Blood on The Strand: Chaloner's Second Exploit in Restoration London
by Susanna Gregory
Published by Sphere
Rebellion is in the air of London in the spring of 1663. Thomas Chaloner, spy for the King's intelligence service, has just returned from thwarting a planned revolt in Dublin, but soon realises that England's capital is no haven of peace. He is ordered to investigate the shooting of a beggar during a royal procession. He soon learns the man is no vagrant, but someone with links to the powerful Company of Barber-Surgeons. He master, the Earl of Clarendon, is locked in a deadly feud with the Earl of Bristol, and an innocent man is about to be hanged in Newgate. Chaloner is embroiled in a desperate race against time to protect Clarendon, to discover the true identity of the beggar's murderer, and to save a blameless man from the executioner's noose.
Chaloner is still struggling to get by on the fringes of court, surrounded by incompetents but unable to get on because his family were on the wrong side in the civil war. Meanwhile his friends are either being murdered, accused of murder, or turning out to be not who they seem.
Some lovely historical details too: an early debate on slavery, and the young Aphra Behn for a start.
Size 12 Isn't Fat
by Meg Cabot
Published by Pan Books
When you peak at fifteen, where can things go but downhill? Former teen pop sensation Heather Wells has hit rock bottom: tired of singing other people's lyrics, she hasn't exactly been bombarded with recording contracts for her own songs. Worse, Dad's in jail, Mom's bolted for Buenos Aires, and Heather can't seem to stop drowning her sorrows in Kit Kat bars. To top it all, Heather's fiance Jordan Cartwright has replaced her on the charts as well as in his bed - with America's newest number one pop sensation, Tania Trace. When Heather finds a job in a New York college dorm--right around the corner from her temporary digs in her gorgeous friend Cooper's attic apartment - things seem to start looking up...at least until girls in the dorm begin to perish at an alarming rate. Elevator surfing is the official explanation from university administration, but Heather has other suspicions, and - enlisting a reluctant Cooper's aid - she attempts to get to the bottom of the rash of teen deaths in the building where she works, never knowing that it isn't her supper she'll be singing for this time, but quite possibly her life.
This story had a lot to recommend it: the former teen idol trying quite sensible ways to reinvent herself, the OTT singing and record-producing family and their black sheep, the mystery that no one believes in except our heroine.
Sadly it was let down by the final showdown at the end, which was just too cliched.
by Chrysoula Tzavelas
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam
Marley Claviger is just trying to get her life together. Stumbling into an ancient conflict between celestial forces is going to make that a whole lot harder... When Marley wakes up to a phone call from a pair of terrified children, she doesn't expect to be pulled into a secret war. She rescues them from an empty house and promises to find their missing uncle. She even manages to feed them dinner. But she barely feels competent to manage her own life, let alone care for small children with strange, ominous powers... And when a mysterious angelic figure shows up and tries to claim the girls, it all falls apart... Plagued by visions of disaster, Marley has no idea what she's gotten herself into, but she knows one thing: magical or not, the kids need her.
This was a lot of fun. Marley is a female protagonist with a proper network of friends, which made me very happy, although I'd have liked to have got to know some of them better. I also had a lot of love for her starting point of low confidence and competence, some of which (possibly most of which) is connected to the world she discovers as the story progresses. Basically my one complaint was that I wanted more of everything.
The Inconvenient Laws of Attraction
by Trish Wylie
Published by Mills & Boon
Laying down the law…Lawyer Olivia Brannigan has faced down some cool customers in her time. But latest client Blake Clayton takes emotional control to a whole new level. The man didn’t even bat an eyelid when he discovered he’d inherited a fortune from his estranged father!Blake doesn’t want guilt money – the only thing piquing his interest is the tough-talking, sweet-looking lawyer that comes with his new property portfolio.Dating on the job isn’t in Olivia’s ‘Guide to Good Client-Lawyer Relationships’, and it certainly doesn’t sit easily with her ‘no strings’ attitude… But aren’t rules always made to be broken?
This one just didn't work for me, and I'm not entirely sure why. I found the characters difficult to connect with, and their past traumas just fell flat somehow.