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» Listings for August 2010

  1. Susan Lewis ForgottenMy Rating: 3/5

    It is very hard to write your opinion on this book without majorly spoiling the main plot but I will try my hardest. I have always been a fan of Susan Lewis and find her books often have a very real and harrowing storyline and this one is no different.

    The book is a little bit of a slow starter as we are introduced to all the main characters such as Lisa, David and David's daughter Rosalind. Although slow to begin with once you have a real feel for the characters the story progresses with hints as to the major problem they will both be facing. The issues that the book covers, and the reality of it for the characters, are written with real feeling and are very descriptive. From this perspective I think Susan Lewis shone and although the book is not the typical `feel-good' you may expect it is written with incredible sensitivity.

    The story itself is very believable and will be an eye opener for people that know nothing about the subject matter. Although I wouldn't go as far as to say this is her best work it's certainly not awful. I think the fact that it was quite slow was one downside. The only other real negative I found was the abrupt turnaround in the character Rosalind towards the end of the book.

    All in all the story and characters were good but the story itself a little sad. I felt that the ending was okay although maybe it could have ended very differently had the author wanted to follow that path. I certainly hope that Susan Lewis will produce a much better book next time as some of my favourite books have been hers such as `Missing'. This book wasn't bad but is certainly not a reflection on the sort of books she can produce.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. My Review: 1/5

    I pre-warn you, I am on a serious case of getting on my soap box here so if you don't want to listen to 50% opinion and a 50% rant to the author then please feel free to read no further. The fact that I read this in a day and a half, and then spent a 20 minute walk moaning about it to my sister speaks volumes. You read the jacket and find yourself thinking "it sounds pretty good". How wrong could I have been?

    The story is the most important part of a book closely followed by the writing style and talent of the author. Clearly James Patterson though both these things were irrelevant. There has been a lot of hype over the deal between JP and his co-authors with some people claiming that JP contributes very little to these books, however nothing has ever been confirmed or denied from the Publishers.

    This story was just awful and to be truthful so far fetched and ridiculous it made the plot from the film Crank look realistic! I have to mention in particular the fist major scene which is the murder of a mob lawyer. Now you have to bear in mind that this scene is set in one of New York's most `happening' restaurants which is full to the brim. This `assassin' manages to walk in (obviously he knew the Maitre D') walk past all the packed tables and manages to approach the table and cut this mans eyeballs out. I have no knowledge, but I am guessing that this sort of killing in real life takes a little more than a minute or so. But still this killer manages to do all of this in an exceedingly short space of time. Once the task is complete, the whole restaurant is screaming but luckily there are two off duty police officers who `draw their weapons'. However, the killer manages (with two guns pointed at him remember) to produce two guns of his own. Not only does the killer manage to retrieve his two guns before the police discharge their weapons, he also manages to kill them both with a single bullet to the middle of the forehead. Following his miraculous shots he exits the building through the kitchen and vanishes! Now do you see what I mean about the ridiculous storyline? I know this is fiction, but come on!

    Aside from the major flaws of the story being so far fetched it's ridiculous it also lacked any real oomph. The characters are one dimensional and the dialogue between them is laughable. The only good thing about this whole book is the fact that the chapter layout and style is the typical Patterson special. Short and sharp, it's just unfortunate that it's the only positive I can find. The ending was predictable and everything wrapped up like a perfect Christmas gift.

    Never before have I read a Patterson and hated the characters as much as I did in this one. The main character Nick Daniels is like a modern day Indiana Jones but even Indiana doesn't get as unlucky as this guy. nearly every chapter produces a scene where the guy is 'nearly killed'. His so called relationship with another character in the book Courtney was like something out of a teen flick and made me cringe. Never one to give up I read the book from cover to cover and found that the nearer to the end I got the happier I felt. The sooner I finished this mess of a book the better. If this was a debut novel with no authors name on the front I would be surprised if many readers bothered finishing it, let alone reading another.

    This may seem ridiculous to people that I feel so strongly about a book, but I just feel.....well robbed would be the best description. I have personally contributed a lot of my hard earned cash to a man that is an excellent writer with an extreme talent, who for some reason seems to enter into any deal that has his name on the cover?

    I still believe that James Patterson is a one of the most talented authors out there, that can produce books that all his readers love. However, I am beginning to think that JP maybe doesn't care what his readers/fans think? I mean he is hardly doing this for the money now so why does he continue to co-write such a vast number of books? I would rather have to wait a year for one book that would be his work and his work alone.

    Mr Patterson, your readers deserve a refund!

  5. Tasmina Perry Kiss heaven GOodbyeMy Rating: 5/5

    As usual when I receive a Tasmina Perry book I prepare myself for the sheer weight of it as all four of her previous novels have been hefty. This current one was no different and I was eager to get started.

    We meet four very different characters in this story that will sway your perception of them very early on. Miles and Grace Ashford are brother and sister and could not be more different. They are spending their summer on their parent's private island and have both come to enjoy the summer. Miles has brought his friend Alex Doyle along who is almost like the class geek, but they have somehow become firm friends. Along with Alex is Sasha Sinclair who is currently dating Miles and has her eye on becoming the future Mrs Ashford.

    The book is written in stages and we see the story from that first summer in 1990 where all four of them become part of a dark secret that they will all carry with them. Each of them goes their separate ways and the book progresses with each of them over the next twenty years bring us to the finale set in 2010.

    As usual Tasmina Perry has surpassed my expectations and produced a first class book which is everything you want from a great Chick Lit novel. The story itself was so well written with the progressing years for each character. We see snippets of each of their lives and how their successes are affecting each of them. Their lives cross many times over the years and that dark secret is the cause of pain and suffering for all of them in one sense or another.

    The characters are written with such insight and I found myself loving Alex and Grace almost as much as I disliked Miles and Sasha. The story was a great pace and each little nugget of information relating to the past kept me curious about the original incident until the very end of the book.

    Although the story is considered Chick Lit, I loved the fact that there was a very dark side to both the story and characters. There was also a very surprising twist at the end which was very discreetly hidden and made perfect sense once the story was complete.

    Although this book was hefty I devoured it over a day and a half. All the key ingredients for a great chick lit book were in here, glamour, tragedy, success, power and sex. Yet again Tasmina Perry has produced an absolutely brilliant book and right now I cannot think of many authors that write as well as her consistently. Each of her 4 previous books has rated no less than 4 stars on Amazon and in my opinion that rating is well and truly deserved. If you have never heard of her and like this genre of book I cannot recommend her highly enough.

  6. Rosy Thornton The TApestry of LoveMy Rating: 4/5

    Okay, firstly I have to say that I am usually of the `trashier the better' kind of attitude. If I am reading Chick Lit, I love the sleaze and glamour of it all. On the other side of the fence, I love a good crime thriller where we see the regular cop heroes turn up at every given opportunity. However, this book certainly doesn't fit into the Chick Lit genre and I would be at a loss as to where to place it. It is a `real' book, that's the best way I can describe it. There is no gush, no fairytale typical storylines, and certainly no murders!

    Rosy Thornton has managed to produce a book that doesn't just tell you a story; it parks your butt on a plane and actually takes you there. Her style of writing is unusual in comparison to what I am used to but it is brilliant all the same. I could almost imagine myself sitting in the corner of Catherin Parkstone's kitchen in the Cevennes Mountains and actually watching her life unfold. The characters are written really well and there is such an element of realism that you find yourself swept along with the tale. The scenery is so well described that it has left a vivid picture in my imagination of what everything and everybody should look like.

    The story itself was great too and we meet Catherine's local neighbours, who are at first very `French', making Catherine have to work a lot harder to become part of the community. Catherine's sister Bryony makes an appearance in Cevennes after making a radical decision to take a sabbatical from work. This complicates Catherine's life more than she cares to admit. She struggles to get her priorities in her head the right way round. Although both her children are grown up she finds herself constantly worrying about whether they will be okay and whether moving to this remote part of France was a good idea after all.

    The book is structured so that we see her time at her home progress over a number of months which makes it so much easier to imagine the different times of year in this area. It also gives the reader the element of how far she has come and what the future will hold.

    All in all this was a fantastic book. I will admit that I would never have chosen this from a bookstore as it doesn't look trashy enough for me, but boy am I glad I read this. A wonderful book with a real touch of realism that is perfect for curling up with. I would highly recommend this book and Rosy Thornton will definitely be added to my list of authors to pre-order from.

  7. Tilly Bagshawe ScandalousMy Rating: 5/5

    Sasha Miller is a young Cambridge physics student. She sets off for Cambridge with aspirations to become a scientist. What she doesn't realise is that she will pay the ultimate price for her ambitions. Her tutor, Theo Dexter, looks like a movie star. He has it all, the looks, the charm and the intelligence. He is also a married man. Sasha finds herself on the wrong end of Theo's self centred ways and leaves the UK for good with her heart broken. She is determined to make a life for herself so heads to the US and finds herself taking her career on a whole other path. Meanwhile, Theo's wife Theresa is also suffering. When Theo casts her aside for a younger and more attractive woman she too tries to move on with her life. What she doesn't realise is that in years to come not only will she meet up with Sasha Miller once again, but she will be asked to seek revenge against Theo.

    Oh...my...GOD! Where have I been? This book has been in my ever growing pile of books to read for a little while and to be frank, would have stayed towards the bottom were it not for the rave reviews for it on certain websites. I am so glad that I made the time to read this because it was a corker of a book.

    Although I tend to read a lot of crime and thriller type books I love a good Chick Lit book. I find that most of the more mainstream authors I have read or at least tried one of their books. Tilly Bagshawe however failed to reach my radar. I am also a huge fan of the Jackie Collins type smutty `bonkbusters' (I can almost hear people sighing with disdain). Tilly Bagshawe managed to create a perfect combination between the `bonkbuster' and the traditional `chick lit'.The characters were written brilliantly and you found yourself either loving or loathing them which is a true sign that the author is doing their job! Sasha Miller is more predominant in the first half of the book and slowly as the book and years progress we see much more of Theresa.

    The book is set over a number of years but Tilly Bagshawe has managed to get the balance spot on in terms of time. We see just the right amount of each segment of their lives before moving 5 years down the road. She has created possibly one of the most arrogant male lead characters in this book which I just love. Not only do we get to see the book set over different times, but different parts of the world as well. It is set in Cambridge and then we move across the waters to New York once people's lives move on.I loved the fact that none of the storyline was predictable. Once I had finished I had a real sense of satisfaction and couldn't wait to order another of her books. She wrapped everything up nicely and managed to pull out many surprises over the course of the book. I read this book over a day and a half and am still slightly in shock that I have never read any of her work before.

    This book had everything you could want, sex, glamour, revenge, love and fantastic characters. As a reader I could not ask for anything better and would highly recommend this book.