Friday, 28 February 2014

Review - Hunted by Karen Robards

HuntedHunted by Karen Robards
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 9 days (on and off)

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 336

Goodreads blurb

Caroline Wallace is one of New Orleans PD's top hostage negotiators, and she's never failed to get every hostage out alive. But this time, it's different. This time, the hostages include her boss - the chief of police - and the mayor. And this time, she's trying to negotiate with Reed Ware, a former co-worker who left the force disgraced, under investigation by Internal Affairs, and worst of all, considered to be volatile and extremely dangerous. As police snipers arrive on the scene and manage to get a clear shot of Reed, Caroline knows she only has a few moments left to persuade the hot-headed, reckless (and extremely handsome) Reed to let the hostages go and turn himself in before anyone gets hurt. When the SWAT team runs out of patience and launches an attack, Reed takes Caroline hostage and manages to escape with her in the chaos.

During the escape, Reed reveals to Caroline that he's uncovered corruption at the highest levels of the police department and New Orleans city government, and those involved will stop at nothing to keep him from exposing what he knows...including murder. Now, the normally cool, calm, by-the-book Caroline is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her job and her city and join Reed on the run...putting both her life - and her heart - in jeopardy.


My Review

Karen Robbard's is an author I have read once before, she mixes a high paced crime with romance and sex. This time we meet Caroline Wallace, a top police negotiator with the NOPD (New Orleans Police Department). When a cop goes rogue and holds hostage some of the cream of the crop of New Orleans in a mansion on Christmas Eve. Surrounded by bombs and ready to set them off unless his demands are met, Reed Ware, a top police officer who left the police force under investigation of Internal Affairs. What follows is a police chase, the unraveling of why Reed has done what he done, Caroline's job and safety is on the line as well as facing her past and old attraction to Ware when he was on duty for her family when she was a teen.

Well I must say, I was pretty disappointed overall with this story. Caroline seems like a competent negotiator, she recognizes the potential issues she may have when she realizes who the criminal is. Due to a crush on his when he was on police detail with her family when she was a teen and an awkward encounter, however she is an adult now and a professional. The story starts well, it has a good build up and the crime story is set at a good pace. However, once she is kidnapped and the next stage progresses it really, for me, went to pot. She goes from being a professional to almost like a lust filled teenager. A lot of the dialog is about how they brush against each other and how their bodies react and a cat and mouse game of I like him he likes me but we both pretend we don't ensues. Seriously, even if you were attracted to the "perp" your professionalism would keep you right, or the fact he kidnapped you or the fact he had held your father hostage with bombs would.

I think you would have to suspend all rational thought to get on with this book. There was far too much contradiction for me, from the professional to the in lust teenage behavior, to the I like him but will pretend I just don't care all the whilst in a situation where the police are hunting you, oh and you have been kidnapped.

I had enjoyed the last book however this one, for me, was just a bit ridiculous. The characters were more focused on fighting their lust for each other whilst there was numerous descriptions of their body reactions to one another. I wanted to know about the crime as it seemed like a really good story, however the bulk of the book, I felt, was all about Reed and Caroline and the friction and temptations they fought off. 2/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Review - Talking to the dead by Harry Bingham

Talking to the DeadTalking to the Dead by Harry Bingham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 9 days

Publisher - Orion

Pages - 384

Blurb from Goodreads

The first novel in a powerfully original new crime series featuring a young policewoman haunted by her own dark past.


It's DC Fiona Griffiths' first murder case - and she's in at the deep end. A woman and her six-year-old daughter killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.


DC Griffiths has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there's another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry - and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.


Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her inexorably back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found..



My Review

This is the first book in what I assume will be a series, if it isn't already, and this is our introduction to DC Fiona Griffiths. A young girl and her mother have been murdered, the young girl brutally so with a credit card found at the scene of a millionaire who previously died in a car crash. This is Fiona's first case and she is determined to unearth the killer. The case has lots of dangerous links and skulduggery which Fiona will go to any length to uncover, including putting herself in great danger.

Fiona is a complex character, there is a 2 year gap from her life and CV that she won't talk about. She is a quirky character who is at ease more around corpses than she is living people. At first I felt the book was hinting that she was in some way able to talk to the dead due to some of the things she says and does however, sadly that is not the case. It is more linked to this mysterious two year gap and it takes forever, I felt, for us to get it that.

She is a loose canon to be honest her behavior, for the most part, is dangerous and chaotic. The story is mostly about Fiona, her issues with people, her past and the case I felt, took a back seat to it all. When the murder inquiry is the topic in the book, it is long drawn out, very procedural and almost boring for large parts. I don't think the story is badly written, on the contrary and when you finally discover what Fiona is hiding, a lot of her behavior makes sense, although still a tad weird.

I have to mention the cover, I am not normally one to comment on them but this is what drew me to the book, the inlay is a vibrant shade of green as is the writing and it is cut to emphasize this. I honestly don't think this series is for me, unless now we have the back story the future books will be more focused on the case. When the investigation comes to a head, it did pick up in pace but by that point I was 9 days in and just happy for it to finish and get find out what Fiona was hiding more than who was the killer to be honest.

This is my first dance with this author and whilst I won't be rushing to buy his next I wouldn't rule out reading him again. I must also point out that lots of people loved this book, it isn't a gore fest, it is centrally focused on the main character and building her up which people do love so give it a chance. For me though, it is a 2/5 this time.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Review - The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

The Underside of JoyThe Underside of Joy by Seré Prince Halverson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Harper

Pages - 374

Blurb from Goodreads

Losing a husband is virtually unbearable. Losing your children to the birth mother who abandoned them, whilst you are still grieving, is one heartbreak too far. It must not be allowed to happen ...

Ella counts as her blessings her wonderful husband, two animated kids and an extended family who regard her as one of their own. Yet when her soulmate Joe tragically drowns, her life is turned upside down without warning, and she finds that the luck, which she had thought would last forever, has run out. When Joe’s beautiful ex-wife, who deserted their children three years earlier, arrives at the funeral, Ella fears the worst. And she may well be right to.


Ella discovers she must struggle with her own grief, while battling to remain with the children and the life which she loves. Questioning her own role as a mother, and trying to do what is right, all she is sure of is that she needs her family to make it through each day. Yet when pushed to the limits of love, Ella must decide whether she is, after all, the best mother for her children.



My review

The story starts pretty quickly, an intro to Ella, our main character, Joe her husband who dies in the first chapter and their children Annie and Zach. The story takes off from that first chapter, rushing to the scene, the beginnings of grief and trying to accept what has happened. It's enough to knock the wind out of you yes? Well the story is just starting, as Ella tries to come to terms with Joe's death, secrets come to the front and Joe's ex wife come back. She is the children's biological mother who abandoned them 3 years prior. At first Ella doesn't think too much of her reappearance, after all everyone has the right to say their goodbye's. However, it doesn't take long for Ella to realize Joe was just the first loss and everything she holds dear is at risk too.

This is a great debut novel, you are grabbed from the very first chapter and eagerly await what comes next. Ella, as we find out, is the children's step mother, the children were six and three months when Ella came into their lives. She knows very little about their biological mother, Paige, other than she abandoned them. Every womans nightmare enfolds as she tries to keep what is left of her family whilst dealing with the raw grief of losing her partner.

Ooooh I hated Paige with a vengeance, imagine coming back into your children's life when they have just lost their father and causing upheaval and emotional turmoil. As the story goes on we get more glimpses of what she is up to and what she wants. Ella for her part, muddles through, trying to keep her family together but also trying to be an upholding honest citizen. This is what annoyed me to be honest, everyone grieves yes and behaves differently but she was almost saintly and some of the things she done, you really wanted to shake or slap her!

Apart from a few issues I found just a tad hard to swallow, on the whole it is a really good story. It seems from the blurb very gloomy and dark but it actually has some very moving and uplifting moments. It is a story or love, grief, family, honesty, spirit and fight, about how far you can be pushed and still battle along and keep going, 4/5 for me. I would definitely read this author again!

View all my reviews

Monday, 3 February 2014

February's pre-loved giveaway is The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison

You can read my review here http://www.alwaysreading.net/2014/01/rr-silent-wife-by-asa-harrison.html

This book is in perfect condition, the spine is intact and the book is in the same condition as the day I received it. As always, the competition runs to the end of the month. Fill in the form below, the more options you fill in the more chances you have of winning. Please provide your contact details so I can send you the book upon the competition ending. Thanks as always for taking part and good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Review - Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

Amity and SorrowAmity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Tinder Press

Pages - 326

Blurb from Goodreads

In the wake of a suspicious fire, Amaranth gathers her children and flees from the fundamentalist cult in which her children were born and raised. Now she is on the run with only her barely aged teenage daughters, Amity and Sorrow, neither of whom have seen the outside world, to help her. After four days of driving Amaranth crashes the car, leaving the family stranded at a gas station, hungry and terrified.

Rescue comes in the unlikely form of a downtrodden farmer, a man who offers sanctuary when the women need it most. However while Amity blossoms in this new world, free from her father's tyranny, Sorrow will do anything to get back home. Although Amaranth herself is beginning to understand the nature of the man she has left, she needs the answer to one question; what happened to the other wives and children.



My Review

Amaranth, Amy, is the mother of Amity & Sorrow all of whom have just ran from their home. A fundamentalist cult, shared with 50 other wives in a polygamy relationship, one religious leader and other children. Under the eye of the police a fire breaks out and Amy sees this as her chance. They come upon a farmer and take refuge there, the daughters want to go back to their father, Amy is unsure of how to behave and just wants to keep them safe but fears her husband, Zachariah, is hot on their tails.

Amity & Sorrow is very much about fleeing from a cult that has brainwashed them and trying to reintegrate with the world. The farmer tolerates their presence and doesn't kick them off his property and the story goes between the present and how they cope to snippets from the past that leads to present day.

To be honest, this is a marmite type book, some have loved it and some have hated it, I am a bit of a fence sitter to be honest. I liked some parts of, the reintegration to society and how they each cope, or fail to, away from "the family".

The characters didn't offer much depth at all, snippets are revealed about what they have endured however there are so many questions left unanswered. Sorrow is clearly the most affected by the cult, religious preaching and events that happened to her however she cuts a hard figure to connect to on any level. The book covers topics of religion, molestation, relationships and polygamy however none go into any kind of depth which will suit some readers and irritate others. The jumps from past to present aren't clearly defined and sometimes I had to check in case I had missed something as at times it seemed irrelevant.

I feel maybe had the book been longer and more time given to segments it really could have been a powerful read. As it was I was left with questions and a lack of understanding of why the characters did and behaved as they did. Still worth checking out, I would try this author again sometime in the future but for me, this one is a 3/5.

View all my reviews

Well from I first started reviewing

Get your own free Blogoversary button!

More Competitions available at

Blog Archive