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» Listings for April 2013

  1.  My Rating: 5/5

     I was VERY excited to get the new Howard Linskey and thankfully I was not disappointed. This latest instalment did however leave me with a new sensation…fearful! I shall explain later. For those that haven’t read the first two in the series stop right now, read no further and read the first two books. Inevitably this review will otherwise contain spoilers that I cannot help because you need the history with the characters. Linskey’s third book brings back David Blake, a fantastic lead character which I have grown to love. David Blake is not your typical Gangster. He is a smart bloke with a girlfriend and child in his life. He is the head honcho in Newcastle and seems to have his legal and illegal businesses wrapped up nicely. Sadly his accountant manages to turn that idea on its head when he is arrested for drink driving, and then charged with murder. With his accountant knowing so much about the business, and the fact he has sewn up £5 million of Blake’s money he has to make a decision. Does he help him and retrieve his money? Or leave him to rot and risk his whole organisation crumbling.

    It took me only a few chapters to re-acquaint myself with members of Blake’s firm such as Palmer and Kinnane. There is a lot going on and before long things unravel and very quickly that snowballs. It seemed like one disaster was cropping up after another and I wondered whether Blake would make it out of this current situation. At the end of book two there were certain elements of the story that left the reader with question, and this book certainly addresses all of them. The nice thing though, was that the story gave you the answers slowly and unravelled all of the history surrounding Blake and his family. In addition to the problems with his accountant, Blake has additional threats to his business from Serbian Gangsters, and then to top it all off some crazy Russian joins the party making for a pretty explosive read. 

    Towards the end of the book I actually had to stop walking and take a pew on a bench to finish the last few chapters. This was where the fear set in, I was shocked. I totally didn’t see the end coming and when I finished the book I realised I didn’t know how I felt. Was the ending a good thing or a bad thing? I still don’t know, and without dropping major spoilers I just HAVE to read the next book to see where Mr Linskey goes. I can only assume that it will be upwards as he has shown with the last three books he is an absolutely brilliant author. I think people will love this book, and it certainly leaves a question mark as to what next. For that reason, and that reason alone I gave it 4 out of 5 (and his previous two were 5 star reads, no doubt). I for one will be waiting with baited breath for his next book and would highly recommend that you read this series from book 1. Thanks Howard for a fantastic read.

  2. Lisa Jewell Before I Met YouMy Rating: 4/5

    I tend to get around to Lisa Jewell's books a lot later than they are published and I make the same mistake every single time (doh!). I pick up the book, devour it and fall in love with her latest novel. I then tell myself I'm an idiot for not reading it sooner and then by the time the next one comes around I do it all over again. With this book released in 2012, here I am again making the same mistake. With Jewell's latest book it feels almost like she has taken a departure from her usual topics and delved into something a little bit different. In the beginning of this book we meet Betty Dean as a young girl who has moved to Guernsey to live with her Grandmother. When her grandmother dies and leaves something in her will to a mysterious woman named Clara Pickle, Betty is determined to find the woman.

    On a mission to find Clara Pickle Betty arrives in grungy, 1990s Soho, ready for anything. This is the first element of the book and the second element involves Betty's Grandmother Arlette growing up in 1920's London. I really liked Betty's character and adored the fact that she was seeing London through a young girls eye's in the nineties (my age is showing somewhat there). Although I really liked Betty I was surprised to learn that I actually liked Arlette's story just as much. I had stupidly made the assumption that London in the 1920's would be a little boring and predictable, how wrong was I?

    I was quickly drawn into both women's lives and the nice thing about this book is that the layers are revealed gradually. The more we learn about Arlette, the more we see Betty discover about the mysterious Clara Pickle. I didn't particularly like the fact that a rock star happened to live opposite Betty when she moves to London, but the story was driven the right way in my opinion.

    Any other outcome for that particular storyline may well have ruined the book for me. Arlette and her friends from that era were extraordinary and I really could picture their hedonistic and glitzy lifestyle in the twenties. Although this was a slight move from Jewell's usual stuff I loved it and thought the story was heartfelt and very interesting. I was certainly hooked and found that the slight element of mystery surrounding Arlette made it that little bit more intriguing.

    I managed to read the last quarter in a couple of hours and found myself once again berating myself for leaving it so long to read this book. I wouldn't say it was my favourite Lisa Jewell book but it made a refreshing change to read something a little different and I would certainly recommend it.

  3. My Rating: 4/5

    I recently finished book 2 of the Charlie Fox series by Zoe Sharp and couldn't help myself by going straight on to book 3. For those that aren't familiar with Zoe Sharp she is a female author that has now written 10 books in a series featuring Charlie Fox. Charlie is ex-special forces who moved onto self-defense training and then on to working at a gym. For those of you that want to read the series in order maybe don't read my review as inevitably the series has moved on and it may spoil the plots for the first and second books.

    At the end of book 2 Charlie had run into her ex-comrade and lover Sean Meyer. In this book Sean returns and asks Charlie if she will help him find out what happened to Kirk Salter following an accident at an elite bodyguard training school in Germany. Charlie feels obliged to help even though she didn't care for Salter, but feels she owes it to Sean to find out how Salter got killed. With that in mind Charlie sets off to pose as a Student at the training school and from the outset the reader soon realises things are not going to be easy for Charlie.

    I really like Charlie as a character and in this book I feel like I am more attached to her as the author has drip fed readers small details about her past as the books continue. As Charlie arrives at the Bodyguard Training centre I felt almost out of breath as I read about the challenges presented to the students. Zoe Sharp has a way with words, literally! You feel like you are along for the ride with Charlie and can't help but wince as she takes some risky chances in her quest to find out about Salter.

    I don't want to include spoilers, but I can't fail to mention the Sean Meyer side to this story. Of course with he and Charlie having history there is some what of an underlying romance feel to this book which I like because we get to see the other side to Charlie. Having said that before all you blokes (and some women) turn your nose up; trust me when I say it's done brilliantly. There is still plenty of action, torture, mystery and intrigue to keep the pages turning without the `romantic' element over-riding it. As usual I found myself racing through the last quarter just having to find out what was going on. I also found myself hastily ordering books 4, 5 and 6 in preparation for the next Charlie Fox leg of my reading.

    I am trying desperately not to launch straight into book 4 as I have a stupidly long to read list. However, I find myself thinking I don't really care, I just want to see what happens next. Who knows, maybe the next review will be along sooner than I think. A brilliant series that seems to get better with each book and I can't wait for the next one. A book and series that I would highly recommended.

  4. Andrew Gross No Way Back

    My Rating: 5/5

    I first discovered Andrew Gross as he co-writes with James Patterson. Following on from those books I picked up his novels ...written by him alone and featuring Ty Hauk (major character crush going on there!). I have since read all of his books that he has written alone and with the exception of one have enjoyed all of them. His last release '15 Seconds' was a "hang on to your seat" kind of book and I was hoping his new one would be just as good. Thankfully Mr Gross has come up trumps once again with this newest release of No Way Back.

    One thing I would point out (although minor I know) is that some people may mistake this book for his last as the covers are similar at a glance. I know this is minor but can't help but feel it may make some people skim past it online, thinking they have already read it, which I certainly wouldn't recommend! Wendy Gould and Laurita Velez are the two main characters in this new book and their worlds will become terrifyingly dangerous as the book starts as a pretty fast paced read from the get go!

    Wendy Gould was an average mother, however now she's the sole witness to the murder she's being framed for. The first few chapters see Wendy in a hotel bar, and the shocking thing is that it could be any woman out there. Her situation is one that many people could have been in that day, only Wendy (thankfully fictional) was the one that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It takes mere three or four chapters for me to realise that this latest Gross book is no less thrilling than the last.

    Lauritzia Velez is a suburban nanny with a tragic past and a terrifying future. After another attempt on her life, she once again leaves everything she loves behind to go on the run. Both women know too much and have no idea just how much their worlds will clash. Both characters drew my attention from the early days and as both women find their worlds becoming more and more dangerous, I found myself reading quicker. Having started this book yesterday morning, I finished it by the time I had to go to sleep. It was a book that was full of threads that have you questioning who is involved and why.

    I found myself having to pay close attention in the latter part of the book as there are so many potential characters involved and different threads that are all intertwined. The book held my attention from start to finish and there were plenty of twists turns and surprises that I thoroughly enjoyed each and every page. I almost feel like the more Andrew Gross writes, the better he gets. This is certainly a thriller that has all the right ingredients, and one that will keep you up into the small hours reading. I still await the return of my character crush, with a new book featuring Ty Hauck, but until then am keeping myself occupied with his fantastic stand alone novels. Highly recommended!

  5. Niamh Green Demented HousewifeMy Rating: 3/5

    This Niamh Greene book featuring Susie, is the first book I have read of hers and having read the synopsis was looking forward to an enjoyable read. Susie is a mother and housewife who has left work to bring up her two children. Her diary is that of a mum driven to the point of distraction by wayward children, a life where she competes with Eco-friendly school mothers and a best friend who needs a shoulder to cry on.

    The first few chapters were very easy to get on with as we read and learn about Susie and her slightly deranged personality. She is a very funny character and one that I think you either love or loathe. Susie has a ridiculously long list of things she should be doing to make her the perfect yummy mummy, however she also has an even longer list of her crazy ideas and mad cap neuroses.

    There were many points in this book where I was laughing out loud and some of the situations Susie manages to get herself in to. However, on the other side there were parts where I got fed up with her crazy ideas and wanted to tell her to get a grip. The humour was brilliant in places and I can't say that I didn't enjoy the book as I certainly did. I think many people who have a life filled with children, husbands and the every day responsibilities will certainly enjoy this book.

    This book is the perfect escape read which will most certainly have you chuckling. It certainly isn't for everybody but if read and taken lightly will be a really enjoyable book. I really liked the writing style too and felt like the characters were easy to get along with and I will certainly look forward to reading more of Niamh Greene books in the future.

  6. My Rating: 4/5

    Okay, so in July 2012 I gave in to the nagging feeling that I was missing out. Every time I looked on Facebook I kept seeing people take about Zoe Sharp and the character Charlie Fox. Not one to miss out I immediately read the first book in the series and LOVED it. I have finally got around to book 2 and finished it in less time than the first.

    Charlie Fox is ex-special forces, however that may sound like a `bog standard' character template for a female lead, but she is far from standard. Charlie Fox is an ordinary woman with a very interesting past. Yep, she was in the special-forces but eventually kicked out due to a harrowing event that has gone on to make her a little bit cynical. Currently working at a gym and house-sitting for her friend she has no idea that things are about to go a little crazy in her life. I really like Charlie Fox as a character and although she certainly has some skills, she isn't what you would call the most settled of people.

    The thing about a good series is that you begin to learn about the characters as each book is released. Sharp does a cracking job of feeding enough to keep the reader interested, but too little for you to feel you really have the whole picture. It's what makes people continue to read series like these. With Charlie's house stay coinciding with a rush of violence on the estate, she finds herself trapped between toeing the line with the law, and getting involved to help get to the truth of what's going on. In typical Charlie style, the trouble comes looking for her.

    With the London riots reasonably recent, it made the events in this book that little bit more real for me. What I didn't account for was a character from Charlie's past, Sean Meyer' turning up and rocking the boat. There are a number of threads to this story and as you keep reading it's like peeling back the layers of an onion! I changed my mind a number of times as to who was behind the violence and riots, but as the story went on I realised I should give up trying to work it out and just enjoy. Enjoy it was what I did in the bucket load! I love Charlie, her close friends and work colleagues and now Sean. However, the number one spot has to go to Friday, the dog of her friend for whom she was house-sitting. He absolutely made his mark and I thought he and Charlie made a great match (ridiculous I know, but true).

    Having promised other people I would read other books next, I decided to completely ignore my promises and have already started book 3. I can see this series taking all preference for a while yet! I would absolutely recommend this book and the series. Start at book 1 and you have at least 9 to catch up on...I can't wait!

  7. DIane CHamberlain The Lost DaughterMy Rating: 4/5

    I only read my first Diane Chamberlain book a few months ago (shocking I know) however loved the book and decided to go back to a couple of her older books I had on my Kindle. The Lost Daughter synopsis sounded intriguing. In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared but twenty years later, her body is found and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. The unborn child is not found with Genevieve's body.

    Ceeee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die to protect a lifetime of lies.