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» Listings for January 2013

  1. Jill Mansell Dont Want To Miss A ThingMy Rating: 5/5

     Meet Molly Hayes who lives in the dreamy village of Briarwood in the Cotswolds. She works drawing a cartoon strip for a paper and helps out at her friend's café in the Village. Her love life is something of a shambles and she always making the wrong decisions. Meanwhile Dexter Yates is a handsome bachelor who is living the party lifestyle in London. Surrounded by women who fall at his feet and partying with his friends his life is just as it should be. Overnight, Dexter's life changes when his sister dies tragically in an accident. When he discovers that his sister has left him as the sole guardian of her 8 month old daughter Delphi he has no idea where to start.

    It took me a mere three chapters to fall in love with the calm but bad decision maker Molly. Easy to like, she is the sort of girl that you instantly warm to. I also loved the village she lived in and the characters that made it up. Dexter was also an easy to love character which makes a book so much more enjoyable. One of the more interesting themes to the book was the childcare aspect of it. A young, free and single man attempting to look after a young child, is both sad and at time hilarious. Jill Mansell has a way with words which is why she is still writing such successful books 20 years on. The writing flows easily and you are drawn into the story and see both characters progress. There are certainly some serious moments in the book, but along side that is balanced nicely with some characters that are so colourful they made me chuckle to see what they get up to. In addition to Molly and Dexter, the reader meets lots of other villagers that are drawn into the story in one way or another. Each person added another layer to the book and although my focus was firmly on Molly and Dexter, I loved the sideline stories going on in the background.

    I have been reading Jill Mansell books since my teenage years and don't get me wrong I haven't thought every book was 5 stars, but I have never felt let down with one of her books. This newest release was a wonderful read that had me absorbed from start to finish. Many will say that the storyline is predictable, but to be honest if the story didn't have the predictability and threw me a horrible curveball, maybe I wouldn't like it as much :-) This was an absolutely wonderful read and I think that Jill Mansell's fans will as usual be thrilled with it. As usual, I will be waiting patiently for her next book and would highly recommend this one!

  2. My Rating: 4/5

    I have mentioned in previous reviews that although I consider myself a fan, I don't LOVE every MH book I read. Having said that her last book Lost Angel was absolutely brilliant. With that in my mind I was really looking forward to reading the new release Broke. The story centres on Amy who at a young age and with a baby on the way marries Mark. Within the first two chapters I had the urge to slap Amy around the face and ask her what she was playing at. The character Mark is an absolute idiot and one that I loathed from the very beginning. A few years later and with another child in tow Amy and Mark find themselves stuck in the doldrums. When Mark loses his job and his gambling gets out of hand he makes the major mistake of borrowing money from the local loan shark Lenny Yates.

    From that point on the story takes a rather sinister and dark turn. Lenny Yates decides that Amy can pay off Mark's debts his way. For fear of giving plot spoilers I don't want to divulge any more of the story, but hence to say things are not particularly nice for Amy and her children. As Amy's world takes a turn for the worse, her situation spirals and becomes almost unbelievable. The one thing I would say is that Mandasue touches on many subjects that are hard to deal with. Although Amy's situation made me feel sympathetic towards her, I also felt irritated by her as a character. The fact that her life is all about Mark and nobody else grated on me, and at times it seemed like her children came second although at the end this seemed to have done a 360 degree turn? That was my only real bugbear about the book.

    Other than that, the story drew me in and I went through quite a few emotions from pure rage at reading what characters were doing to sheer irritation at how stupid they can be! I managed to read this in just under 4 hours which is a record even by my standards. It's certainly written in a way that makes you want to keep reading. Although I really liked this book her previous book Lost Angel was outstanding. That and the fact that Amy irritated me so much means it's only a 4/5 read from me, but still a great read. Can't wait for the next one.

  3. MY RATING 4/5

    I only read Anna's first book in October but as I knew her new one was due out at the end of January I figured I'd better catch up with Rosie and how she was doing. In Anna's second book To Tell the Truth we start off by seeing Rosie on holiday. She's taking a well earned break, but as usual nothing stays quiet when Rosie is about. In a scene that is hauntingly similar to a news story a few years back, a young girl is snatched from a beach in the Costa del Sol. When Rosie realises the huge news impact she speaks to her boss and she decides to cover it herself. 

    Rosie's boss McGuire sends out Matt to help her cover and between them they start the task of trying to get to the bottom of what's happened. The same as her last book, Anna doesn't mess about, and throws the reader straight in at the deep end. I really love Rosie and after reading this current one I love her even more. As usual, she likes to get involved irrelevant of the danger and this case is no different. Rosie knows from the off that the mother of the missing girl is covering up for what really happened that day, and in addition she is approached by an illegal sex worker with information about the abduction.

    The pace is full speed pretty much from start to finish and with this book and the last there is a certain frenetic energy about the books which I love. The only other author who I can think of that has that same kind of pace is Simon Kernick. What I also loved about this book is that although we see Rosie completely absorbed in the case we still see glimpses of her personal life and her real vulnerability. A friend of Rosie's named Adrian made a brilliant addition to this story and I would love to see him appear again at some point. Towards the ending I dismissed dinner, TV and phone calls just to make sure I finished it.

    Cannot believe I didn't read her books sooner, but having said that I am pleased that I can get straight onto book three entitled Screams in The Dark. Anna also added a wee bit of a question mark right at the end of this book with regards to Rosie's personal life. All this made me do was groan "For GODS SAKE!" but in a good way. I would say in all honesty that her first book held a slight edge for me, probably just in terms of story. Other than that I loved this book. Absolutely itching to get started on book three and cannot recommend her highly enough. If you haven't read an Anna Smith before, you may want to start now!

  4.  My Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: When the body of a young woman is discovered in a derelict cottage in the middle of Los Angeles National Forest, Homicide Detective Robert Hunter finds himself entering a horrific and recurring nightmare. Naked, strung from two wooden posts, the victim was sadistically tortured before meeting an excruciatingly painful death. All the skin has been ripped from her face - while she was still alive. On the nape of her neck has been carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer.

    But that's impossible. Because two years ago, the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed. Could this therefore be a copycat killer? Or could the unthinkable be true? Is the real killer still out there, ready to embark once again on a vicious and violent killing spree, selecting his victims seemingly at random, taunting Robert Hunter with his inability to catch him?

    Hunter and his rookie partner are about to enter a nightmare beyond imagining.

    My Review: My sister has been raving on about Chris Carter for some time now and I have seen him appear more and more on Amazon. I had two of his books sitting on my Kindle for months and decided it was time to give one of them a go. Chris Carter has released a total of 4 books and they all feature the main character Detective Hunter and his partner Garcia. I picked up the crucifix Killer this morning. It may give you an indication how much I enjoyed it that I am writing the review today!

    As many people who read my reviews know I’m a sucker for a series and knowing that Carter has produced 4 in this series gives me plenty of time to catch up. When I first started reading I decided early on that I liked Hunter and his ridiculous IQ. Here was a character that new the most random of things, and managed to get his PhD in his early twenties and has now ended up a Detective…what’s not to love? His new partner Garcia is a little green but before long the pair of them are thrown into a case Hunter thought he would never have to deal with again. Two years ago the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed, yet to Hunters horror, it seems the wrong man was put to death.

    By around the halfway mark I was baffled, enthralled and occasionally slightly queasy. Chris Carter certainly has a way with words and some of the crime scenes were very descriptive (probably not the best choice of book with my lunch!). I had no clue who was behind it all but found myself totally caught up with the storyline. The writing was absolutely spot on and I felt like I was reading a book written by an author that’s been writing a while, certainly not a debut novel that’s for sure.

    When I had finished the book I went back and read Chris Carter’s bio and discovered why some parts of the book seemed so authentic. Carter studied psychology and criminal behaviour and went on to be a part of the Michigan State District Attorney’s Criminal Psychology Team. In English, this means he spent a lot of time interviewing and studying a lot of criminals, some of whom were serial killers. I finished this book in just over a day, and I realised how much I liked it when I went straight onto book 2 in the series (not something I do often!). I am now halfway through book 2 and this is just as good if not better that this one. I should have paid more attention to my sister and started reading these a lot earlier. 

    For those of you who like authors such as Karin Slaughter and want to try somebody new, Chris Carter fits the bill perfectly. Give this first book a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed; although you may want to skip eating while you’re reading:- ).

  5.  My Rating: 4/5

    I read the Chris Carter’s debut novel The Crucifix Killer before starting this one. I was so taken with it and the characters (Det. Robert Hunter and his partner Garcia) that I immediately started on book 2. With Carter’s history of studying psychology and criminal behaviour there is a real authenticity to his books along with characters that are extremely likeable. Robert Hunter and his partner Garcia start this book with attending a crime scene inside a Los Angeles church. Very early on it became clear that this book was going to be a lot more gruesome than the first. As you read Hunter and Garcia’s take on the murder scene my stomach started turning as each part of the scene was explained with frightening clarity!

    Initially it looks to be a ritualistic killing but of course within another few chapters the appearance of another body puts paid to that theory. Once again Hunter and Garcia are chasing a serial killer. Although I really like Hunter and Garcia, it seems like we are too early in the series to get a real sense of their personal lives. I like to get to know characters to make sure they can stand the test of time, so on that front this was a bit lacking in this current book, but I expect that to improve with books 3 and 4!

    The characters aside, the story is what really grips you by short and curlys. As more and more bodies pile up it appears that this serial killer is making people suffer. All of his victims die from the one thing that they are scared to death of. As each body is found the gore and violence ratchets up a notch. It’s not to say it was too bad to read, but this certainly isn’t for the weak stomached. I found myself feeling a little bit like I was being watched when I was reading late and night, and to be frank it gave me the ‘heebie jeebies’. I took this as a good sign and continued reading to the conclusion in the early hours of the morning.

    Overall, this was slightly more graphic than the first book, but as stories go was just as good. I like the two lead characters but definitely want to see a bit more of their persona lives to see if they can stand up to the competition, and to the test of time. Certainly an author I’m looking forward to reading more of!