GRAVE MATTER (Book Review)

Written by: Juno Dawson

Illustrated by: Alex T. Smith

Published in the UK in 2018 by: Barrington Stoke

Pages: 140


REOPENING THE DOOR

“That future wasn’t meant to be and I was an arrogant fool to challenge fate.”

A brief-yet-pointedly macabre horror novella spread over just 140 occasionally-illustrated yellow-hued pages, young adult author Juno Dawson’s twisted tale of first loves lost and best left lost is a quick read perfectly suited to entice reading adverse older teens and dyslexics alike.

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THE PAN BOOK OF HORROR STORIES (Book Review)

Selected by: Herbert van Thal

First published by Pan Books in 1959 / Reprinted: 2017

296 pages


THE GHOSTS OF SENSIBILITIES PAST

Pan Book of Horror StoriesHaving released their first mass-market paperback in 1947 (Ten Stories by Rudyard Kipling), publishing giants Pan are this year celebrating their 70th anniversary with a series of reissues of their most popular and iconic titles. Piquing my interest among the twenty classics receiving a new lease of life was a reprint of the first ever volume of collected horror stories; 22 macabre tales from authors renowned (Bram Stoker, Peter Fleming, C.S. Forester) and unheard of.

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THORNHILL (Book Review)

Written and illustrated by: Pam Smy

Published in the UK by: David Fickling Books / Publication date: 27th August 2017

Pages: 544


A TIMELESS FRIENDSHIP

Weighing in at a daunting 544 pages, APU graduate and Cambridge lecturer Pam Smy’s debut solo work (the first she has both written and illustrated) is actually a deceptively quick read, and one which I blasted through in a matter of hours.

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DRAGON TEETH (Book Review)

Written by: Michael Crichton

Released in the UK by: HarperCollins, 1st June 2017

285 pages


 

BARE BONES

Following buccaneering adventure Pirate Latitudes and shrink-ray techno-thriller Micro, Dragon Teeth is the third posthumously released and previously undiscovered novel from prolific author, screenwriter and director Michael Crichton since his 2009 passing. Despite exhibiting a wealth of research, this historical Western archaeology lark is – by some degree – the least accomplished of the three, and a far cry from the bestselling scribe’s other dinosaur adventures.

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Flesh and Blood (Book Review)

Written and illustrated by: Chris Priestley

Published in the UK by: Barrington Stoke, 15th April 2017

121 pages


 

BEHIND THE MASK

The first of three new releases from the macabre mind of Anything That Isn’t This author and illustrator Chris Priestley to fill children and young adults with equal measures of fear and wonder in 2017, this dyslexic-friendly “easy reader” from publishers Barrington Stoke may be the shortest and most simplistic, but Flesh and Blood does not suffer for its ease of accessibility.

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A Boy Called Christmas (Book Review)

Written by: Matt Haig

Illustrated by: Chris Mould

Published in the UK by: Canongate, 2015

266 pages


 

YOUNG SAINT NICK

While I openly appreciate that I am far beyond the target demographic for this Primary school-skewed prequel detailing how a lonely and underprivileged woodcutter’s son grew up into the magical gift-giving, mince pie-munching Father of the festive season, I was on the lookout for an easy Christmas read to get me in the spirit. This much-applauded “future Classic” (as broadcaster-cum-novelist Simon Mayo hailed it) from the Number One Bestselling author of The Runaway Troll sounded like the perfect pick.

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Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries (Book Review)

Written by: Helen Fielding, 2016

Published in the UK by: Jonathan Cape

217 pages


 

Image result for bridget jones's baby novelBACK WITH A BUMP

Squished betwixt first sequel The Edge of Reason (1999) and 2013’s hugely successful – and for some, highly contentious – comeback Mad About the Boy in Bridget’s flitting and flighty chronology, this companion novel to Universal Pictures/Working Title’s new hit film (which I reviewed HERE) is a warm, gigglesome and agreeable, if threadbare, read, inspired by Helen Fielding’s newspaper columns published in The Independent.

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Fire Witch (Book Review)

Written by: Matt Ralphs, 2016

Published in the UK by: Macmillan Children Books

Pages: 276


Image result for fire witch book

NO ORDINARY GIRL

In the Acknowledgements at the rear of Matt Ralphs’ recent sequel to his 2015 breakout hit, Fire Girl (which I reviewed HERE), the blossoming children’s author openly acknowledges the “breakneck speed” at which his editors at Macmillan Children’s Books dictated he write the follow up. Whereas he was able to spend close to five years “scribbling feverishly” on his debut during his spare time, following a publication deal he had a turnaround period of just one-fifth of that time in which to spin a successive yarn.

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The Pier Falls (Book Review)

Written by: Mark Haddon, 2016

Published in the UK by: Jonathan Cape/Penguin Random House

Pages: 347


From the historical disaster account of the titular tale to quasi-supernatural psychological horror (“Wodwo”) via tragic almost-romances (“Bunny”, “The Weir”), this selection of nine short stories from the pen of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time scribe Mark Haddon must be commended for the astounding diversity of their perspectives and authorial voices – even if they don’t necessarily sit well alongside one another in this recent hardback collection from Jonathan Cape.

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Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company (Book Review)

Written by: Alexander Freed

Published in the UK by: Century, 2015

397pages


 

WARS OF THE WORLDS

Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back in a post-Death Star, Vader-aware universe, Dragon Age comic author Alexander Freed does an admirable job of encapsulating the galaxy-wide scale of the fight against the Imperial Empire in this dense and often introspective companion story to last November’s hotly-anticipated Electronic Arts multi-player action shooter reboot, Star Wars Battlefront.

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