Reads April 2024

Everwild (Book 2 of the Skinjacker Trilogy), Neal Shusterman
This carries on where Everlost left off, being the middle book in a trilogy. The intended audience is a teen readership, but I still feel older and younger can read this depending on the person, even though the themes are much darker here. I’d heard some surprises were disturbing and although I wouldn’t go that far, I hadn’t thought I could feel at all uneasy or surprised. This story certainly evokes the question of just because a person (or in this case, afterlight) has an ability, does this mean they should use it? For the greater good, probably not. I found this book better than the first, and, therefore, intend to finish all three books, when after the first, I felt I might not bother with books 2 and 3.

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley (audio), M.C.Beaton, Read by Penelope Keith
This outing flows along like most of the Agatha Raisin books, although this time Agatha and her neighbour (and possibly love-interest) James Lacey team up and move temporarily to a village to solve a murder pretending to be a married couple. Romance is in the air in more ways than one, and the end of this book sets up an interest question for the next book to come.

All the Fiends of Hell, Adam L.G. Nevill
Nevill has been among my favourite authors from my first read of his books. My favourite out of those I’ve read so far remains No One Gets Out Alive. This newest novel may well be a close second, although trying to choose the best of this author’s work is difficult. In this (possible) alien invasion, supernatural horror, there’s so much to appreciate. The author well uses every sentence, creates a solid plot, and introduces a protagonist who is an average man thrown into exceptional circumstances. One of the book’s strengths is this character’s reactions. Even when he’s frozen in indecision, making me scream, the reaction is appropriate, genuine, and realistic. Real people aren’t superheroes. When hurt, people writhe in pain, unable to always miraculously drag themselves to their feet. The bad guy reminded me of several people I’ve stumbled across and was an excellent love-to-hate antagonist. The world-building also performs well, creating a steady creeping atmosphere and breakdown of our world. Although the horrors unfolding take place on Earth, they feel terribly genuine. The question of what’s bleeding through into our existence, extraterrestrial, inter-dimensional, denizens of hell… you’ll be wondering about and believing in them all, gazing at the sky and hoping it never turns red.

Moonraker (audio), Ian Fleming, Read by Bill Nighy
I found this surprising. The best thing about this book is the female romantic interest. She’s quite different from what we expect from the Bond universe. Her indifference to Bond was refreshing and nothing about her was quite what we imagine of the average Bond ‘girl’. I thought no one could make a game of cards sound interesting, but Fleming conveys the tension of the players. Negatives are few and in part a sign of past times and writing styles. This exemplifies why a writer shouldn’t solely focus on one human movement, such as the shrugging of shoulders (and what other movements could shrug?), and sprinkle it throughout a book. And the focus on what people wear grew tiring. But these points are minor. Overall, this highlighted the contrast between the films vs reading the books. Of course, Bill Nighy expertly reads the audio, as one would expect.

Crusade in Jeans, Thea Beckman
I knew nothing about this book other than it was award-winning, and never having come across a historical children’s book before, I couldn’t resist having a look. I’ve seen some say the book suffers because of the translation, and I can easily believe this is true, as some stories don’t translate terribly well. Still, this based on fact fiction — an event in history I had only a vague concept of — is extremely readable and adventurous enough to entertain many children and some adults alike. It’s certainly memorable, and it’s an interesting concept — a fifteen-year-old stuck in the wrong time viewing the events with a modern mindset. In reality, early on, people would likely have killed such a visitor, but Dolf’s persistence in trying to save almost ten thousand children will capture the imagination of many. Having read this, I was ready to give up my copy, but I see it’s rare and selling for exorbitant sums.

Snowblind, Don Roff
This started out well, though I was less absorbed by the end. The author uses any cliched horror moments well by making them funny. A relatively light, fast read, that’s entertaining. I can imagine this could make a decent film if done well, and it’s apparently currently in production.

About Sharon

Writer of Dark and Light Fiction. Fact, fiction, poetry, short stories, articles and novels. Cross-genre, slipstream, non-traditional romance, gothic, horror, fantasy and more... Visit this diverse writer's site.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.