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» Listings for July 2012

  1.  Tasmina Perry Perfect StrangersMy Rating: 5/5

    I have read each and every one of Tasmina Perry's books and was excited that there would another one soon with the release of her latest Perfect Strangers due in August 2012. To my absolute delight, the publishers sent me an early copy for review so it became THE book for me to read. As usual with Tasmina's books you get a lot of book for your money and this one came in at just under 450 pages. As usual her books have very inviting covers and her new one was no different.

    Without even glancing at the synopsis at the back I got stuck in. We start by meeting Sophie Ellis at her mother's house seeing to guests attending her fathers wake. Sophie is a `typical' Chelsea rich girl that was spoilt by Daddy and never had to do a days work in her life. Sadly for her, that was no longer the case as just before her father's death he had made a bad investment and lost all of the family money. Sophie now lives in a bedsit and a chance meeting with somebody in her local gym leads to a surprise invitation.

    It certainly seems an innocent enough start and Sophie is asked to house sit for a few weeks. Without realising what the future holds for her she attends a party and meets Nick Cooper. Within a matter of days she is swept of her feet and things really start to look up for her. Disaster strikes and Nick is found murdered in his hotel room. Sophie then becomes the main suspect in his murder and before she knows it her life has been literally turned upside down.

    From this point on (which I must point out is less than a quarter of the way through, so no plot spoilers) things take a dramatic turn and the pace picks up considerably. I hadn't realised that I had managed to read a quarter of the book in one sitting as I was so engrossed. The next time I picked the book up I managed to finish it all. I literally couldn't put it down. Sophie, although not an obviously sounding great character, is extremely likeable and you soon realise that you are urging her to get to the truth. Her life is literally hanging in the balance and she has to find the truth about who killed Nick or she will end up in prison.

    Although Tasmina Perry would usually fall into the `Bonkbuster/Chick Lit' genre, this current book is verging more into the Romantic Suspense genre. I would defy anybody to not be gripped by everything that goes on. There were quite a few layers to the plot which constantly keeps the reader on their toes and I was so disappointed to finish it. The ending threw up a few surprises too but it was all wrapped up nicely. I must admit that although I have liked all of her books this is by far her best yet. Maybe because I am a fan of the crime, thriller and mystery genre as well as chick lit this was the best of both worlds for me. A truly magnificent read that had me reading into the early hours of the morning. Perry fans will NOT be disappointed!

  2. Karin Slaughter CriminalMy Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: Okay I'm really not sure where to start with this review as I feel completely at odds with how I normally feel after finishing a Karin Slaughter book. A quick re-cap for those maybe not in the know might help. Karin Slaughter created a series of books called Grant County and then another series featuring Will Trent and Faith Mitchell. In a surprising (but genius) move Karin Slaughter managed to turn the two series into one and they became known as The Georgia series. It was an incredibly risky move as some fans had become attached to various characters. Even for me I found it hard to believe that she had done such a thing; however her last release entitled Fallen showed just how clever Karin Slaughter really is. Without adding too many spoilers for those wanting to read the series from the beginning, I will just say the series currently features Will Trent, Faith Mitchell and Sara Linton. For her fans that have followed from book 1 there were many questions that have come up over time and this book is the one to address some of them.

    The book is split into two parts almost, one featuring Will, Sara and Faith in the present day and the other featuring Amanda Wagner (Will's boss) and Evelyn Mitchell (Faith's mother) set in the seventies. In the beginning I was more drawn to the present day element and at the halfway point was wondering what was going on. Why was I not getting into the book as much as I normally did? I realised at just past the halfway mark that it's because I am an impatient woman! The story featuring Evelyn and Amanda makes so much sense especially towards the end. The crimes are as ever gruesome and I found the authenticity of women in the police force back then kind of shocking.

    The story itself was as usual great, but for me I felt like I was more interested in the answers to my questions and thankfully by the end so many things clicked into place. I wouldn't say that this story was as good as Fallen (I forgot to turn my bath off whilst reading that one!) but as ever is fantastic writing and for fans who have followed the series, is a crucial part of the series. Will, Sara and Faith do not feature as heavily but it makes perfect sense as we see the reasons for where some of them are today. I think that although this isn't my favourite Karin Slaughter book it just shows how talented a lady she is. Another winner from the leading lady in this field!

  3. Veronica Henry The Long Weekend My Rating: 5/5

    The last book of Veronica Henry's that I read was The Beach Hut which I absolutely loved. Veronica has a way of telling many stories in one book without you feeling overwhelmed. In The Beach Hut she managed it flawlessly. She has taken the same writing style and done it again, but even better with her latest release The Long Weekend. We start sedately by meeting the main focus of the story which is Claire Marlowe and her partner Luca who own a very high end hotel named The Townhouse by the Sea. I instantly loved Claire and to be frank, despised her smarmy boyfriend Luca. In a matter of a few chapters I felt myself longing to visit this place. It sounded glorious and to be honest somewhere that I would have stayed at in a heartbeat.

    After the initial introductions we are introduced to the other characters that feature in the book almost as mini short stories combined. We meet Laura and Dan, young adults on their first weekend away with family secrets to uncover. There is Nick and his stag party who have no idea that their arrival will change many lives following the weekend. We also see Angelica, one of the staff members, and Trevor and Monique who are investors in the hotel.

    I found myself utterly absorbed in each character and their troubles. It's hard to be more specific than this without spoiling the story so I won't elaborate. Somehow, Veronica Henry manages to whisk you away with all of the characters and I was irritated when I had to stop reading to do the `proper' things like work or cook. It truly is a great thing when you find a book that you don't want to put down and this book was a great example of that. The writing style was easy, the story absorbing and at the same time gripping as well as the fact that I just could NOT put the thing down. Read in a day and a truly wonderful book that I would highly recommend.

  4. zoe Sharpe Killer InstinctMy Rating: 4/5

    Being somebody that buys more than I read, I have that nagging feeling that I am missing out when people get excited over authors I have never read. Yes I know, I have issues; don't get me started! When I saw on my lovely Facebook page that people were excitedly chattering about Zoe Sharp I immediately Googled her and realised that she has been writing for the best part of ten years. How dare I not know about this crime author, especially being a British female author? I immediately ordered her first release in the series featuring Charlie Fox and eventually got around to it.

    Charlie Fox is an ordinary sort of woman and within the first few chapters I decided that I liked her very much. Charlie teaches women self-defence, prefers to dress in jeans and had a passion for riding motorbikes. Charlie was kicked out of the army for reasons unknown to the reader early on and although she is certainly not without issues I loved her no-nonsense attitude. When Charlie is offered a job working for the security at the New Adelphi club she has no idea that a few hours after her tussle with Susie Hollins in the club, that she would be found dead a few hours later.

    This is the catalyst for a string of events that put Charlie's life on the line. There are many authors and books out there in this genre and although this wasn't necessarily one that stood out by a mile, it certainly whets my appetite for Charlie and her life. The characters are easy to read and the plot twisted enough to hold your interest well into the early hours. I realised at around the halfway mark that were many more layers to the story than I originally thought.

    I realised pretty early on that this would be a series I would stick with. After a slower paced beginning, the second half flew by and I found myself racing to find out who is involved and to what degree. By the end of the book I made sure I went online and got part 2. It may well take me a while to get to but I will certainly be looking forward to it. Now I know why people were talking about Zoe Sharp and I will be among them next time, although as ever I like to read a series in order and it may take me a while to catch up. Overall, I am dead chuffed that I can now add another female British crime writer to my list of must reads. Fantastic start to a series (and what planet have I been on having only just started reading ZS???!). Recommended!

  5. Sheila OFlanagan Better TogetherMy Rating: 4/5

    I have been reading Sheila O'Flanagan since she published her first book and am rarely disappointed with the books she writes. Her last book though wasn't her usual type of story and although I enjoyed it I could see why not everybody would. Her last book seemed to have a more serious theme running through it than maybe her previous books have. I was still looking forward to reading her new book, especially as I had an early proof copy.

    This latest books synopsis sounded very interesting and is based around two women. Sheridan Gray is a journalist who manages to lose her job, her home and her boyfriend in a matter of days. The other main character is Nina, who is dealing with the fallout from her separation from her actor husband Sean; following the national press revealing he was having an affair with a co-star. Nina runs a Guesthouse in Ardbawn and this is co-incidentally where Sheridan ends up.

    Sheridan was an easy woman to like and to read about. Nina was a little harder going as we see her struggle to keep things going. When the two women meet things get a little more interesting. The thing I noticed about this latest book is that straight away I was drawn into Ardbawn, and I really liked the characters that make up his pretty village. When Nina stays at the Guesthouse, she uncovers what she thinks could be an explosive story guaranteed to get her back at one of the national papers. Unfortunately it surrounds Nina and Sheridan has to make some tough decisions.

    The story was certainly interesting and had a mystery element to it which I enjoyed. I warmed to Nina a lot more as the story went on, almost as much as I gained loathing for the husband Sean. As I was nearing the end of the book I realised that we still weren't at the conclusion. To my surprise the last 3 or so chapters managed to wrap up everything and left me feeling a little disappointed. I really enjoyed the story but thought that the ending seemed so quick and almost rushed. It certainly didn't ruin the book for me but made me knock off a star. Overall another great summer read from Sheila O'Flanagan, it seems she never fails to disappoint!

  6. Jenny COlgan Meet Me At The Cupcake CafeMy Rating: 5/5

    I am almost disgusted with myself for having never read a Jenny Colgan book. I have always seen her books around but don't ask me why, have never managed to pick one up. Thankfully, I finally got around to buying this book which was released in 2011 with its very enticing cover. I started reading and immediately loved the main character Issy. Issy's Grandpa Joe ran bakery's his whole life and has passed his love of baking on to Issy.

    Very early on we meet Issy's pathetic excuse for a boyfriend Graeme (who I despised from start to finish) along with some other characters that feature in the book. When Issy is made redundant from her City job she takes the plunge and sets about opening her own type of Bakery called The Cupcake Café.

    Jenny Colgan has done a grand job of making the readers feel for Issy. We see her struggle with lost of things at once and try to manage starting a new business, her love life, the care of her Gramps as well as having some sort of social life. What made this book a little bit different is that at the start of various chapters (I cannot recall if it was every one) we see Issy's recipes for her famous Cupcakes. There is something refreshingly different about that approach, and some of the descriptions that go with the recipes had me chuckling.

    I read three quarters of this book in one day, I read in the morning, my lunch break, my commute and even when I was washing up! I then eagerly picked it up the following morning and finished it. The story is a lovely read and you feel like you are taking the journey with Issy and you can't help but will her success on. I loved the characters, including the feisty Pearly and difficult Caroline both who work with Issy. I also loved Issy's flatmate Helena who has a very brisk attitude. You also see other local characters come in and they all add their own flavour to the story.

    I was really excited to see that Jenny Colgan has a follow up to this book due out October 2012. I think a follow up would be brilliant, especially as the end of this one is extremely open-ended with many possibilities for the characters. Overall this was a book that I loved in every way, and it especially cheered me up as I am in the middle of my own very precarious start of a new business. This book was a real `feel-good' read and I loved every bit of it. Highly recommended.