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» Listings for January 2015

  1. My Rating: 3/5

    Synopsis: When fourteen-year-old Sophie Monroe suddenly vanishes one night it looks at first as though she’s run away from home. Her computer and mobile phone have gone, and she’s taken a bag full of clothes. As the police investigation unfolds a wealth of secrets from the surrounding community start coming to light. And it seems everyone has something to hide. For Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence, the case is a painful reminder of the tragedy that tore her family apart over twenty years ago. She is convinced there is more to Sophie’s disappearance than teenage rebellion. But is the past clouding her judgment, preventing her from seeing a truth that neither she, nor Sophie’s family, would ever want to face?

    Kat's Review: I am a fan if Susan Lewis and am rarely disappointed. This latest book didn’t disappoint me, but it felt like there was something missing. The one thing I really loved was the Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence. She had her own experience with missing persons and it makes her such an interesting character as her past inevitably affects her future. The story becomes quite involved quite quickly as the 14 year old Sophie Monroe goes missing. The parents are distraught and the police move quickly to try and establish if she has run away of her own choice.

    The storyline was certainly engaging and like I say the lead character was great, but the whole time I was reading it I felt like there was something I just couldn’t connect with. Having said that, it was still an incredibly good read, I guess I just have high expectations from this long time and reassuringly good author. There were parts where I felt like things were dragging and I wasn’t as engaged as I normally would be. 

    Overall, an interesting and enjoyable read but not one of Susan Lewis best. I think when you buy an SL book you know you are in for a great story, but this one just wasn’t my cup of tea. 

  2. My Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Sold as 3 parts on Kindle (short story, approx 50 pages per part)

    Synopsis: MP Tim Horton arrives home to find his seven year old son has been abducted by a ruthless gang of kidnappers. All they have left behind is the brutally murdered body of the Horton's nanny. The gang's demands are simple: Tim must sacrifice his own life in order to save his son's. It's the ultimate dead man's gift .

    My Review: I really love Simon Kernick’s books, but if I’m being 100% honest when I saw this was part of a ’short story’ series of books my heart sunk a little bit. I’m not a fan of short stories at the best of times and to buy a book in parts is actually one of my pet hates! Putting that to one side, when I realised this featured Scope (the fabulous character from The Siege) I wanted to read it anyway! The story wastes no time in getting started (well it can’t afford to really!), and we meet Tim Horton as he arrives home and is told by his wife that his child Max has been kidnapped.

    Tim Horton is frankly a despicable man but his character was written well and then before long Scope appears (YAY). Scope is one of my favourite Kernick characters so I was glad to see him back. As usual he has been called upon for his unique way he manages to get things done. All in all, although this was a short story it was paced fabulously and had the right amount of drama going on. Although the three parts collectively are just about 150 pages I thoroughly enjoyed the book, except that I just wanted to keep reading!

    For a short story this was a great read, for a Kernick book it was also his usual pacey thriller that you need to finish before you put down. This would be a great read for somebody who hasn’t maybe read Simon Kernick and wants to know whether to buy his other novels. I will wait for the next ‘proper’ length novel which I can no doubt sink my teeth in to.Rated

  3. My Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Paperback, Audio, Kindle, Nook and Kobo (Released 10.02.15)

    Synopsis: A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E. Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing. As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert. The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader.

    Kat's Review: Allie Shenton is back in the follow up from ‘Taunting the Dead’. I have to say I was rather pleased that I could get stuck in as the last book ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger. A man’s body is found on a canal path and in his pocket is a magnetic letter. Allie Shenton and her colleagues start the investigation and before long the body count rises. The killer is front and centre and immediately gave me the creeps.

  4. My Rating 5/5

    Synopsis: Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

    And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

    Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

    *Please note, If you plan on reading the first book, then do not continue to read this review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

     My Review: OMG! I recently read The Little Beach Street Bakery and was overwhelmed. I just adored Polly Waterford as she makes a new life in Mount Polbearne. This time around we are back to re-visit them and it felt like I had never been away. Polly is now shacked up with her other half Huckle, and with her job at the bakery and weird choice of pet (a Puffin named Neil) life couldn’t be better. 

    However, things are about to change for Polly as her boss’ nephew turns up and starts creating havoc. In addition to the work issues Polly has, the recently widowed Selina turns up to live on the island. All of my favourite characters make a re-appearance too and I felt like I had never been away. Of course there is drama with a capital D, because wherever Polly goes, something just has to happen.

    I was absolutely entranced from the first to the last page. I just adore Polly, Huckle, Neil and all the gang at Mount Polbearne and it felt like taking a holiday with friends. The story had funny moments, sad moments as well as the laugh out loud moments (especially where Neil is concerned). Jenny Colgan has a certain magic about her writing and it is always a joy to pick up one of her books and just escape from reality for a few hours. I am yet to not enjoy one of her books but Polly and the ‘Polbearne Posse’ are without a doubt my absolute favourites. This was a wonderful book that I didn’t want to end. Hugely recommended by me, that’s for sure!

  5. My Rating: 4/5

     Synopsis: Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood … Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country. But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades. As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

    My Review: Another new author bringing us another copper, and yep this one is a woman. Angela Marsons brings us her debut novel featuring DI Kim Stone. Kim is A Typical for a female lead, she has a chequered past and a somewhat limited ear to authority. However, although there is nothing new to the mix I liked her from the off. Her colleague Bryant is also a great character and to be honest having finished the book, it’s like chalk and cheese…they just work together. In addition to Kim and Bryant their team is finished off with the additions of Stace and Dawson, all who played their part.

    They have a tough case to crack and in one respect they are working against the clock as they try to distinguish the suspects from the potential victims. The case surrounds the discovery of human remains at the site of an old children’s home. Kim is forceful in her manner to the point of being rude, but it made me like her even more and we see her bulldoze her way through the case to catch the people responsible.

    There were plenty of things going on and people to accuse in your own mind and the story kept me interested right through to the end. I was debating the rating of this as there were a couple of things that grated on me, such as the way the author uses literal words to show an accent, but that’s just a personal opinion and figured that shouldn’t make a difference. Because of that decision this is a solid 4 star read and for a debut is a great read. It could certainly be a cracking series with the author whetting your appetite and I am genuinely looking forward to the next one (hopefully with a lack of literal ‘accent’ wordings).

     

  6. Mel Sherratt Taunting The DeadKat's Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? And how much further would you go to betray them?

    Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, DS Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.

    Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.

    As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim.

  7. As with last year I wanted to pick my top ten reads from all of last year. This doesn't mean they were published in 2014 (just that I read them in that year). There is no way I can put them in any kind of order (that's just TOO difficult) but these are definitely the best of the bunch last year for me.

    One Kick by Chelsea Cain

    Payback by Kimberley Chambers

    Bad Blood by Casey Kelleher

    An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

    Broken Dolls by James Carol

    Betrayed by Anna Smith

    Stalkers by Paul Finch

    Flare by Paul Grzegorzek

    Post by Sean Black

    Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton

     

         

     

        

  8. My Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love? Josie Clark is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don’t have much and it’s often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe. Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she’s lonely. And she’s let the shadows from her past cloud her future. Josie’s life couldn’t be more different to Bel’s. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel’s life in two. Now it’s happening to Josie. And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship.

    Kat's Review: I have been reading Susan Lewis for many years and the majority of the time I love her books. Many of them are moving and downright sad but they still make for an excellent (albeit a little more serious) read. This latest book’s synopsis if I’m being honest is a little vague and rather than add any plot spoilers I will say very little in the way of plot too. However, I think it needs to be said that this book features heavily on cancer suffering, which is something that maybe a few people would rather not stomach. With that said, I cannot think of a better author to tell this story as she has done it with sympathy and clearly a huge amount of research.

    Josie Clark and her husband are struggling to make ends meet but they just about manage. Her and her husband Jeff don’t always agree on family decisions that may or may not involve their two grown up children but they clearly love each other and want to make the best out of everything. Josie was a likeable character and in a strange way so was the stubborn and gruff husband Jeff. Her two children are at very different stages in their lives and it added another layer to the story.

    We also meet Bel Monkton whose life couldn’t be more different to Josie and Jeff’s. Her house is beautiful but she is extremely lonely. Thankfully her niece and nephew fill her time but they also distract her from the real issues she has. I also really liked Bel and thought she was a really interesting character to read about.

    The two women will eventually meet and forge a lifelong friendship. The journey there is a tough one and also pretty emotion filled (so keep the tissues handy if you are a weeper!). The main focus of this story revolves around family and friendship and if I’m honest could be any number of people out there. I loved this latest book although it is also extremely sad. An absolutely absorbing read and as always I will look forward to another Susan Lewis.