Sunday 31 May 2015

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950sCall the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 8 days

Publisher - Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Pages - 340

Blurb from Goodreads

An unforgettable story of the joy of motherhood, the bravery of a community, and the hope of one extraordinary woman

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side-illuminate a fascinating time in history. Beautifully written and utterly moving, The Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother.

My Review

Jennifer Worth takes us through the beginning of her career as a student midwife in the 1950s in London's East End slums. The conditions are brutal, the health risks high, procedures often very different from our advanced medical marvels nowadays. She paints a picture of what life was like back then, both as a worker and the families with expectant mothers and the limited services available.

I could have read this in one sitting had tie permitted, I love reading about medical tales, fiction or true although the true stories tend to give the hair raising on the back of your neck moments. The NHS only came to be in 1948 so it was still relatively new when Worth came into the profession, burning urine to get assistance with diagnosis's compared to now when we send it off to labs or dip it in test strips for a few moments.

She introduces us to some of the families she met and their struggles along the way and how some things don't change despite the times, infidelity, multiple births, family issues. I loved how this book transports you back in time, she paints a such a vivid picture you can imagine yourself experiencing it all along side her. There are two more books in the series, I have the others and will be reading them both, 5/5 for me this time. A great story and you learn as you go, can't recommend it enough!

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Monday 25 May 2015

Thursday Legends by Quintin Jardin

Thursday LegendsThursday Legends by Quintin Jardine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 320

Publisher - Headline Book Publishing

Blurb from Goodreads

Every Thursday for 25 years, Skinner and his friends have met for a game of football. Which is why the discovery of Alec Smith's mutilated corpse has hit Skinner so hard. A former policeman, Smith was one of the Thursday Legends. When another teammate is murdered, Skinner realizes it's only the beginning.

My Review

Skinner plays football every Thursday with the "Legends", when one of them turns up dead and its a former policeman the investigation into such a heinous crime starts. When another of the team is missing and turns up dead, Skinner starts to think there is something much bigger to these crimes. As the investigation continues Alex Smith, the former cop, has some dark secrets in his past that could put the investigating team at risk.

I have never read this author before, or if I had it was years ago, this is book ten of twenty five. I don't think I missed anything out by not read the first ten to be honest, I would definitely like to go back and read them as it was such a good series.

The story kicks off really quickly with Smiths brutal murder, the characters are brought to life and spark your interest from the very first pages. Skinner is a bit of ladies man which rises a few issues in itself, especially when he hooks up with the pretty young lady next door whilst seeing a colleague on the force. There is quite a bit of gore and violence, murder, lies some sex and a few secrets.

I found it really hard to put down, it is a real page turner and I will be getting the back catalogue and the books that followed. 4/5 for me this time, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes their crime a bit bloody and rough.

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Bubba and the Dead Woman by C L Bevill

Bubba and the Dead Woman (Bubba Snoddy, #1)Bubba and the Dead Woman by C.L. Bevill
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 213

Blurb from Goodreads

Bubba Snoddy is a good old country boy with a big problem. Although he’s personable, handsome, and lives in a historical Southern mansion in a small Texas town, he has just discovered the dead body of a woman to whom he was once engaged to marry. His ex-fiancée was responsible for Bubba being thrown out of the military which in turn caused his shameful return to the tiny town of Pegramville, where everyone is a consummate gossip and no one has any secrets. Sheriff John Headrick believes Bubba killed his ex-fiancée in a fit of vengeful rage. The townsfolk believe that Bubba killed his ex-fiancée in a fit of vengeful rage. Bubba’s own mother believes that Bubba killed his ex-fiancée in a fit of vengeful rage. To top it all off, there are some mighty strange goings-on at the Snoddy Mansion, where ghosts walk the halls rattling chains in the midnight hour, and Bubba’s own sainted mother, Miz Demetrice, runs an illegal gambling ring. Rumors run merrily rampant about Bubba, decadent Snoddy ancestors, missing Civil War gold, a to-die-for sheriff’s deputy with the greenest eyes Bubba’s ever seen, and a Basset Hound named Precious who likes to nip first and ask questions later. Bubba has to find out exactly who did murder his ex-fiancée and quickly before he goes to jail for the crime, or before someone murders him.

Book one in the Bubba series.

This novel has been revised for errors. I don't guarantee that there aren't any in it, but there's a whole lot less now.

My Review

Bubba is living in a historical mansion, with his mother, in Texas. He is a catch by all accounts and a hard working chap with his dog Precious. When a dead body is found in the grounds at his house and found to be his ex fiance, he is arrested. He gets out and starts his own investigation, why was she back, who wanted to kill her and could he be in danger?

This book really missed the mark for me, his mother is a card and the humour these guys have is what saved the book from a 1 star rating. The murder and actions of the investigating police was farcical, a lot of the dialog is stretched and so descriptive when one simple sentence would suffice. Some of the things the characters said. For example "He drank gratefully from it, sighing with relief at the influx of the much-needed addictive substance into his body". Or "That's a loose tooth all right. It's my professional opinion, based on years of advanced training in the area of human medicines, and years of practice that you should have a shot of twelve-year-old scotch, and then go see a dentist. Now lemme have a look at that eye". Just lots and lots of paragraphs like that really detracted from the enjoyment and the story for me. However, lots of people love it and felt it was fitting with the setting of the book.

You always get answers to most of your questions which again is for me always a good thing, however, the whole tale was just a bit silly and out there. Even the tongue in cheek humour and great character of his mother wasn't enough to rescue this book for me. I wouldn't read any more of this series but I would try the author again, 2/5 for me this time. I think this may be a marmite book as, like I said, many people seem to love it, it just was not for me.

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Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Faceless KillersFaceless Killers by Henning Mankell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 280

Publisher - Vintage

Blurb from Goodreads

First in the Kurt Wallander series. Winner of the inaugural Glass Key Award.

It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.

Unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the beautiful but married young prosecutor who has piqued his interest, in this case, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but soon comes to realize that it will require all his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.

My Review

The tale opens with an older gentleman being disturbed during the night, upon exploring what woke him up he finds his elderly neighbour slain. The police investigate and we are introduced to Inspector Kurt Wallander, as the tale goes on we learn more about him and his dysfunctional relationship with his daughter. As the investigation goes on, tempers flare, racism rises its ugly head and lives hang in the balance as the police try to uncover the murderer.

I personally think so much of this book has been lost in translation, it seemed disjointed, lots of things left unanswered and in some points more question raised. I was bored reading it, some parts worked well but so much of it just seemed irrelevant or nothing to do with the plot.

I wouldn't read another in this series unless I could do so in the language it was published in as I think there was so much promise however for me, it fell flat, 2/5 this time for me. Lots of people seemed to like it though so give it a bash and I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

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Saturday 23 May 2015

Blueeyed Boy by Joanne Harris

BlueeyedboyBlueeyedboy by Joanne Harris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 7 days

Pages - 410

Publisher - BlackSwan

Blurb from Goodreads

'Once there was a widow with three sons, and their names were Black, Brown and Blue. Black was the eldest; moody and aggressive. Brown was the middle child; timid and dull. But Blue was his mother's favourite. And he was a murderer.'

My Review

Black, Brown and Blue all boys born to Mrs Green, hard working, bitter, angry, twisted and her boys the product of it. The story centers around Blue, although Black and Brown are discussed in small sections at different parts of the story. The format is online entries to a fiction site run by Blue, restricted and open diary entries by him and another who is linked to Blues past. There are tales of murder, posted by Blue on his fiction website however you pause at parts and think, is this cleverly done as truth posted as fiction posted as truth?

I am in the minority with this book, I really didn't like it to be honest. I found the format off putting and hard to follow at times having to go back and check was this a fiction post, was it a restricted, was it posted for manipulation?

None of the characters are likable, the main characters are linked in one way or another although it takes an age to discover who and why. The synesthesia aspect was really interesting though as I haven't came across that before and it worked well with the back story.

Give it a go, lots of people loved it or really enjoyed it, alas it just was not for me, 2/5 this time. I have read this author before and I would read her again however, if she brought out another from this series, I would not.

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Plague of the Dead by Z A Recht

Plague of the DeadPlague of the Dead by Z.A. Recht
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Pages - 292

Publisher - Permuted Press

Blurb from Goodreads

The end begins with a viral outbreak unlike anything mankind has ever encountered before. The infected are subject to delirium, fever, a dramatic increase in violent behavior, and a one-hundred percent mortality rate. Death. But it doesn't end there. The victims return from death to walk the earth. When a massive military operation fails to contain the plague of the living dead it escalates into a global pandemic. In one fell swoop, the necessities of life become much more basic. Gone are petty everyday concerns. Gone are the amenities of civilized life. Yet a single law of nature remains: Live, or die. Kill, or be killed. On one side of the world, a battle-hardened General surveys the remnants of his command: a young medic, a veteran photographer, a brash Private, and dozens of refugees, all are his responsibility-all thousands of miles from home. Back in the United States, an Army Colonel discovers the darker side of Morningstar virus and begins to collaborate with a well-known journalist to leak the information to the public... The Morningstar Saga has begun.

My Review

The government have been experimenting and as you would guess it somehow gets out. Its a virus, its deadly, turns the living into aggressive, infective attackers who move quickly, and if you die, it reanimates you to a shuffling but equally aggressive and infective being. The narrative is done via some emails and then via chapters, dated. The government want to keep it under wraps however, the virus is spreading and soon it will be out of control. The world as we know it will cease to exist, Morningstar has been unleashed.

This book has had some negative reviews and a lot of good ones, I fall into the good camp. Yes there is a lot of questionable, even unbelievable actions from some of our people in charge however, if the world goes to pot, who knows how humans will react, even the officials.

The story kicks off with a few isolated incidents but soon its all over, the story dips in and out from across the globe however a big focus is on the United States. A small team of soldiers, a medic and some refugees band together to try and make it through the hot zones.

As will all zombie tales, your going to loose people you like, scream at some of the idiotic decisions and be left, if your a zombie fan, wanting more! I really liked it, thought it was a good start to a series and we get the how the outbreak comes to be, this is missing from a lot of zombie books and movies so it was nice for a wee change. I don't have books two and three in the story however I shall be chasing them down, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 18 May 2015

White Shark by Peter Benchley

White SharkWhite Shark by Peter Benchley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 340

Publisher - St. Martin's Press

Blurb from Goodreads

At a small marine institute off the coast of Connecticut, only marine biologist Simon Chase realizes that a sixteen-foot pregnant Great White is feeding in the area. But even Simon doesn't know that a far deadlier creature is about to come out of the deep and threaten everything he cares for. A creature whose malevolence is unthinkable. Whose need to feed is insatiable. And whose relentless hunt for prey is unstoppable.

Twenty years after his huge bestseller Jaws, the master of the deep has done it again, letting loose a chilling new predator that only he could create. Drawing on his singular knowledge of the sea, science, and history, Peter Benchley masterfully spins a suspense-filled novel that hits you on a primal level, makes your heart pound, and leaves your blood running cold.

White Shark is Peter Benchley at his best. Read it at your own risk.

My Review

I read Jaws years ago and love love love the movie so when I discovered this I had to get a copy. Simon Chase is a marine biologist tracking sixteen foot pregnant great white, he studies her behaviors and travel patterns. A new predator is in the waters, one that was created to perfection and will destroy anything in its path. A creation, perfected by the Germans to use in a war that ended years ago and now this beast has free reign to feed and kill.

The title of the book, I felt was a little misleading, once you have read the tale you may disagree and think it was cleverly and aptly named however thats just a small gripe of mine. The story and kills kick off really quick and your drawn into a tale of horror and fear as a predator we have never encountered is loose and on the hunt in our waters!

Really well done, I would read more by this author, I still feel Jaws will always be my favorite but Benchley creates an eerie spine chilling tale that makes you want to read on and keep your feet out of the water, 3/5 for me this time.

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Prime Suspect by Lynda La PLante

Prime Suspect (Prime Suspect, #1)Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Dell Publishing Company

Pages - 263

Blurb from Goodreads

In the dark night of the soul . . . . If Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison hadn't been a woman, she might not have noticed the victim's shoes . . . . and that they didn't match the size given on the info sheet now so obviously misidentifying the dead blonde as a hooker named Della Mornay. Being so through, so good at the details, made Jane a top investigator; being a woman made the boys in the squadron want to see her fall on her face. But Jane Tennison was determined to catch the madman stalking women in London's street shadows. She had a prime suspect, and she needed to make the charges against him stick. She also needed to keep her own secret in check: she couldn't let anyone see that she was falling apart inside, as her obsession with cracking this case and breaking out from under the heel of the station house boy's club took over life, destroying her relationship with the man she loved, pushing her closer and closer to the dark urges of a killer . . . .

My Review

The book opens with the discovery of a body of a prostitute, in her apartment by her land lord, believed to be Della Mornay. DCI Jane Tennison finally gets a crack at the case and soon spots some things the previous lead detective did not. Jane already has opposition from her male colleagues without calling into question her predecessor's investigation but Jane holds no prisoners and is determined to crack the case. With her mind set she will leave no stone unturned, even if it means exposing secrets best left hidden or her own personal relationships.

I like La Plante and have read her before however not this series or character. I found Tennnison hard to get on with at parts, harsh with witnesses and like a dog with a bone, she will do what needs done to get her results, by the book of course. Trying to break through the boys club must be hard but she is tough as old boots and isn't out to make friends. The victims need justice and Tennison will get it, even if she has to go against the teams wishes.

The is a good story, I do like how La Plante writes although, as stated Tennison isn't my favourite character although I would maybe warm to her eventually. I would read more in this series and I have most of this authors books on my tbr anyway, 3/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 17 May 2015

Welcome To Wherever You Are by John Marrs

Welcome To Wherever You AreWelcome To Wherever You Are by John Marrs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 401

Publisher - Self published

Blurb from Goodreads

How far would you run to escape your past?

For eight strangers in a Los Angeles backpacking hostel, even the other side of the world isn’t far enough.

The craving for a new identity and the chance to start again is something they have in common. But the search for a fresh start isn't as easy as they'd imagined.

And they soon discover that it doesn't matter where you are or who you are - if you can't lay the past to rest, coincidence, fate and deception have a way of catching up with you when you least expect it.

My Review

Eight people, all running from something in their past end up in a backpacking hostel in Los Angeles. Coming from different backgrounds, trying to find or lose something and get to grips with who they are or where they are going in life. However, you can never truly outrun your past and as these guys find out, you need to deal with your demons before you can look to your future.

The story opens with men trying to capture a young woman and take her into a van, she is more than able for them and then the story begins. We are introduced to quite a few characters, Tommy, Nicole, Eric, Peyk, Ron and Savannah to name some in our tale. All big personalities and offering something different to the story, whilst they all seem unconnected, friendships will form, secrets and lies cannot always be hidden or kept and sometimes some liaisons can be dangerous.

This is my first time reading this author although it is his second novel. I thought the tale was really well done, with so many characters and merging time lines from their past to the present isn't an easy feat but Marrs managed it very well. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes crime, thrillers, secrets, travel and just an adventure to be honest. Really good and engaging book, 4/5 for me and I would read this author again.

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Hen's Teeth by Manda Scott

Hen's Teeth  (Kellen Stewart,  #1)Hen's Teeth by Manda Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 480

Publisher - Review

Blurb From Goodreads

A debut crime thriller in which a woman appeals for help after finding her lover dead, and along with her pathologist friend and a genetic scientist with an unusual interest in chickens, becomes tied in a web of intrigue, death and deceit.

My Review

This is the first in a series. Therapist Kellen Stewart gets a call in the middle of the night, the body of her ex lover Bridget has been found. The police believe it to be a heart attack, the attending doctor believes it is suicide and Kellen knows it is neither. As she digs into it and discovers Bridget isn't the only on to die in similar circumstances she needs to investigate, with her doctor friend and try to discover who would want to hurt Bridget and why. Lies, deceit, deception and danger are all lurking, will Kellen survive finding out what happened to her friend?

The book is set in Scotland, the body is found in Glasgow which is always nice to read about a place you know and love, well for me anyway. The story covers a lot from genetics, murder, friendships, lies and lesbianism. The genetics storyline was a bit much for me although it was interesting to read about something new, the lesbian aspects didn't go into graphic details or distract from the story. However, there is a lot of questions left unanswered and I am not sure if its set that way as it is the first book or if the questions are answered later. It isn't really about the plot but more a lot of questions about the main character Kellen, why did they fall out, why did she go away, lots of things that are mentioned or hinted to but not addressed.

Otherwise I quite liked it, theres plenty or suspense and intrigue plus the whole who done it and who may be next. First time reading this author and I would read her again, 3/5 for me.

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Apologies & competition

Firstly apologies for being MIA, we were on holiday and the Internet there was not that great at all. I did get through 11 books though so have quite a few reviews to catch up on and post. We got home the Sunday night & I was exhausted had to do my 5k in Tenerife and the hills and heat near killed me. Then the Monday saw us immediately back to university so it has been all go!.

As a result I also missed the giveaway I had planned to coincide with World Book Night, I did tell the givers I would keep one or two books by for the comp so that is what I will list now. Two copies of Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante & just due to the prices of postage I will keep these to the UK however, we are more than half way through the month so next month I will open up to outside the UK.

Good luck if you are entering and thanks for taking time to comment, engage on twitter and to those winners who let me know the prizes arrive safe :) Hope your having a good Sunday.

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