Friday Face-Off – 15th March 2019

Friday Face-Off – 15th March 2019

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s cover theme is a cover featuring a shapeshifter: “Beware the moon, lads”.

This week I have picked The Shapeshifters by Stefan Spjut.

Cover A:

shapeshifter1

Cover B:

shapeshifter2

Cover C:

shapeshifter3

Cover D:

shapeshifter4

Cover E:

shapeshifter5

Cover F:

shapeshifter6

Cover G:

shapeshifter7

And the winner is… cover D!

Wow – so much character in this cover! It is dark, ominous and moody. I love it. Those creatures are creepy to say the least. This is the sort of cover that would catch my eye sat on the shelf in a book shop!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover featuring a king: “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”

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Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez – twenty metres outside town lies a fence – and beyond it – America – the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he’s been working for. He’s dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he’s on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they’re as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.

Timely though this may be, especially given the current situation in Mexico and the US and the border regions, I have to say I would be hard pressed to call Saint Death a thriller. The concept was fascinating – the down and dirty of life with narcos, gangs, corrupt police and a desperation to do anything to cross the border in search of a new life. Unfortunately, I felt it just didn’t live up to what it could have been.
30177266Saint Death certainly portrayed the stark, dangerous life of the most desperate people trying to scrape a living on the fringes of society in the border towns of Mexico. There is a constant feeling of threat and poverty, of desperation and a willingness to do whatever they have to to reach America. The atmosphere in the book is heavy and the mood throughout is heavy.

Unfortunately, I just felt this heaviness bogged the story down. It was slow moving, and for a book described as something of a thriller it was most definitely hard going. It most definitely offered promise but just didn’t deliver for me – what could have been gritty and breathless ended up being sluggish and predictable.

My rating:
notforme

Friday Face-Off – 8th March 2019

Friday Face-Off – 8th March 2019

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s cover theme is a cover featuring fish: “Two little fishes and a momma fishy too”.

For this theme I picked the classic novel The Old Man and the Fish by Ernest Hemingway.

Cover A:

fish1

Cover B:

fish2

Cover C:

fish3

Cover D:

fish4

Cover E:

fish5

Cover F:

fish6

Cover G:

fish7

And the winner is… cover A!

Something about this cover appealed to me this week. The simplicity and the style of the artwork really worked for me. Nothing too loud or lively, but effective none the less.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover featuring a shapeshifter: “Beware the moon, lads.”

Friday Face-Off – 1st March 2019

Friday Face-Off – 1st March 2019

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s cover theme is a cover featuring a shop or market: “who will buy this wonderful morning.”

This week I return to one of my very favourite authors, Stephen King with a rare book of his that I haven’t read, Needful Things.

Cover A:

shop1

Cover B:

shop2

Cover C:

shop3

Cover D:

shop4

Cover E:

shop5

Cover F:

shop6

Cover G:

shop7

Cover H:

shop8

And the winner is… IT’S A DRAW!

For the second week running we have ourselves a draw here on Books and Beyond Reviews! Covers B and C share the spoils for me this week. The twilight street scene, the shop front and the shadow of the store owner spilling onto the pavement in cover B are really eye catching. With Cover C I love the bruised, moody sky, the store sign and the crow that features in a lot of King covers also caught my attention. Two designs that I really love, and a book I really want to read!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover featuring fish or other sea creatures: “Two little fishes and a momma fishy too.”

The Blood Moon of Doom by Paul Mathews

The Blood Moon of Doom by Paul Mathews

When celebrity astronomer Edwin Bubble is found battered to death by his own telescope, the morning after a ‘Blood Moon’ lunar eclipse, Detective Inspector Clinton Trump crashes onto the scene like a megaton meteorite who’s late for a date with a small, blue-green planet at the edge of a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

With Edwin tipped to win a trip to space in the ‘Celebrity Come Mooning’ reality TV series – and a return trip, budget permitting – South East England’s greatest detective makes it his mission to figure out which lunatic launched Edwin Bubble to the heavens a little earlier than anticipated.

Could the murderer be Edwin’s estranged son, Tycho? Is the killer a fellow celeb who wants Edwin out of the way? Or are they a schoolmate still seething over schoolboy pranks in the days before travelling to Mars was a cool idea?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author.

Paul Mathews returns with the second instalment in the Detective Clinton Trump series, The Blood Moon of Doom. Hot on the heels of having solved the murder of a butler, drowned in his homemade mango chutney, genius Detective Inspector Trump has another mysterious death on his hands. Upper Goosing, European Murder Destination of the Year 2015, has seen its fair share of suspicious and untimely deaths, so the discovery of celebrity astronomer Edwin Bubble dead in his garden is no surprise to residents. Neither is it a great shock to discover he has been smashed about the head with his own telescope.43303288

Once again Mathews brings comedy in bucket loads as DI Clinton Trump bungles his way around the investigation following gut instincts and jumping from one implausible suspect to the next with little to no evidence. A supporting cast of characters met in the previous book help ratchet up the hilarity and absurdness as does a cohort of over-inflated celebrity egos bolstering the cast.

The Blood Moon of Doom makes for a quick read. The hilarity and absurdity of a case led by Clinton Trump kept me wanting to know what ridiculous assumptions he would leap to next. The exasperation of his colleagues and his often incorrectly detected suspects add to the mirth Mathews’ books deliver in spades.

In the Clinton Trump series, Paul Mathews has created something reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. The way the book follows the investigation from clue to clue, the ever growing list of possible suspects all of whom are plausible depending on whose viewpoint you look at things from has a striking resemblance to a classic Poirot investigation. The healthy dose of comedy sprinkled liberally from the first to the last page make this book, and moreover the series to date, a fresh and funny journey that while being a subtle nod to the Poirot stories, are something new and fantastic fun to sit and read.

My rating:
goodread

Friday Face-Off – 22nd February 2019

Friday Face-Off – 22nd February 2019

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s cover theme is a cover featuring abandoned buildings: “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.”

For this theme I went with Hell House by Richard Matheson.

Cover A:

ab1

Cover B:

ab2

Cover C:

ab3

Cover D:

ab4

Cover E:

ab5

Cover F:

ab6

And the winner is… IT’S A DRAW!

Covers A and D win it for me this week. Cover A is dark and moody, I absolutely love the Grim Reaper figure. With cover D – the ink-drawn style really caught my eye. I found this one too hard to call.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover featuring a shop or market: “who will buy this wonderful morning.”

Friday Face-Off – 15th February 2019

Friday Face-Off – 15th February 2019

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s cover theme is a cover featuring a heart for Valentine’s Day past.

For this theme I went with Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart.

Cover A:

heart1

Cover B:

heart2

Cover C:

heart3

Cover D:

heart4

Cover E:

heart5

Cover F:

heart6

Cover G:

heart7

And the winner is… COVER A!

Simple in design, yet striking with the simple red heart. There is nothing fancy or flash with this cover, but it is massively eye catching in my view.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover featuring abandoned buildings: “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.”