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» Listings for January 2011

  1. Jessie Keane The MakeMy Rating: 4/5

    Jessie Keane started off her books with an absolutely brilliant trilogy featuring a character by the name of Annie Bailey. When I finished them I was a little worried about whether her follow on books would create such good characters. Thankfully her following book Jail Bait was a great book too with brilliant plot and characters.

    This latest book is of exactly the same making. We meet Gracie Doyle who is far from perfect but is great to read about. There is no hanging around waiting for the plot to develop, we get thrown straight into it with the mysterious disappearance and assault on her two estranged brothers.

    What I especially loved about this book was the fact that JK split it into two sections. We read Gracie' story and see the story develop as she learns about her brothers before launching herself into their life down in London. We then also see the story a few weeks prior to that involving Harry and George.

    Gracie's ex-husband Lorcan runs his own casino in London and help's Gracie in her search to find out what has happened. That element in the story adds another thread as we get to see the ex-partners battle out their own problems whilst trying to help Gracie's brothers. I loved the fact that the story is really fast paced and the fact that it is no-hold barred. I shouldn't have worried that Jessie Keane wouldn't produce the goods because as ever she has written a great book.

    I really like the fact that the story moves down south as it has a lot more gritty realism being set on the streets of London (or at least it did for me). The story does touch on some sensitive issues but it is dealt with really well. I loved the ending as well which was an added bonus.

    All you need for a good crime book in my opinion is a great story, strong characters and great writing. I can assure you that Jessie Keane has all three in abundance. If I am being 100% honest, I still miss Annie Bailey the character from her first books a little bit but to be fair her current books are just as good. Highly recommended!

  2. Karen Rose You Belong To MeMy Rating: 4/5

    When I received KR's latest book I wasn't surprised to see it was a humdinger of a hardback at 480 pages. This was actually something I relished, a meaty book that I could get my teeth into.

    In the past Karen Rose has been criticised for her style of writing with some saying that the romance element shouldn't be there. I disagree and see nothing wrong in a crime or thriller novel having a splash of love about it.

    In this particular book it took me no time at all to get straight into the heart of the story. The opening few chapters throw us into the world of Lucy Trask and the grisly discovery of a body. Lucy does follow a tried and tested type of character, a strong and independent woman with a murky past. I must say though, although it may seem a tires type of character, Karen Rose does it perfectly. Lucy Trask was a great character and a lot of the gripping elements of the story relate to her past and her current hidden secrets. JD Fitzpatrick is also a strong and cleverly written lead character. I wouldn't be spoiling the plot by saying that the love interest is not hard to work out in this book but it was done subtly.

    As ever Karen Rose' strongest attribute is the crimes themselves. As usual we have a gritty and sometimes disturbing plot with a very high body count and a race against time before more people become victims. The crime scenes themselves are very descriptive and the tension runs pretty high too and I found myself sitting up a little more, and nudging my tush further towards the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen.

    The story doesn't let up pace throughout the whole book and the ending was a pretty good round up too. Overall it took me around three days to finish the book which isn't surprising with the size of it. However, I didn't once get tired of reading it and the story remained fresh throughout. I think her stories only get better and she manages to keep it interesting with the characters she creates. Overall, another great book by Karen Rose and one that I would highly recommend.

  3. Kim Chambers The TraitorMy Rating: 5/5

    My, oh my! Considering that I only discovered KC a mere 3 months ago, I have managed to read all of her books including the latest release, the second in the trilogy of the Mitchell and O'Hara families. The upside to this is I have discovered a wonderful writer who has produced 5 absolute top notch books; however the downside is that I now have to wait a few months until the final part of the trilogy is released.

    We pick up from where we left off with the Mitchell family in tatters. After Eddie Mitchell accidently killed his wife instead of Jed O'Hara he confesses and is awaiting his verdict. Frankie meanwhile is determined to make a go of it with Jed and is living with him and their children. Frankie's twin Joey is in his own relationship and is steering well clear of the family as he can't deal with all the upheaval. Seeing as I read part one so recently the characters were still fresh in my mind, but even if there had been a long gap, you can't fail to remember these feisty families. KC has the knack of creating some real charmers in her books, and Jed has to be the worst yet. I detested him and his family but I like nothing more that loving or loathing characters, it's the sign of a great writer.

    Not only do we meet both the Mitchell and O'Hara family again but we get to see the lives they are all living and what they are all up to, especially where the family business is concerned. As usual we are thrown in at the deep end with all of them and that includes the family feud still slowly simmering away. Frankie and Joey are now grown up and I loved the fact that we got to see a lot more of their personalities. The plot itself is a continuation from the first book, although if you picked this up first by mistake it wouldn't make that much of a difference as you get quite a bit of background too. Having said that I always think the first part gives you the ability to build the characters up and have a bit of history on them. The plot is as fast and nail bitingly exciting as the last one, if not more.

    I almost dragged the last few chapters out because I didn't want to finish the book as I knew I had a long wait until the next one. For those that read my reviews regularly you have heard it all before. For those that haven't I will say it again. If you haven't read Kimberley Chambers then I suggest you start....RIGHT NOW! Once again KC you have produced a first rate book and you truly are a fabulous author, just keep `em coming girl!

  4.  Harriet Evans Love ALwaysMy Rating: 4/5

    Natasha Kapoor's life seems to be on a downward spiral. Her business and marriage are failing and her beloved Grandmother who lived in Cornwall has passed away. She travels back to Summercove, the family home in Cornwall, for her Grandmother's funeral. Whilst there, she discovers the diary of her aunt Cecily who died as a teenager. Natasha starts to read the diary and soon discovers that her family are hiding secrets. She is determined to find out what happened in the summer of 1963, but when she finds the truth, will she like what she hears?

    This book when it landed on my doorstep shocked me a little as it is certainly a hefty read at just over 500 pages. If I am being totally honest I wondered why this book would be different to any other Chick Lit book I had read and whether I could handle such a long read. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised.

    The first thing that struck me as odd once I had finished the book was the front cover. When you first see it, you imagine it is no different and will be your typical `girl meets boy' scenario book. The cover is at odds with the type of story this book tells.

    At first I found the book a little slow going as we get to meet Natasha and her family. It all seemed a little stilted and hard work. At around the chapter 5 mark I was beginning to wonder whether I should bother reading on, however I don't give up easily. By around chapter 10 there was absolutely no turning back and I had engrossed myself in the story.

    The book is told over two time periods. We see Natasha and her current life, dealing with all her troubles and the discovery of her aunt Cecily's diary. The second time period is that of the summer of 1963 as we too read Cecily's diary. If I am being completely honest, I preferred the 1963 part of the story as there were a lot more secrets being made cleared the more you read. Having said that I didn't dislike Natasha's story, it was just a little duller in comparison to that of Cecily's.

    The story itself has real heart and we see all of Natasha's family in this story, some of them nice and some of them not so nice. All of the characters were really believable and by the end I really felt for everybody involved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and although it wasn't the best I have read recently it was certainly enjoyable. It is a story that goes against the normal grain of romance and has characters that are quite memorable. I will certainly be reading more of Harriet Evans in the future and would recommend if you want something not too heavy, but a little more serious than the usual Chick Lit stuff.

  5. Kim Chambers The FeudMy Rating: 5/5

    Apologies for the length of this review but when a book comes along that is perfect, I feel the need to tell everybody about it. Shockingly, I had not even heard of Kimberley Chambers and only read her first book in October 2010. After reading the first one I realised that I may well have stumbled across a new talent that I feel is fast approaching the title Queen of Crime in the UK. After devouring the first I read her second and third book in quick succession. Her fourth book (this one), is the start of a trilogy featuring the Mitchell and O'Hara family.

    As usual her breakneck speed of drawing you in takes you by surprise. We meet the Mitchell clan with the father Harry as the head of the family and his three sons Eddie, Paulie and Ronny. Kimberley Chambers has a fantastic style of writing where she spreads the book over the years without it being too little or too much. You see chunks of their lives as the year's progress and she gets the balance absolutely spot on. The book starts in the seventies and progresses through to the late eighties. The Mitchell family have always had a long running feud with the O'Hara's and as Harry decides to take a back seat he looks to Eddie to tale over his criminal empire.

    Eddie is a fantastic character and he is everything you would expect and underworld gangster to be. He is fearless, ruthless and fiercely loyal. When he meets and marries the young Jessica, her family aren't that keen but are aware they have no say in the matter. Over the years we see Jessica and Eddie have twins of their own Frankie and Joey. We see them not only as young children but later on as teenagers too. The main characters of the story are Jessica and Eddie and we see what it is really like for a woman being married to a man so high up in the underworld. We also see and learn a lot about Jessica's parents Joyce and Stanley, her brother Raymond as well as he twins Frankie and Joey.

    The story itself gives great background to why the feud started and what has happened to keep it at bay. As the chapters speed along we meet the O'Hara's and see the two families interact. As time, and chapters, go by we see the feud start up again and the reasons why. The story itself doesn't let up pace at all and just rushes towards a huge climax at the end of the book. I was shocked by the turn of results at the end and realise that this has ended well. Kimberley Chambers had finished and answered half the questions regarding the families, but has left it that I have so many more about what is to come.

    The writing as usual is gritty and realistic with violence and language being a staple ingredient. If either of these things offends you, then maybe this wouldn't be to your taste. For me, it just makes it so real and I literally could NOT stop reading. I started this last night and finished it this morning. The only negative is that I have to wait until the second installment is delivered to my door before I can get stuck in and find out what happens next. This particular book has had 33 customer reviews, and 32 of those rated it as 5 stars, that you won't see very often!

    Having only discovered KC as an author a mere 3 months ago, I am shocked that she is not more popular. I for one cannot believe that more people do not know about her. The friends that I have handed her books to are now as addicted as I am. Kimberley Chambers is certainly the BEST British crime writer I have discovered this year. Comparing her to Martina Cole is an insult to the standard of Kimberley Chamber's books. As an ex- Martina Cole fan I can honestly say that Ms Cole should learn a thing or two by maybe picking up one of KC's books.

  6. Katie Fforde Going DutchMy Rating: 3/5

    I had never read Katie Fforde before but have seen her books many times over the years. I picked this book up after reading the jacket and had no expectations, I was just hoping for a decent read.

    The book wasn't particularly hefty at 400 pages but the cover is reasonable, although not particularly attention grabbing. I settled myself down and got stuck in, only that is a lot easier said than done sometimes.

    The book is very easy to read and like many chick lit authors, Katie Fforde has an easy way about her writing. We meet Dora and Jo immediately and get to see what has led them to the barge and their current situation.

    The characters themselves were `nice', but sometimes, I kind of feel that `nice' just doesn't leave a good enough impression on me. Out of the two characters, Jo stood out more as she was the elder character being a woman nearing her fifties who was finding her feet again and she had some quirky aspects to her character. Dora, on the other hand, was just plain dull. For a start the name just conjures up an image if somebody older than she was meant to be (in her twenties) and she just didn't have that much personality.

    The story itself also seemed to be a bit of a non starter. Don't get me wrong this certainly wasn't the worse book I have read it was just too safe with not an awful lot going on in it. There was no excitement and some scenes bordered on making me snooze!

    As the story progressed, it was obvious what would happen and there was no doubt in either the author or the readers mind what the ending would be. All in all, for a first book by this author it didn't leave the greatest of impressions. It was very safe and a little on the dull side.

    Once I had read this book I scouted on Amazon to see how her other books faired and was pleased to see that her other books had much more favourable reviews. I will look forward to reading another by her, but certainly won't be rushing out to buy it from the shop.