cross my heart

Alex Cross will do anything to protect his family.

Thierry Mulch is a psychopathic serial killer who committed murders he got away with and now thinks he is “the perfect criminal”.

Marcus Sunday is a writer who theorizes the philosophical world-view of a perfect killer in his book The Perfect Criminal.

Alex, Bree, and the FBI have been involved in an investigation of a recent spate of murders. Alex writes about the murders in a publication, drawing the wrath of the killer who decides to tear his family apart and make him suffer.

His conviction and his love is about to be put to the test. With a madman fanatical with being the perfect criminal on the stalk, can Alex Cross crack the most important case of his career and protect his family?

I liked the start; we see Alex in a desperate situation and then we go back several days and see the events leading up to that moment. The plot has several stories cleverly interweaved; a psycho is after Alex and his family, a killer that attacks massage parlours is on the loose, someone is kidnapping babies, Alex and Bree’s missing foster daughter Ava; and moves along quickly.

The ending was abrupt and had no resolution, it was a cliff-hanger and you’ll have to read the next book in the series to resolve it. Very annoying when you’ve invested time in a story and it feels a bit moneygrabberish to me. I doubt I’d buy the next if this book was one I’d bought, not sent to review.

Century

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

waterfall

This is the second book in the Teardrop Saga. In this follow on from Teardrop, Eureka’s tears have flooded the earth causing Atlantis to rise, and thus its evil king, Atlas. Before Eureka can end the death and destruction she first has to learn how to fight.

She is torn between two loves, and she is struggling to make sense of the dark world her sorrow has created. There are so many secrets hidden in the dark depths. Is she strong enough to defeat Atlas, or is her broken heart just what needs to power his rising kingdom?

Will she have to give up love to save the world?

I have not read Teardrop and I struggled to get into this book. That being said, once I got started it was an easy enough read. I feel I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the first book and had some of the background story in my mind as I read.

Doubleday

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Cindy

Review of Teardrop: Teardrop Saga #2

the king

After centuries of ignoring his kingship, Wrath has finally accepted the crown and is ruling the vampire society. The threat from the Band of Bastards is still there though, and has glymera support, as they want a ruler who embraces the old traditions of aristocracy. The war with the lessening society rages on and they need new fighters.

Beth wants Wrath’s young and is unprepared for his response, or the distance it puts between them.

Xcor is the leader of the Band of Bastards and one of the leaders in the plot to take down the King. But he’s fallen for the Chosen Layla, who is pregnant with Qhuinn’s young. Layla has unexplainable feelings for Xcor and has to keep her relationship with him secret.

Trez is trying to get away from his future, which is to be the mate and sex slave of the next Queen of the Shadows. Hiding out with the BDB, he falls for the Chosen Selena and his brother iAm will do anything to help him escape his fate.

Assail feels compelled to help Sola, the burglar who was paid to spy on him.

The plot is very involved, with multiple storylines and recurring characters, and it would help if you’d read the previous in the BDB series. The main story was Wrath and Beth and it was refreshing to read their HEA wasn’t all sunshine and roses and see how they dealt with challenges.

I don’t like Assail and he and Sola seem a bit pointless, I’m not sure why their story is being told. I swing between not liking Xcor and feeling sorry for him, I   think Layla’s made a huge mistake though.

I like Trez and Selena and hope they get their HEA, their story is the next book.

I loved when Wrath met his subjects!

Hopefully we’ll see more of Paradise in later books.

And there are Lassiter scenes!

A must read for BDB fans!

Piatkus

Purchased at Book Depository UK

Reviewed by Jan

Lover at Last: BDB 11 review

shards of hope

ADEN’S STORY!!!

Aden and Zaira wake up in a dark cell, with their psychic abilities gone and, in Zaira’s case, seriously wounded. Breaking free from the prison where their gaolers are both human and psy, they find themselves at the mercy of the elements and far from civilisation. To survive they must make it to the hidden lair of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

A target has been put on the back of the Arrow squad and the leader, Aden, abducted to give up information, while Zaira was taken to show the world the squad isn’t invincible. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope as she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough – because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken . . . like Zaira.
The plot was very complex, full of twists and turns and kept me enthralled till the very end. It set the scene for upcoming challenges in the post-Silence world. I really liked seeing seeing so many of the characters from the previous books and finding out more about them, like Miane and the water changelings, as well as totally new characters, like Remy and the RainFire pack.

It was so cute when Aden is figuring out how to alpha and watching clueless Arrows trying to figure out kids – changeling and psy – is sweet. The Arrows finally have a chance at life and Aden is determined they will become a family.

Can’t wait for #15!

Gollancz

Supplied by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

five minutes alone

Theodore Tate is one of the ‘Coma Cops’ shot by a vicious psychopath six months ago. He has returned to the police force and is assigned to the case of a dead man who committed suicide by train. Or did he? Tate soon realises things aren’t so straightforward, as murder was the cause of death and the dead guy was also a bad guy, a convicted rapist whose last victim is still living in fear.   When more bad guys end up dead, he realises someone is helping rape victim’s exact revenge on their attackers.

Carl Schroder is the other ‘Coma Cop’ and life is not treating him well.  The bullet lodged in his head from a shooting six months ago hasn’t killed him but, almost as deadly, it’s switched off his emotions. Running across a recently paroled rapist he put away years ago, he follows him stalking the victim who put him in prison. After   saving her, he remembers a common plea cops get from the loved ones of victims – when you find the man who did this, give me five minutes alone with him. And finds a new mission.

Wow, this was my first book by Paul Cleave and am now hunting down the rest. You don’t need to have read previous novels to know what’s going on; just enough information is given to make the scene clear. The plot was tightly woven; leaving me breathless after each chapter, convinced death was looming only to have events snatch life back repeatedly. It must be hard, tracking   down a vigilante most people are cheering for! The dangers of vigilantism are also shown.   A well written book that makes you think.

Penguin Books

Supplied by 247 PR

Reviewed by Jan

Revolution

Reading this book was a labour of love that seemed Sisyphean and took far too long. Brand either writes as he speaks or this book is dictated and transcribed. It is full of contradictions. He perambulates through his ideas with digressions and unnecessary anecdotes. Critics have, justifiably in my opinion, called the book wandering and slated it. I struggled to read it at all. At times — and this is contrary to my character — I felt quite violent towards Russell Brand. Seeing his deftly threaded eyebrows on the cover had me itching for soap and a razor.

Nick Cohen of the Guardian called the book the “barmy credo of a Beverly Hills Buddhist.” In this uncharitable response he was far from alone. The criticisms have flown so hard and fast that criticizing the critics of this book has become a staple topic for columnists in the past weeks (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/mark-steel/if-you-think-russell-brands-new-book-revolution-is-confused-you-should-read-what-his-critics-have-to-say-about-it-30709726.html).

So, having read this book, with loud internal mutters of annoyance and occasional revulsion I am bemused to find myself wanting to offer it to other people. Alas, I got a lot out of it.

The Independent reviewer bemoaned that it was “typical of England to produce a revolutionary who offers no route map towards a revolution.”

Brand’s style is indeed peripatetic and his discourse personal. He is wealthy and eccentric and open about his feelings. This makes him a wonderful and apparently soft target. Yet the array of good minds he brings to his topic, in addition to his own, provide thoughtful support for his ideas and so his philosophy is not as easily dismissed as Brand himself.

Additionally, despite what the Independent says, Brand does provide laundry lists of action we could take to revolutionise society. He also offers examples of previous revolutions that have and haven’t worked as well as a consideration of why that has been the case. He untangles why he thinks we need a revolution at length (inequality, damage to the planet, poor representation, corruption etc).

If only the book had been heavily edited. I would love to take a red liner and cut out Brand’s lapses into poetry (p.61), typos (p.87 for example), baby talk (which had my head hitting the desk at p.313-315), self-contradictions (one moment he wants to throw molotovs and the next the process must be utterly non-violent), page long off topic rambles (p.132), and self-serving but irrelevant anecdotes (let me tell you about the time I hung out with Tom Cruise baby!).

A fact checker would also come in handy. Even someone as bad at math as I, raises their eyebrows when Brand says 10% of Londoners don’t have internet access, then proposes city wide Wi-Fi because “one fifth of the population are offline” (p.344).

I could happily trim his random attacks on people. It’s hard to find a group he doesn’t bash though of course rich people are a favourite target. Here is one example, found on page 133, of a baffling harangue about a random woman who displeased Brand:

“Nicola is a nervous flyer, which is annoying, because we all die in plane crashes, not just nervous people… They’re getting short shrift from me now, these blubbering sky-nancies. Phobias are like fetishes if you ask me, nurtured little perversions that the sufferers secretly enjoy.”

I sure didn’t need to be told what my reaction to this book would be (p.172) or that Brand has a big ego (numerous times). He says that he only had a few hours of research time and that he had to write 100,000 words (p.190 and p.172). Plus, he continually mocks the reader “you self-centred swine” (p.154).

It might have been kinder to the reader, who after all pays for the experience of reading this work, to encourage Brand to put more time into research and focus less on the word count.

Sometimes, the expression given to Brand’s credo is beautiful. The book design is a credit to the publisher. In all, as it stands, I recommend reading this book and will pass it onto others, because the message is good. But, just this once, can I please shoot the messenger?

Random House

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Sally

SWLadybird

Sally won a Julius Vogel award with her first book Deputy Dan & the Mysterious Midnight Marauder which you can purchase here:

Since she has had two short stories published in Baby Teeth and one in Fat Zombie. These anthologies are available from Amazon.
Please check her Facebook page or website for news about her first novel, Somewhere Else and its sequel Sunrise.

love from the very hungry catepillar

You are . . . the cherry on my cake . . . the apple of my eye. You make . . . the sun shine brighter . . . my heart flutter . . .

This cute little book is a celebration of love and full of ways to tell a special someone how much you care for them. The Very Hungry Caterpillar appears beside a collection of favourite things, from yummy treats to shining stars. The artwork is bright and colourful, holding the atentkion of little ones nicely. The six month old tester loved it!

Picture Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan