Welcome to the latest issue of Books Monthly – another fantastic selection of brilliant books for you this month, including another great haul of Pen and Sword books. Please let me know what you think by using the comments box or like/share buttons on each page or via email at paulenorman1@gmail.com

Stuart MacBride: All That’s Dead
Published by Harper Collins 30th May 2019
There’s a darkness in the heart of Scotland…905a
The stunning new Logan McRae thriller from No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller Stuart MacBride.
Scream all you want, no one can hear…
Inspector Logan McRae is looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…
The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.
Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

All That’s Dead is as good as modern crime fiction gets – the genius of Stuart MacBride is back in force as Logan McRae is asked to help D I King with a high profile case involving Scottish Nationalists. Everyone’s favourite characters are here, D S Steel, Tufty, Rennie, and, of course, Logan himself as time is running out for him and his team to catch the sadistic killers. This is edge of the seat stuff carpeted with Stuart’s trademark dark humour – it’s faultless, it’s perfect, it’s brilliant!

Marvel Encyclopedia Updated Edition
Published by Dorling Kindersley 4th April 2019
“[A] book that mankind has been hungering for, a book that is-now and forever-a shining beacon of wonder, a titanic tribute to talent unleashed” – Stan Lee.905b
Discover the essential facts about Marvel Comics’ timeless heroes such as Captain America, Spider-Man, and Iron Man and villains like Thanos, Loki, and Kingpin. Keep up with the ever-expanding Marvel Universe with the new edition of DK’s best-selling Marvel Encyclopedia, featuring an introduction by Marvel Comics supremo Stan Lee. Updated and expanded, this definitive Who’s Who of Marvel Comics reveals vital info and secret histories of more than 1200 classic and brand new Marvel characters, and provides the lowdown on recent key events including Civil War 2, Secret Empire, and Infinity Countdown.
From iconic teams such as the Avengers, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy to fan favourites Black Panther, Deadpool, and Captain Marvel to rising stars Amadeus Cho, Squirrel Girl and the Exiles, every significant Marvel character is showcased with the latest comic artwork. Meticulously researched, expertly written, and stunningly illustrated, the Marvel Encyclopedia boasts newly commissioned cover art by one of Marvel’s hottest up-and-coming talents. This unique, in-depth, and accessible encyclopedia is an indispensable guide to Marvel Comics that devoted fans and newcomers alike will return to time and again.

The only thing lacking in this extraordinary book is there’s not enough about the Guardians of the Galaxy for me. I was never a Marvel fan, it was always DC comics for me back in the day – it’s only since watching Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, and the first two Avengers films that I’ve come to realise just what a genius the late Stan Lee was. No one does encyclopedias of comic book stuff better than Dorling Kindersley, and this one is right up there with the best – but I would have liked just a little more prominence for the Guardians…


Eleni Roussos: The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios
Published by Abrams 7th May 2019


When Iron Man exploded into theaters in 2008, it was the first installment in what would become the biggest and most awe-inspiring collection of Super Hero films ever made. At the heart of these films are characters that have captured the imaginations of audiences around the world?heroes like Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Thor, and Black Panther, and fearsome villains like Red Skull, Ultron, and Thanos.

Now, explore the secrets behind the moviemaking magic that brought these heroes and villains to life. Through diagrams, photographs, concept sketches, and more, get the exclusive story of how filmmakers transformed comic book characters into larger-than-life, living, breathing icons of the big screen. Special bonus sections reveal the magic of some of the films’ most memorable moments.


This is one of the finest books about the Marvel Cinematic Universe I have ever seen – well organised, with plenty of information about the Guardians of the Galaxy, and sensational lift-the-flaps and concertina pull-outs – it’s described as a children’s book but really, it’s for anyone who’s awed by the cinema magic of the Marvel cinematic universe. A brilliant, stunning book!


Dorling Kindersley: Fearless and Fantastic!
Published by Dorling Kindersley 3rd January 2019
Women can save the world. More than 50 incredible female Super Heroes from the 905bombMarvel Comics universe inspire girls and women of all ages to be powerful, passionate and persistent.
From Captain Marvel and Wasp to Storm and Shuri, this beautiful book profiles dozens of aspirational female comic-book characters, all of whom use their intelligence, strength, kindness and courage to help others and save the world. Fierce fan-favourites such as Gamora, Squirrel Girl and Black Widow feature alongside lesser known faces from all corners of the Marvel comic-book universe. Young girls will discover modern, diverse heroes they can relate to and look up to, including America Chavez and Kamala Khan. Featuring a foreword by Marvel Comics writer Kelly Thompson, DK’s Fearless and Fantastic! is the ultimate tribute to Marvel’s most powerful women and girls, and a treasured gift for comic fans.
Illustrated with stunning comic-book artwork, and featuring inspiring quotations, each short biography is carefully curated to focus on the character’s key abilities and achievements. With four chapters based on personal qualities – Determined, Daring, Compassionate and Curious – this book for girls and women of all ages will create new fans of comics, as well as inspiring comic-book creators of the future.

This is, I’m afraid, one of those hit or miss books that have a number of different comic book artists undertaking the task of illustrating the finest fantasy females, in this case from the pages of Marvel comics. And some of the illustrators just don’t do it for me. This was a missed opportunity – far better to use illustrations from the actual publications, in my opinion.

Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm (Ed. Joyce Crick): Snow White and Other Tales
Published by Oxford World’s Classics 30th May 2019
‘Once upon a time in mid-winter, when the snowflakes were falling from the sky like down, a queen was sitting and sewing at a window …’905bomc

The tales gathered by the Grimm brothers are at once familiar, fantastic, homely, and frightening. They seem to belong to no time, or to some distant feudal age of fairytale imagining. Grand palaces, humble cottages, and the forest full of menace are their settings; and they are peopled by kings and princesses, witches and robbers, millers and golden birds, stepmothers and talking frogs.

Regarded from their inception both as uncosy nursery stories and as raw material for the folklorist the tales were in fact compositions, collected from literate tellers and shaped into a distinctive kind of literature. This translation mirrors the apparent artlessness of the Grimms, and fully represents the range of less well-known fables, morality tales, and comic stories as well as the classic tales. It takes the stories back to their roots in German Romanticism and includes variant stories and tales that were deemed unsuitable for children. In her fascinating introduction, Joyce Crick explores their origins, and their literary evolution at the hands of the Grimms.

The only things lacking in this book are a dustjacket, and illustrations. I think the stories were always intended to be read by adults to their children, or for older children to read, and there is a dire need for illustrations. The stories are timeless and sensationally good, and although the book is one of the new series of hardbacked World’s Classics, it really needs a dustjacket in this case.




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