Are You Watching by Vincent Ralph

5 Stars from me

This little belter of a book had me utterly hooked. I read it in one day and found it incredibly hard to put down.

Jess is a likeable character and her little family are filled with charm despite the obvious hole in their lives left behind by Jess’ mum who was murdered by ‘The Magpie Man’.

There is a nice balance of tension, emotion, relationships, peril and intrigue throughout the story and a good solid whodunnit with a few clever red herrings, some clues and satisfying outcome!

I loved the use of the YouTube reality show as the platform for Jess to try and find her mother’s killer and thought the concept was very well described and enacted – perfect for the YA audience but I have to say I read this book without realising its target market and I absolutely loved it. So I would say it is perfect for the not-so-young-adult market too!

Synopsis: A page-turning new YA thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One Of Us Is Lying.

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last. Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move.

And so is the Magpie Man.

Stanley Smartpants and the Mackerel Robberies by Alexander Martin

4 stars from me!

What is there not to like about this super cat based thriller? A mystery to solve, a town full of cats and a cleverly created cat-police force – what can I say, you had me at miaow.

This book is aimed at the young reader and I sincerely hope it will pave the way for the next generation of plot hungry literary sleuths.

A crime has been committed in Cat-Haven-on-Sea and Sargeant Stanley Smartpants and the rest of the delightfully kooky cat-haven cat-police must follow the clues to find the culprit.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple tale, oh no, a lot of craftsmanship has gone into constructing a town and well defined characters, not to mention a mystery to solve.

I am sure that younger children will enjoy having the book read to them, just as much as young readers will race through the pages independently when they can – giggling at the antics of the cat-detectives – as much as adults will genuinely look forward to following the story too.

Synopsis: Sergeant Stanley Smartpants is the coolest cat detective in town! In the town of Cat-Haven-on-Sea that is. His boss is Chief Inspector Derek Dimwit, and as you might guess he’s not a very bright cat. Together they investigate a series of robberies. At each one of the crime scenes they discover the skeleton of a dead mackerel.

Stanley and his team of cat-detectives, like Jumping Jack (he’s very frisky!) and Marmalade Marmaduke (he just loves his toast and marmalade!), meet many crazy cats and get involved in hilarious situations. But they soon have a prime suspect, Beastly Boris, also known as Yuri Katakov, a former Russian ice-skating champion and part time dishwasher-cat. But is he the criminal-cat?