Saturday 29 September 2012

Review - Flesh Eaters (Dead World #3) by Joe McKinney

Flesh Eaters (Dead World, #3)Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 5 days (due to commitments not an issue with the story)

Blurb From Goodreads

Battered by three devastating hurricanes in a row, the Texas coast is flattened. But for the people of Houston--and soon all of America--the most terrifying events are just beginning. . .

They Rise. . .

Out of the flooded streets of Houston, they emerge from plague-ridden waters. Dead. Rotting. Hungry. And as human survivors scramble to their rooftops for safety, the zombie hordes circle like sharks. The ultimate killing machines.

They Feed. . .

Houston is quarantined to halt the spread of the zombie plague. Anyone trying to escape is shot on sight--living and dead. Emergency Ops sergeant Eleanor Norton has her work cut out for her. Salvaging boats and gathering explosives, Eleanor and her team struggle to maintain order. But when civilization finally breaks down, the feeding frenzy begins.

They Multiply. . .

Biting, gnawing, feasting--but always craving more--the flesheaters increase their ranks every hour. With doomsday looming, Eleanor must focus on the people she loves--her husband and daughter--and a band of other survivors adrift in zombie-infested waters. If she can't bring them into the quarantine zone, they're all dead meat.

My Review

Houston is hit with hurricanes and storms, houses and towns are destroyed and it is about to get a whole lot worse. A virus has broken out turning people into flesh eating maniacs or better known as zombies. Eleanor is our main character, Emergency Ops Sergeant, mum, wife and a force to be reckoned with. She tries to do her job and keep her family safe amid the caos and mounting number of undead.

Whilst I liked this story I have a few issues, the zombies don't really appear until about 100 pages in (hints of them before this but it's about 100 before it kicks off). The run up to this is really interesting though as it shows you how it goes from a healthy functioning town to utter ruin from the storms.

The characters go from being likable, moral, strong to a complete turn about to the point your questioning are these the same characters? Did I miss something? The story also is a lot about the characters personalities, they think back to past times and then come back to the present. There is enough zombie action to keep you happy but it for me was a mixed bag. I would like to read more about the aftermath and would read this author again, 3/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 23 September 2012

Review - The Life by Martina Cole

The LifeThe Life by Martina Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

The Bailey brothers are gangsters determined to make their mark in the world. Peter and Daniel are chalk and cheese in many ways - Peter's calm exterior belies his ruthless nature, while Daniel's penchant for spectacular violence is legendary - but together they are unstoppable. From the late seventies they rule London's East End and, when their sons join the business, it seems that no one can touch the powerful Baileys. Although it's never easy at the top; there is always someone waiting to take you down - sometimes even those closest to you... Lena Bailey is determined to shield her youngest child Tania from the Life. But when a terrible tragedy occurs, Tania's eyes are opened to their world in a way that forces her to make an irrevocable choice that will determine her future.

My Review

This is Martina's new novel and introducing a new family, the Baileys. Peter and Daniel and brothers, a tough upbringing with their mother being shunned as a single parent from a Catholic family. The story starts in 1997 briefly then revisits the 70s to build up a picture of the family and what happens to lead to the events in the 90s.

The characters are strong and stay with you, Daniel is a nutcase pure and simple. He acts first and thinks later (and even then is still convinced he was right on some level), Peter is the polar opposite - everything is thought through first and actions are always fair although can be just as brutal as Daniel. The story covers their rise to being the top family and the loses they suffer as a consequence. Despite some of the brutality and how they make their money, this book has a strong moral code of loyalty and how strong family bonds and honor can be.

There is pretty much non stop action from the very start, as with all her books there is bad language, violence, a little bit of sex and lots of suprises and skulduggery. If you like her books so far you won't be disappointed.

Had work not got in the way I could easily have read this in one sitting (all 500 pages of it). Martina is currently doing a book tour with this so check Waterstones website to see if she is visiting your town. She is a very interesting lady and I could have listened to her all night.

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Tuesday 18 September 2012

Review - Billie Jo by Kimberley Chambers

Billie JoBillie Jo by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Billie Jo is the adored only child of wealthy villain, Terry, and Michelle, the drunken wife he hates. Knowing how much Billie Jo dreads her parents’ fights, Terry imagines that she’ll understand when he tells her he is going to leave Michelle to marry his pregnant secretary.

But fate is about to deal a terrible hand and change everything in a way Terry has not planned at all, leaving Billie Jo’s protected world in tatters.

Set in a world of villains and chancers, Kimberley Chamber’s brilliant first novel is a rollercoaster read you will not want to put down.

My Review

This is my first encounter with Kimberley Chambers. I love Mandasue Heller and Martina Cole and was told if I like them I will like this lady, well they weren't wrong. The writing is not the same as Martina (I still like her but in recent time have found things a little samey), but like the other authors mentioned she spins a gritty crime story that pulls you in pretty much from the get go.

Billie Jo is a young girl who dotes on her dad, her mum is a booze addled horrible woman who has little time for Billie Jo and filled with hate. After an untimely accident their lives are changed and Billie Jo falls for a man who seems to good to be true. What follows is a gritty tale of lies, deceit, sex, drugs and betrayal.

I really found it hard to put this book down, (seriously, I was to be up early for work and 2am was still reading, I was so engrossed) the writing isn't the best I have read but this was the authors first book and the story overshadows any small blips you might come up against. She has a talent that is evident from very early on in the book and the characters (whether you are rooting for them or wanting to deck them) are strong and well shaped. I have another book by this author (I, for once am going to follow the sequence of when they were wrote) and it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time. P.s this cover isn't the same as the one I have (mine is listed as the kindle cover for some reason).

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Sunday 16 September 2012

Review - Baked To Death (#4) by Dean James

Baked To Death (Simon Kirby-Jones Mysteries #4)Baked To Death by Dean James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

With the help of some dandy little pills, Simon can get through his first summer in Snupperton-Mumsley with only a mild aversion to the sun. On the other hand, his assistant, Giles Blitherington, is bemoaning the beginning of the season. A medieval faire is coming to town--and setting up tent practically in Blitherington Hall's backyard. It doesn't take Simon long to don tunic and tights and gambol straight into controversy. The group putting on the faire is in the midst of a power struggle. Their "king" is about to be dethroned by a charismatic and popular duke. But when the usurper is poisoned by way of a fig pastry, Simon is confronted with enough suspects to fill a royal court. Now Simon must infiltrate the players to uncover a murderer most medieval.

My Review

If you haven't read the previous 3 books you don't really have to but as this one focuses a lot on the Simon and Giles side I would suggest you do to get a proper understanding on it (but the story itself is easy to read as a stand alone). We are back in the little town of Snupperton-Mumsley (got to love that name), where everybody knows or is in everyones business. This time there is a medieval fair coming in Giles back yard (much to his mothers annoyance), and once again we have an untimely murder. Simon sets about investigating, finding plenty of suspects and trying to solve the crime.

I do enjoy the humor of these books, it is all very murder she wrote with all the gossiping and skulduggery going on, Simon being the gay male version of Jessica. Did I mention Simon is also a vampire? These books are very tongue in cheek and they keep you guessing as each chapter comes along we have yet another suspect in the picture of who could have done it and why.

This book focused I felt a lot more on the Giles/Simon aspect, although there is plenty of of focus on the killing and all that follows but normally in the books the relationship between the two is a background side story, this time is more upfront and key to the story. A great wee series and I will be sad to see it go, a 3/5 for me this time.

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Septembers Pre-Loved Giveaway

Is not available this month, I am so behind and have had some things come up that means the blog and reading have and will need to take a back seat for a while. I will still be doing what I can but it won't be nearly as much or often as I usually do.

Therefore this month instead of a pre-loved giveaway it will be a £5 amazon voucher, as always fill in the form (via the link) at the bottom of the page to enter and you can leave a comment for an additional entry. The competition is open to everyone all you need is an email address (and of course an Amazon account). If you have a website, mention that in the form along with your name and I will list it when I announce the winner.

The competition as always runs to the end of the month, good luck and feel free to share. Click here to enter the competition

Thursday 13 September 2012

A.R.R - Redemption On The River by Loren DeShon

Redemption on the RiverRedemption on the River by Loren DeShon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 4 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Silas Jacobson pulled a trigger, killed his father, and ended up months later face down in Memphis mud, trying to forget the girl who betrayed him.

Silas buries his father on the farm, his guilt in himself and leaves home seeking to forget past mistakes. He travels on Mississippi steamboats and meets his best friend in a brawl, his worst enemy in a cathouse, and a mentor and lover at a New Orleans faro table. Fighting, fornicating, and cheating at cards are a grand time, but there's another woman, a girl on a mission of her own, who saves his life and offers the opportunity to redeem himself.

Silas staggers out of the mud to go to her, but he finds that she's deceived him from the start. He'll risk his neck for her—he owes her that much—but love is no longer possible. His shot at redemption comes down to his conscience, the two women, a poker game, and the turn of a card.

Redemption on the River is historical fiction set along the Mississippi River in 1848.

My Review

Silas has just killed his father and abandoned his family and his responsibilities. He wants to forget his past and find pastures new. Along the way he meets a new best friend, some ladies of the night, murderers, gamblers and some hustlers. Outside of the family home is a whole new world, where Silas has to learn to adapt, think on his feet and use all his brains and brawn just to stay alive. It is a journey of self discovery, and education on slavery, honour, love and what it is like to live as a slave and what they endure.

I got off on a bad footing with this story as once I read the first line "The day I killed my father began like any other on our farm in northwest Missouri". I had already made up my mind how it happened and the idea of what the story was going to be like, it was the total opposite and it took me a while to let go of what I wanted and thought it would be. Go into it with an open mind as you will enjoy the story so much more. Silas is the main character and I went from hating him, to liking him, to hating him, to liking him again. It is a story that moves you with the plight of the slaves and the education Silas gets and the growth and strength of his character (along with his weaknesses and bad attributes).

The main story is split between slavery and racism in the time period when it was considered normal and people where just beginning to (not all of them) realize how wrong it and immoral it is. It also is about a young mans journey from being a boy doing his duty at home to a journey of escape from a horrific time and self discovery to becoming a man with morals and thinking about more than himself. There is a lot to this story and I think people will take different things from it, love and hate it pending on what they can relate to and what it evokes in them. A thought provoking read with many aspects to it and I believe everyone can enjoy something from it, a well told tale and a respectful 3/5 for me. Thank you so much to the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review their work and I would read something by this author again.

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Wednesday 12 September 2012

Delays all round!

Apologies that I haven't put up Septembers Pre-Loved Giveaway. I was away in Spain for a few days and came home to 4 shifts in a row. This resulted in delays posting out last months winners prize (thanks again Tracy for being so understanding). I made it to the post office today and if your waiting on a parcel from me it is now on it's way.

Septembers pre-loved giveaway will hopefully be up in the next day or two, thanks again for being so patient.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Review - The Collectors(Camel Club #2) by David Baldacci

The Collectors (Camel Club, #2)The Collectors by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

In Washington, D.C, where power is everything and too few have too much of it, four highly eccentric men with mysterious pasts call themselves the Camel Club. Their mission: find out what's really going on behind the closed doors of America's leaders.

The assassination of the U.S. Speaker of the House has shaken the nation. And the outrageous iconoclasts of the Camel Club have found a chilling connection with another death: the demise of the director of the Library of Congress's rare books room, whose body has been found in a locked vault where seemingly nothing could have harmed him.

A man who calls himself Oliver Stone is the groups unofficial leader. Staying one step ahead of his violent past and headquartered in a caretaker's cottage in Mt. Zion Cemetery, Stone, drawing on his vast experience and acute deductive powers, discovers that someone is selling America to its enemies one classified secret at a time. When Annabelle Conroy, the greatest con artist of her generation, struts onto the scene in high-heeled boots, the Camel Club gets a sexy new edge. And they'll need it, because the two murders are hurtling them into a world of high-stakes espionage that threatens to bring America to its knees.

From an ingenious con in Atlantic City tho the possible forgery of one of the rarest and most valuable books in America history, to a showdown of epic proportions in the very heart of the capitol, David Baldacci weaves a brilliant, white-knuckle tale of suspense in which every collector is searching for one missing prize: the one to die for..

My Review

A government hitman, a talented con woman with a long time score to settle and a group of misfit gentlemen are the main characters in this book. The story is split into a few parts, the female con artist and her plan to avenge her family (plus get a big heist done whilst doing the job). The Camel club comes into play after a member of their library is killed very soon after the U.S. Speaker of the House is assassinated. There is a bit of background on each of the members of the group and then finally our hitman and how he ties into it all, his obsession with his trophies and the murders.

This is my first Baldacci book and even though it is number two, I found I could follow it fine as the relationships are touched on briefly but enough for you to know how they came to be and are with each other. The story is fairly quick paced and I am not sure if it is meant to but I found some of it really funny (just how some of them interact with each other or the things they come away with).

Whilst the stories start off as three separate stories the characters eventually link into each other and everything comes together. It has murder, twists and a surprise or two along the way and the chapters aren't too long apart so you can dip in and out if you like. The characters are very well done and as the story finished (on a bit of a cliff hanger) you can't help but wanting more. I think I will track down the first book of this series and will defiantly read this author again, 4/5 for me.

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Saturday 8 September 2012

Review - Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Sing You HomeSing You Home by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter's marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. Like her House Rules and several other previous Jodi Picoult novels, Sing You Home grapples with hot button issues. The novel also includes a CD of songs, each matched with a chapter in the book. Perfect for book clubs.

My Review

This story is broke into chapters with the 3 main characters, Zoe, Max and Vanessa. After the breakdown of their marriage both Max and Zoe go through some life changing experiences and the story follows it from their views. Vanessa comes into Zoe's life at a horrific moment and from there builds a friendship that blossoms into love. When Zoe and Vanessa decide to have a baby and want to use the embryos from Max and Zoe's previous attempts, Max's new found faith and congregation have a lot to say and fight it.

When you haven't read an author for ages (one of your favs) you forget how good they are and how well they paint a picture. Jodi is an amazing writer, she brings the characters to life as she has done here. You can feel the raw emotions and live the lives of these people for the duration of the book and experience the highs and lows they go through. It is a rollercoaster ride of emotion, hurt, anger, religion, politics and just about everything else that goes with it. What is right in the eyes of the church and the law to what is just human nature. This book provokes a lot of thought and I am sure a lot of opinions.

My only issue with it is with the little girl Zoe teaches I felt we had a few unanswered questions (which you know I hate) and I felt the ended rushed a bit. For example how did the people react after the court case and what happened in the lead up to the end chapter, that would have been fairly explosive and I was a little saddened I didn't get to find out how it got to that actual part (sorry to be vague but I don't do spoilers). Other than that it was a wonderful read that I found hard to put down, 4/5 for me and I will have to bump up the others on my tbr.

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NBR - Masque Of The Red Death by Bethany Griffin (book 1)

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club--in the depths of her own despair--Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for--no matter what it costs her.

My Review

Imagine trying to survive a world filled with disease, fear, murder, drugs and ruled by a tyrant who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Araby is living as best as she can, trying to fulfill a promise to her brother whilst under the same roof as her scientist father and aloof mother (both who she feels wishes she had expired and not her brother). Whilst trying to find escape and peace at Debauchery with her best friend she can't help but notice Will, handsome and aloof who makes her feel something other than the effects of drugs or the sorrow for the lives lost with disease. Eventually she meets Elliott who is dangerous, sexy and ruthless and believes he can give hope to those left alive and save what is left of his city.

This is quite a story, Araby is a great character who has many levels to who she is and how she came to be the person she is. My problem with the story is that I felt I was missing something a lot of the time (although by the end of the story I had a better understanding on everything). When someone went missing and there was no interrogation or real answers given to what had happened and where they had went. Also it seemed some of it was in riddles, something would happen or be mentioned and we wouldn't discover why or what until later in the book (this does annoy me as I have to read and re-read in case I missed something).

The relationships between Araby and the boys had, for me, some highs and lows and I switched my opinion on them a few times. Near the end there is a few twists and it does keep your attention but I didn't like how I didn't get my answers until the end of the book and even then I was left with questions. This is the first in a series and I will look for the next book to find out what happens next with Araby. 3/5 for me this time and thanks to Newbooks for providing me with a review copy and introducing me to a new author.

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Monday 3 September 2012

Review - The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes

Peacock EmporiumPeacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2.5 days

Blurb From Goodreads

In the Sixties, Athene Forster is the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she is also beautiful, spoilt and out of control. When she agrees to marry dashing young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme her parents breathe a sigh of relief. But within two years rumours have begun to circulate about Athene's affair with a young salesman. Thirty five years on, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her glamorous mother's legacy. At odds with her father and his second wife, struggling in a stalled marriage, she returns to the place of her birth to find that the ghost of her mother, in differing ways, still haunts them all. The only place she finds comfort is in her shop, The Peacock Emporium, a coffee shop-cum-curio store, decorated in her own image, which provides a haven for other misfits in the town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina. But the spectre of Athene and the shop itself combine to set in place a chain of tragic events, forcing Suzanna to confront the feelings she has disguised for so long - and her family, in their varying ways, finally to deal with the events of the past. And Suzanna discovers the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.

My Review

The story splits in time, we visit the past to get some of the background story then come to the present with Suzanna and the build up of her character and story which eventually all links together. Suzanna is the main character but this didn't become apparent until later on in the story. Whilst I did enjoy this story I found the first bit slow going and it wasn't until I got through a chunk of it and the picture pulled together that I really started to enjoy it.

Suzanna is unhappy, her life has been turned upside down and in a bid to get her to come to his way of thinking her husband helps her set up a shop which becomes The Peacock Emporium. It brings together a small town and helps Suzanna learn who she is and find love, friendship and to enjoy others company.

I disliked Suzanna to start with but once you understand more about her family life and watch how her character grows, you tend to warm towards her. There are a few unexpected surprises and shocks and we visit the past again near the end where my questions I had been left with were all answered ( I was worried I was going to be left hanging). The second half of the book comes together really well and I loved how it all came together. I really like this authors way of writing so will continue reading through her books as I do enjoy them. Slow to start but worth keeping with, 4/5 for me.

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Saturday 1 September 2012

August Pre-loved giveaway winner is.....

Tracy Nobbs - no website given. The winner has been notified and the book will be posted soon. I will post Septembers pre-loved giveaway soon. Thanks to everyone who entered.

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