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Key Guide

CTM = Crime, Thriller, Mystery Genre Authors

ROF = Romance and Other Fiction Authors

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  1. Carole Matthews All You Need Is LoveSynopsis: This is a romantic comedy set in Liverpool about Sally Freeman - a twenty-something single mum and superwoman - and her bid to make her world a better place. Hopelessly in love with her is Johnny - an artist with not a penny to his name - and Spencer Knight - a rich city slicker with a Porsche and a penthouse apartment. Sally wants to improve the dreary estate where she lives and she enlists the help of the locals to plant a garden and build a community centre. But will she choose the right man to love?

    Kat's Rating: 5/5

    Kat's Review: I have read an awful lot of thrillers lately and this was a refreshing change. It's a story about Sally Freeman, a young single mother who lives on a council estate with her son Charlie. Spencer Knight comes along and sweeps her off her feet. He is rich, charming, affectionate and sexy and Sally can't quite believe her luck. However her ex Johnny is still in love with Sally and has to try to win Sally back. As a penniless aspiring painter, who also lives on the estate and cares for his ill mum, he doesn't have a lot of chance.

    I am quite a fan of Carole Matthews and this story is no different to my previous opinions. The story is warm and funny and a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters are a little different to her previously tried and tested formula for leading women. However, somehow she seems to have hit the nail on the head and created loveable people that you end up loving or hating in equal measures. No there isn't a deep underlying moral to the story, but it is what it is! An enjoyable funny and warm chick lit book that is easy reading.

  2. Karin Slaughter FracturedMy Rating: 3/5

    I must say before I do this review that I am a huge Karin Slaughter fan and was VERY excited and waiting with baited breath for her new book. Maybe the reason I cannot decide how to rate this book is because I truly do love the characters Sara, Jeffrey and Lena who appear in other Karin Slaughter Books.

    Karin Slaughter has released a series of books called 'Grant County Series' and they feature the characters of Sara Jeffrey and Len. This book is part of the 'Atlanta' series of books of which there has only been one so far.

    Having said that this story features Will Trent who as a standalone character is a great guy. The opening of the book introduces us to Abigail Compano who has gone home and found every mothers worst nightmare. Her daughter is laying dead and there is a man standing over her with a knife. When a struggle breaks out Abigail doesn't realise that it is about to change her life forever.

    We then meet Special Agent Will Trent who gets teamed up with Detective Faith Mitchell to solve not only a murder but a kidnapping case. There are a lot of early twists and plot surprises so I won't say too much for fear of adding spoilers to the review. They have to work in the relentless heat whilst not only trying to solve the case but dealing with each other as well as protecting the wealthy neighbourhood of Ansley Park.

    Neither Will or Faith are perfect and between them they have a good working relationship but as the story develops you get to learn a bit more about each of them. Will suffers with dyslexia and goes to every length he can to hide this from everybody. He also has had an extremely difficult upbringing having been raised in an oprhanage.

    I love the fact that Karin Slaughter does not go overboard with her characters being perfect. I think that this just makes them and the story a lot more believable. This story was definitely a page turner and a great read, I just think there may be something missing. I think I miss the characters from previous books such as Kisscut and A Faint Cold Fear as we have had many more books to get to know them. Maybe in the future Atlanta series I will get just as hooked as we see a bit more character development.

    All in all I think this is crime writing at it's best. Not only do we have ANOTHER great female author out there but she is up there with the best of them such as James Patterson, Mandasue Heller and Martina Cole.

  3. June Hampson Damaged Goods

    Synopsis:  Things have been going too well for Daisy Lane. Her murdered lover, Eddie Lane, has left her comfortably off and his son little Eddie is adorable and a constant reminder of his father. The new man in her life, South London gangster Roy Kemp, looks out for her and is kind to little Eddie. But someone is watching Daisy's every movement, like a predator choosing the perfect moment to pounce. He is a man with murder in his heart - a man obsessed with Daisy and enraged that she turned to Roy Kemp for love instead of him. He plans to teach Daisy a lesson she will never forget.

    Set in 1966, DAMAGED GOODS re-acquaints us with several memorable characters from the previous books - notably Daisy's friend Vera, queen of her massage parlour and the best mate a girl ever had, and Gosport policeman DS Vinnie Endersby who puts his job on the line for Daisy.

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: I read June Hampsons 'Broken Bodies' and had to order this one as it continues the life of Daisy Lane. The characters are fabulous and the last book made me anticipate this read just as much. This particular book carries on Daisys life with her gangster boyfriend Roy Kemp. However when she is abducted and has to fight for her survival it changes her outlook on life. This story was as good if not better than the last one and I think June Hampson is somebody to watch out for in the future. If her books get better with each one she writes she will be one of my favourite authors in the not too distant future. Recommended if you like Mandasue Heller and Kevin lewis and the like.

  4. Andrew Gross The Darl Tide 

     Synopsis: GET UP. KISS YOUR FAMILY GOODBYE. GOT TO WORK. DIE…

    They say bad luck comes in threes. But for Karen Friedman’s family, bad luck is just the beginning.

    It starts with her husband Charlie’s investments going wrong and the sudden death of a family pet. Then one morning Charlie takes the train to work – straight into a lethal terrorist blast. For his widow Karen and their children, all that remains of Charlie is a shared past.

    Or is it? When the Friedmans begin to receive terrifying threats Karen turns to Detective Ty Hauck for help. Hauck’s family fell apart too, after a tragic accident he still blames himself for. Now he’s determined to keep Karen’s safe. But Hauck doesn’t know about how people who investigate Charlie have a way of ending up dead…

     

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

     

    Kat's Review: I first read Andrew Gross who co-wrote with James Patterson and loved the book. I then read the Blue Zone which I thoroughly enjoyed and decided to pre-order The Dark Tide. I was not dissapointed.The book tells the story of Charles and Karen Friedman who live a wonderful life in a wealthy suburb with their two children. Charles runs a successful Hedge Fund and all is well until he is killed in a bombing in Grand Central Station. Karen then discovers that her husband may not really be dead. Along with Ty Hauck a cop with the violent crimes unit they follow the leads they get about Karens husband Charles and his supposed death. The story is excellent and keeps you reading until the very last chapter. I think Andrew Gross is a fantastic author who clearly writes his own novels just as well as Patterson. I look forward to his next book with just as much anticipation. Well worth the read.

  5. Lisa Gardner Hide
    My Rating: 5/5

     Lisa Gardner has written many books and has quite a following for a series that features FBI Profiler Pierce Quincy. This book is part of the DD Warren series of books however.

    Detective Bobby Dodge is introduced to us again in this new thriller. When the discovery of six bodies is made in an abandoned hospital, he feels the fear creeping up on him. Is this the return of his worst nightmare and is it coming back to haunt him?

    Annabelle Granger has been running for years. Never knowing why but just trailing along behind her family. Always changing name and identity, and nearly 30 years later she is still doing it and can't quite work out why. When a body is discovered with wearing Annabelle's locket and she is named as the dead girl in the paper she decides she will no longer hide in fear, but that it's time to confront her past. Before long she realises that this may be what her family were running from and now they are after her.

    With Bobby's discovery of the bodies he realises that he can't face this challenge alone and asks his old time lover and partner DD Warren from Boston PD to help him. They quickly realise that this could be a copycat murder or it could be something more sinister than that. Unfortunately for Bobby, his past isn't leaving him alone and is more tied up in this case than he could imagine.

    As usual Lisa Gardner has produced a fantastic book with edgy writing and a great character. The story keeps you interested enough to keep turning the pages and before you know it your nearly finished. She is fast becoming one of my top ten authors and I would recommend her books to anybody who likes reading the thriller/crime type of book. I also think that if she carries on producing books this good, the following for the Bobby Dodge series could well be as good as the following for the Quincy series.

  6. Lisa Gardner Gone
    My Rating: 5/5

     Lisa Gardner has written many books and her first in the Quincy series is 'The Perfect Husband'. There are also follow on books which I will detail below.

     For this book we again meet ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy. His worst nightmare is quite possibly coming true. There is a car abandoned, with the engine still running and no sign of the owner. The problem is the car belongs to his estranged wife Rainie Conner who was an ex-cop. When Quincy starts to receive ransom notes he decided to call in help in the form of his daughter Kimberly who is an FBI agent and her partner Mac to help him find Rainie. Quincy is well aware that he is racing against the clock as he tries desperately to find Rainie and the person responsible. There is one man who also knows what happened that night and he has his own plans. He has already contacted the media and is intent on money and power. Can Quincy and Kimberly stop him or is it too late?

    I have read and followed the Quincy series of books that Lisa Gardner has read but this book can be read on its own as the characters and past are explained in summary to you. However, Lisa Gardner's style of writing is great and she has a real knack for drawing you in and becoming really familiar with the characters and their flaws. This is what I love about the way she writes the series. I will be honest and say that my only worry is that other authors who have tried to do follow on series have sometimes gone off the boil. Lisa Gardner certainly hasn't followed suit and I can only hope that she continues to write her books as well as she has done up until now.

    This particular book was a fantastic read and had me hooked from chapter 1 and I highly recommend not only this book but the whole Quincy/Rainie series.

  7. Jill Mansell An Offer You Cant RefuseSynopsis: Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend Dougie's snobbish mother offers her 10,000 to break up with him. Then she discovers a secret that makes her think again. Dougie would probably have broken up with her in the long run, and this way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world.

    Ten years later, though, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. But she broke Dougie's heart and he's about to discover that she was paid to do it. She can never tell him the truth, so can she get him back? Well, Lola's very attractive and very persuasive. But even she's got her work cut out this time

    Kat's Rating: 5/5

    Kat's Review: I got a bit tired of Jill Mansell books for a while but when her new one came out I thought I'd give it a try and I'm glad I did. The story is about Lola, a young girl who falls in love and then moves abroad after getting herself in a situation. When she comes back her life takes an unexpected turn and her first true love is back in her life with a bang. Lola is a great character and one that any girl can compare in some ways to a close friend. This book was warm, heartfelt and funny. The perfect combination. Couldn't put it down and thoroughly enjoyed every chapter. Yes, it's a typical 'Chick Lit' book but I will definately by buying Jill Mansells new releases in the future. Any book that makes me laugh on the train on my daily and dreary commute deserves 5 stars! Highly recommended and guaranteed to cheer you up!

  8. Cathy Kelly Lessons In heartbreak

     Synopsis: 

    Izzie Silver left the small Irish town of Tamarin behind for New York. Life is good – until she breaks her own rules and falls for a married man.

    On the other side of the ocean, Izzie's aunt Anneliese discovers the pain of infidelity for herself.

    Then Lily, the wise and compassionate family matriarch, is taken ill. At her bedside back in Ireland, Izzie discovers a past her grandmother has never spoken of, while Anneliese feels despair mount. The one person she could have turned to is starting to slip away.

    The lessons each of the women learns – both past and present – bring joy and heartbreak. And the hardest lesson of all is learning to let go.

    Kat's Rating: 4/5

    Kat's Review: This is a book set between New York and Ireland, the past and present. It follows the lives of Izzie Silver and her close friends and family. Izzie meets Joe, a married man who she falls in love with and he has a huge impact on her life and the decisions she makes. She doesn't realise that her life is mirrored more than she can imagine by her grandmother Lily who falls ill back home in Ireland whilst Izzie is making a go of her own Model Agency. We then meet Izzy's aunt Annelise, whose husband changes her life when she discovers his infidelity and this starts her off on the self-destruct route.

    The two settings of the book make it quite interesting as we delve into Lily's past and the love of her life Jamie, during World War II. The characters are real and you can empathise with one or another in this book. The book is a slow and steady read and if I am honest a little on the depressing side. Cathy Kelly has written many books and somehow manages to balance the sad with the happy; however she failed to do it with this one. I found myself at a loss as to how I felt after finishing it. I thought the writing was good and the story well thought out, however it verges on the side of being too depressing for my taste but as I still enjoyed the book I gave it a 4/5. I only hope that Cathy Kelly has a bit more happiness in her next book! This book can be picked up in hardback or paperback from Amazon and the starting price for a used book is a mere 1penny.