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» Listings for May 2011

  1. Leigh Russell Dead EndMy Rating: 5/5

    In Leigh Russell's third installment of 'DI Geraldine Steel' Series we once again see Geralding thrown into a messy and disturbing case. In this particular book, headmistress Abigail Kirby is found dead in a park, but in this instance it seems that her tongue has been cut out. DI Geraldine Steel, along with her colleague Ian Peterson are put on the case, and when a potential witness is blinded and murdered, the case seems to get out of control.

    I admit that I am a sucker when it comes to 'series' featuring the same people. In particular I liked Leifh Russell as I have read each of her books from her debut novel 'Road Closed'. This time around the writing is so much better as the story flows so easily. LeighRussell is a writer that is going from strength to strength with every book she writes.

    I found that in the first book we didn't learn enough about Geraldine herself, or the people she worked with. In this book Geraldine's personal life seems to run alongside her career and we get to see the more emotional side to her which I loved. We also see a lot more of Ian Peterson and this is a true testemant to how much better this book is than her first.

    The characters have developed so much more and as reader you feel like you are taking their life journey with them. Geraldine is far from perfect but is a complete workaholic who has some serious personal issues that can sometimes affect her judgement. It is things like this that add the touch of realism to this book.

    The crimes in the book are as ususal gruesome and bloody, and extremely well detailed, without being too over the top. We see the workings of real police who make some huge errors along the way (which is always nice).

    I only have one criticism about the book and that is that I had a sneaking suspicion of the killer around halfway through. Having said that, I do that with many of the books I read. Apart from being suspicious (and then being correct in my assumption) this book is absolutely, 100% the best book Leigh Russell has written so far. I am now eagerly awaiting the next installment and there were major parts of Geraldine's life that are unanswered and I realloy need to know more about.

    Thoroughly reccommended and I truly think that Leigh Russell has now created a series that can rival other major crime writers out there. I would suggest starting at book one and working your way through as by the time you get to this one you will be itching to read book 4. Can't wait for the next one!

  2. Julia STagg LAubergeMy Rating: 4/5

    The nice thing about debut novels is that your expectation is set pretty low as you have nothing previously to base your opinion on. When I got this book I was quite surprised as it was a lot smaller than what I thought I would get for a debut novel at a mere 280 pages. However, undeterred I made a start on this book and soon found myself in the thick of things in Fogas.

    I found it a little slow to start with but a few chapters in and I was beginning to get a feel for the characters living in this small French village. We meet all sorts of different people from Josette, the owner of a small shop and makeshift bar, to Serge Papon the Mayor, to the postmistress Veronique. In addition to these after a few chapters we meet the English couple, Lorna and Paul, who are unwittingly the talk of the village. The characters were all easy enough to get a grasp of but if ound it difficult to get a feel for a few of them and Josette the shop owner as well as Christian, the deputy mayor, was another. I persevered and let the story tell itself, hoping that the non-connection with a few characters wouldn't matter.

    Luckily overall it didn't have that much of an impact but left me feeling a little bit like something was missing. From the point of view of the story itself, it is something I can imagine has happened many times in many different small villages across the world. There is nothing like new people trying something new to get villagers worried. In the case of L'Auberge it is no different. We see the Mayor and his plotting revenge on the English couple and the struggle they have against all the local anger and foreign red tape.

    I enjoyed the setting and think Julia Stagg did a grand job of describing what sounded like a very quaint village in France. The ending was wrapped up nicely and there was a romantic element for a couple of characters thrown in too.

    I certainly enjoyed this book but my main gripe was that I didn't connect with a couple of the characters and ended up feeling like the story was just that tad too short. Having said that, I really liked the style of writing and it was certainly an enjoyable read. The great thing about debut novels is that if you enjoyed it you have a solid start. After all her books can only get better and for that reason I am really looking forward to reading the next one.

  3.  Lisa Jewell The Making of UasMy Rating: 5/5

    Wow, what can I say? This was an absolutely brilliant book and not what I expected at all. This is a totally original story, with wonderful characters and as usual first class writing. Lisa Jewell is showing the world what she is made of that's for sure!

    When I received the book I was looking forward to reading it and the cover with it's bright turquoise colours looked as usual very appealing. Lydia, Robyn and Dean are the glue that holds this story together along with their anonymous sperm donor father Daniel.

    We are introduced to each of the characters in turn and learn their current situation as well as a little of each of their pasts. The story was unhurried but not slow, it gives the reader time to get a real feel for each of these people and how their lives have been affected by being the result of a sperm donor as a father.

    The character Lydia was the first we meet and as we see her wealth and personal success we also see the downside to her life and the way in which she deals with the problems she faces. Lydia seems to be the catalyst for the others joining in the story and slowly we meet young Robyn who seems to have it all but knows there is something missing. Lastly we meet Dean whose life seems to be one big train wreck, and although he isn't making smart choices I loved his character.

    By the time you are over halfway through the book you are rooting for all of them involved as you feel like you are taking the journey that links their pasts with them. I read this book in a day and a half and though it was absolutely brilliant.

    It isn't your typical `chick lit' story but Lisa Jewell's brilliant writing style shines through as ever and she has an edge of humour even amongst the sadness. This certainly wasn't what I expected but I have to say it equated to so much more in my eyes. Lisa Jewell has produced a very touching story with loveable characters and has introduced an original storyline to boot.

    Even though this may not seem like her sort of book, trust me it's even better and well worth picking up to read, highly recommended!!!

  4. My Rating: 4/5

    When I read Noah Boyd's first book the Bricklayer I really enjoyed it. However, the one thing I mentioned was that Steve Vail needed a bit more development as a character. In this second instalment, Noah Boyd has developed Steve Vail fully and we get to see a lot more of his personality and strangely a dark humour to him which I think made him 100% better!

    The story itself goes to show that Noah Boyd is really the man who has been there, done it and worn the T-Shirt. The story starts at a breakneck speed and doesn't let up until the final chapter. The one thing that made this book so authentic was the sheer complexity of the plot and the numerous threads that link together the story line. It is a real eye opener and to be honest, I think reading this book is equivalent to doing a week of work experience at the FBI!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was a vast improvement on the characters from the last book. My only criticism is that it sometimes became a little too confusing and a couple of times I found myself going back and checking things. Having said that the book itself is sheer genius and is so obviously written from a man that realises it takes a lot of work to unravel and find the bad guys.

    This book was a joy to read and I can only cross my fingers and hope the next one is just as good, if not better. Maybe next time we may get to see Vail back just as he was in this book, with a storyline that is a little easier for me to follow! Highly recommended.

    PLEASE NOTE: This book was also released with the tile 'Agent X' (US Version)

  5. Tilly Bagshawe FameMy Rating: 5/5

    The first Tilly Bagshawe book I read was her last release entitled Scandalous. As a lover of all chick lit type books it was right up my street. I have to be honest and say that I was really looking forward to this latest release and was excited to receive it a few days ago.

    At 560 pages it looked an average size book and the cover had a rather slender and glamorous woman posing on a sun lounger, it looked like just my kind of book. Thankfully as soon as you start reading you are drawn into the fabulous world of the stars in the book. Sabrina Leon is the first character we meet and she is sassy, strong and has a very big mouth. Of course I instantly liked her!

    We also meet the rather handsome but slightly brooding Viorel who is also an actor looking for his next big part. Dorian Razmirez is the glue that bonds them all together. With his rival Director Harry Greene snapping at his ankles, Dorian is determined to get his new film off the ground with the stars he thinks will make or break his movie.

    Tish Crewe is a woman that runs her own orphanage in Romania and is called back home to England to try and salvage the family home that her brother now owns. With her brother off gallivanting Tish decides to take her son Abel and stay the summer back at Loxley Hall and try to repair and salvage what is left of the beautiful stately home that has been in her family for many years.

    As the movie Dorian is making coincides with Tish's life, the fireworks really begin. I literally couldn't put this book down. You could almost feel the tension, tantrums and inevitable upheaval between the characters coming. The characters were all written so well that I liked each of them for various reasons and although none of them were perfect they all had redeeming qualities.

    The story itself flits back between the LA, the countryside of beautiful Derbyshire in England and Romania. That in itself always gave the reader a different setting to be absorbing yourself in. There is certainly no lack of drama in this book and although, as in most chick lit books, it can seem obvious who ends up with whom, there was an element of doubt until the final few chapters which made it much more enjoyable.

    As usual you get the awful characters thrown in which readers will no doubt love to loathe such as Harry Greene and Dorian's wife Chrissie. The story was well put together and flowed so easily, it truly was a very enjoyable read. I would highly recommend this to anybody that likes this genre and I am really looking forward to her next release.

  6. Simon Kernick The Murder ExchangeMy Rating: 4/5

    I am slowly working my way through Simon Kernick's books and this is the second book he released. Simon Kernick has a very certain type of writing style. His books are usually very fast paced and normally it takes only a matter of a chapter or two before you are thrown in at the deep end of a story.

    This book followed the same format and we dive straight into Max Iversson's bad decision and when it all goes wrong. However, although you are thrown in at the deep end very quickly, the suspense level is not as high as I am used to with a Kernick book. I think this is a sure sign of the amount of time he has been writing. The fact that I read his newer stuff first and have gone back to his older work has the disadvantage of showing his weaker points at the beginning of his career.

    Although slightly weaker than usual the story itself was a good one. Max Iversson was a great character, and although he usually stays within the law, he finds himself inadvertently being drawn over to the other side in his fight for the truth. John Gallan was also a pretty good character and although the typical `copper' we see in books, there was no glossing over his very mundane personal life which actually brought more realism to the book in my eyes. We flit between characters by chapter and as the story progresses you see more and more of each one and they eventually overlap.

    Other characters making a brief appearance is Tina Boyd (who appears in later Kernick books) as well as the Holtz family who are a central part of the plot. As ever there is no holding back on the levels of violence and gore, although it's all done in keeping with the story. As usual towards the end we pick up even more pace before getting to the climax and pretty good ending. Overall I really dud enjoy the book, but for some reason there seemed to be something lacking. I have thought about it and really do think this is a case of reading his newer books first. This is certainly not a bad book by any means, but think that it certainly isn't a good example of the first class work that he has gone on to produce. Another solid read, but slightly lacking that magic something!