Saturday, 18 October 2014

NR - The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman

The Golem of HollywoodThe Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Pages - 550

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Inside of the book cover

Detective Jacob Lev wakes one morning, dazed and confused: He seems to have picked up a beautiful woman in a bar the night before, but he can’t remember anything about the encounter, and before he knows it, she has gone. But this mystery pales in comparison to the one he’s about to be called on to solve. Newly reassigned to a Special Projects squad he didn’t even know existed, he’s sent to a murder scene far up in the hills of Hollywood Division. There is no body, only an unidentified head lying on the floor of a house. Seared into a kitchen counter nearby is a single word: the Hebrew for justice.

Detective Lev is about to embark on an odyssey—through Los Angeles, through many parts of the United States, through London and Prague, but most of all, through himself. All that he has believed to be true will be upended—and not only his world, but the world itself, will be changed.

My Review

The book opens in Prague with Heap, a serial killer who is stalking his next victim. Just as he swoops in for the kill, he is intercepted by a supernatural presence stops in him in tracks. We flick then to Los Angeles, Jacob Lev a police officer with an alcohol dependency and a woman he becomes obsessed with who leaves his life as quickly as she entered it. A case has come up, Lev is getting on peoples nerves and this combined with his Jewish background puts him forward to investigate a murder. A decapitated body, in part, a message left in Jewish writing at the scene and Jacob has little else to go on. As well as this we have another story, Cain and Abels sister, Asham, her choices or lack of and their repercussions, this is visited periodically throughout the book. Feeling confused? Exactly how I felt!

This book has too much going on in it for my liking. Too many different story lines, seemingly unrelated to each other, religious themes throughout, murder, bizarre sex, supernatural creatures, beasties, violence and thats just some of the content. The sexual element, for me, held no major significance, maybe there was and it was just over my head. However it was very weird, disjointed and didn't add to the story. When Jacob is investigating, I liked that although he did seem to get nowhere fast and constantly met resistance, even by those who put him on the case.

His relationship with his father is another line in the story, a seemingly nice, vulnerable Rabbi, worried about his son, who has lost his face and met alcohol since the death of his mother. His father often is featured along with some Jewish tales which I did find interesting however, like I said it is a busy busy book. It seemed to go off on tangents, I had a headache trying to keep up with it and work out what was relevant to what I had already read.

It isn't all bad, like I say I liked when Jacob got into investigating, I liked reading the Jewish stories and learning of some of the Jewish relation. The descriptions where some of the story took place was very detailed and painted a good picture, there is no doubt these writers are good however, maybe together it just doesn't gel. I have read and enjoyed Jonathan before but not Jesse, maybe that was my issue, along with the jumping about and weird sexual scenes. I also had issues with how some of the story lines were wrapped up, I don't like to be left hanging but I would prefer that to things that make no sense or just don't flow. That said a lot of people love this book, including Stephen King, whom I love, so if you have no issue with the previously mentioned give it a go, sadly it wasn't for me. 2/5 this time, I would read Jonathan Kellerman again and I would try Jesse Kellerman, both writing alone, I doubt I would pick up a joint effort by them again though as I really struggled with this and the things I disliked far outweighed those that I did.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Review - Hot Flush by Helen Fitzgerald

Hot FlushHot Flush by Helen Fitzgerald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 hour

Pages - 97

Publisher - Barrington Stoke

Blurb From Goodreads

Menopausal probation officer Eileen McDonald has lived an ordinary life, without taking any risks, unlike Jim Bain, a car-thieving probationer she's responsible for. When she finally cracks during a hot flush in a changing room, it's him she turns to for help, and he accompanies her on a journey she will never forget.

My Review

What a short sharp wee blast of a read. Weighing in at only 97 pages, you could get through this in half an hour. Our two main characters are Eileen McDonald, probation officer and hitting the menopause. Next up is Jim Bain, young, cocky and has a wrap sheet that has only the crimes he has been caught for. Jim and Eileen are forced together in group, Jim to complete the program or face jail and Eileen by choice, it is the profession she has chosen. When Eileen's boring, set routine life is turned upside down by a rash decision, she finds that instead of reporting boy wonder for his fresh mouth, she needs his help, for the skills he knows best. Together they embark on a journey that changes life as they know it, for both of them.

I thought this was going to be a unexpected romance, don't ask why I got that idea, however it isn't. This is a tale about a woman who follows rules and routines, every day of her life, until one snap decision and quickly has to deal with the fall out from it. Jim has an attitude, in trouble with the law, young, set in his ways, quickly realizes he needs to help someone to save his own bacon.

The whole event is spread out over one day, although both have glimpses into their past that explains or gives more detail to the person they are now. It is fairly easy to read, some sexual content is in the tale although nothing excessive and the chapters are small which also contributes to it being a quick read. The tale is set in Glasgow, which, it is always nice to read somewhere you know. This is the third story I have read by this author, all of them very different from the last, she certainly holds your attention. 3/5 for me this time and I will buy up more of her work.

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Apologies and finally Octobers competition

Apologies for the massive delay in getting this months competition up and for my lack of posting. University has been a lot more demanding than I imagined. In fact, normally I still read my fiction on the bus, to and from University but have even been reading coursework on the journeys and even at night before bed, usually reserved for my fiction.

As a result, I haven't been getting through many books at all, therefore this month I have to put up a wee £5 Amazon voucher in place of a book.

As always, the competition will run until the end of the month. Entries can be gained by filling out the Rafflecopter, the more options you complete, the more entries you have. Please note, the entries are checked upon drawing a winner, any incomplete will be disqualified and another winner chosen, sadly this has happened a few times. No postal address required but the mandatory box will be for the email, this will be kept confidential and deleted after the competition, so I can send your voucher upon the draw ending.

Good luck everyone and as always, thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Review - Bridesmaids by Jane Costello

BridesmaidsBridesmaids by Jane Costello
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 419

Blurb from Goodreads

Four weddings, three disgruntled ex-boyfriends in the congregation, two wayward 'chicken-fillet' boob enhancers, and one gorgeous man, it's tough being a bridesmaid.

My Review

This is a great chick lit book. Evie is one hour away from walking down the isle in front of her best friend, Grace, who is getting married. It's stressful, things are going wrong however, her chicken fillets are in place and she spots a hot specimen whilst on an errand. Things go hilariously wrong from there on in and this is only the first of a few weddings Evie is part of. Evie has a string of ex boyfriends who seem to crop up at the most inopportune moment. Her mother is quite unique and a little embarrassing and all of these weddings are filling her with dread.

This book covers friendship, relationships, wedding preparations, betrayal, secrets and love to name just some of the themes. The book is made up of short chapters which is great for picking up and putting down however the content will make you want to read it in one sitting.

It is light hearted with some serious themes, it reminded a bit of the movie Bridesmaids, if you liked that you will love this. First time reading this author, I would certainly read her again. She had me laughing out loud, recalling some of my own past relationships and sympathizing, and hating, some of the characters. 4/5 for me this time and if your just wanting something light or a good holiday read, look no further.

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Review - Feed by Mira Grant

Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy #2)Deadline by Mira Grant
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to rad - 8 days

Publisher - Orbit

Pages - 524

Blurb from Goodreads

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

My Review

This is the second book in this series, I would strongly suggest reading Feed, the first in this series, to get an idea of the background story. Shaun Mason has nothing left to lose, nothing is what it used to be, nothing is fun, he has only one purpose left now. Reporting the truth, reporting what is happening with the zombies and trying to unravel what happened in the first book is what drive Shaun. When a CDC researcher reaches out to Shaun and his team, after faking her own death, she puts his team in peril and gives him another opening to pursue the truth and try and expose the conspiracy, once and for all.

Ok so yes it is a zombie book however, it is more dealing with whats happened in the past, focusing on and unraveling the conspiracy and, I felt, product endorsement! There isn't a whole lot of zombie action, the threat is always there, always looming, however it is who is the bad guys, why have they done what they did and picking up the pieces and trying to escape and get the truth. Shaun and his team blog the news, they have cameras following them, reporting to the people about the zombie situation whilst the surviving public go to work in controlled environments.

I have to say, for large portions, I was bored or frustrated. I wanted something to happen, don't get me wrong, sometimes something did but it was a long time coming. There isn't enough zombies, if there was one comment about why the main character drinks copious amounts of coca cola, there was thirty. Not quite as much, but still in repetition, Avon skin so soft, mentioned several times that I did feel if there isn't a product endorsement, there should have been as she mentioned them often enough!

The story itself could have been cut down by at least a quarter and not affect the tale that is told and the main character Shaun I could have slapped at times. Often he is threatening violence towards other characters, women included and sees nothing wrong with this, which really annoyed me. That said, the last three pages made me want to get the next installment of this trilogy, three pages generated enough spark for me to want to find out what happens. I can't say I liked many, if any, of the characters. I didn't hate the book, I just didn't like a whole lot of it, the parts I did like, reminded me a bit of resident evil, especially the last three pages. So 2/5 for me this time, I feel I have to read the next one, for closure and just because I am too nosey not to.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ARC - The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2)The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 hours

Publisher - Text Publishing Company

Pages - 411

Blurb from Goodreads


GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world's most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.

Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.

Then Rosie told me we had 'something to celebrate', and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.

I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.

The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace.

And of losing Rosie forever.

My Review

Don & Rosie are back, yay! They are now married and Don is learning to adapt to no longer having the Standardised Meal System, schedules are abandoned and lots of changes are afoot. Rosie has another suprise for Don, one that will turn his world upside down, more so than when she exploded into it the first time. Can Don adapt? He finds himself seeking advice from avenues he knows and going into places he hasn't in order to process and adapt. This leads him into trouble he could not have predicted, they may have to leave their lives as they know it, deal with being on the wrong side of the law, his career may be at risk and worst of all, he may lose Rosie. For a man of schedules, predicted outcomes and liking routine, this will blow everything out the water and change his world forever.

Aw I loved the first book and was delighted to read that this book was coming out, more so to get an advanced reading copy. I forgot how much I loved Don's unique outlook on life. He is adapting well to the changes Rosie has brought to his life whilst still having his own unique way. The book still has some humour, touching moments, friendship, love, lies and some darker themes. There is at least one character who had my blood boiling with their prejudices and vile attitude. This book certainly is, I feel, a more adult feel to it with some of the not so nice side of humanity and the knock on effects and consequences of some peoples attitudes. It isn't all serious or doom and gloom however I feel, compared to the first book, it is fair to give a heads up there is a dramatic theme change. I still laughed out loud at a few parts and like I say, I have missed Don Tillman so it was great to catch up with him and Rosie and read their journeys progress through life together.

Would I like there to be a third? Of course, I would love to read more on these two, well Rosie, I must say wasn't one of my favourite characters this time round. In fact, at parts I quite disliked her, however Don I love and could easily read another book about. 4/5 for me this time, thanks so much to NetGalley for this ARC and PenguinBooks UK for approving the request. You don't have to wait long for your own copy, the book is available from all good retailers from the 25th of September 2014. If you haven't read the first book, I strongly urge you to do it, this is a great follow up book however I don't think you would enjoy it as much without the fabulous back story.

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

WBC - A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli

A Meal in WinterA Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - a few hours

Pages - 138 pages

Publisher - Portobello Books

Blurb fro Goodreads

One morning, in the dead of winter, three German soldiers are dispatched into the frozen Polish countryside. They have been charged by their commanders to track down and bring back for execution 'one of them' - a Jew. Having flushed out the young man hiding in the woods, they decide to rest in an abandoned house before continuing their journey back to the camp. As they prepare food, they are joined by a passing Pole whose outspoken anti-Semitism adds tension to an already charged atmosphere. Before long, the group's sympathies have splintered as they consider the moral implications of their murderous mission and confront their own consciences to ask themselves: should the Jew be offered food? And, having shared their meal, should he be taken back, or set free?

My Review

Three German soldiers have been given a break from shooting prisoners at their concentration camp, to head out to the Polish countryside, to track down any Jews to bring back for execution. It follows their cold journey and how they track one of the Jews and take refuge in an abandoned house before they continue their journey back to the camp. It's cold, theres not a lot of food and a Polish man joins them, taking an aggressive attitude towards their prisoner. What follows is a tense evening of hunger, anger, and decisions as the men share a meal together and bring up the decision of taking the Jewish man back to the camp for certain death, or, after sharing a meal with them, do they let him go and find some internal peace.

The three Germans are: the narrator, who is never named, Bauer a thief and Emmerich a man who is worried about his son whilst he isn't there for him. The arduous journey through the bitter freezing cold, what they discuss during their hunt and what they watch out for. Once they have captured their man and decide to be hospitable and share their food, thats when they contemplate if they should free him or now. Going through memories of what they have done to their prisoners previously and how setting this man free could impact upon their equilibrium.

To be honest, I started this 5 days ago, then read the blurb and put it down until a few days later when I read it in a few hours. I hadn't realized what it was going to be about and sometimes, when your not sure how dark a book is going to be, you need to mentally prepare for it. Whilst the book subject matter is disturbing, there is no brutality in gory detail although it does mention Jewish people being executed. The focus of this novella, and it could really be labeled a short story as it is only 138 pages long, is the capture of the young man and the meal and night they all spent together. It is something different from my normal genre choice and had Waterstones not sent me it as a review copy I may not have picked it up. The writing is very well done, it pulls you into the scene and paints the picture so vividly you shudder at some of the descriptions of the harsh weather. I would possibly read this author again, I may have to see what else they have written. A sad and haunting tale in that, I feel, anything written about the Jewish people and their treatment from the German soldiers does tend to stay with you. 3/5 for me this time, thanks to Waterstones for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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