Tuesday 26 February 2013

ARC - The Lost Boy by Camilla Lackberg

The Lost Boy (Patrik Hedström, #7)The Lost Boy by Camilla Läckberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 6 days

Publisher - HarperFiction

Blurb from Goodreads

No. 1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Lackberg's new psychological thriller - irresistible for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. On a late summer's night, a young woman jumps in her car, her hands slippery with blood on the steering wheel. Taking her five-year-old son, Nathalie flees to the only safe haven she knows: the island of Graskar off the coast of Fjallbacka...Meanwhile, Detective Patrik Hedstrom has barely stepped foot inside his office following a lengthy sick leave before he catches a murder investigation. A man has been murdered in his home: the victim, Mats Sverin, was the council's financial director, heading up a regeneration project worth millions. But when Patrik and his team start digging into the dead man's life, all they can uncover is unanswered questions. Why was Mats in such a rush to return to his home town of Fjallbacka after years in Gothenburg? And is it pure coincidence that Mats's childhood sweetheart Nathalie has also suddenly returned to the area? Mats visited Nathalie on Graskar before his death. The locals call the island 'The Ghost Isle' - they say that it's haunted, and that the dead have something to tell the living. But will anyone get close enough to uncover the dark secrets that lurk there?

My Review

The book draws you in from the first page, in fact even the first sentence. "It was only when she placed her hands on the steering wheel that she saw they were bloody". Nathalie is fleeing with her son, her hands covered in blood, but what has happened and why is she running? Patrik is a police officer in the small town of Fjallbacka, where Nathalie is running to, married to a successful novelist Erica trying to cope with grief and a murder case. Mats Sverin was left behind years ago by Nathalie, now she is back and suddenly he is dead. Is it coincidence? What has Mats been hiding and did it lead to his death?

I liked the story and found myself drawn in fairly quickly however there was far too many characters and different stories going on for me to keep up. Obviously you have the main one(s) but there are quite a few side lines ones and I kept finding myself having to go back to rediscover who was which story which is a bit frustrating.

There is also, in between chapters where the story goes back to FJALLBACKA 1870, the story is always titled and the year also written in italics so you know it has gone back in time. I loved reading these small glimpses of the past and Emelie's story however by the end of it I honestly thought, really? Thats is as I would have loved so much more and in depth.

This was my first time reading this author and to be honest, nothing is lost in translation and it's not often I will say that. It was a good story and you get tie ups to just about all the stories but I did find a few of the stories could have been dropped and or concentrated more on the main ones. However all in all a good introduction to this author and her work, I would consider more from this series, 3/5 for me. Thanks so much to the publisher, HarperFiction for sending me an ARC copy - available to buy from Hardback and ebook from all good retailers for £12.99 from 4th April 2013.

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Saturday 23 February 2013

ARC - Pretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl ThirteenPretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 1 day

Publisher - HarperFiction

Blurb From Goodreads

A gripping, suspenseful debut that will haunt you long after you have turned the final page…

Angie Chapman is only 13 when she gets lost in the woods in the middle of the night.

The next thing she knows she’s returned home, scars around her wrists and ankles, physically exhausted. Her parents collapse into tears when they see her, but Angie doesn’t understand – until they tell her she has been missing, presumed dead, for three years.

Angie doesn’t remember anything from her missing years. But there are people who do – people who could tell Angie every terrifying detail, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind.

With help, Angie begins to unravel the darkest secrets of her own past.

But does she really want to know the truth?

My Review

Angie Chapman is just 13 when she is kidnapped, she finds herself returning home with no memory of what had happened and covered in scars. Things aren't the same although she stills feels 13, however she soon is told that three years have passed and everyone wants to know where she has been and what has happened. Angie starts therapy and soon learns pieces and glimpses of how she survived and what she endured during her time away. How will she cope with it and how can she fall back into her old life when everyone has aged three years and changed. Nothing is the same and Angie's family is already struggling to cope with her sudden reappearance, lack of answers and what is still to come.

I really liked this story although considering the context I think like isn't the appropriate word but you know what I mean. It kicks off right away and is broken into decent length chapters with some sections covered by another "voice" which is done in different font or italics so you know. It is hard to describe that bit without giving too much of the plot away however there are people who know what happened to Angie and it is them who are talking when the font changes.

The story is brutal but done in such a way that you don't have to read all the horrible nitty grtty details, it is done in such a way you still get the full impact and there are some disturbing scenes but written delicately.

Angie is a strong character, she comes across much older than 13 however when you start to understand what she has endured it makes it believable and your heart goes out to her. The book definitely has echos of The Room and The lovely bones so if you liked them this is definitely one to read. I wasn't too sure when I started reading it if I was going to like it, looking at the clock and seeing it is past 1am I realized I had been totally drawn in! It loses a star because there are a few things I would have liked more clarification and followed up on but I really enjoyed it and will read this author again, 4/5 for this one. Thanks to HarperCollins, HarperFiction for providing me with an ARC and introducing me to yet another new author. This book is available to buy from any good retailer on the 28th February 2013, paperback for £7.99.

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Friday 15 February 2013

February competition - apologies

Sorry I haven't listed a giveaway or competition. Things have been really busy lately and any spare time I have had has been lost in either textbooks, ARCs or just a wee break into a book for the pleasure of reading. I can't believe I missed a Valentines giveaway and don't have a romantic book lined up as a giveaway.

To make it up to my fabulous followers, and any newbies who stumble across the comp, I will do a double giveaway. An amazon voucher for the value of £5 and Kathy Lette's book Dead Sexy. Now if you read my review you will see I didn't rate the book much but my tastes vary and you might love it. The book is immaculate and you could give it away as a gift, there is no damage or creases to the spine and it is exactly how I bought it.

The book is only available for UK entries as postage is creeping up at the moment, however the amazon voucher is world wide so as long as you have an email address you can enter.

As always if you leave a comment on this post you will get an additional entry. If you wish to enter both competitions you can use the form below just once and state you would like to enter for the book and the voucher. If you only want one please specify which it is. If you are entering for the book, please provide your name and address you would like the book sent to and or provide your email address if your entering for the amazon voucher. The reason being if you win and don't provide the details you only have up to 24 hours, sometimes 48 hours, to respond or another winner is picked. Sadly people have lost out on the prize before due to not providing the accurate information.

Feel free to follow on Twitter @smbslt or like our facebook page So Many Books, So Little Time.

Click here to enter the competition
Good luck to all entering, the competition runs to the end of the month. The winner will be picked at random using the usual system, announced on here and contacted by email. If you have a website, feel free to include it in your entry and if you win I will link it on the announcement page.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Tainted Lives by Mandasue Heller

Tainted LivesTainted Lives by Mandasue Heller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Sarah Mullen is a beautiful child who at seven years old is put into care by her drug-addicted mother. Trying to live with the rejection is bad enough, but no one could have prepared her for the pain that was yet to come. Harry Shaw is the boy that everyone bullies, the kid whose own mother locked him in a cupboard so she wouldn't have to look at his face, and then left him there. When he meets Sarah for the first time, a friendship is instantly forged. And out of a desire to be loved an alliance is born. Then into their lives comes Vinnie Walker, a good-looking and calculating thirteen-year-old who will change both their lives forever.

My Review

This tale kicks off pretty quick, a little girl tormented and battered by her mother and subjected to horrors by her friends. She is removed from her mothers "care" after an incident and placed into care. She meets people who will be bound to her life in different ways and will shape the person she will become. Betrayal, friendship, loyalty, brutality, shame, distrust is just a few of the issues covered in this story.

It is split over a few decades although the story flows so you don't miss anything and can follow easily. I could have read this in one sitting had circumstances allowed. Although the story is spread over a significant time period, all the questions you have from one are answered in latter part. This story provokes different emotions from rage and anger at a mother who can behave as she did and treat her child so, to admiration for a girl who bounces back no matter what life throws at her.

The characters are life like and well portrayed, from the bullied geeky Harry who shows how strong friendship can be. To the despicable, calculating and nasty Vinnie who you get to see from a young laddy to a grown man and the lengths one person will go to to get what he wants. It is no secret I love Mandasue Heller's books and writing and sometimes when you go back to earlier stuff you find you don't enjoy it as much or find something lacking. Thankfully this wasn't the case, I loved this as much as her recent writings and will get the others I have missed so far. 5/5 for me, as always if this is a new author to you, there is sex, violence, aggression, swearing, murder and all the usual that follows nitty gritty crime. If you like Martina Cole you will love Mandasue Heller.

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Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes

Silver BaySilver Bay by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 4 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb From Goodreads

When Mike Dormer heads out from London to a small seaside town in Australia to kick-start a hotel development, he expects just another deal. But Silver Bay is not just any seaside town, and the inhabitants of the eccentric ramshackle Silver Bay Hotel - the enigmatic skipper Liza McCullen, her ten-year-old daughter, and her legendary shark-catching aunt Kathleen, as well as the crews of the local whale-watching boats - swiftly begin to temper his own shark-like tendencies. He is left wondering who really has the greater right to the bay's waters. As the development begins to take on a momentum of its own, and the effect on the whales that migrate past the bay begins to reveal itself, Mike's and Liza's worlds collide, with dramatic results. New, unforeseen hazards emerge to confront both the creatures and the McCullen women. How close can you get, before you end up destroying what you love?

My Review

Mike Dormer comes to Silver Bay, posing as a tourist but really sent from London to get the hotel development plans sealed and off the ground. He doesn't expect to see anything other than getting his plans sorted and money in the bank. However the little seaside town has a lot going for it, from friendly locals, including one famous lady, to the beautiful sea life. Mike ends up facing a few dilemmas and some soul searching by the end of his visit and finding out what truly matters in life.

Oh this is a great wee book. At first it took me a bit to get into it, not sure if it was because it is different, starting in the city then heading to a wee quiet town. However as the book went on I started to get a feel for the characters and caught up in their lives. I loved the focus on the marine life and learning the behaviors of the whales and dolphins through the characters eyes. After a few passages it made me want to go and sign a petition or do something to protect these fabulous creatures.

There is a few angles in the book, a build up of relationships, torment of grief and losses from the past. Ghosts that need to be faced in order for some of the characters to be able to move forward. There are a few wee twists in the book and one near the latter end I didn't see coming but totally loved. I have enjoyed Moyes writing since I started with Me Before You and continue to do so although this is very different from her last few books, they are all so different. Great once you get into it, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 11 February 2013

ARC - The Scent Of Death by Andrew Taylor

The Scent of DeathThe Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 6 days

Publisher - HarperCollins

Blurb From Goodreads

From the No. 1 bestselling author of THE AMERICAN BOY comes a brilliant new historical thriller set during the American War of Independence. Manhattan, 1778. A city of secrets, profiteers, loyalists and double agents. As the last part of America under British rule, New York is home to a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the British crown. Edward Savill is sent from London to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists. No sooner does he land than he becomes embroiled in the case of a gentleman murdered in the city's notorious Canvas Town. An escaped slave hangs for the crime, but Savill is convinced they have executed the wrong man. Lodging with the respected Wintour family, Savill senses the mystery deepening. Judge Wintour's beautiful daughter-in-law, Arabella, hides a tragedy in her past, while his son plans a dangerous mission into enemy territory. And what of Mr Noak, the enigmatic clerk seemingly bent on a dubious course of his own? One thing is clear - the killing in Canvas Town was just the start of a trail of murder, and it's leading directly to Savill...

My Review

The first thing I need to mention is the cover on this book. Not the actual visual aspect although it is a mix of smoldering effect colors, simplistic and nicely done with only a feather with blood as the main focal point. It is the paper it is print on, the feeling is rich and has a beautiful texture on both the paperback and the hardbak.

Edward Savill is our lead main character traveling over from London, England to new York by his superiors to investigate claims of English loyalists being evicted by Republican rebels from their land. After a hectic journey across the waters he has no sooner arrived than the gets caught up in the murder of a gentleman and things go from bad to worse.

It is set in the 1700s, and focuses on the murder of the gentleman which, when Savill starts to investigate finds there is a lot more to it than first was apparent. Because of the time period, slavery features throughout which makes for uncomfortable reading in parts but adds authenticity to tale. The story also centers around Savill's interactions with Arabella, the daughter of the judge he is residing with during his stay. Savill is away from his family in a new and hostile environment, Arabella is beautiful, aloof and intriguing, a powerful mix.

The story is very slow going, I felt, for large parts. There is a lot of small incidents and events throughout that keep your interest and the last quarter of the book is where it really kicks off. Once the plot had thickened and the pace cranked up I didn't want to put it down however for me it took an age to get there. The writing is very well done and some of the descriptive passages are wonderful, you can clearly visualize the scene. This is my first time reading this author and I would try them again although maybe a different time period. Thanks so much to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC copy. Available from all good retailers from the 28th of February 2013.

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Friday 1 February 2013

January competition giveaway winner is........

Sarah, the winner has been emailed and notified. Thank you to everyone who took part. The next competition will be listed in the next few days.

Book Soulmates

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