Saturday, 23 November 2013

NR - Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood

Yours TrulyYours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - PAN

Blurb from Goodreads

Your bum does not look big in that dress.
Mmmm, it tastes delicious!
Of course you're better looking than Jon Hamm.

Newly engaged Natalie Butterworth is an easy-going girl. She'll do anything for a quiet life and if telling a few teensy white lies keeps her friends and family happy, then so what? It's not like they'll ever discover what she's really thinking...

Until one night, thanks to a pub hypnotist, Natalie's most private thoughts begin to bubble up and pop out of her mouth. Things get very messy indeed, especially when some sticky home truths offend her fiancé.

Natalie must track down the hypnotist before her wedding is officially cancelled. So along with bad influence bestie Meg, Natalie finds herself in the Yorkshire Parish of Little Trooley - a small village bursting with big secrets, nosy old folk and intriguing Wellington-wearing men.

When the girls get stuck in the village with no means of escape and no way to break the hypnotist's spell, Natalie is forced to face the truths she has been avoiding her whole life..



My Review

Natalie Butterworth is a people pleaser, she will do almost anything to keep the peace and go out of her way for her loved ones and strangers. Recently engaged and her wedding brought forward her family are helping by taking over all aspects of the wedding and Natalie doesn't want to rock the boat so stays quiet. Meg decide to take Natalie to a hypnotist show and Natalie ends up accidentally getting hypnotized. What follows is utter mayhem, Natalie cannot lie and everything that has annoyed or upset her comes out ten fold when she is asked a question. With hilarious, cringey and upsetting consequences, Natalie must track the hypnotist before her truth telling loses her everything and everyone she cares about.

I got this book as a new release for a fabulous £2 bargain, selling in Tesco under the try this section. I had never heard of the author, a friend recommended and at that price it is hard to say no. From the first couple of pages your pulled in to poor Natalies life, she is such a trier to keep everyone happy, even going to the hairdressers and disliking the service she is too polite to pipe up. She is a very likable character, sweet, tries really hard to loose weight but the love of food always makes saying no to those calories that wee bit too irresistible to say no to. I think everyone could related to Natalie, the annoying family but wanting to do right and look after them. The uber hot boyfriend who is a tad OTT and OCD but feeling he is above her station and he is super hot, you would have to put up with his quirks right?

The journey is one of humour, humility, bad words, sex, friendship, family and moments of social disaster to name but a few of the topics covered in this book. It is a great wee debut novel, it is laugh out loud at some parts, some moral dilemmas and like I said there is bad language and some sex. Overall a great introduction to a new author and I would definitely read more of her work, 4/5 for me this time.

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Review - The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your LoverThe Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher 0 Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Goodreads

When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she doesn't think she'll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband - and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.

In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can't remember anything - her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.

Ellie and Jennifer's stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel - interspersed with real 'last letters'.



My Review


The book starts with a paragraph from a real life John Doe type letter, email or some other type of correspondence. Except for one which is from the books story, these are at the beginning of each chapter. The story then starts in present day with Ellie Haworth, journalist and lady in love with a man, who happens to be married. There is a little bit of info on her relationship/life before we go to chapter 2 and head back to the 1960s where we meet our main character Jennifer Stirling. Jennifer is married, wealthy and a social butterfly, she has a car accident and some memory loss. The story flicks around a bit between after the accident, before and the time leading up to it. We then come back to Ellie and how the two ladies lives interlink, via some old letters.

I quite liked this book, I have often said Jojo Moyes is one of my favourite authors. I really enjoyed reading about Jennifer's life although the story flicking between the before and after the accident did have me confused momentarily between the time periods. Ellie, we only meet briefly to start with and I can't said I was overly enamored with her character. She has no thought for anything other than herself and her married man. The bulk of the book covers Jennifer's story and then eventually we go back to Ellie. I found this a bit irksome also as by that time I wasn't interested in Ellie and just wanted to know all about Jennifer and Boot.

As Jennifer's story goes along we find out she is also having an affair and slowly the mystery unravels as to how it came to be and what happens between her and Boot. Back in present day Ellie has some thinking to do when she finds some correspondence between old lovers and reassessing her own life.

It is a lovely story with some moral dilemmas, examining adultery back in the 60s and present day. I felt, although Ellie did play a part in the later side of the story, she could easily have been dropped out of it. Or maybe had she had more written about her I may have enjoyed her part more. Either way it is a good read but not a book I would start with if you have read Jojo Moyes before, 3/5 for me this time.



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Thursday, 21 November 2013

PRR - Hurt by Brian McGilloway

HurtHurt by Brian McGilloway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher - C& R Crime

Blurb from Goodreads

Lucy Black must protect the young and vulnerable . . . but can she protect herself?

Late December. A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on a train line. Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is called to identify the body. The only clues to the dead teenager's last movements are stored in her mobile phone and on social media - and it soon becomes clear that her 'friends' were not as trustworthy as she thought. Lucy is no stranger to death: she is still haunted by the memory of the child she failed to save, and the killer she failed to put behind bars. And with a new boss scrutinizing her every move, she is determined that - this time - she will leave no margin for error.


My Review

Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is our main character, a young girls body is found on railway tracks and Lucy must identify it. Lucy is haunted from a past case and won't let this one go. When another body turns up Lucy knows she is on the right track and like a dog with a bone she won't let it go.

This story covers some dark areas, murder, paedophilia, vengeance and some built up rage. Lucy seems to be the kind of cop who acts like you, the reader, would want to act. Punish the bad guy, ignore the strict rules of the law, do what it takes to punish the bad guys. Her actions as a police officer as questionable to say the least however I imagine most readers will be rooting for her.

I have never read this author before and to be honest I think if I knew more of the back story I would have enjoyed it much better. It is clear she has major issues with her mother, who is also the assistant chief constable. There are some clues as the why she behaves like the bad behaved teenager in almost every interaction with her mother but in the place of work I felt this should have been reprimanded. Maybe knowing more of the back story it is understandable but for me it did annoy me at times as she is an officer and this is her boss.

There is a fair amount of action within the book and the story, whilst dark doesn't go into too many horrific details although there is enough for you to know exactly what is going on. This was a good introduction to a new author, to me, and I think I would pursue more of his work but maybe start from the beginning and work my way through. 3/5 for me this time, thanks so much to Lucy Zilberkweit at C & R Crime for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is available to buy now, from all good retailers in e copy & print.

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Friday, 8 November 2013

Did You Miss Me by Karen Rose

Did You Miss Me? (Romantic Suspense, #14) (Baltimore Series, #3)Did You Miss Me? (Romantic Suspense, #14) by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 9 days

Publisher - Headline

Pages - 630

Blurb from Goodreads

Best be nimble, best be quick, I'm right here and you're my pick...

The last thing Ford Elkhart remembers is walking his girlfriend back to her university dormitory. Now he's lying tied and gagged on a cold, dark floor, with only one chance to escape before he ends up like the bones surrounding him...

Assistant State's Attorney Daphne Montgomery is devastated by her son's disappearance, and is immediately convinced that his kidnapping is connected to the white supremacist she's just had jailed for murder.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Carter isn't so sure - especially when he learns that Ford's girlfriend is also missing. Is Ford's abduction payback for Daphne's courtroom victory? Or is he a pawn in an even more dangerous game?


My Review

Daphne Montgomery is facing one of the biggest days in her career, trying to convict a member of a white supremacist family. When the verdict is read out, all hell breaks loose and Daphne is threatened. Soon the threat becomes real as Daphne's son is kidnapped, Daphne thinks it is linked to the case but soon discovers this is a lot deeper and everything Daphne has tried to protect, including her life, is at risk.

I remembered small snippets from the previous book and wish I had re read it to be more familiar but it doesn't take away from the actual story. It is fairly fast paced and kicks off at the start of the book, your drawn in quickly. There is quite a bit of graphic violence and murder throughout and also some racy sex scenes so if your easily offended or upset, this one isn't for you. If your already familiar with Karen Rose's work she is true to form and won't disappoint with this tale.

Secrets are laced throughout the book going back to Daphne's childhood, it takes us a while to get there but there is so much going on your never bored. Fast paced, chilling, gruesome, murder and some romance the book has just about everything covered. A really enjoyable read, secrets, chapters are fairly big however there are small short sub chapters throughout so you can dip in and out as you need/ 4/5 for me this time and of course I will continue to keep reading this author and catch up on the back catalogue.

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ARC - The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Time taken to read - 6 hours

Publisher - Penguin Books (UK)

Source - RealReaders

Blurb From RealReaders

The One Plus One is the beautiful, poignant and utterly compelling new novel by the internationally bestselling author Jojo Moyes.

Jess Thomas wants . . . . . . to be more than a single mum getting by day after day . . . to do her best for her gifted but sensitive daughter Tanzie . . . to find a way back from the loneliest place on earth

Ed Nicholls is hoping . . . . . . he won't go to jail . . . there's a way back from the biggest mistake of his life . . . something or someone will make it all go away

Jess and Ed are . . . . . . two strangers looking for a little kindness . . . two lost souls with a lot to learn from each other . . . about to find out that one plus one makes more - so much more - than two The One Plus One is Jojo Moyes' brilliant new heartbreaking novel about two people learning to take a chance on each other.

My Review


We open up the tale with Jess & Nathalie, Jess is our main character, well one of them, and Nathalie as they go about their job, cleaning. They are chatting and giving the reader an insight into Jess's life. The next few chapters bring in Tanzie, Ed and Nicky, each chapter has a name underneath the chapter so you know which person it is coming from or focusing on. The view point alternates between first and third person, this is done with ease though and actually adds to the joy of the story.

Jess is struggling to make ends meet, her husband is trying to sort himself out at his mothers whilst Jess keeps the home, finance and kids going. Working herself to the bone with two jobs, lack of time with the kids and money worries she still manages to maintain a positive outlook. When she gets an opportunity for her daughter Tanzie, to better her life, she will do anything she can to make it work.

Ed is our other big character, he has money, homes, cars and everything a geek could ask for. When his life and routine come to a halt whilst he is investigated and everything he knows is at risk, he meets someone in their hour of need. What follows is a journey that will highlight strengths and weaknesses in each of them and force them to question their chosen paths in life.

Oh.My.God I love this book! I thought after Me Before You I wouldn't be able to 5 star another book by this author as it was their peak book. I was wrong, although this is a totally different kind of book it stirred up a lot of the same responses as Me Before You. Gasping out loud (always a tad mortified when this happens, especially if people are around), smiling, laughter and tears, everything a great book should do. The ARC I got is 436 pages, I devoured it in 6 hours and it would have been quicker but I had to do some things to do in between. I was loath to put it down, I couldn't wait to find out where it was going, what else would come to light and how it played out for the characters. When I read the first few chapters, I wasn't convinced I was going to love it as I thought there might be too many characters. There are 4 centered ones, Ed & Jess are your big characters and Nicky and Tanzie feature heavily too, as well as their daft dog Norman, but as I said, the chapters are titled with their names and it is really easy to follow.

I didn't want it to end, I loved the characters and think there is someone for everyone to relate to. If not someone personally then at least one of the situations. The book covers a host of issues, single mum struggling to make ends meet, misfit kids, the misconception and judgments people make on each other, betrayal, honesty, love and loyalty to name but a few.

I try not to do big long reviews but I could talk about this book for ages. Sadly it isn't out to buy until the 27th of February 2014 which is a bit of a wait but it will be worth it. I will be buying at least two copies as gifts and this one, for me is a keeper. Thanks so much to RealReaders for sending me a paper copy of this in exchange for an honest review, it has brought a smile and keeper for me, 5/5 this time and I will continue to buy up all of this authors works.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review - An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson

An Autumn CrushAn Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Blurb from Goodreads

In the heart of the windy season, four friends are about to get swept off their feet...

Newly single after a bruising divorce, Juliet Miller moves into a place of her own and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that, in her mid-thirties, she'll find anyone suitable. Then, just as she's about to give up hope, along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, and the two women hit it off straight away.

When Juliet's gentle giant of a twin brother, Guy, meets Floz, he falls head over heels. But, as hard as he tries to charm her, his foot seems to be permanently in his mouth. Meanwhile, Guy's best friend Steve has always had a secret crush on Juliet - one which could not be more unrequited if it tried...

As Floz and Juliet's friendship deepens, and Floz becomes a part of the Miller family, can Guy turn her affection for them into something more - into love for him? And what will happen to Steve's heart when Juliet eventually catches the eye of Piers - the man of her dreams?



My review

Juliet needs a room mate and who better to help her interview than her over the top flamboyant best friend Coco. After a few undesirables, Floz comes along, sweet, self employed and the girls hit it off. Juliet's brother, Guy, bursts in on Floz and their meeting causes undesirable emotions and actions. Juliet is very much trying to attract the attention of her out of her league heart throb at work whilst being totally oblivious to Steve, Guy's best friend who is in love with her. Will anyone get the person they want?

The characters are all like able and like most chick-lit, it is nice to dip into when your in a reading slump. Coco is hilarious, always flapping about his love life and lack of a good man to stick around. Juliet has been burned by her ex husband, hates the Lothario playboy Steve and lusts after her boss. Floz has been hurt badly, has a secret or two she would like to keep and refuses to admit her feelings for Guy.

The story is about friendship, love, betrayal, loyalty and personal growth to name but a few. It is a nice wee tale and it helped get me out of my reading slump. My only real issue with it, and it is a fairly small issue, was between Floz and Guy. Pretty much every encounter went wrong, if he could say something wrong he did, if he could do something wrong he did, not just some of the time but all of it and that irked me a little. Other than that it was nicely written and had some heart warming moments, 3/5 for me.

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Saturday, 2 November 2013

November Pre-loved giveaway - Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

This months giveaway is Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain. You can find my review here http://www.alwaysreading.net/2013/10/review-necessary-lies-by-diane.html
This book is in great condition, the spine is completely in tact, there is a buy one get one half price, Waterstones sticker, very light indents to the cover and otherwise perfect.
As always please enter the giveaway by filling in the form below, any issues please contact me asap.
Otherwise please fill in the form below as per and good luck. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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ARC - The City Of Strangers by Michael Russell

The City of StrangersThe City of Strangers by Michael Russell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 8 days

Publisher - AVON

Pages - 484

Blurb from Goodreads

The second Detective Stefan Gillespie novel and sequel to The City of Shadows which was longlisted for the CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger Award 2013.

New York, 1939: A city of hope. A city of opportunity. A city hiding dark secrets...

A woman is brutally murdered and the only suspect has fled the country. Garda Sergeant Stefan Gillespie is sent to New York to bring a killer home to face justice – but the man has already disappeared into Manhattan’s awesome vistas.

Stefan is beguiled, exhilarated and troubled by this city buzzing with confidence, pride and ruthless opportunism, from skyscraper penthouses, to grimy backstreets, to the pulse-thumping jazz clubs of Harlem.

The 1939 World Fair only heightens the noisy enthusiasm for a bright new future and the stark tensions of a city that seethes with anti-Semitism and segregation, a city whose links to the struggle for Irish independence are unbreakable, yet holds hidden danger for Ireland in a world on the edge of war.

Stefan’s mission in New York becomes part of an increasingly personal struggle when an encounter with an old friend catapults him into a complex world of murder, conspiracy and terror.
In a time when people must stand up for what they believe in, the stakes for Stefan Gillespie, and his country, couldn’t be higher.

A thrilling and richly evocative historical crime novel.



My Review

This is the second book in a series, however it is worth noting I hadn't read the first and don't feel I lost anything by not having done so. The tale is set in 1939 so Hitler is very much around and his "workings" are mentioned or referred to in parts of the story. The tale begins in 1922 with a brief setting of an event that scars a family and then jumps to the tales present day, the relevance to this intro will become apparent later in the story.

Set in Ireland, Stefan Gillespie, detective, is sent to New York to being home the only suspect in a murder of one of their locals. When he gets to New York he becomes entangled in politics, conspiracy, murder and self preservation. What follows is a dangerous journey for our detective who needs to do what he feels is right and that which is right for his country.

So it has a great storyline so why did I give it only two stars? Well firstly there is a lot of political stuff and history going on in the book. This will be a great selling point for so many readers but for someone like me who is seriously lacking in knowledge on history I had to go and look up a lot of things to get a feel for what was going on. Then there is references to IRA, a lot to be honest and again I don't know a whole lot about their history so I found myself having to google so much to keep on top. This is of course not the authors fault by any means but it did take a lot away from my reading enjoyment but will enhance that of readers who know their history.

Apart from that there was quite a lot going on in the story, the original murder, which to be honest, I felt fell away from the importance of the tale as more story lines came up. Two sisters looking for help and keeping safe from an influential tyrant, another murder, the IRA part of the story, my head was spinning trying to keep up.

I think this will make for a brilliant read for so many but for someone like me it was just far too busy with story lines and things from history that I just wasn't up to scratch on. If your interested in these topics plus a tale that has lots going on to keep your mind busy then give it a go. It is a well written book but just for someone like me it was a bit too much, I really do however need to learn my history. Thanks so much to AVON for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review but this time, sadly, it is a 2/5. This book is available from 7th November 2013 for any good retailer.

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