Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Mole's Picks of the Year - 2014

My picks are split 2 ways, adult/YA, and children's/teens because I tend to be the one of us reading the younger readers books - out of choice. I haven't included picture books because - like a coward - it's so hard to choose.

So here I go with my choices for the older reader...
Firstly I am a fan of short story anthologies, where the anthology leads you from story to story on some form of journey and my number 1 select this year has to be Unthology 5. These anthologies are some of the best I have found, where the stories balance each other and reward you with an experience. Don't jump about the book, but read them as they come and enjoy every one.

Another very good collection was Stay Up With Me although this collection was all from the same author. Highly enjoyable and impossible to pick a favourite.

That Glimpse of Truth
was a very different collection,one that seemed more to chart the history of the short story. Starting with the story of Jonah  - and it's not really about a whale - moving through to modern stories. This is more a collection to keep on a shelf and cherry pick from as your mood suits - but still a book well worth having there.

Stepping away from short stories my next choice is a combined choice as I find it hard to select one over the other. Leigh Russell is the author of two detective series - Geraldine Steel and Ian Perterson. The DI Peterson series is a spin-off from Geraldine Steel and this year we have seen one book from each launched with more to come from both. Race to Death
 is the second DI Peterson and 
Fatal Act by Leigh Russell
 is the latest Geraldine Steel.
Brick Mother was a book that gave a very different experience and is hard to give a genre to - but the frustrations of management, the need to make a difference and the stresses of life are very well portrayed in this story.

A Bright Moon for Fools  is a story of a man who is out, unknowingly,to ruin his own life as he blunders,lies and cons his way from relationship realising, only too late,what he has done.

Above is a story in two halves of abduction  and dystopia. I preferred the first half but there was much to reflect on throughout the story. 

Shop Front was a story that took me by surprise. The story of a student taking a summer job while trying to get to university and the crowd he falls in with - and the surprises (or not) that he finds within that crowd.

Ghostwritten  is another story of self discovery and facing up to the past. It's done very well and we also learn of the hardships and deprivations suffered by interned citizens on Java during the second world war. An enlightening, if disturbing read.

But that's enough of the really serious stuff... let's lighten the mood with
Takedown Twenty I have to admit to loving the humour that the author can embed into her stories and make thrillers into a true comedic romp. The best way to end my adult selection.

My children's book selection is somewhat shorter and hopefully a little lighter although Seventeen Coffins is hardly a light read. Another time-slip story from this author bringing to life yet more of Scotland's chequered history.
The Reluctant Vampire is a very light read and as funny today as the day it was penned. Is a vampire who doesn't like blood "normal"?

The legend of Frog  is a story that will amuse children but keep them reading. I did have one small reservation about this book though - although it is still well worthy of inclusion.

 The Dark Inside A story of great sadness and loss - trust and friendship of the highest order and perhaps reconciliation?

But in thinking about loyalty and friendship, let's repeat those ideals - but with a generous amount of humour in Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends & Football

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