August / September Book Round-Up

I didn’t get round to posting a round-up of the books I read in August last month as I was so busy with holidays, so here’s a bumper round-up for two months of reading.

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RATINGS:
Like a Star @ heaven Dire – don’t waste your time
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven OK, but nothing to write home about
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven Very good – worth a read
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven Excellent
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven Superb – read it immediately!

BOOKS FINISHED IN AUGUST:
49. F E Higgins – The Black Book of Secrets (Sinister City 1) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
One from the library and the first in the Tales from the Sinister City series. A really great start to the series. It’s dark, it’s sinister, and it’s populated by characters I cared about very quickly. I’m looking forward to getting hold of the rest of the series from the library as soon as possible!

50. Julia Golding – Cat O’ Nine Tails (Cat Royal 4) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
The Cat Royal series just keeps on delivering! Fast-paced action, heart-warming characters, perilous situations, and real causes written in a manner that doesn’t condescend to its younger audience. This time round, Cat is all at sea – literally! It also delivers a sensitive portrayal of Native Americans and the oppression they often suffered at the hands of white settlers.

51. Philip Pullman – The Tin Princess (Sally Lockhart 4) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
This is the last book in the Sally Lockhart series, although it features Miss Lockhart (now Mrs Goldberg) very little. This is actually a good thing as Sally has always been a slightly unlikable character. Instead, this story focuses on Jim and another character we met way back in the beginning of the series (I won’t give it away). Throw in political unrest in a small European country and you have a very dangerous situation! It’s been a consistently good series, but I felt the end of this final installment left things hanging unsatisfactorily.

52. Douglas Jackson – Caligula Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Transworld Book Group – see full review HERE.

53. Nicholas Sparks – The Notebook Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
This is not the kind of book I normally read. Although it’s written by a man, it’s a bit “chick-lit” and romantic for my usual tastes, but this is utterly compelling. As the story slowly unfolds, I’m finding myself falling in love with Noah and Allie, and I desperately wanted things to work out for them. It’s not often that a book makes me cry, but this one had me in tears, both of sadness and of joy. It’s a wonderful book and I recommend it even if it’s out of your comfort zone.

54. Alex Scarrow – Day of the Predator (TimeRiders 2) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Time travel, dinosaurs, and possibly unravelling the entire space-time continuum – what more could you possibly want from a young adult novel? Well, great characters (check!) and a gripping plot (check would also be good. Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner! This is a brilliant sequel which expands upon what we learned in the first novel and makes some intriguing revelations (one important one I had already guessed back in the first book, but I felt quietly proud that I’d worked it out and it didn’t spoil things for me).

BOOKS FINISHED IN SEPTEMBER:
55. Lee Carroll – Black Swan Rising  Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Transworld Book Group – see full review HERE.

56. Steven A. Roman – Blood Feud (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Book 1)  Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Reviewed for author HERE.

57. John Boyne – Crippen Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Transworld Book Group – see full review HERE

58. Stephenie Meyer – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Twilight Saga Novella) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
I wasn’t impressed with the Twilight Saga (or Emo Sparkly Veggie Vamps R Us), but the completest in me demanded I read the accompanying novella. It’s no better than the rest of the series. Meyer is no great shakes as a writer and her one concession to originality is making her vampires sparkle in the sun. This novella is readable and blessedly short, but will only really delight those who are her most ardent fans.

59. Julia Golding – Black Heart of Jamaica (Cat Royal 5) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Not quite as good as the last one. Once again we’re looking at slavery, but this time Cat experiences first hand how slaves are treated. There’s a smattering of piracy included, so a second sea voyage (however brief), but I would have preferred more of that to explore something a little different. Still good though!

60. Kevin Brookes – iBoy Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Young adult urban sci-fi thriller with a great concept. Fascinating study on moral right versus revenge and the responsibility of those who have power (a la Spider-Man etc). Believable characters coupled with hard-hitting themes which are deftly handled. I’ll be looking out for this author in future!

61. YS Lee – A Spy in the House (The Agency 1) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
First in a series of young adult historical detective/mystery novels. Packed with intrigue and it doesn’t dumb down for the teen audience either. Definitely worth pursuing further.

62. Steven Preece – Wasted Resource Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Reviewed for author HERE.

63. Lauren Kate – Fallen (Fallen 1) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
First in a young adult urban fantasy series. Interesting characters and concept although nearer the end it started to jump around a fair bit which meant I marked it down a little when I finished it. I’ll be reading the other books too though.

BOOKS ABANDONED UNFINISHED:
Kevin Crossley-Holland – The Seeing Stone (Arthur Trilogy 1)
It’s 338 pages long, but has 100 chapters. By page 50, I had read 17 chapters and that was more than enough to know this wasn’t for me. To be honest, starting a new chapter every other page disrupted the flow – not that there was much flow anyway, as everything seemed to chop and change each time a new chapter began. As some chapters were literally less than a single page in length, I very quickly grew weary of it and dumped it. I won’t be returning to it or the rest of the series, despite being a huge fan of the Arthurian legends. A shame, because I was looking forward to it.

Michael Cordy – The Colour of Death (Transworld Book Group)
I just couldn’t read this one because it’s written in the present tense. It doesn’t matter how good a story is, if it’s written in the present tense, I just can’t get on with it. It hurts my head too much. So, sadly, I shall be unable to read this novel, which is the last one I was sent from the Transworld Book Group. Such a shame, because the other three were all great reads.

BOOKS STARTED (carrying over to October):
Elizabeth Chadwick – Shadows and Strongholds
Although I love historical fiction, I usually head straight for Roman, Tudor or Victorian eras, so this medieval setting is unusual for me and mostly an unknown quantity. Loving this so far – if it finishes as well as it’s started then I can see myself hunting out further works by this author in the future.

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