Thursday 28 June 2012

ARC - The First Cut by Ali Knight

The First Cut by Ali KnightThe First Cut by Ali Knight by Ali Knight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Five years ago, Nicky's best friend Grace was brutally murdered.

No one was ever charged with this terrible crime and Nicky in her grief sought solace in the arms of Grace's widower.

They're now married but he is often out of the country for work, and when Nicky meets Adam, who is young, good-looking and obviously interested, she's tempted.

But what starts as an innocent flirtation leads to a terrible ordeal, and a dark secret. A secret that involves her husband, and Adam, and what happened to Grace all those years before.

Nicky finds herself fighting for answers. But when love is worth killing for, the price paid for the truth can be very high indeed...

My Review

We start off with the murder of Grace and quickly flip to present day. Nicky and Greg (Grace's then husband) are now married and things are far from perfect. He is always away for work, they aren't talking and things are just strained. Along comes a chance encounter and she meets Adam, young, fun and very flirty. Soon the fun turns to danger and Nicky finds herself caught up in murder, lies, deceit and a secret that will change everything.

I was gripped after the first few pages and really drawn in until soon after she meets Adam. Then things change dramatically and I found myself having to re read parts incase I missed something as it didn't seem to make sense. I found myself thinking that a few times in parts where characters would say something and I had to go back incase I was missing the link. The confusion did take away from my enjoyment as I kept trying to work out the what and why in different parts (sorry for being sketchy but I don't do spoilers in my reviews).

Another thing I liked about this book is the chapter length is a handful of pages between each (like James Patterson does) which means you can race through it inbetween doing your daily chores.I did enjoy the book and the things I liked far outweighed those I didn't and all of the confusion was pretty much cleared up and all the boxes ticked by the end. My first encounter with this author and I would read their work again. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for introducing me to yet another new author and giving me the chance to review this book. An on the fence 3/5 for me.

This book is available from all good retailers from the 5th of July 2012.

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Tuesday 26 June 2012

ARC - Dandy Gilver & A Bothersome Number Of Corpses by Catriona McPherson

Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Dandy Gilver, #7)Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses by Catriona McPherson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Before she was a detective, before she was a reluctant wife and distracted mother, before she was even a d├ębutante, Dandy Gilver spent one perfect summer with the Lipscotts of Pereford. The golden memories of it have sustained her through many a cold snap in Perthshire.

So when two of the Lipscott sisters beg her to help the third, she can hardly refuse. Sweet, pretty Fleur Lipscott: where is she now? The astonishing answer to this is that Fleur - still Miss Lipscott, indeed more Miss Lipscott than ever - is buried alive in the tiny seaside village of Portpatrick, working as a schoolmistress at St Columba's College for Young Ladies.

But she is one of the few remaining, for St Columba's has been shedding mistresses as a snake its skins and the exodus is far from over.

With mistresses vanishing and corpses mounting up, can Mrs Gilver, detective, pass herself off as Miss Gilver, English mistress, to solve the one and stop the other?

My Review

This is Catriona McPhersons 5th book but my first time reading her work and being introduced to Dandy Gilver. Dandy is a female detective who works along side with her male partner (and it isn't her husband!). She is asked for help from her old friends to find their sister who is in a small village working as a teacher. What follows is murder, lies deceit and a who done it with Dandy leading the way.

When I started this I didn't think I was going to like it, it is set in the late 1920s or early 1930s and phrases like "One has to think what one has to say" and I am really not into that kind of pompous narrative. However it fits with the time period and I soon got used to it, also Dandy is quite amusing in some of her antics and what she says that you warm up to the story and the character(s) fairly quickly.

It is a slow paced story with lots of little things happening but no big thrills or murders throughout for the most part. For me it reminded me of murder she wrote, lots of investigating into little things and pretense by the main character to get her answers. Whilst it went along slowly there was something about this wee story that I didn't want to put it down and when all is revealed I was surprised by the who done it which is always a good thing I feel. 3/5 for me this time. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for introducing me to this author and giving me the chance to review this book. You can get your own copy from July 5th 2012 in hardback and ebook at any good retailer. Also for the Glasgow/Edinburgh followers you can meet the author who is touring, please see below for details.

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Wednesday 20 June 2012

Review - The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other Stories by Tim Burton

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other StoriesThe Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other Stories by Tim Burton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 15 minutes

Blurb From Goodreads

From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance -- witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children -- misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and the tragedy of these dark yet simple beings -- hopeful, hapless heroes who appeal to the ugly outsider in all of us, and let us laugh at a world we have long left behind (mostly anyway).

My Review

It is hard to really review such a wee short book like this. It is basically tiny short stories that are really poems about weird and wonderful characters. Funny & morbid at the same time. This is my first encounter with the written word of Time Burton (I have seen some of his movie collaborations). So whilst short I did like it but without going into and ruining the wee poems (or rather stories) I can only say if you like poems and weirdness then this is perfect for you. It also only takes a tiny amount of time to read (there are illustrations throughout) and the text is short. 3/5 for me.

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Review - The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The Beginner's GoodbyeThe Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market.

Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.

Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

A beautiful, subtle exploration of loss and recovery, pierced throughout with Anne Tyler’s humor, wisdom, and always penetrating look at human foibles.

My Review

I thought after reading the first few lines of this book I was going to love it. The main character Aaron is talking about how since his wife came back (as a ghost), people would pretend not to see her or cross the street or just avoid them. I thought the book was going to be centered around the how and why of the ghost but it was actually about Aaron's journey through grief and the healing process.

The book also jumps around a fair bit from when she returned to before the accident, to Aaron trying to come to terms with life without Dorothy. The story also visits Aaron's work life at the publishing business which didn't interest me at all (although I am sure some people will be really interested).

My problem is I went into this book thinking it was going to be a ghost story and a lot about that but it is actually about Aaron's journey through the grief process and adjusting to life without her and getting back into some semblance of normality. Easy to read for the most part and well written (plenty of rave reviews for it on Amazon and Goodreads so definitely worth checking out for yourself) but sadly not for me. 2/5 this time for me but I would read this author again.

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Tuesday 19 June 2012

Review - Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3)Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.

My Review

This is the third and last installment of the trilogy. This book finds the erotic, naughty, blushing and on the edge in full force and we also get all our answers to the questions raised from the previous book.

Christian and Ana now have everything, commitment, each other, wealth and a strong foundation for their relationship yet there is still someone trying to take Christian down and will stop at nothing (and noone) to get it.

With action (in all senses of the word), drama, thrills and closure E.L. James has rounded off the final book really well and the fans who loved the first two will not be disappointed. 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 17 June 2012

Review - Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

My Review

This is the second book in the series and we pick up where we left off with Christian and Ana. Ana finds herself in a new job and trying to cope with how things were left with Christian and a boss who is interested in more than just a working relationship.

I really enjoyed this book, more than the first one actually. This one still has all the naughtiness and oh mys that the first one did but I felt there was actually a lot more to the stories and characters this time. We learn more about why Mr Grey is how he is, see their relationship go to a new level and a few obstacles in the way.

Yet again hard to put down and a lot more insight into the characters, I really liked this and will be heading straight into book number 3 as two finished on a great wee cliff hanger so I am dying to know what happens next, 4/5 this time.

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Wednesday 13 June 2012

A.R.R - A Dark Time by Dennis Bradford

A Dark TimeA Dark Time by Dennis E. Bradford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

A college student vanishes. Her worried grandfather asks one of her favorite professors, Max Stephansson, to solve the mystery. What Max discovers is tragic. The suspense surrounding her disappearance unfolds to yield insight, but at the cost of danger and death.

My Review

A wealthy locals granddaughter goes missing and in his distress the grandfather asks her old college professor to investigate. The hunt for the girl reveals murder, sadness, secrets and new friendships to which all come at a cost.

To be honest my main issue was why on earth would you ask a professor that teaches humanities who once taught her class to investigate? (To be fair the professor does ask this question himself but still). He has no experience in this kind of thing yet has access to things you wouldn't expect from an academic professor and he does a great job for his first stab at an investigation.

The format of the book was off putting although sadly this is how the place it was printed from does the layout, after the first 5 chapters though I did get used to it. The writing itself isn't what I am used to and quite different from my usual authors but still very readable, you can tell he has put a lot of effort and thought into his characters and the plot.

It sadly just wasn't for me and the pace of the book changed a bit but was mostly slow going and building up which some people love but it isn't for me. It started off well and a murder before the first 50 pages is really good going but the book then took a different turn so that it almost felt like two different stories (the professor and a new relationship). Also near the end I found one of the characters to be vile, disgusting and a sexual deviant which made for very uncomfortable reading and there isn't any warning until you happen upon it.

All in all I think this will make for a great read for people who like to read about an academic hero with some intellectual discussions spotted through the book and a few twists and turns. I would try this author again but this time for this book it is a 2/5 for me. Thank you so much to the author for giving me the chance to read his work and for the bonus thrown into the book. A free consultation worth $300 so that itself you might fancy a wee look into. For more information please check out his site

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Sunday 10 June 2012

Review - Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

Second GlanceSecond Glance by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(re-read) Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Do we love across time? Or in spite of it?

A developer has slated an ancient Abenaki Indian burial ground for a strip mall, and now strange happenings have the inhabitants of tiny Comtosook, Vermont, talking of supernatural forces at work. Ross Wakeman is a ghost hunter who's never seen a ghost -- all he's searching for is something to end the pain of losing his fiancee, Aimee, in a car accident. He tried suicide -- any number of times. Now Ross lives only for a way to connect with Aimee from beyond. Searching the site for signs of the paranormal, Ross meets the mysterious Lia, who sparks him to life for the first time in years. But the discoveries that await Ross are beyond anything he could dream of in this world -- or the next.

My Review

This is another re-read although I hadn't remembered any of it until I got to part two. The first part of the story didn't really grab me and I doubted my original 4 star rating. Ross is our main character and works on a ghost hunter show, trying to find his own loved one he lost and hasn't been able to move on from. Ross has a whole host of issues stemming from his heartbreak and as the story progresses you will understand his character and behavior. The rest of the first part introduces a whole host of characters which makes it hard to get drawn into as your trying to remember who is who and what their story is while trying to figure how they will link in to the story.

Flick to the second part and I couldn't put it down. We visit the past and some of the background of what is causing the haunting and soon the link between all the characters becomes evident as the story pulls you in.

It is a story filled with ghosts, love, loss, heartache and raises a few emotions along the way. I do think for most people you will love or hate it and if you have any interest in the afterlife and ghosts I think you will enjoy this. Certainly different and a slow and fairly puzzling start but stick with it as it is a great wee story, 4 out of 5 for me again this time.

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Saturday 9 June 2012

June's Pre-Loved Giveaway is Children Of The Night by David Stuart Davies

This book is in near perfect condition with just a few light ruffles in the cover, the spine itself is uncreased. A fairly thin book of short vampire stories.

Blurb From Goodreads

Vampires, those dark children of the night, who rise from their coffins to suck the blood of the living, continue to hold a strange fascination and dread. In this unique collection of vampire stories you will find some of the earliest depictions of these fearful creatures as in John Polidori's The Vampyre and James Malcolm Rymer's Varney the Vampyre, a tale which held readers in thrall when it was first published in the mid-nineteenth century. As well as these rare stories and those featuring the more well known bloodsuckers such as Le Fanu s Carmilla and Stoker s Dracula, there is a clutch of lesser known but equally frightening tales written by expert practitioners in the art of raising goose pimples. Children of the Night is a volume filled with the rich blood of chilling vampire fiction.

As usual the competition runs to the end of the month, you can enter by using the contact link Click here to contact me via my email link

and for an additional chance just leave a comment on this post.

Friday 8 June 2012

Review - Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 4 days

Blurb From Goodreads

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

My Review

Anastacia Steele (Ana), is a student doing her friend a favor by interviewing the billionaire Mr Christian Grey. What follows is a world wind of raw sexual education, some out there, dark and erotic tastes and a blow by blow account of Ana's teachings into a world most of us haven't ever dream pt of going.

There is so much controversy about this book and a lot of you love it or hate it, I'm not in any of those camps. I found it hilarious, irritating, repetitive, mortifying, educative and some moments of - to quote Ana "oh my". I visibly blushed reading some of it yet I found it hard to put down. For anyone who has wondered at the world of bondage/dominating/submissive this paints a very graphic picture. If your easily offended, like your books to be of high literature standing and of depth avoid this like the plague. If however you fancy something different with a whole host of silliness and naughtiness this is the book for you.

The only other thing I would say is there is a lot of repetitiveness in it. Constant use of the words "oh my" and referring to her inner Goddess which grates after a while, not forgetting the constant rolling her eyes and scenes kicking off with her biting her lower lip. I will be reading the next in the series as I have to know what happens next for Ana and Mr Grey but this one for me is a on the fence 3/5. Also if you fancy a giggle, go check out the reviews on amazon, particularly the one stars, some of them are pure comical genius.

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The Time Will Come #1

The Time Will Come #1
- The Time Will Come - Every Thursday l am going to list a book which l really want to read/keep meaning to get to. These are mostly books which have been on my shelf for awhile now but don't have to be, maybe you got it two weeks ago and really want to read it!

Want to join in? - Pick a book you have been meaning to read - Do a post telling us about the book - Link the post up in the linky - Visit the other blogs! ~

A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard.

Blurb From Goodreads
Flora Dunbar is dead. But it isn’t over.
The spectre at Flora’s funeral is Flora herself, unobserved by her grieving family and the four men who loved her. Looking back over a turbulent lifetime, Flora recalls an eccentric childhood lived in the shadow of her musical twin, Rory; early marriage to Hugh, a handsome clergyman twice her age; motherhood, which brought her Theo, the son she couldn’t love; middle age, when she finally found brief happiness in a scandalous affair with her nephew, Colin... “There has been much love in this family – some would say too much – and not a little hate. If you asked my sister-in-law, Grace why she hated me, she’d say it was because I seduced her precious firstborn, then tossed him on to the sizeable scrap heap marked ‘Flora’s ex-lovers’. But she’d be lying. That isn’t why Grace hated me. Ask my brother Rory.”

I have most of Lindas books on my tbr, I do this every so often, find an author I like - get all their books and then save them

Thursday 7 June 2012

Christopher Brookmyre Waterstones book launch

So happy I went along. The new book is the second in a new series mr Brookmyre is writing, with the 3rd currently being penned. I had been upset after reading his last book (the first of the new series) he had dropped his unique style of un-pc humour in this series, however I am delighted to say he is bringing the funny back. He has a new book (not this new one he was doing the launch for) but a new (hopefully series)sci-fi one with the old humour in toe. Cannot express how happy I am and it has also delighted hubby. He explained why he had changed his style and they had abbreviated his name, read out a few emails from fans (side bustlingly funny) and a few exerts from the new book. He made us laugh quite a bit today and his wife was along to support him, if you haven't seen him before and get a chance you should go along.
Today also saw a mini meet from some of our book group getting together. Sadly some of them couldn't make it so it was just the four of us but we had a fantastic day. Sadly I didn't get a pic of all of the books but here is a wee looky at some of them
This is the 3rd meet up in Glasgow (some have been in Ireland and various places in England) but for 2 of the ladies it was their first ever meet up and they had a good time(I hope) and hoping to do it again weather permitting for Brookmyres book launch in January.

And lastly Christopher signing the book for my hubby

Edited to add, the kitty must have smelt Pennys kitty as she has just knocked my tower of books down whilst investigating!

Monday 4 June 2012

Review - Where Has Oprah Taken Us? By Stephen Mansfield

Where Has Oprah Taken Us?Where Has Oprah Taken Us? by Stephen Mansfield
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads
An evocative exploration of Oprah Winfrey's religious beliefs, from her rejection of her Baptist upbringing to her controversial rise as "an icon of church-free spirituality."

Born into poverty in Mississippi in 1954 and rising through talent, hard work and despite tragedy-she was raped at the age of nine and lost an infant son at 14-Oprah Winfrey has become one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most popular women of her age. These facts alone would make Winfrey worthy of study, yet what makes her of even more profound impact on American society is her decision to champion the cause of "New Age Christianity." She is, as "Christianity Today" has proclaimed, "a postmodern priestess-an icon of church-free spirituality." Rejecting her Baptist roots, Winfrey has become a champion of the "Course in Miracles," a seminar in which Christianity is reinterpreted in terms of self-actualization, personal divinity, and self-empowerment. She has also become a disciple of Eckhart Tolle, the increasingly popular teacher of a form of spirituality that blends Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity.

Author Stephen Mansfield explores the Winfrey spiritual phenomenon-much as Mansfield has with figures like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, and Winston Churchill.

My Review

Like most people I had heard of Oprah but didn't know much about her other than her role in the color purple (love that film/book) and she does a chat show. So I selected this book to review in order to learn a bit more about her.

The first part of the book focuses on her life, from childhood and upbringing, struggles as a teen, career choices up to present day. What I didn't know or expect was how much religion plays a part in her life and the unique path she takes with it.

The author is very much present in this book and after writing something of Oprahs view on one religion or another he puts his feelings about it afterwords in italics. He explains why he feels the views of Oprah and her religious gurus are wrong and how he feels they contradict each other. I did enjoy the first part of the book but then it was very much about religion and what was available when Oprah was a child, when she was a teen etc and not focusing on her so much. At one point I felt the book should actually have been called Oprahs religious views and why I think they are wrong as a huge chunk of the book focuses on this.

I think some people will find this book and some of Stephen's views perhaps offensive (some will no doubt agree whole heart-idly) and others interesting. I have certainly learned more about the other beliefs and religions out there which is fine but I had picked this up hoping to read more about Oprah so for that reason it's a 2/5 for me.

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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Sunday 3 June 2012

May Pre-loved Giveaway winner is.........

Lewis Pearce (no website given), well done and thank you to everyone who took part. The winner has been notified and if the prize isn't claimed within 48 hours, as always, another winner will be picked.

June's pre-loved giveaway will be announced in the next few days and apologies this is a few days behind but I have been caught up with work and preparing for Race For Life which I will be doing tomorrow in Glasgow. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time and sponsored me, I have smashed my target. If you haven't already and wish to do so it isn't too late and the link is on the top right hand side of this page.

I will also be listing another Amazon kindle 3 cover giveaway soon so keep an eye out for that.

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