Thursday 30 August 2012

A.R.R - The Jazz Cage by Ray Chen Smith

The Jazz CageThe Jazz Cage by Ray Chen Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Prohibition-era mobsters collide with Underground Railroad abolitionists in The Jazz Cage.

It is 1924—sixty years after the South’s victory in the Civil War.

Frank McCluey, bounty hunter for the mob, is sent to help out a wealthy Virginian bootlegger. Frank’s job: track down two female slaves who’ve run away from the millionaire.

But the mob has made a bad choice. Instead of capturing the women, Frank decides to help them escape to Canada, his mission now aided by the pint-sized but steel-willed runaway Della and the outlawed Underground Railroad.

Soon Della and Frank become the target of slave catchers, cops, gangsters, and most chilling of all, a Confederate agent nicknamed the Hound for his ability to always sniff out and kill his prey.

My Review

This is a great story, the Civil War where the South won and slavery and racism is rife. Frank McCluey is a bounty hunter for the mob and hired to bring back two female slaves who have escaped from a millionaire that will stop at nothing get them back. However Frank is going though a crisis and instead of taking the women back he decides to help them, putting himself in the firing line for the mob, police and FSA agents. A fast paced story that will have you keep you hooked until the end.

I really liked this story, the two slaves and Frank are the main characters (along with the FSA Agent, known as The Hound). The story alternates between these 4 characters and we follow their escape and the characters who dip in and out of the story. There is a lot going on but not so much that you get lost or confused amongst the plot. The chapters are a few pages long (which I love) so you can fire through the book even if your working or have other things on as you can dip in and out.

Why only 3 stars for a book I really enjoyed? Well my knowledge on history isn't great so I found myself having to stop mid story and Google a few things which is no reflection on the story or writer (more my lack education) but it did then interrupt my reading (which most of you won't have an issue with). Also when the bad guy got paid, the amount was told by who was on the money rather than the amount, again I had to search as I am rubbish at knowing who is on what note (and would have the same issue on our countries notes). However I now know a wee bit more than I did before reading this book and may pick up a book on the Civil War and educate myself further.

The characters are very well written, Frank I just couldn't help but like considering what he is putting on the line to help these woman. The strength of these two ladies shows throughout the book (Della more so but Cece shines through as the story goes on). There is racism, a lot of bad words and the horrors the women suffer are told but doesn't go into horrific detail but enough fr you to understand why they are so desperate to get away (and so untrusting towards white folk). The Hound is a horrible despicable man who uses his status to get away with appalling crimes and punishes people for things that happened to him as a youngster. I don't think I have disliked a character so much since Percy in The Green Mile. The author has a wonderful talent for bringing the characters to life and I am still thinking of them despite finishing the book. 3/5 for me this time and thank you so much to the author for giving me the chance to read and review his work. I would definitely read this author again.

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Monday 27 August 2012

Review - Dawn Of the Dead by George A. Romero (and Susanna Sparrow)

Dawn of the DeadDawn of the Dead by George A. Romero
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - less than 1 day

Blurb From Amazon

When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.

George A. Romero's iconic film and novel terrified generations. Now Dawn of the Dead is back to terrify once more. The world is being devastated by zombies. No one knows how far they have spread, or how to stop them. And as the living fight to save themselves, society collapses. Four people escape the chaos of downtown Philadelphia and find shelter in a shopping mall. As the survivors exhaust their greed and the undead scrape at the doors, the refuge becomes a prison. And soon there will be nowhere left to hide ...

The classic horror that inspired a genre: if you haven't read this yet, you need to. If you have, you'll want to again. Includes a brilliant and exclusive introduction from Simon Pegg.

My Review

How did I not know this book existed!! I found it by chance in The Works, on sale and had quite a moment to myself. If you have seen the movie you know the jist of the story but for those who haven't (where have you been!), the story is focused on 4 survivors of the zombie outbreak, trying to survive. As we go in, we start in the news broadcasting room as they try to cover the beginning of the outbreak and make sense of it. Soon people realize this isn't under control and make a break for it. What follows is the story of how they face the terrors and try to stay alive, and out there it isn't just the zombies you need to worry about.

I loved the film and to be honest it has been so many years since I seen it (the original) I am not sure how closely the book follows (but a lot of what I do remember seemed to be present. The story isn't just a gore fest, although there is enough to keep the horror fans happy. It also shows the bonds and strains between the relationships, Roger and Peter, both professional killers trying to keep their head during the chaos. Fran and Stephen, in a relationship and now doing what they can to stay alive and help with the two trained killers.

My only complaints would be the chapters seemed to morph from one scene to another without any indication it had changed, ie no page break or symbol to indicate where one scene ends it just goes straight to the other. With only 4 main characters (for the most part) it is still easy to follow but that can be a tad annoying. The other is how it ends, I am pretty sure the movie is fairly the same but I like to know every detail and not be left guessing or hanging so therefore it is a 4/5 for me. would love to get my hands on the other books so will have to search and see if they exist.

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Sunday 26 August 2012

A.R.R - Through The Door by Jodi McIsaac

Through the Door (The Thin Veil, #1)Through the Door by Jodi McIsaac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Cedar McLeod lives an ordinary but lonely life, raising her six-year-old daughter Eden on her own while trying to balance the demands of her career and the expectations of her mother. Everything seems normal until the day Eden opens her bedroom door and finds herself half a world away – and then goes missing. Suddenly, Cedar realizes her daughter is anything but normal.

In a desperate search for answers, Cedar tries to track down Eden’s father, who mysteriously disappeared from her life before Eden was born. What she discovers is far beyond anything she could have imagined. As she joins unlikely allies in the hunt for her daughter, Cedar becomes torn between two worlds: the one she thought she knew, and one where ancient myths are real, the stakes are impossibly high, and only the deepest love will survive.

My Review

Cedar McLeod is raising her daughter, 6 years after her man left suddenly without finding out she was with child. Flick to present day and Eden can suddenly open doors to anywhere she has seen, either in her head or a picture. Cedar has to try and find Eden's father and get some answers however she comes to the attention of some other magical creatures and soon a battle to save her daughter, herself and even her world begins.

Firstly I am not often bothered with covers but when I opened the parcel and saw this one I was delighted - yes it is a door and a keyhole but something about it and the design created an impressive first reaction.

The story for me started a bit slow, it lays a good background and build up but I wanted answers so found myself unable to put it down (what can I say I am nosey and like to know what is the deal with my characters). There is a lot of questions raised as we go along, and we meet many mythical creatures (which I found a fabulous surprise which I won't spoil for you).

When it gets going it is a great wee story and well written. There are a few big words that you will find a mouthful, mostly names (this is always a bug bear with me) however the author has put a list at the front of the book explaining how they are pronounced.

The story has action, murder, love, mystery, mythical creatures, history and a whole other world. This is the first in a series and I will look out for the next one to follow our characters adventures. For a while I thought this was going to be a 3 star book but towards the last quarter or the book, the action picked up and the questions I had built up as I was getting deeper into the story where answered, firing it up to a 4/5. Thanks so much to the author for offering me the chance to read and review her work and introducing me to a new world. Available now on Amazon in paperback and for the kindle.

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Friday 24 August 2012

ARC - The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left BehindThe Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days (work got in the way)

Blurb From Goodreads

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost.

My Review

The book starts with Sophie Lefevre in 1916, France. The war is already well underway and Sophie's family and town are feeling the effects. Their men are gone, there is little food, curfews, beatings and violence - all that goes along with war. Sophie is a strong, brave lady who does not take kindly to the Germans and what they stand for and often puts herself on the line to challenge them. Slowly the town starts to question her loyalty and her love and longing for her husband soon gets her into a situation that may cost her her life.

Just under halfway through the book we switch to London 2006 where we meet Liz. A young woman who has been through a lot in the past 4 years. She finally lets her guard down and meets a man but as fate would have it, a bombshell is about to be dropped. A painting her late husband bought her on her honeymoon is being sought by the Lefevre family as an heir loom stolen by the Germans during the war. The girl you left behind has more than monitory value for her and she will fight them even if it means losing everything, including her new man.

I loved this story! I was annoyed when we left Sophie and skipped to Liv as something big had just happened and I loved her character, I wanted to know what has happened. However I soon got into Liv's story and after a while the two link up as they are joined by the history of the painting. Two women caught up in love, one sacrificing herself for her husband and the other to honor and do the right thing for the painting of the girl you left behind.

I would have got through this in a day had I not had to work, I found it hard to put down as I was hooked into both stories and wanting to know what happened to Sophie and if Liv will get what is rightfully hers. This story covers many aspects, betrayal, love, honor, bravery, war, friendship and the lengths that some people will go to for what they love. The story crosses over two time periods but it is done so well and is really easy to follow. I do enjoy this authors style of writing (this is the second book I have read of hers and it won't be my last). A really enjoyable story that will leave you thinking, what would you have done. Great for a book group I would think, 4 out of 5 for me. Thanks to Real Readers for giving me an ARC copy of this book and the opportunity to review it.

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Tuesday 21 August 2012

WBC - The Submission by Amy Waldman

The SubmissionThe Submission by Amy Waldman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To read - 4 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Ten years after 9/11, a dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel reimagines its aftermath.

A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner's name - and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country's.

The memorial's designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself - as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.

In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman's cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure their perspectives. A striking portrait of a fractured city striving to make itself whole, The Submission is a piercing and resonant novel by an important new talent

My Review

A competition to design a memorial for the victims of 9/11 is set and a jury to pick the winner. The anonymous design is by an architect called Mohammad Khan, behind closed doors the jurors argue over the impossibility of this man being allowed to design it. What follows is a lot of anger, distrust, hurt, hate, racism and arguments/debates over what is right morally and if the design should be allowed or even announced.

I loved the start of this book. It raised so many questions and an inner debate, if I was on that jury would I have a problem with it? Would I be suspicious? Or would I be outraged on Mohammad's behalf, an American being wronged because of his religion and his appearance. I didn't like how there wasn't a lot of background on the characters but I suppose it may have taken away from the subject matter but I would have liked to know more about Mohammad and what made him the way he was (and why he reacted as he did).

You read a lot of the characters opinions as the book goes on and the debate for and against it and also how Mohammad reacts to it all and his perception. To be honest, nearing the end I started to waver and get a little bored by it. The same issues kept going round and then the end seemed to jump a fair bit. I would have liked to have had more attention paid to the final outcome of the memorial and how it came about but felt it skimmed on that and started giving us a bit more on the characters when the whole book had been about the memorial and reactions rather than any kind of depth of the characters.

It is still a very interesting read, for the most part and it certainly makes you think (I even learned a little about a different religion). I think it would make for an excellent book group read as there is much to discuss and debate on. 3/5 for me this time and thanks to Waterstones Book Club for sending this my way.

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Tuesday 14 August 2012

A.R.R - Shadows Of The Past by E.A. Jensen

Shadows of the PastShadows of the Past by E. A. Jensen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From The Back Cover

Release date March 29, 2012

For five years, Kirsa Heinrich has tried to leave her past behind. Yet in a blink of an eye it all comes back to haunt her. A call from her old boss informs her that a series of heinous murders has occurred in her hometown. Each victim is protected under the Paranormal Laws, each one killed in a different manner. At each scene a cryptic message is left for Kirsa. Now Kirsa has to face her own past in order to solve the crimes. Ayden O'Brian is a member of an elite group of Vampires that work for the Vampire Council. He has been handed a case that hints at a traitor in their midst, one who is giving secrets to their biggest enemy. When the information that is being leaked pertains to Kirsa and her family's connection to council, Ayden is sent to New Jersey to help Kirsa solve the case. Together they will unlock a long hidden secret about Kirsa's family and an old war between vampires. For within the past, they will discover the secret to the traitor and the person responsible for the killings.

My Review

Kirsa is not your normal human, she has always been surrounded by vampires and has a rare blood condition. She works as an international agent for the OPIA (Occult and Paranormal Investigating Agency) which means she can travel to help solve crimes. Bodies are building up and at each crime a note is left for Kirsa so she is drafted in to consultant on the case. Soon it becomes apparent that the case is more to do with Kirsa and her family than anyone could have guessed and secrets and betrayal and at the heart of it.

First I have to say this book would have rated higher but there are a lot of grammar and spelling issues (not so much that it detracted from the story for me but this has been the case for some people). My only other issues are that in one chapter you have several different scenes with different people yet all that separates it is a spaced line between the sentences. This is very confusing at times and you have to go back and re read the previous sentence and then realize it is a different scene. I think this could be easily rectified by the use of a symbol, something in line with the theme would be great or even as simple as the star about the number 8 on a keyboard.

Back to the story, I really enjoyed it. The story starts with a cat and mouse scene that draws you in and the action starts from there. The chapters are short in length which is great because there are so many characters, types of creatures (ware-cats, witches, vampires to mention a few) that you need time to digest what you have read. I love the character of Kirsa, there are so many levels to her and you get to follow her journey as she develops. She has been through a lot (which you find out as you read) yet she is still a fighter, it is refreshing to read a strong female character. Ayden is another great character, apart from being a vampire (who doesn't love them, right?), he is very loyal, fierce and protective but also has a sensitive side.

The author has created a whole new kind of vampire tale (mixed with other creatures) and a law and council dedicated to them. The Vampires have different traits (and some of the same) as ones we have read about before but this is the first book I have read with vampires of different kinds. I could go on and on about this book but for me I think this is my longest review so will stop here. If your looking for something new and love vampires you should try this book although it isn't exclusive to just vampires. I gave it a 3/5 and would read this author again, thanks so much for introducing me to your work and giving me the opportunity to review it. This book is available in ebook edition and print.

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Monday 13 August 2012

August's Pre-loved Giveaway is The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy & Other Short Stories by Tim Burton

This is a thin wee book which I wouldn't call a book (or stories) as it is so short.

The book itself is in great condition, has a few light indents but the spine is intact and no creases. This competition is open to UK and International.

Read my review of it here

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.

Review - The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

The Silent Girl (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles, #9)The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Every crime scene tells a story. Some keep you awake at night. Others haunt your dreams. The grisly display homicide cop Jane Rizzoli finds in Boston’s Chinatown will do both.

In the murky shadows of an alley lies a female’s severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed all in black, her head nearly severed. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel.

Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. But one woman connected to that massacre is still alive: a mysterious martial arts master who knows a secret she dares not tell, a secret that lives and breathes in the shadows of Chinatown. A secret that may not even be human. Now she’s the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil.

Cracking a crime resonating with bone-chilling echoes of an ancient Chinese legend, Rizzoli and Isles must outwit an unseen enemy with centuries of cunning—and a swift, avenging blade.

My Review

A murder-suicide from 19 years ago seems to keep popping up in relation to a new homicide. The corpse is almost decapitated and her hand is completely removed. On the corpse is two strands of silver hair that can't be identified, human or animal? Soon secrets from the past and tales of Chinese legend come to the front and Isles and Rizzoli have to work through it all to find out what is going on and who the killer is.

The is a brilliant story, I loved the Chinese legends and stories and couldn't wait to find out what the link was with the past and the present. The story for the most part is written in third person view but for individual chapters and with one character it is written in the first person narrative. Normally this kind of switching would annoy me as I like things to be consistent but it works really well and I felt added to the story.

The story starts off fairly quickly with action from the first chapter (setting up a background for the story to come). We also see a different side to Rizzoli in this book and how unusual her and Dr. Isles friendship is and the pressures it can face.

So much to like and enjoy in this book and as always the thing I love, there was no loose ends. I got all the answers to my questions and forgot how much I enjoyed Tess Gerritsens writing. 5/5 for me and to be honest you could read this as a stand alone but if you like clarity on your characters and how their relationships came to be I would check out the previous books.

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Sunday 12 August 2012

55 book questions

Taken from - if you get a chance please check it out

55 Book Questions

Found this on Tumblr :) Feel free to do it yourselves and link me to it in the comments!

1. Favourite childhood book? — It by Stephen King or 4 Seasons by Stephen King.

2. What are you reading right now? — The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

3. What books do you have on request at the library? — I haven't used the library in years, need to start though

4. Bad book habit? — Buying more than reading

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? — None.

6. Do you have an e-reader? — I have a Kindle.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? — One at a time although if I struggle I will start another rather than give up

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? —I get books from authors and publishers I normally wouldn't look at and have found myself liking and venturing into new genres because of it.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? - an author request one but won't mention it due to hassle I had with the author.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? — Oooh that is too hard as there are a few but I will go with Lost Angel by Mandasue Heller (if you haven't read it, seriously check it out!).

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? — Quite a lot again through review offerings.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? — Horror.

13. Can you read on the bus? — yes, I can read anywhere.

14. Favorite place to read? — Anywhere comfy.

15. What is your policy on book lending? — I will lend to almost anyone bar my friend M, she has lost two books and is a nightmare.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books? — Nope. (thats bending pages right?)

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? — Oh God no.

18. Not even with text books? — ... Nope.

19. What is your favourite language to read in? — English - it is the only one I know (barring slang).

20. What makes you love a book? — I honestly don't know, sometimes a book just grabs you.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? — If I think someone will love it (sometimes I hate a book but know someone who will love it. I also share any I love.

22. Favorite genre? — Horror

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? — Hmm maybe more of the classics.

24. Favourite biography? — I have only read a few but Graham Norton or Sharon Osbourne
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? — I don't think so.

26. Favourite cookbook? — Slowcooker cook book but I don't really use it lol.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? — I honestly don't know.

28. Favorite reading snack? — chocolate!

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. — Not sure.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? — I don't really read official critics tbh I make up my own mind about a book regardless of what people have said about it.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? — I feel bad especially when an author has gifted me the book but I specifically say in my review tab I will always be honest with my reviews which almost every author has respected.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? — French or Italian I think.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? — I don't think I have been intimidated by a book but if it has a lot of big words in it that puts me off.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? — meh see above.

35. Favorite Poet? — I don't have one.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? — None.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? — n/a.

38. Favorite fictional character? — too many to choose one.

39. Favourite fictional villain? — Pennywise the clown (does he count, very very scary).

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? — Review books.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. — A day or two.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. — Oooh it is on my blog, I have only ever gave up on two or three books ever, I hate not finishing a book.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? — my cat.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? — The green mile by Stephen King.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? — I know a few but can't think just now.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? — £50

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? — Never.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? — Something really bad to be honest or if it is boring me to death.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? — Ha no you should see the state of my book piles.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? — Both I have great keepers but find myself sharing them out now more.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? — Not really.

52. Name a book that made you angry. — I can't think at the moment but for sure there are plenty.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? — The Cindy Dees ones I just read.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? — Hmm I liked it but not as much as I thought I would was the book thief.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? -Jackie Collins everytime.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Review - The Dark Side Of Night by Cindy Dees

The Dark Side Of Night (H.O.T. Watch #1)The Dark Side Of Night by Cindy Dees
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Publisher - Harlequin

Blurb From Goodreads

Kinsey Hollingsworth's tropical-getaway plans didn't include dodging gunshots. Or a speedboat chase with Mitch Perovski, the tall and tempting spy who'd commandeered her boat. But the socialite would handle anything Mitch demanded--whether it meant going undercover or under the covers.

Mitch didn't work with partners. And although Kinsey proved she was more than a pampered heiress, she was no match for the assassin targeting them...or for Mitch's smoldering desire. He had to get through this one high-stakes task with her. But after a night in Kinsey's arms, could he walk away from their partnership for good?

My Review

This is the second book in a combo I bought when on holiday. Kinsey is a spoiled rich girl hiding out after a huge expose in the papers after a public split with her fiancé. Chilling out on her daddy's boat her day is turned upside down by Mitch and a spray of bullets. What follows is their emotional turmoil battling the passion and feelings they have for each other whilst trying to dodge the bullets coming from their enemy. Will they stay manage to fight their feelings for each other and manage to stay alive?

I did enjoy this book, a new series with new characters and whilst there is a steamy scene or two and a lot of imagining what they would do to each other, the story outside of all that is pretty good. There is action jumping off the pages pretty much right from the get go and I don't mean of the naughty variety - it has a really great action story.

Again she uses words that I don't see often in books and that reminds me of years ago, for example cagey "Another shrug. Cagey, he was". Or Kowabunga (I would use a quote but it gives a wee bit away about a particular scene and I don't do spoilers however if you grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this would have been a phrase you used a lot through your childhood.

The story got a tad fantastical near the very end and whilst I did enjoy it I was sitting going ok that would so never happen. If you fancy a book that is great for holiday and with some fantasy and a rough bad guy who is really a good guy then this is the book for you, 3/5 for me this time and I would read this author again.

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Wednesday 8 August 2012

Review - Breathless Encounter by Cindy Dees

Breathless Encounter: Breathless Encounter\The Dark Side of NightBreathless Encounter: Breathless Encounter\The Dark Side of Night by Cindy Dees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

A man—only, much more powerful…

…rescues filmmaker Sunny Jordan from certain death on the high seas. Someone wants her dead, but her mysterious savior, Aiden McKay, seems intent on guarding her life—and keeping his emotions at a distance. Sunny never imagines the sexual chemistry involved in being saved by a godlike man, a chemistry the man seems determined to ignore. He has secrets about who he is and how he can navigate oceans with the ease of an underwater killer. Swept up in an adventure, Sunny falls hard for this man whose love runs deep but is potentially deadly….

My Review

Firstly let me say this book is a two for one but I am going to review each book separately as I feel the stories deserve that so this is only a review for book one, Breathless Encounter. I had never heard of this author and only picked this book up because it was a good deal (under $4 for 2 books) and well look at the cover - I don't normally go for blondes but this chap draws you in!

Sunny Jordan is our main character (well one of) out on her boat trying to capture on video the atrocity's that happen out at sea. Someone wants her dead and whilst trying to take her down she is found and rescued by Aiden McKay (other main character). Aiden has secrets he doesn't want anyone to know about, especially a women when he has tried and succeeded in staying away from them for the past few years. However a blossoming romance and sexual tension sets in and before long they are battling their feelings and trying to stay alive, someone keeps attacking and trying to kill them but who is the target, Sunny or Aiden.

This is an action packed romance with murder, sex and a whole lot of life threatening situations. I liked Aiden, he is your gorgeous hunky man with commitment issues along with a few other unique traits. Sunny I would have liked to have slapped a few times - her life is being threatened yet she is concerned with insurance details, although in her defence she has a lot to contend with because of Aiden and the people constantly trying to kill them. I think some people will find this book too fantastical, how many times can one girl get into such situations and some of the things they come away with. For example "That went beyond clueless to royal jerkdom." and she uses the word crud, I haven't seen this term used in a book but we used to say it years ago so I loved it. I had some other cracking quotes but the bookmarks fell out.

When reading this book I laughed, sighed (even at a few points tutted out loud). It has a few descriptive sex scenes but mostly the story is about these two people who like each other and how they struggle to deal with it. Add in quite a bit of action, murder, sabotage and passion and you have a good story, despite a few issues I actually quite liked it. This is a perfect holiday book and I am just going to start the second novel but this time it is a 4/5 for me.

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Sunday 5 August 2012

Review - The Pack (#1) by Jason Starr

The Pack (The Pack, #1)The Pack by Jason Starr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Amazon

When Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son. But his reluctance pushes his already strained marriage to the limit. In the nestled playgrounds of the Upper West Side, Simon harbors a simmering rage at his boss's betrayal.

Things take a turn when he meets a tight-knit trio of dads at the playground. They are different from other men Simon has met, stronger and more confident, more at ease with the darker side of life- and soon Simon is lured into their mix. But after a guys' night out gets frighteningly out of hand, Simon feels himself sliding into a new nightmarish reality.

As he experiences disturbing changes in his body and his perceptions, he starts to suspect that when the guys welcomed him to their "pack," they were talking about much more than male bonding. And as he falls prey to his basest instincts, Simon must accept that werewolves exist if he is to turn the tides of his fortune...

My Review

Meet Simon Burns, possibly the most unfortunate guy of the week in terms of work. He thinks he is getting a big promotion after working for the same company for over 7 years only to be fired rather humiliatingly and without a second thought. Going from a high powered job to a stay at home dad is life changing and challenging. But after a play date with his son at the park he meets some grown up friends and on their first "night out" his life changes and here in starts a new and terrifying chapter.

I loved this book, it is easy to read - a story that you just fall into and can't put down (well nosey folks like myself can't). We follow Simon going through an emotional journey through stresses with his job and financial situation, not to mention his marital issues which all stem from his journey after being flung into the life of a werewolf. I think I liked it so much because you get to follow pretty much every aspect of this normal guy going through a lot of struggles you can identify with(especially with today's economy). Also how the journey of the "change" happens and how it affects him both emotionally and physically.

There is a fair bit of violence and sex in this book (it is all wrapped up in the beast and the changes that take place) but it doesn't detract or take anything away from the story. It has been a long time since I read a werewolf book and I love how this one has been done, it isn't all about the horror and gore (although there is enough of it to keep fans happy). I have been left with a few questions which I hate but as there is going to be another book I am hoping they get answered there, also you are left with a cliff hanger and the omg no you can't end it here!! Book two is out in the US now and for everyone in the UK we need to wait til October. 4/5 for me and now going to see if I can get book two whilst on vacation.

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Saturday 4 August 2012

R.M.L - Was by Geoff Ryman

WasWas by Geoff Ryman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

This haunting, magical, wildly original novel explores the lives of several characters entwined by The Wizard of Oz--both the novel written by L. Frank Baum and the iconic, strangely resonant 1939 film. It is the story of the "real" Dorothy Gale, an orphan living a hardscrabble life with abusive relatives on a Kansas frontier settlement, and of the kindly substitute teacher who decides to write the story of the life she ought to have had. Was is also the story of Judy Garland and her unhappy fame. It's about Jonathan, an actor now dying of AIDS, whose intense attachment to Oz dates back to his troubled childhood. And it's the story of Jonathan's therapist, whose work at an asylum also unwittingly intersects the path of the Yellow Brick Road.
From the Great Plains to glittering Hollywood, Was traverses the American landscape to reveal the whirling funnel cloud at the core of our personal and cultural fantasies. It is a powerful, moving story about survival, and about the power of human imagination to transcend the bleakest circumstances.

My Review

I think it is safe to say this is the first book I have read like this. We all (or most of us) know the story of the wizard of Oz and this is a tale with some of the characters and the basic information as a back drop. The story splits into 3 main parts, that of Dorothy, Judy Garland and Jonathan. The characters and dates split off into different chapters and go back and forth and will paint you a picture that is very different to the Oz we know, or make you think of it in a different way.

I must admit, I loved some of this book and I struggled with some of it. The bits I liked where fabulous and even after a few days since finishing it - I am still thinking about it. The bits I didn't like were mostly things I was confused on and found some of the time changing and so many characters a bit much for my brain to comprehend, at times. However the story is really good and evokes a host of emotions as you follow the characters lives.

I was captured mostly with the Dorothy and Jonathan side of the story and if I am honest there is a few characters I felt I wouldn't have missed had they been dropped out but that said I am biased because I wanted it to be all Dorothy & Jonathan. I think for those coming in with Oz in mind you need to keep an open mind as this is only some of the characters and not the story of Oz and some of it is a fair bit darker.

I loved that at the end the author has taken the time out to shed some light on what parts are real and the where and how he got his information. This cleared a lot up for me and I am sure a lot of other readers will appreciate it too.

I would definitely read more by this author and for a first attempt I am giving a 3/5, it might not be your cup of tea but then again you might just love it!

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Friday 3 August 2012

Amazon gift voucher winner is

Rachel Oxtoby, congratulations and well done. The winner has been notified and apologies for being late announcing but I am on vacation and the time difference (plus spending time with hubby and sightseeing) has made me a bit sloppy! As always thanks so much to everyone who entered. When I get home I will sort out August's pre-loved giveaway.

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