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» Listings for October 2012

  1. My Review 5/5

     My ReviewI started Chelsea Cain's Archie Sheridan books at book 3 (entitled Evil at Heart) and have slowly caught up. I was really looking forward to this latest release which is now the fifth in the series. Archie Sheridan is a character that I am now all too familiar with. He is a Detective who worked on the Beauty Killer Task Force which meant tracking down and catching Gretchen Lowell. For those of you that haven't read the series, you may need to start at the beginning to get a real idea of how the relationship between Gretchen and Archie has developed. Having said that you could probably gain enough insight to pick up and read the book anyway.

    In this latest book Archie is called to a murder scene where a corpse is found in Mount Tabor Park. Before long, he receives a call from the mental hospital where Gretchen Lowell is held, informing him that she has information on the current murder. Archie has to find out whether Gretchen really does have the information, or whether she just wants to get close to him. As usual with a Cain book it takes next to no time to get absorbed by the storyline. One thing that she certainly manages to do is turn your stomach a little bit!

    As with the other books in the series, we get to see other characters, only this time in more detail. We see a lot more of Henry (Archie's partner) as well as Susan (a freelance reporter who has an unusual relationship with Henry), and Susan's mother Bliss. I actually loved the fact that they were all more involved in this book and found that there were a lot more threads to the story that you need to follow.

    The actual crime element of the story was done in true Cain style, with more stomach churning moments than I care to remember, however they certainly make it a lot more authentic that's for sure! There were a few plot twists which I enjoyed, however I have that nagging sensation going on in my head. As much as I loved this book, how much more of Gretchen Lowell can I take? If I'm being 100% honest I'm really not that sure. I'm sincerely hoping that book 6 in this series is just as gripping as this one, but that it also features the demise of Gretchen as I think I might otherwise get tired of her. The one thing I am sure about is that if this series is overdone it would be awful because Chelsea Cain is an absolutely awesome writer. Fingers crossed that in the next book we see the demise of Gretchen, and the opener for another sick and twisted serial killer! (never thought I'd put that in a sentence!)

  2. Tilly Bagshawe Friends & RivalsMy Rating: 5/5

    I am a huge Tilly Bagshawe fan and loved her last two books so was looking forward to the newest release. Friends and Rival does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a totally self-indulgent, glamorous and escapist read (which is right up my street). I'm not looking for anything high on the morality scale right now so this suited me down to the ground. I was also lucky enough to receive an early edition which has a beautiful cover, which made me want to get started even more. I settled down on my commute home and before I knew it was 4 or 5 chapters in and irritated that I had made it home in record time!

    Catriona (Kat) has been married to Ivan for more than twenty years. On the surface with their two kids and Ivan's successful career in the music industry things look great, however Ivan is a pathological liar and cheat. When he leaves her for a younger woman her life feels like it has come to a complete halt. On the other side of the fence there is Kendall who is a superstar singer that is used to getting what she wants. Ivan's partner who heads up the US business Jack is the person who looks after Kendall and he certainly has his hands full. From the minute I got involved with this book there was no stopping me.

    It took me straight into the worlds of the main characters which appeared to be Ivan and Kat and Kendall and Jack. All four of them had intriguing personalities. I despised Ivan from the word go and to be honest I love it when characters get my back up, it makes the book that little bit more enjoyable. This sort of book is exactly why I love reading. The music business was brought to me with characters that wouldn't seem out of place on Dynasty! There was a lot of threads to the story and other characters introduced which although not as central as the others, were just as readable. I literally couldn't put this down and was disappointed once I had finished. This book is escapism at its best and one that I would highly recommend!

  3. My Review 3/5

    Martina Cole, a legend in her own right. However, the question of whether she still 2has what it takes" is something that's bandied around a lot recently. As much as I am loathed to admit it, I can see why the negative comments come around. The problem with us readers is that we are a finikity bunch, who expects authors to continually churn out a 5 star read every year without fail. When you actually stop to think about it Martina Cole has been writing since 1992 which is an astonishing 20 years. Martina's last two releases were middle of the road for me. If you compare her current books to her earlier work such as books like The Jump, her newer material is nowhere near as good.

    I think that as such a talented author, she is going to once again create an absolute corker of a book and somehow I always end up being a little disappointed. Whether that's because I feel like the bar is set a bit higher for her, or just because the competition is just too good now, I really don't know. This latest release The Life certainly has a good synopsis that's for sure. The Bailey brothers are gangsters determined to make their mark on the world (sounding familiar), yet the two brothers are complete opposites. When their sons join the business, it seems like nothing can stop them. When Lena Bailey gives birth to a girl, she is determined to shield her from The Life. When a tragedy occurs, it changes everybody and their life as they know it.

    I started reading this book with high hopes (as usual) and to be honest one thing you cannot fault is Martina's writing style. The lady has some clear cut talent and it's an unmistakable style that draws you in to the characters and their lives. This book was easy reading for me and pretty soon I felt drawn into the Bailey world and was reading chapter after chapter. On the down side, at around the halfway mark it just seemed like too much hard work. The story was okay, but sadly it was just the same old, same old. I knew where Martina was taking the story and characters and felt like this fell into the same category of been there and read it!

    The book took me three days to read and to be brutally honest it was probably at least 100 pages too long. I feel a little sad to say but I wonder whether Martina should carry on with this type of book. The competition out there, especially with newer writers emerging all the time, is making Martina's work look poor in comparison. I think at this stage what I would love to see is something completely different from Martina Cole. She truly is an author with a gift for writing, but she just needs to get out of the `tried and tested' formula she keeps using. Maybe steer away from the East End Gangster type of book and try a new direction. I truly believe that with her huge following and legions of fans, that they would welcome something fresh and new from one of the ultimate British female crime writers.

  4. Phil Martin The One They Couldnt Steal 1My Review 4/5

    I have literally hundreds of books at any one time in my `to read' list. It's normally a mixture of my long time favourites, some newbie's and some self published stuff. The One They Couldn't Steal written by Phil Martin was a self published book and the synopsis sounded right up my street. Like most books or authors I haven't read before I always hope they will be great and thankfully Phil Martin's most certainly was. Amy Walker is the main character in this rather dark book and we are introduced to her life and the fact that she has been very aware of the fact that she was adopted from a very young age. With her father having passed away and he mother being ill, Amy is insistent on finding out more about her birth parents.

    Once she has completed medical school, she follows leads on her birth after being told by her parents that she was adopted following the death of her birth parents following a coach crash in Tuscany. What starts out as an innocent search turns into something much more sinister. Amy starts to uncover lies about her birth which leads her down a very dangerous path.

    The character of Amy is very likeable, and although maybe not anything other than ordinary she is likeable. As a reader you empathise with her need to find the truth. It's also got a more authentic ring to the story as the path she chooses to take is led by her need for information. It means that the more danger she approaches, the more inquisitive she gets. The story starts in Manchester where Amy is living but before long sees her visiting the shanty towns in Morocco and uncovering links to the Chechen underworld.

    The story grabbed my interest and to be quite honest kept it up throughout. The nearer it got to the end the more tense things were. This book only annoyed me towards the end. Obviously being part of a trilogy meant that the ending had me annoyed that I didn't have the next book to read immediately. Thankfully that can be remedied in a matter of days in this case. For a self-published debut novel I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Not quite a 5 star read but a solid 4, and one that made for an unusual and very engaging read. Can't wait for the next one and to be frank priced at £1.32 on Kindle it's a bargain to boot!