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» Listings for May 2013

  1. Melissa Hill A Guest To RememberMy Rating: 5/5

    Cara is so happy when her boyfriend Shane proposes. She seems to have it all going on, a great job, a new fiancé and a great circle of friends and family. Their excitement quickly disappears whe...n they tell their respective parents and their ideas for their bog day aren't quite what Shane and Cara had in mind. Cara was an easy character to like and as soon as I started reading about her and Shane, I couldn't help thinking this was a lovely couple that seemed to have everything in place for them. When Cara and Shane make a stand and decide on a beach wedding on a Caribbean island, there is uproar from both families.

    There were quite a lot of characters in this book but they are all introduced into the story with a little background about each of them. One thing Melissa Hill has done is create a very `real' family. I would be surprised if there are people out there that don't have at least one family member that behaves a certain way?!? Cara's sister-in-law Kim was my favourite character and she brought a real calm to the storm kind of feeling right throughout the book. I loathed Shane's parents from the outset but as the story progressed my feelings started to change.

    I think was surprised me was the fact that I got so engrossed in a book that is essentially not that original. I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, just that weddings and engagements have been written about time and time again. Hill manages to get the reader that little bit more attached to all the characters, whether it to love them or loathe them. She has taken a traditional story and made it into a bit of a drama, with all the characters playing their part in it all.

    The thing that also surprised me with this book was the ending. Well, what can I say I did NOT see that coming! Normally I pick up on things like that, and although I had suspicions about what the past held, I was way off the mark. I absolutely love it when a story does that and genuinely takes you by surprise. I can honestly say that I loved this book and as a person that has actually done the whole "wedding abroad" thing, I could actually relate to some of the stuff going on in Cara and Shane's lives. I really would recommend this to people; it was a fantastic read and one that I finished in a matter of hours rather than days

  2.  Alex Marwood The Wicked Girls

    My Rating: 3/5

     Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in the British press for many years. Wicked Girls was her debut novel and I was looking forward to reading it. If I am totally honest the synopsis seemed pretty dark but I still eagerly started it on my way into work. Two young girls at the age of 11 were imprisoned for the murder of a four year old girl. They weren’t even friends, having met that very day. Once inside prison they both have separate experiences and eventually get released and move on with their lives.

    In the present time we meet Kirsty Lindsay, a journalist who is reporting on a number of attacks on young women in the seaside town of Whitmouth. We also meet Amber Gordon who is a cleaner at a funfair and is introduced to us when she is unfortunate enough to come across a dead body. Sadly when the two women meet they realise that this is just the beginning of their living nightmare

     The story was really well constructed and I liked the way the story jumped between the present day and the past. The story of the two women as young girls and how the events unfold that terrible day are done slowly. The layers are peeled back as at the same time the reader sees what is happening in their lives currently. It seems like these two women have no chance to redeem themselves as once again their lives clash in the worst possible way. The thing that I did enjoy was the writing style, it was easy to get into and the story was well paced. I did however have that uncomfortable feeling while reading this book, which was more to do with the subject matter than the author’s talent!

    This particular book certainly has lots going on, and it certainly doesn’t shy away from dealing with the difficult subject of child killers. I think although the book kept me interested and I certainly didn’t take long to finish it, I just didn’t feel all that comfortable reading it. I failed to empathise with the characters even though I think this is just another viewpoint about the ifs, buts and maybes in cases like these. I will certainly look forward to reading what Marwood produces next but just felt that this book wasn’t for me. Having said that it certainly shows the authors talent and I think many people have and will love this type of book. Overall a good read but just not for me.

  3. Jenny COlgan Choclate SHop In ParisMy Rating: 3/5

    After finishing the Cupcake Café books by Jenny Colgan I was looking forward to this one. In this book we meet Anna Trent who works at a Chocolate Factory. Anna doesn't appeal that much as a character in the beginning. She has had an accident at work and is recovering in hospital. She meets her old French teacher Claire who is also being treated in the hospital. However, Anna is at an all time low and seems quite depressed with everything. As Anna is on the mend her relationship with Claire grows and she learns a little more about Claire's life growing up.

    It took me a little while to warm to Anna, but slowly I began to see the girl she was before. When Claire offers her a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in Paris it takes Anna some time to come around to the idea. Anna soon learns that Claire's former sweetheart is a well known chocolate maker and he makes his chocolate entirely by hand. Once Anna makes the decision to try it and arrives at the strange and quirky shop, the story takes off a little bit more.

    Anna meets the famous Thierry as well as the two guys in the shop. In addition she meets Thierry's son and there is of course the outlandish character she is living with Sami. As usual Jenny Colgan has done a stellar job with describing Paris and catching the magic, but the characters just didn't grab me like they usually would. I certainly warmed to Anna, but actually preferred Claire, whose story we see in sections throughout the book where we flash back to Anna's past in Paris.

    The second half of the book was slightly better than the first half and although I enjoyed it I just felt it was lacking something. I have read a lot of Jenny's books and especially loved the Cupcake books. Maybe I am making too much of a comparison but this one just wasn't one of my favourites. I will as usual be eagerly reading all her other books I haven't read and will look forward to any new releases. I just think I couldn't get along with the characters in this one as well as others.

  4.  My Rating: 5/5

    Well, the only thing I can say is if you havem't read this debut novel by Luke Delaney, you should certainly give it a go, absolutely brilliant. Here's my review...

    I read the synopsis about this book and thought it sounded great. I mean w...ho better to write a book about the murky worlds of killers that an ex-copper turned CID with experience of extreme violence. When I looked at the bio of Luke Delaney I wasn't surprised to see that this was a pseudonym, as I can't imagine many coppers would want their real name and picture plastered about on books! This is the first in a series of books featuring DI Sean Corrigan. The difference between DI Corrigan and others is that Sean has an ability to take his thoughts to the dark side of a killer. His upbringing has left him with deep scars and emotions that haunt him; thankfully they also make him a great copper.

    When I started reading this book I didn't realise that within the first couple of chapters I would be so completely absorbed. DI Sean Corrigan is an absolutely fantastic character. He is a normal guy with a wife and kids, working a job that has unsociable hours. However when the first crime scene turns up in the book you see the other side to him. I really can't explain just how dark this side of his character is, but just reading him processing his thoughts like a killer made me shiver. What also pulled me in with this book were the chapters that were written from the killer's point of view. It shows just how much experience Delaney must have as it's realistic to the point of it being terrifying.

    Sean is on the trail of a killer who is frighteningly smart. He knows about forensics and every scene he shows up at is free of any DNA evidence. What struck me when reading this book was the fact that you get to see coppers work a case the real way, not like an episode of CSI. It had me horrified and intrigued in equal measures. The pace was pretty good but this was certainly secondary for me as the storyline and characters were brilliant. This was a book I didn't want to put down and is best described as a meaty police thriller. Literally as soon as the last page was turned I was straight onto Amazon to find out when the next one is due. I was extremely pleased to see that the second book in the series `The Keeper' is due out in September 2013.

    All I can say is that Delany has clearly found his calling following a career in the police. Being an author is now clearly what he is meant to do and I for one will be keeping a close eye on all future Delaney related news. Highly recommended; especially for fans of Peter James and Mark Billingham.