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» Listings for June 2012

  1. Katia LIef 5 Days to DieMy Rating: 3/5

    Katia Lief (also known as Kate Pepper) has written lots of books but I quite enjoyed her book Hide and Seek which was released in 2010. This new stand alone (in the US published under the Title Five Days In Summer) sounded interesting and I was looking forward to reading it. Emily Parker is enjoying time with her three young children and decides to make a quick run top the grocery store. That is the last time her children see her, and pretty soon it becomes clear to her husband Will and mother Sarah that something is wrong.

    Will ends up turning to a retired FBI profiler John Geary for help in finding her. The start was pretty fast paced with Emily going missing and the reader sees her family's worst fears become reality. The story was easy to get into and the way it was written was very easy to go along with. However, with the introduction of John Geary, I couldn't help but feel that this was not going to be a book that stayed on my radar for too long.

    At around the halfway mark I was certainly reading it quick enough and found myself keen to keep reading. However, some of the characters just lacked something. Maybe I have read too many characters that are unmemorable but it seems that it has to be something very different to stand out from the crowd. Towards the end there were a few plot twists which I enjoyed, although sadly it seemed too obvious a solution to the plot for me. I guessed who the killer was, and the ending therefore was slightly less enjoyable for me.

    It is certainly a good book, but just not original enough for me to remember it by. I enjoyed the Karin Schaeffer book and look forward to reading another in that series. Otherwise, I would say this was a run of the mill book although enjoyable just not that special!

  2.  Niamh O Connor Too Close For ComfortMy Rating: 4/5

     Niamh O'Connor's new release Too Close for Comfort is the third in a series of books featuring DI Jo Birmingham. I have read the previous two books and enjoyed them and was looking forward to this one. Jo Birmingham is a brilliant character and she does stand out in my mind amongst other female leads in books. I think the reason for this is that she is so normal. She makes some serious mistakes, constantly has to juggle her work and personal life (not always succeeding) and is an ordinary woman doing an extraordinary job. Straight away Niamh O'Connor brings the reader into Jo's world without the need to read the first two books.

    Her writing style is easy to follow and it doesn't take long to get into the story. A woman has been found in an area in the Dublin Mountains. In the past women have disappeared and the area is now known as part of the `vanishing triangle' case. Derek Carpenter lives in Nun's cross, the same area as the latest victim and was the prime suspect in the Vanishing Triangle case. In the very beginning the story gripped me and we saw flashes of somebody who is involved in the press. This will eventually link to the killer later down the line. I think one of the main problems I had with this book was the references to hacking. The crime was interesting but there were numerous links to press hacking; similar to the scandal the General Public have seen with Newspapers in recent months. Niamh O'Connor couldn't have timed it better with the release of this book but I am just tired of hearing about the Leveson enquiry on the news lately, so maybe a similar thread in the book was too much for me?!? Maybe that was why this particular part of the book annoyed me so much.

    Apart from that one minor irritant, it seems that Niamh O'Connor is doing a slow burn with this character and her novels as each of her books is just that little bit better than the last. This story had me questioning everybody at every opportunity. There were plenty of plot twists and at one point there was so much going on I went back to make sure I hadn't missed anything! The characters were strong and believable and one element I like is the constant battle for Jo to make her marriage work with Dan (who also used to be her boss). One other thing that stuck out for me is the lead to the endings of her books. In a strange sort of way they are always brilliant because they have the desired effect of the reader just having to get the next book. I cannot stand loose ends and with numerous characters making reappearances there are more questions than answer with some of them.

    At the moment Niamh O'Connor is maybe not as widely known as she should be. I think her books are hugely under-rated, and although I am yet to be blown away with one of her books, I have a sneaking suspicion one of her future books is going to be the one! Maybe not to everybody's taste but a complex book that will keep you reading. I am now waiting with baited breath for the next instalment as this one was left on a bit of a cliff hanger!

  3. Lucy Diamond Summer With My SisterMy Rating: 5/5

    I am ashamed to say that I only picked up my first Lucy Diamond book last month. I was so glad that I did because I loved that book and made sure that I had her new one ready to read. Sue Mongredien (the author's real name) has produced another fantastic book with this latest release. Polly has always been the sister that `made it'. With her high flying career she is lucky if she can even make time for her family, let alone friends and a social life. So when she loses her job and her home she is awoken from her idealistic bubble with a very sharp shock! On the other end of the scale you have Polly's sister Clare, a single mum who struggles to make ends meet. Clare still lives in the village she grew up in and although nearly always broke she has her friends and family close by.

    Polly has to face up to things and eventually returns to her home village and she ends up living with Clare and the two kids. The story drew me in almost instantly and I found myself disliking Polly and falling in love with Clare. The two sisters are poles apart and as a reader you can see Polly's demise coming. When it does happen and the two sister's end up living together the story takes an interesting turn. As the story goes on you begin to see the reasons that the two sisters have different outlooks and their past family history becomes clearer.

    Although I originally disliked Polly you can see the changes in her as time goes on and before too long I was rooting for both sisters to work things out. The writing flows so easily that before I knew it I was into the last quarter of the book and once again chastising myself for reading too quickly. I really liked the odd character that was thrown in as well such as Clare's slightly barmy next door neighbour as well as her work colleague Roxie. Towards the end, the only thing that I can honestly say was a negative was the final three or four chapters. I felt like things had wrapped up too quickly and I could have easily read another 60-70 pages with the conclusions drawn out a little bit more.

    Overall, this particular book is one that is perfect for the current climate that we live in. It makes you realise that there are many `Polly's' in this world and maybe you should just appreciate what you have (there's nothing quite like a good `moral to the story'). I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a pleasure to read. The only reason I knocked a star off was because the ending was far too quick and I could have easily read more; other than that just brilliant!!!

  4. Peter James Not Dead YetMy Rating: 4/5

    I have read each and every one of the Roy Grace series and I would imagine like many others was looking forward to the latest book. Like many other popular series of books the characters and their history are what add another dimension for the readers. In this latest Roy Grace book we again see the return of my favourite and much loved characters I have got to know. Of course we have Roy himself and his other half Cleo who is now pregnant and expecting their first child. In addition we see many favourites like Glenn Branson (who I adore), Norman Potting and Bella Moy.

    The Brighton police force has its work cut out for them. The international superstar Gaia is filming in Brighton for the LA Producer Larry Brooker. Before Gaia leaves Bel Air an attempt is made on her life. By the time she arrives in Brighton Roy is set the challenge of ensuring her safety as well as running a murder investigation. Initially the story hits the ground running and when we see Gaia arrive in Brighton there are already two plots running through the book. On the one side we have the security and attempted murder of Gaia and on the other we have a torso found which the Murder team are trying to identify.

    My attention was grabbed a lot more with the storyline in this current book than the last one so I almost felt like the books were back on the up again. The story certainly kept its pace up and I have to be honest as the story continued I got the feeling that this was a real `who dunnit' kind of story. There are lots of plot threads, lots of action and a real head scratcher of a case. Now on the down side I have to say I am getting slightly irritated by the `Sandy' thread of the story. I think a conclusion to this element of the story would make me a lot happier because I find myself just shaking my head in disappointment every time I read a bit more.

    As I neared the end, I was genuinely taken aback by the plot conclusion and thought it was a good wrap up of the story. Then I was thrown with the last three chapters. I think one part of me admires Peter James for doing this as he has almost certainly drawn a large percentage of readers into the next book (and I admit I am one of them!). I fear that the series may get tedious but there certainly doesn't seem to be any sign of that (apart from the Sandy part). The only one minor niggle I had was that I never got to find out the conclusion of the story regarding Norman and Bella. Yet again I think that this has been done with good reason and yet again there are things pulling me back and preparing myself for the pre-order again this time next year.

    Peter James has certainly continued to show his brilliance as a Crime Writer and as usual I look forward to the next Roy Grace book.

  5. James Patterson I Michael Bennett
    My Rating: 3/5

    After my last Michael Bennett (MB) outing (Tick Tock) I was looking forward to, and hoping, that the next instalment would be ramped up in terms of excitement. As usual with a Patterson I read this latest one in a day. Irrelevant of whether you love his books, he has that writing genius that keeps the readers engaged and for me it means literally not putting the book down.

    In the latest MB we see the lovely Detective (ooohh I think I have a crush) take on the infamous Crime Lord Manuel Perrine. As usual the whole Bennett troops are there, all ten children, Michael's Nanny Mary Catherine and Seamus. I think that alone means that readers become familiar with the family and you grow a certain attachment to them which keeps fans like me coming back time and time again. Unfortunately, the stories are not always James Patterson's best but because I love the characters so much, I tend to overlook that!

    The story itself is the usual JP style of short sharp chapters with plenty of action. When Michael and his school friend Hughie, who is also his colleague, try to take on Perrine the consequences are dire. Michael's whole life is catapulted into danger as Perrine makes it his mission to destroy Bennett as well as his family. The story trundles along and I couldn't help but feel that although I loved meeting up with the Bennett crew again the story just wasn't as strong as it could have been. Yes there was plenty going on with drive by shootings, court room dramas and assassinations galore, but I just felt it was lacking that certain something. I enjoyed the personal element of the book and as usual Bennett's love life is as screwed up as ever and I am really looking forward to what happens next.

    The ending however is what made the book that bit better. It ends in a way that some people may say is a cliff-hanger, whereas in reality it's a great opener for the next book. The ending made me happy that there was more drama, but irritated that I had to again wait to see the outcome for the Bennett's. I debated the scoring of this and was tempted (after the ending) to give it 4 out of 5. However, the storyline just didn't grab me enough so I resorted back to 3/5. A book that will keep the fans sweet for now but I am hoping we see a corker of a book in the next instalment!