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» Listings for June 2011

  1. Harlan Coben Dealbreaker
    My Rating: 4/5

    I have read one of Harlan Coben's stand alone novels, albeit some time ago, and wanted to start at the beginning of his very popular series of books featuring Myron Bolitar. When I started this book, it didn't take me more than a few chapters to fall head over heels for the character Myron. One of the reasons for this is the element of his character that is witty and sarcastic, always a winning combination for me.

    In addition to Myron we meet his friend and sidekick Win Lockwood and his work colleague Esperenza. All of them seem to make an extraordinary yet very believable group of friends. Their relationships throughout the book had me smirking at some of the more sarcastic comments they make to each other.

    With the added benefit of really gelling with the characters we see the story start to unfold with Myron's star client Christian Steel. The story itself is quite complex and there are a lot of plot threads that we pick up along the way. What I loved was the endless possibilities this story threw up and that I was actually none the wiser towards the second half of the book.

    The one element that I didn't like and I don't know why, was the one involving Myron's ex Jessica. Maybe it was because I just didn't like the character but I was irritated by how flawless and beautiful she was meant to be. Overall and by the end of the book I had warmed a little to her, although in all honesty not that much! I was pleased with the ending and thought it was all wrapped up nicely with enough intrigue for me to wonder what is next for Myron and Win. Will look forward to reading the next instalment! The fact that this book was first published in 1995 and there are now another 9 books to be read doesn't put me off; it makes me wish I could read faster!

  2. Jane Costello Girl on The RunMy Rating: 5/5

    I have never read any of Jane Costello's work but due to reading her favourable reviews on Amazon I decided to give it a go. Thankfully, I can now add her to my never ending list of authors that I MUST continue reading.

    The book is just shy of 470 pages and I must admit it took me less than ten pages to fall in love with the main character Abby. In addition to that, Jane Costello's style of writing is genius. She writes genuinely but with such wit and humour injected into the characters that I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

    The story itself is as suggested by the title about a girl on the run. Unsurprisingly the whole book is about Abby's quest to run and the reasons surrounding her decision to go ahead with it. This may seem a flimsy plot for the book but Jane Costello has managed to execute it to perfection. In addition to Abby, I seemed to love all the other characters in the book (with the exception of Oliver; who I can't imagine anybody liking)) and we see small threads of all of their lives as the book progresses. The outcome and ending were what I expected from very early on but that is no surprise to me, and I think that the majority of readers will find that to their liking.

    There is something so enjoyable about the way Jane Costello writes and the natural flow of characters; it has been a while since I have read a new author that has all that in this genre. I genuinely loved every part of this book, and I found myself finishing it in just over a day. A truly enjoyable and funny read and I can't wait to read her other books. If you haven't given her books a go, you might want to start now, trust me, you won't regret it!

  3. Craig Robertson Snapshot
    My Rating: 3/5

     Craig Robertson's first book Random was very enjoyable and I found it easy to read once past the first few chapters. When picking up his second book Snapshot, I found myself with the same problem. The first few chapters just seemed so slow and unfinished that I felt like I couldn't get into the story.

    I made the assumption that as the book progressed it would improve and I would again enjoy this book as much as the last one. The story itself is told pretty well but with a sniper seemingly intent on killing every drugs associated criminal in Glasgow, the body count was pretty high very early on.

    In addition to the sheer number of bodies was the very dark side of the book with the very graphic crime scene descriptions, which I think was added to from the perspective of the character Tony Winters as he photographed the bodies.

    I found myself reading this book and feeling like it was an effort. I couldn't connect to the two main lead characters of Tony Winters and D.I Addison. Tony Winters seemed so dysfunctional I found it hard to like anything about him, and D.I Addison was no better, with the excessive drinking and general `breaking of rules' attitude.

    Around three quarters of the way through the book the plot started to come together a bit more and the pace was kept up until the end of the book with a decent ending. Overall, I felt that I really struggled with this book and I can't say it's because the writing or plot was bad, I just didn't connect with it.

    Overall, I think the book was well written but with a very dark side and that includes the characters. It wasn't awful but I failed to see it in the same light as his last book.

  4. Lindsey Kelk The Single Girls TO DO ListMy Rating: 5/5

    I enjoyed reading Lindsey Kelk's book `I Heart Hollywood' but I wasn't prepared for just how much I would love this one. The whole point of reading this type of book is the fact that they are usually fun and light hearted. Sometimes the storylines are predictable but in a way I kind of like knowing I will get the ending I want. When I started reading this book I found myself smiling and smirking as I painfully re-lived moments in my younger years where I was experiencing `the single life'.

    The book is a respectable 400 pages, but I have to be truthful and say that the humour started from the time I opened the book. The main character Rachel Summers is an absolute sweetheart who I fell in love with immediately. Her predicament is one that I am sure many readers can sympathise with. Don't get me wrong, it isn't your rip-roaring, tears streaming down the face kind of humour, but it touched chords with the scenarios and situations Rachel seems to get herself in to.

    Add in to the mix Rachel's two best friends and this book was made for me. Emilie is a woman that is addicted to men, whether it be flirting with them, sleeping with them or getting free drinks off them. Matthew is the six foot plus stunner, who also happens to be gay but definitely not camp. The three of them make an unlikely trio, but their characters are what made this book for me.

    We get to see Rachel's journey from hell as she tries to adapt to a single life. The list is what started her strange journey and it is ultimately the list that creates some very crazy and humorous scenarios. As time went on you could see Rachel getting braver and more daring with herself, and you get the distinct impression you are party of watching her become a stronger person. The book takes us and the trio of friends from London to Canada and watches all three of them struggle to keep up with the craziness.

    There were moments in this book when I did laugh out loud and moments where I was smirking to myself, but I cannot fault this book one little bit. I adored everything about it from the people to the places to the crazy and daring challenges Rachel faces. The ending was perfect for me and when I had finished I was truly disappointed.

    No, this won't be everybody's cup of tea, but it was certainly mine. It's not intellectually challenging, but frankly when a book makes me smile this much I really don't care. HIGHLY recommended! Can't wait to see what Lindsey comes up with next!

  5. Peter James Dead Mans GripMy Rating: 3/5

    Now the first thing I want to point out is that I am a huge Peter James fan and in particular of this series. Roy Grace is a fantastic character who I have studiously followed in each book. Peter James has always done a fantastic job of creating stories that capture you and the recurring characters that I have slowly fallen in love with. However, this book failed to leave me with the same satisfaction as others in the past.

    The story itself starts off with quite a dramatic car accident. We have a short introduction of the main characters and then the accident itself is described in all its horrific detail. The beginning set the pace and as usual with a Peter James book the pace stays that way usually to the very end. This new book is as usual over 500 pages long and I felt that around the halfway mark my interest was becoming far less that it usually is.

    The main storyline is centred on Carly Chase who was involved in the traffic accident that involved the death of a young man. It now seems that Carly's life is in danger by a killer that has already murdered the other two people involved in the accident. I think the main let down for me was the killer themselves; there was a certain air of disbelief that Peter James had taken this route and I found it lessened my enjoyment of the book.

    His writing style is as ever fantastic which makes a book ten times easier to read and as usual his characters are all very strong and make a lasting impression. The appearance of the much loved characters is again a sign of how good a writer he is, so from that perspective he cannot be faulted. Roy Grace along with Glenn Branson and some other recurring characters are as ever brilliantly written and people I want to continue seeing.

    Roy's relationship with Cleo is visited throughout the story and we see the glimpses of potential problems for both of them in the future. It is hard to explain why without containing plot spoilers but trust me; this element of the book is brilliant because Peter James has you so hooked on finding out what will happen you just HAVE to buy the next book he publishes.

    The last part of these books is the element of Roy's past concerning his wife Sandy. At the end of his last book I was convinced we would see a conclusion to it in this book. I was wrong! In a way I was irritated by the fact as a reader I didn't get the answers I wanted, but boy does Peter James throw in a shocker at the end of this book! It was enough of a shocker to nearly make me forgive him the weak killer element of this story.

    Overall I really enjoyed the writing style and elements of the story, but the weak element of the killer really made it feel a bit of a let down for me. Finding it hard to rate but will probably say middle of the road. Not his best book in this series, but a crucial element in the ongoing saga of Roy's past! My advice is to start at the beginning of the series and work your way through.

  6. Susan Lewis No Turning BackMy Rating: 5/5

    I only recently read Susan Lewis book Stolen and usually I wouldn't read two of her books so close together. Her last book was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although she falls into the Chick Lit genre, I think maybe she should just be put under modern fiction as her style of writing and the sort of books she produces are far from romance stories where everything turns out great.

    In her latest release we meet Eva who is the main character in this story. I instantly felt sorry for her but also felt she was a little weak and that was portrayed really well. When her world falls apart we see her character change and this in itself made for a very turbulent book when it comes to real emotions.

    The other main characters were Eva' husband Don, who if I am honest, never really warmed to throughout the whole story. We also meet Eva's sister Patty and her two adult children Livvy and Jake, as well as Don's daughter Jasmine. The two characters of Jasmine and Livvy were my favourites and throughout the book you see the development of them as both characters and people.

    The story itself is fantastic. There are two major plot threads running throughout the story. One of them is quite obvious from the outset and the other is interlinked throughout the whole book. I can't imagine that either subject is particularly easy to write about but Susan Lewis has done just that, with remarkable compassion.

    Although I cannot quite put my finger on exactly what it is she does, all I know is she does it extremely well. Her books are lovely to read and although not always the happiest of subjects, they are made real and heart warming. This book in particular I thought was amazing, it was so easy to read and although not always with the perfect fairytale ending, so enjoyable. There are many people who will have experienced something like the character Eva and can maybe relate to her a little. Although her character started off as maybe a weak and insecure person it was nice to see her progress as the events in her life forced her to change.

    I would highly recommend this book to anybody. Not your bog-standard chick lit type of book, but thoroughly good!

  7. Kim Chambers The VictimMy Rating: 5/5

    *If you plan on reading the first two parts of this trilogy please do not read this review as it will inevitably contain spoilers, as the story is so much further along now*

    Every now and then as a reader you come along a new author that blows you away. You wonder how you had never picked up one of their books and if anybody else can match up to them. This is how I felt when I started reading Martina Cole in the early days. Don't get me wrong, she is still a great author but I found myself becoming more and more disappointed with her books. When I picked up my first Kimberley Chambers book I was transported back to what I fondly call the Martina Cole `early days'. Kimberley Chambers has written three excellent stand-alone books and has now finished and released the final part of the O'Hara/Mitchell trilogy.

    Having read the first two parts I had a good idea of the characters and what they had been through to get to the stages they were at now. The Mitchell and O'Hara family are still battling, only this time Eddie Mitchell's daughter Frankie is in prison and there are new additions to the family such as Eddie's partner Gina. The characters themselves are first class and they are rough around the edges and frighteningly real. Because this was part 3, I was itching to know what would become of the two families and boy was I unprepared for the rollercoaster I was taken on. The book is a hefty 432 pages and we are thrown straight in at the deep end with both families from page 1.

    The wonderful thing about reading her books is the sheer speed at which you are catapulted into the characters worlds. I worry about writing too much involving the characters and storyline as it is easy to give away spoilers but I will say this. You will be on the edge of your seat and will not want to put the book down. This book was read in just over a day and it didn't leave my side for too long.

    The last quarter of the book is full of suspense and what if's and I found myself jigging up and down because I was so eager to get to the end. I wasn't disappointed at all and thought that Kimberley Chambers has written her best work yet. The book was wrapped up nicely, but not perfectly which again adds that touch of realism to it. The only disappointing thing for me is that as usual I have been impatient and will now have the job of counting the months until her next release.

    People tend to read the same type if books and I have seen many comments saying that she is as good as Martina Cole. That statement is in my opinion incorrect, she is better than Martina Cole. For all you people that are on the lookout for a new author, if you haven't tried KC yet, maybe now is the time to start!

  8. Peter James Dead Like YouMy Rating: 4/5

    I first picked up a Peter James book a while back entitled `Dead Simple'. It was (luckily for me) the first in the Roy Grace Series and was based around a harmless stag night prank that went wrong. From that book I was hooked and each of the 4 books that followed was fantastic. Thankfully this latest instalment is no different. This latest Roy Grace offering is pretty hefty with a massive 500 pages. This didn't put me off, in actual fact quite the opposite.

    This story all starts following the brutal rape of a woman on New Years Eve. Only a week later another woman is attacked. What concerns Roy is that both of the women that were attacked had their shoes taken. It begins to ring alarm bells with him as these current attacks seem to mirror those that haunted Brighton back in 1997. The attacker back in 1997 had been named `The Shoe man' and was believed to have raped 5 women before moving on to kill another 2. The attacker was never caught and Roy finds himself wondering whether the killer is back or whether they have a copycat on their hands.

    Roy Grace has come back in this book a little more relaxed than before. He is living with his girlfriend Cleo who is due to give birth to their first baby any day. Cleo and Roy's relationship has taken time to grow on me but as you see more and more of Cleo's supportive side you get to like her that little bit more. In addition to Roy we see the return of Glen Branson who works with Roy. He recently split from his wife and is going through a hard time. I must admit we didn't see as much of Glen this time as in previous books and I missed his presence at times.

    The story itself is written over two time periods. The further in to the investigation Roy goes, the more of the past you get to see. We see him working both crime scenes both in the present and the past. It's written cleverly and isn't made too complicated. The reader gets to see the parallels and the differences between the two cases which ended up making me feel like I had solved the case halfway through. I was wrong, so I think my police career is a non-starter!

    There are still enough plot twists to keep you interested and several suspects which makes for interesting reading. I also thought that Peter James had dealt with the rape storyline very well with it not being too over the top, but trying to be sensitive at the same time. I whizzed through this in a matter of days and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes I was disappointed that we didn't see anything of the `Sandy' storyline come up but there is always hope for the next instalment.

    If you have never read Peter James and like Crime/Thriller's, I would highly recommend you give this a try.