Thursday 31 May 2012

Review - Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride

Dark Blood (Logan McRae, #6)Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Re-read! Time taken to read 2.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

The new Logan McRae novel set in gritty Aberdeen from the author of Cold Granite and Blind Eye Richard Knox has served his time, so why shouldn't he be allowed to live wherever he wants? Yes, in the past he was a violent rapist, but he has seen the error of his ways, found God, and wants to leave his dark past in Newcastle behind him and make a new start—or so he says. Detective Sergeant Logan McRae isn't exactly thrilled to be part of the team helping Knox settle into his new Aberdeen home, and he's even less thrilled to be stuck with DSI Danby, the man who put Knox behind bars for 10 years, supposedly here to "keep an eye on things." Only things are about to go very, very wrong. Edinburgh gangster Malk the Knife wants a slice of the development boom Donald Trump's golf course is bringing to the Granite City, whether local crime lord Wee Hamish Mowat likes it or not, while three heavies from Newcastle want a "quiet word" with DSI Danby about a missing mob accountant, and Richard Knox’s dark past isn’t done with him yet.

My Review

This was another re-read, a friend had given it to me and I couldn't remember it (originally read in 2010). Logan McRae and DI Steel along with the rest of the team are juggling cases and just trying to get the job done. Richard Knox is a rapist who preyed on the elderly and is now out and needing to be kept safe and monitored. Soon a web of deceit and entanglement to other criminal links become apparent and everything kicks off.

DS McRae and Logan are hilarious, the language is atrocious as they constantly argue and banter with each other. McRae's character might annoy some as he is a tad whiny and not as strong as his previous appearances in books but again if you know the history you would maybe forgive it in this story. The crimes and some of the scenes are gritty and gory and not for anyone easily offended. I would also say if your not familiar with Scottish slang you might struggle to get the humor and understand some of the content.

It is a busy novel with a lot going on which makes for a page turner and pulls you in. I don't always read books in sequence but for these I would say you really should as it helps understand McRae's frame of mind and their is reference to previous happenings from the other books. I enjoyed it and will look out for the next in the series, 4/5 for me this time (same rating as when I read it previous).

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Monday 28 May 2012

Review - The Visitor by Lee Child

The Visitor (Jack Reacher, #4)The Visitor by Lee Child
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

Sergeant Amy Callan and Lieutenant Caroline Cook have a lot in common. High-flying army career women, both are victims of sexual harassment from their superiors; both are force to resign from the service.

And now they're both dead.

Their unmarked bodies are discovered in their homes, naked, in baths filled with army-issue camouflage paint. Expert FBI psychological profilers start to hunt for a serial murderer, a smart guy with a score to settle, a loner, an army man, a ruthless vigilante known to them both.

Jack Reacher, a former US military cop, is a smart guy, a loner and a drifter, as tough as they come. He knew both victims. For Agent-in-Charge Nelson Blake and his team, he's the perfect match. They're sure only Reacher has the answers to their burning questions: how did these women die? And why?

My Review

If you have never read the Jack Reacher series don't worry, despite this being book 4 you can get away with picking it up as a first book. Jack is our main character and a decent picture of his background is given. Ex military cop, loner and used to doing things his way Jack makes for a great character but not someone you would want to be on the wrong side of.

Two ex military ladies have a few things in common, the most obvious being they have both been killed with little to no clues of how it was done. Jack is the only hope the FBI have and they will do whatever it takes to make him play ball.

This is a fairly good paced book with some (for me) laugh out loud moments between Jack and the FBI woman who clash from being forced upon each other. Some of it is a tad unbelievable and some of it is pretty clever. All in all a good read, 3/5 for me.

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Wednesday 23 May 2012

A.R.R - Watcher (The Shining Ones, book 1) by Shawnee Small

Watcher (Shining Ones #1)Watcher by Shawnee Small
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Amazon

Poesy Wharton is a twenty something waitress whose life appears to be going nowhere until a mysterious stranger named Adam Walker enters Paddy's Bar, the small town dive where she works. When bad things start to happen including the murder of another local waitress, Poesy finds herself on a dangerous path - falling for a man she barely knows and whose very existence will challenge the world as she knows it.

My Review

Poesy is our main character, a waitress in a small town on the island where everyone knows everyone's business. She has a mundane routine until a stranger comes into the diner and slowly life as she knows it changes. Adam isn't like anyone Poesy has ever met and before too long she finds out this is an understatement and everything she thought she knew will change.

I didn't warm to Poesy at all, she acts like a confused mixed emotion teen despite being in her early 20s, is wreckless and irresponsible(drink driving for a start!). In fact, the first almost 200 pages, a lot of it surrounds her relationships with the towns people and friends and her dilemmas with who she likes and what ifs. I didn't get into the book and gripped by it until hitting about 200 pages in when Adam really came into play and more was revealed about his character.

It is an original idea and I love the potential for the story and Adam but there was so many questions left unanswered and I do hate that. I know this is the first in a series so I am hoping Poesy grows up a bit, the questions and incidents are explained and the focus is put on Adam who really I feel should be our main character (I would love to read more about him!). Really good for a first attempt and whilst people like mystery and cliff hangers I would like to see book 1s mysteries cleared up and addressed in book 2. 3/5 for me and I would try this author again, if your looking for something a little different then this might be right up your street.

Thanks so much to the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review their work.

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Review - The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King (Dark Tower Series)

The Wind through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower NovelThe Wind through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Amazon

For readers new to The Dark Tower, THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE is a stand-alone novel, and a wonderful introduction to the series. It is a story within a story, which features both the younger and older gunslinger Roland on his quest to find the Dark Tower. Fans of the existing seven books in the series will also delight in discovering what happened to Roland and his ka tet between the time they leave the Emerald City and arrive at the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis.

This Russian Doll of a novel, a story within a story, within a story, visits Mid-World's last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his ka-tet as a ferocious storm halts their progress along the Path of the Beam. (The novel can be placed between Dark Tower IV and Dark Tower V.) Roland tells a tale from his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt ridden year following his mother's death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape shifter, a "skin man," Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast's most recent slaughter. Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime, 'The Wind through the Keyhole'. "A person's never too old for stories," he says to Bill. "Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them." And stories like these, they live for us.

My Review

A story within a story within a story, however it works really well. When I first described it to someone they said it must be really confusing but it actually isn't. The book starts with Roland and his ka tet traveling along the path to the Dark Tower and having to hide out due to some adverse weather. Whilst waiting it over Roland tells of a story from his past (and another story within that story).

The first story is about a town being attacked by "the skin man" a man who takes forms of vicious blood thirsty animals and sets upon the people, Roland is sent by his father to deal with it with his friend and fellow Gunslinger. The second is a story his mother used to read to him as a child which is where our book gets it's title.

When I started it, it has been a while since I visited the dark tower series and wasn't too sure about some of the language they use (coming from a different time and place it is different) but after a few chapters I had settled in fine and lost in the story. I have always liked Stephen King but think even those who aren't fans may enjoy this book as it can be read as a stand alone. The only thing I would say for the Dark Tower fans is that we only spend maybe 50 pages if your lucky with Roland and his ka tet which I was a bit disappointed with (you always want more of your loved characters), the main bulk of the story is about the two stories Roland is telling. Although that said the first story is from Roland's actual past so it does offer some insight into why he is the way he is which fans will enjoy. Overall I liked it and found it hard to put down so 4/5 for me.

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Monday 21 May 2012

Review - The Reaper by Steven Dunne

The ReaperThe Reaper by Steven Dunne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 6 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Detective Inspector Damen Brook is seeking sanctuary. Years on the London police force have left their mark—so much so that he's fled to Derby leaving behind his marriage, his teenage daughter, and very nearly his sanity to wind down a once promising career in the peace of the Peak District. But one winter's night, Brook is confronted by a serial killer he hunted many years before, The Reaper, a man who slaughters families in their homes then disappears without a trace. To find this killer Brook must discover what the Reaper is doing in Derby, why he has started killing again, and what, if anything, connects the butchered families. As Brook becomes entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse, he is forced to face his own demons by confronting a past that destroyed his family and nearly cost him his life.

My Review

Sadly I didn't get on to well with this book. Damen Brook is our main character and after being obsessed with finding a serial killer to the point of stalking his suspect and the expense of his family. Flip to present day he has moved to Derby to get over his past issues and before long it seems the killer has followed him.

I can't say I warmed to any of the characters and wasn't drawn into the story or plot line at all. The story goes between present day and DI Brooks past with his previous case and interactions with persons of interest (this reminded me a bit of red dragon with the police officer and unknown at the time hannibal lector which I did find interesting which is why the book gets another star).

I am sure I will try this author again as there was a lot of promise in the story but for whatever reason it just didn't hit the mark for me so 2/5. I would say give it a try though as some people seemed to have loved it so another marmite book I think.

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Tuesday 15 May 2012

A.R.R - Street Logic by Steve Sundberg

Street LogicStreet Logic by Steve Sundberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

"It was day two of the job and I already had doubts. I was wondering what the odds were that we could even help a guy like Tony Ruffo, or any of the other poor bastards out here..."Axel Hazzard's beat is the street. He works with the outcasts, who stake out their spots on sidewalks, in alleys, under bridges, for reasons only they know. As they hold on to what little dignity remains for them, Hazzard struggles to accept their free will, the daily risks they take, and his own limitations. Ultimately, his job comes down to the basics: instinct and action. Street Logic is a call for that action.

My Review

The book spans over a year plus period on the streets of America and looks into what it is like for the homeless people and the workers trying to help them. It paints quite a picture following a few homeless individuals, how they engage with the team, their existence and how they survive. The outreach team have different opinions on how they think things should be done and how they get along with each other.

The entries are mostly on a monthly basis and almost read like a diary of events of that particular day. Whilst it follows a few individuals it doesn't have a set or regular pattern, your not sure how far into the next chapter before you hear about the previous entry's person.

It is easy to read and you can devour it in one sitting or dip in and out of it. It paints a pretty bleak picture for those living and helping those on the streets. Whilst it is a fiction story it has been written by someone who has worked the street for years so you know your getting an accurate idea of what it must be like. This is the first time I have read a book like this and it has left me with a lot to think about about, 3/5 for me.

Thanks so much to the author for introducing me to his work and opening my eyes to what it is like for the people who have no homes and trying to survive out there.

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Monday 14 May 2012

Review - Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Save MeSave Me by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Amazon

You always put your own child first, don't you?

When an explosion rips through her daughter's school,Rose McKenna faces a horrifying choice.Does she go in search of her daughter, Melly, or save the children nearest to her first, one of whom is the bully who has been making her daughter's life a misery...

It's a split-second decision which will cost one girl dearly and will see Rose's life transformed forever...

My Review

Rose is helping out as a lunch mom at her daughters school (to keep an eye out for her daughter who is being bullied). When an explosion happens in the school Rose has to decide whether to help the girls who are making her daughters life a misery or go after and try and save her own child. What follows is lives turned upside down, some shocking secrets and everyone judging Rose for what she did or didn't do and in a small town it is never pretty.

I thought this was going to be a Jodi Picoult type book and to be honest for the first part it was, how could she choose like she did as a mother. Going over her choices, could she or would she have done it differently and of course the whole town having an opinion on it. For me the book is split into two almost separate stories, the first above and the second where it turns into a thriller type mystery with super mum as the main force behind it. Rose in the first part isn't very likable, she seems to be everybody's door mat then in the second half she becomes an unstoppable force.

I did like the first part of the story but the second half I found quite hard to believe, she goes from being a mousy quite shunned person to a brilliant detective almost, uncovering things that noone else did (sorry to be so vague but I hate spoilers). I loved the little girl Melly, she was such a sweet character and you really felt for her when she featured in the book. As always I don't like to be left hanging and all questions were answered so an on the fence half and half for me 3/5.

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Sunday 13 May 2012

Review - The Creeper by Tania Carver

The Creeper (Marina Esposito, #2)The Creeper by Tania Carver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken to Read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Suzanne Perry is having a vivid nightmare. Someone is in her bedroom, touching her, and she can t move a muscle. She wakes, relieved to put the nightmare behind her, but when she opens the curtains, she sees a polaroid stuck to the window. A photo of her, sleeping, taken during the night. And underneath, the words: I m watching over you.

Her nightmare isn't over. In fact, it s just beginning. Detective Inspector Phil Brennan of the Major Incident Squad has a killer to hunt. A killer who stalks young women, insinuates himself into their lives, and ultimately tortures and murders them in the most shocking way possible.

But the more Phil investigates, the more he delves into the twisted psychology of his quarry, Phil realizes that it isn't just a serial killer he s hunting but something or someone infinitely more calculating and horrific. And much closer to home than he realized . . .

My Review

Imagine having a horrific nightmare, someone in your room touching you and you cannot move. Then you wake up in the morning relived it was just as dream, until you see the picture proving it wasn't. What follows is mutilated bodies, an intense police investigation and a tangled web of deceit.

The very start of the book kicks off quickly but then for me it dragged a bit because it jumps from the girl with the nightmare to the police and their relationship issues (from the previous book) and then to other police communications then back to the killer and stalker victim. Around half way the book picks up and really gets good to the point where you don't want to put it down. My only other complaint was some of the plot was glaringly obvious (I don't do spoilers but at two points I was like omg why can't the police see this!). However that said there was plenty to keep me guessing and I did enjoy it and the thing I like most about any of these books is all my questions where answered.

Pretty good plot, after you get by the first half it really picks up and you sink into the story and don't want to put it down until you see how it's played out, 3/5 for me.

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Friday 11 May 2012

Review - The Man Who Lives With Wolves by Shaun Ellis, Penny Junor

The Man Who Lives with WolvesThe Man Who Lives with Wolves by Shaun Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Amazon

What would compel a man to place himself in constant danger in order to become a member of a wolf pack? To eat with them, putting his head into a carcass alongside the wolves' gnashing teeth? To play, hunt, and spar with them, suffering bruises and bites? To learn their language so his howl is indistinguishable from theirs? To give up a normal life of relationships and family so that he can devote himself completely to the protection of these wild animals?

In The Man Who Lives with Wolves, Shaun Ellis reveals how his life irrevocably changed the first time he set eyes on a wolf. In exhilarating prose, he takes us from his upbringing in the wilds of Norfolk, England, to his survival training with British Army Special Forces to the Nez Percé Indian lands in Idaho, where he first ran with a wolf pack for nearly two years.

Offering an extraordinary look into the lives of these threatened, misunderstood creatures, Ellis shares how he ate raw kill–and little else; washed rarely, and only in plain water; learned to bury his face into the carcasses of prey–and, when necessary, to defend his share of the kill; communicated with the pack by his howls and body language, which over time became seemingly identical to theirs; and observed from this unique vantage point how wolves give birth to and raise their young, and enforce order among the pack.

After years of living in the wild, Shaun Ellis was barely able to recognize the feral face that stared back at him from the mirror. And in The Man Who Lives with Wolves, we discover the life of a rare and fascinating man who abandoned civilization but never lost touch with his humanity.

My Review

If your looking for something real life and a bit different you have found it. Who in their right mind would walk away from their family to go live in the wild and try to integrate himself with a pack of wild wolves (and stay alive), that would be Mr Ellis.

The book starts with his childhood and every so often focus on him and his life but mostly it is about his love of animals and being with and around wolves. It is quite informative and really interesting to learn so much about these wonderful beasts and how they live, there are also some beautiful pictures of wolves featured in the middle of the book. Shaun has an interested and somewhat tested theory about some of the similar behaviors between dogs and wolves and how to use that when picking and training your own dog.

Some of the book is disturbing in that you are reading about a man who basically walks out on his family to pursue a life with wild animals, him eating some pretty disgusting things but you learn so much about the wolves way of life that you can get by the more unappealing parts. I really enjoyed it and find myself looking at wolves in a different light, 3/5 for me.

This book was recommended by Jodi Picoult at the end of her new book Lone Wolf, this is who she got a lot of her research from.

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Tuesday 8 May 2012

Mays Pre-loved giveaway is How Could She by Dana Fowley

As always the competition runs until the end of the month. Enter using the contact form below and for an additional entry leave a comment here. The book is in almost perfect condition, it has a tiny wee lift on the front cover, otherwise no marks ans the spine is intact (no creases or breaks).

Blurb From Amazon

At just five years old, Dana learned that there was no one she could trust. Most devastating of all, even her own mother betrayed her and in the most unimaginable way. For years, Dana and her younger sister suffered at the hands of one of Britain's largest ever-known paedophile rings. And their mother did nothing to protect them
Only now is Dana's nightmare coming to an end as she crusades to put her abusers behind bars. In June 2007 the truth was finally exposed. Dana bravely testified against her own mother. The woman who had subjected Dana and her sister to a lifetime of horror was sentenced to twelve years in prison. It was one of the most traumatic ordeals Dana has ever experienced. But a shocked world was finally forced to open its eyes to what happened to Dana. This is her story of survival.

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My review is here

Review - How Could She by Dana Fowley

How Could She?How Could She? by Dana Fowley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

At just five years old, Dana Fowley learned that there was no one she could trust and nowhere she could escape to. She and her younger sister endured years of terrible abuse, subjected day after day to unimaginable attacks, and not only did their own mother do nothing to protect them, she willingly helped. Dana’s lifelong suffering was at last revealed in a high-profile court case when she bravely faced her demons.

My Review

I have read a few of these true life survivor books and this one will stay with me for a long time. Two little girls used and abused horrifically by the one person in the world they should have been safe with and protect them. I think these books are always hard to read but this one more so (for me anyway) because the predator and enabler was the mother and that just is unthinkable.

Dana takes us through her childhood to adulthood and all the horrors she encounters, some of it is very hard to read and disturbing. A very powerful read taking you on a journey of how a little girl got through and survived horrors you can only imagine to being an adult and taking the offenders to court.

I think she was very brave to write this book, to expose what she went through in the hope of giving courage and make a path for others to come forward and show it isn't easy but you can do it and bring them to justice. 3/5 for me this time.

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Monday 7 May 2012

ARC - Zombie by J.R. Angelella

ZombieZombie by J.R. Angelella
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 6 *long* hours

Blurb From Goodreads

Fourteen-year-old Jeremy Barker is obsessed with zombie movies. He attends an all-boys Catholic High School where roving gangs in plaid make his days a living hell. His mother is an absentee pillhead, his older brother a self-diagnosed sex-addict, and his father an ex-Marine realtor who disappears night after night without explanation. Jeremy navigates it all with a code cobbled together from Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead:

• Avoid Contact
• Keep Quiet
• Forget the Past
• Lock-and-load
• Fight to Survive

The code is put to the test when he discovers in his father’s closet a bizarre homemade video of a man strapped to a bed, being prepped for some sort of surgical procedure. As Jeremy—troubled but ever-optimistic—attempts to trace the origin of the video, this remarkable debut moves from its sharp, precocious beginnings to a climax of almost unthinkable violence, testing him to the core.

My Review

I clearly thought with the title this was about zombies, there are references to zombie survival rules that Jeremy uses to survive his existence with the bullies at school, the shambles of his family life and every other situation he encounters. His mother is a pill popper, his brother is a sex addict and his father he suspects of being involved in something dark and dangerous as he disappears every night.

Oh dear this book was a struggle for me. Not only was the format only available to read on the computer which in itself was a nightmare (I have emailed the publisher about this), just about every line had a swear word or something crude. I have no problem reading bad language but this was just overkill, swearing for the sake of swearing. It was constantly following Jeremys life at school and the bullying and interaction with the other kids so teenage boys can and do swear but this was all the time.

Once you wade through all the bad language it is a tale of teenage angst, following a young boy through the trials and issues most teenage boys have likely experienced. The only thing I didn't mind was his zombie fixation and the snippets of tales about his favourite zombie movies. Maybe this will be a hit with teen boys as they might feel they can relate to the main character but I can't honestly say of all the readers I know (and thats a lot!) none of them would enjoy or relate to this. Had it not been a review book I would have given up a chapter or two in, 1/5 for me. Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Press for providing me with a review copy, release date 5th of June 2012, published by Soho Press.

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Sunday 6 May 2012

PRR - Now You See Me by S.J Bolton

Now You See MeNow You See Me by S.J. Bolton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 6 days (on and off)

Blurb From Goodreads

Lacey Flint is a London policewoman with a secret past, a morbid fascination with serial killers and a curiously empty flat. On the job she's quiet and plainly dressed. At night she has an unusual social life.

When Lacey returns to her car one evening to find a woman fatally stabbed right by it, she is taken in for questioning, but then a hand-delivered letter suggests the killer has a special interest in Lacey herself.

Suddenly she is at the centre of a terrifying murder hunt, working with the smart but damaged DI Dana Tulloch and the hostile DI Mark Joesbury, another person who seems curiously fascinated with Lacey.

Is Joesbury's interest in Lacey personal or professional? Will Lacey cope as the case pushes her into the limelight? And does the team have the skill to outwit one of the nastiest serial killers Londoners have fallen prey to since the killer's infamous role model... Jack the Ripper.

My Review

Lacey Flint is our main character, a police officer with a murky past and a fascination with serial killers. She keeps herself to herself and blows off some steam with some questionable after hour activities. Lacey finds herself in the middle of a serial killer investigation when she comes across a woman brutalized and dying at her car. Soon the police realize the have a jack the ripper copycat on their hands and an obsession with officer Flint.

This is my first encounter with this author and whilst I loved the jack the ripper style theme and pace I am not too sure about the first person narrative (whether it is how this author has done it or maybe it has just been too long since I read a book done in this style). The killers are pretty gruesome and descriptive so not for the faint hearted I have to say. I found myself having to go back and re read some of it as it jumps around a fair bit. To the past, comparing the present killings with the ripper victims and at one point someone just declaring they are the murderer (to you the reader) and it isn't until the end you get the full picture and understand it but it was confusing for a while and I hate when that happens.

It had been a while since I read or seen anything Jack the ripper so I did enjoy the refresher on that. I really disliked Lacey for the most of the story and only warmed to her near the very end, for an intelligent well trained police officer she done she pretty stupid and very dangerous things. Either way it will be a while before I forget this story, 3/5 for me and I would read this author again.

Thanks so much to Transworld publishers for providing me with a copy of this to review and introducing me to another new author.

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Small Update

To the winners of World Book night book (and April's pre-loved giveaway), I still have the books here to post out. Due to my shifts and some other things that have come up I am way behind. The same for the May's pre-loved giveaway. I will post the books out tomorrow first class and I will get the pre-loved giveaway for May sorted very soon. Thanks for understanding.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

April's Pre-Loved Giveaway winner is.........

Paul Maxwell (no website given), the winner has been notified. Thanks so much to everyone who took part. May's Pre-loved giveaway will be listed in the next few days. Thanks again everyone.

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