ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
New Member sign up button

Latest Review

Nov 24 2020

Christmas is murder: a chilling short story collection by Val McDermid

cover image

Sphere, 2020. ISBN: 9780751581775.
(Age: Secondary/Adult) Highly recommended. In a few pages, award winning crime writer McDermid is able to create a scenario, characters and a crime, enticing an already enthralled reader to keep going, wanting to see where the story heads. Twelve short stories all framed by Christmas, are tantalisingly brief, but each is complete in itself, dealing with a murder, and sometimes making a point along the way. In 'A wife in a million', a detective investigates a series of murders: someone is spiking condiments at supermarkets with arsenic, while her unemployed partner scans the papers each day searching for work. It is her suggestion that brings the investigation to a close.
Another tale reprises the Holmes' stories as Watson and Holmes go to Sarajevo to stop a killing (not the one you think!). In another a young girl unsure of whether Santa Claus is real or not, pushes a burglar down the stairs on Christmas Eve, after she finds him with her Christmas presents. In 'Happy Holiday', DCI Jordan and Dr Tony Hill solve a murder, while another story has a couple cycling through Scotland, finding a remote folly, and after her partner is killed, she lures the driver to the folly to exact revenge.
Settings are so different: the Scottish Highlands, Scottish towns, various castles, lochs and coastlines, while the characters inhabit many guises. A thoroughly involving set of stories, sure to keep readers amused and absorbed over Christmas.
Themes: Short stories, Christmas, Murder, Investigation, Crime fiction, Scotland.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Nov 24 2020

Kay's anatomy by Adam Kay

cover image

Illus. by Henry Paker. Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9780241452943.
(Age; 9+) Recommended. Kay's anatomy is a comedic anatomy book with the revealing subtitle: A complete (and completely disgusting) guide to the human body. Written for the youthful audience who loves...
more

Nov 23 2020

I follow you . . . until you are mine by Peter James

cover image

Pan Macmillan, 2020. ISBN: 9781509816286.
(Age: Secondary/adult) Highly recommended. Set in Jersey, James' latest thriller is most unsettling. Dr Marcus Valentine is a distinguished gynae-oncologist, a leader in his field and looked up to by both his colleagues and patients alike. He is...
more

Nov 23 2020

The book of not entirely useful advice by A.F. Harrold

cover image

Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781526618016. 121p.
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Poetry, Nonsense. Penned by English poet, A.F. Harrold, young children are rewarded with chunks of snappy rhyme and sometimes bonus glee. The foreword advises us not to follow any of the bad advice,...
more

Nov 20 2020

To sleep in a sea of stars by Christopher Paolini

cover image

Pan Macmillan, 2020. ISBN: 9781529046519.
(Age: Adult/Young Adult). Highly recommended. Christopher Paolini, author of the much beloved young adult Eragon series, appeals to a different target audience with his adult debut To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. This is a science...
more

Nov 20 2020

Noah Wild and the floating zoo by Alexander McCall Smith

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2020. 120p. ISBN: 9781526605542.
(Age: 7+) Adventure. The scene is set for a classic children's book. There are no responsible parents, only eccentric aunts and uncles. Noah & Hattie are living happily enough with Aunt Smiley when their pirate Uncle Loafy, having closed...
more

Nov 19 2020

Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

cover image

Kate Marshall book 2 . Little Brown, 2020. ISBN: 9780751572759.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Kate Marshall and her offsider Tristan Harper are back in another exciting adventure. The duo first appeared in Nine Elms and continue with their successful...
more

Nov 18 2020

Leave the world behind by Rumaan Alam

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781526633095.
(Age: Adult / Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Clay and Amanda and their two teenage children, Archie and Rose, head off for a much needed family holiday staying in a luxurious Airbnb far off the grid. It's just what they all need, comfortable,...
more

Nov 18 2020

Elizabella breaks a leg by Zoe Norton Lodge

cover image

Illus. by Georgia Norton Lodge. Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760652555.
(age: 9+) Recommended. The fourth in this new series by the Norton Lodge sisters will delight fans of this zany Year Four student. Elizabella goes to the theatre with her year four class and teacher, Mr...
more

Nov 18 2020

The great realisation by Tomos Roberts

cover image

Illus. by Nomoco.HarperCollins, 2020. ISBN: 9781460759806.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. An optimistic look at the follow on from the COVID-19 year that we have all had, is revealed as the author strives to help children learn from the effects of the virus which has swept the world. Some would...
more

Nov 18 2020

Rain before rainbow by Smriti Halls

cover image

Illus. by David Litchfield. Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781406382358.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. A girl and her dog sit rather pensively on the front cover, looking forward, seeing a newly formed rainbow peeping through the trees. Light shines around them urging the reader to open the book to...
more

Nov 17 2020

Ernie's journey by David Woodland

cover image

Berbay Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9780648785149.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. The spotlight falls on the power of storytelling in this new book from Berbay which publishes 'clever books for curious kids'. Woodland, a debut author uses his considerable skills honed in the film and animation...
more

Nov 16 2020

Jumbo the most famous elephant who ever lived by Alexandra Stewart

cover image

Illus. by Emily Sutton. Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781526608581.
Highly recommended. Many, many years ago, there was an elephant named Jumbo. His story is one that has been told thousands of times over the years, and has lead to major changes in the realm of animal welfare. In this book...
more

Nov 16 2020

Fox: A circle of life story by Isabel Thomas

cover image

Illus. by Daniel Egneus. Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781526600776.
(Age: 5+). Highly recommended. Fox is a thoughtfully written factual picture book. The story begins and ends with the reader being encouraged to look and listen closely. There is life stirring in the shadows. The...
more

Nov 13 2020

A time for mercy by John Grisham

cover image

Hodder & Stoughton, 2020. ISBN: 9781529342338.
(Age: Senior secondary/adult) Recommended. Small town Mississippi lawyer Jake Brigance is given a case no one else wants. Popular Deputy Stuart Kofer has been shot and killed. It's Jake's duty to defend an immature 16 year boy who has...
more

Nov 13 2020

Through the night sky by Anita Ganeri

cover image

Illus. by Charlotte Pepper. Dorling Kindersley, 2020. ISBN: 9780241355459.
(Age: 8+). Highly recommended. Through The Night Sky is a stunningly presented non-fiction book which captures many and varied aspects of what happens in the night sky. It is described as "A collection of...
more

Nov 13 2020

Dragon Mountain by Katie and Kevin Tsang

cover image

Simon & Schuster, 2020. ISBN: 9781471193071.
(Age: 8-10) Dragon Mountain is a simple but imaginative tale that could be useful for introducing younger children to the fantasy genre. The setting is a mountain in rural China in contemporary times. The formula is that of young...
more

Nov 12 2020

The relentless moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

cover image

Lady Astronaut book 3. Tor Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781250236968.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Award winning Mary Robinette Kowal returns with another Lady Astronaut, Nicole Wargin, in her alternate history about flight to the Moon. Following ...
more

Nov 04 2020

Santa Jaws by Mark Sperring

cover image

Illus. by Sophie Corrigan. Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781408897812.
(Age: 2+) Highly recommended. Shelly the shark is all set to make this Christmas a very festive one. She turns her cave into a Santa grotto and invites the little fishes to come in, but they are very wary and swim away....
more

Nov 04 2020

Tinsel: The girls who invented Christmas by Sibeal Pounder

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781526619273.
(Age: 8+) Highly Recommended. Tinsel: The Girls who Invented Christmas is a cleverly written book by Sibeal Pounder, author of the popular Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series. What if history had it all wrong and Christmas and...
more