Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

Archive for the ‘Outstanding New Writers’ Category


January 6, 2012

Warning: check your “willing suspension of disbelief,” ’cause it will be petal to the metal throughout this wild romp of an archeological treasure hunt cum international thriller. You’ll either love this one or hate it. The Hunt for Atlantis is Indiana Jones on steroids, both in the action department as well as the puzzle/history field. […]

PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow

May 24, 2011

Plain Kate is one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time. The fact the novel is a debut book by a new author and a YA to boot just qualifies it as the best of those as well. Erin Bow has a natural narrative voice and I fell in love with […]


October 12, 2010

First-time author A. E. Roman serves up a solid line drive in his debut novel, Chinatown Angel. Digging deep into the blood and bone of the private eye tales first hammered out by Raymond Chandler in Los Angeles, Roman riffs a concoction that remains original and adds a salsa Latino/Black beat that turns the milieu […]

SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi

October 10, 2010

  Paolo Bacigalupi is a new author for me, but I’ve been hearing his name a lot. He’s written two novels, one for adults and the other for the YA audience, and has written award-winning short stories. So I’m working on catching up to him. When I saw Ship Breaker offered on Amazon and read […]

GIRL IN THE ARENA by Lise Haines

May 5, 2010

The cover on Girl in the Arena sold me on the book immediately. It’s beautifully done and shows a girl in gladiator gear. Based on everything I read about the book, I really thought I was in for an action story and was really looking forward to it. Instead, the book turns out to be […]

BODY PARTS by Vicki Stiefel

April 12, 2010

Body Parts is a grim novel with a spunky heroine that I liked. Vicky Stiefel doesn’t cover any new territory in the first book of her series about Tally Whyte, a Massachusetts homicide counselor, but the familiar landscape is interesting. The first-person narrative is almost pitch-perfect throughout, and Tally Whyte is a likeable character from […]


April 3, 2010

I love a good, spooky ghost story that carries you deep into the darkest night and raises goose bumps and neck hair. First-time novelist Wendy Webb’s book, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, does all those things with the seamless intricacy of a clockmaker and the silky smoothness of a baby’s cheek. Webb starts the novel […]

LOVESICK by Jake Coburn

March 21, 2010

Lovesick is one of those compelling, can’t-put-it-down emotional rollercoasters that sneak up on me every now and again. This one was given to me by a friend, so I have to admit that I wasn’t even looking for something like this. I’m more the car chase, shoot ‘em up kind of guy, as anyone that […]

THE SIXTY-EIGHT ROOMS by Marianne Malone and Greg Call (illustrator)

March 13, 2010

The Sixty-Eight Rooms is a fantastic book for middle grade readers who like their stories fantastic and fun. A healthy imagination is a definite bonus when it comes to this novel by Marianne Malone. Greg Call provides nifty illustrations throughout the book that will appeal to reluctant readers. The action he captures in his drawings […]

THE EYE OF JADE by Diane Wei Liang

March 2, 2010

Diane Wei Liang has launched a private investigator series set in modern day China that has resulted in two novels so far. The author was a protestor in Tiananmen Square and writes of the clash between old and new China with considerable skill. I loved Liang’s vision of China, and was really surprised at how […]