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» Listings for December 2012

  1. Mhairi McFarlane You Had Me At HelloMy Rating: 3/5

    This debut novel was one I was really looking forward to as Amazon reviewers all seemed to be raving about it! With 244 Reviews and an overall score of 4.5/5 I was pretty sure that I would feel the same as the majority and love this book. Rachel and Ben are the main characters and are friends that share history. They both attended University together and formed a bond that seemed back then unbreakable. Fast forward ten years and things are very different. Rachel and Rhys have been together for years but as they near their agreed wedding, Rachel and Rhys split up. Add to the mix the re-appearance of Ben in Manchester and the story starts to warm up.

    If I'm being 100% honest I struggled with the first few chapters and wondered whether I could get to grips with this character. Thankfully a few more chapters in I had started to warm to Rachel. The author manages to weave the past story into the current one seamlessly and it made it easy for the story to build layers which I liked. The one thing that is crystal clear is that Mhairi McFarlane has a brilliant sense of humour. Some of the lines that were in this book were very funny, but maybe because I wasn't overly keen on Rachel, they lost their shine a little.

    The story got a lot more interesting as the reader sees what has happened in the past and I certainly found it harder to put down, especially towards the end of the book. The ending was a little predictable but to be honest I can see why so many really enjoyed this book. I am putting my middle of the road attitude down to my difficulties with the characters. On the flip side of the coin, is Mhairi continues to write with this much humour and style it wont take her long to gain a following, and that will no doubt include me. Although I only gave it 3/5 I am actually really looking forward to the next novel and look forward to seeing what she can do the second time around!

  2. Susan Lewis Losing YouMy Rating: 5/5

    I have read the majority of Susan Lewis' books and there aren't many that I don't enjoy. She varies the topic but generally isn't frightened of dealing with sensitive topics. This book is no different and I knew from the synopsis that this may well be a sad story. This story introduces us to Lauren Scott who is a bright and talented young girl with the world at her feet, and her mother Emma who is very close with her daughter. The beginning of the book is a bit of a slow burner as we learn about Emma and Lauren's lives in more detail. It turns out that Lauren is musically talented and is a well behaved and thoughtful daughter. Susan Lewis writing style is very easy to get along with although I must say even I began to wonder when the story was going to start moving along at the early stage of the book.

    Thankfully, as soon as the story slipped up a gear it engaged me right until the very end. On the other side of this story we meet Oliver Lomax and his brother and father, each of whom are struggling with various aspects of their life mainly brought about by Oliver's mother who is an alcoholic. The story builds up to a point where both families are brought together following a tragic accident. At this point I don't think I stopped reading until I was finished. Lauren initially seems like the perfect daughter and it was easy reading seeing how much Emma trusted her. However, before long the reader begins to realise that all is not as it seems. Oliver and his family are also very easy to read about and I couldn't help feeling such empathy for a family that have to deal with the day to day troubles of alcoholism. Susan Lewis tackles this subject with startling clarity but also sensitivity.

    The second half of the book was outstanding and was a real testament to why Susan Lewis is so successful. I am not a particularly emotional person but must say that I can see why some people will find this book to be a bit of a tear jerker. The events that go on I think are just a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of times this sort of thing happens in real life I would imagine. I think this was what made it such a compelling read. I certainly think Susan Lewis fans won't be disappointed, but be warned please don't give up on this book. Give it a chance, because once it gets going it's a brilliant book!

  3. Fresh from a stint undercover in Pelican Bay Supermax prison in Northern California, close protection operative Ryan Lock and his business partner, Ty Johnson, are in Los Angeles, tasked with protecting a young Hollywood actress from an abusive movie star boyfriend who refuses to accept that their relationship is over. But as Lock knows only too well, and Ty is about to learn, keeping someone safe from harm can be harder than it looks, and damage can come in unexpected forms.

    My Rating: 5/5

    Kat's Review: People who have read my previous reviews will know that I have a bit of a character crush with Ryan Lock the man featured in the series of books written by Sean Black. I discovered his books from the first release and have not been let down once since then. His series of books featuring Ryan Lock and his partner Ty are absolutely brilliant. Sean Black has managed to integrate himself with the other major Crime players out there such as Coben, Lee Child etc. When I realised that he had released a short story in the Lock series I immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.

    Yesterday lunchtime I settled with my lunch and began to read. It took me less than a chapter to be thrown back with Lock and Ty. This short story features them protecting a young Hollywood actress from her rather violent and abusive Movie star boyfriend. As usual Lock and Ty fall into their usual banter and it was like seeing old friends again. This book does however (I am almost positive) go back in time a little bit to just before Gridlock. People who have been reading the series will probably have noticed this too. Don't get me wrong it didn't make the story any less enjoyable, it just threw me slightly!

    The only problem I had with this, and it's a major problem for me, is that it was finished by the time my lunch break came to an end! For this reason alone I was not a happy bunny. I do believe Sean that you are a bit of a tease! How dare you flaunt my favourite lead male character and then whip him away again!?!? All I can do is console myself with the fact that a new book in the series should be due next year. For all those Lock fans this is a little teaser, and people that haven't read the series, a cheaper way to try before you buy if you like. I don't think you will be disappointed! <sighs heavily> I guess I will wait with baited breath until the next release before I get too excited again.

  4. Milly Johnson A Winter FlameMy Rating: 4/5

    I have read a few of Milly's books now and can honestly say I haven't felt disappointed with any of them in any way. My favourite to date has been `Here Come The Girls' but I've yet to read her earlier stuff. With the release of A Winter Flame I was actually pretty excited. Although I may favour one book over another all of her books have that wonderful feel good vibe about them.

    A Winter Flame took me less than two chapters to get into and it becomes very apparent that Eve Beresford the main character is stuck in a rut. After losing her soldier fiancé on Christmas Day, she now avoids Christmas at all costs. She has managed to become successful with her events company and has a great career, but with nobody to share it with, and her inability to let go it seems she will never move on and be happy. When she is left a plot of land by her aunt, she fears that her aunt may have lost her marbles. There are plans in place for Eve to jointly run and own a Christmas theme park. It seems that her aunt has left the remaining half to a complete stranger, a man named Jacques Glace.

    Never fear, the above paragraph will not ruin the story as this is all in the synopsis! I immediately loved Jacques and though he was a big bundle of joy. Eve however took me longer to warm to. With her mind being so suspicious and her issues surrounding trust, I felt like I had to work at getting to like her. However, as her aunts madcap scheme seems to start working I began to understand a little of why Eve was so shut off from everybody. The story gets right into the thick of Eve and Jacques as they try to construct the park as Eve's aunt would have wanted. But between the stress of pulling it off, and Eve's suspicions the plan is far from smooth.

    The story was a little predictable, (although Milly Johnson had me going towards the end) but was exactly what I would have wanted anyway. One of the things I loved about this book is that we see the re-appearance of the characters that appeared in her last book White Wedding. Violet is the main character that we see, and Mac and Bel only briefly, but it was nice to get reacquainted. This book has come at the perfect time in the run up to Christmas and brings back a little of the Christmas magic. It still doesn't top Here Comes The Girls for me, but was, as ever, a brilliant read for me. This was one that I could curl up and get lost in and truly enjoy. I can't wait to read her others now.

  5. Leigh Russell Stop DeadMy Rating: 4/5

    I couldn’t believe it was yet again time for another Geraldine Steel instalment and I was even more excited than usual thanks to getting an early review copy of it. I must say the first thing I loved about this book was the cover; they are brilliant and most certainly eye catching. Geraldine Steel is a Detective Inspector who has recently relocated to London. In the last book (Death Bed) she was thrown straight into a murder investigation and this book picks up a few weeks later. Geraldine is only just getting over the paperwork involved in her last case when she is thrown straight into a new one.

    It all starts with the discovery of a successful businessman being found dead in his car. His death is particularly brutal and Geraldine has a lot of work on her hands. The businessman’s wife was involved in an affair so instantly becomes a suspect, as does her lover. As soon as Geraldine gets stick into the new case, the original murder victim’s business partner winds up dead although the two cases don’t seem to be related. They discover DNA which leads them only to a woman serving life in prison, and another woman who is dead.

    In the last book, I felt like I was getting to know a whole new host of characters what with Geraldine’s relocation. This made this current book a little easier, as we see the return of Geraldine’s colleague Sam. Although Sam is featured quite heavily, I still miss Ian Peterson who was a colleague of Geraldine’s before she moved. The last book for me focused more on Geraldine as a person and this one was the polar opposite. At the halfway mark I had decided who was the murderer, and then subsequently changed my mind at least three times! This latest Russell novel was what I would call a real murder mystery. It was all the things a mystery should be, intriguing, enthralling, tense and utterly absorbing! 

    Although I loved this book it still wasn’t quite as good as book 3 (Dead End). There is one major sticking point for me which is the storyline regarding Geraldine’s birth mother. I’m not one for plot spoilers but I am getting impatient to find out more!!! Other than the fact that I miss Ian Peterson and her old colleagues, this latest Steel instalment was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now eagerly awaiting the next one.

  6.  My Rating: 4/5

    After reading Casey's debut novel Rotten to The Core I was really looking forward to her second book. Her first and second books were self-published and after her debut novel sold more than 20,000 copies (I'm not surprised there) she was `snapped up' by an agency (yay). Her first book was really good and you could tell that she was aiming for the same type of feel to her books as some of the bigger British Crime legends such as Mandasue Heller, Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole. The writing was good, the story was great and overall it took me now time to finish.

    When I started her new book I have to be honest and say I wondered if she could produce second good book. Was it a one off her original book, or would she rise to the occasion. Thankfully <clapping hands in glee> Casey Kelleher has produced a book that is better than the first! Jamie Finch is a fifteen year old that leaves home and tries to make it on his own. He approached Gary West and a few years later we see him as an integral part of Gary's firm. Sadly for Gary and Jamie, Jerrell Morgan is the new kid on the block and he is causing havoc. Being born and raised in Jamaica, Jerrell has come to London to take out other firms and lead it all his was. He has no issues with doing things the hard and violent way and makes this known to everybody.

    I have to say that I immediately loathed Jerrell and got a real sense of the danger lurking behind his personality. I found myself a few times leaning forward and turning my pages with a bit too much haste (I get like that when things get a bit tense)! The characters Casey has created are very believable and I liked the fact that we got to see the nicer side ti both Gary and Jaime. There was plenty of action and lots of dramatic events. One word of warning though, Casey does touch on a pretty sensitive subject in the book (hard to say what without spoilers) so if you are of the sensitive nature, please don't moan about it because I have warned you! Having said that, it's in keeping with the story and to be honest it just made me want a certain type of outcome even more!

    Overall, I am thought this book was even better than her debut and think it won't be long before Casey can join the ranks amongst some of the other legends of British crime such as Lady Heller, Kim Chambers and Martina Cole. Casey, just keep `em coming and your fans will follow, just hurry up and get the next one written!!!