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Category: Rating: 2/5

  1. Kat's Review of The Madam by Jaime Raven

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    Synopsis: Three years and eleven months. That's how long Lizzie Wells has been banged up inside Holloway prison, serving time for a crime she didn’t commit.

    Six months. That's how long it’s taken Lizzie to fall in love with her fellow inmate, Scar.

    Now they are both finally free and, together, they are about to embark on a vengeful search to find those who framed Lizzie. It’s time to make them pay…


    Kat's Rating: 2/5


    Kat's Review: The cover reminds me of Jacqui Rose style of books so I was looking forward to giving a new author a try, however for some reason there were parts of this book that I just couldn't get along with. That said, the writing flowed well and it was certainly an 'easy read'. Lizzie Wells has been banged up in Holloway and has served time for a crime she didn't commit. When she is released she is determined to find out who stitched her up and why. With the help of her ex-cellmate and now lover 'Scar' they start off the hunt and soon realise that it won't be plain sailing.

    Although there is plenty of action as Lizzie and Scar start to track down the people who knew things and weren't talking it all fell a bit flat. I didn't actually care that much either way about Lizzie and to be honest I felt more inclined to like Scar and she is a secondary character. In addition to this there were a couple of scenes where there was no continuity to the story and certain key elements weren't followed up on. In all honesty at times I felt like the book was struggle because of my indifference which is never a good sign as a reader.

    I think generally this genre is a hard one to crack as there are so many new authors and long standing bestsellers that's it difficult to make a mark, and sadly this one was lacking for me in too many ways. The writing style was easy enough but maybe for me this one meant I didn't engage with the characters or story that much so it held less interest for me. I will certainly try another Jamie Raven in the hope that the characters are more engaging, but sadly this one fell way short of the mark for me.

  2. Kat's Review of My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle

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    Mike Gayle My Legendary GirlfriendMy Rating: 2/5

    Okay, my first foray into the world of Lad Lit came only in November 2011 with a self-published book that had me literally crying with laughter. The book was so good that I immediately started looking at other male `Lad Lit' authors and Mike Gayle was one that I had heard of and was incredibly popular.

    With that in mind I decided to try his debut novel My Legendary Girlfriend that he first published back in 1998. Very early on we are introduced to Will Kelly, the only real `character' so to speak in the book. We get the lowdown on his truly depressing life, his awful flat and his agony over his ex-girlfriend.

    Very early on I found myself disliking Will, all he seemed to do was moan about literally everything, and I had no sympathy for him whatsoever. I figured that this must be the lead up to where the character develops and the reader ends up seeing the turnaround. No such luck for me on that front.

    The most frustrating thing is that nothing much happens. I get the impression this was meant to be a mans take on the Bridget Jones style kind of diary; however this is the furthest from that example in my opinion. Seeing as I was over halfway through the book and not feeling anything towards the character, I gave the book a break for a day and hoped I would return with a better feeling.

    Sadly, when I returned and ploughed through (that's what it felt like), I finished it with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. The writing was good, and there were certainly moments that made me chuckle, but that alone was not enough for me to actually feel like I enjoyed the book.

    Overall, I can honestly say that this book was unmemorable at best and boring at worst. The writing and moments of humour are enough for me to try another Mike Gayle, after all as this was his debut novel and he now has a solid fan base I would like to give a newer book a try and hope that maybe it was just this particular book that wasn't my cup of tea.

  3. Kat's Review of Mini-Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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    Sophie Kinsella Mini ShopaholicMy Rating: 2/5

    Well my opinion is really divided. I have read all of the books in the Shopaholic series and have enjoyed them all. I thing the biggest winner in the series is the character Becky. She is so loveable yet clueless and she manages to get herself in all sorts of bother.

    The other side of the coin for me is when I sat on a plane and decided to watch the film that had been made from the book Confessions of a Shopaholic. The film, albeit not the worst I have seen, wasn't great either for me. As usual the character I had built in my head was a major disappointment as I saw Isla Fisher trying (and failing) to play the part of Becky Bloomwood. Maybe this has been what lingered in my head the longest as I picked up the latest instalment in the Shopaholic series. Overall I have rated this book lower than I expected to but I suppose every series has its limits.

    When we are re-introduced to Becky we see her back to her usual tricks of shopping for ridiculous things that she doesn't need. We also meet her daughter Minnie who was written reasonably well and had taken on all of her mother's traits, including screaming mine at regular intervals. We also see Luke her husband busy with his business Brandon Communications. As an ever patient person he tends to ignore a lot of Becky's strange stories as this is part and parcel of who she is.

    I still love the character Becky and think she is incredibly funny and her one-liners that she uses to get herself out of trouble are funny. However, this particular instalment of the series only had that to fall back on, Becky herself. The storyline was the weakest I have seen in a long time, with seemingly no structure at all. The whole plot is centred on Becky planning a surprise party, which considering the title is not what I expected. Yes we do see Minnie and her tantrums along with the addition of Nanny Sue who is a childcare expert. But that is it, literally!

    I found myself dragging my heels and wondering when something was going to happen. Sophie Kinsella definitely has the skills as a writer but I am beginning to wonder whether this series has now had its day. I think the film production was what ruined it for me and from looking at other opinions it seems I am not the only one that feels that way. There were some redeeming qualities and that was things we have seen in previous books such as the relationship between Becky and her parents as well as her friendship with Suze and Tarquin.

    It only took me a day and a half to read this book but ended up feeling quite disappointed, and felt that I had only finished it out of obligation. I can only hope that Sophie Kinsella either creates a new series or continues with her stand alone novels.

  4. Kat's Review of Postcard Killers by James Patterson

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    James Patterson Postcard Killers
    My Rating: 2/5

    James Patterson seems to continually disappoint me these days. It's bad enough that I hated his last two books, but this one is only marginally better. Many people are die hard Patterson fans and until quite recently I would have also put myself in that category. Unfortunately, I am now becoming very cynical when it comes to any book he has co-written.

    This particular book I was actually looking forward to due to many reasons. The first is that he has never co-written with author before; and secondly because Lisa Marklund is a successful author in her own right. Once again I have been let down.

    The story itself sounded pretty good from the bog standard jacket info. NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of some of the most famous European cities. However, his reasons for the tour are not what you imagine. His daughter Kimmy was brutally murdered along with her fiancé while visiting Rome. Since then other couples have been found murdered in many other cities. There seem to be no connections except for a postcard that is sent to a local newspaper prior to each of the murders. Jacob feels that he has to track the killers down to find himself some peach and the only way to do that is team up with Dessie Larson, a reporter that received a postcard in Stockholm.

    The first few chapters are pretty good with non stop action from the killer and the detectives. Gruesome crime scenes and the police scratching their head is the general theme of the story in the beginning. This book actually had the potential to be really good.

    Sadly, both Lisa Marklund and James Patterson got bored around halfway through this book and decided to slow the pace and the storyline at the same time. The story itself was okay, but it seemed to become more lacklustre the further into the book you got. The main character Jacob was not the strongest character I have read, but by no means the worst either. The relationship between Jacob and Dessie was also a bone of contention for me as it was very unbelievable and stilted.

    Besides Jacob and Dessie, the only other characters that the reader is drawn to, is that of the killers. The killers were so mentally unbalanced it was laughable. There was nothing like the connection you feel to characters when reading a Cross novel. This is one of the major factors that is turning me rapidly into a Patterson turncoat.

    I still pray that when the next Cross novel is released by Mr Patterson alone that I will take back all my words of criticism and be a number one fan again. I think that overall Patterson fans want just that, Patterson and Patterson alone. Leave the co-writing alone for a while!

  5. Kat's Review of Private by James Patterson

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    James Patterson Private
    My Rating: 2/5

    I finished James Patterson's co-written book `Don't Blink' a couple of weeks ago and thought that I would never be able to read a book as bad as that with his name on it. Boy was I was wrong!

    First off there are so many plots and sub-plots that you're constantly thinking "Who"? That's just the first gripe. The story itself is told in such a manner that it is almost rushed. You never get to connect with any of the characters because they don't appear for long enough.

    Plot wise you would think that a school-girl serial killer and Jack's best friend being murdered would be enough but clearly not for James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. In addition to this we see Jack's twin brother in trouble because he owes the Mob $600,000 as well as American Football Referees fixing matches. In my eyes this sort of level of plot detail is far too much for the style of writing many of his fans are used to.

    Jack is the main character and all we seem to hear about is his war-torn past. Now don't get me wrong if it's relevant to the character and/or story then fine, but this just seemed to come across as rambling at times.

    In addition to the plot and character problems there is the believable factor. I am fully aware that any fiction novel, especially one with James Patterson as co-writer, will have a certain element of things that are slightly outside the normal realms of life. However, this book really went overboard with the mention of a crime lab owned by Private that is better than the FBI has?!? There are also a number of scenes where Jack randomly turns up at the home of one of the leading figures of the Mob un-announced. I think there was too much of this type of scene which took it from being over the top to laughable.

    There are very brief moments where we see Jack's love life come to the forefront. Unfortunately for the ladies in question it is so brief that they probably weren't even aware of it. The story felt rushed, incomplete and totally ridiculous.

    All in all I was AGAIN disappointed with a James Patterson book. I still debate in my own mind whether the reason is because JP doesn't contribute to the co-written books that much, or whether I am just tiring of his work. I think it must be the former as recently he has produced a reasonable offering with Worst Case featuring Michael Bennett. Like a fool I have pre-ordered his next book due Postcard Killers which is a co-written book due for release early September 2010. I am pinning my hopes on this particular one a little more as Lisa Marklund is the co-writer and as I understand it, has not co-written with JP before.

  6. Kat's Review of Gallery Girl by Wendy Holden

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    Wendy Holden Gallery GirlMy Rating: 2/5

    I feel so disappointed with this book. I have read each and every one of Wendy Holden's books and either love them or really don't like them which can be quite frustrating. I have never read an author where my opinion sways so much between books. This book was no different. Her last book entitled Beautiful People I really enjoyed and was again looking forward to her next one.

    First off all of her books are pretty hefty reads with this one being no different at 496 pages. This is great if the story warrants it but in the past I have felt that a couple of her books have been that little bit too lengthy. This book definitely fell into this category. Wendy Holden manages to always create characters with warmth and humour which to a degree she did with this book. However there were too many characters. Yes the story brings them all together but some of the characters and the plots that were strung through the book just seemed a little pointless. The main character appeared to be Beth and admittedly she was written well but her boyfriend, friends and other plots that ran alongside her seemed to be...well...put there to fill space. There were so many characters aside from Beth but there was never enough time to really connect with any of them as you jumped from character to another to keep the plot going. Some of the characters are the type you see in a Teen movie and were too over the top for my liking.

    The other characters either seemed completely unbelievable or like they just had no personality (Marie being one of those characters). Zeb Spaw was quite good but there is a sudden character change literally overnight that kind of ruins the image we first get of him.I also felt like it was an effort to actually read the book which is quite unusual for me, especially books in this genre, which nine times out of ten are very easy to read. I finished the book and just felt flat, it was all very obvious where the story was being taken and seemed a little too young girl fairytale for me. Nobody minds the fairytale ending but it has to be written in a reasonably believable way!

    Really disappointed that this book wasn't as good as I expected. It wasn't horrendous, but it just wasn't that good. If you were to read Beautiful People (published in 2009) and then this book you wouldn't believe they were written by the same author. I will probably continue to read Wendy Holden's books but just hope that there is a bit more consistency in her future offerings.

  7. Kat's Review of Canarino by Katherine Bucknell

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    Katherine Bucknell Canarino3My Rating: 2/5

    I have read quite a lot lately, but found myself with nothing left on my `read' list. My friend offered to lend me a book by an author that I had never heard of. To be honest if I was in a bookshop and saw this I wouldn't do more than glance at it. The front cover is not exactly the most enticing and the jacket gives little away as to the sort of book it is. I decided that I would give it a go anyway and started reading it as soon as I got home that night.

    Synopsis: David is an American Investment Banker and he lives in London with his wife Elizabeth and two children. His wife decides that he must retire; leaving the life they have in London and moving to a remote and rural area of America. Elizabeth goes ahead with the children and on the first evening in his London home David is contacted by a very old friend. This is the start of a story of betrayal and lies and delves deep into the relationship between two friends.

    Well where do I start? The first chapter is kind of a head scratcher. We are introduced to both Katherine and David along with their children. The first chapter itself is slow because of the way the author describes everything in such detail. I persevered and found that at chapter 4, I wanted to just shut the book and not return to it. However, I was not going to be defeated and convinced myself it was one of those books you needed to really involve yourself in.

    The basic story and plot is a good one. It is very difficult to give too many details as it would spoil the book but essentially the basis for the story is okay. The characters I found extremely hard work. I began to realise little over 6 chapters in, that I didn't like the writing style of the author. The reason I didn't like her style of writing is that this particular author examines the minds of the characters in great depth and can continue for half a chapter just explaining what they are thinking. She also writes with a slight poetic and dramatic edge, which if I'm honest isn't something I enjoy. The drama, yes, the poetry, no.

    Like I said, I persevered and once I adjusted my mindset to the author's way of thinking I found it easier to read. However, the book actually lacked any sort of substance because; I would go as far as to say that there was too much depth to the characters. Just as you are beginning to understand what they are thinking you forget why you needed know in the first place. The depth never leads to anything; it just seems to add to the poetic edge of writing.

    Over halfway in and I enjoyed it a little more that in the beginning as the story progressed and other characters were brought in. However, the story itself revolves around 5 or 6 main characters and I didn't like one of them! They were all written with great feeling, that much was obvious, they just weren't that likeable in my opinion.

    I was reading a page and coming to the end of a chapter near the end of the book and when I turned the page I was shocked to realise that I had finished the book. That was it, no real ending as such, no loose ends tied up, and the author just decided enough was enough. I was so frustrated that not only had I had to force myself to read this, that the ending was so abrupt. I felt like the author couldn't be bothered to finish the work she had started. Out of curiosity I looked up this author on Amazon thinking there may be a follow up, but there wasn't. What surprised me even more was that this particular book was rated as 4 out of 5. I was gobsmacked to say the least. I also wondered about the title of the book. Canarino is a lemon drink and the only reference to this drink is that Elizabeth drunk it when she first met David. That about summed up this book, it's like hot lemon water, it may be good for you but not everybody likes it!

    I can honestly say I will not be reading any more of her books and felt very disappointed with the book. Maybe I am not educated enough to appreciate this poetic style of writing, but if the truth be known I like it brash, loud and straight to the point!

  8. Kat's Review of Hard Girls by Martina Cole

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    Martina Cole Hard GirlsMy Rating: 2/5

    Martina Cole has been writing since 1992 and has produced some fantastic crime novels. Some of her work has been turned into TV Dramas and her most recent book turned TV Programme was The Take which attracted over 600,000 viewers in the first episode. Martina Cole Books have always been popular and many of them have reached number 1 in the Bestseller lists. I have read each and every book she has ever written and have been a fan for many years. However, in recent years I felt like she was losing that something special that she had in the first few books she produced. I was, like other fans, waiting with baited breath for her latest book that brings back characters that appeared in `Ladykiller' and `Broken'.

    DCI Kate Burrows is living with Patrick Kelly. Patrick is a former criminal that has changed his life after settling with Kate and going on the `straight' to a certain degree. Kate is no longer working as a DCI full time but is still a consultant and is drafted in when a new case arises. When working girls are found murdered and brutally tortured, Kate realises that this is a little too close to home where Patrick is concerned. He may be on the straight and narrow but when working girls start turning up dead in houses that he rents out the case becomes incredibly personal. Subsequently Kate and Patrick separate after Kate has doubts about Pat's involvement. The more time that passes, and the more girls that turn up. Each girl seems to be in a worse state than the last. DCI Annie Carr is the lead on the new case and Kate joins her in the bid to find the killer before they murder more of the working girls.

    I am so undecided about this book. This took me a whole week to read, whereas normally I would read a Martina Cole book over a couple of days. I found myself constantly putting it down and reading something else (never a good sign). The characters seem to have changed completely since the last time we met them. Admittedly Kate and Patrick are both much older now but Kate Burrows ended up being a character I really didn't like that much. The story itself was okay, that's it just okay. There were no great drama's or surprises in store and the killer is pretty obvious quite early on in the book. I also found that the storyline was much like Martina's last book in that there is so much repetitiveness it makes me bored of reading it again...and again.....and again! The crime scenes seemed to be almost skipped over and there didn't seem to de any depth to any storyline, whether it is a violent one or a murder that had happened.

    Overall it wasn't bad but I just found that it wasn't a gripping enough read, the characters nowhere near as good as they used to be and her style of writing has changed. I was really hoping that her new book would be back to her `old style' types where you literally couldn't put the book down. Unfortunately it wasn't and I find myself wondering whether Martina Cole has lost her touch. I am disappointed that somebody that in her heyday produced books that I couldn't wait to read, has now produced something that makes me think I won't bother with the new releases she brings out in the future. I will save my pennies for authors that I really love, and will probably wait until her new books are on special offer somewhere.