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» Listings for October 2014

  1. My Rating: 3/5

    Synopsis: A year ago, Evan and Sarah shared one incredible night. Then Evan’s music—the thing that brought them together—suddenly tore them apart.

    Since then, Evan’s not been able to forget about her. And try as she might, Sarah can’t seem to get over him either.

    With time running out, Evan’s got one last chance to convince her that the two of them were meant to be. But is one night enough for Sarah to make a decision about the rest of her life—even if it was the best night of her life? And if she doesn’t believe in love at first sight, how can Evan persuade her that what they had will last?

    My Review: I have liked some of Matt Dunn’s previous books but for some reason this book just left me feeling really impartial (I HATE that!). Evan and Sarah are the lead characters in this book and Evan is a pretty decent guy. He’s a musician who plays the saxophone and had his 10 minutes of fame back in the day. Sarah is an American who happens to stop by a jazz club and sees Evan play. It takes her back to her childhood when her father used to play the sax in clubs. What results is a reckless night together. However events after that one night mean they go their separate ways for a year.

    Sarah in the beginning was a reasonably likeable character, however as the book progressed she just irritated me. Whilst Evan goes off to another country Sarah is left behind and her life inevitably changes. When Evan returns he just can’t stop thinking about Sarah and is determined to make Sarah see they are meant to be together. The writing was good as usual, and there is certainly nothing lacking in Matt Dunns ability to write a cracking story. For me though, the character Sarah got worse as the book progressed to the point where I couldn’t have cared less about her.

    There are additional characters that make appearances such as Mel (didn’t get enough time in the book in my opinion) and David (who I also couldn’t stand). I read this to the end and it was certainly an easy read. But sadly, it just wasn’t as good as other books he has written. Maybe the character thing was just my issue, because normally I can really take to characters. However, this being one of the major factors for me made me mark it down. Sarah’s incessant whining and to-ing and fro-ing quite frankly gave me a headache. I will still look forward to Matt’s future work in the hope I will love the next set of characters he creates.

  2.  

    Stav Sherez A Dark RedemptionMy Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Kobo, Nook

    Synopsis: A Dark Redemption introduces DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller as they investigate the brutal rape and murder of a young Ugandan student. Plunged into an underworld of illegal immigrant communities, they discover that the murdered girl’s studies at a London college may have threatened to reveal things that some people will go to any lengths to keep secret … 

    This case that will force DI Carrigan to face up to his past and DS Miller to confront what path she wants her future to follow. 

    My Review: Having not read anything else by Sherez I was looking forward to starting the first in the Carrigan and Miller series. Also knowing that there has only been one follow up to date (Eleven Days published in 2103) I know I’m not too far behind. The pairing of the unlikely two lead characters works extremely well given their backgrounds and personal history. It took me quite a few chapters to really get under the skin of Jack Carrigan but I really liked this weirdly private and quirky bloke. Except as the story progresses you realise that quirkiness is just his defence mechanism to not allow people to delve too close. On the opposite side, Geneva Miller is clawing her way back after a demotion and is finding it hard trying to keep both sides of the fence happy. I warmed to Geneva more than Jack but by the end of the book I couldn’t imagine either of them working with anybody else.

    Characters aside the story was quite something. Taking us through war ravaged countries and then being dragged to the present murder that has taken place in London of a young female Ugandan Student. Sherez clearly has the knowledge and maybe experience in managing to write about this subject with such conviction. There were parts that had my stomach turning; but in the back of my mind the brutal reminder that although this is a work of fiction, the history of some of these countries is shockingly real. There are plenty of twists in this complex book and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. This is most certainly a series which I will be continuing and would definitely put it on the recommended list.

  3. My Rating: 5/5

    Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Kobo and Nook

    Synopsis: Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. 

    And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it. 

    Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

  4. My Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Paperback & Kindle (20.11.14), Kobo (20.11.14), Nook (20.11.14)

    Synopsis: Beware the stranger in the night…

    Consigned to a remote valley in the Lake District, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is getting used to a quieter life – a far cry from the bloodbath of his former division, the Serial Crimes Unit. But wherever Heck goes, trouble is never far behind.

    Unknown to Heck, ‘The Stranger’ has returned. Last seen on Dartmoor ten years earlier, this prolific serial killer has found a new home. As a dense, frozen mist descends on the Lakes, The Stranger returns to his old ways, starting with two young women lost high on the hills. Only one girl is ever found – barely alive – but able to confirm Heck’s worst fears.

    As The Stranger lays siege to the remote community, Heck helplessly watches as the killer plays his cruel game, letting off his trademark call before viciously picking off his victims.

    And with no way to get word out of the valley, Heck has no choice but to play ball…

    Lock your doors and bar your windows. Because when the mist descends, you never know who’s watching you…

    **Please note, if you plan to read the Heck Books in order, then don’t read this review as it will inevitably contain spoilers**

  5. My Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Hardcover, Paperback (23.10.14) Kindle, Kobo, Audio (01.11.14)

    Synopsis: Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace.

    Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself.

    Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.

  6.  

    My Rating: 5/5

    Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Audio (All released 16.12.14)

    Synopsis: In the underbelly of Soho’s organised crime ring, everyone knows that retired boxer Harry Woods is not one to mess with. And that goes double for his family.

    Harry has it all: the big house, the flashy cars, and an abundance of wealth. As much as money talks in his world, Harry knows deep down the only thing that really counts is family. Haunted by the sudden death of his wife, he’ll do anything to protect his children, but truth is a heavy burden and hidden secrets can unravel even the strongest of bonds...

    Without loyalty, family are bound together only by blood. Bad blood.

  7. My Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: Two murders. Two different crime scenes. One killer?

    Mac wakes in a smashed-up hotel room with no recollection of what has happened. With his lover's corpse in the bathroom and the evidence suggesting that he killed her, Mac is on a mission to uncover the truth and find the real killer.

    But he's in a race against time with less than a day to unravel the mystery. Still reeling from a personal tragedy Mac isn't afraid of pain. Hot on his heels is tenacious Detective Inspector Rio Wray. Double-crossed and in the line of fire, Mac has to swim through a sea of lies to get to the truth.

    But only Mac knows he's been living a double life. Can he be sure he doesn't have the blood of a dead woman on his hands?

  8. My Rating: 5/5

    Synopsis: For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned… 

    With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s one-bedroom flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again. 

    After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past. 

    Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas? 

    My Review: I was delighted that Sue Watson had produced a lovely Christmas book to get me through the next year until her next release. Thankfully this little baby could tide me over until then and FYI how lovely and Christmassy (that’s a real word you know) is the cover?! 

    At 254 pages this felt a little bit too short for me but I forgive the wonderful Sue as the book was so enjoyable! I adored the two main characters of this story who are sisters from the get go! Sam Angel is the sensible sister, but having lost her husband on Christmas Eve she now dedicates her time to her Bakery and her son Jacob. Her elder sister Tamsin is living what appears to be the high life.

    Although I loved both sisters Tamsin (also called Tammy) stole the limelight a little bit in my opinion. Tammy’s life is just about being seen at the right parties, with the right people and being the best at everything among the other women who are part of the ladies that lunch group. When Bailiffs arrive at her door everything in her life is taken from her in the blink of an eye and she literally has to start again! Tamsin in particular is a brilliant character, and one that you end up rooting for even though she makes some shocking decisions.

    One thing Sue Watson has is this magical ability to create characters you connect with. In addition her humour is apparent throughout this, and every other book she writes. Some of the characters that she throws in the mix are hilarious and in this case it’s most definitely Mrs J. This book also manages to transport you into that very fluffy and warm and cosy Christmas that will soon be upon us. I can’t say this is my favourite as that is reserved for Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. All this book resulted in was me wanting to read what happens next for Tammy. A total tease until the next novel is released. Come on Sue, stop all that Social Networking malarkey and get writing woman!