symbols, the work is representative of science fiction with robots, time travelers, and extraterrestrials. The vN is a reference to von Neumann androids who have reached a stage in their development when they could become more like humans. Sadly and inevitably, this includes overcoming their Asimovian failsafes and being able to act violently. Our heroine belongs to a clade designed to deliver nursing services.

These androids have been manufactured to conform to sexual stereotypes, i. Yet all these android clades, regardless of apparent gender, are self-replicating, i. Why then are they assigned genders? This is one of many unanswered questions. It would have been possible to design each clade to maximize their ability to perform the given tasks. Handicapping them by making them humanoid is inefficient. Indeed, the book becomes an uninspiring story of a machine in search of her soul and romance.

Hopefully this new collection of short fiction will shine the spotlight on this incredible writer who deserves superstar status. The Woman Who Married a Cloud is dense with thoughtful, haunting tales. Most of the characters are painfully-flawed normal people who are thrown into extraordinary situations.

These slightly melancholic stories are meant to be savored. A reader must go slowly in order to examine the emotional weight and philosophical questions of each tale. Every year, the best writers in science fiction are showcased the this longrunning series. Beagle, Ian R. MacLeod, and Gwyneyth Jones, to name a few. The collection is a hodgepodge of short stories, novellas, and good old fashion pulp science fiction fun.

The plots of these stories range from alien invasion stories to high tech morality decisions, and everything else in between. There is no real connecting theme in the book; each story is unrelated to the next. Themes: Horror, Zombies, Alternative history, Racism. What a roller coaster of a ride - thrilling action and a complex story that looks at racism and slavery makes this an engrossing historical adventure about an alternative America. When families begin to go missing from the area, she and her colleague, Katherine, are caught up in a deadly conspiracy that sees her in a deadly struggle not only against the zombies but against a group of Survivalists who view her and her companions as fodder for the undead.

I picked this up as it kept appearing on literary awards for young adult books in the fantasy and science fiction genres Hugo Award Nominee , Nebula Award Nominee Andre Norton Award , Locus Award nominee , and Goodreads Choice Award Nominee , and I was not disappointed. Ireland's very skilful narration brings the characters to life while maintaining a very fast pace.

Jane is a feisty and intelligent girl who has outstanding leadership skills which she uses often while fighting the Shamblers. But she also has some flaws - she is impetuous and often says things that get her into trouble. Katherine is her opposite, determined to remain ladylike in all situations. When trouble strikes them both, they manage to put aside their differences to fight the evil around them. Fans of the zombie genre will want to read this, while fans of historical fiction will become engrossed in a story that has its combat school system based on the real Native American boarding schools, as the author's note explains.

And readers who like a good action story, well written with likeable characters, and which also explores slavery and racism, will find this difficult to put down and will be impatient for the sequel that is to come. The complexity of its themes could also make it a literature circle text, promoting lively discussion. EK Books, Themes: Sight, Glasses, Difference. EK Books has a tagline 'Books with heart' on issues that matter, and thankfully Susanne Gervay is one of their authors. Gervay is able to write about issues that matter with an understated ease allowing students to read the story as any other story not one that sets out to make a point.

So it is with The Boy in the big blue glasses. Encouraging children to wear their glasses when a problem with their sight has been diagnosed can be awkward, and for Sammy, he is loathe to make himself different from the rest of his class. Adults do the 'right thing' in trying to be supportive, but they miss the point altogether. His parents and Gran all talk of the handsome boy in his glasses, making him a little tense. His aunt and teacher follow the same line, asking about the handsome boy, the superhero. But Sammy does not want to be a superhero, he does not want to be different.

His best friend, George is the only one who points out his new glasses, and Sammy feels that no-one else can see past the glasses to see him, the same boy, not different at all. He leaves his glasses behind when the goes to the doctor, he loses them in the house, Mum finding them under his bed, he takes them off at school when the others tease him when his friend George is away. But in doing this everything becomes blurry, and he makes faces at the funny things he sees and he begins to laugh.

The rest of the class laugh with him, his teacher as well, telling him how funny he is.

Smile of the Viper (Jack Barclay, book 1) by Harry Dunn

When George returns they play the same game, the cardboard box being the pirate ship, only this time the whole class joins in, seeing him not as a boy with glasses, but as himself. A satisfying story about difference, readers will offer all sorts of tales about difference and the way people are seen by others. The book lends itself to discussion within the classroom, without being overly didactic. Bab Sharkey and the Animal Mummies book 3. Walker Books, Fast-paced, filled with crazy settings, humour, jokes, songs and secrets revealed, this a thrilling junior novel.

Bab's best friends the animal mummies Prong and Scaler join him in his bedroom, encouraging him to create a rollercoaster and volcano in his bedroom, all by the magic of his pharaoh beard. Meanwhile back in ancient Egypt, the evil Unpharoah and her offsider Cainus the jackal are conjuring up another evil plan. She wants to rule the kingdom with the power of Bab's magic beard and has just the right place to imprison Bab and his animal mummy friends Prong and Scaler.

She recalls childhood memories of a special prison, 'a chamber of terrible purple magic,' the spongy void hidden deep inside the Great Pyramid. Cainus cunningly captures Scaler and lures Babs and Prong the ibis mummy here. The eerie chamber's walls are painted with hundreds of hieroglyphs from both ancient and modern times. Bab turns into a stone boy during a set of mishaps and spends the rest of his time as a living statue.

Things quickly escalate as Bab, his father and Prong and Scaler use a hairy beard travelator to escape from the pyramid. What an exciting and unexpected ending for Bab and his family! Jessica Roberts' black-and-white cartoons add fun and drama, different text styles engage the readers. Little snippets of Egyptian history also make The Spongy Void an exciting, slightly madcap novel for fans of history and humour. Rhyllis Bignell.

Bloomsbury, Lex Croucher is an English vlogger whose videos cover a range of topics including feminism and animal rights. She uses her influence to advocate for empowering women and girls. In this book Lex makes use of her extensive experience with technology and social media to explore the nexus with real life for teenagers.

Immediately relevant to young people are topics such as: family and friends and creating that team of supporters; relationships familial, platonic, romantic, jealousy , body confidence acceptance, self-care and mental health dealing with negativity, goals and asking for help. The writing avoids preachiness and provides a healthy insight into the pitfalls and pleasures of living in or through an online world.

There is hope in this book. Lex reminds us all that the offshoots from the path we had mapped out can become the new map. These offshoots can lead to opportunities that were not dreamed of and yet are just right for you. As a common sense guide to being comfortable in your own skin this book excels. The formatting, anecdotes and the humour will appeal to the teenage reader but it is the hope and positive examples of ways a young person might engage with real life that make this book an unexpected joy to read.

Linda Guthrie. Black Dog Books, Themes: Thylacine, Extinction, Environment, Tasmania. The image of the last thylacine in its cage in Hobert is monumental in encouraging people to understand that extinction means that these incredible animals are no longer on this planet. This emotionally draining picture book showing the plight of these animals, unique to Australia and last seen in Tasmania in the early years of the twentieth century, will force readers to ask questions about how this was allowed to happen, and help them take steps to prevent it happening again.

The stunning cover sets the scene with its dark shades camouflaging the rear of a thylacine walking in its forest. The arresting cover forces readers to pause and look before opening the book, gleaning information about the animal before they proceed. Readers will be ale to see why it was called 'tiger', its doglike features, its habitat, while in awe at the skill of the illustrator in referencing the animals's demise as it walks off the cover.

Each page will draw gasps of wonder as the journey of one thylacine is followed from her home in the Tasmania bush to her capture and incarceration in the Hobart Zoo, where, one careless night the keeper forgets to lock her away and she dies of the cold. Her days in the forest are spent hunting, teaching her cub how to survive, running from the shapes that come into the ancient woods to kill, encouraged by the government bounty on the tigers's head. But the hunters capture her and she is taken to the city where she is surrounded by a forest of metal, where she must rely on a keeper to bring her food and lock her up at night against the cold.

Booth's skill at using digital techniques are nowhere as perfectly realised as with the illustrations in this book. They are simply breathtaking, making the reader stop on each page, drinking in the image presented, looking for the tiger and absorbing clues about its life. The sparse text accentuates the stunning illustrations, the words placed on the page contrasting with the images, the font used impelling the reader to read and think about the words presented.

The author's note at the end followed by the government advice about the bounty round off an emotionally stunning book, forcing readers to think more carefully at how easily things are lost forever. Teacher's notes are available. HarperCollins, Jaclyn Hyde is a girl whose desire in all of life is to be as perfect as she can be. Mostly she is quite successful at being perfect, but as is the way with some high-achievers, she always dreams of more success.

The discovery of a science recipe for a Perfection Potion in the rather scary abandoned Enfield Manor leads to a series of transforming moments. Jaclyn's best friends, Paige and Fatima, work alongside her in trying to resolve the disaster that is unleashed at school by the Jaclyn-Jackie confusion. This is a wonderful, funny story with some endearing, subtle and sometimes more obvious humour and some explosive moments! Set within a USA Middle School context in fictional Fog Island, there are moments of insight into psychological issues for the young characters, but mostly this is just a fun reconstruction of the Jekyll and Hyde story.

A performance of a school musical has some positively ridiculous moments involving a Moose costume! Male and female readers will enjoy the hilarious journey. Carolyn Hull. Rhiza Edge, Themes: Suicide, friends, family, depression. Academic, talented, with the lead in the school musical, good friends and a part time job at Woolworths, it would seem that Tiger has everything a 16 year old girl from a small Tasmanian town could want. However, with absent parents, she feels fragmented, hiding the broken part of herself by filling her days, running from one thing to another, proving herself.

Raised by a loving aunt and grandparents, Tiger has been in a tight group of friends since primary school. Best friend Nick Wallace, Wally, a star football player, son of a star football player tragically killed when Wally was three, is expected to be selected to play AFL and leave to play on the mainland. He shares a more sensitive side with Tiger, quoting poetry, making her feel special and she starts to wonder if he will ask her to go with him or if he too will go away.

The chapters are interspersed with letters to 'Dear Dad' and later 'Dear Mum' revealing the writer's innermost thoughts, when Wally suicides, the ultimate abandonment, her friends try to help but she pushes them away.

Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1) Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)
Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1) Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)
Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1) Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)
Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1) Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)
Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1) Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)
Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1) Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)

Related Smile of the Viper: A gripping and fast paced international thriller (Jack Barclay Book 1)



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