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» Listings for March 2010

  1. Andrew Gross Reckless

    My Rating: 3/5

    This is Andrew Gross fourth novel as a solo author. He has co-written a number of books with James Patterson. I was excited when he started writing his own stuff and really enjoyed his first and second book. His third novel Don't Look Twice however, was a book that I was really disappointed with. I was looking forward to his new release `Reckless' as I thought we may see the return of his brilliant writing and the character Ty Hauck.

     This story does indeed bring back Ty Hauck and we find he has now moved on from his career in law enforcement and now works for a private security firm. He soon realises that working in this sector doesn't stop him thinking and behaving like he was still a cop. When a Wall Street Trader is murdered in his home along with his family everyone assumes that it's a burglary gone wrong. But when another trader dies in what looks like a suspicious suicide, things start to go very wrong. Ty finds himself pulled into the case along with Naomi Blum, a US Treasury agent. Naomi is investigating a financial paper trail that go back to the two dead traders. Between them they start to uncover a murky trail that could lead higher than either of them could ever imagine.

    Initially the story trundled along as I got to grips with the characters that were introduced and the detailed storyline. I can honestly say that although I enjoyed the book, there seemed to be a major key to the story missing, I just can't tell you what it is. The characters were as good as before and Ty in particular is a well written and really likeable character. Naomi is also written incredibly well. I just found myself checking who people were a second time which is unusual for me. The story becomes quite in-depth in some parts and I would say that this is not the sort of book you can 'go back to'. You have to concentrate on the story and people so that you don't lose pace with it. Overall I would give the book 3.5 out of 5 and say that it wasn't a bad read. I do on the other hand think that Andrew Gross can produce much better material than this.

  2. Catherine Alliott One Day In MayMy Rating: 4/5

    I have been reading Catherine Alliots books for a while now and her last book `The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton' I loved. When I picked this book up I was expecting it to be just as good if not better. I am still unsure how I feel about this book. Don't get me wrong, her writing is still brilliant as her characters but I felt like there was something missing and I can't put my finger on what.

    Hattie as a character was great. She is a woman who seems to have a very happy life but as the first few chapters go in we start to delve into her past. We are given snippets of her past and what she endured when she was first out of college. We are introduced to Hal her friend who was totally devoted to her. When Hal agrees to get Hattie a job working for his brother Dominic she jumps at the chance. It is at this stage in her life when things don't go quite according to plan. She ends up falling for Dominic who is married and expecting his first child.

    When back in her `current' life we meet her work partner Maggie who is feisty and strong, all of the things Hattie feels she isn't. However their work life is coming along nicely and when Hattie's sister Laura moves into a big pad in the country they jump at the chance to pitch for the commission to redecorate and design the family home. They also find when they arrive that they are pitching against Ralph De Grandville who is a world class designer and a Diva to boot. This makes for some great scenes between fiery Maggie and Ralph.

    When they finally arrive in the village Hattie is a little worried but tries to bury her past secrets and move on. With the introduction of Letty who lives down the road and her daughter Cassie things don't quite go for plan for Hattie in more ways than one. Letty is Dominic's widow and Cassie their child. Along with Letty and Cassie she also bumps into Hal who she hasn't seen in many years and this also causes problems for her. The way the story is written, flittering back and forth is quite good because you are consumed by the story slowly and it works itself up to the finale which was completely unexpected.

    In Hattie's personal life we meet Ivan her new toy boy who to be frank, we don't really hear that much of. This along with the fact that the ending surprised me was maybe why I had reluctance to say this book was brilliant. There were moments when I was completely absorbed in the book. The storyline with Hattie's son Seffy was really good and made for some shocking and heart warming scenes.

    We also are taken back through Hattie's past to a time when she was working out in Bosnia with her brother Kit. This part of the story was pretty good and you get a good insight into why Hattie makes some of her decisions. It's also a great foundation for the second part of the book. Her son Seffy is integrated throughout the story but really comes into his own in the second half. Hattie's family were written with great strength because each one wormed their way into my heart; especially Hattie's mum, dad and brother.

    Like I said before I did enjoy this book, but felt there was something missing. Maybe because I enjoyed her last book so much I felt a little let down with this one. This certainly doesn't mean this isn't a good book, just lacking that certain something. I think overall Catherine Alliott has produced another good book as she always has. I only have doubts that maybe this didn't have as much spark for me in comparison to something like her last book. I will continue to pre-order her books and look forward to the next one.

  3. My Rating: 4/5June Hampson Jail Baitr

    Kat's Review: I have mixed feelings about this book but to explain why you need to understand a little of the background to the story. The Daisy Lane books are written in sequence so to have any sort of knowledge of the characters you should try to read them in order. Having read all of her books I have built up a good knowledge of these characters and what role they play in each others lives.

    In her previous book Fatal Cut we met Daisy when she was with her lover Vinnie Endersby who is a police officer. She ends up having her son Jamie by him, but he ends up reuniting with his wife Claire. Daisy then falls into the arms of Roy Kemp, who although plays the role of a top Gangster in his area, has always loved Daisy. In this book we barely see Vinnie and the only references to her son Jamie are to highlight that he has clearly been born half human-half devil! I find it strange that there was no warning to this part of the story it has just appeared as if from nowhere.

     In previous books we have met many characters who all have their place within Daisy's life yet they all seem to have had a personality transplant since last year. The main character Daisy was always a really strong woman who rolled her sleeves up and got things done. She appears a lot more crass and to be honest not quite herself in the latest outing. I don't know quite what has happened to her but she appears to have been written in a completely different light. Daisy's friend Vera was always a favourite character of mine but again in this book she has been written in a different way and seems to have lost her sparkle.

    Having said that, don't let this put you off the book. Her first three books were amazing. Her fourth book I didn't think was as strong as the others but enjoyed it all the same. This fifth book is even less enjoyable for the character Daisy but what we do have is a five star read for the more prominent characters. I am hoping that when she publishes her next book, we start to see the life of Eddie, Daisy's eldest son. I almost feel that this was the author's intention in writing this book.

    I wondered halfway through if the characters and story had just run out of steam. In saying that there were glimpses of June Hampson's brilliant writing and storytelling, I just think its time Daisy took a back seat and the author got her teeth into a new set of characters that focus on her son.

    The story itself as a whole wasn't bad but wasn't great, if I were to rate it I would be giving it 3.5 out of 5. Based on the fact that the author is laying a great starting block for Eddie I would rate it 4 out of 5. I have previously compared June Hampson to authors such as Martina Cole and I stand by that. Her writing is brilliant and I love her books (even though this wasn't her best). If you haven't read her before but like people such as Martina Cole, Mandasue Heller and the like then maybe this will be your cup of tea too.

  4. Dorothy Koomson The ICe Cream GirlsMy Rating: 5/5

    Poppy and Serena were 18 when an event took place that would change both their lives forever. Marcus was their school teacher and he ends up dead with only Serena and Poppy as witnesses. The media have a field day and label the pair `The Ice Cream Girls'. Twenty years on and their lives went in completely different directions. There are however secrets from their past that Serena is desperate to keep hidden and Poppy is determined to bring to light.

    I originally came across Dorothy Koomson by accident after picking up the wrong book in a bookshop. I was very glad that `accident' happened otherwise I may never have found this truly brilliant writer. The first book of hers I read was Marshmallows For Breakfast and what a joy it was to read. That followed with all of her other publications and I can honestly say I have not been disappointed with any of her books.

    One thing I want to point out is the genre of these books. I would hazard a guess that most of her books are put into the Chick Lit genre which isn't that true, especially where this book is concerned. The front cover may lead you to think this is a feel good book but don't be fooled. This is a very heartfelt and in parts powerful book telling an incredibly sad story.