I raced through a few books at the end of the year (well, I didn’t race through all of them) that I didn’t get time to review, and which for various reasons I don’t feel like giving a full review to. So, that implies I wasn’t thrilled with them, but then again, you might be.

The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell

Genre: MG Fantasy

Why I read it: GMGR book for December; the blurb was fascinating, and it was in my library

My Thoughts: The blurb was fascinating, but I was surprised when I got started how drear and confusing it seemed. Then a Narnia-like event took place which set the heroine in a land of eternal winter populated by pets, now human-sized and living human-type lives. And I thought anthropomorphism was dead. Maybe there’s hope for me yet. Apart from disliking the idea of my pets living in this horrible place when I imagine them happily bounding around in guinea-pig like manner across the Rainbow Bridge, free to be content in whatever way they like, it also seemed like the author threw as many amazing inventions and ideas into the story as possible, making me wonder whatever next, but not really interested in finding out. It was relentless, and had I not wanted to finish it before the year ended, I might have given up. The ending was okay, though. I did wonder whether the translator had perhaps done it a disservice, or whether the truth of it is that Scandinavian Noir extends to children’s stories.


Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson

Genre: MG Historical

Why I read it: It was on Net-Galley, although it had been published before, and I hadn’t read any Jacqueline Wilson, which is unthinkable, since she’s one of the most famous UK children’s authors

My Thoughts: It was well written with a real atmosphere of Victorian London and the extreme poverty – and cruelty – of the time. However, I thought the characters – especially the adult ones – stereotypical, and I was surprised at the unsurprising plot. I expected better. Maybe it was my expectations that were at fault?


The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

Genre: Crime/Detective (Hercule Poirot)

Why I read it: I wanted to see what Sophie Hannah had made of this, since she gave a talk about tackling a Hercule Poirot book (with the support of the Agatha Christie family) at the 2015 Noirwich. The book was on the second-hand book shelf at my golf club!

My Thoughts: You’ll be shocked, but I’ve only ever read one Poirot book, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, which I described as good enough to read over a surfeit of Christmas pudding. Since I think the Monogram Murders is as good as that, I reckon Sophie Hannah’s done a good job. Poirot afficionados either love it or hate it. I’ll probably read the next one, which I suspect is better.


The Demise of Foxy Jack (Adventures of the X Pirates #1) by Edward Medina

Genre: Fantasy

Why I read it: I was desperate for an X for my Alphabet Soup Challenge. I’d read an earlier work by the author, which was bizarre but interesting.

My Thoughts:  This is also bizarre but interesting. I didn’t warm to it as much as I had A Murder of Crows, although it comes from the same world. It felt a bit disjointed. I do have the sequel on my kindle, so I may read that for X in 2017, but otherwise I’d probably look for something else. Then again, it’s a while since I read Murder of Crows, so maybe it’s one where I need to be able to switch into the world more easily (i.e. while I still remember it). This also has anthropomorphic  characters, but with better reason for it.


Blood and Betrayal (Emperor’s Edge #5) by Lindsay Buroker

Genre: Fantasy

Why I read it: It’s book 5 in a series I’m enjoying

My Thoughts: Much better than book 4, really back on track with strange machines, chases, the team squabbling, lots of confusion, and some seriously nasty torture. Crikey, Lindsay, I hope you’re not writing what you know! I’d hate to have to even imagine this lot, much less write it down and edit it! It’s a cracking read. Oh, and I’ve bought the next three in the series… Lindsay’s output puts me to shame; she only started a year before me, but she’s now got about 25 books out, in about four series!

header picture copyright Danielle English at kanizo.co.uk

Book Review Round-up

4 thoughts on “Book Review Round-up

  • 21 January, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Good round-up. And I think you pegged the Twistrose Key pretty well. I hadn’t thought about the noir connection, but it makes sense. And I agree about wondering why the rather grim frozen world for the pets!

    • 23 January, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      It took me a while to realise why I felt the way I did about it!

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