Saturday 25 February 2012

Review - The Surrogate by Tania Carver

The Surrogate (Marina Esposito, #1)The Surrogate by Tania Carver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

A shocking double-murder scene greets Detective Inspector Philip Brennan when he is called to a flat in Colchester. Two women are viciously cut open and laying spreadeagled, one tied to the bed, one on the floor. The woman on the bed has had her stomach cut into and her unborn child is missing.

But this is the third time Phil and his team have seen such an atrocity. Two other pregnant women have been killed in this way and their babies taken from them. No-one can imagine what sort of person would want to commit such evil acts.

When psychologist Marina Esposito is brought in, Phil has to put aside his feelings about their shared past and get on with the job. But can they find the killer before another woman is targeted?

My Review

A killer is targeting pregnant woman and wants one thing from them, the baby. The story starts with a double murder, brutal in it's ferocity and nature. The police enlist the help of Marina Esposito, a profiling psychologist whose last interaction with the team still haunts her and this case will take all of her focus and dedication.

It is a very busy story, lots of different ties and links going on. I felt like this was book number two as it kept referring back to Marina's last case she worked on with them and how it had a huge impact on her and DI Phil Brennan's relationship. It eventually explains it out what happened but until it does you feel your missing quite a vital part of what happened between them.

The subject matter of someone removing unborns from their mothers stomach and what follows after is quite horrific, the details aren't the most gruesome I have read but due to what it is it does make for unsettling reading. It is a good crime story with lots going on and a decent introduction to this author's writing however for me there was something lacking which is why I am giving it a three. I did enjoy the story and a lot of my questions where answered but there was some things left out or not explained so 3/5 for me and I will read more by this author.

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Thursday 23 February 2012

A.R.C Lost Angel by Mandasue Heller

Lost AngelLost Angel by Mandasue Heller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

Combining grit and glamour, this thriller set in Manchester's criminal underworld is a spellbinding story of young love and old scores Many years ago, Johnny Conroy was forced into a shotgun wedding with a Manchester gangster's daughter. He's never even begun to love her, but can't leave without being killed by her vicious father. He turns out to be a success in the car-theft business, with a used car lot that provides both cover and a way to fence the cars. But now his daughter Angel--the best thing in his life--is 16, and history seems to be repeating itself when she falls for one of his employees. Ryan is a nice boy, and he really loves Angel, but there are secrets that could destroy the happiness of Johnny and his daughter, and they are about to come out.

My Review

Johnny Conroy is a jack the lad who finds he has bitten off more than he can chew when he pursues the local gangsters daughter, he is forced to marry her or be maimed or killed by her dad. Fast forward to present day and his daughter Angel is 15 and in the same situation as her mum was and history seems to be repeating itself but this time there are skeletons in the closet that could ruin the whole family.

What a brilliant read, I could have devoured it in one sitting but other things have happened. The book follows Johnny's life from a careless teenager to an adult with a teenage daughter himself. His struggles within his family, his wife who by the end of the book I absolutely hated, his family and his career from being a lackey to a well respected business man in their community.

It is a total page turner, good paced, action, lies, secrets, betrayal. It has the usual sex, bad language and drugs. If you like Manadasue Heller's previous books you will love this one, I don't claim to have read them all but of the ones I have this is my favorite. It was going to be a 4 star rating until just under the last quarter of the book which became explosive with secrets revealed and all loose ends tied up and I love my books like that. 5/5 for me and a massive thank you to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to review this. Lost Angel is out on the 12th of April 2012.

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Tuesday 21 February 2012

A.R.R - Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

Fire Baptized (Habitat, #1)Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.

Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.

Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention.

While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

My Review

Lanore is our main character, a mixie (like a half breed between a demon and fairy) who stumbles across a murder on her way home and becomes the target of the murderer who leaves her "items" at her home. Lanore has a whole host of issues going on, wanting to rescue every helpless being, better herself with education and deal with MeShack who she grew up with but also has romantic unresolved issues with and Zulu who is super hot and stirs up emotions in herself she would rather not have to deal with.

It is a pretty busy book! There is all the different breeds going on, Supes, were-dogs, were-jaguar, were-leopard, habbies, purebloods. As much as I liked this story I often found it confusing as there were so many breeds to try and contend with and some of them change into something else. I think what would make it better (for me personally) is the next book(s) that follow or any updates on this maybe an index with all the different breeds and terms and a short description of them so you can keep yourself right. There were also a few terms that had me puzzled, motherpounder being one as in context I thought it could be motherf**cker but there is plenty of swearing so I am not sure if I have picked it up wrong or this is just a new word being tried out.

The story has the main murder but also lots of other stories wound into it, Meshack and Lanores background and growing up (touched on briefly), their love affair (again briefly referred to), Zulu's story with Lanore - I could go on and on. It certainly makes for an interesting read and there is always something going on. The story isn't for the easily offended or light hearted as there is lots of sex, drugs, violence, murder and thats just the beginning. I found this writers style nice and good to read it was just all the new species and terms I struggled with and think this could be easily sorted and would certainly add to my enjoyment of the series. 3/5 for me and I would read the next installment. I would like to thank the author for introducing me to their work and giving me the chance to read it. These views are entirely my own.

This book is available in print from for £8.50 or £1.96 on the kindle.

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Sunday 19 February 2012

New Search Function

So I noticed on a few blogs there is an option to search, which means you don't have to trawl through lots of different posts to find a review of an author or book you might want. I thought that would be excellent as I find myself having to go to Goodreads, find the book that way, find the month I reviewed it and then come back here and scroll through all of that month (it's long and boring).

So after much searching I have found the search function and managed to add it on here so now when you want to know if I have reviewed an author or book you just type it into the search button (left hand side), top(ish) of the page and it will search my whole blog for you.

I am delighted and hope you appreciate it too. As always suggestions are always welcome and if I can fix or add something I will. You know by now how to get in touch.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Review - Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday (Frieda Klein, #1)Blue Monday by Nicci French

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blurb from goodreads

The stunning first book in a new series of psychological thrillers introducing an unforgettable London psychotherapist

Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place, but what we can control is what is inside our heads. This attitude is reflected in her own life, which is an austere one of refuge, personal integrity, and order.

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A red-haired child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew. She finds herself in the center of the investigation, serving as the reluctant sidekick of the chief inspector.

Drawing readers into a haunting world in which the terrors of the mind have spilled over into real life, Blue Monday introduces a compelling protagonist and a chilling mystery that will appeal to readers of dark crime fiction and fans of In Treatment and The Killing.

My review

This is the first book in a series (the rest to follow), Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist who ends up taking on a patient from another doctor and notices similarities between what he has been fantasizing about and a child who has gone missing. Soon a whole tangled web unfolds and a connection to a missing child from 20 years back ties in with this recent disappearance.

I have read a few Nicci French books and really liked them but I struggled so much with this one for a few reasons. Firstly I don't normally mind typos or mistakes but there seemed to be a lot in this book which put me off pace a bit. The chapters are confusing in that the detectuve is speaking to someone then there is a small gap (page break) and the "the first punch missed his jaw and landed on his neck". Leading us onto a different scene and it happens quite a bit, another time it is someone describing sounds and just words and you have to re read and go back to figure out who it is and the scene has changed.

Freida's character also annoyed me as she seemed very indecisive and always seeking out colleagues and double checking her findings and asking for advice. I would have loved to have seen a strong minded able woman in this role. She was also contradictory in that she would be needing advice and questioning constantly but then go to her boss (ex boss) and tell him off or give advice then go back into pupil mode. The inconsistency really irked me as did they way her and the detective interacted with each other, it was very flat and forced and almost childish in some points.

Most of the twists for me weren't really twists as I could see them coming which is a first for me although there was one I was Oh My God as I didn't see it coming but overall I didn't like this book much at all. I do like this author and would read the next book if it came into my possession but I wouldn't be rushing out to get it so 2/5 for me. That said some people loved it so it seems we have another marmite book so give it a go and see which side you fall on.

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Friday 17 February 2012

Great Book Day :D

Firstly my fab husband said I could have anything I wanted today, he was buying (all I could think was Waterstones) so I ended up getting pjs, a wee dress for our coming holiday and books of course. This is a big deal as hubby always moans I have too many, and I have the kindle plus all the books that come in from review requests. Below is the books I got

Tania Carver is a new author for me so I got the first two books in the series, below is the blurb for the first one:

A shocking double-murder scene greets Detective Inspector Philip Brennan when he is called to a flat in Colchester. Two women are viciously cut open and laying spreadeagled, one tied to the bed, one on the floor. The woman on the bed has had her stomach cut into and her unborn child is missing. But this is the third time Phil and his team have seen such an atrocity. Two other pregnant women have been killed in this way and their babies taken from them. No-one can imagine what sort of person would want to commit such evil acts. When psychologist Marina Esposito is brought in, Phil has to put aside his feelings about their shared past and get on with the job. But can they find the killer before another woman is targeted?

And Simon Kernick I have read before although I picked them more for hubby than me.

The second fab book part of today is I have been picked as a World Book Night Giver and I got my first choice :D Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I am so delighted and this will be my first time taking part. I plan on passing out 1 or 2 on here and distributing the rest at work.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Review - The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead WithinThe Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead Within by Jeff Kinley

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blurb From the back cover

Ben Forman was just an ordinary guy, a young professional starting his first job and falling in love with his girlfriend. Living in the outskirts of a southern city, he didn't think the zombie activity so common in the major cities would hit so close to home. But it was becoming clear that the mysterious infection reanimating the dead would soon be a worldwide epidemic.

My Review

Well from reading the above blurb I assumed this book was purely a zombie novel with a Christian slant on it, that maybe the virus was battled with faith along with the usual zombie ways. It couldn't be further from it and I suppose it is my fault for not researching it better before reviewing.

The book is split into episodes and chapters, episode one which is the start of the zombie story followed by chapter one which is the author discussing where and how we are drawn to wickedness and a brief history of it. We also visit the initial start of sinning with Adam, Eve and the serpent, I actually enjoyed this wee story as it has been many years since I read it or heard it.

The rest of the book is episodes (back to the story) and then chapters with the author telling stories and observations he has had and made over the years, scripture and bible quotes. The zombie story was quite thin and I felt the characters quite weak and not very likable. Had I known the book was going to be so split and focused more on religion I may have liked it better however I went into it thinking it was a great new spin on a zombie war with religion as a tool against them. I really struggled to get through it and although some of the side stories in the chapters were interesting and thought provoking it just wasn't for me so 2/5 for this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Wednesday 15 February 2012

Valentines Competition Winner is........................

Annette Filby - no website provided.

The winner has been notified. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the competition and hope you all had a lovely Valentines day.

Remember the pre-loved giveaway is on every month (see the link below) and Februarys is The Woman In Black by Susan Hill (the movie is in the cinema just now with Daniel Radcliffe in it). This competition runs until the last day of the month.

Thanks again to everyone for taking part and please keep an eye on the competition tab for uncoming and ongoing comps.

Review - Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Dear JohnDear John by Nicholas Sparks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

My Review

John is our main character and the stories starts with him recapping his life. Briefly visiting his childhood, school and bumming around after and what leads to his decision to make something of his life and get out of town. Upon one of his visits home after leave he meets Savannah and there starts a love story which has to face the test of time, long distance and the effects of war.

It is quite a slow moving story and we follow Johns relationship with his father, Savannah and his journey as he grows and learns things about himself and father that he never knew before. His love with Savannah is very quick and intense and we see the results of how war and distance can strain a young and blooming love and the aftermath of it all.

Despite it being quite slow it really is a well written story and although there isn't any huge surprises (there is one near the end though) it keeps your attention. I did find myself questioning how quickly they fell for each other and the depth of the feelings so quickly but it is still a nice read. I also enjoyed the relationship with his dad and how it grew and he learned to respect and understand him. It isn't just a love story, it is following a young and troubled young boy to becoming a man, through his career and the issues it brings and also finding his inner self and the person he becomes. It is quite a journey and I enjoyed reading it. This was my first time reading this author and would certainly read him again, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 13 February 2012

Review - Kiss & Die by Lee Weeks

Kiss & DieKiss & Die by Lee Weeks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

Ruby is looking for love, her target, adulterous businessmen. After picking them up in bars, she brutally tortures her victims before decapitating them. Meanwhile, Hong Kong detective Johnny Mann is still struggling to deal with his dead father's legacy of corruption and triad involvement. His nemesis CK Leung is determined to bring Johnny into the triad fold and has now deployed the most dangerous weapon, his beautiful but deadly daughter Victoria. Falling into a downward spiral, Johnny is on the verge of destroying everything he holds dear while Ruby continues her terrifying murder spree. Johnny needs to pull himself together fast, because Ruby is getting nearer, and is closing in for the kill.

My Review

Ruby is a ruthless killer, she targets businessmen and slowly takes them apart. Detective Mann has his own issues to deal with, his legacy of being the son of a Triad leader and the millions it brings with it. His team members don't know if they can trust him and now a young girl has been dismembered as part of a new wild gang initiation and Mann is on the case. If all that wasn't bad enough both the Triad leader and his daughter have their eye on Mann and more importantly his money and ties in their community. Can they persuade him to turn his back on the law and embrace his criminal ties?

What a fantastic read! From the first chapter, which by the way is one of the most graphic and brutal descriptions I have read in a long time. It really isn't for the light hearted and you will know if it is for you within two pages and you are flung in at the deep end.

The story pace is good, it starts fast and brutal and then slows just a bit but enough to keep you intrigued and turning the pages. There are lots of twists and turns, surprises and even a few O.M.G moments. I enjoyed it so much I went looking for more and found I have read the first book but not two and three so have now bought them and would have read them in sequence had I realized. Definitely not for those with weak stomachs or faint hearts, thrilling and packed full of action so 5/5 for me.

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Valentines Competition

I meant to put this up sooner so apologies for being late (regular visitors will know this is kind of my thing). As Valentines day is tomorrow I will run the comp until Midnight tomorrow night.

What's the prize? A brand new copy of Marley & Me (with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston). The protective cardboard cover has a few wee indents to it but the actual dvd and shrink wrap is in perfect condition.

How to enter? Please click the link below and fill out the form (all you need is a way for me to contact you). For an extra entry just leave a comment on this post (can be anything) and feel free to leave a link to your site if you have one.

Click here to fill out the competition form

Thats is, no rules or having to follow and I hope you all have an awesome Valentines day :D

Sunday 12 February 2012

Review - Freaks by Tess Gerritsen (free ebook)

Freaks (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles, #8.5)Freaks by Tess Gerritsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb from goodreads

In this free Rizzoli & Isles short story from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, author of The Silent Girl, a bizarre death comes with a supernatural twist. Homicide cop Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have seen their fair share of mortal crimes, but the death of Kimberly Rayner may qualify as inhuman in more ways than one. When corpse of the emaciated seventeen-year-old girl is discovered next to an empty coffin in an abandoned church, mysterious bruises around the throat suggest foul play. Caught fleeing the scene is the victim's closest friend, Lucas Henry, an equally skeletal, pale teenager who claims he's guilty only of having a taste for blood-a craving he shared with Kimberly. But the victim's distraught father doesn't believe in vampires, only vengeance. And now, another life may be at risk unless Rizzoli and Isles can uncover the astonishing truth.

My Review

Kimberly Rayner is found dead in an abandoned church with some spooky surroundings. Her friend is busted running from the scene and quickly apprehended. Did he kill her? Her father is convinced and with his freaky appearance and wild claims he seems like the perfect suspect.

It is a ridiculously quick and small read. I personally don't think it is up to Tess's normal high standard and found the characters I normally love (Maura and Jane) flat and not of their usual quick wit. The other characters that feature in this short story you don't get a feel for or to know them really at all due to the size of the story.

However it is free, a tiny quick read and has a nice wee twist at the end so 3/5 for me.

Available for free on

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Saturday 11 February 2012

25% off unique gifts for book lovers!

Remember in November I posted this website Unique gifts for book lovers?

Well now you can shop and enjoy 25% off and they have a new range of goodies

Designer bookmarks:
Book journals:
Book lights for printed books and eReaders:
Bookends for kids:

To enjoy your 25% off just go to (on everything except the bookends) and enter the code SMBSLT25 for the discount

This code is valid for a limited time so get shopping guys and feel free to let me know what you got and what your experience was life.

A.R.R - The O'Leary Enigma by Bob Purcell

The O'Leary EnigmaThe O'Leary Enigma by Bob Purssell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

Secrets pervade Navy Lt. Barbara O'Leary's life. Who is her biological father? What caused her beautiful and troubled birth mother's death? How did Barbara help her mentor outmaneuver a corporate rival? Why did she accept the assignment to Chad and that dangerous journey through a civil war?These personal and professional secrets, buried throughout her life, collide as Barbara moves between her quests for personal fulfillment and success in her professional career. Powerful psychological forces are difficult to keep in check, and they threaten to ruin what she wants to accomplish. In her personal life-the one her superiors must not learn of-Barbara continually battles her secret urges. Accomplished, gutsy, and intelligent, she is drawn into an ever-widening vortex of secrets that culminates in a secret mission executed during a civil war in Chad. It tests not only the young officer's cunning, but her raw courage. In her war between undercover triumphs and under-the-covers transgressions, Barbara must step gingerly to save her career, her reputation, and possibly her life.

My Review

Well I thought this was going to be about O'Leary's career in later life and all the war side of it, however it was totally different. The story starts with papers handed over with a legal side to it that to be honest I got quite lost in. Howeve as the story went on we are introduced to Barbara's life and start at a very young and innocent age to adult hood. The family dynamics, teenage years, sexuality, spirituality and eventually her adult working life.

I think the book is aptly titled "enigma" as it totally is. One minute we are following a young girl who is having problems dealing with how she looks and her sexual maturity and needs, to a strong minded woman in the prime of her career caught up in politics and a war.

I enjoyed the relationship side of the book with her parents and trying to come to terms with her biological background and the secret(s) that surrounded it but personally felt we could have had much more detail and exploration there. There is a lot of underlying issues in this book I felt with the emotional struggling through teenage years (which YA readers may identify with) and on a deeper level how her relationship with her mother changes as she does.

The latter part of the story deals with her career and some of it is quite graphic but by then I was more interested in her personal development and couldn't quite get on with this side of the story however I am sure some people will be delighted with the change in pace of the story. Overall 3/5 for me.

I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to review their work.

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Thursday 9 February 2012

Review - Lose Weight Without Dieting by David Nordmark (kindle)

Lose Weight Without DietingLose Weight Without Dieting by David Nordmark

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blurb from goodreads

Diets don't work. Studies have shown that only 5 percent of people who go on a diet are able to keep the weight off for more than a year. Yet even with this 95 percent failure rate the weight loss industry continues to flood the market with new diets and useless gimmicks. What's the secret to true, long lasting weight loss? The key is to focus on your habits as they are related to food, not dieting. Unlike animals in nature human beings acquire a whole host of unnatural habits related to food without even realizing it. By changing these habits, most of whom you are probably not even aware off, you can start to lose weight naturally and easily. Get off the Diet roller coaster and start losing weight WITHOUT dieting today! From

My review

I don't know what I was expecting and it was the first ebook I have read on my phone so maybe that influenced my enjoyment? It was fine, basic common sense to be honest. Things like don't eat whilst sitting infront of the tv, eat slowly and chew properly excetra.

There are other tips and some exercises and reps and also pictures demonstrating how to do them, that alone is pretty good. At the end there are links to websites that sell dvds and books on the exercising and techniques that you can go and buy if you really like them.

For a free book it is ok but it bored me immensly, took ages to finish and the only reason it gets two stars is because the exercises should alone get a star. If your into exercise and diet type books you might enjoy it, for free it is worth a look. 2/5 for me and available at the time of publishing this review is free on Amazon.

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A.R.R - Shereen Travels Cheap by Shereen Rayle

Shereen Travels CheapShereen Travels Cheap by Shereen Rayle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb from Amazon

Are there places you want to go but never do because you think you can’t afford the travel costs? Do you plan your vacations on a budget, but find that your budget doesn’t get you very far from home? Shereen Travels Cheap was written for you!

This entertaining book will teach you how to plan the vacations you have always dreamed of taking, but for a lot less money than you ever thought you would spend. Using a combination of proven tips and techniques and the best the Internet has to offer, Shereen shows you how a little effort can reap big savings and allows you to do more on your trips!

My Review

What a fab wee book. Shereen has written a book based upon common sense and her personal experience planning trips and coming up with ways to save, make your money go that little bit further and give you more for your money or free up your budget for either another trip or one you didn't think you could make as it was too expensive.

The chapters don't drag on forever which means you can dip in and out as and when you like. This is how I recommend you read the book unless you love organizing then you could devour it in one sitting. There is an abundance of links and great websites for you to check out and whilst I haven't checked every single one - the ones I have are great.

The only thing is obviously it is all outside of the UK sites/flights etc but there is still a lot I can use as a UK resident and I look forward to Shereen's next book based on the UK side of tips and trips.

This is one of the first ever review books I will be keeping and going back to, lots of great tips to work with and I look forward to putting it to use on my next trip. 4/5 for me and thanks so much to Shereen for the opportunity to read her work.

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Monday 6 February 2012

A.R.R - Questing For Uberjoy by Konrad Ventana

Questing for Berjoy: Book Three of the Post-Lux TrilogyQuesting for Berjoy: Book Three of the Post-Lux Trilogy by Konrad Ventana

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

They called her " berjoy," but her real name was Joycelyn Eberhard. She was a finalist in the Miss Teen Idaho beauty pageant, but now she's gone missing-in China, no less. Her fianc, Orion, worried when she signed up for the Peace Corps, but he never expected something like this. Her disappearance is shattering to him, so he has no choice but to head overseas and search for the woman he loves.

His search takes him to the remote Himalaya Mountains in Nepal and Tibet, where getting help from local authorities is not as easy as he would have hoped. He is forced to seek assistance elsewhere, from intrepid special operations mercenaries and unorthodox mountaineering guides. Soon, Orion's search targets not only his fianc, but the meaning of life itself.

Set in the mountains of China-where earth meets sky in more ways than one-Questing for berjoy is a quest for love. It is also a quest for meaning, as Eastern culture surrounds heroic Orion and teaches him more about himself than any experience in America. One moment philosophical and the next filled with danger, it is a story that could change your life and send you on your own quest for mountaintop enlightenment.

My Review

I wasn't sure if not reading the first two books would be an issue but after reading it I think you could easily pick this up without the previous two. Orion is our main character and sets out to rescue his beloved Joycelyn (Uberjoy) who has been taken along with other teachers and children by some "soldiers" whilst caught in the middle of a political war. During his journey to find her he gets some help from some unusual characters along the way and embarks on a journey of self discovery and personal depths.

I was on the fence with this one as I tend to find it difficult to get on with books that are set out of my comfort zone but the story sounded really good. For me there was too much on a philosophical level then mixed with pretty graphic murders, brutality and war casualties and I know for some this can go together and make for good reading but it just doesn't do it for me. I did find the personal recall of a young boys trauma and fight for life quite touching but otherwise it just wasn't for me.

I also had an issue with our hero when he began his journey and there was an incident with himself and an item of his beloveds undergarment, that put him off on a bad sted with me although some people may be able to identify with it I found it weird and really had no place in the start of Orions journey.

I was also left with some questions and puzzled about how some of the characters came into touch with Orion and knew about the situation but had little to do with the actual rescue mission. Then there is how the story came to end and had I loved and got on with all the philosophical stuff I wouldn't have been happy with the ending but I do know that some people love that kind of ending so I would say if you like a mixed bag give it a shot. 2/5 for me, thanks to the author for the chance to read this and review it. Available on Amazon in all formats (paperback, hardback and kindle).

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Friday 3 February 2012

WHSmith Review - The Story Of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

Story Of Beautiful GirlStory Of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb From WHSmith

On a stormy night in small-town America, a couple, desperate and soaked to the skin, knock on a stranger's door. When Martha, a retired schoolteacher living a safe and conventional life, answers their knock, her world changes forever. For they are fugitives. Lynnie, a young woman with an intellectual disability, and Homan, a deaf man with only sign language to guide him, have escaped together from The School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, a brutal institution where people with disabilities are left to languish, shuttered away from the world. In a moment of despair, they reveal that Lynnie has a newborn baby. But, moments later, the police bang on the door. Homan escapes into the darkness, Lynnie is captured. But just before she is returned to The School, bound and tied, she utters two words to Martha: "Hide her". And so begins the unforgettable story of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia - lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

My Review

The story of beautiful girl is more than Lynnie's story. The chapters are split between Homan, Lynnie, Martha and Kate telling the story over the years to present day. It starts with Lynnie and Homan busting out from the school to protect Lynnie's child and the events that unfold from that night.

This book has been rated with people loving it or hating it, I am on the fence to be honest. I loved Lynnie's bravery, her character, strength and what she achieved and becomes despite basically being written off with so many of the residents of the school. I loved reading about her and learning about the school and shocked to find out institutions like this actually existed (who said you learn nothing from fiction!). I loved Homan and Lynnie's love and their innocence and despite everything they experienced, never forgetting each other or Little One.

I hated how the chapters jumped in years and a lot of things were missed and never explained, you just had to fill in the blanks yourself and whilst some readers may like that it annoys me greatly. I felt some of Homan's chapters rambled on about nothing I felt relevant when we could have been reading more about Lynnie, Julia or Martha. I did enjoy reading his stories earlier in his life and the discovery of sign language on both counts though.

Overall the things that annoyed me didn't take away from my enjoyment and it is a great story, hard to read in some places as the bad things are no doubt what were experienced by real people who were kept in these institutions. 3/5 for me and I would read this author again as the style and flow were very easy to follow despite the jumps in years from chapter to chapter.

This book is part of the Richard and Judy Spring titles 2012 and on special offer on at the special price of only £3.99 (half price),

Thanks to WHSmith reviewer program for including me in this years choice and introducing me to this author.

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Thursday 2 February 2012

February's Pre-loved giveaway is The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

The book is in the same condition as when I bought it from Waterstones, the spine is uncreased and apart from a few light indents it came with it is perfect. The book is the one with the movie tie in cover (it appears in the review below).

My review can be found here

The competition will run until the end of the month, you can enter by using the form below and for an extra entry just leave a comment below. Feel free to share this link and good luck.

*Edited to add it click the email link below which will take you to the form*

Click here to fill out the competition form

Wednesday 1 February 2012

January's competition winners are.........................

Mary Preston - The Pre-loved giveaway Rats by Paul Zindel, no website given.

Linda Callaghan - The dvd brand new in original packaging of Who Dares Wins, no website given.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, Februarys competition will be up soon. The winners have been contacted and if the prizes are unclaimed after 48 hours I will pick another.

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