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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - Jim Reaper trilogy

The Jim Reaper Trilogy

written by Rachel Delahaye
illustrated by Jamie Littler

You might have heard how the universe began with the Big Bang?
Well, the universe as Jim Wimple knows it is about to end. With a Bazoom!

Not only are Bazoom! scooters super fast and deadly cool, but fierce (and swoonsome) older girl Fiona has just started riding hers to and from school, and possibly out of Jim's life forever. Disaster! Jim Wimple needs a Bazoom!, and fast. So he and his best friend Will devise a clever scheme, which involves having to sneak into Dad's workplace. But when the boys break into the Mallet & Mullet 'accountancy' office they find that the walls are lined with ancient portraits, the staff are highly secretive, and Jim's dad's office bears the sign 'G Reaper'. . . And then all hell really breaks loose.

What would YOU do if you thought your dad might be . . . Death?!

Hi! Welcome back to the Book Worm Hole. I don't know about you, but with all this virus and quarantine and lock down news, I've been finding it really hard to settle down and read anything for very long. Hard to settle to anything for long really. So I decided that what I really needed was something fun, something snappy, something not particularly long that I wouldn't get bogged down in, and as luck would have it I have this trilogy just sitting there waiting for me. A well stocked bookshelf will never let you down!

And do you know what? They were just what i needed! I've read one a day for the last three days and I have absolutely loved them!

Let's start with the characters, shall we? Jim is our main character, and he has a lot going on in his head. Jim is definitely something of a worrier, but he's also the kind of boy who worries, but who then makes plans and puts them into action. I really liked that balance. He's not super confident, but he's definitely brave and rather sweet. Then there's his sister Hettie. I love Hettie, absolutely adore her. (Please give Hettie her own series!) She's so smart, manipulative and wicked, but oh so cute at the same time. A wonderful foil to her rather sweet, panicky brother. Hettie takes care of things, and it's probably best not to ask how!

Then we have the parents. Yes, actual parents in a MG book! Remarkable. Actually what we see in these books is two different families, Jim's and his friend Will's, where the parents are present and involved, and that's really nice to see. Will's parents are caring and funny and have a lot of depth to them. I'm not sure I'd fancy trying his mum's cooking though. 

His best friend Will and his family are also important characters. You so rarely see neuro-divergent characters in children's books, so it's great to see Will and his special brain, and also seeing how much Jim appreciates and understands it, even when he doesn't quite understand why Will thinks the way he does. Fiona, Will's big sister, is a scarily accurate portrait of studied teenage indifference mixed with both sweetness and violence and the complex way her relationship with the boys varies is really well done. 

Then each book has its own supporting cast, and there are some fantastic moments and characteristics among them. I particularly liked the relationship between Granny Maggot and Kevin, the bus driver who wants to be a rally driver.

The books are illustrated throughout by Jamie Littler, who also illustrated Em Lynas' Witch School trilogy (another favourite of mine) and has written and illustrated Frostheart. His style suits the characters and the feel of the book perfectly, and his beautiful illustrations add a lot to the books. 

Each book felt very different. Son of Grim (book one) is quite a mystery thriller, with Jim trying to uncover the secret his dad is keeping, complete with spy missions. The Glove of Death (book three) is quite a madcap adventure, when a deadly glove goes missing leaving a string of bodies. 

Saving Granny Maggot (book two) is really quite special. What feels like it's going to be another light hearted, fun adventure actually has a rather serious and emotional core. It's a beautiful story about the importance of random acts of kindness, It's about caring for elderly relatives and embracing them while you can. It's about what you can do if you just take one day and go for it, Ferris Bueller style. It's about living life and accepting death. It's also an awful lot of fun and incredibly amusing. It's a tricky balance, but Saving Granny Maggot left me feeling happy, and in tears.

A funny, thoughtful trilogy with some excellent representation. I'm giving Jim Reaper five snails. 


Jim Reaper: Son of Grim, Jim Reaper: Saving Granny Maggot and Jim Reaper: The Glove of Death are written by Rachel Delahaye and illustrated by Jamie Littler. They are published by Piccadilly Press.

I was sent these books as a gift from the author, in exchange for some beta reading.


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