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» Listings for July 2011

  1. James Patterson Now You See Her
    My Rating: 5/5

    I first have to explain that I am a HUGE Patterson fan, but also a HUGE Patterson critic when it comes to his co-written books. There has been much speculation over the years about how much input Patterson has with these books and in my opinion some of his most recent work was diabolical, leaving me to wonder if he even glanced at them, let alone co-written them.

    Michael Ledwidge started writing the Michael Bennett series with JP a while back and I am now a die-hard Bennett fan. I do however wonder if more of this book is Michael Ledwidge's doing with a smattering of the Patterson touch? Maybe that is the secret to this pairing?

    This book I was wary of, just because it was a stand alone co-written book and I wasn't sure whether this would be as awful as the other recent ones, but I needn't have worried. This book had me hook, line and sinker from chapter one.

    It starts in the current day with Nina Bloom in New York with her daughter. After the first introductions are made, we are transported back to the early days in Nina's life when she met her husband Peter. The book starts off with a bang and the disastrous events that start Nina's life spiralling. Following the shocking events you can literally feel every emotion of this woman rolling off the page.

    We then follow Nina's life and how everything got her to where she is today. Nina's husband Peter is a truly despicable character who I loathed from the moment I read about him, but for all the loathing it made for a special read due to the intense feelings I had to the characters in the book.

    As Nina's journey is made you feel the tension and fear build up in her life and then we are catapulted into her journey to try to save both herself and her daughter. There are other more minor characters making appearances but the whole crux of the story centres around Nina and her husband Peter.

    I read this in a matter of hours and when the ending was finally reached I felt satisfied that this was the best Patterson book I had read in a while. Actually, I correct myself; I think this was the best Ledwidge book I had read in a while!

    The book was everything you would expect, fast, edgy and full of suspense. The perfect book in every way and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was one of those books that made me think it would make a great film! Highly recommended!

  2. Sheila OFlanagan All For YouMy Rating: 4/5

    I have read every one of Sheila O'Flanagan's books and have enjoyed every single one of them. This seemed like a different type of book, and with a subject matter that many can empathise with. Deanna Ryan is a character that takes a while to connect with. After the initial first few chapters are read, you begin to get an idea of the bigger picture in the lives of the Ryan women. Lainey on the other hand is a wonderful character that you instantly love. She is the very successful weather presenter, as well as being a hopeless romantic. How the two women are mother and daughter is a mystery in the beginning of the book.

    However, as you read on, you learn a little about Lainey's current life, the decisions she makes and the hopes that she has for herself. Alongside this element of the story, we see the build up and history of Deanna's life and the story that led to Lainey being brought up by her Grandmother Madeleine. The mixture of past and present was cleverly done and everything builds up to create the full picture.

    The romantic element of the story is actually not that important in the grand scheme of things as the main focus is on the family element. Deanna was a hard character to get to know, she seemed intent on being only good at one thing and that was women's rights. As I read on I found myself disliking her even more, but thankfully as I neared the middle I started to see the reasoning behind her actions.

    The book is featured in two main settings, one being Ireland where Lainey lives and works and the other being California, which is where Deanna lives. I loved the switch between the two places as it kept it interesting. I began to feel more involved in the story as you realise there is a lot more than meets the eye to the story of Lainey and Deanna's life. I also loved the element of Lainey's love life and absolutely loathed her boyfriend Ken, who thankfully doesn't feature too much!

    The ending was building up to the conclusion of the story and I enjoyed finally realising that all the pieces of the puzzle fitted however...there is a `but'! I finished the final chapter and thought "oh, I must have missed something?". I was really shocked that it had ended so abruptly and I felt a little bit cheated. I would have loved to have found out just that little bit more regarding a couple of characters such as Shay and Fergal. Looking back, maybe Sheila wanted it that way, where you are left to wonder and it isn't wrapped up quite as neatly as people expect.

    Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought that it was a subtle departure form the normal type of books from SOF. It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I had got there I loved it! 

  3. Belinda Jones Caligornia DreamersMy Rating: 4/5

    Belinda Jones is very popular in the world of Chick Lit. She has an ability to take you on her travels without leaving the comfort of your own home. I have read all of her books and her last release `Livin' La Vida Loca' was a true journey through three different countries. It is clear from each and every one of her books that travel is the key to her heart.

    At the very start of the book we meet Stella and see her surprise introduction to Marina. You can't help but really like both of them from the very beginning. Belinda Jones makes the job of loving the characters very easy as there is an easy way about each of them.

    The change in Stella's job happens very early on and as a reader we are taken along for the ride on her journey to the west coast of America. One of the additional characters added to the mix very early on is Milo, Marina's leading role opposite her in her new movie. He is very easy to like too and there is a good mix as the three of them get stuck in to making the movie.

    One of the things I loved about this, and something I love about every book she writes, is the journey itself. She has a way of writing about the places, and even the journey there, that makes you feel like you are right there with them. Her writing is so brilliant, you can almost picture being in the beautiful scenes she is describing. The characters and story are funny and it is a very enjoyable read.

    The only thing that I found a little bit lacking in this book was the ending. It was okay, and the story moved along okay, but I just thought in comparison to her last book it wasn't as good. I rated her last book a solid 5/5. I liked the idea behind this story and the characters were great but the ending seemed a little unfinished if I am being completely honest. It certainly wasn't terrible, but didn't wow me quite like some of her other stuff. In any event her books are still so easy and enjoyable to read and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

    Her books are a fantastic choice for a beach read, and have the ability to take you away from anything. If you haven't read her books then maybe give them a try and allow yourself the pleasure of pure escapism with a capital E!

  4. Karin Slaughter FallenMy Rating: 5/5

    This book opens up with a dramatic starter as Faith returns to her mother's house and is immediately put in the middle of what looks like a war zone. It makes for some high octane reading very early on. It certainly put me in the frame of mind for the investigation that would follow this crazy situation.

    I found that by reading the Will Trent books, I had a feel for the characters Will and Faith, but beyond that there were a lot of unanswered questions. This book seems to address Faith and her history which I liked. The books pace starts kind of frenzied and to be honest doesn't let up much pace at all throughout the book, it almost made me read with a sense of urgency.

    The story however does require an element of concentration, there are a lot of theories and characters names very early on meaning you really do need to pay attention to follow these threads all the way through. Sadly the downside to such an intense book is that as readers you are so drawn in you forget your surroundings (never good when you forget to turn the bath off').

    As the book gets going we see Will Trent with the help of Sara Linton try to discover who is behind the disappearance of Faith's mother. OF course Will has his doubts about Evelyn, but for the sake of his partner he does everything in his power to find her, even if it means breaking the rules. Will is not the sort of character to break the rules, which is where his boss, and Evelyn's close friend, Amanda Wagner comes into play.

    Amanda is a character that is slightly off kilter, but a character that I absolutely adore. She is a no nonsense old school woman that is determined to find her friend, and she doesn't care who she has to lie to or trample on to find her. Sara Linton plays the lesser role in the overall story, but as other parts of the series begin to develop, you can see where she is starting to get her life back together.

    Following the end of the Grant County series, I was convinced that there would never be a better male lead that Jeffrey Tolliver. I was so wrong, and if I am being completely honest, a little bit smitten with my `new' favourite male lead Will Trent.

    As the story reaches its climax, lots of the parts of the puzzle start to come together. The threads that had been interwoven throughout the book now start to be explained, and the ending was absolutely brilliant.

    Yet again I read a fast paced, tense thriller by Karin Slaughter that left me feeling sad I had finished another instalment. Having said that it again has left us as readers with the perfect platform for the next part of the series, and boy do I want to know how that goes. I cannot praise Karin Slaughter highly enough, she is an author that has taken chances, but knew exactly where they were leading, and the pathway she took was sheer genius. If you haven't read her work before I would strongly suggest you start at the beginning and work your way through them, you won't be disappointed.

  5. Tasmina Perry Private LivesMy Rating: 4/5

    Tasmina Perry is an author whose books I immensely look forward to each year. Her books are always pretty long and substantial and this one is no different. I received a paperback version (as it was a proof copy) and it came in at just under 700 pages. The cover as always is particularly eye catching and the synopsis was one that sounded juicy and full of glamour.

    The main characters are plentiful, as is the story itself. We meet the main female character, Anna Kennedy. She is a lawyer working for the stars. Wherever there is scandal, she isn't far behind doing her best to cover up and protect the paying celebrities. Her first client at her new firm is Sam Charles. He is a British born actor who is Hollywood's heartthrob, but sadly when a story is threatened to be published, Anna needs to step in quickly. Amy Hart was known as a party girl, but when she is found dead her family starts asking questions.

    The plot is lengthy and there are lots of twists and turns. No stone is unturned when showing us the murky side of the law, where the more you pay, means the more you are protected. Some of the other main characters are slowly introduced to us, such as Matthew and Larry Donovan, Helen Pierce and numerous others. The one thing that stands out with Tasmina Perry, is that you aren't just taken into these characters lives, you are made to feel a part of them. The story has numerous threads which only start to unravel and intertwine towards the end, making for a lot of possibilities. As usual with a Perry book, we get to see each of the characters and their love lives, whether they are happy or a complete disaster.

    I particularly liked Anna Kennedy and Matthew. Their characters were strong and a lot nicer that the resident evil character of Helen Pierce! One of the main draws of this book, is that there is more than a touch of realism to the story line. The world involving news stories and celebrities, is one that is familiar to people across the world. The story also delves into the dirty world of politicians and what lengths they will got to, to ultimately get their own way (sound familiar?!?).

    This book, unlike others before have more of a suspense feel to it, than her usual Bonkbuster mix. Having said that I enjoyed it just like I have with each and every book she is written. Was this my favourite? Err, no, but even as a book that isn't her best it was still a solid read with a great writing style and I loved it. Highly recommended.

  6. My Rating: 5/5

    I was so lucky to receive an early copy of the new Sheila O'Flanagan book. Her covers are always very appealing and this one was no different. Abbey ...Anderson is the main character in this story and she is the least likely person to want to change her life. However, she doesn't realise that a man called Ryan Gilligan will come into her life and give her news that changes everything. When the Irish lawyer Ryan visits her in her home in San Francisco she realises that her whole life is based on a lie. What she needs to do is travel to Dublin to find out a lot more about what she has been told.

    Now I know that sounds a little vague, but that's the general plot of the story and I really don't like spoilers so that is all I can really say. Abbey is an easy character to like and for the first few chapters I loved the friends and family she was surrounded with. Her relationship with her mother was unexplained, but the reasoning for that becomes evident much later on.

    For some reason which I cannot put into words, this book was one that I really didn't want to put down. It certainly wasn't all roses for the characters and there really wasn't a theme of `everyone has a happy ending'. Maybe this was what made me want to continue reading. Sheila O'Flanagan manages to peel away the layers of all the characters and two different families slowly. It means that as the reader you really feel like you are getting to see people's real colours and as time went on I was swinging wildly between sympathy and annoyance at certain characters.

    The second half of the book really dug into the `dirty worlds' of everybody involved and I managed to finish the second half of the book in one sitting. I have been reading Sheila O'Flanagan's books for as many years as she has been writing and this one is one of the best I have read of hers. IT certainly has a lot of things going on, plenty of twists in the story and enough tension to make you reach for the headache tablets. This was a story that was a little out of the ordinary, but one that I would highly recommend