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» Listings for April 2012

  1. Andrew Gross 15 Seconds

    My Rating: 5/5

    Andrew Gross is pretty famous for co-writing books with the infamous Mr Patterson. However, I became a fan of the fantastic series of books he has written featuring Ty Hauck (I admit, a bit of a crush on that character!). His last release Killing Hour (US Version named Eyes Wide Open) I enjoyed, but it wasn't a clear favourite. I found myself pining for TY Hauck and wondering if writing the stand alone books would ever be popular with me personally. Mr Gross proved me wrong so many times over with his latest book 15 Seconds.

    The synopsis sounding pretty gripping with Dr Henry Steadman getting caught up in an incident which leads him to become a number one suspect in the shooting and murder of a local cop. Henry soon realises he is part of a major set up and is on the run, with his only hope being that he proves his innocence. I am a fan of the type of books that Simon Kernick writes that (although sometimes bordering on the unrealistic side) has the reader so caught up in the story that you get swept along. Andrew Gross has written a book that could rival any of Kernick's!

    I started reading this on a Thursday morning commute and finished it the next morning. The story starts off with a very likeable character Dr Henry Steadman on a normal routine trip down in Florida. En-route to meet his friend Mike for a round of golf he gets pulled over for a minor traffic violation. Within the next chapter or so Henry's life changes in a situation that is all too believable!

    After reading the first few chapters I raced to the halfway point almost sick with the excitement of it all. Henry seems to be getting dragged further and further into the line of fire and with each chapter comes a new danger. There was a small part just after the halfway mark which felt a little sluggish, but I think that was more to do with there being too much excitement in the first half to be honest. Before long, I was back in the fray and the pace just kept picking up until the very end where I was practically squirming in my seat hoping for a miracle for Henry.

    It's hard to review a book like this without giving too much away. What I will say is that Ty Hauck was a distant memory whilst reading this latest Gross book. Don't get me wrong, I eagerly await the next Hauck book (along with my no doubt returning crush); but Mr Gross has well and truly created an outstanding book filled with excitement. This book had me reading until my eyes could take no more. An outstanding book that I loved and one which I would highly recommend!!!!!!!

  2. Diane CHamberlain The Good FatherMy Rating: 5/5

    I will be totally honest! I tried reading a Diane Chamberlain a while back but a few chapters in, I wasn't getting into it very much. I put the book back and it still remains in my never ending list of books to read. With that in mind, when I looked at this new release The Good Father I wasn't altogether that excited about reading it. Although I never let things like that put me off and boy am I glad that I didn't. When I read the synopsis I really felt drawn to read the book and took this as a good sign.

    In the beginning of the book we meet Travis a young father bringing up his adorable four year old little girl Bella. To be frank, that seems to be all we know early on in the book. Travis leaves his little girl in the hands of a lady named Erin, a woman who he had only met a week before. Many people may think that the instant reaction to Travis would be one of disgust, but in all honesty it is more like intrigue. It is clear from the outset that Diane Chamberlain can write in that magical way which manages to convey real emotion and you can see that this is a man that adores his child. So why would he leave her? With that question in my mind I continued to read at an alarming rate.

    We get to see glimpses of the people featuring in this story as their lives progress and as time goes on we see how they are all interlinked. The characters all have a past and each has their own haunting story which has got them to their current situation. Each character drew me in and I was so engrossed that dinner was left unattended and my husband got a Pot Noodle for dinner! As the story picks up pace, we see Travis making more and more stupid mistakes and my heart goes out to him.

    Although this book will be generalised as a chick lit book, I think there is a lot more to the story that the cover suggests. There is quite a bit of suspense surrounding the story and it keeps on your toes from cover to cover. When the ending came I was so pleased that I had picked this book up. The additional bonus for me was the epilogue that the author had added, which isn't always done. In this case it was the perfect finish for me and answered all those questions I had about what had happened to everybody. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it was an absolutely brilliant read and for anybody that likes authors like Susan Lewis, this will be right up your street.

  3. Gregg Hurwitz The Survicor
    My Rating: 4/5

    I have only read one of Gregg Hurwitz' books and really enjoyed it, so when I saw his new release out I promptly downloaded it onto my Kindle. Luckily for me I had a few days off work and decided this was a perfect time to settle down and make a start. However, I probably should have known better and realised very quickly that this book certainly wasn't one that would make me settle!

    From the very beginning the action is full on, Gregg Hurwitz put the pedal to the metal and the reader has no choice but to go along for the ride. The opener of the book (and this is not a spoiler as it is on the main synopsis on the back of the book); starts with Nate Overbay looking down eleven floors whilst contemplating his own suicide. Within seconds he hears gunshots and realises that he is witnessing a major bank heist and that people's lives are at risk other than his own.

    From this very first chapter the book is very high octane (LOVE those words together) and Nate decides to put other people's feelings before his own. Nate was a former military guy and his training kicks in and he makes a decision to tray and save these people. What Nate fails to realise is that the one man that got away is also the same person that will make his life hell.

    From this point on we see Nate try to keep his estranged family safe. The book takes some amazing turns and at times I felt worn out by Nate's attempts to keep his family safe. This book may be a slight stretch on the truth but it certainly keeps you hooked. The one element of this book that I liked was the fact that Nate was ill with a disease that I didn't know all that much about. It seemed to me by the end of it that Gregg Hurwitz did an amazing job of making this part of the story without overdoing it.

    I must say that by the end I not only felt worn out, but was disappointed to have finished a great book. Thankfully I have lots of his other books in my large and ever extending to read list. A definite must for fans of the action packed kinda book!

  4. Kim Chambers The SchemerMy Rating: 5/5 (can I give it 6?)

    Well, well, well. When I realised that I was getting my hands on an early edition of Kimberley Chambers new book, to say I was excited is a bit of an understatement. For the benefit of those that haven't maybe read her books before you may want to know a bit more. Kim wrote and published her first book Billie Jo back in 2008. She then went on to write another two books before releasing the first in a series of books (The Feud being the first) featuring the O'Hara and Mitchell family. The release of The Victim (the third in that series) in 2011 was an absolutely brilliant book and I couldn't have imagined she could ever top the characters she had created, but somehow she has. Kimberley Chambers has made a niche for herself and is now in my opinion as good as (if not better) that the more infamous British crime writers such as Martina Cole.

    Sadly, many people have never heard of her and this is where people like me come in. My one true love is reading, and when you find a writer like Kim that writes books as good as hers you feel the need to share it with people. No, I am not paid by Kim or her publicists; I am just a true crime book lover. If you want a typically English bit of grit with a few gangsters thrown in then these are the books you should be reading.

    The Schemer starts off by introducing us to Stephanie Crouch in the eighties. The first few pages had me laughing and reminiscing at the same time as Kim's descriptions of being a teenager at that time was absolutely spot on. It had the kind of feel that the new release of the film The Firm had. We get to see her older sister Angela and her mum living in their grotty council house with the rather colourful characters that live in their road! Pretty soon we meet East-End boy Barry who as a teenager falls head over heels in love with Steph. Sadly, their love is to be tested as Barry is taken to live in Spain with his Mum and new boyfriend. Steph then turns to Barry's friend Wayne and they soon move from friends to lovers and all thoughts of Barry leave Steph's head.

    The book then moves to ten years later and we see the downside to Steph's decisions that she made as a teenager. This book had me absolutely gripped from the very first page to the very last page. All of the characters in this are absolute crackers and they each have their redeeming qualities. One thing I really need to point out is that if you are not a lover of a lot of swearing, then maybe this book won't be fore you. As a South London girl that swears like a sailor, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. One thing that really struck me was that although the characters are brilliant and the plot and storyline fantastic, the book certainly isn't without its humour.

    There is one particular character by the name of Marlene that had me cringing and laughing in equal measures. The other thing that I really noticed about this book is that Kimberley Chambers has created characters that you can start off loving and end up hating. In the case of this book I am still not sure how I feel about either of the men featured and I really want to keep reading about both of them to see how it pans out. Thankfully, the ending of this book is so open-ended it's unreal. This is the best opener for the next book and to be honest I'm a little bit irritated I have to wait so long to find out!

    Either way, I truly think that Kimberley Chambers is a good reason to highlight female British crime writers. Kim Chambers has not only earned her place as one of the Queens of British Crime, she is keeping it with this latest book as proof that she deserves to stay up there. All I can say is that if you haven't read her books before, I suggest you start now. If you have and you are keenly awaiting the next one, you will NOT be disappointed. Roll on the next one!

  5. My Rating: 4/5

    I read Rebecca Chance’s (AKA Lauren Henderson’s) first book Diva’s amd really enjoyed it. After my to read list got a little bit out of hand, I finally got around to reading her second book Bad Girls. In this book we meet four people who are all on the dangerously rock road to addiction. The Supermodel Amber Peters has a pill addiction which is ruining her, Lap-dancer Skye Ellwood makes her way to rehab under very strange circumstances,  along with the A List Movie star Joe Jeffrey’s; and lastly there is Petal Gold who is famous for being the daughter of her rock legend father.

    The four of them collide in very different manners and they all end up spending 30 days in Cascabel Clinic. Now reading the synopsis didn’t exactly send sparks flying, but I actually think it hasn’t lent any favour to the story at all. The story is actually a lot more interesting and as a reader we spend the first half of the book getting to know everybody before they even end up at Cascabel.

    The four characters all have very different lives and to be honest I liked all of them with the exception of Petal Gold. I spent the entire book wanting to give the spoiled little rich kid a slap around the chops! By the time they all reach rehab, the story has picked up considerable pace although for some people this type of book may not be for you. The reason for this is the amount of sex, sexual references and general sauciness of this kind of book. It’s certainly a no-holds barred kind of book and even though it doesn’t bother me in the slightest it may not be everybody’s cup of tea!

    Nearing the end, I realised that I liked the way the book was going, I though the ending was good too and wrapped things up nicely for me. Reading her second book, it reminded me why I had this on my ‘to read’ list. Rebecca Chance’s books are the perfect read for people who want the sheer escapism of a scandalously raunchy book. This to me is a great combination of what makes a good bonkbuster and I would certainly recommend it. I dropped one star purely because I disliked one character so much! I am hoping that (third time lucky) when I read the next book Bad Sisters, I may actually like all of the characters!

  6. Mandasue Heller Lost AngelMy Rating: 5/5

    I have read all of Mandasue Heller's books and would definitely consider myself a fan. Having said that I haven't loved every book, it almost seems like I either love it or just don't like it at all. Her last book The Driver I seemed to struggle with

    but the previous book Two-Faced I loved. With all that in mind I was excited to read her new book but apprehensive to see whether I would like it. Many people over the last few years have compared her to the likes of Martina Cole and this book just proves that she is in my opinion better than Martina Cole.

    Johnny Conroy is a young lad who is typically enjoying life and when he meets Ruth Hynes he takes his chances. What he doesn't account for is that the infamous hard man Frankie Hynes daughter will fall pregnant. Before he knows it he is part of the Hynes lives and is married with a baby on the way.

    The first portion of the book is like Mandasue's early books and was absolutely brilliant. We meet Ruth and her parents Frankie and Rita. Johnny, for all his faults, is a great character and before long you can't help feeling sorry for his sudden immersion into Frankie Hyne's business and his gloomy marriage to Ruth.

    The book moves on over the years and in total we see Johnny's life over twenty years. There was something easy to read about the way it was written and we see enough of what goes on in blocks of time, to make you feel like you are moving in time along with the family.

    Johnny's daughter Angel comes along and becomes the light of Johnny's life and all the time he is constantly progressing and improving the family business. Along the way we see Johnny's friend Dave and Ruth's cousin Lisa integrate themselves into the story making for some extra added story threads. Before long the book moves us into Angel's younger years before finally arriving at her teenage years where she becomes involved with one of Johnny's workers Ryan.

    That in itself causes major problems and before long it seems like they have all come full circle. The book had me reading well into the night and when I finally got to the climax of the story well into the early hours I was blown away.

    The book itself was what I would describe as old school Mandasue and was so easy and enjoyable to read. What I didn't account for was the shocking twist at the end that had me reading on in disbelief. I can honestly say that this is one of her best and is an absolute corker of a read. All those Mandasue Heller fans will certainly not be disappointed as we see her make a return to her brilliant skills as an absolutely exceptional writer. This one is certainly a book you will want to get your hands on as soon as it's released and I for one recommend it highly.

  7. Pippa Wright Unsuitable MenMy Rating: 3/5

    Pippa Wright released her first book Lizzy Harrison Loses Control in 2011. Her latest release Unsuitable Men was released in March 2012 and was the first of her books I had read. Rory Carmichael is single after eleven years of being with her boyfriend Martin. It didn't take me to long to like her as a character; she works at at the posh magazine Country Life and doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere. With a little encouragement from her work friend Ticky, she embarks on a project.

    Instead of trying to work out why her relationship went wrong, she is going to date as many unsuitable men as she can. The characters are without a doubt what make this book. Rory moves in with her Aunt Lydia who has two elderly lodgers. The two elderly lodgers are once famous Percy and Eleanor who make for some very entertaining conversations! Rory's Aunt Lydia is also very comical with her straight talking and her own secretive past.

    I wondered whether the story would be enough to keep this book going, but to be honest the characters make it work. They are funny and entertaining and keep you amused throughout. There is also the various dates that Rory goes on, which thankfully weren't milked too much but made light hearted and funny instead.

    Although this isn't maybe one of the best I have read recently it was certainly light hearted and refreshing. I love the fact that some of the characters are not the stereotypical young twenty-thirty something girlfriends. I enjoyed this book and would certainly look out for more of Pippa Wright's books.

  8. Howard Linskey The Damage
    My Rating: 5/5

     After reading Howard Linskey's debut novel The Drop I was really looking forward to the second book featuring David Blake. Even if you haven't read the first book you could easily pick up the second and know what is going on. I admit I was worried that maybe the second wouldn't be as good but I needn't have worried as it was actually better!

    We once again meet David Blake but the difference now is that he is now the 'top dog' Gangster boss running Newcastle. He is actually living in Thailand with his girlfriend Sarah and only needs to fly back to the UK to sort out any issues his two right hand men Palmer and Kinnane can't handle. Sure enough very early on, problems start cropping up involving his firm in which he decides he needs to get back to Newcastle to resolve.

    We meet characters that reatured in the first book such as David's brother Danny, Palmer and Kinane, the Gladwell's who run Glasgow and some new faces amongst all those too. David Blake is the main reason I loved the first book as he isn't your typical Gangster. He comes across as a really nice bloke who only uses violence when absolutely necessary. In addition to him we see quite a bit more of Palmer and Kinane which I liked as it gives you a real idea of other people involved in David's life.

    The story itself kept me gripped from very early on. It seems that there are numerous threads and problems that soon spiral into something much worse and end up with David fearing for his own life. He has to deal with a new supplier named 'The Turk', corrupt politicians and coppers as well as dealers, pimps and celebrity coke addicts. There is quite a lot going on at any one time and it means as the reader you are constantly left wondering what is going to happen next.

    As in the first book there is a darker side of humour running through some of these characters and it makes them that bit more readable. I also found that although a lot of conclusions were made at the end, there are lots of more threads I can see opening up for follow up books. Overall I am delighted to have found such a great author at the very beginning of a series. I can only cross my fingers and hope that Howard Linskey carries on writing so well. This man is certainly one to watch!!!