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» Listings for June 2015

  1. Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister. Seventeen years later, she's out on parole and back in her hometown, but she's struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Ryan is convinced he can uncover the truth; her mother still doesn't believe Toni's innocent; and the former high school girls who made Toni's life miserable may have darker secrets than anyone can imagine. Before Toni can move forward, she must take a terrifying step back to her past to find out the truth and clear her name, before it's too late.

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

  2. Format: Kindle Edition

    File Size: 677 KB

    Print Length: 224 pages

    Publisher: Robert Hale (30 Jun. 2015)

    Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

    Synopsis: Murder, kidnap, torture - these are not words usually associated with Britain's beautiful New Forest National Park. But when local author Grant Mason has a heart attack, he makes a bizarre dying wish: he wants his loyal assistant to burn his house down. The request sets off a chain of events that leads to a huge police hunt for a missing couple and a deranged killer. DCI Jeff Temple and his Major Investigations Team take on their toughest case yet, and in the process they uncover vicious depravity and horror that was meant to lie buried forever.

    Netta's Rating: 5/5

  3. Synopsis: Detective Inspector January David doesn’t love me. He loves his missing sister. He loves his job. But he doesn’t love me. Not in the way he should. I am his wife. I am still his wife. And I will do anything for him. No matter what I have to sacrifice.

    Kat’s Rating:4/5

    Kat’s Review: Okay my head hurts! I picked up Will Carver’s first book in the series Girl 4 and really enjoyed it. However what I realised very early on is that Carver writes in an unusual way. I have struggled with this since book one but ironically at the same time fallen in love with it a little bit. I know that may not make sense but if you have read one of his books you will know what I mean. I also think that this categorically does not work as a standalone, you HAVE to read the first two books in the series for this to make any kind of sense!

    January David is a copper that has not just one issue but many. He drinks too much and is currently on sabbatical following the devastating events of the last book. His wife no longer even lives in the country yet she still haunts his thoughts. He also still obsesses over his missing and presumed dead sister. In addition to this, he has these visions. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, and there is one part of me that feels the same. But to describe them is just too difficult. They are more like dreams as well as visions when in reality they seem to be his past, present and future all haunting him. This is the element of these books that drives me crazy. However, as much as they drive me crazy the writing style makes you want to read, hence the reason I always end up enjoying them to a certain degree.

    Whilst January sets off to New York to face a seemingly duplicate set of murders like the ones he has already solved, his colleagues are working on their own case involving the discovery of a young girls dead body. In terms of storyline that’s all I’m prepared to say but believe me when I say Will Carver gives you anything but straightforward.

    There are many things you have to wrap your head around and there are no shortcuts around the gruesome nature of any of the murders. In addition to this Will Carver managed to write a chapter about a character in the present but talking in past tense (if that makes sense). Never before have I struggled to articulate so much on a book I have read. This one is certainly challenging to describe (to say the least). What I will say is this, I loved this book and much as it messed with my brain. I really, really like January and as for the ending, well don’t get me started.

    Just when things are wrapped up and we finally start getting some answers, Will Carver throws a dose of uncertainty to the mix and left me wondering how long it will be until the next release. Overall this book is clever and brilliant, maybe a little too clever for me at times; but magnificent all the same. Sadly for me the parts where I am wrapping my head around ‘The Smiling Man’ (I’m not even going to go there and try to explain) mean that it just cannot get a 5 star from me. Other than that cannot fault it and in THE weirdest way I cannot wait to read the next book.

  4. MArk Billingham Burning GirlMy Rating: 3/5

    Availability: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, Nook and Kobo

    Synopsis: A MAN WHO KILLS FOR MONEY

    X marks the spot - and when that spot is a corpse's naked back and the X is carved in blood, DI Tom Thorne is in no doubt that the dead man is the latest victim of a particularly vicious killer.

    A BRUTAL VENDETTA

    This is brutal turf warfare between north London gangs. Organised crime boss Billy Ryan is moving into someone else's patch, and that someone is not best pleased.

    A COP WHO IS PLAYING WITH FIRE

    And when an X is carved on DI Tom Thorne's front door, he knows the smouldering embers of this case are about to erupt into flames...

  5. Synopsis: Laura Watkin’s heart isn’t broken, she’s just forgotten how to use it. After years on her own, the highlight of single mum Laura’s week is watching Strictly Come Dancing with a glass of Pinot Grigio and a large helping of imagination. 

    With her daughter Sophie going travelling, Laura knows the time is right to do something for herself for a change. One disastrous Zumba class later and Laura ends up at the feet (literally) of gorgeous dance instructor Tony Hernandez. 

    A natural dancer and inspiring teacher, Tony rekindles in Laura a passion she inherited from her ballroom dancer father – and with it comes a dream… to make him proud. But when Tony enters them to perform at the National Dance Festival, can Laura’s new-found confidence survive the test? And with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn Flamenco in Spain, could Laura truly learn to dance like nobody’s watching… and love like she’ll never get hurt? 

    Kat’s Rating: 4/5

    Kat’s Review: I am a HUGE of Sue Watson and if you have a rather filthy sense of humour, and like a good giggle her books don’t fail to raise a smile. MAKE SURE you read the description of what type of book it is before you read it and then slate it…it clearly states it’s a funny and uplifting romantic comedy. Thankfully this does exactly what it says on the tin. Laura Watkins is your average divorcee who is working to make ends meet and is trying to ensure her daughter doesn't go off the rails following a disastrous relationship. I know that quoting lines can be irritating for some people but I just knew that when I read the below lines within the first chapter that I would be laughing at quite a few lines in this latest book.

    “I would be sending a very stiff email to ‘God.Com’ when all this was over, telling him and his staff to sort their s*it out. No wonder people were going to Supermarkets on a Sunday instead of going to Jesus”

    When Laura’s daughter Sophie goes travelling and she realises her life consists of working and nights in front of Strictly Come Dancing, she is determined to make a few changes. And that is exactly what she does along with some wonderful characters. Enter Tony the Dance Instructor who is a hilarious character that has bucketful’s of attitude, glitter and stories to tell. He is determined to teach Laura to dance and for once do something for herself.

    The journey they take from there on in is brilliant. The story is everything you want from this sort of book. I wanted Laura to become the person she could be and found myself wishing I could watch this in a film too! There is one particularly funny chapter entitled ‘Slut Dropping Zumba Queens and Someone Else’s Leggings’. Suffice to say it was a very amusing chapter that I’m pretty sure quite a few people can sympathise with.

    By the time I finished this book I wanted to book myself on a trip to Grenada to see all the sexy Spanish men and women dancing Flamenco. This is a cracking book which had me smiling and laughing and it’s the perfect tonic for the everyday boring blues that most people experience.  Some people may wonder why only 4 stars instead of 5, well Love, Lies and Lemon Cake was one of my favourite books of 2014 and Sue has to go some to top that. Another fantastic read and as usual I can’t wait to read the next one!

  6. Synopsis: When 12-year-old Ciaran Devine confessed to murdering his foster father it sent shock waves through the nation.

    DCI Serena Flanagan, then an ambitious Detective Sergeant, took Ciaran's confession after days spent earning his trust. He hasn’t forgotten the kindness she showed him – in fact, she hasn't left his thoughts in the seven years he’s been locked away.

    Probation officer Paula Cunningham, now tasked with helping Ciaran re-enter society, suspects there was more to this case than the police uncovered. Ciaran’s confession saved his brother Thomas from a far lengthier sentence, and Cunningham can see the unnatural hold Thomas still has over his vulnerable younger brother.

    When she brings her fears to DCI Flanagan, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion.

    Kat's Rating: 5/5

    My Review: Well, well, well…looks like I’ve been missing out. When I had the opportunity for an early copy of a Stuart Neville book I decided to take it as I haven’t got around to reading his other stuff. It also looks to be the start of a series of books featuring CDI Serena Flannigan so I figured also a good place to start. I am SO glad I made that decision because this book was an absolute corker. Disturbing alright, but a corker all the same.

    Serena Flannigan is a bloody fabulous woman. Although a lot of leading women have problems with authority, Serena is not one of them. She just has a huge chip on her shoulder and an attitude the size of a house. I LOVED her from the get go. Paula Cunningham is at the other end of the police spectrum and is a probation officer dealing with newly released prisoners. She was also a great character and seemed like she was constantly teetering on the edge of alcohol! The story centres around two brothers that have spent time in prison for the murder of their Foster Father. Ciaran and Thomas are quite frankly bewildering and disturbing characters to read, it’s also what makes them almost addictive reading.

    As Ciaran is released Paula Cunningham is allocated as his probation officer. However, Serena  is pulled into the mix as Paula needs her input on the sort of character Ciaran is. Serena was part of the initial investigation into the murders and as the story progresses we are taken back in time to when she interviewed and investigated both Ciaran and Thomas. The story gets more and more involved and if I’m being honest I really didn’t want to put it down. It keeps building in pace and towards the end I wondered if anybody was going to make it intact.

    Stuart Neville is an author that wills tick in my memory now that’s for sure. An absolutely brilliant start to what I hope is an ongoing series. An absolute corker of a book and one that will have you gripped from start to finish! Can’t wait to see what’s next for Serena Flannigan. 

  7. Synopsis: Two young boys. Trapped underground in a bunker. Unable to understand why they are there.  Desperate for someone to find them. Slowly realising that no-one will...

    Five years later, the boys' bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome's career begins. Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them. For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this...

    Kat’s Rating: 4/5

    My Review: I loved Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, so much so that I moved straight onto Book 2 which was released in April.  DI Marnie Rome and her colleague DS Noah Jake are back together and investigating the discovery of two young children found in a hidden bunker. The opening chapters describing the murder scene are creep enough but you get that cold dark feeling seeping into your bones, when you realise this will not be a straightforward case.

  8. Synopsis: Three friends. One surprise inheritance. And the perfect plan to deal with troublesome husbands at Christmas time... Newly divorced Lorna is struggling to adjust to life on her own. When she discovers that her beloved godfather has left her the grand (and crumbling) Ravenscourt House in the heart of Sussex, she soon has a project on her hands. Nathan sells delicious goodies at Mulberry Farm. When he meets Lorna at a Christmas market, neither of them can ignore the chemistry. But as they get to know one another, Lorna wants to know one thing - is he after her or the house? Together with Gloria - whose marriage to alcoholic Adrian has hit rock bottom, and Rosalind - struggling to deal with her womanising husband Ivan, the three friends hatch a plan. They'll ditch their difficult husbands at Ravenscourt House and enjoy stress-free Christmases with their families. But nothing is ever that simple.

    Kat’s Rating: 3/5

    Kat’s Review: First off, I certainly didn’t dislike this book, I just didn’t love it. The synopsis sounds good and I thought I would really enjoy this. The beginning introduces us mainly to Lorna who is recently divorced. She is struggling to adjust to her newly single status and a surprise inheritance makes things even more complicated. The problem I found with Lorna was that I just didn’t particularly warm to her that much. She seemed a bit ‘wishy-washy’ if you know what I mean. 

    In addition to Lorna there are her two friends Gloria and Rosalind. If I’m honest these two characters took a back seat to Lorna and although they were a fundamental part of the story I just didn’t know them well enough. All three women have some serious issues going on with the men in their life and they have a mad idea to send all three men down to Ravenscourt House which Lorna had inherited. With the house practically crumbling to the ground they figured it was suitable punishment for ‘difficult husbands’.

    The story was okay and trundled along but if I’m being brutally honest I just didn’t ‘gel’ enough with any of the women (or other characters for that matter). When you see the cover for the book it gives you a Christmas vibe, and although part of the book falls over the Christmas period I wouldn’t call this book particularly festive. I would certainly read another book by this author as the writing was good, I just didn’t connect enough with the people in this story…maybe next time.