Saturday 28 June 2014

Review - Poor Little Bitch Girl by Jackie Collins

Poor Little Bitch GirlPoor Little Bitch Girl by Jackie Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Pages - 436

Blurb from Goodreads

First there's Denver Jones, the hotshot attorney working in L.A. and Carolyn Henderson - personal assistant to a powerful and very married Senator in Washington with whom she is having an affair. Then there's Annabelle Maestro - daughter of two movie stars - who has carved out a career for herself in New York as the madame of choice for discerning famous men. The three twenty-something women used to go to high school together in Beverly Hills and Denver and Carolyn have always kept in touch, but Annabelle is out on her own with her cocaine addicted boyfriend Frankie.
Bobby is Frankie's best friend - Bobby Santangelo Stanislopolous, that is, Kennedy-esque son of Lucky Santangelo and deceased Greek shipping billionaire Dimitri Stanislopolous. Now he owns Mood, the hottest club in New York, but back in the day he went to high school with Denver, Carolyn and Annabelle, and hung out with all three of them. Which means that Bobby knows everyone's secrets - and he has some of his own, too.

My Review

I am a Jackie Collins fan, her books are laid out for you. Theres deception, lust, love, lies, sex, drink, drugs and thats usually just scratching the surface. When you have had a hectic day and your brain is fried, this is the kind of book that is perfect to sink into and loose reality with. Annabelle Maestro, daughter of two of Hollywood's large and loved stars has always played second fiddle to her parents and their career. She has shacked up with her drug dependent boyfriend and set up a discreet, high rolling, elite adult business. Her old school friend, Denver, is a hotshot attorney who is hired by Annabelle's father after a high profile murder. Soon Denver is dragged into a world, surrounded by people who, at high school, didn't give her a second glance but now she has something to offer. Amongst the pretty, rich, big named people is none other than Bobby Santangelo Stanisopolous, son of a billionaire, hottest guy at school and still pretty smoldering as an adult. Denver finds herself trying to keep focused on doing her job and keeping her personal life in check whilst dealing with Annabelle, father and the press who are always blood thirsty for some dirty laundry. If all that isn't enough, Denver's best friend Carolyn has gone missing in suspicious circumstances and Denver is looked upon to assist.

Collins is not an author to suit everyone, her books are junk food for the brain, the characters antics based upon actual happenings in Hollywood, although tamed down apparently. The characters are mostly familiar if you have read her previous titles from the series however if you haven't, you could follow this no problem.

The chapters are short, there is drama, disgrace, trouble and antics throughout the book, there is crime, passion and something to keep your interest peeked as you soon get drawn to the characters. Most are unlikeable, one or two you are rooting for however, love or hate them, you can't put the book down until you find out how it all unravels for them, or maybe that is just me! 4/5 for me this time, I have read Collins before and will read her again, just what is needed at the end of a long day!

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Review - The Darkening Hour by Penny Hancock

The Darkening HourThe Darkening Hour by Penny Hancock
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

pages - 402

Blurb from Goodreads

Meet Theodora
And Mona
Two women, from completely different walks of life, forced by circumstances to live together under one roof.
Both women are at their wits' end, scared of losing the one thing that's most precious to them. So when tensions boil over, who will go to the most extreme lengths to survive?
Will it be Theodora, finally breaking under the pressure?
Or Mona, desperate to find a way out?
In a tale of modern day slavery and paranoia, two women tell their sides of the story.
Who do you trust?

My Review

When I read the blurb, I thought it was about two workers living together, perhaps forced into some kind of labour. However the story is quite different. Theodora is caring for her father who has dementia with little help from the family. She is trying to keep her full time career with her own local show, look after her son who has just came back to live with her after some issues and a brush with the law. Her husband gets her Mona, a live in carer to help look after her father with all of his care and the story centers around this and the relationship between the two.

Mona has left behind her sick mother and little girl, in her own country and with a secret agenda, she is looking for her husband although portrays herself as a widow. She has to juggle the increasing demands of her employer as well as trying to find her husband, in this strange country, with limited means to do so.

Mona is trapped and at the mercy of Theodora's increasing demands. It is a story of slavery and abuse, care, devotion and also a bit of a psychological thriller as you see the increasingly bizarre behavior and decline of one of the characters. The chapters alternate between Theodora and Mona so you can see the different view points on the same situations which works really well.

I think this story could have been fantastic and some of it is very well done, however, it took a while to build up. Some of the behavior I felt was too incredulous, there is a lot of questions left unanswered which I absolutely hate. My opinions of the two women changed quite a bit in the first few chapters and I didn't like either of them, as it went on I found myself feeling for Mona and total disgust for Theodora. It will be interesting to see how they were received by other readers. For the most part this book has had high praise and great ratings so I would definitely recommend it to people, for me though there was more I disliked that I actually liked. 2/5 for me this time, first time reading this author and despite not loving this book, I would read her again.

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(NetGalley) Review - Prime Deception by Carys Jones

Prime DeceptionPrime Deception by Carys Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Carina UK

Pages - 304

Source - NetGalley

Blurb from Goodreads

When Lorna Thomas is found dead in her car everyone believes she killed herself. But the day after her death Lorna was set to sell a scandalous story to one of Britain’s biggest tabloid papers. For six months she had been the Deputy Prime Minister’s mistress.

Will Lorna’s secret die with her? While her family try to move on and come to terms with her death one person refuses to believe that Lorna killed herself. Her twin sister, Laurie is convinced that Lorna was murdered and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it, even if that means teaming up the very man her sister had been having an affair with…

My Review

When I read the blurb, I assumed this was going to be a crime/thriller/suspense - whilst there is a small element of two within the book, I have to say this is more of a romantic/feelings/loss type of story. The Deputy Prime Minister has been having an affair for 6 months with an intern, the story was about to become public knowledge but Lorna, the mistress, commits suicide before it happens. Her twin sister, Laurie, comes to town to investigate and ask questions as she doesn't believe her sister would do that. Laurie and Charles, the Deputy Prime Minister, team up to see if there is something more than meets the eye about Lorna's death or was is just a sad suicide neither of them saw coming?

Well I have to be honest, this book started really slowly for me. Apart from the young girls death and the Prime Minister actually finding out, not a lot happens! There is so much focus on how the death impacts upon Charles, his feelings, wondering what might have been and reliving the memories in Downing Street when he should be doing important Prime Minister duties. I was a bit worried there would be a lot of political chat in the book but there wasn't, for so long it is just how he feels, reacts, copes or rather fails to cope. Enter Laurie, feisty, grieving, angry and hurt, determined her sister didn't commit suicide and desperate for someone to help her look into it.

Then we have a lot of focus on Laurie, her feelings, her relationship with her parents and partner and how that all fares since Lorna's death. To be honest not much happens , I felt, until close to then end, then it kicks up a notch and we have excitement, danger, risk, revelations and not to mention a few red herrings within. I think the author has a good writing style however the decision of whether the book will be crime or feelings should be chosen and stuck to as putting the two together like that, I felt just didn't work. Despite a 2/5 rating, I would read this author again. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and introducing me to a new author.

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Sunday 22 June 2014

Review - The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Penguin

Pages - 337

Blurb from Goodreads

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My review

Hazel is our main character, she is seventeen and has thyroid cancer with mets and her mother decides she needs to go to a weekly Support Group to beat depression. Hazel has an almost non verbal friendship with Isaac whom she meets at group, both frustrated with the group lead and share looks and sighs with each other. Isaac's friend comes along to group one day, Augustus (Gus) Waters and Hazel can't help but notice him, he is hot and won't stop staring at her. They strike up a conversation, friendship blooms and the two quickly become inseparable. What follows is a journey between two people, brought together by friendship who go through and share so much in a limited amount of time.

I hadn't heard of this book until recently, it is now out as a movie and getting much interest and reviews although it has been around since 2012 I believe. For two young people our characters are very deep thinkers, Gus has theories and philosophies and shares them with Hazel, whom he refers to as Hazel Grace throughout. This is a beautiful story that, looks at friendship, suffering, loss, emotions, humour, attraction and death. Hazel is terminal, she is on a new drug that will buy her some time but ultimately she will die, this sees her holding back from Gus.

Hazel shares her favorite book with Gus, it ends abruptly and Hazel would love to know what would have happened to the other characters. Gus and Hazel set out to get some answers and try and track down the author whilst courting and getting to know each other. The story covers a range of emotions and I found myself moved a few times throughout. The two main characters are only seventeen and sometimes you felt they were very advanced emotionally however maybe due to what they have both been through the author done this on purpose? I would have read this in one sitting however I started it on my phone and only got it on a proper device today and I finished it that way.

I found it a really engaging read, it is a hard topic, young people dealing with cancer, young Isaac has it in his eye, he is in the book for small portions as is Hazels other friend (who doesn't have cancer), but mostly the focus is Hazel and Gus. Gus lost a leg to cancer and Hazel knows she is on borrowed time however I think the balance of the book is well done, the impact it has on the people within the circle of the person who has it. I did see how the book was going at one point but don't think this took anything away from the story to be honest. I hadn't read this author before and I would read him again. It is worth noting that this is listed as teen fiction but I would say it is more than suitable for adults and that at times you forgot the characters were meant to be teenagers. 4 out of 5 for me and I think I will need to be seeing the movie too, definitely worth a read.

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Monday 9 June 2014

Review - A Nurse's Story by Tilda Shalof

A Nurse's StoryA Nurse's Story by Tilda Shalof
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher - Emblem Editions

pages - 368

Blurb from Goodreads

The team of nurses that Tilda Shalof found herself working with in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a big-city hospital was known as “Laura’s Line.” They were a bit wild: smart, funny, disrespectful of authority, but also caring and incredibly committed to their jobs. Laura set the tone with her quick remarks. Frances, from Newfoundland, was famous for her improvised recipes. Justine, the union rep, wore t-shirts emblazoned with defiant slogans, like “Nurses Care But It’s Not in the Budget.” Shalof was the one who had been to university. The others accused her of being “sooo sensitive.”

They depended upon one another. Working in the ICU was both emotionally grueling and physically exhausting. Many patients, quite simply, were dying, and the staff strove mightily to prolong their lives. With their skill, dedication, and the resources of modern science, they sometimes were almost too successful. Doctors and nurses alike wondered if what they did for terminally-ill patients was not, in some cases, too extreme. A number of patients were admitted when it was too late even for heroic measures. A boy struck down by a cerebral aneurysm in the middle of a little-league hockey game. A woman rescued – too late – from a burning house. It all took its toll on the staff.

And yet, on good days, they thrived on what they did. Shalof describes a colleague who is managing a “crashing” patient: “I looked at her. Nicky was flushed with excitement. She was doing five different things at the same time, planning ahead for another five. She was totally focused, in her element, in control, completely at home with the chaos. There was a huge smile on her face. Nurses like to fix things. If they can.”

Shalof, a veteran ICU nurse, reveals what it is really like to work behind the closed hospital curtains. The drama, the sardonic humour, the grinding workload, the cheerful camaraderie, the big issues and the small, all are brought vividly to life in this remarkable book.

My Review

Tilda Shalof tells us her story of her time working in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from starting out to years later as an experienced ICU nurse. We are introduced to some of the people she works with, her team of nurses, doctors, families, patients and the things that have brought them into the unit.

From the perspective of someone who works in the health care sector I think it will be an interesting read to see how this particular unit runs, the situations they face and how they deal with it. To the average person who has no association to this kind of work I think it is an eye opener to see what a shift can entail for a nurse.

The story is certainly interesting although there was a few parts I inwardly shuddered at. For example when Tilda refers to a patient as something other than human (creature may have been the word), whether she felt that or not, as a professional caring for a vulnerable individual I just felt it was disrespectful and very wrong. Highlighting some of the things the nurses say to cope with the horrific things they have to see and carry on from I think could have also been left out or watered down. Again professionals within that type of work appreciate that often humor is the only way to survive some of the horrors they face, however to someone who has only ever lost a loved one in a hospital they will be upset I think by some of the things written. Some of the tales of the story are amazing to think what people can come through, how far medicine and medical intervention can do and whether it should be done. It certainly makes you think and wonder how things would be if you were in the situations that come up within the book.

It is a good paced book and is certainly an interesting read, I'm not sure I would rush out to buy something else she has written but I would read it if I came across it, 3/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 3 June 2014

Junes Pre-loved giveaway is Murphy's Boy by Torey Hayden

This months giveaway is Murphy's Boy by Torey Hayden.

You can find my review here

The book is like new, the spine is undamaged and the book is as it was when I bought it. As usual, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter, any problems just email or tweet me and I will sort it. Competition runs until the end of the month, good luck.

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Review - Forgive me by Lesley Pearse

Forgive MeForgive Me by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Penguin

Pages - 496

Blurb from Goodreads

Cheltenham, 1991

When Eva Patterson returns home from work one day, a devastating scene awaits her. Her mother, Flora, lies dead in the bath. Beside her is a note saying only: 'Forgive Me'.

Until then, Eva always believed her family's life would be comfortable and secure - but Flora's suicide changes everything. And when Eva discovers that in her will Flora left her an artist's studio in London, she realises how little she knows about her mother's past.

When Eva visits the now derelict studio, she is shocked to find out that her mother was once a successful artist back in the 1960s. A chance encounter leads her to Phil, who agrees to help her restore the studio, as well as offering her the advice and friendship Eva so badly needs.

In the studio attic she finds a collection of Flora's paintings and old diaries, which Eva believes were purposely left for her to find. Searching for answers, Eva encounters a psychic who mysteriously warns her to beware of a 'sleeping serpent', which she soon discovers refers to a shocking crime in Flora's past.

Will discovering the truth destroy Eva's belief in everything she holds dear? And will Phil stand by Eva even when her journey leads her and those she loves into certain danger?

My Review

The story opens with a shocking suicide, a simple note left behind saying forgive me. Eva's whole life is turned upside down, she is only 16 and in the wake of her mothers death some family secrets are revealed. Eva finds herself with no choice but to go to the studio her mother left her in London. Here she finds a whole other side to who her mother was and more family secrets.

This story packs a punch from the beginning, a sixteen year old girl finding herself alone and grieving as her family are so wrapped up in themselves. Meeting a variety of people along the way, nice and not so nice and we get to watch a young girl bloom and grow into a woman and deal with the after effects of her mothers suicide.

This tale covers so many topics, personal growth, betrayal, secrets, love, death, family relationships to name a few. The story keeps the reader engaged and I couldn't wait to here more about Flora and what else Eva might discover about her. I felt a little annoyed nearing the end with Eva and how events turned quite suddenly with no prior warning or hinting. However it didn't take anything away from the story as I enjoyed it before and after that segment. I would recommend this if you are a fan or if you are just starting out with Lesley Pearse, this is as good as any to start with. I think she has a fabulous style of writing and really enjoy her work, 5/5 for me this time.

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