Tuesday 28 June 2016

Acts Of Love by Talulah Riley

Acts of LoveActs of Love by Talulah Riley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)7

Pages - 320

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Goodreads

A bold, intelligent, and modern love story which reminds us that the most powerful relationships are not so much about two people finding each other as they are about that most human quest to find ourselves.

Bernadette is expert at hiding the truth.

She has built her career as a journalist on her talent for lulling powerful men into a false sense of security, then exposing them in her ruthless profile pieces.

But in Radley Blake, she may have met her match. Immune to her charms, he seems to see through every layer of her carefully constructed act: right to the truth of who she is inside.

We think we're looking for love - but what if it's ourselves we need to find? Talulah Riley's wonderful first novel is an irresistible will-they-won't-they tale that asks how it is we can strive for independence, but still believe in destiny..

My Review

Bernadette St John is beautiful, strong, charming and calculated, she has men eating out of the palm of her hand, all but the one she wants. Lusting after her manager who is also in a relationship with her "friend" Bernadette is waiting to pounce. People only see the sweet facade she puts forward, until Radley Blake comes along. Radley is rich, intelligent, friends with Bernadette's circle and drawn to Bernadette like most men. However Radley sees through her guise and calls her on her behaviour, mocks and challenges her. They seem the perfect match but Bernadette has only one man in mind and Radley isn't him!

This book had echos of Gone with the Wind with Bernadette being a modern day Scarlett O'Hara and Radley mirroring the wonderful Rhett Butler. Bernadette has strong feminine values, scorning men after being hurt in the past and sculpted by the thorny hands of her father. Tim, her manager, is the only man who escapes her scorn which draws her to him and wobbles her feminine principles. Radley sees Bernadette's true character and forces her to examine who she really is and what she really desires.

A book that looks at the impact a child's rearing can have on the adult they will become, testing relationships, a look at feminism, friendship, adultery and personal growth. Bernadette isn't a very likeable character, she is selfish, self involved, rude, deceptive and calculating however glimpses into her past offer explanation as to why. An interesting debut novel that delves into feminist attitudes and a plethora of societal & personal issues, 3/5 for me this time. I would certainly read this author again oh and on a side note, my cover of the book is different to the one shown here. I do hope they go with this as the final release, the texture of the material is really nice and the colours of predominantly white with metallic blue works really well together. Thanks so much to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. This book is available to buy from all good retailers for £12.99, hardback, from 11/08/2016.

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Monday 27 June 2016

His Other Life by Beth Thomas

His Other LifeHis Other Life by Beth Thomas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

He was hiding a terrible secret...

Grace’s new husband Adam seems like the perfect package. Good looking, great job, completely charming – almost too good to be true...

So when Adam suddenly disappears from Grace’s life, she is left bewildered and heartbroken. And with a lot of unanswered questions.

As she tries desperately to find him, Grace opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets and lies – and starts to learn that Adam wasn't so perfect after all.

What shameful secrets was her husband hiding? Is Grace in danger? And can she survive the truth? However terrible it may be..

My Review

I loved the blurb for this, it sounded like a great mystery and martial secrets. Grace and Adam seem to have everything on the surface, beautiful, job security and everyone likes them. But Adam disappears after a strange call and Grace is left wondering where Adam has gone, is he safe and who is Leon?

The story starts off good and draws you in, I know I really wanted to know what happened to Adam and who was the mysterious Leon. However, as the story goes on, the police become involved and we start to see exactly what Grace and Adams relationship was like I got really frustrated. Grace's character is so naive, irritating and innocent for being a married woman although we find out as the tale goes on how young she is. Some of the way the characters converse with each other irritated me, the best friend Ginger is so inappropriate and annoying considering what Grace is going through.

I think the problem for me was a lot of the actions and narrative grated on me or I had to suspend belief because I couldn't imagine adults behaving like that or talking the way they did considering the circumstances. An example of this would be jocular chat between two characters calling each other dog breath and slug head. I am very much in the minority I think though as so many people seemed to have loved it so definitely give it a bash yourself, you may love it, 2/5 for me though.

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Tuesday 21 June 2016

The Caller by M A Comley & Tara Lyons

The Caller (The Organised Crime Team series Book 1)The Caller by M.A. Comley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 198

Publisher - Jeamel Publishing Limited

Blurb from Goodreads

When The Caller rings... what would you do?

The Organised Crime Team is a newly-formed unit with one of the toughest tasks in London. Led by DI Angie North, their first investigation is a cold case that has foxed several officers in the Met for months.
After Angie holds a TV appeal regarding the case, a number of similar aggressive attacks are brought to her attention. The team call on their contacts on the street for help. Their interest is sparked when several local names surface.
To bring the criminals to justice a member of the Organised Crime Team is asked to risk their life in a dangerous covert operation.

My Review

Meet DI Angie North, leading member of the Organised Crime Team, tasked with solving a cold case and bringing the new team together. More attacks come to light and the clock is ticking for Angie and her team to capture the culprits and save the unsuspecting public from another attack.

This tale is two fold, one is the team relationship and how they come together, bond, react to each other and the second is the criminal aspect of the story. The hierarchy of the gang members, the dynamics of their group and how loyalties are tested. As well as examining police procedures, pulling an investigating team together and the inner workings of a gang and gang mentalities we see the difficulties police have to endure during this type of operation/investigation.

The prologue sets the reader straight on the theme of the book, brutal, graphic, sexual violence, murder and that is just the opening! The theme is fast paced and jumps between the bad guys and the police officers trying to catch them. The chapters are relatively short in length which is something I personally like in a book. There are some dark themes that some readers may struggle with, violence, murder, sexual abuse, torture, drugs and of course some bad language all of which you would expect when gangs are involved.

This is my first time reading these authors, although I have some of their independent work on my tbr, and I really enjoyed it. A tale that is both dark and deep, if you like thrillers or crime then this is a book for you, 4/5 for me. Thanks so much to the authors for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday 18 June 2016

Murder At The Laurels by Lesley Cookman

Murder at the LaurelsMurder at the Laurels by Lesley Cookman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days on and off

Pages - 368

Publisher - Accent Press Ltd

Blurb from the back cover

Steeple Martin amateur detective Libby Sarjeant's friend, and sleuthing partner, psychic investigator Fran Castle, suspects that there is something suspicious about the death of her aunt in a nursing home. When Fran's long-lost relatives turn up and seem either unconcerned or obstructive, Libby and Fran are sure something is wrong, particularly as the will is missing.

As usual Libby needs little persuasion to start investigating, even if she doesn't see herself as Miss Marple. They discover surprising links to Fran's own past but, as murders multiply and the police take over, can the amateur sleuths keep on the trail?

My Review

Fran gets a call out of the blue to visit her aunt for her upcoming birthday, giving her a chance to see her friend Libby. However Eleanor dies and Libby and Fran can't help but think something isn't right and the relatives make them even more suspicious. Libby has gotten involved with murder before and Fran has psychic abilities that soon get the ladies wrapped up in a who done it.

This is a relatively easy read, book two in a series although I must admit I hadn't read the first and don't feel I lost anything as previous events are referred to. It reminded me very much of a murder she wrote cozy murder mystery style tale. There is murder, skulduggery, violence, lies, deception, relationships and secrets galore but nothing gory or too out there.

The pace goes along nicely, the characters have relationships building and not wholly focused on the murder and who done it. I would like to see more of Fran's psychic abilities and wonder if they featured more in the first book. I think I would read more of these tales, an enjoyable 3/5 for me. If you like crime and murder stories without the gore and gunk, these will be perfect for you.

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Thursday 16 June 2016

Wedding Bells for Nurse Connie by Jean Fullerton

Wedding Bells for Nurse ConnieWedding Bells for Nurse Connie by Jean Fullerton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off for 3 days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Orion

Blurb from Goodreads

East End saga queen Jean Fullerton returns with a delightful new novel in the Nurse Connie series

It's 1948 and the nurses of the East End of London are making the most of life post-war. For Connie in particular, things are looking rosy as she looks forward to planning a future with her sweetheart, Malcolm. But, as many a young bride-to-be has proved, the course of true love never did run smooth and Connie finds herself having to grapple with interfering mothers and Malcolm's reluctance to set the date.

But while there are many obstacles to overcome before walking down the aisle, at least Connie can relax in the knowledge that she'll soon be married to the man of her dreams, can't she?

Life at work isn't all smooth sailing either. The newly-formed NHS is keeping the nurses of Fry House extremely busy and as ever in the life of a nurse heartbreak lurks at every turn. But there are some new faces to keep things interesting. And one in particular might be the answer to all of Connie's problems...

My review

Nurse Connie has a lot going on, it is 1948 and the newly-formed National Health Service (NHS) is coming into effect, Connie is a senior nurse and having to deal with this, staffing levels, patients and planning her future with Malcolm. The new reform brings new issues, a new fresh doctor arrives and stirs up patients and staff alike.

There are other books before this one, I have read the one featuring Connie (Fetch Nurse Connie) so I knew a good bit of her background with Malcolm. They have been dating for a while and his over bearing mother is ever present and demanding. The arrival of doctor Hari MacLauchlan stirs up racist attitudes, misconceptions and negative feelings for some. In a time where racial terminology was accepted as the norm, ignorance, poverty and over crowding was in abundance, Connie struggles to do her job & remain within social accepted behaviour.

It really makes you think how much has changed in terms of health, societies attitudes towards woman and their bodies, religion, racism & how much is still the same in some parts of the world. I really enjoy these type of books and didn't realise there was so another few so will be buying them, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks so much to Karen from My Reading Corner for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

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Sail by James Patterson & Howard Roughley

SailSail by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 388

Publisher - Arrow

Blurb from Goodreads

"Barely out of sight of land, the Dunne family finds its summer getaway to paradise already turning into the trip from hell. Carrie, the eldest, has thrown herself off the side of the boat in a bid for attention. Sixteen-year-old Mark is getting high belowdecks. And Ernie, their ten-year-old brother. is nearly catatonic. It's shaping up to be the worst vacation ever." "Katherine Dunne had hoped this trip would bring back the togetherness they'd lost when her husband died four years earlier. Maybe if her new husband, a high-powered Manhattan attorney. had been able to postpone his trial and join them it would all have been okay." Suddenly, a disaster hits - and it's perfect. Faced with real danger, the Dunnes rediscover the meaning of family and pull together in a way they haven't in a long time. But this catastrophe is just a tiny taste of the danger that lurks ahead: someone wants to make sure that the Dunne family never makes it out of paradise alive.

My Review

I really enjoy Patterson books although his collaborations with other authors not always so much. This one is perfect for a beach read or if you just want something that isn't challenging. The Dunnes are taking the family boat out for a trip together to try and reconnect & sort out their issues. Peter Carlyle is the step dad and staying behind in New York, his wife, her three kids and her brother in law from a previous marriage head off. Personal problems arise, a horrendous storm hits and then there is an explosion, certainly not the best start to a holiday. Stranded, hurt and presumed dead, the Dunnes need to do what they can to stay alive.

There is a lot about this book that you find yourself having to suspend reality to get through but once you do that it is actually an enjoyable, fast paced read. The characters have a lot of personal issues to get through but once they are in peril that takes a back seat. The book splits between the Dunnes encounters and back home with the smarmy step father hot shot lawyer.

As with all Patterson books, the chapters are tiny which annoys some people but I actally really like that, you can dip in and out as time allows. As I said a good choice for a day by the pool and if you can get past the most unlikely events happening you will enjoy the book, 3/5 for me.

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Saturday 4 June 2016

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond

The TeacherThe Teacher by Katerina Diamond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

You think you know who to trust?
You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …


The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?


This is a psychological crime thriller in a class of its own.

Warning: Most definitely *not* for the faint-hearted!

My Review

I picked this one up as part of a new feature starting on the Crime Book Club although I had heard lots of people raving about it. A head teacher is found hanged at a prestigious school in Devon, not long after receiving a parcel. Soon more bodies turn up, each more gruesome than the other and the police in Exeter know they have a deranged killer on their hands. As they investigate, the police find a horrendous motive and secrets that will rip open their small community. They have to stop the killer before they strike again, but who will be next and will they want to?

Oh I have to say guys, this book is not for the faint hearted, the killings are pretty graphic, brutal and leave the reader with a very vivid picture of what is happening. There are a lot of themes within the book that may upset some readers, exploitation, sex, abuse, torture and murder of course.

The chapters are not particularly long, not as short as James Patterson but not conventional length either, which I enjoy in a books makeup. There are a fair few characters however when switching or introducing a new one, they are highlighted at the top of each chapter. We have a split timeline for one of the characters from then and now, helping to understand why the person is the way they are. Sounds jumpy and complicated but it is actually written really well so the reader can follow it with no problems.

I read this pretty much in one sitting, you get the jist very early on what has happened, or hinted at and don't want to put the book down to see what happens next. The Teacher is a strong debut novel that certainly packs a punch and leaves you a tad squeamish but wanting more. I will be looking out for more of this authors work, 4/5 for me!

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