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» Listings for July 2013

  1. My Rating: 3/5

    Synopsis:  In the darkest parts of the City of Light Eva Scott is searching for her brother's killers. She is caught up in a tangle of deception he left behind, facing violent assault, brutal murderers and deeply embedded corporate corruption. At the heart of it is a dirty biotech business making a lethal profit from compromising human health. Behind that, an organisation with a devastating viral blackmail tool. Their targets? Global power, capital and manipulation. And Eva.

    My Review: I always look forward to a debut novel and Alex Blackmore’s was no different. The synopsis sounded intriguing, and I was hoping that I would again stumble onto another great author. Initially Eva seems a little sketchy, I think that’s the only way I can describe it. As a reader we are thrown straight into the deep end with Eva’s arrival and subsequent search for information on her brother Jackson in Paris.

    I definitely felt the tension in the writing and the story almost immediately which definitely drew me in. Unfortunately though, I veered between detailed version of some things, and vague descriptions of others. It’s hard to explain exactly what I meant, but in short I think I found myself having to go back over paragraphs to ensure I hadn't missed anything. With that to one side, I was pretty taken with the actual story and although maybe not the sort of theme you normally see, one that is all too probable in the future.

    Eva’s search for her brother Jackson means she uncovers so much corruption she is unsure who to trust and believe. I found myself getting more and more into the story as the book progressed and by the last third can say that it had turned into a real page turner. The book had all the right ingredients, but there were also things missing. The ending was a brilliant platform for another book (which I sincerely hope Alex Blackmore goes ahead with). Although I have only rated it 3/5, I still think this author has brilliant writing style and can certainly build suspense and intrigue. For me though, the vague and sketchy parts of the book just stopped it being a 4/5 book in my opinion. I will certainly look forward to the next book, and think she may well be one to watch!

  2. Jo Carnegie Party GamesMy Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: I'm Vanessa Powell. People think they know me because I'm famous. They think I've got the world at my feet and the husband every woman wants to marry. But fame can be a lonely place and the perfect marriage can be even lonelier. Now someone's come into my life who makes me feel alive. For the first time ever, I'm thinking about what I really want; no matter what the consequences.

    My Review: As usual Jo Carnegie has delivered a book that brings to life the characters from yet another quirky village. The town of Beeversham is a small place but also lays claim to being home to some of the rich and famous. Vanessa Powell and her husband Conrad are one such couple. There are also additional characters such as Beau Rainford the local playboy, Beau’s brother Felix and his wife Ginny, Fleur and her Dad who live on a local farm, and Catherine, the once Editor of Soiree magazine and her husband and John. Now that may sound like a lot of characters (and that’s not all of them) but they all play a part in this story.

    It was easy enough to get to know them all and what exactly went on behind closed doors. As the story gets past the initial ‘introduction’ stage Jo Carnegie starts launching all sorts of trouble onto the characters living in Beeversham. I really liked all the characters and found myself willing each of them to sort their lives out! There are plenty of threads to the story providing just enough drama, and plenty of moments that will have you laughing. Although the synopsis leads you to think that Vanessa Powell is the main character, each storyline and villager draws you in. Catherine’s story and character were actually my favourite although Vanessa drew a close second.

    Jo has also introduced two men in the book, both whom I love! You have the naughty Beau who is adorable (even though he is a naughty Playboy), and then we have Dylan who is the Conrad's gardener. Although these two played a big part in the story, I couldn't help loving John who is Catherine's husband. As always in a Carnegie book, the men play just as big a part as the women of the village; and frankly a wonderful distraction from all the drama in Beeversham!

    This latest release of Jo Carnegie’s was a brilliant read, but if I’m being totally honest the Churchminster series is still my favourite! I would love to see whether she will continue this village with a new series as some of the characters were brilliant, but you maybe didn't see enough of them! Although the Churchminster series pips this book to the post, if this were to continue I could see a brilliant series coming out of it. Although this isn't maybe my favourite JC book so far, it was certainly a brilliant and entertaining read as usual. This will keep you entertained from start to finish!

  3. Jilliane Hiffman The Cutting RoomMy Rating: 4/5

    I have read all of Jilliane Hoffman's books and have never been less than impressed. She has produced two books featuring prosecutor C.J Townsend and two stand alone books. This fifth release is a mixture of the two. We see Assistant State Attorney Daria Bianchi and Detective Manny Alvarez work a case that involves a snuff club. We also see the return of C.J Townsend just before the halfway mark in this book.

    Daria and Manny make for fantastic reading as they both have such unique personalities. Manny Alvarez is a veteran cop whose nickname is The Bear and Daria is a hot-headed Italian woman trying to make her mark in the world. They make a great team and at the start of the book we see them clash heads as they uncover what looks to be a dangerous game of men watching women be raped and then murdered in the so called snuff-club.

    The re-introduction of C.J and the serial killer on death row Bill Bantling aka `Cupid' had me reading a lot quicker that I thought. As it has been a while since I read the CJ books I worried I would lose the thread but the plot is re-covered for the benefit of those having not read previous books. As I read on I remembered why Jilliane's books always had me hooked. They are extremely dark reading and I always find myself feeling the fear as much as the characters as we see the chase for the suspects who are cursed with these sick and perverted minds.

    The story has a lot going on and there are numerous threads that are woven in to the story including past crimes committed and the involvement of Bill Bantling, the serial killer on Death Row. At around the ¾ mark the pace picks up considerably and I continued reading until I was done. I was both shocked and pleased by the time I had finished. Shocked at the outcome of one particular thread in the story and pleased that JH was just as good as I remembered. It was good to have some conclusions in the last part of the CJ trilogy and although this took me longer than usual to get in to, it was no less thrilling than her other books.

    I have to say overall that her last stand alone book slightly holds the edge for me but this book was clever and thoughtful making for a gripping read that had me checking my windows at night.

  4. Rebecca Chance Killer QueensMy Rating: 5/5

    Synopsis: "Every little girl grows up dreaming of finding a prince - but what is the fairy tale turns into a right royal nightmare?

    Lori is a beautiful, blonde, all-American athlete. When the charismatic ruler of a small, filthy rich European state asks for her hand, she thinks she's snagged Prince Charming. But she soon realizes that all that glitters is not gold...

    Belinda was once the most recognized and loved princess in the world. Forced to stage her own death, she lives incognito abroad with her adoring royal lover. Now, she is determined to return to England to see her son Hugo wed, even if it means risking her own life.

    Chloe, Prince Hugo's fiancée, is the archetypical English rose. But it's a long road to becoming a princess, even when you're dating the heir to the throne. Perhaps the fairy-tale ending isn't all it was cracked up to be...

    Killer queens, scheming kings, murder plots and lashings of steamy sex - find out what REALLY goes on behind closed palace doors."

    My Review: Just a matter of a few days ago, England’s future King was born in the United Kingdom. Maybe this, with a combination of Rebecca Chance’s skill as an author makes this in my opinion the best book she has written to date. With the title Killer Queen’s the royalty theme comes as no big surprise. Lori, Belinda and Chloe are the main characters set in RC’s latest ‘Bonkbuster’. Now I must warn you, that if you are a touch sensitive about swearing or sex then maybe turn away now and try one of my other reviews. Sadly with a Rebecca Chance novel, some opinions are hard to make without one or both of the above.

    Belinda was the most loved princess in the world, but was forced to stage her own death and live abroad with her lover having no contact with her children. Lori is an American Olympic winner and falls for the charms of Joachim meaning she is set to be the next queen of Herzoslovakia. Lastly, there is Chloe who is Prince Hugo’s fiancé and learning quickly what it takes to become a princess. Chloe and Lori were wonderful characters who I really liked from the start; however Belinda comes into play at a more sedate pace, later on in the book. The story itself grabbed my attention from around chapter 2 and pretty much didn’t let me go until the very last page.

    From the get-go there is an abundance of sex, not just your average “the lights were dimmed as they made love” kind of sex; but the “his hard cock was inside her” kind of sex. In addition, we see every type of scandal possible it seems, secret weddings, runaway brides, illicit affairs and death plots to name a few. For once I really don’t want to go over the storyline, if you want that just read the synopsis. What I will tell you is that Killer Queens is by far the best book Chance has produced. I read it in 2 straight sittings and it had me laughing, gasping in shock, and (at times) blushing like a teenager (hey, you try reading some of the sex scenes in this book, with commuters reading over your shoulder!).

    I felt like I was watching a royal version of Big Brother whilst reading this and found that I just couldn’t stop reading. I have read all but one of Rebecca Chance’s books and am certainly not the shy retiring type. What I will say is that one particular sexual preference in the book has me thinking “what the fuck” and then heartily laughing my arse off. All I can say is that I will not feel the same about banana’s for a few weeks after reading this! The story had so much going on that I was flipping wildly between wanting to read more about one character, to wishing I was reading about another, I just couldn’t get enough of it.

    Killer Queens is everything a good Bonkbuster should be, and more! There is plenty of scandal, sex, glamour and a good dose of drama. It’s an absolute must read and no holiday suitcase is complete without a copy of this. If you haven’t already got your copy, I suggest you get your pre order in now! Bloody brilliant :-)

  5. Nancy Barone The Husband DIetMy Rating: 3/5

    The Husband Diet is Nancy Barone’s debut novel and after reading it I have to say a pretty good one at that! This debut features Erica Cantelli is a mother whose husband Ira tells her constantly that she needs to lose weight. It didn’t take me long to like the main character Erica and you can tell by the way her life is that her sole focus is her children and husband. It also didn’t take me too long to loathe the selfish and pig-headed husband. Erica’s mother is also a hideous woman who does nothing but criticise Erica about anything and everything. Erica decides it time to turn her life around and makes positive changes.

    Some of the highlights in the book for me were moment’s where Erica fantasises about killing her husband, and trying to buy healthy food in the shops to discover its half the size and tastes of nothing! There were quite a lot of funny moments in the book and it just made me root for Erica even more. She even starts dreaming of her children’s Principal Julian Foxham and along with her quest to improve herself, she starts to see some real changes in her life. The question is whether or not she can ever achieve her ideal dream of living in Tuscany.

    This book didn’t stand out as particularly different from many other books in this genre I read. Having said that, I enjoyed the characters and the humour running through the book was brilliant from start to finish. I wouldn’t say this was the best book I have read but it is certainly a great debut novel and I would definitely look out for her next book as I think this may be an author that will improve with every book she writes.

  6. Lindsey Kelk About A GirlMy Rating: 5/5

    So I recently discovered that I was extremely behind with my reading and promptly picked up the last book Lindsey released in the I Heart Series and absolutely LOVED it! With Angela Clarke, the heroine of the series, fresh in my mind I wondered how I would feel about reading a Kelk book that didn’t feature Angela. I needn’t have worried.

    Tess Brookes is a girl that likes to plan everything. From the very beginning I absolutely loved Tess. She is different from Angela Clarke, but a character I can see running for a long time! When her planned life starts to fall apart, Tess finds herself in an unusual position. She is without a job, hates her flatmate, and has had a fall out with her friend Charlie.

    All in all life is not going to plan so when her demon flatmate Vanessa’s phone rings Tess answers it. In that split second she takes the ‘bull by the horns’, and decides to become somebody else. She pretends to be Vanessa, and finds herself on a plane, on the way top Hawaii, to do Vanessa’s job which just happens to be a photographer. Yes I know it all sounds crazy, but when you read the first few chapters it really isn’t that crazy at all. I was willing her to just go for it and I’d only known Tess for all of a few chapters!

    As usual (with any Lindsey Kelk book), I was giggling like a schoolchild. I found the dialogue between some of the characters hilarious. The characters that featured also made the book so great. Nick was the journalist who turned up in Hawaii to help with the shoot and inevitably that causes Tess a whole host of problems. Then there is her new best friend Paige who is the creative Director. However, Kelk still made room for Tess’s slightly mental but absolutely brilliant best friend Amy. I normally don’t quote from books, but the last two Kelk has produced leaves me no other option! "The Andrex puppy had morphed into a Rottweiler and Cupid had traded his bow and arrow for an AK-47". See what I mean, flipping brilliant!

    This is what makes Lindsey Kelk’s books just that little bit moiré fabulous than others. She creates crazy characters that you end up wanting as your own best friend! From start to finish this book was absolutely brilliant. Yep, it certainly has an element of ‘un-realism’ (if that’s even a word) in them, but that’s why I read books like this.

    I was truly sad to finish this book but have to say Kelk has managed to create another book that leaves you exasperated that you can’t reach out for the next one in the series. A perfect summer beach read that will have you giggling like a teenager into your Margarita!

  7. J A Kerley The Killing Game
    My Rating: 3/5

     So it’s been two years since the last JA Kerley release of a Carson Ryder Book. For those that don’t know, or have never read a JA Kerley book before, the books feature Police Detectives Carson Ryder and his partner Harry Nautilus. I haven’t read the early books from the series but picked it up from book 3 I think. In one sense, each book can be read as a standalone but I much prefer to have the history of characters from as early on as possible.

    After a humiliating encounter with a cop, Romanian immigrant Gregory Nieves launches a vendetta against the Mobile Police Department, Alabama. Nieves can’t fight a department, so he selects one man who symbolizes all men in blue: Carson Ryder, the MPD’s specialist in bizarre and twisted crimes. From early on the reader knows who the killer is, but in a bizarre shift in books, it seems that it takes the majority of the book for Carson and Harry to figure it out. I would almost go as far as saying they seemed rather secondary to the main character; the killer!

    I am really a fan of Kerley and this series, but couldn’t help feeling that we see less of Carson and Harry and too much insight into a sociopath! Don’t get me wrong, I am as interested as the next reader into how these people have no conscience and why, but this time around I felt like it was overdone. Also, there was only fleeting mentions of both Jeremy, Carson’s wacko but shockingly intelligent brother; and Harry’s niece Rein. Both of these characters’, I feel have earned places in the books and I kind of missed them both in equal measures.

    Overall, the story was a decent enough one, but I missed the camaraderie between Harry and Carson, I missed other characters and felt like this time around the book was lacking its normal ‘oomph’. The ending gave way to a nice little opener for the tenth book in the series due in December 2013. I will as always really look forward to the next instalment. I just wish this latest book would have given me a little more than it did.

  8. Tasmina Perry Deep Blue SeaMy Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: Beneath the shimmering surface lies a dark secret...

    Diana and Julian Denver have the world at their feet. With a blissful marriage, a darling son and beautiful homes in London and the country, Diana's life, to the outside world, is perfect. But nothing is as it seems...

    When Julian dies suddenly and tragically, Diana is convinced there is more to it than meets the eye. She calls on the one person she had never wanted to see again - her sister, Rachel.

    A former tabloid reporter, Rachel appears to be living the dream as a diving instructor on a Thai island. The truth is she's in exile, estranged from her family and driven from her career by Fleet Street's phone-hacking scandal.

    For Rachel, Diana's request opens old wounds. But she is determined to make amends for the past, and embarks on a treacherous journey to uncover the truth - wherever it may lead...

    My Review: Tasmina Perry has been on my must read list for some time now. With her latest release Deep Blue Sea (being her 8th release) out; I was looking forward to delving into another rich and glamorous story. The premise sounds great, with a wealthy couple Diana and Julian Denver seemingly having it all. However, when Julian commits suicide Diana realises she needs to reach out to her estranged sister for help.

    Rachel is Diana’s sister and is currently living in Thailand following the death of her career surrounding a phone hacking scandal. When Diana reaches out for help, Rachel decides it’s high time to try and make amends with her family. And so begins a journey across many countries to find the answers behind Julian’s death. As usual Tasmina Perry certainly weaves a great tale; however I had real issues with Diana. Rachel I really liked, especially as she was the underdog, but Diana was just too frail and pathetic for my liking.

    With that one small flaw out the way, I can honestly say the story itself certainly didn’t disappoint. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue and the more questions Rachel asks, the more questions it raises too. There were a few additional characters I really liked such as Rachel’s business partner Liam and her old colleague Ross. There were lost of dark and murky elements to the storyline including affairs, drugs and contested will. Overall it was again what I would rate a success from Perry, however it lacked that certain something to make it a 5 star read from me. Still a solid 4/5 book and one that I think her fans will love.