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» Listings for May 2012

  1. Melissa Hill Something From TiffanysMy Rating: 3/5

    I have never read a Melissa Hill book before and was looking forward to reading something light hearted. After reading the synopsis on the back I figured this was just the sort of 'feel-good' read I could do with. The book starts off set in the wonderfully romatic city of New York and we meet two men on completely different trips. Ethan is making a special trip to Tiffany¡¦;s with his daughter to collect an engagement ring for his girlfriend Vanessa. Meanwhile Gary is shopping until he drops and at the last minute decides on a short trip to Tiffany¡¦s to get his girlfriend Rachel a charm bracelet. What follows the trip is an accident where the two bags get mixed up and Rachel ends up with the ring and Vanessa the bracelet.

    The first few chapters were a great introduction to the two main male characters and I have to say that I took an instant dislike to Gary and his awful attitude. Ethan on the other hand was a joy to read with his charming and well mannered ways. With both couples back in their respective homes the story then takes a turn where we see Ethan and his vain attempts to track down the missing ring.

    I really liked the character Rachel and enjoyed reading about her a lot more that Vanessa. The story did stretch a little in the middle and I felt like it was missing something, however towards the end it picked up again. A lot of previous reviews I have read seemed to complain that the synopsis gives it away, and although I know what they mean, the book is still a great read. The characters are engaging and the storyline interesting. The best part about this book for me was the ending. I managed to do that smug self satisfied grin to myself because I knew what the ending would be. Thankfully I was proved totally wrong and the ending was great, especially as it managed to wipe that smug self satisfied grin off my face º

    No the book is not original, and it certainly isn't the best that is out there in this genre. Having said that, it is a really easy to read book with good characters and it kept me interested. I will certainly be looking out for more Melissa Hill books in the future.

  2. Polly Williams The Angel at No 33My Rating: 3/5

    I have never read a Polly Williams book before and was looking forward to trying somebody new. Polly Williams is far from a newbie on the writing scene though and this will be her 7th release. The synopsis of the book was interesting and the cover was appealing enough.

    When I first started reading the book I instantly liked the main character Sophie. She is a normal married mum with her little boy Freddie and her handsome husband Ollie. However, when she meets her best friend Jenny for a drink, she doesn't realise that her time on earth will finish with that night out. Now I know that put like that it will seem like a depressing read, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

    The story then shifts and we see a different perspective on life and death. Sophie appears in the book, but we only get to see her thoughts and feelings as she witnesses her friends and family deal with the loss of her. Her best friend Jenny then takes the main lead as we see her try to make sense of not only her own life, but help Ollie and Freddie put their life back together.

    I wasn't initially as keen on Jenny as I was Sophie, but at around the halfway mark I had warmed to her much more. Jenny has to deal with some of Sophie's `other' set of friends that were involved through Freddie's school. This certainly makes the story a whole lot more interesting and the characters involved certainly brightened up the story.

    Overall, this was a very easy book to read and featured some really nice moments. I really liked the fact that Polly Williams has made the issue of death a little more light-hearted, as I feared the book may become a bit morose. There were some very funny moments, as well as the most irritating character on earth being Jenny's fiancé Sam. I enjoyed the story, but after the halfway mark I knew where the story was taking the reader. I know that many books have a predictability factor, but this was a little too predictable to make this book stand out from others.

    I certainly liked the writing, and from other reviews of the book can see that this book is slightly different from Polly's usual style. I will most certainly be looking out for more books from her and look forward to reading some of her older books too.

  3. Synopsis: Every charm bracelet tells a story and Holly O'Neill knows this better than most. Many years ago she was sent one mysteriously, just a single charm attached. Some time later another charm appeared, and the same happened until the bracelet was almost full. Each charm proved significant, as if her anonymous benefactor knew she needed a little bit of magic in her life. So when Holly stumbles across another bracelet - one that somebody else has lost - she recognises a lifetime spelt out through the charms, and knows she must try to reunite it with its owner. Using each charm to help discover more about the bracelet's owner, Holly gradually begins to piece together details of this other charmed life. And her quest leads her somewhere she never expected...

    Kat's Rating: 5/5

  4. June Hampson A Mothers JourneyMy Rating: 5/5

    I have read all of the books written by June Hampson and for those that maybe haven't read her they are all part of a series featuring Daisy Lane. The first book in the series (and June's debut novel) is set in the 1960's and her last book in the series entitled Fighting Dirty has moved on to the 1980's. Her most recent release had aroused my curiosity due to the fact that this book is almost a prequel. The books feature Daisy Lane but also her friends and family. Vera has been a central character from the word go and has been a brilliant presence in Daisy's life. This book takes you back to the 1940's when Vera was a young girl.

    If I am being 100% honest I was a little worried but only because I love Vera so much and wondered whether this book would be as good as the Daisy Lane books I have read to date. If anything this book far exceeded what I expected and was a brilliant read. June Hampson takes us back to when Vera was a 14 year old girl living with her family in the middle of the war. Straight away I was drawn into Vera's world and it took me less than a few pages to remember why I loved the June Hampson books so much.

    If people haven't read any of the Daisy Lane books, you can still read this as a stand-alone but to be honest for me it was so much nicer having the history of all the characters. It explained so much about Vera and how she has arrived at the place she is now. Vera's life was certainly not easy and along the way she has her fair share of heartbreak and I realised why I loved her as a character so much. This book only made me want to read more and has whetted my appetite for the next Daisy Lane book.

    I am not normally a fan of books set in the 40's but June Hampson has done a fantastic time of taking you back to that time and being able to picture a place torn apart by the War. I was absolutely gripped from the very first page to the very last. I am annoyed that I left this so long to read (it was released in March 2012) but am so glad that I got around to it. I think that June Hampson fans will absolutely love this latest instalment.

    I think some fans are concerned that after the last book Fighting Dirty, the series may have come to a natural conclusion, but I beg to differ. I think that the next book that June Hampson produces may well feature Daisy's children as the previous book gave loads of scope for that part of the story to be developed. I will as always wait impatiently for her next instalment. For people that haven't tried June Hampson I would highly recommend her but would suggest starting at the beginning.

  5. Lucy DIamond Sweet TemptationMy Rating: 4/5

    I vaguely recall reading a Lucy Diamond (by the way that's not her real name, its Sue Mongredien) that's her book a while back, but couldn't remember. I therefore decided to buy her fourth book that was published Sweet Temptation and try another one. I was extremely pleased that I did and now I know why her name rang bells! This book is based around three women, Maddie, Lauren and Jess. All three of them meet once they commit to both losing weight and getting fit. What they don't realise is that the three of them will become such good friends that their lives will change because of it.

    Maddie seemed to be the most central character, well at least for me she was. She was certainly the most memorable! Maddie has a husband, two kids and a job working for Brum FM. Although her job may sound glamorous, her boss is awful and with both her boss and her Mum pressuring her to lose weight she finally gives in. In addition to Maddie there is Jess who works in a beauty salon and is engaged to Charlie. All Jess wants is to lose a little weight for her big day. The last character is Lauren who is a bitter divorcee who runs her own dating agency.

    The book drew me straight in and I adored Maddie and Jess. I liked Lauren but after around a quarter of the book she just seemed to pale in comparison to the other two. What I think made this book so readable is the basis for the story. Weight loss is something the majority of women have experience with. Lucy Diamond has told their stories in such a way that you can laugh, cry and most certainly empathise with all three women. It took me just over a day to read this book as I was so engrossed. The author has made the characters easy to like, easy to read and most of all an enjoyable experience.

    I absolutely loved this book and found it an absolute joy to read. We had nice characters, awful characters (I swear I knew a woman like Jess' boss!) and great storytelling. What more could we ask for?

  6. Jacqui Rose Taken
    My Rating: 4/5

    After seeing various recommendations from people about Jacqui Rose debut novel Taken I bit the bullet and downloaded it onto my Kindle. I promptly forgot about it and it got swallowed up into my stupidly extensive list of books I have yet to read. However, her name kept popping up and with her exceptional rating on Amazon (4 out of 5 over 100 reviews) I picked it up. I must say that I am very glad I did now. What was I thinking leaving it that long?

    One thing that must be hard as a new author is standing out from the crowd. The crime genre is generally littered with the longer standing authors and it must be hard work for the debut novelists out there. Thankfully with the word spreading amongst readers I am glad to see Jacqui Rose come up frequently. She has chosen to write her debut novel based in London and featuring some heavy `hard-men'. With a London Gangster feel to it I wondered if she would be well remembered with authors that are practically legends such as Martina Cole, Mandasue Heller and Kimberley Chambers out there.

    I started reading and met the main character of the book Casey Edwards. Casey had turned up in Soho following a hard life which involved giving away her child at 15 and then turning to alcohol, men and drugs to get through her life. She is hoping for a fresh start and the ability to find her child and put things right. After arriving in London she meets Mob boss Alfie Jennings, the cruel and vindictive partner of his Oscar and before long is caught up in their world. She also meets Vaughn who is an ex-gangster and an absolutely brilliant character.

    The first half of the book takes us into the murky world of Alfie and Oscar and I would be lying if I said that some parts of the book are not pleasant reading. However, it makes it all the more authentic (and a hell of a lot more exciting to read). The topics covered involve money, drugs, trafficking and sex and that's just to name a few. If this sort of thing doesn't rock your boat in terms of fiction then this may not be the book for you. One thing I want to point out is that there IS swearing and violence in this book. It grates on me occasionally when I read reviews with people complaining about this. Would you expect a London Gangster to point to the door and politely ask his arch rival to vacate the building because he can't bear to speak to him? Err I think not...point made!

    The second half of the book was a lot more exciting as Casey finds herself in the middle of a very dangerous situation. Oscar Harding was a vile character and I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the worst for him from start to finish. Towards the end things became even faster paced and the ending was wrapped up with the right amount of excitement and drama. It would be nice to see a couple of the characters again in future books but we will have to wait and see what Jacqui Rose has in store for us next time. As I said before, with the British crime writers out there already it must be hard work to join the dizzy heights of the `Crime Queens' we have out there, however with this debut novel Jacqui Rose is well on her way! I look forward top her new release in March 2013.

  7. Niamh O Connor TakenMy Rating: 4/5

    In February 2011 I read Niamh O'Connor's debut novel and really enjoyed it. I was looking forward to reading the second instalment. We once again meet the feisty Jo Birmingham who as a female DI is one of the few female senior officers in Dublin. She is trying to manage her work as well as her children and being a single parent makes her life that little bit harder. The Model and It-Girl Tara Parker French drives into a petrol station to fill up and runs into the station to pay. She leaves her three year old son Presley in the car, and that is her biggest mistake.

    With Tara's child kidnapped Jo does her best to help with the case. What she can't work out is why Tara doesn't want the public to know he is missing. Before long in true Jo Birmingham style she has forced herself into the middle of the case irrelevant of the consequences. Jo is a character I really liked as although she was feisty she was also human and that means mistakes. It makes her all the more likeable as a character. We also see the return of her colleagues Gavin Sexton, Foxy and her ex-husband (who also happens to be her boss) Dan.

    The story itself is pretty intriguing early on as you get to see the sheer terror of Tara whose child has been snatched. What I didn't realise was that as soon as I was hooked on that part of the story I didn't really come up for air. The book itself isn't too lengthy but has enough substance to make it interesting. The crime element of the story covers pretty much everything with drugs, sex crimes as well as corruption and extortion to name a few. Towards the end it picked up again and I have to say I read the last quarter of the book the quickest. The ending surprised me, but I have to say it leaves the reader really wanting to pick up the next book to find out what happens to the characters.

    There is a lot of crime books and especially new authors about at the moment. Niamh O'Connor will definitely be making it on my `to read' list every year, but has yet to blow me away. It seems she has created a great series with characters that are slowly worming their way into people's minds. Most definitely somebody to watch for the future!

  8. Milly Johnson White WeddingMy Rating: 4/5

    Violet, Max and Bel are three friends who are all linked by their weddings. When I first picked up this new Milly Johnson book I was really looking to reading it and I was surprised that I found myself stumbling over the first few chapters. Thankfully, I think it was just me as after the first few chapters I was seamlessly drawn alongside these individual women. As usual Milly Johnson has created characters that although not perfect, are very likeable.

    The three prospective grooms are all very different and before long you can see all sorts of possibilities on the horizon for the 3 women. The lovely thing about reading Milly Johnson books is that she manages to create different characters that feel very `real'. The stories flow really well and it takes no time at all to become engrossed in one of her books and I am pleased to say that this one was no different. There was a one particular part of the storyline which had me chuckling, revolving around Max and her particular choice for wedding style!

    As the story moves past the halfway mark I found myself praying that things worked out for the individual women. What I wasn't prepared for were a couple of twists added to the story which threw me (in a good way). It was nice to have such drama and surprises show up in such an otherwise lovely weddings tale. The ending was just about as good as it gets and to be honest I was disappointed to realise I was coming to the end. Once I had finished the book I immediately made sure I had another Milly book added to my Kindle for future reading. Not my favourite of hers so far but still a brilliant read.