Thursday, 1 October 2015

After You by Jojo Moyes

After YouAfter You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Penguin Michael Joseph

Pages - 407

Blurb from Amazon


Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

My Review

This is the long awaited sequel to Me Before You, one of my all time favourite reads, if you haven't read it, I strongly suggest you do before reading this. It has been 18 months since we left Lou Clark and her whole life changed. Now she is working in a bar in the airport, watching people jetting off to new destinations whilst she is stuck here. Things have changed so much for Lou, she isn't speaking much to her family, she just doesn't feel much of anything and is going through the motions. One night changes everything and brings new people into Lou's life, she has some big decisions to make that will completely change her life, one way or the other.

Oh I so missed Lou and her fabulous hilarious family. Like any other book you love on one hand you really want to know what happens next to the characters however there is that fear it can't possibly live up to your expectations. Moyes has tackled this challenge head on and done a great job to be honest. Less than 30 pages in I had gasped and burst out laughing, the story throws a curve ball you don't expect and smashes down the fears carried into reading this sequel.

There are new characters as well as some from the first book and I loved catching up with them, I can't say I was loving the new character Lily and some of Lou's actions, or lack of them really annoyed me. I wanted some of her feisty strong headed personality we knew of her before to shine through, however when you think of all she has been through I feel this is an accurate representation of how she would be and act.

This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster as is Moyes trademark, allow you to reconnect with some of the much loved characters from the first book and a few surprises along the way. 4/5 for me this time, was the book worth the wait? I think so, I definitely will be recommending this book to friends and family.

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Water Angels by Mons Kallentoft

Water AngelsWater Angels by Mons Kallentoft
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Publisher - Hodder

Pages - 471

Blurb from Amazon

A married couple is found dead in their jacuzzi. Their adopted five-year-old daughter has vanished. Inspector Malin Fors, the troubled but brilliant star of the Linkoping police force, is put in charge of the case.

But this is a haunting mystery where the borders have been blurred: those between the living and the dead, between good and evil.

Malin is only too aware of her own tendencies towards obsession and addiction. As the investigation takes a darker turn, forcing Malin to confront her own demons, will she hold out long enough to find the killer - and the missing girl - before it's too late?

My Review

Patrick and Cecilia are found dead in their jacuzzi, their adopted five year old daughter Ella is missing, Inspector Malin Fors is heading the case. The investigation starts with the family, searching Patricks computer to try and find leads. Who may have wanted this couple dead and most importantly, where is little Ella. If Foors can find the little girl or the motive, she may be able to crack open this case.

This is my first dance with this author and I am in the minority from the reviews I have seen in that I really didn't like this story much at all. The opening chapter itself, the prologue was confusing to start with although after finishing the story and re reading it I did understand it a bit better. We are briefly introduced to Fors and then a page where the writing is in italics, this is the voice(s) of the deceased couple. They feature a page or two throughout the book, merely viewing what is going on. I personally felt they really offered nothing more than observation of whatever they were looking at, that which the reader has just read with no new insight.

The characters all had a voice, the telling of what was happening at that time or interaction and then there was what they were thinking internally. This really wasn't required as I don't feel it offered anything at all to the story or event that had happened or was being discussed. The inspector is an HR nightmare and yet despite becoming erratic and more off the rails, she isn't removed from the case at all. A lot of the story is overshadowed by the personal thoughts and angst going on out with the case. There are a few random sexual encounters or inappropriate thoughts from people involved in the investigation. It didn't seem to be relevant or add to the story so I am not sure why it was included.

The mystery of what happened to the little girl kept me going, I wanted to know what happened to her, why were the parents killed and to be fair a lot of the main questions were answered which is why it scores 2 stars instead of 1. A lot of the behaviours of the characters are very questionable and for those of the officers I found it very hard to believe that would be tolerated in any department, let alone a murder investigation.

All of that said, this is the 6th in a series and a lot of people seem to love and enjoy it. It just didn't hit the mark for me at all. I won't be pursing the earlier works of this author, I just don't think the writing style is for me although a lot of people will enjoy the in depth insight you get to the characters every thought as the tale progresses. Thanks so much to the publicist for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review, 2/5 for me this time. Give it a go yourself, I would love to hear how others receive this if your reading this author for the first time or a long standing fan.

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

The GraveDigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

The Gravedigger's DaughterThe Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 19 days

Publisher - Harper Perennal

Pages - 582

Blurb from Goodreads

In 1936 the Schwarts, an immigrant family desperate to escape Nazi Germany, settle in a small town in upstate New York, where the father, a former high school teacher, is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. After local prejudice and the family's own emotional frailty result in unspeakable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca, begins her astonishing pilgrimage into America, an odyssey of erotic risk and imaginative daring, ingenious self-invention, and, in the end, a bittersweet - but very "American" - triumph. "You are born here, they will not hurt you" - so the gravedigger has predicted for his daughter, which will turn out to be true.

My Review

Rebecca Schwart aka Hazel Jones aka Hazel Gallagher is our main character. We open up with Rebecca reflecting 10 years post her fathers death. Then we skip to New York, Rebecca has another name and is living a working married lady who encounters a man following her and mistaking her for another woman. We follow this time in her life briefly before heading into her childhood and her life as the Gravedigger's daughter. Here we get a view of Rebecca's life and her journey into early adulthood. The story then goes to her life as an adult and the tale follows from there.

I don't know what I expected from this book however it wasn't what I got. The main theme is really just about Rebecca the individual, who progresses in her life and becomes Hazel. She goes through a lot of hardship, loss and hurt, we follow the life of her, her husband and her son. It then, I felt, abruptly changes, leaves you hanging although in the letters at the end it hints at the sons outcome. The chapters are quite short in length which I really did appreciate and generally like in a story and a warning that there is some bad language throughout. There are many themes touched upon within the story, Nazi's, war, grief, murder, suicide, violence, love, abuse to name just some that are covered.

I found the character of Rebecca/Hazel very different although she is shaped by things that happen to her, there isn't a clear cut reason to why the big change. The relationship with the men in her life is so different, this could be reflective of the time and past male influences. Some people have loved this book, I just found it really hard to get through. I can honestly say I think this is the longest I have read a book as I had to keep putting it down to try something else as my interest would drop. Some of it is quite interesting, the decline of her fathers mental health during and after the war, how her brother reacts to the town despising them. Rebecca's personal growth and changes, in between there was a lot I really didn't like and found it didn't hold my attention. Your left with questions and the ending, whilst is can be perceived as cleverly done and well thought out, it is also rather abrupt which I personally am not a fan of. 2/5 for me this time, this was my first time reading this author and I am not sure I would read her again. Her writing style just didn't engage me however, as I have said, some people really loved this book so I would suggest giving it a bash.

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Friday, 25 September 2015

The Retribution by Val McDermid

The Retribution (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #7)The Retribution by Val McDermid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 402

Publisher - Little Brown and Company

Blurb from Goodreads

There is one serial killer who has shaped and defined police profiler Tony Hill's life. One serial killer whose evil surpasses all others. One serial killer who has the power to chill him to the bone: Jacko Vance. And now Jacko is back in Tony's life - even more twisted and cunning than ever before.

My Review

I have only ever read 1 or 2 of McDemids books before, this one is 7th in a series. Whilst I didn't have any problems following the plot, I do feel I should have read the others before hand as there is history between some of the characters. Tony Hill is a profiler and very good at what he does, he is the main character along side Carol Jordan. Carol has a serial killer on the streets, taking out prostitutes and she may just need Tony's help. However a bigger killer is on the streets, Jacko Vance. Jacko is one of the worst killers they put behind bars and now Tony must focus all his attention on Jacko, before more bodies turn up.

Tony and Carol are complex characters, they are also involved although their relationship is on the down key. Carol is fiercely private, it is hard enough being a cop but to be a female and in charge of investigations, she has more to lose than the men in the department. It is a busy story, two killers, Tony & Carols relationship and the sidelines of everything going on between. However, McDermid makes it flow well and keeps you interest in all aspects of the story.

I think I will probably go back and get the earlier books in the series and maybe re read this one. Whilst I enjoyed the pace and how the story was done, I feel if I read the others I would have got a better insight into some of the actions of the characters.

There is quite a bit of gore involved so not for the faint hearted and some of the behaviours or choices or the characters annoyed me. I did question would someone behave in such a way and fiction isn't always what would happen in reality but it did annoy me in some aspects. The pace of the story changes also, it take a bit to get going and then it just seemed to speed up and end which also took a part of the enjoyment away for me. Still a good read and I do think this author is really talented at what she does, 3/5 for me this time though.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Las Vegas themed giveaway

Returning from Las Vegas I have brought some goodies home with me for a wee additional giveaway. A wee red totebag, a chip keyring and a Las Vegas pen as shown in the pictures. Apologies the pictures are showing on their side, I cannot for the life of me get them to upload the correct way.

This competition will run just past 2 weeks from the day of listing, as the items are small and light I am opening this up worldwide. As always, please use the Rafflecopter to enter, the more entries you complete the more chances you have of winning. Please feel free to share on the usual sites and good luck to all entering.

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The Good Neighbour by Beth Miller

The Good NeighbourThe Good Neighbour by Beth Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Ebury Press

Pages - 424

Blurb from Goodreads

Everyone has secrets. How far will you go to protect yours?

After living next to the neighbours from hell, Minette is overjoyed when Cath and her two children move in next door. Cath soon becomes her confidante, a kindred spirit, even her daughter’s babysitter.

But Cath keeps herself unusually guarded and is reluctant to speak of her past. And when Minette witnesses something unspeakable, she begins to question whether she really knows her new friend at all…

My Review

Minette is delighted to have a new neighbour, more so when she actually meets her & her two children. Minette has a 9 month old Tilly & is fairly bored at home, Cathy brings a new lease of life and some unexpected adventure. Cathy has secrets, she keeps her past to herself and as she as Minette get closer they both share secrets as their friendship grows. However, Cathy isn't exactly as she seems and Minette learns that having someone like Cathy as a friend may be not be the blessing she thought.

The book is split into chapters, headed by which character it is that is talking. The start of the story introduces us to the main characters, the neighbours. Abe, Minette & baby Tilly, Cathy the newest neighbour and her two children Davey and little Lola, over the way is the unbelievably handsome Liam and his partner. There are a few other characters spread out however these are our key players. It is hard to review everything I would like to say as Cathys past and secrets play a big part in it and aren't revealed until you get further into the story. Needless to say there are twists and turns, secrets, lies, betrayals, friendship, family and love to name just some of the themes going on.

Some of the characters diaologue with each other and certain behaviours were a source of frustration for me however that is one of my small complaints. I felt like a nosey neighbour, watching the ongoings of my other neighbours and I think this will hold attraction for many readers. It kept my interest, I think it was quite well done and I would read this author again, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks so much to the author and publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday, 11 September 2015

Septembers giveaway is a £5 Amazon Voucher

Greetings from Las Vegas :D Finally got a decent connection to the internet so thought I would take advantage and post the giveaway. As always, use the Rafflecopter below to enter, the more entries you complete the more chances you have to win.

This months giveaway is a £5 Amazon voucher. The competition will run until the end of the month. As always, thank you for stopping by, commenting, entering and good luck!

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