Thursday, 29 March 2012

Review - The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin SuicidesThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Blurb From Goodreads

This beautiful and sad first novel, recently adapted for a major motion picture, tells of a band of teenage sleuths who piece together the story of a twenty-year old family tragedy begun by the youngest daughter’s spectacular demise by self-defenstration, which inaugurates “the year of the suicides.”

My Review

Ugh I was so disappointed by this book! I thought we were going to get an in depth look at the girls lives, what happened to make them all do what they did and behave as they did but was left with just as many questions if not more by the time I got through it. The book tells from the point of view of kids they grew up with and always refers to "we would see them or we watched from outside" yet never said who the we were.

There was no depth to any of the characters, I felt no reasons or explanations for the way the parents were or even the girls. Why no-one stepped in, said anything, done anything. Why did the girls choose to involve the people they did and why in that way. Maybe there was some deep and hidden meaning to the book but I failed to see it.

I was bored for most of the book (intrigued before the first suicide but bored and annoyed thereafter), the chapter lengths varied as well, one was only say 12 or 14 pages long and another was over 80. Overall it dragged and didn't hold my interest and I found it a real chore to read and finish it so 1/5 for me. I'm not sure if I would read this author again, if I did it will be when this book is a distant memory.







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Monday, 26 March 2012

B.G.R - Star Gazing by Linda Gillard

Star GazingStar Gazing by Linda Gillard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Blind since birth, widowed in her twenties, now lonely in her forties, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister, Louisa, a successful novelist. Marianne's passionate nature finds solace and expression in music, a love she finds she shares with Keir, a man she encounters on her doorstep one winter's night. While Marianne has had her share of men attracted to her because they want to rescue her, Keir makes no concession to her condition. He is abrupt to the point of rudeness, and yet oddly kind. But can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his island home on Skye, to "show" her the stars?

My Review

The book centers around 3 main characters, Marianne being the main one, her sister Louisa and Keir a stranger who happens upon her in a moment on need. Marianne is blind from birth and lives with her author sister. After a chance meeting Marianne and Keir form a relationship were opposites really do attract and their friendship threatens to spill into something much more.

The book is written between Marianne's point of view, then third person and then Louisa's. It works very well and is really easy to follow. The story goes along without any big fireworks or huge events, although there is a handful tottered out throughout the book (mostly in the latter half). What made the book for me was seeing the world through Marianne, how she experiences the world, colours and scenery when she has never had any visual reference, I also loved how Keir taught her how to see things.

I have never read a book like it, it isn't a conventional love story but about two people finding a middle ground when they are both from different worlds. It was lovely to see the friendship form and the relationship build. I found myself getting annoyed and frustrated with both Marianne and Keir and how their inability to be upfront with each other lead to so many "issues". Sorry to be vague but I hate spoiler reviews. Overall I really enjoyed the book, it was nice to read something so different, 4/5 for me.






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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Review - The Pools by Bethan Roberts

The PoolsThe Pools by Bethan Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

“A complex anatomy of a murder. Bethan Roberts is a fearless writer. . . . A compelling debut.”—Louise Welsh“A cool and relevant novel . . . an urban Cold Comfort Farm . . . expertly crafted.”—Sunday ExpressMiddle England, mid-1980s: the kind of place where nothing ever happens. Except something has happened: A fifteen-year-old boy called Robert has died down by the pools. And half a dozen lives will come unraveled. The Pools subtly reveals the tensions and terrors that underpin apparently ordinary lives, causing them to spiral suddenly out of control.Bethan Roberts lives in Brighton in the south of England. The Pools is her first novel.

My Review

The story starts with the death of 15 year old Robert and the chapters flick between Howard his dad and Joanna (not sure what she was to Robert, a classmate or even an acquaintance). Then it jumps back to Howard and his meeting with Roberts mum and their relationship to present day and Joanna's first encounter with Rob to present day.

Howard and Kathryn's relationship makes for good reading and how it changes and they are with their son, Howard's neediness and the different dimensions of his relationship with his wife. Joanna I wasn't sure what to make of her, there seemed to be no reason (none that is explained) to her behaviors and to be honest I didn't much like her character at all but she is a big part in the story.

The event that the book is centered around (Rob's death) is very briefly covered and to be honest I think I would have given a much better rating and enjoyed it more had we had more time devoted to it than say the toying relationship between Joanna and her step dad or even her interactions with her own father. Either way not a bad first novel but I am not raving over it either, so a likable 3/5.








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Friday, 23 March 2012

Review - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 1 day

Blurb from Goodreads

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

My Review

This kind of reminded me of the old movie Running man with Arnold Swarchenegger but this time with younger people and a different edge to it. Whilst the hunger games serves as a tribute and price to be paid due to the uprising of the people years ago it also provides entertainment for the public almost like back in the Colosseum days.

This is the story of sixteen year old Katniss having to step up and face the horror, murder, brutality and trials of the hunger games, the prize - keeping her life. The story gives us a background on how the games came to be and an insight into Katniss's character very early on and her interactions with others before and during the game, giving us an insight into who she is.

It is a story that evokes and stirs up many emotions and is written so well you can picture and put yourself right into the story along with the characters. The survival side with what they have to eat made me a bit queezy and the ending was a bit sharp for me although it does ensure I will be getting the next book as I have to find out what happens so it is a 4/5 for me.







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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A.R.R - The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

The Wicked WivesThe Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 2 days

Blurb from Goodreads

"Wicked Wives" is based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals in which seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands. Mastermind conspirator Giorgio DiSipio, a stunning lothario and local tailor who preys upon disenchanted and unfaithful wives, convinces twelve of them to kill their spouses for insurance money. The murder conspiracy is very successful until one lone assistant D.A., Tom Rossi, uncovers the plot and brings the perpetrators to justice. "Wicked Wives" is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, love, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia.

My review

What a tangle of deceit, sex, lies and of course murder. Wicked wives is about a group of women who kill their husbands for reasons ranging from murder, sex, love of another man or a combination of all. The man in the middle of it all is Giorgio DiSipio, catering to the neglected wives needs and getting them to do his bidding.

The book goes between the guilty parties movements before the murders and the time leading up to it and then where the investigation kicks off and all the key players involved in it. The chapters are fairly short so it is easy to dip in and out of the book or get through a fair chunk in one sitting.

The language is a lot more modern and crass than I would expect for that era but it only helps paint the crude picture of the depravity going on. Fairly easy to read and it keeps your interest going with a good twist at the end - I think this would make a great movie, 3/5 for me.

Thanks to the author for giving me the opportunity to try his work.







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Monday, 19 March 2012

Review - Body Count by shaun Hutson

Body CountBody Count by Shaun Hutson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 2 days



Blurb from Goodreads



Wounded. Exhausted. Losing blood. The figure in the mask stumbles through the streets. Closing in are others in masks but they don't stumble, they stalk. They carry machetes, clubs and knives. And they know how to use them. They've killed before and they're going to kill again. Who is kidnapping seemingly random victims and then slaughtering them in an elaborate game of cat and mouse? And why are these murders being streamed over the internet? Watching the horror unfold at New Scotland Yard is Detective Inspector Joe Chapman and his team. Chapman searches for clues, hints - anything that might tell him where and when this savage hunt is happening. He'd give anything to know. He'd give almost anything to stop them. Unfortunately for DI Chapman, 'almost' anything might not be enough ...



My Review



DI Joe Chapman has more issues than most cops put together. He has a crap attitude, can't get over his last affair with a colleague and his daughter is missing after he tried to rule with an iron fist. Put on top of that they have a series of murders being taped and broadcast on the Internet, a game of cat and mouse with bloody and brutal slayings.



The chapters are only a few pages long each time which is always a nice change and helps to quickly get through a book I find. It is very different from his work I am used to reading, certainly it still has the graphic gruesome descriptions of the butchery but no supernatural or horror (apart from human brutality) that I am used to.



The book moves at a decent pace and there is plenty of murder and gore to keep you turning the pages. To be honest it reminds me of a movie I have seen or book I have read previously, kind of got a saw theme to it. Overall quite good although as always anything with animals being harmed does put me off a bit so 3/5 for me.








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Kindle Cover Competition winner is..........

announced a day late, my apologies as I had indulged in celebrating St. Patrick's day with friends.

Thank you to everyone who took part and well done to Josie over at http://jaffareadstoo.blogspot.co.uk/ who is our winner. Hope you and Jaffa like it and I will pop it in the post in the next few days.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Review - the Nearly-Weds by Jane Costello

The Nearly-Weds: Pernikahan yang TertundaThe Nearly-Weds: Pernikahan yang Tertunda by Jane Costello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 1 day

Blurb From Amazon

What's the worst thing that could happen to a blushing bride? To somebody warm, loving, and fun - like Zoe Moore? When she finds herself jilted at the altar by her fiance Jason, Zoe knows she doesn't deserve this heartache and humiliation. Unable to face the pitying faces of her friends and family, Zoe takes drastic action: she flees to America. Specifically, to Boston, where she takes up a post as nanny to five-year-old Ruby Miller and her little brother Samuel. Ruby and Samuel have lost their mother in an accident. They may as well have lost their father, too, for Ryan Miller is so wrapped-up in his grief that he barely notices his two attention-starved children. As Zoe sets about tidying up Ruby and Sam's home, and injecting some fun back into their lives, she finds herself gaining their trust and love. At the same time, Zoe grows more and more frustrated with Ryan's bullying behaviour, and his shameful neglect. Whatever happened to the loving man she keeps hearing about from his neighbours? Zoe can't find any sign of him. The only thing saving Zoe from despair is the small, close-knit group of British nannies who quickly befriend her.There's boisterous Trudie, man-mad but hiding a painful secret; Sloanie traveller Amber, who sports a Buddhist tattoo that, unbeknownst to her, reads 'Batteries Not Included'. And chilly, tight-lipped Felicity, whose cut-glass voice gives little away. But will these new friends be able to save Zoe, when she discovers that the past isn't all that easy to escape, no matter how far you go?

My Review

Zoe is heading to America as a live in nanny after being left at the alter by her would be husband. She is devastated but ready to move on after months of silence and no explanation from her would be hubby. She meets the employer from hell, he is dismissive, arrogant and utterly gorgeous but a nightmare to live with and the house is a dump however his two children are beautiful and well she isn't there for him anyway.

Oh how Zoe made me laugh out loud reading this. You go on a roller coaster journey of laughs, tears and oh my Gods. She reminded me of Bridget Jones only more of a liability. It isn't my usual kind of book and definitely chick lit, perfect for a holiday read or something to get you over readers block.

Some of it was a bit predictable but that didn't detract from the enjoyment really (although I did find myself saying really?!?!? a few times). I read it almost in one sitting and it got me through my flight really quickly with a few laughs and hair raising moments so 4/5 for me. My first encounter with this author and I would read her again.







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Review - Dark Paradise by Tami Hoag

Dark ParadiseDark Paradise by Tami Hoag

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

New Eden, Montana, is a piece of heaven on earth where one woman died in her own private hell. Now it’s up to ex-court reporter Marilee Jennings to decipher the puzzle of her best friend’s death. But someone has a stake in silencing her suspicion. Someone with secrets worth killing for—and the power to turn this beautiful haven into a . . .

And as Mari digs deeper beneath New Eden’s picture-perfect exterior, finding the truth is suddenly no longer a matter of justice.

It’s her only hope of staying alive.



My Review

Imagine going to visit your friend to blow off some steam and have a little holiday only to get there and find the house is in a state and your friend is dead. That is what happens to Marilee Jennings and whilst she has been told it was an accident she can't help but digging to find out for herself just what happened.

I did like this story, it is a big thick read and goes at a decent pace. The only thing I would say is, reading the blurb you would think the whole story is centered around her friends death but actually it is almost as big as Marilee's love hate relationship with a cowboy who cares about nothing more than his ranch. The story centers around them a lot and their interactions and feelings for each other. It weaves in and out of the what happened to Lucy but I would say that Marilee's relationship with JD is the real story. There is a lot of romance and sex to the story and whilst it still has a thriller aspect to it I think if your looking for your normal fix of Tami Hoag this one might leave you wanting.

I personally enjoyed it and think it just had the right mix for a holiday read (although some may find it a bit lengthy for that), it had more romance and sex than murder but still enough to keep you entertained so 3/5 for me.








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A.R.R - Shadows Behind The Rainbow by Otis Randolf

Shadows Behind the RainbowShadows Behind the Rainbow by Otis Randolf

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 6 days before giving up



Blurb From Goodreads



On a quest for self-acceptance, one man will journey over the rainbow to discover a toxic mix of obsession and murder. Denard Lewis clings to alcohol and his professional reputation as a shrewd PR sports agent in an effort to ignore the truth about his sexuality. Denard’s plight, however, is magnified when he becomes entangled in a dysfunctional triangle with his high-profile basketball client who is determined to have him, and another man suspected in a double homicide. Finding inner peace may be a matter of life and death.



My Review



Sadly this is another one I have had to call it quits with. It starts with a sexual encounter (quite descriptive) with a husband and wife who are separated. Then it jumps to two males who are having relations (again quite descriptive) before they have a fight and then onto another character. I got lost in amongst the different characters and story lines but stuck with it and they did start to link in with each other.



The lingo the characters used kept switching for example "you mind if I join you? A Brotha is stravin' like marvin" then they would speak using proper English only to switch to wassssup or brotha. I found this really distracting and it took me ages to get through a page when normally I would whizz through it.



I kept going because once you pull away all the sex, and bed hopping there does seem to be a deep journey Denard is on but when I got to page 103 I had to give up. There had been abuse in the book of a male prostitute which I eventually got through but here was two Reverands, one giving the other a boy to "help with his grief". I just can't read anymore it is so brutal with most of the sex side which is a huge part of the book. I know this book has fans as it has 5 and 4 star ratings but it just isn't for me. I hate giving up on books and have never gave up on a review request from an author or publisher before but I just can't read anymore. 1/5 because I had to give up after struggling through and being unable to finish it.






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Review - Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

FreedomFreedom by Jonathan Franzen

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - gave up after 1.5 days and 83 pages



Blurb From Goodreads



Both a page-turner and a work of art... an almost perfectly written novel' — Sarah Sands, Evening Standard



This is the story of the Berglunds, their son Joey, their daughter Jessica and their friend Richard Katz. It is about how we use and abuse our freedom; about the beginning and ending of love; teenage lust; the unexpectedness of adult life; why we compete with our friends; how we betray those closest to us; and why things almost never work out as they 'should'. It is a story about the human heart, and what it leads us to do to ourselves and each other.



My Review



This is only the second book I have ever gave up on. I just couldn't get on with the way the book is written. The story starts with a group of neighbors and their relationship with each other and their children and their arguments. They way they engage with each other was just grating for me and mostly arguments and there didn't seem any path the story was going, I just couldn't follow it.



Then the story moves to Patty Berglund (one of the neighbours from the first part) as an autobiography type as advised by her therapist and goes to when she was younger. Again it just didn't work for me, she is attacked and her and her parents attitude to it is bizarre at most and then it just simply moves on to yet another bizarre relationship with a girl from college.



My heard was bursting reading this and after trawling through 83 pages I just had to give up. It isn't something I have ever said but I am not sure I would try anything else by this author and if I did it would be a long time from now to get over this brush. His writing just isn't for me although he has won lots of awards and does have fans out there, 1/5 for me as I didn't complete the book.






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Friday, 16 March 2012

Review - The Palace Of Strange Girls by Sallie Day

The Palace Of Strange GirlsThe Palace Of Strange Girls by Sallie Day

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 1 day



Blurb From Goodreads



Blackpool, 1959. The Singleton family is on holiday. Seven-year-old Beth is trying to avoid her mother Ruth's eagle-eyed supervision, while her sixteen-year-old sister Helen has befriended a waitress whose fun-loving ways hint at a life beyond Ruth's strict rules. When a letter arrives from Crete, a secret re-emerges from the wartime past of Ruth's husband Jack that could destroy their marriage. As Helen is tempted outside the safe confines of her mother's strict edicts, and Beth forges her own path, all four Singletons must struggle to find their place in a shifting world of promenade amusements, illicit sex and stilted afternoon teas.



My Review



Ruth and Jack are going on holiday to Blackpool with their two daughters, Beth (7) who is poorly and been a sick child for a while and Helen (16), desperate for a bit of freedom from her dominating mother and a little fun. The story is set in the late 50s and introduces us to the way of life at that time and how the family see and want different things. It shows how sometimes the past can come back to haunt us and sometimes the things we want aren't always what we thought they we be and what price comes with them.



What a wonderful wee read! There isn't anything huge or a single event in the book I can say oh that was explosive that is why I loved it but from I read practically read the first page I couldn't put it down. It takes you to a different era, when even the simple things come at a cost and that no matter when in time it is our lives generally go through the same issues.



I got to enjoy all of the characters, even the unlikable stuck up Ruth who whilst at times she really annoyed you, you couldn't help but want to learn more about her character and I think with all of them you can if not identify personally you can empathize with them. First time reading this author and came across it by chance on holiday, 4/5 for me and I would definitely read her again!







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Monday, 12 March 2012

Review - Hurting Too Much by Harry Keeble

Hurting Too Much: Shocking Stories from the Frontline of Child ProtectionHurting Too Much: Shocking Stories from the Frontline of Child Protection by Harry Keeble

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Detective Sergeant Harry Keeble's best selling books, Baby X and Little Victim described his early years in Hackney's Child Protection Unit, as he battled to get to grips with cases of unimaginably horrific child abuse. In Broken Angels, a more experienced Harry relates a series of extraordinary cases he encountered with Ella, a young and newly qualified social worker.
Together, Harry and Ella faced the violence of forced marriage, the horror of maternal incest and the cruelty of child slavery. Their investigations took them into a mosque, a drug den and a recording studio. Just as the unrelenting caseload threatened to push the inexperienced Ella over the edge, Harry uncovered one of the most shocking cases of child abuse he'd ever encountered, forcing the duo to tread new ground in the search for justice.
Broken Angels reveals why working in Child Protection has never been so tough. It also shows why, despite the fact that so many courageous people are ready and willing to meet impossible challenges, we are still unable to reach all of the broken angels that so desperately need our help.

My Review

This is my first encounter with this author although there have been previous books on a similar subject. Detective Sergeant Harry Keeble works in the Child Protection Unit investigating cases of neglect and abuse. Ella is a new social worker and finding her feet in the job and some help from Harry.

This is a great book for educating people and giving a small insight into what exactly goes on in these kind of cases. It is a milder version of the true stories that are selling a lot just now but this one doesn't give lots of horrific details (although there is enough so you are in no doubt as to what has happened). It jumps around to different cases and follows Ella's progress whilst settling into the job and how Harry feels she is doing. The cases we do hear about in the book are brief so you are pulled down with too much details but enough to keep you reading.

I liked the way the book is written and how it doesn't just focus on the horrific details but still gets across how dire some of these situations are and how the police and social worker are dealing with (and as budget allows). It was certainly an eye opener and I also found myself being educated on some cultures and religions and the politics that these workers get caught up in trying to keep the children safe. It also has some contact links at the back and the authors email address for anyone who has experienced the issues mentioned in this book and would like to reach out. 3/5 for me and I would read this author again.







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Saturday, 10 March 2012

A.R.R - The Tribe by McCarty Griffin

The TribeThe Tribe by McCarty Griffin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 4 hours

Blurb From Goodreads

The tribe has been alone on the farm for many seasons, struggling to survive by their wits and will, unaided by the humans who abandoned them there years ago. Few members of the tribe outside of Tia, the eldest, and her fiercely loyal companion Bella, remember a time when two-legs--the cats' name for humans--lived in the farmhouse. Suddenly, the tribe's territory is invaded by a young two-legs couple, and the frightened cats ask themselves why have two-legs come to live there after so many seasons and what will happen to the tribe at the hands of these often cruel creatures?

My Review

The tribe (a huge and mixed family of cats) have lived on the farm for years, mostly in peace since the previous two-legs(human) left. Now there are new two-legs, two females and a male and the cats know things will never be the same.

The story is told half from the cats point of view and half from the humans. It is a very unique story and to be honest I haven't read anything like it before. The two-legs want to help the cats anyway they can and the cats don't trust them for a second as many have been before and tried to kill them. The story tells of how things progress, what the humans do and how the cats view and react to it.

I wouldn't say it is a story for children as there is one scene in particular about a cat devouring its prey and blood and organs mentioned. It is a light hearted tale for adults and cat lovers would really like it I think. Some of the cat dialogue is a bit silly "great mouse droppings" but I think some readers might actually really like it. A nice different wee story to break up the usual kind of genres I have been reading, 3/5 for me.








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Review - Death Trip by Lee Weeks

Death TripDeath Trip by Lee Weeks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 2 days

Blurb From Amazon

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. But it became a journey into hell…

Paradise has become a nightmare. Five young voluntary workers on a once in a lifetime gap year in Thailand have vanished into thin air. Entire villages lay ransacked, their people brutally murdered.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, troubled detective Johnny Mann is haunted by personal demons, including the unsolved murder of his father. Trying to pick up the pieces of his life, he receives a desperate plea for help from a woman in Amsterdam - a woman who claims to have known his father intimately years before.

Hoping to unravel to mystery shrouding his father's death, Mann agrees to go undercover and search for the five missing teenagers, one of whom is the woman's 18-year-old son, Jake. And Mann's secret brother…

From the carefree beaches of Thailand to the labyrinthine streets of Amsterdam, nothing is as at seems as Mann is plunged into conspiracy and peril and pitted against pure evil.

My Review

Johnny Mann is back (this is the 3rd book in the series) and this time it is personal. 5 young volunteer workers have been kidnapped whilst on a gap year in Thailand. Men, women and children have been slaughtered and cast aside after the kidnappers have taken what they need. Now Johnny has been called in to help find them and discovers one of them is his brother.

As with any of Lee Weeks books you are taken on quite a journey filled with violence, murder, treachery and deceit. Some of the story is pretty graphic, people are murdered and used purely for pleasure then brutally discarded and the author paints quite a picture.

Johnny has his work going against him as usual but a few trusty friends to help him on his way to find and save the volunteers and find out more about his father than he may have bargained for. Yet another book that is hard to put down and a few other story lines along the way to keep the reader engaged. The only thing that annoyed me slightly was one chapter would end on something really gripping happening and switch to what was happening with other characters so you would have to wait a bit to find out what happens. Other than that I really liked it so it is a 4/5 for me this time.






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Friday, 9 March 2012

A.R.R - A Feeling In My Bones by Gervase Shorter

Apologies for the lack of link to Goodreads, I am currently in Spain (holibags time and sun) and the connection is a nightmare so I have to just upload the text and if the connection picks up I will upload it via Goodreads otherwise I will need to do it from home when I get back. *now fixed*


A Feeling in My BonesA Feeling in My Bones by Gervase Shorter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Jake Forrester, is recruited by Harvey Baum, a Miami based business associate, to carry out an assignment for Cyrus Kroger, a reclusive billionaire, at his heavily guarded property in the Catskills. In a series of emails to his wife Sally, Jake describes his increasingly close friendship with the septuagenarian Kroger but Jake suddenly disappears and Baum says he is out of contact, visiting Kroger´s operations in Central Africa. Shortly after Jake´s disappearance Baum phones Sally to say Kroger has fallen ill and died and then, a month later, he phones again, this time to say Jake is back in Miami but in a clinic suffering from a nervous breakdown.

Sally flies to Miami and brings Jake home. She notices there are no visas or stamps in his passport indicating a visit to Central Africa. Jake gradually returns to normal but his relationship with Sally does not regain its old warmth. Whatever happened in the month Jake disappeared brings him vast wealth but Sally is worried because she finds he is growing increasingly nervous and suspicious.

Sally and Jake start getting used to being wealthy. She finds she is leaving her old life and friends behind. They move into a Park Lane penthouse and there Sally makes a discovery that brings her whole world crashing down. She starts investigating and what she discovers makes her afraid for her life.

My review

Sally is our main character, living a happy life with her husband Jake and their dog Waldo. Jakes career sees him doing different jobs and their income going from lavish and over the top to barely making ends meet but it always works out. Jake's most recent deal falls through and it looks like they will have to sell their house just to get by when a once in a lifetime job offer comes in but it is top secret, even from Sally. Jake accepts and everything they know changes, including Jake and Sally knows that something just isn't right.

The story itself jumps a fair bit, it starts with Sally on the run fearing for her life but quickly goes back to the beginning of how she and Jake met and everything mundane in between. It is very slow going and drawn out until chapter 6 when Jake disappears, I thought then that the story would turn into a whirlwind or intrigue and violence but it didn't. Instead it goes along again slowly with Sally's day to day goings (introducing us to her clients and their lives), her interactions with Jake (or rather lack of them) and how she tackles day to day life with their new life.

Whilst I did enjoy this story and the twist a quarter of the way to the end is fabulous (I never guessed for a minute), I like my crime books to have more speed and action. Sally annoyed me often rambling on about things I found rather bland and boring and some of her sayings irritated me, for example "Suddenly I had the embryo of a plan" and a few others of the like. The author has brought her character to life really well, to me she came across as an older English lady who is somewhat pompous but still likable despite the stupidity of a lot of her actions.

This is my first encounter with this author and I would like to thank them for the opportunity to read their work. Despite a few issues as listed I did like the book and will be reading the others, 3/5 for me this time.







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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Review - The Trafficked by Lee Weeks

The TraffickedThe Trafficked by Lee Weeks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Summoned to meet his boss, rebellious Detective Johnny Mann expects to be told that he is being demoted. Instead he is ordered to lead the investigation into the kidnapping of Amy Tang - the illegitimate daughter of a major player in the skin trade, CK Leung. Mann is reluctant to help - he has crossed paths with CK before- but he has no choice. Nine-year-old Amy is the third child to be kidnapped and held for a vast sum of money, but while the other two children were released after the vast ransom was paid, Amy is still being held captive. Mann's investigation takes him to London, where he teams up with DC Becky Stamp. Within days of his arrival, an arson attack kills twelve women and children. The charred bodies of the victims are found chained to their beds - their injuries rendering them identifiable! What is the link between the kidnapping of Amy in Hong Kong and the deaths of these women and children and can Mann discover the truth before it's too late.


My Review

A young girl goes missing from school, kidnapped and she isn't the first. The difference this time is she is the daughter of CK Leung, head of the Triads. Children have been going missing from different countries and being sold into sex trafficking business, could this be what has happened to Amy or is there something more. Detective Johnny Mann is pulled from vacation to investigate and is soon caught up in a dangerous tangle of lies, deceit and murder.

I do love Lee Weeks books however they do get under your skin and usually leave you pondering on them long after your finished, this book is one of them. Because it involves children being abused and sold for sex (and as usual she paints a pretty graphic picture) it is a bit harder to stay with it, not because it isn't engaging or full on but more because you can picture exactly what is happening.

Detective Mann is his same trade mark character we seen in the first book but we also have insight into why he is the way he is and see his character in a different light. The story is engaging, good paced, filled with drama (and some hardcore scenes that may offend or upset people not used to her work or even those who are because children are involved). The chapters vary in length but all are fairly short which I find helped race through the book. Another good read, 4/5 for me.






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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Review - Don't Look Now by Richard Montanari

Don't Look NowDon't Look Now by Richard Montanari

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



Time taken to read - 2 days


Blurb From Goodreads

Andrea Heller has been married for seven years, but likes to pretend she's single. She enjoys sitting on her own in bars but there's another couple watching. They call themselves Saila and Pharaoh, but only after sundown. And it is after sundown that some terrible things are happening in the singles clubs in Cleveland. In six months, three women in their twenties have been brutally murdered. And each step that Homicide Detective Jack Paris takes to find their killer draws him closer to the heart of his own forbidden impulses. As the stakes become increasingly personal, Jack knows only one thing for certain. To enter the minds of Saila and Pharaoh is to enter a world from which no one ever fully returns...

My Review

A serial killer is on the loose, and an unusual combination at that. The target, beautiful young business women who all have something in common and all end up brutally murdered with a thin strip of skin removed along with other mutilation. Jack Paris is on the case and half way through gets an unlikely lead that sees the case closed, or is there more to it?

I usually really enjoy Richard Montanari but I was really disappointed with this one. The characters I couldn't seem to connect with or have any feelings for at all other than puzzlement or annoyance. There was a lot of contradictions (I felt), for example Jack seems clueless all along then at the end a small clue tips him off that leads to the finale (sorry to be vague but I hate spoiler reviews). The killer seems to be motivated and does the killings and rituals for a reason but your left wondering and really with a lot more questions than answers at the end and that really annoys me. Even if I had liked the book this would have pulled it's rating down anyway but I wasn't moved or enthralled with this at all.

There is a lot of sex and swearing in the book but if your a Montanari fan this won't be new for you, if your looking to start with this author try one of the other books first as this doesn't show any of his talent or have a patch on any of his other books I have read and enjoyed, 2/5 this time.






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Saturday, 3 March 2012

Review - Lucy In The Sky by Paige Toon

Lucy in the SkyLucy in the Sky by Paige Toon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Time taken to read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

Settling down for a 24-hour flight to Australia, Lucy finds a text message on her phone from a woman claiming to have slept with her boyfriend, James, four times in the past month. Trapped above the Pacific, she questions everything about their relationship, but when she finally calls him, James reassures her that it was only his friend playing a joke. James is gorgeous and successful and Lucy adores him, yet at her best friend Molly’s wedding in Sydney, she finds herself having doubts and is keeping an eye on Molly's brother-in-law Nathan. Nathan is a happy-go-lucky surfer boy with no prospects, no place to live, and an almost-girlfriend in tow. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself caught between two distant continents and two very different men.

My Review

Lucy is heading back to Australia for her best friends wedding when she gets a text from her boyfriends phone from someone saying they have just slept with her man. What follows is what you would expect being trapped on a long haul flight with no way to contact home and find out what the hell is going on!

I really liked the start of this book, I was totally gripped from the text message and couldn't wait to see how it played out. Enter Nathan whom she hasn't seen for years, is now hot, buff and smokingly good looking and soon sparks start to fly. The book was great paced and a page turner but I found once she got home she started to really annoy me with her indecisiveness, lack of confrontation and failing to get some satisfactory answers from James.

It is a typical chick lit book and not normally something I would go out of my way for but I did find it enjoyable and entertaining for the most part. Very easy to read and I would definitely read this author again, 3/5 for me this time.






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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Competition - Amazon Kindle 3 Cover (Lilac)

This is brand new in its original packaging, colour as shown. It fits the amazon Kindle 3 (thats the first kindle with the buttons along the bottom).






This competition closes on March the 18th. All you need to do is fill in the form (see the link below) and if you would like an extra entry just leave a comment on this post.

Click here to fill out the competition form

March's Pre-loved giveaway is Are You Experienced by William Sutcliffe

The book itself is in great condition and could pass as new, the spine has no breaks in it and the cover has a few very light indents to it.

Unfortunately I read this before I did reviews so have pulled the product description from Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk
For anyone with the slightest curiosity about travelling, or even if you've been, William Sutcliffe's tremendously funny Are You Experienced? will have you in stitches. The protagonist is Dave, a 19-year-old Londoner on a gap year before starting university. He had no intention of leaving Europe, until his best mate James, who's about to go on a trek through the Himalayas, challenges him. "Do you want to learn Fwench David? Something pwactical for your CV?" he taunts when he hears Dave is going to be a waiter at a Swiss ski resort.

Admitting his fears, ("Suffering, danger and poverty are all fine by me, but dirt and disease are two things I happen to hate") Dave is determined to prove he's not a coward and accepts an invitation to go to India with James's girlfriend Liz (in anticipation of consummating their burgeoning relationship). But by the time they get on the plane it all goes downhill. Bickering constantly, their adaption to India couldn't be more different. Liz embraces it--hugging beggars and wearing saris, while Dave's dry-humoured rants, scepticism and fear of the unknown eventually drive her away in search of her "centre".

The characters the pair meet along the way draw upon all the old hippy-traveller stereotypes, but there's also a few new ones in keeping with the times. There's Ranj--a British-born Indian who hates Indians; Jez--a public-school-educated undergraduate whose travels are being funded by daddy; and Caz and Fee who experience the side-effects of "Intimate Yoga".

While this story is ultimately a funny piece of fiction, it also addresses more serious considerations, such as cultural stereotypes, peer pressures and making life-changing decisions.

This book is irresistible and seasoned travellers will empathise with the situations Dave finds himself in, (his graphic description of a bout of Dehli-belly is guaranteed to make you feel sorry for him, and nauseous too). Be prepared to laugh out loud. --Angela Boodoo
Product Description
A devastatingly funny satire on the whole idea of student travel,and particularly the India back-pack trail. Dave travels to India with Liz because he thinks he might be able to get her into bed. Liz travels to India with Dave because she wants a companion for her voyage of spiritual discovery. She loves it. He dreams of frosty mornings, pints of lager and restaurants where vegetable curry is only a side-dish...

As always please use the link below to enter the competition and feel free to share. The competition will remain open until the last day in March when a winner will be picked at random. For an additional entry just leave a comment on this post, thanks.

Click here to fill out the competition form

February's pre-loved Giveaway Winner is..........................

Mrs Jean Garrett - no website given. Congratulations, the winner has been notified and the book will be posted out in the next few days.

March pre-loved giveaway will be up soon with another competition.

Thank you to everyone who took part and good luck for the next one.

A.R.R - The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry

The Earthquake MachineThe Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Time taken to read - 4 days

Blurb From Goodreads

The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda's world but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda's life is her family's Mexican yardman, Jes s. But when the INS deports Jes?'s back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation. Determined to find her friend Jes s, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Boquillas, Mexico. There a peyote-addled bartender convinces her she won't be safe traveling alone into the country's interior. So with the bartender's help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jes s. Thus begins a wild adventure that explores the borders between the United States and Mexico, adolescence and adulthood, male and female, English and Spanish, and adult coming-of-age and Young Adult novels.

My Review

Rhonda is 14 years old and our main character. Her father she despises, her mother isn't herself mentally and the only person she connects with is their Mexican gardener Jesus. When Rhonda over hears something and tragedy strikes she decides to run away and find Jesus after he has been deported back to Mexico. What follows is a path of self discovery, identity crisis, new relationships and a whole new look at her faith.

I really struggled with this book and it was mainly because there was so much going on in it, it felt like it could have been 50+ different stories as there was so many huge issues and topics. She is 14 years old and experiences two major blows in a short time which causes her to run away. As well as this (and identity issues) there is the whole obsession and hate for the man who ended her childhood. The gift she gets for a elderly lady (also the books namesake) - that I found both weird and unsettling.

Reading about her journey was hard as she is a young girl traveling alone, facing dangerous situations and having to resort to things you wouldn't feel as bad about if it was an adult. A lot of the things I just found hard to swallow, the visions, the attitudes of the gang of carjackers and the husbands response to them.

If you are a deeply religious person you may find some of Rhonda/Angels views outrageous and upsetting. The self discovery and intimacy may also be too much as your reading about a 14 year old girl, however if none of that is an issue for you and you like your stories jam-packed with unconnected situations then you will love this story (it has quite a few 4 and 5 star reviews) but it just wasn't for me. So much action gave me a headache trying to follow it and figure out where it was going next.

I would like to thank the author for giving me the chance to read and review her work but this time for me it is a 2/5.









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