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April 2018 Releases

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Allow Me to Readersplain

Allow Me to Readersplain

Links to the original sources. If the links don’t work, the author may have deleted them, but surely someone out there will have screencapped them.

“Fascinating to see responses to [book by another author] because I think many of the book’s readers are just, like, wrong about what books are/should do.”
Tez Says: Books can make you think. Books can make you feel. Books can make you fangirl. Books can make you rant. Books can make you totally neutral, with no thoughts or feelings other than “meh”. All of these are right. Books SHOULD be professionally edited or, at the very least, copyedited.

“Basically, I would argue that books are not primarily in the wish fulfillment business.”
Tez Says: Books are primarily in the to-be-read business.

“My argument is that readers have certain responsibilities to a book, just as the book has certain responsibilities to them.”
Tez Says: Readers have the responsibility to purchase books from legal sources, or borrow them from the library. Also to return the books to the library in the same condition, and pay for repairing/lost books.

“Yes, readers have the right to feel whatever they want. But as readers we all make choices about how to read.”
Tez Says: As long as you acquire the book through legal channels (read above), you can read a book however you like. Barely restrained joy, “hate-read”, standing on one leg with your other leg at a right angle whilst wearing rollerskates and a mankini. There are no right or wrong choices, as long as you don’t do anything illegal.

“I’m advocating for an approach to reading fiction.”
Tez Says: I’m advocating for reading fiction.

TEZ’S MORAL OF THE STORY: I won’t tell you how to write, if you won’t tell me how to read. I won’t readersplain, if you won’t authorsplain. Because authorsplaining really grinds my gears.

Reading = Fatiguing, Irrelevant (to me) Fandoms, & Music

It didn’t take long, but I’m already feeling a difference without my laptop and its Internet at my beck and call.

It could be just me getting old (mid-twenties), but I can’t just read books on the couch all day like I used to. Maybe it’s because usually my print book reading is done in bed, before sleep. (Also, whilst binge-eating, but I don’t have any chips.)

My attention is shot. I just can’t focus for so long. I can get a few chapters read, but then I have to re-read sentences because my eye skips to the wrong line.

I need to nap.

During the day I’ve been reading in front of the telly. I had to put my book aside and nap during the gridiron on Sunday, and during the tennis on Monday night. This is bad. Because if I nap, it may affect my sleep at night. And as someone who’s had a lot of sleep-onset insomnia problems in the past, this is not good. I was only out for maybe twenty minutes, but still.

So when I woke up at the end of the second set, I had cake and drank a bottle of water. Then I was able to read the last five pages of the novel.

As someone who’s put on weight in the last year or so, the last thing I need is to consume extra things to keep myself awake. (Regarding the binge-eating thing I mentioned early, I only binge. I do not purge. Nausea and vomiting just feels awful; I don’t know how alkies, preggos and disorders can stand it.)

On another note, I’ve noticed a shift in my thinking: I’ve been composing blog posts in my head. Which sounds like the nerdiest thing, I know. It’s weird, how without the “must Internet now” impulse, I may have become more…contemplative. I hesitate to write that, because if I read that on someone else’s blog, I’d consider it a massive pile of wank. And yes, when I write it, I also consider it a massive pile of wank. No double-standards here 😉

I do have daylight access to the PC and its Internet yesterday (Monday), today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday), so I won’t miss out on my weekly list-checking. I am nerdily obsessive when it comes to my lists; they make me feel in control, reassure me that I’m not missing out on any news. I happily skip reading Twitter in favour of list-checking. I don’t consider it a loss, because most of Monday’s Tweets probably involved the Golden Globes, in which I have no interest. Animated comedies are basically all the scripted television I watch. Otherwise it’s sport, and stuff like The Gruen Transfer and The Amazing Race. And Father Ted repeats 😉

So I have no interest in Dr Who, Downton Abbey or The Vampire Diaries. I watch maybe one film a year, if that. This could be why I’m not big on people using Tumblr for blogging. Because when they’re not posting original content (which they don’t often do, anyway), they seem to be reposting stuff regarding their fandoms (of which I have no interest) from other people’s Tumblrs. SEEMINGLY. GENERALLY. (I adore you, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this issue 😉 )

I need to convert some WMAs into MP3s, then I have a great new offline task: listen to all the albums I’ve bought (or borrowed from the library) recently but haven’t listened to yet. 10 of them, but I’m expecting two more from the library soon. Some of it is trash. Some of me is trash 😉

Library Loot

This meme thing is from Marg at Reading Adventures.

Rarely go to the library nowadays, but since since I binge-reserved a stack of books recently, I collected five on Monday. And have been reading them, and thus spending less time reading blogs and Twitter feeds.

1. Amanda Marrone’s Devoured: Finished, and I loved it. Will review sometime later.

2. Jessica Verday’s The Hollow: Currently reading. Almost 100 pages in, and it’s been a bit slow thus far. When a book is over 500 pages long, it better be that long for a bloody good reason. I shall persevere…

After this I shall be reading:

-Justine Larbalestier’s Liar
-Cheyenne McCray’s Demons Not Included

July 2008 Reads

Your eyes do not deceive: I only read five books this month. Obviously I’ve been spending too much time:

*on the Internet
*with my webcam
*with MovieMaker
*at the post office
*watching TV
*half asleep-half awake with the telly on

Anyway, it’s only 3PM on the last day of July, but I don’t think I’ll get another book finished by midnight, so you get the list early.

Blood Trail – Tanya Huff “Vicki’s a wily, likeable character…the world-building is original…” Buy

Boys that Bite – Mari Mancusi “…a teen vampire tale with an Arthurian twist…” Buy

Blood Lines – Tanya Huff “…well worth applauding…unusual subject matter that will appeal to readers who are bored with vampires…” Buy

Seaborn – Chris Howard “Chris Howard takes urban fantasy where it doesn’t usually tread…” Pre-order

The Scent of Shadows – Vicki Pettersson “Vicki Pettersson brings fresh ideas, deep psychology and Las Vegas’s underbelly…science enforces the magic, there’s deep character development, and it all comes together in a ripping yarn…This is one series thriller fans should not miss.” Buy

Sleeping, Eating & Reading

For 1-3 months in 2004 (can’t remember exactly for how long), I was prescribed Stillnox. It has a different name in the US, and it was one of the meds Heath Ledger was taking at the time of his demise. So, I have a history of bad sleep.

In the past few years, I’ve found myself napping in the afternoons. Not every day, not even every week, but they happen. I’ve been off the Stillnox for years, but naps rob you of sleep you could be getting overnight.

So what does this have to do with why my reading has slowed?

Of an afternoon if I’m reading on the couch – no matter how good the book is – I get drowsy. I lose concentration. It gets to the point where I put the book aside, snuggle down and drift off, even with the lights on.

The only way I’ve been able to read in the afternoon without drowsiness lately is when I’m eating the big bags of chips/crisps. Which is a bad habit, which is why I’m trying to stop it.

So if I want to go without binge-eating, I go without the reading time. Thus I turn to my lists or Movie Maker to fill in the gap before the evening television begins.

I’m still managing to read before bedtime. Depending what’s on telly, I watch my usual programmes, shower, sometimes hit the computer, and then I read until about midnight. So binge-eating and before bed are the only times when I get books read lately. Which is why I’m so slow.

What about you? Do you nap? Have you had sleeping disorders? Does your eating/sleeping/reading have some kind of correlation like mine?

The Shame…

Was lying on the couch yesterday evening, when I noticed something not quite right about the middle seam of my trackpants. The stitching seemed a bit…spread in one area. Meaning that if there wasn’t already a hole, one was forming. I’ve been wearing those pants in public. Not just around the house, but down to the post office and supermarket…

They’re currently in my rubbish bin awaiting next week’s collection. The shame…

However, I got enthused about reading again last night. So that’s a good thing.

Since I have to finish my deliveries before Monday, I planned to do a section this morning (as there’s due to be gale forces this afternoon – ’tis a cold wind anyway now). Only I couldn’t find my iRiver. You may remember that I received it for my 21st last July, and within three months I’d screwed it up irreversibly so it’s never played mp3s since. But I’ve been using the radio on it, which has kept me company on many a walk. I last used it yesterday, walking to the post office and back.

But now I can’t find it. Lost or misplaced, I’m not sure. But I’m really feeling dim right now. This is probably a sign that gadgets and I aren’t meant to be. The shame…

Instead I did an hour’s worth of deliveries with only my brain for company. Not good, people; not good.

The 13 Books I Read in March

Joe Schreiber, Eat the Dark: When I found out the author was a friend of Mark Henry’s and an MRI tech, I was interested. Hoping for a medical thriller, I grabbed this book from the library. I should’ve paid attention to the genre sticker: a ghost for horror. I like medical novels because I can believe that the events within them could actually happen in real life. Not so with this one, and I’m disappointed but it’s my fault. Please let me know when the author writes a proper medical thriller. Until then, I’ll be sulking in a corner.

Laura Ruby, Good Girls: I’ve heard authors say they ‘tone down’ their material when they write young adult fiction. What a freaking copout. Which readers do you want to attract: young adults, or those who want teens to believe that everyone has Ken-and-Barbie genitalia? Finally, Laura Ruby has come through with an utterly believable novel that’s realistic of contemporary teen life. There’s no preaching, moralising, or ‘toning down’ of anything. Many thanks to the author for having the guts – and sense – to be honest.

Laurie Faria Stolarz, Blue Is for Nightmares: A quite enjoyable YA novel featuring a hereditary witch who via dreams has premonitions of her best friend’s death. Thus follows a race to keep the teen alive and out of harm’s way, whilst investigating her stalker. Good fun; and Amber is a thoroughly engaging secondary character.

Michelle Gagnon, The Tunnels: An FBI case involving Norse mythology. It probably wasn’t written badly, but it just didn’t spark my interest.

Robert Muchamore, CHERUB #7: The Fall: Another great instalment in this ever-entertaining young adult series. James Adams’ mission in Russia goes horribly wrong, and it doesn’t get any easier back home. The CIA is battling the MI5, and they’re both battling CHERUB, Britain’s intelligence organisation whose agents are kids. Whilst James investigates what his mission controller isn’t telling him, his sister Lauren is undercover in a children’s home in England, investigating human trafficking and forced prostitution. Whether they’re on a mission, trying to get some or fighting, the characters remain realistic and believable, and always make for a fun and intelligent read.

Janet Evanovich, Plum Lucky: In the words of Lurr, Ruler of Omicron Persei 8: ‘Okay; not great.’ It’s flimsy fun with Stephanie Plum’s gang, including someone who claims to be a leprechaun, and a horse that rides in an RV. Not to mention everyone spending thousands at an Atlantic City casino. But this novella’s not a must-buy.

J. A. Konrath, Dirty Martini: A pretty interesting plot involving mass poisoning, but it took me a while to get into it. (I was reading in front of the TV, and while drowsy.)

Greg Iles, True Evil: Divorces are messy, and can cost you millions of dollars. But what if there was a less expensive way to get rid of your spouse? A divorce attorney is in partnership with an evil doctor who kills unwanted spouses, but these are no simple murders: the weapon is a retrovirus that causes cancer. But FBI agent Alex Morse has the opportunity to stop future victims from being killed, but first she needs to convince Dr Chris Shepard that his wife wants him dead…and she’s doing something about it. Medical issues, suspense, a vivid setting and believably flawed characters – Greg Iles knows how to write a cracker of a novel.

Philip K. Dick, The World Jones Made: I read this while the weather was rather hot, and I just couldn’t concentrate. Which is a shame, because this book had some great ideas.

Sisters in Crime Australia (ed. Lindy Cameron), Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut: As far as anthologies go, this one’s quite good. This is because the short stories within are from circa thirteen years of Sisters in Crime Australia’s annual Scarlet Stiletto Awards. So there are first, second, third prize entries; best police procedurals; and best crime-in-verse stories. Thus the quality is much better than I’ve usually found in anthologies, where the authors are invited to write, instead of earning the right to be there with the quality of their stories. So while I’d only heard of (and only read, incidentally) Tara Moss before, there are still quite a lot of good stories in here. There are, however, numerous typos and other stuff that really needed proofreading before publication.

Margaret Clark, Love Notes: Participants in experiments/studies must be aware that they’re participating in an experiment/study. Thus this book is lame because the experimenters/studiers didn’t go through proper procedure. But this is a novel for sixth-graders, and generally speaking, sixth-graders wouldn’t know this.

Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Eds.), Many Bloody Returns: The problem I have with anthologies is the quality of the stories varies greatly. This collection is no exception. The best stories were by Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Jeanne C. Stein. Wait until it comes out in paperback, and then buy it – not worth the hardcover price, in my opinion.

Jeri Smith-Ready, Wicked Game: Con artist Ciara Griffin joins a radio station as a marketing intern, and learns that the DJs are all vampires, and the eras of music they play is the only way to keep them from ‘fading’. Ciara’s rivalry with Jolene is so high school, and the author keeps trying to redeem Ciara instead of letting readers accept that we’ve all got something bad inside us. All in all, it’s a fresh take on vampires with some interesting ideas. I’m looking forward to reading Book 2 next year.

The 11 Books I Read in January

Jim Butcher, White Night
My brain in summer: I can read things, but not a lot of it absorbs; I can enjoy things at the time then later forget the details. Such was my state of mind when reading this instalment of ‘The Dresden Files’. Bob’s great, Carlos Ramirez is great…and if I remember correctly (which I may not) Priscilla the Bitch was great too. As for other details of the book? Molly Carpenter is a sex symbol for horny old men. Now my brain rests.

Justin Gustainis, Black Magic Woman
Ever read a book where the protag doesn’t really interest you, but everyone else does? That was the situation for me with this novel: our protag is Quincey Morris, an occult investigator who’s a descendant of the Quincey Morris from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That gimmick put me off, but Quincey’s partner in crime, white witch Libby Chastain, is very interesting. Less Quincey and more Libby, Mr Gustainis, please! Some scenes seem unnecessary, and others seem like short stories more than part of a novel, but keep reading. The main reason to continue is the subject of muti killings, something I hadn’t heard of before. An important character whom I rather like is Garth Van Dreenan from the South African Police’s Occult Crime Unit. I just happen to love the South African accent, so of course I was going to like the man. A character I particularly didn’t like is Snake Perkins, a bigot who thinks of his partner-in-crime as…an N-word. Only the N-word is actually written, which made me really uncomfortable. I can handle murderers and such in fiction, but a racist? That’s just too much for me. I would’ve liked to learn more about Project Violet (Scotland Yard’s unit investigating witchcraft crime), and an incubus unlike any other I’ve come across before in fiction. And keep an eye out for what I call ‘A Series of Hallucinogenic Events’. I would’ve edited out some scenes, but this is still a great read, and we can all look forward to more from this author.

Libba Bray, Rebel Angels
At 549 pages, this is a big read, and rather a stretch for my fingers to hold. But I’ll forgive the author because there’s a lot of interesting stuff in here: Opium! Absinthe! Felicity’s family secret! Anagrams! (Yes, I have to exclaim those, though the book didn’t.) Now who wouldn’t want to read about them?

Cynthia Leitich Smith, Rain Is Not My Indian Name
Even with the happy ending, this book was still too depressing for me. Was an interesting look at race relations, though.

Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
I thought I was enjoying the book while I read it, but now I can’t pinpoint what I liked about it. The downside, however, is that I sometimes wanted to yell at the characters ‘Get over them, they’re not worth it’. Keep an eye out for Tris, who’s the most fascinating character.

Gabrielle Lord, Jumbo
This was first published in 1986, but still has relevance today. Lisa Brand is a school leaver who’s finding it impossible to land a job. She’s tried everywhere and keeps getting knocked back, and when her father is laid off from his job, tensions are even higher in the household. With so much pain, suffering and horror in the world the only thing that brings Lisa any joy is caring for three children. They deserve to live somewhere better than this world, especially because their mother’s new suitor doesn’t like them. So Lisa decides to give the kids a good Christmas by the beach, but she hadn’t counted on smart Brenny, a thinker who realises that something’s terribly wrong with Lisa, and that it’s up to Brenny to save him and his siblings. Even though Lisa is the antag, she is so utterly believable that you can’t help but sympathise, and this is a sign of a very good writer. If you’re looking for psychological suspense, here’s one novel you can’t go past.

Rachel Caine, The Dead Girls’ Dance
The copy is misleading: Claire Danvers and Eve Rosser didn’t have dates for the Dead Girls’ Dance (whose name is also misleading; it was just a fancy-dress boozer). The action starts on the first page: Claire and Eve believe one of their housemates has been murdered, but instead of being dead he’s some kind of ghost. College town Morganville is basically run by vampires, a bitchy bunch of people who prove that power corrupts absolutely. But who are the evil ones: the vampires or those seeking them? It’s all a bit confusing, but is nonetheless an interesting read. There are some scenes with college girls and guys being lame that I would’ve cut. We’re simply told that Claire is an early-admissions genius, yet we don’t get solid proof. Sure, she reads ahead in her texts and likes physics…but this is the same chick who drinks from an opened bottle offered to her by a stranger. You may be familiar with the phrase OMGWTFBBQ, but for me it was an OMGWTFSVH moment. (The 1bruce1 LiveJournal community should educate you.) Drink-spiking! Attempted statutory rape! Dance at a frat house! This is not a bad thing, though, it made me smile. I’ll be reading more from this author, and hoping for more OMGWTFSVH moments.

Laurell K. Hamilton, A Lick of Frost
Well, this was astounding. I hadn’t really connected with these books before, so this was a bit surprising. Three of Princess Meredith NicEssus’s guards have been accused of raping someone from King Taranis’s court, but this is thrown by the wayside when King Taranis brutally attacks Merry’s people through a mirror. But that’s not all: in a strange event that I didn’t understand, Merry receives her most devastating blow yet, and even though it comes with good news she can’t be merry. (What? Someone had to say it.) But King Taranis isn’t done with Merry yet. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get to the good stuff: I was reading but not particularly immersed until circa page 200, so the bulk of the action happens in the last 75 pages. There were moments when I was pissed off with Merry: she used magic to get a human doctor to do her bidding. And talk of Merry’s favourites seemed to be quite an issue. Quoth Merry: ‘Wasn’t I entitled to have favourites?’ Yes, you are, but if you’re still shagging your non-favourites you’re leading them on, and that’s not nice. Those points aside, this is by far my favourite of the Merry books.

Gabrielle Lord, Tooth and Claw
Though first published in 1983, this novel still holds up well. On an isolated farm, finances aren’t looking good for Beth after her husband’s death. Fearing she’s being watched, Beth hunts for shelter elsewhere. But there are signs that someone’s still on her property, so she returns to face the music, armed with a gun, her dog and a jar of magic mushrooms. Fans of Gwen Hunter’s Shadow Valley should enjoy this Australian location with its strong protag.

Elizabeth Flock, But Inside I’m Screaming
This novel took the author four years to write, and it’s clearly understandable why: it’s so harrowing. Broadcast journalist Isabel Murphy freezes on screen and after one too many suicide attempts checks herself into a psychiatric hospital. This is a disturbing read filled with memorable characters who are all too real, with heart-wrenching back stories. The road to mental wellness is so difficult with numerous setbacks, and Isabel does her best to struggle through. But perhaps the most powerful thing about this novel is that it makes the reader think about themselves, their own life, what breaks them down. As someone mentally ill, this novel really did get to me, articulating feelings I’d found indescribable. This novel gives a voice to those who can’t find the right words. It’s a real effort to keep reading this emotionally draining story, but it’s worth it. Buy it for yourself and your loved ones. Share it with the world. And may it help us all on the road to recovery.

Nury Vittachi, The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics
Readers who’ve found Alexander McCall Smith’s work too cutesy will be better off with this light novel with a social conscience. Feng shui master CF Wong and his Australian assistant Joyce McQuinnie have moved from Singapore to Shanghai…only their new office is blown up. Traffic jams are abundant, and a bomb is discovered inside a live elephant. However, sometimes the author’s humour appears at inappropriate moments: a major murder scene (recalling Robert Muchamore’s Man v Beast) should’ve been harrowing for the reader, but it wasn’t. Still, the author makes up for it with social commentary, when an American character says, ‘How come every goddamn nation on this planet counts in kilos and we count in pounds? What’s wrong with them all?’ Of course it would make more sense for Americans to join in counting kilos, but do you think they’d see it? Not Thomas ‘Cobb’ Dooley!

The 19 Books I Read in October

Sarah Strohmeyer, Bubbles All the Way It had been over a year since I’d last read a Bubbles book, and clearly my memory sucked. Lucky for readers, throughout this novel are references to earlier adventures in the series, so you’ll be caught up. Apparently, in the previous novel, Bubbles Betrothed, hairdresser/journalist Bubbles Yablonsky’s daughter Jane had been kidnapped. Now Jane’s undergone a personality transformation, scared to be left alone, and screwed up to the point that seemingly the only way she could improve is for her parents – Bubbles and the skeevy Dan ‘Chip’ Ritter – to remarry. The author’s acknowledgment page mentions a ‘hellish year’: I don’t know the details, but for a supposedly humorous novel, the tone is rather dour – Bubbles has problems big-time. Her main worry is a woman in the salon Bubbles works at part-time who dies from hair extensions with mistaken latex glue. Bubbles’ boss at the newspaper doesn’t want her investigating, but of course she does. The novel was actually quite interesting, until I came to the final chapter. In the acknowledgments, the author mentions a ‘radical twist’, and indeed it is. But it is also extremely unlikely. Now, when Karin Slaughter pulled a radical twist in Skin Privilege (published in the U.S. as Beyond Reach), she put a super-secret letter on her website explaining things to readers. Ms Strohmeyer didn’t leave a note with a secret URL, so I’ll have to do some investigating. But the final chapter aside, this novel is actually a pretty good read: even if you do want to knock some sense into the characters.

Michelle Spring, In the Midnight Hour At one point, the name Jackson replaces Armstrong. Guess that got past the proofreaders.

Ayelet Waldman, The Cradle Robbers I don’t like kids, so you’d think that I wouldn’t like a series where the narrator tries to combine work (legal investigation) with marriage and motherhood. I should, but I don’t. The author’s a great writer, and this novel is another good read. I especially like how it shows that spouses and kids are never ideal, thus displaying a realistic view of families.

Edward Ball, Peninsula of Lies A fascinating ‘non-fiction mystery’ about the true sexual identity of Dawn Langley Simmons (formerly Gordon Langley Hall). In 1960s Charleston, Dawn tested many taboos of the time: she married a black man, underwent one of the first sex ‘correction’ surgeries at Johns Hopkins and gave birth to baby Natasha. Or did she?

JA Konrath, Bloody Mary The problem with making pop culture references is that people die: in this case, the Crocodile Hunter.

Tami Hoag, The Alibi Man Crikey Mo! You’re going about your reading, thinking this is rather a decent read. Then nearing the end is the most gruesome scene you’ve read since…well, it’s been a bloody long time. The victim is a wealthy evil bastard, but did he really deserve what he got? Read the book and find out: it’s a cracker.

PD Martin, The Murderers’ Club Okay, so our narrator is a half-Australian/half-American working for the FBI. She has an Australian accent. But littered throughout the novel are phrases by her (and other characters) in which negatives are used where I would’ve used positives. Eg (and I’m making up a sentence here, but it shows you what I mean): ‘Let’s give them a call, see if we can’t get a lead on this.’ Where it says ‘can’t’, I would’ve said ‘can’. The author is from my very own state of Victoria, so does that mean Americans are to blame in this instance? I don’t know, but maybe you can give me some insight.

Heather Graham, The Dead Room
Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events #4: The Miserable Mill

Tate Hallaway, Tall, Dark and Dead Well, the Vatican agent stuff was interesting.

Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles #4: Lucinda’s Secret
Janet Evanovich, Lean Mean Thirteen

Jacqueline Wilson, Clean Break If you haven’t read anything by this author, it’s well and truly time you do. She’s among my top three young adult writers (I can’t pick which order), but she is hands-down the best author in the junior fiction section of my library. The author is a prize-winning favourite and readers’ choice for very good reasons. There are characters that everyone can relate to, and they have dimensions: some you like, some you don’t, and others that have you changing your mind throughout. The premise of this novel is universal and utterly believable: a father walks out on a family. And the novel’s turning point sees our narrator meeting her favourite author (Jenna Williams, for whom even her illustration seems based on Jacqueline Wilson herself). So what are you waiting for? Track down the author’s books now!

Marta Acosta, Happy Hour at Casa Dracula Liked the scientific/medical aspect of vampirism. But I’m surprised that CACA didn’t feature more.

Kerry Greenwood, Trick or Treat LiveJournal gets a big mention, yet the author doesn’t have an account. And in one scene our narrator wears a jumper with parrots on it – surprisingly, our narrator is not Kath Day-Knight.

Paul Cleave, The Killing Hour Ace writing: “It wasn’t a moving mortuary with handcuffs and leather straps hanging from the roof and rails, no signs of blood and hair pooled into the corners and caked into the floor. Sort of like the Scooby Doo mystery van, had Fred and Shaggy moonlighted as sexual predators.”

Sarah Strohmeyer, The Cinderella Pact There’s a character named Charlotte Dawson, and every time her name came up I thought of the New Zealand judge from Australia’s Next Top Model.

Tess Gerritsen, The Mephisto Club It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get my mitts on a Gerritsen novel, but the wait was well worth it. The author consistently produces excellent book after excellent book, so you can guess what this one is. Realistic characters, believable yet icky family situations (see the Rizzoli clan), an unlikely romance…and, of course, a rather intriguing case on which Dr Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli work. The subject matter is fascinating, and the tension is genuinely scary – and that’s a rare thing for me to come across. An engrossing read that reminded me of why I love books. Now here’s hoping I can get my hands on The Bone Garden soon!

Eileen Goudge, Woman in Red The author used to be a Sweet Valley High ghost-writer. There were a few times in the novel when I thought ‘OMG SVH!’ Martha was great character, but I often like characters who aren’t the protags. Jeremy’s story was a lot more interesting than the other two storylines, so naturally Jeremy’s story barely featured. Sigh.