An action book recommendation: Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h61kQN.
Folksy, funny illustrations by newcomer Danny Noble (who Edmondson signed up after spotting her on Twitter) add to the charm. But the book also provides a touching examination of childhood loss.
Book description from Google Books:
Special signed edition! Tilly is seven and a half. She lives with her dad, a scientist who used to invent things for the government. They are very happy, but they are both missing Mummy, who died about a year ago. So when Tilly’s dad creates a time machine in their back garden, there’s only one place that Tilly really wants to go- back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was there. There’s only one problem. Tilly’s dad has got stuck in the past, and she must follow him through history, from battles on boats to Buckingham Palace, to get him back. Encountering all sorts of interesting people along the way,Tilly and the Time Machine is a funny and heartwarming adventure.

Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iyjHyr.

An action book recommendation: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2zxJKgU.
This is a book that writes the story of itself into its smallest corners. The prose is so purely delightful that I kept folding down pages to return to. I laughed at exceptional turns of phrase, only to find myself tearing up a few passages later…
Book description from Google Books:
‘Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now.’ Patrick NessA Face Like Glass is an astonishing and imaginative novel from the Costa Award winning author of The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge.In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare – wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear – at a price.Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .
The book is rated 4.23/5 at goodreads.com, from 3032 ratings. See 630 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iIzw5C.
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An action book recommendation: The Mayor of Casterbridge (Penguin Classics) by Thomas Hardy

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ivRvMi.
Hardy’s reworking of Oedipus Rex, set in the author’s native Wessex in the 1840s. Michael Henchard, a drunken journeyman labourer…The novel is Hardy’s most powerful study of will and character and the irresistibility of fate.
Book description from Google Books:
A haunting study of guilt and lost love in Penguin Classics, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge is edited with an introduction and notes by Keith Wilson. In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper. Subtitled ‘A Story of a Man of Character’, Hardy’s powerful and sympathetic study of the heroic but deeply flawed Henchard is also an intensely dramatic work, tragically played out against the vivid backdrop of a close-knit Dorsetshire town. This edition includes an introduction, chronology of Hardy’s life and works, the illustrations for the original serial issue, place names, maps, glossary, full explanatory notes as well as Hardy’s prefaces to the 1895 and 1912 editions. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), born Higher Brockhampton, near Dorchester, originally trained as an architect before earning his living as a writer. Though he saw himself primarily as a poet, Hardy was the author of some of the late eighteenth century’s major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts. If you enjoyed The Mayor of Casterbridge, you might like George Eliot’s Silas Marner, also available in Penguin Classics. ‘The greatest tragic writer among the English novelists’ Virginia Woolf ‘Visceral, passionate, anti-hypocrisy, anti-repression … Hardy reaches into our wildest recesses’ Evening Standard
The book is rated 3.80/5 at goodreads.com, from 45110 ratings. See 1701 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h7KsZT.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h5h9r1.

An action book recommendation: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2zxJKgU.
This is a book that writes the story of itself into its smallest corners. The prose is so purely delightful that I kept folding down pages to return to. I laughed at exceptional turns of phrase, only to find myself tearing up a few passages later…
Book description from Google Books:
‘Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now.’ Patrick NessA Face Like Glass is an astonishing and imaginative novel from the Costa Award winning author of The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge.In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare – wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear – at a price.Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .
The book is rated 4.23/5 at goodreads.com, from 3028 ratings. See 630 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iIzw5C.
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Google Books preview available in full post.

An action book recommendation: The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iAOKcV.
Channelling Tove Jansson, Tintin and Japanese anime studio Studio Ghibli, the book’s enchanting, richly coloured illustrations had details to savour in every frame: a godsend for parents of reluctant learner-readers.
Book description from Google Books:
Erin loves to lie on the jetty, looking for the weirdest fish in the sea–the weirder, the better! And she knows the best ones must be further out, where her mum won’t let her go . . . Out there in the deepest sea lies the Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! Can Erin uncover the truth behind this mysterious legend? Joe Todd-Stanton’s first picture book,Arthur and the Golden Rope, was published by Flying Eye Books in 2016.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 164 ratings. See 42 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iCbLMC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iBTlvk.

An action book recommendation: York (Shadow Cipher Series, Book 1) (The Shadow Cipher) by Laura Ruby

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2iwP5xc.
The pleasures of the novel go far beyond the crackling, breathless plot and the satisfaction of watching the puzzle fall into place.
Book description from amazon.com:
York
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 1171 ratings. See 318 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h8iX2l.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iyuFnl.

An action book recommendation: Thick as Thieves (Queen’s Thief) by Megan Whalen Turner

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2had30O.
I think the only downside (if it is a downside) to Turner’s style is that I’ve come to expect that things aren’t as they seem in the course of the story, so the surprises have become less surprising. Still, Thick as Thieves was entertaining and enjoyable, and even surprisingly poignant in its depiction of an enslaved man’s mindset.
Book description from Google Books:
Discover the world of the Queen’s ThiefThick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companion stories The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey. “The Queen’s Thief books awe and inspire me. They have the feel of a secret, discovered history of real but forgotten lands. The plot-craft is peerless, the revelations stunning, and the characters flawed, cunning, heartbreaking, exceptional. Megan Whalen Turner’s books have a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, with space waiting for more books to come.”—Laini Taylor, New York Times-bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone novels and Strange the Dreamer “Unforgettable characters, plot twists that will make your head spin, a world rendered in elegant detail—you will fall in love with every page of these stories. Megan Whalen Turner writes vivid, immersive, heartbreaking fantasy that will leave you desperate to return to Attolia again and again.”—Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom”Megan Whalen Turner has constructed a clever world filled with suspense and intrigue and characters that will never be forgotten. Once you dive into the world of the Queen’s Thief, prepare to have your life stolen from you until you finish them all.” —Joelle Charbonneau, New York Times-bestselling author of the Testing trilogy
The book is rated 4.20/5 at goodreads.com, from 3329 ratings. See 802 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iBSeMi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iBSpqW.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An action book recommendation: The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h8kGFa.
Will the clever and daring John Blake have more adventures in the future? My hunch, and my hope, is that he will. Meanwhile, no prizes for guessing what my nieces and nephews will be getting from me on their next birthdays.
Book description from Google Books:
A thrilling graphic novel adventure from Philip Pullman, one of the greatest storytellers of our time! Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John and the crew rescue a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promise to help. But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg’s true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will . . .
The book is rated 3.61/5 at goodreads.com, from 330 ratings. See 88 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5YzPF.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iyaTZd.

An action book recommendation: Thick as Thieves (Queen’s Thief) by Megan Whalen Turner

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2had30O.
I think the only downside (if it is a downside) to Turner’s style is that I’ve come to expect that things aren’t as they seem in the course of the story, so the surprises have become less surprising. Still, Thick as Thieves was entertaining and enjoyable, and even surprisingly poignant in its depiction of an enslaved man’s mindset.
Book description from Google Books:
Discover the world of the Queen’s ThiefThick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companion stories The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey. “The Queen’s Thief books awe and inspire me. They have the feel of a secret, discovered history of real but forgotten lands. The plot-craft is peerless, the revelations stunning, and the characters flawed, cunning, heartbreaking, exceptional. Megan Whalen Turner’s books have a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, with space waiting for more books to come.”—Laini Taylor, New York Times-bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone novels and Strange the Dreamer “Unforgettable characters, plot twists that will make your head spin, a world rendered in elegant detail—you will fall in love with every page of these stories. Megan Whalen Turner writes vivid, immersive, heartbreaking fantasy that will leave you desperate to return to Attolia again and again.”—Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom”Megan Whalen Turner has constructed a clever world filled with suspense and intrigue and characters that will never be forgotten. Once you dive into the world of the Queen’s Thief, prepare to have your life stolen from you until you finish them all.” —Joelle Charbonneau, New York Times-bestselling author of the Testing trilogy
The book is rated 4.21/5 at goodreads.com, from 3316 ratings. See 800 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iBSeMi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iBSpqW.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An action book recommendation: My Absolute Darling: A Novel by Gabriel Tallent

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2h7WAKw.
My Absolute Darling is, very obviously, difficult to read, particularly the scenes that detail Martin’s abuse. But it’s also nearly impossible to put down.
Book description from Google Books:
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  “Impossible to put down.” –NPR “A novel that readers will gulp down, gasping.” –The Washington Post   “The word ‘masterpiece’ has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one.” –Stephen King A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero–and in the process, becomes ours as well. Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 6200 ratings. See 1432 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iy5d1i.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h8z1S5.