Saturday 27 September 2014

Review - Feed by Mira Grant

Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy #2)Deadline by Mira Grant
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to rad - 8 days

Publisher - Orbit

Pages - 524

Blurb from Goodreads

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

My Review

This is the second book in this series, I would strongly suggest reading Feed, the first in this series, to get an idea of the background story. Shaun Mason has nothing left to lose, nothing is what it used to be, nothing is fun, he has only one purpose left now. Reporting the truth, reporting what is happening with the zombies and trying to unravel what happened in the first book is what drive Shaun. When a CDC researcher reaches out to Shaun and his team, after faking her own death, she puts his team in peril and gives him another opening to pursue the truth and try and expose the conspiracy, once and for all.

Ok so yes it is a zombie book however, it is more dealing with whats happened in the past, focusing on and unraveling the conspiracy and, I felt, product endorsement! There isn't a whole lot of zombie action, the threat is always there, always looming, however it is who is the bad guys, why have they done what they did and picking up the pieces and trying to escape and get the truth. Shaun and his team blog the news, they have cameras following them, reporting to the people about the zombie situation whilst the surviving public go to work in controlled environments.

I have to say, for large portions, I was bored or frustrated. I wanted something to happen, don't get me wrong, sometimes something did but it was a long time coming. There isn't enough zombies, if there was one comment about why the main character drinks copious amounts of coca cola, there was thirty. Not quite as much, but still in repetition, Avon skin so soft, mentioned several times that I did feel if there isn't a product endorsement, there should have been as she mentioned them often enough!

The story itself could have been cut down by at least a quarter and not affect the tale that is told and the main character Shaun I could have slapped at times. Often he is threatening violence towards other characters, women included and sees nothing wrong with this, which really annoyed me. That said, the last three pages made me want to get the next installment of this trilogy, three pages generated enough spark for me to want to find out what happens. I can't say I liked many, if any, of the characters. I didn't hate the book, I just didn't like a whole lot of it, the parts I did like, reminded me a bit of resident evil, especially the last three pages. So 2/5 for me this time, I feel I have to read the next one, for closure and just because I am too nosey not to.

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Tuesday 23 September 2014

ARC - The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2)The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 hours

Publisher - Text Publishing Company

Pages - 411

Blurb from Goodreads


GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world's most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.

Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.

Then Rosie told me we had 'something to celebrate', and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.

I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.

The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace.

And of losing Rosie forever.

My Review

Don & Rosie are back, yay! They are now married and Don is learning to adapt to no longer having the Standardised Meal System, schedules are abandoned and lots of changes are afoot. Rosie has another suprise for Don, one that will turn his world upside down, more so than when she exploded into it the first time. Can Don adapt? He finds himself seeking advice from avenues he knows and going into places he hasn't in order to process and adapt. This leads him into trouble he could not have predicted, they may have to leave their lives as they know it, deal with being on the wrong side of the law, his career may be at risk and worst of all, he may lose Rosie. For a man of schedules, predicted outcomes and liking routine, this will blow everything out the water and change his world forever.

Aw I loved the first book and was delighted to read that this book was coming out, more so to get an advanced reading copy. I forgot how much I loved Don's unique outlook on life. He is adapting well to the changes Rosie has brought to his life whilst still having his own unique way. The book still has some humour, touching moments, friendship, love, lies and some darker themes. There is at least one character who had my blood boiling with their prejudices and vile attitude. This book certainly is, I feel, a more adult feel to it with some of the not so nice side of humanity and the knock on effects and consequences of some peoples attitudes. It isn't all serious or doom and gloom however I feel, compared to the first book, it is fair to give a heads up there is a dramatic theme change. I still laughed out loud at a few parts and like I say, I have missed Don Tillman so it was great to catch up with him and Rosie and read their journeys progress through life together.

Would I like there to be a third? Of course, I would love to read more on these two, well Rosie, I must say wasn't one of my favourite characters this time round. In fact, at parts I quite disliked her, however Don I love and could easily read another book about. 4/5 for me this time, thanks so much to NetGalley for this ARC and PenguinBooks UK for approving the request. You don't have to wait long for your own copy, the book is available from all good retailers from the 25th of September 2014. If you haven't read the first book, I strongly urge you to do it, this is a great follow up book however I don't think you would enjoy it as much without the fabulous back story.

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Wednesday 17 September 2014

WBC - A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli

A Meal in WinterA Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - a few hours

Pages - 138 pages

Publisher - Portobello Books

Blurb fro Goodreads

One morning, in the dead of winter, three German soldiers are dispatched into the frozen Polish countryside. They have been charged by their commanders to track down and bring back for execution 'one of them' - a Jew. Having flushed out the young man hiding in the woods, they decide to rest in an abandoned house before continuing their journey back to the camp. As they prepare food, they are joined by a passing Pole whose outspoken anti-Semitism adds tension to an already charged atmosphere. Before long, the group's sympathies have splintered as they consider the moral implications of their murderous mission and confront their own consciences to ask themselves: should the Jew be offered food? And, having shared their meal, should he be taken back, or set free?

My Review

Three German soldiers have been given a break from shooting prisoners at their concentration camp, to head out to the Polish countryside, to track down any Jews to bring back for execution. It follows their cold journey and how they track one of the Jews and take refuge in an abandoned house before they continue their journey back to the camp. It's cold, theres not a lot of food and a Polish man joins them, taking an aggressive attitude towards their prisoner. What follows is a tense evening of hunger, anger, and decisions as the men share a meal together and bring up the decision of taking the Jewish man back to the camp for certain death, or, after sharing a meal with them, do they let him go and find some internal peace.

The three Germans are: the narrator, who is never named, Bauer a thief and Emmerich a man who is worried about his son whilst he isn't there for him. The arduous journey through the bitter freezing cold, what they discuss during their hunt and what they watch out for. Once they have captured their man and decide to be hospitable and share their food, thats when they contemplate if they should free him or now. Going through memories of what they have done to their prisoners previously and how setting this man free could impact upon their equilibrium.

To be honest, I started this 5 days ago, then read the blurb and put it down until a few days later when I read it in a few hours. I hadn't realized what it was going to be about and sometimes, when your not sure how dark a book is going to be, you need to mentally prepare for it. Whilst the book subject matter is disturbing, there is no brutality in gory detail although it does mention Jewish people being executed. The focus of this novella, and it could really be labeled a short story as it is only 138 pages long, is the capture of the young man and the meal and night they all spent together. It is something different from my normal genre choice and had Waterstones not sent me it as a review copy I may not have picked it up. The writing is very well done, it pulls you into the scene and paints the picture so vividly you shudder at some of the descriptions of the harsh weather. I would possibly read this author again, I may have to see what else they have written. A sad and haunting tale in that, I feel, anything written about the Jewish people and their treatment from the German soldiers does tend to stay with you. 3/5 for me this time, thanks to Waterstones for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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Wednesday 10 September 2014

PRR - Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary

Someone Else's SkinSomeone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Publisher - Headline

Pages - 420

Blurb from Goodreads

Some secrets keep you safe, others will destroy you...

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome. Dependable; fierce; brilliant at her job; a rising star in the ranks. Everyone knows how Marnie fought to come back from the murder of her parents, but very few know what is going on below the surface. Because Marnie has secrets she won't share with anyone.

But then so does everyone. Certainly those in the women's shelter Marnie and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit on that fateful day. The day when they arrive to interview a resident, only to find one of the women's husbands, who shouldn't have been there, lying stabbed on the floor.

As Marnie and Noah investigate the crime further, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. Everyone is keeping secrets, some for survival and some, they suspect, to disguise who they really are under their skin.

Now, if Marnie is going to find the truth she will have to face her own demons head on. Because the time has come for secrets to be revealed...

My Review

The book opens five years ago, DI Marnie Rome arrives at her parents home, cordoned off by the police. She knows it is bad, the way the scene is, the glimpses she can have from the house, the way her colleagues talk to her. Then we flick to present day, almost five years to the day it happened. The book teases the details along of what happened to Marnie's parents. But the world of crime stops for noone and she has a job to do. Arriving at a refugee house for abused women, to interview one of the woman who can help with an investigation they happen upon a bloody scene, one of the women have stabbed her partner she had fled from. Each of the women need to be interviewed, each has reason to hide, distrust and secrets are something they all have. As DI Rome tries to cope with her personal trauma and do her job, she needs to keep her wits about her to figure out what truly happened and how to solve the case.

The opening chapter pulls you in, your given enough to know something bad has happened but you don't know who done it or what they actually did. Present days packs quite a punch as one of the women meant to be kept safe has attacked her husband in self defense. There is a lot of tension within this book, the topic of abuse these women have endured is always present. It is a subject that if you have been touched personally by it the book will pack more of a punch with you. If you haven't it gives an insight into what these women endure and why they behave as they do.

I would say it is a psychological thriller, laced with crime and violence. Whilst the matter is dark and may be close to home for some readers, it is handled in a way that I feel didn't cheapen the subject but stayed true to the issues and reflected real life.

For a debut novel it packs quite a punch, I was up past 6am reading this, I could have gotten through it in one sitting had I not had other things to attend to. The chapters are nice and short which I do light in stories, it makes it easier to read more when you have other things to do in between. The time period jumps about a bit, between some of the characters although it is sign posted well enough, in parts it took a wee bit or getting used to. A great introduction to some new characters that I hope to see more of, 4/5 for me this time. I would certainly read more by this author and think Detective Inspector Rome and the other characters (especially Stephen) have some great tales still to come. Thanks so much to Headline for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and for introducing me to a new author.

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Review - The Ship Of Brides by Jojo Moyes

The Ship of BridesThe Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Hodder

pages - 482

Blurb from Goodreads

The year is 1946, and all over the world, young women are crossing the seas in the thousands en route to the men they married in wartime - and an unknown future. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other brides on an extraordinary voyage to England, aboard the HMS Victoria, which also carries not just arms and aircraft but 1,000 naval officers and men. Rules of honour, duty, and separation are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier's captain down to the lowliest young stoker. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined in ways the Navy could never have imagined.

My Review

It is 1946, brides are desperate to be reunited with their husbands, some who haven't seen they said I do and the men went off to war. The HMS Victoria is carrying weapons and naval officers and now 650 brides, coming from Australia to America. Putting such a mix together, in a confined space, under such conditions is a recipe for disaster, one the Captain can see but has no choice but to press on. Four ladies join the 650 and it is their story we follow through the voyage. Danger, lies, friendship, honor and secrets are just a few of the subjects covered throughout this tale.

I must admit, ever since Me Before You I have loved Jojo Moyes, something about her writing just draws you in to the time period and characters lives. Avice, coming from money and heading off to her new life and husband, can't help but judge along the way and flaunt her good fortune as she goes. Margaret, home girl who looked after her brothers and father after their mother left, not afraid to get dirty and muck in and takes people as she finds them. Frances, a nurse who is very reserved, cold at times and keeps herself to herself and lastly Jean, only sixteen and a live wire, quick to look for fun and find trouble fast. These ladies are shipped together for six weeks in a small cramped room and learn to live with each other and form unlikely friendships and learn how to accept each other.

The story took a bit for me to warm up to, we start in present day, an elderly lady happens upon something that takes her back to her voyage in 1946. We do not know her identity and learn the story as it goes. Once it warms up and you get to know the characters, I couldn't put it down and got through it in one day. Not her strongest novel but quite fabulous in its own right, it made me want to read about actual brides and their travels during that period of time. 4/5 for me this time, I intend on finding any of her other novels I have not yet read and eagerly await ones in the future.

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Tuesday 9 September 2014

September's giveaway is The World Is A Wedding by Wendy Jones

You can find my review here - As always, the competition will remain open until the end of the month. Apologies it has taken so long to list, I was on holiday and have a few reviews to catch up with too.

Just fill in the rafflecopter below, the more options you do the more entries you have. Good luck.

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Review - Possessed by Kate Cann

Possessed (Rayne, #1)Possessed by Kate Cann
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 331

Publisher - Scholastic

Blurb from Goodreads

Rayne can't wait to start her summer job at a remote country mansion, far from the crowded, noisy London she so desperately wants to escape. But the retreat soon turns into a nightmare -- the mansion is creepy, the legends of ghosts keep Rayne up at night, and she doesn't feel safe anywhere.

Can Rayne figure out why she's so freaked -- before she becomes a ghost story herself?

My Review

Rayne is our main character, living with her mum and little brother, on a rough estate and dating Day Damian, a bad boy lusted after by many but hers alone. She is frustrated by her situation and ready to break free, when a job opportunity arises at a secluded country manor she has to go. It is quiet, spooky and feels spooky, it also has the pull of St John, a young chap and his group of friends who welcome Rayne with open arms although all is not as it seems.

The author described the setting of the ancient house and its grounds perfectly, it had the feel for some spooky and ghostly happenings. However the biggest focus on the story surrounds Rayne, her feelings, her playing her boyfriend and mum, screening their calls and some teen angst behavior which I didn't much care for. When the story gets into the heart of the spookiness and mystery surrounding the manor and it's history it did pick up. I would say this had more of a gothic or teenangst person growth type feel to it, I certainly wouldn't rate it as a horror.

I enjoyed reading about the growth of Rayne's character however I can't say by the end of the book I was much liking her. The mystery surrounding the whole book also was a bit, for me, anticlimactic . That said, the writing is easy to follow and I would read this author again, in fact this book has a follow up which I would read although not actively seek it out. 2/5 for me this time, I would certainly suggest you try it as I seem to be in the minority with this one, it just wasn't for me.

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Monday 8 September 2014

Review - Double Fault by Lionel Shriver

Double Fault (Five Star Paperback)Double Fault by Lionel Shriver
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Serpent's Tail

Pages - 339

Blurb from Goodreads

Ever since she picked up a racquet at the age of four, tennis has been Willy Novinsky's one love. But when she falls for fellow pro Eric Oberdorf, their relationship is tested to breaking point by their competitive urges.

My Review

Tennis is not something I am interested in at all however when on holiday we do pick up something we normally wouldn't read. Willy Novinsky is on a journey to becoming a professional tennis player, her ranking score is going up, she is smashing her competition and winning her matches. She has no time for friends, romance or really anything that isn't tennis, until Eric Oberdorf comes along. They embark on a relationship and she teaches him some pointers to strengthen his game. As their relationship deepens, Willy finds herself struggling with her game and watching Eric go from strength to strength. Tennis brought them together, it may very well tear them apart.

It has been a while since I have really disliked a character as much as I ended up disliking Willy. As her game declines she becomes a vindictive, nasty, horrible character, Eric is understanding, sweet, competitive and no matter what he does it further enrages or prompts her to behave like a brat.

Without going into spoilers as I hate that, sex and sexual terminology is used and the subject of abortion is mentioned, in what some people may feel, distressing detail. I found Willy to be a cold fish, a character with little to no redeeming qualities. As much as tennis is not my thing, I must say I wasn't as bored as I thought I would be reading this type of theme. I have read Shriver before and I would read her again, I don't particularly like her style however I cannot put her books down until I have got through the whole story. There is something about how she writes that pulls you along and in, even when you don't like or find the subject content particularly interesting. 2/5 for me this time, I can't say it is like any of her books I have read before as they all seem very different, I would certainly say give it a bash if you came across it but I wouldn't actively encourage you to seek it out.

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