2011 Book Reviews

Jealousy – Lili St. Crow “The relationship between Dru and Graves is the most authentic I’ve ever come across in fiction. It’s awkward – delightfully, refreshingly awkward. Writers, this is how teen romances should be written.” Buy (Worldwide)

Outside In – Maria V. Snyder “The secret agendas, hidden tech, and the presence of Outsiders make Outside In an absolute thriller. Fingers crossed there’ll be a third novel in this series.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Shadow Runners – Liz Maverick “The world-building definitely meets my expectations, particularly the mysterious Parliament…Yay for surprise!opium…rather enjoyable…” Buy (UK)

Things Bogans Like – E. Chas McSween et al “…the real gold lies in the section on vampires…This tome works best as a coffee table book, or joke gift to confuse your foreign friends.” Buy (UK)

Beyond Heaving Bosoms – Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan “…plenty of comic fodder…the snark is brilliant.” Buy (Worldwide)

Coming Undone – Lauren Dane “This series is prime comfort material. The homey vibe hugs readers…You’d love to have these characters in your life.” Buy (Worldwide)

Rage – Jackie Morse Kessler “…does exactly what it should: provokes reactions in readers…Rage is a striking story that cuts to the bone and digs deeper.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Vespertine – Saundra Mitchell “…has all the hallmarks of a cracking good read: a friendly group of characters, witticism, danger and scandal. Add in the luxe time period featuring Fourteenths, dance cards and callers, and it forms a quality story that’ll leave readers wanting to know more – especially how long we have to wait until The Springsweet! Saundra Mitchell is an elegant writer who weaves great suspense.” Buy (Worldwide)

In the Arms of Stone Angels – Jordan Dane “The real drawcards are the Native American elements, specifically involving the Euchee tribe. The line between spiritual and magical is blurred, which is fascinating…” Buy (Worldwide)

The Iron Witch – Karen Mahoney “Alchemy is far and beyond the most fascinating thing at work here…Could signal the rise of alchemy and weird science in fiction, and I certainly welcome it.” Buy (Worldwide)

American Vampire – Jennifer Armintrout “…streams clever turns of phrase and dry humour with characters flawed enough to be real…This romantic creature feature novel has suspense in spades…A rollicking good time!” Buy (Worldwide)

Dark Life – Kat Falls “This futuristic Western YA comes with a great male narrator, shifty characters, claustrophobic setting, some genuinely creepy moments, and the first steps of a realistic romance.” Buy (Worldwide)

Damaged – Yolanda Sfetsos Buy (Worldwide)

Jeweled – Anya Bast “Best suited for fans of Megan Hart’s Order of Solace series…The world-building intrigues…” Buy (Worldwide)

Project 17 – Laurie Faria Stolarz “…packs a mighty emotional, unforgettable punch.” Buy (Worldwide)

Thyla – Kate Gordon

Demonized – Naomi Clark “If Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter Morgan and J. A. Konrath’s Jacqueline Daniels had a baby together, Naomi Clark’s Ethan Banning would be the result…both deranged and delightful…” Buy (US)

Ungrateful Dead – Naomi Clark “…a great little introduction to private investigator Ethan Banning…One-liners abound…a short, nifty, and enjoyable read.” Buy (US)

Burn Bright – Marianne de Pierres “…I like Dark Eve, who doesn’t get enough page-time…A lot of world-building and vivid images…”

Coming Home – P. D. Martin “…a real thriller. The emotional depth is raw…brings the danger disturbingly close to home for Victorian readers. Coming Home is well worth reading.” Buy (US)

XVI – Julia Karr “…the story really shines…If only Mars Rising was a real book; I’ve love to read it!” Buy (Worldwide)

Night and Chaos – Naomi Clark “…the incident at the first chapter’s end is a hoot. There are parts of Van and Effie that I’m so jealous I didn’t get to write first. And if you’re looking for a different kind of paranormal creature, you can learn about devas and asuras….best suited for fans of Keri Arthur’s Destiny Kills.” Buy (US)

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide – Stephenie Meyer “…Joham and the vampire hybrids are the most intriguing…ideally consumed in small doses…” Buy (Worldwide)

The Girl in the Steel Corset – Kady Cross “…Emily O’Brien is far and beyond the most engaging character: She’s a mechanic, engineer, medic, and altogether awesome…Kady Cross writes automatons so well that I dip my dirigible captain’s hat to her…vastly enjoyable, this clockwork treasure should go down a treat.” Buy (Worldwide)

Hereafter – Tara Hudson “The setting is gorgeous. Hereafter quietly sprawls with a Gothic menace, a pleasant read for a lazy afternoon…should find a nice audience with fans of Jessica Verday’s The Hollow.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Bradbury Report – Steven Polansky “…an unexpected delight that may well suit fans of South Park and the works of Seth MacFarlane…a sci-fi heart in a literary body…a strange but unforgettable reading experience.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Repossession Mambo – Eric Garcia “…Eric Garcia’s crowning glory is this magnificent tome…Simply put, I adore this novel. I love the premise, the narrator’s voice, the humour, the looping internal structure, the world-building, and even the romance…” Buy (Worldwide)

Moongazer – Marianne Mancusi “…everything is brilliantly executed.” Buy (UK)

Uninvited – Justine Musk “…a clever writer who weaves great sentences and a story that doesn’t fall into maudlin…A mature tale of the void, the abyss, that we all face at one time or another.” Buy (Worldwide)

Exile – Rebecca Lim “…a formula that works…strikes a chord…A great way to spend a day.” Buy (Worldwide)

Wither – Lauren DeStefano “This future-Gothic novel has it all: polygamy, a wedding, deaths, a birth, a natural disaster, family secrets, betrayal, friendship, diabolical science, a spooky basement, and beautiful illusions. Interpersonal conflicts ensure the tension stays taut and the drama high…Clear your calendar for Lauren DeStefano’s first book – no need for TV when Wither‘s drama is this riveting!” Buy (Worldwide)

Close Encounters – Katherine Allred “…oddly appealing weird shiz…stick around.” Buy (Worldwide)

Helper12 – Jack Blaine “…fans of Ally Condie and Julia Karr should give Helper12 a whirl…” Buy (US)

Darkness Becomes Her – Kelly Keaton “With mental illness, genuinely spooky kids, and Mardi Gras, Darkness Becomes Her should easily find a place on any reader’s wishlist. The particular kinds of creatures in the prison cells are genuinely surprising…Young girl Violet is rather uniquely creepy…” Buy (Worldwide)

Cold Kiss – Amy Garvey “Amy Garvey crafts a different kind of zombie novel with an odd shot of whimsy. Cold Kiss contains magic, family secrets, and more than just a little Weekend at Bernie‘s vibe. It’s kind of fun, and works really well as a stand-alone…Though runaway zombies make for a rather entertaining read.” Buy (Worldwide)

Machine Man – Max Barry “Max Barry excels in creating excellent female characters, and fans will be cheering for Charlie and Lola to work things out. The dialogue is smart and snappy…well worth picking up.” Buy (Worldwide)

Glow – Amy Kathleen Ryan “The deep-space setting is above and beyond the best part of Glow. The descriptions of the sky, stars, and nebula outside the spaceships are amazing; so beautiful to read. Amy Kathleen Ryan has crafted a fabulous pageturner…Glow is compulsive reading, and I’m eagerly awaiting Book 2. More deep-space novels, please!” Buy (Worldwide)

The Way We Fall – Megan Crewe “Megan Crewe’s quiet, thoughtful second novel has the makings of a sleeper hit…refreshing, the story realistic enough to genuinely chill. Kaelyn is relatable, a narrator well worthy of cheering for.” Buy (Worldwide)

Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi “Those who love it will love it to bits…YA paranormal romance fans will love this.” Buy (Worldwide)

Wherever You Go – Heather Davis “With Wherever You Go, Heather Davis has another winner…great read about ghosts, both literal and symbolic.” Buy (Worldwide)

Triple Dare – Lexxie Couper “…a good idea…” Buy (Worldwide)

Tropical Sin – Lexxie Couper “…prefer a story featuring Derek Schulze than anyone else. His may not have a happy ending, but it’s bloody fascinating and emotional.” Buy (US)

Freaks of Greenfield High – Maree Anderson “Read this, and you’ll understand why Jay Smith is so awesome – she’s my new favourite heroine.” Buy (US)

Collide – Megan Hart Buy (Worldwide)

I Will Always Love You – Cecily von Ziegesar (creator) Buy (Worldwide)

Miles from Ordinary – Carol Lynch Williams “…an absolute cracker…Short and snappy, this riveting read is five-star quality.” Buy (Worldwide)

Shade – Jeri Smith-Ready “…a true testament to Jeri Smith-Ready’s considerable talents. She’s put a fresh spin on ghosts, and intriguing world-building…I’d love to learn more…” Buy (Worldwide)

The Compound – S. A. Bodeen “A claustrophobic setting with family secrets, a puzzle to solve, and the threat of nuclear annihilation – all at a brisk pace and ideal for anyone looking for a quality teen thriller. The science afoot also contributes to this five-star read.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Gardener – S. A. Bodeen “If you only read one novel about plant people this year, make it The Gardener. Hell, just read this anyway – I’ve never encountered anything like it before, but I love the eerie horror.” Buy (Worldwide)

In Session – M. J. Rose “…I love reading about Morgan’s clients and their therapy…M. J. Rose is a strong writer…” Buy (US)

Every Other Day – Jennifer Lynn Barnes “This standalone has all the hallmarks of a Jennifer Lynn Barnes novel – chatty characters, enemies becoming friends, and paranormal activity afoot…There’re plenty of genetics and family secrets to keep this interesting…” Buy (Worldwide)

Shocking Pink – Erica Spindler “With subject matter such as BDSM and voyeurism, you know you’re in for an intriguing read. Throw in some murders, childhood secrets, jealousy, control, and loyalty – boom! Five-star novel. I really, really loved this one.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Butterfly Clues – Kate Ellison “A beautifully written tale, readers may be more intrigued by the dead rather than those still alive.” Buy (Worldwide)

Rip Tide – Kat Falls “The stakes are always high…bloody frightening. There’s more than enough gore to satisfy horror and crime fans…These YA dystopian thrillers are dynamic!” Buy (Worldwide)

Wanted: One Scoundrel – Jenny Schwartz “…I really enjoyed this…a welcome change from the seemingly endless parades of English- and American-based corset-and-bustle dramas…I certainly hope to read more Australian steampunk from Jenny Schwartz.” Buy (US)

Catch & Release – Blythe Woolston “Polly Furnas is affable, clever, and funny; exactly the traits that make for a great ‘Vagina American’…Blythe Woolston should be commended…” Buy (Worldwide)

Slide – Jill Hathaway “…a well-crafted mystery…” Buy (Worldwide)

On a Dark Wing – Jordan Dane “Far and beyond, the best part of On a Dark Wing is the mountain trek: the preparations, climbing Denali, and the rescue. There’s nothing scarier than Mother Nature, and her storms create much trouble for the climbers: avalanches, and cerebral oedemas. It all makes for thrilling reading.” Buy (Worldwide)

Drowning Instinct – Ilsa J. Bick “a page-turner…I loved this…Jenna’s story will stick in your brain.” Buy (Worldwide)

Pure – Julianna Baggott “…enlivened with such exquisite detail that Pure should not be missed…all sorts of fascinating subjects are included, with plenty of riddles to challenge readers. Julianna Baggott’s world-building is superb. I loved Pure! One of the finest dystopian novels to get excited about, I can’t wait to read books 2 and 3.” Buy (Worldwide)

The Check Your Luck Agency – Cara d’Bastian “…Ursula’s voice is likeable, but the novel’s highlight is clearly the setting…An alternative to Nury Vittachi’s The Feng Shui Detective and Alexander McCall Smith’s The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency…” Buy (US)

Saint Valentine’s Day – Michele Lang “…a beautiful tale set in a dark world…I liked Michele Lang’s time-travel story, The Walled Garden, but I love Saint Valentine’s Day more. She may be a novelist, but the author’s short stories are brilliant.” Buy (US)

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