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CTM = Crime, Thriller, Mystery Genre Authors

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» Listings for August 2012

  1. Molly HOpkins It Happened In VeniceMy Rating: 5/5

    Synopsis: Welcome to Venice, the city of love. He cheated, but only once! Evie Dexter has promised to forgive her fiancé Rob - and her efforts to absolve his sins are paying off: in the past ten days she's only called him a two-timing love rat eleven times.

    Thank goodness her flourishing career as a tour guide takes her to fashionable Dublin, in-vogue Marrakech and cool Amsterdam. And when Evie's offered a luxury visit to the sensual city of Venice she jumps at the chance. With its delicious wine and sultry Italian men, four days in the city of light and love is just what she needs.

    My Review: Molly Hopkins released her debut novel last year (2011) and to be honest I only picked it up because there were so many favourable reviews on Amazon. Boy was I glad that I did! I read her book in a day or so and was genuinely shocked as it had been such a long time since I had read such a funny debut novel.

    I realised that her second novel was released in August 2012 and when I received an early copy to review I was foaming with excitement. Evie Dexter is once again back with her crazy motley crew of friends and family. The one thing that made me love the first book was Evie herself and in this one she is back on top form. Evie is a brilliant character that I have fallen in love with. She cannot keep her mouth shut when required, constantly gets drunk and is always unpredictable, especially when it comes to shopping. She is engaged to her fiancé Rob even though he cheated on her. However, as a tour guide for Insignia Tours she gets the opportunity to leave the country for a few days at a time and her trips are always eventful.

    This latest book had me snorting with laughter into my tea within the first few chapters. As a result when I arrived home from work, the book accompanied me whilst cooking, taking a bath and into the early hours of the morning. It's a book that is so warm and funny that you just can't put it down. In addition to Evie, her friends and family cause just as much mayhem and make the book what it is. I love her crazy flatmate Lulu, her sister Lexy and everybody that works with her at her friend Nikki's café.

    It's hard to really review the book without giving spoilers, but I will say this. If you are a fan of the Angela Clarke series of books by Lindsey Kelk then make sure you pick up Molly Hopkins. She is without a doubt a rising star and if you haven't read her yet, you need to start now, you won't be disappointed. Without a doubt Molly Hopkins has created a series that can run and run and leave the reader wanting that little bit more. I loved the way the story went, loved the characters and was disappointed that I had finished it so quickly. It happened in Venice is a truly fantastic book that I would highly recommend. I guess the only saving grace is that I now know I can truly look forward to the next It Happened in book in the series due for release next year. Roll on for the next one Molly I am truly looking forward to it! A MUST READ!

  2. My Review: 3/5

    Having read the other 2 books in Katia Lief's Karin Schaeffer series I was looking forward to this one. With the synopsis telling us that young women are being murdered and Karin and Mac's best friend Billy becomes the lead detective it sounded interesting. The last book in the series was okay, it was certainly readable but I felt it was lacking a certain something. This third instalment was only 368 pages so whatever the book was like it wouldn't take me long to get through.

    It doesn't take long for the reader to re-establish themselves with Karin and her husband Mac. They live with their young son Ben and Mac is suffering from a serious bout of flu when Karin gets a call from their close friend Billy. Billy is the lead detective on a new case but is suffering from post traumatic stress. This ultimately starts the story with a more personal element and the crime scene seems to be secondary to this. However, it soon becomes apparent that Billy's attacks are more frequent and this leads to Karin's involvement in the cases.

    At around the halfway mark, I found myself enjoying the book but it just seemed to trundle along and there was no real urgency to the story. I found myself getting irritated by the constant referral to Billy's stress attacks and this lessened the enjoyment somewhat. The crimes themselves could have worked out really well as all the key ingredients were there. We had murder, human trafficking and numerous suspects but it just didn't seem to gel together well enough.

    The elements of the book I enjoyed the most was the main characters themselves and I think Karin, Mac and Billy make great key characters in a series like this. If the crime elements were notched up a bit then the end result would be a lot better. I certainly didn't dislike this book, but just felt with all the competition out there in this genre, there wasn't enough to make it that memorable. I will certainly read the next instalment to see what happens to Mac and Karin but otherwise, may well have not bothered.

  3. Star Rating: 4/5

    I have been book reviewing for a few years now and only recently picked up my first Lucy Diamond book. However, I had no idea how much reading one of her books would change things for me. The second book I picked up was her most recent release Summer With My Sister. The book was a brilliant read and as I was reading it, something strange happened. It started the cogs in my brain turning and an idea for a new business has come out of it (but more on that later!). Having enjoyed the first two books of hers, and being so inspired by one I was keen to pick up a third to see how that fared against the other two. This book, the Beach Café sounded like a good read and I was hoping it would help me get out of my feeling of `being in a rut'.

    Evie Flynn has always considered herself the `black sheep' of the family. Her two older sisters always seem to get it right, while she seems to be permanently stuck in a rut. Whilst Evie is stuck in a very depressing temp job, and her `sensible' boyfriend plans their future, her beloved Auntie Jo dies leaving the family shocked. Jo was always the life and soul of the party and Evie was incredibly close to her. When Evie realises that her Aunt has left her the little Beach Café she owned in Cornwall she has no idea what she is going to do. Evie was a character I liked immediately and the first few chapters really give you an idea of the sort of character she is. She is a little bit of a flapper and spends many an hour with her head in the clouds and you can't help but wish for better things for her.

    Her boyfriend Matthew I just wanted to throttle. He was so sensible and boring and seemed to be doing nothing but holding Evie back. After a lot of dithering Evie decides that she will go to Cornwall and spend the summer deciding what to do with the café. It's the start of a journey that is funny, disastrous and interesting all at the same time! The only criticism I could really find with this book was that it seemed to take a long time for Evie to make the decision and actually get down to Cornwall and work at the Beach Café. Other than that, as soon as the transition happened the book was brilliant. We meet lots of characters that feature heavily including Rachel the waitress, Ed the chef and Phoebe, a young girl who makes an impact on Evie.

    Apologies if people think this review is long but I feel like I need to explain something about reading Lucy Diamond books. Although this wasn't my favourite I have read of hers, by the end of the book I had that `feel good' mood back and my positivity had gone through the roof. I don't know what it is about the way she writes, but it has the profound effect of making you feel like if you keep on chipping away things will work out and you just need to keep at it. The reason I highlight this, is that reading a LD book started me off on a new (albeit small) business venture that I am hoping to launch by later on this year. However, I was having a bit of a wobble moment and wondering if I had gone bonkers. Having read another of her books, I now feel a lot more confident and think if you don't give it a go, you will never find out!

    Overall, not my favourite but a great feel good easy to read book that I thoroughly enjoyed!

  4.  Nick Spalding Love & Sleepless NightMy Rating: 5/5

    I read Nick Spalding's first book Love From Both Sides and as soon as I had finished it I then downloaded this one which is the follow on. I guess if you want to read the first book you had better stop reading this review as it will inevitable contain spoilers!

    In the first book we meet Jamie and Laura and they tell the story in their Diary and Blog about life being single. The book itself had me crying with laughter as it inevitably told the hard cold truth about dating in today's society. It held some very vulgar but equally hilarious storylines which although maybe not for everybody had me screeching with laughter. In this follow up we see Laura and Jamie face life as a couple with the added shock of finding out that Laura is pregnant.

    It's hard to specify exactly what the storyline is all about other than to say it's the story of two youngsters preparing and dealing with parenthood. The story starts with a particularly funny episode with Laura interviewing for a job and as soon as I had read that scene I realised I wouldn't be putting the book down until I had finished. Once again Nick Spalding has managed to write a very funny book with some side splitting moments (especially when Jamie takes the baby out on his own for the first time). There are so many of these funny moments that it's too hard to tell you my favourites.

    All I know is that much like the first book there is a real sense of many readers shaking their head as they realise that Spalding has hit the nail on the head with many tales of raising children. The book was so well written, easy to read and every other chapter seemed to throw up another ridiculous but funny situation. By the end of the book I was sad to see the ending was here but crossed my fingers and hoped that Spalding decides to bring back the Newman's and their daughter as a teenager!

    I can honestly say that this book and the previous one was brilliant, had me laughing from start to finish and is a book I think many will enjoy. I truly would recommend that these books are read in order and for the price of them on Kindle it's an absolute bargain. Can't wait to read another Spalding!

  5.  My Review: 4/5

     It seems these days that to be a successful author you don't necessarily have to go through a publishing house, which is why we have seen a sharp rise in people self-publishing. With hard work and determination (as well as a good book), many authors are doing it for themselves! Casey Kelleher is one such person and she published Rotten to The Core in 2011. The reviews posted on Amazon were promising and I was looking forward to giving another new author a go! One thing that I instantly loved was the cover of this book, very eye catching with a beautiful woman holding an apple on the front, I would certainly have been drawn to this cover in a Bookshop.

    Jay Shaw is living the life his father taught him which was wheeling and dealing and generally thinking about only himself. When Jay's dad was murdered he had a pretty good idea who was to blame but kept that to himself. Billy O'Connell is the man in the house and the only one who looks out for his sister Kate. Since their Mum passed away Billy has relied on his shady dealings in business and has kept his little sister safe. Until Jay and Kate meet and Kate ends up pregnant by him. Billy's reaction sets off a chain reaction that means Kate is caught up in the bitter feud between her brother Billy and Jay.

    It took me not time at all to be caught up in this story as it starts with a bang. Kate O'Connell is an easy character to both read about and like immensely. A young girl she is making mistakes but the reader can only sit by and watch as she makes one of the biggest of her life. Her older brother Billy I initially didn't like that much and as for Jay, Kate's boyfriend, I loathed him as soon as he was introduced.. As the story progresses you see the warmth in Billy and it didn't take me long to warm to him as you learn about the struggles he has had to endure.

    I was completely caught up in the story very early on and read this in one sitting I enjoyed it so much. There is certainly an air of `Gangster' about it but it's certainly not been overdone. There were plenty of plot twists as well as quite a bit of violence and swearing, which I come to expect in this type of story. By the last few chapters of the book I was hoping to see more of these characters. In addition to Kate, Billy and Jay we meet Jay's mother Sonia, Billy's friends who work with him and Paul who owns a nightclub. There wasn't anybody I wouldn't want to see appear again (with the exception of Jay)!

    For a self-published book Casey Kelleher has done an amazing job. It was certainly a book that I really enjoyed and the girl has talent that's for sure. She has another book due out late 2012 and I for one will be buying it for my Kindle as soon as it's out. I think this is an amazing start to what could be a very successful career as a crime author. She may have a little way to go to catch the Queens of crime such as Kim Chambers, Mandasue Heller and Martina Cole. But if she keeps this up it won't take her very long to get there!

  6. My Rating: 5/5

    Okay, don’t ask me how but I somehow missed Nick Spalding when browsing through looking for Rom Com type of books by men. The latest book I Fell in love with was a debut novel by a self published author Steven Scaffardi. I thought it couldn't be matched until I read Nick Spalding. It came about in the best way, I recommended the Scaffardi book to my friend Pete and he in turn then found Love From Both Sides. I got around to reading this on a particularly relaxing weekend in Spain at my Mum and Dad’s house.

    The back of the book told me that Nick Spalding has written this ‘laugh out loud’ book and shockingly is self published as well. That in itself surprises me especially when I found out that he has now sold a total of 250,000 books on Amazon. I can honestly say that after reading this book I am also surprised that he has not been published by one of the major publishing houses.

    Jamie Newman and Laura McIntyre are two single people. The book is written through their respective diaries and blogs and as soon as I picked this book up and read the first few chapters I had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks. Jamie and Laura share their dating attempts and one particular scene involving a one night stand and a religious picture had me howling for the best part of 5 minutes (that’s all I will say peeps!). One thing to point out is that if you are looking for an inspiring and intellectually challenging book (certainly not my type of book) then this won’t be your cup of tea. If however, like me, you have an open mind, a wicked sense of humour and don’t mind a bit of filth and bad language this book will have you in stitches!

    When Jamie and Laura’s paths cross it doesn't take a genius to work out where the story goes but I must say this is one of the funniest books I have read all year (and I have read a lot of books). This was packed to the rafters with dating disasters, sexual disasters and general cock up’s from start to finish. As soon as I finished this book I immediately downloaded the sequel (Love and Sleepless nights) and finished it the same day. This book (and the sequel) is suited to both men and women and at the price they are on Amazon it would be a travesty to miss out. Do yourselves a favour and grab a copy, seriously you won’t regret it!

  7. ean Black The Devils Bounty

     

    THE DEVIL'S BOUNTY - HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR JUSTICE?

     

    Convicted of a series of horrific crimes against young college students in upscale Santa Barbara, wealthy playboy Charlie Mendez has fled across the US border into Mexico. 

    As one bounty hunter after another meets a grisly end at the hands of the murderous drug cartel his family have hired to keep him safe, it seems that Mendez is one fugitive destined to remain beyond the reach of the law. Or at least that's how it looks until one determined victim persuades high-end security specialist Ryan Lock and his partner, retired Marine Ty Johnson, to go after him

     

    My Review: 5/5

    Kat's Review: Okay Ladies and Gents, meet Mr Sean Black. His first book was released in 2009 and featured Ryan Lock an ex-soldier turned Bodyguard and his partner Tyrone Johnson. I picked the first one up and if I'm being 100% honest didn't expect all that much. Just how many more characters like this could my mind take? As it turns out, my mind was very open to Ryan and Ty and now let me introduce you to my latest character crush!

    I have read each of Sean Black's 3 books in the series so far and was really looking forward to this book which is the fourth instalment in the Lock series. Ryan Lock and Ty make a brilliant team and have been through the mill with various assignments going wrong. Ryan and Ty are currently doing the security for a rap group when trouble comes to find them for a change. A young girl approaches Lock and tells him that he is the only one that can help track down the wealthy playboy Charlie Mendez who has been convicted on a number of crimes but has fled the US over the border into Mexico.

    The story takes less than two chapters to get going with a pretty fast paced scene kicking all the action off. It seems that a few Bounty Hunters that have tried to hunt Charlie Mendez down have ended up dead, so Ryan and Ty make it their mission to bring him back to the United States. There is a sense of real authenticity in Black's books and you realise when you are reading that he has certainly done his homework. Knowing that Sean does things like a 24 day Intensive Body guarding Course makes you realise he takes his research seriously. Even more so when you find he spent time in Supermax Prison Pelican Bay also in the name of research!

    With the story being fast paced the whole of the first half, I expected it to slow down a bit towards the middle but it kept up its suspense and we were thrown plenty of curveballs and surprises along the way. You can certainly read this book as a stand alone but for those that have read all the previous Lock books you will see Ryan try to move on from the issues he was dealing with at the end of the last book and this case seems to be a good way of moving forward. This book has plenty of action and suspense to keep you reading and although I loved every page of it I am looking forward top the next instalment more. That may sound strange but I want to see what happens next for Ryan and Ty, especially regarding their personal lives.

    Overall, another solid read from Sean Black and he shows no signs of the series slowing down, it just appears to be getting better. As usual, having finished the book I was left with that disappointed feeling, I have to wait another year to reacquaint myself with my latest character crush. Mr Lock, we will meet again!

  8. Rebecca Chance Killer HeelsMy Rating: 5/5

    Well, well! For all of those out there gushing about Fifty Shades do yourself a favour and pick up a Rebecca Chance book. Not only has she been writing since 2009 but there are countless other female authors out there that have been producing some of the best Bonkbuster's around for years. All the hype around Fifty Shades kind of irritated me if I'm honest. As a person who reads in excess of 100 books a year, I don't understand the sudden hype around a book that is essentially a certain `type' of book that has been done countless times by many other successful authors already out there. Rebecca Chance is one such lady!

    I have read two of her books written under her pseudonym (her real name is actually Lauren Henderson) and when I realised I had an early copy of her new one I was so excited it was laughable. As I jumped on the tube early one morning loftily holding my book up for all and sundry to see, I was bitterly disappointed that the carriage was full of builders and not ONE of them was remotely interested. How dare they?! Not remotely put off I delved into her latest release Killer Heels. If her cover doesn't catch your eye I would be surprised. With its almost kinky looking spiked heel on the front it was just shouting to me to pick it up and read it, so read it I did!

    As usual with any Chance book we are introduced to lead characters that wouldn't look out of place on a Dynasty set. Coco Raeburn and Victoria Glossop along with Jacob Dupleix make up the main core characters. Coco is just an ordinary girl from Luton who is shot to the top of the corporate ladder as she snags a job working as Victoria's assistant at a top UK fashion magazine. The characters immediately grabbed my attention, as we see the lengths that they will go to in an industry that is rife with eating disorders, scandal and power plays. I instantly loved the `Ice Queen' Victoria and was willing Coco along too. When the big boss Jacob gets thrown into the mix things start to get very interesting. In addition to those three there are numerous other characters that are both very readable and also integral to the story.

    I was shocked to realise that at the end of day one I had covered almost half the book and forced myself to slow down. I didn't want to miss a page of this incredibly racy, raunchy and very gripping book. There is drama at nearly every page as we see almost every nightmare scenario played out and the bitching and gossiping that goes hand in hand with the industry make things even more volatile. I felt like I was stuck in the middle of one of the most dramatic TV scenes at one point. Don't get me wrong, if you are looking for an intellectual and morally correct book you may want to look elsewhere. But, if you want something that is exciting, glitzy and deliciously naughty then this has it all.

    I can honestly say that some of the sex scenes in this book had me blushing to the tips of my ears but made it no less enjoyable (I am certainly no prude, that's for sure!). It made me wonder why people were gushing about Fifty Shades when authors like Rebecca Chance are producing books like this one. By far the BEST book she has written and one that I demolished in record time. It had all the right ingredients and is one that her fans most definitely won't want to miss! Highly Recommended!