Tag Archives: mystery

Just Finished…Medusa by Tony Talbot

Medusa by Tony Talbot

Medusa by Tony Talbot

Well, I finally got the time to knuckle down to some reading for fun in the last few weeks and it has started really well: I just finished Tony Talbot’s great new book Medusa. This is the second book of Tony’s I’ve read and I was not disappointed.

We meet Lissa Two – captain of a strange ship with some interesting technical skills – in an apparently post-apocalyptic world of water. Giant ‘seasteads’ form the main areas of civilisation and Lissa uses her ship – Connie – and the particular powers she has, to salvage items for sale in the underground souks in her own seastead home. A random meeting with a man thrown from a strange flying machine; the mysterious disappearance of an apparently strong seastead and Lissa’s own questions about Connie provide the ingredients for a fast-paced, cocktail of adventure.

I really like Tony’s writing style, he has a real way with words (helpful if you’re a writer, I know!) But what I mean, what really stands out in this book for me, was his ability to create a world you felt completely transported to: there is beautiful description throughout the book, whilst he walks his characters through the fast-paced plot, leaving you the feeling that you could reach out and touch the world Lissa inhabits. Now and again, I would find myself noticing something, not because it jarred, but because it just flowed so naturally. Unfortunately, some of the best examples I highlighted would need spoilers to explain – so I’d say you have to check it to know what I mean.

Medusa is one of those books you get sucked into quickly and struggle to find a place to pause, when reading – you just want to know ‘what next’ the whole time. Especially once Lissa’s questions start taking her down interesting paths, it gets even harder to stop: I read the second half of the book in one day. And it was worth it! 🙂

Overall, I’m going 4.5* for Medusa, I thought the characters, pace and writing in the book was even better than Eight Mile Island, the main reason it gets the same rating is because I loved the way EMI sucker punched me in it’s concluding chapters. I didn’t get quite the same left-field shock as I did with that one, but overall, I would say I enjoyed Medusa more and if you’re thinking of trying one of Tony’s books, this is the one I’d recommend.

Recommended for: fans of dystopian YA / post-apocalyptic world settings; I think people who liked the relationships in Angelfall would enjoy this, as well as Hunger Games / Blood Red Road fans looking for something with a feisty female protagonist in an unusual setting.

 

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Just Finished…Eight Mile Island by Tony Talbot

This is a great YA mystery adventure – with a male lead you’ll probably loathe then like if you’re anything like me (one sentence was all it took for me to dislike him, then another one to turn everything around! It sucker-punched me a bit, I will admit – as I’d had a good few chapters of not thinking very highly of him!)

Tony weaves a great story with twists, technology and science that will make your skin creep at times, as Dylan finds out more about the strange Eight Mile Island. With short, fast-paced chapters and lots of action, all told in a clear, descriptive style you really experience the whole journey with Dylan. It kept me guessing throughout, and being told in the first person it cleverly excludes and includes things that only Dylan would know.

Looking back at the story again now – it’s been a couple of months since I read it – I can see even more in it than I did immediately. It has a ‘Matrix-y’ element to it (trying to remain spoiler free) about the ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ world – I have to admit that on my first reading I took everything at face value and accepted the world as presented by the narrator…I’m not sure I’d do that on a second reading, and think that there would be a different story there for read number two…

Overall, 4.5* for me: Eight Mile Island kept me gripped and interested from start to finish – highly recommended.

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Just Finished…In Your Dreams by Amy Martin

This book is great: from the well-rounded characters, to the interesting twist-filled, but believable plot I went for this hook, line and sinker.

Told from Zip’s (Zara ‘Zip’ McKee) point of view – a heroine with a nice combination of self-depreciation, sporting ability, brains and maturity (that doesn’t seem like a 30-year-old in a 17-year-old!) – the story unfolds in traditional YA territory of high school. But the gorgeous new guy, with pale skin thankfully doesn’t turn out to be a vampire (or anything else otherworldly), but someone who suffers with narcolepsy.

The treatment of Kieran’s condition was very interesting – I’d never really thought about how people with narcolepsy deal with various situations and seeing Zip having to work these out as their relationship develops gave an added layer of interest for me and also showed a good deal of Zip’s character and outlook on life. It was nice to read about realistic characters dealing with real world issues, that can be just as problematic as dealing with being a YA in the first place! Hormones and high school are tough enough without passing out on a regular basis 🙂

All the key characters: Kayla, the parents, Kieran, Zip’s team mates… are all well-drawn and as you work through some of the twists and turns I think hold up well with their behaviour and motivation. I loved the dialogue and scene-setting in this book: Zip and Kieran bounce off one another so well that you could be watching them bantering away; and Zip is similar with her mother and Kayla over time. I had a few ‘awwww’ moments in their relationship – they are very cute and believable, without being cheesy. I also found that I really wanted to know what happened next – I read the book in a couple of days which is quick for me – all credit to the author, whose style of writing is engaging, fun and balances plot/drama with regular characters extremely well.

Overall: 4.5* A great debut and I was very pleased to see that this was ‘The End of Book One’ as I reached the last page – I would certainly look out for anything Amy Martin writes in the future and definitely want to hear more from the lovely Zip!

PS – Thanks to author Amy Martin for providing me a copy of this to read / review – love it from the minute I started reading it in the hairdressers! 🙂

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Just Finished…Death by Jade Varden

So The Tower, Book 2 in Jade Varden’s Deck of Lies series left us with a real cliff-hanger, so what did the third book Death deliver?

Death is a great third addition to this series of books, after the flood of revelations and lies that came out in The Tower, which got to the point of being near overwhelming, Death has a more mellow pace – it’s like that period of disquiet (I certainly can’t call it calm) that comes after a storm…or perhaps that odd come down you feel after a major adrenaline rush and reality begins to sink in. Rain/Chloe/? our protagonist is still in the thick of it, with lies, odd family connections and dirty deeds seeping out of every brick in the fancy mansion she lives in…

Rain continues her quest for the truth – but what truth that is continues to change: her hunt for her identity led to a murder, her hunt for a murderer led her to more of her own secrets… Death delivers a good dose of reflection on the previous rollercoaster of events from Books 1 and 2, whilst continuing to throw up more surprises. I really liked the development of Rain’s character in this book – her experiences are certainly changing how she operates in the vicious world she’s found herself in. The re-appearance of one of my favourite characters was also nicely dealt with – definitely some good potential there for the last book in the series Judgement.

Deck of Lies is a fantastic YA mystery series, with plenty of twists and fans of soaps like Dallas, Days of Our Lives and Sunset Beach, will love the mad hookups and random family relationship relevations. Jade’s writing is style is vivid and concise, helping you to completely immerse yourself in her stories.

Overall Verdict: 4.5* If you’re not already into this series and enjoy a good contemporary YA read, then you’re missing out! I can’t wait for Judgement

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Just Finished…The Tower by Jade Varden

Synopsis: Death brings some families closer, but it’s ripped mine apart. I wanted to convince the police that they had the wrong suspect…but I never expected them to start suspecting me. Now, I have no choice but to keep searching for the truth, even if all my relationships fall to pieces around me.

Someone is trying to make me look guilty. I never thought my mission to prove my own innocence would lead me to more family secrets. I thought I had already discovered the truth about myself. But every answer raises more questions, and everything I think I know is about to change…again.

I have to find the truth, no matter how much it hurts — before I get charged with murder.

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When I read Justice, the first book in Jade Varden’s Deck of Lies series, earlier this year I was looking forward to the release of the follow-up book The Tower after being left with a doozy of a cliff-hanger. You can read my review of Justice at Aside from Writing blog.

So…after the wait, did The Tower deliver? Absolutely! 🙂 I stayed up reading with one eye it was that good!

Normally I struggle with “Second-Book-Syndrome” – I love the first then find the second one less than satisfying (Twilight, The Hunger Games, Hush Hush series and Darkest Powers series all had this for me) – with The Tower I actually liked it better than Justice and would agree with the idea that you could read this book without having read the first. Although the characters and story continues from the first book, The Tower is written in a way that also allows it to work as a stand-alone book, which I think is great.

It is a difficult book to review without giving spoilers, but I’ll try…in contrast to Justice which focuses on the mystery surrounding the kidnapping of a baby girl and her subsequent reuniting with her real family over a decade later, The Tower is more a murder mystery. It reminded me a little of the Point Horror books I used to love when I read young adult fiction the first time around, where someone in the middle of the action needs to solve the riddles the police cannot, although it is written with much more depth and sophistication. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and another good cliffhanger to seal the end of the book. I liked the epilogue particularly in how it drew the themes of the story back to the symbol of the tarot card ‘the tower’ – very neatly done.

Overall, I’d say 4.5* for me – it was practically perfect – I did get a little lost in twists in the middle (just like Rain I wanted paper to map them out) and missed a character who featured heavily in Justice, but it was great seeing Sawyer  in more depth and I liked the relationship between him and Rain as they work through the mystery. Jade has a really good writing style: well-described, interesting and believable characters, who work well in the events of the novel. I absolutely have my suspicions as to who has done what…but I’ll need to read the next book to find out! So I’m looking forward to the next instalment.

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So – do you think this sounds good? Well – the author has kindly provided me with ebooks of her books so that one lucky reader could win both Justice and The Tower to read for themselves. The competition starts tomorrow and you’ll have a week to enter, so visit my main website and ‘like’ this review or follow on Twitter and get yourself in it to win it! 

Enter Competition at http://cusick-jones.com/giveaway.php

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