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» Listings for January 2012

  1. Jo Carnegie Horse PlayMy Rating: 5/5

    Jo Carnegie has written a fantastic series of books set in Churchminster. I have enjoyed them all but her last book Dirty Tricks was an absolute corker. I was looking forward to the release of Horse Play. At a meaty 608 pages I certainly had something to get my teeth in to.

    As usual with the Churchminster books you see the familiar faces that have appeared in the other books. Although that is the case, you certainly don't have top read the others and this could be read as a stand alone book. Although that may be the case, I just love the fact that with each book comes another part of Churchminster's life and we see members of the village and what is going on in their lives.

    This books main star of the show was a new face in the form of Kizzy. She works for Angie and Fred (who feature in other books) and is trying to crack her burning ambition of becoming a successful female jockey. Angie and Fred have a horse called Nobby that Kizzy rides along with Edward who comes onto the scene a little later on.

    In addition to Kizzy some of my favourite characters all make an appearance along with Caro and Benedict who have another part of the storyline along with Caro's despicable ex-husband Sebastian. There is also the appearance of other villagers such as Camilla and Jed and Granny Clem. Along with those my absolutely favourite character of all is Calypso, sisters to Caro and Camilla. She has the best attitude ever and some of her sayings are absolutely hilarious. She takes up a slice of the pie as she tries to work out whether or not to go back to London to try and make her events business even more successful.

    The story starts with quite a few hairy moments in the beginning and after a couple of chapters I realised that Jo Carnegie had set me up for another bumper read. After a little while we see the sexy Javier, a former Olympic dressage rider, come into the story. The story itself is heart warming, funny and at times as steamy as hell. It had me gripped from start to finish and I truly didn't want it to end. One particular moment feasturing Caro and a trip to see her son's teacher had me laughing out loud and cringeing at the same time!

    The characters draw you in until you love them or loathe them and the village life certainly hasn't got any quieter in the case of Churchminster. Two other characters that made this book for me are Caro and Benedict's new neighbours Baz and Cheryl. They were fantastic and had me giggling at every appearance. The story has lots going on and I would love to live in a place like this where there is drama at every corner!

    I was truly sad to finish the book and thought it may well be the best yet in the series. I can only hope that the next book comes along sooner than expected as I don't know if I can wait another year to catch up with what I now consider old friends!

  2. Simon Kernick SiegeMy Rating: 5/5

    I am a huge Kernick fan and love his style of writing. I can only compare reading his books to driving a Ferrari at full speed and no brake pedal in sight! This book was no different for each of the 368 pages. The awful thing about this book is that the world we live in today presents many situations like this one. This situation is where people are held hostage fearing for their lives; while others fight their own war.

    From the very beginning of the story we are plunged into the horrific situation that many will find themselves in. You are quickly introduced to quite a lot of characters and in the beginning I wondered why there were so many. However, pretty soon you realise that all these people are going to collide in the most horrific of circumstances.

    The short sharp chapters kept me turning the pages until I realised it was past my bedtime and I had demolished over half the book in one sitting! The characters in the book seem to grab at your emotions for one reason or another and there are so many different stories about why people are there you become intrigued to the point of distraction. One character named Scope really caught my eye and I would just love to see him feature in other books, but who knows what My Kernick will bring us next.

    There are plot twists and surprises by the bucket load, so you won't be disappointed in that sense. The only un-nerving thing for me is that this is all too much of a reality. Working in any major city on the world you will feel all too easily the reality bursting through the seams of the pages. Simon Kernick has once again released a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and as ever I end up disappointed that I have to wait so long for the next one!

  3. Howard Linskey The DropMy Rating: 5/5

     This book was recommended to me by a fellow reader, and I am extremely glad that I took their advice! Howard Linskey released this, his debit novel in April 2011 and his follow up book is due for release in April 2012.

    It takes less than two chapters for me to be utterly engrossed in this book. David Blake is a gangster, except he isn't your ordinary violent and ruthless man. He is somebody that has worked his was on to Bobby Mahoney's firm by giving his sound judgement on things and proving his loyalty. When David returns from his holiday, he gets news that Bobby is not a happy man. David, who is head of Bobby's security, has managed to leave an important drop to another man in the firm who, it seems, has disappeared off the face of the planet. Pretty soon David realises that he has to find the money and the person responsible.

    I really liked David Blake from the off and as he races to find the people who have Bobby's money I found myself liking him even more. This was not your typical gangster that roughs everybody up; he merely asks politely and leaves the roughing up to his colleague Finney. The story has a relentless kind of pace as David uncovers more and more things that aren't quite right.

    Although David is the main character, we meet a hell of a lot more along the way, all who make the story that little bit more interesting. Bobby, David's boss features heavily as does Bobby's young daughter Sarah. We also see some of the other people who are either on the firm or were once part of it. The characters and storyline kept me turning pages late into the night.

    There is actually an underlying humour to this book too which I loved. The setting up in Newcastle was done perfectly, with no overkill on either the accent or the place. I loved the ending, and the fact that this is the perfect opener for the second book. An absolutely cracking debut novel and the follow up is already pre-ordered. If you haven't heard of Howard Linskey, take note, this man is already a well remembered name in my never ending list of great authors.

  4. Mike Gayle My Legendary GirlfriendMy Rating: 2/5

    Okay, my first foray into the world of Lad Lit came only in November 2011 with a self-published book that had me literally crying with laughter. The book was so good that I immediately started looking at other male `Lad Lit' authors and Mike Gayle was one that I had heard of and was incredibly popular.

    With that in mind I decided to try his debut novel My Legendary Girlfriend that he first published back in 1998. Very early on we are introduced to Will Kelly, the only real `character' so to speak in the book. We get the lowdown on his truly depressing life, his awful flat and his agony over his ex-girlfriend.

    Very early on I found myself disliking Will, all he seemed to do was moan about literally everything, and I had no sympathy for him whatsoever. I figured that this must be the lead up to where the character develops and the reader ends up seeing the turnaround. No such luck for me on that front.

    The most frustrating thing is that nothing much happens. I get the impression this was meant to be a mans take on the Bridget Jones style kind of diary; however this is the furthest from that example in my opinion. Seeing as I was over halfway through the book and not feeling anything towards the character, I gave the book a break for a day and hoped I would return with a better feeling.

    Sadly, when I returned and ploughed through (that's what it felt like), I finished it with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. The writing was good, and there were certainly moments that made me chuckle, but that alone was not enough for me to actually feel like I enjoyed the book.

    Overall, I can honestly say that this book was unmemorable at best and boring at worst. The writing and moments of humour are enough for me to try another Mike Gayle, after all as this was his debut novel and he now has a solid fan base I would like to give a newer book a try and hope that maybe it was just this particular book that wasn't my cup of tea.

  5. Jojo Moyes Me Before YouMy Rating: 5/5

    Well, having never read a Jo Jo Moyes book, I wasn't sure what to expect and what I got was certainly not what I expected. The story is not one I that instantly attracts a reader as it subject matter could be looked upon as depressing. Will Traynor is larger than life until life deals him a bad hand and he is involved in an accident leaving him a quadriplegic. Will has all but given up on life until Lou Clark enters it.

    Lou Clark is an adorable character from the very beginning. She is a young girl that has lost her job in the small village that she works in and is looking for a new one. When she is offered the job of being a carer, she isn't sure that the job is for her but decides to give it a go anyway. The relationship between Will and Lou had me laughing out loud, and I must say I wasn't expecting the humorous side to the story. However, Jo has managed to deal with the issue of Will's disability with such sensitivity.

    Lou is determined to make Will see that life is worth living no matter what your situation. This book was one that I couldn't put down. I started it at lunchtime and by the end of the evening it was finished. The book was absolutely gripping. I was really part of Lou's mission and fell in love with all of the characters (including Lou's family). The ending wasn't what I expected and the book had me both laughing and getting teary at the same time.

    My first Jo Jo Moyes has set the bar and I cannot wait to read another one of her books. I would highly recommend this book but just make sure if you are of a weepy disposition you have the tissues at the ready.

  6. Karen Rose No One Left To TellMy Rating: 5/5

    One thing I want to make clear is that this book along with all of Karen Rose books falls under the genre of Romantic Suspense. Now I am a fan of both romance and crime so the mix of the two doesn't bother me at all. For those that want zero romance, you may want to look elsewhere. For those that, like me, quite like that element of the book then get yourselves out and get a copy of her latest release.

    No One Left To Tell starts as it means to go on when we see Paige Holden make her way to a pro bono clients house. The story starts with a bang as Paige witnesses Elena Munoz gunned down and while Paige is trying to save her, Elena whispers in her ear and sets off the chain reaction that will turn her life upside down.

    Paige as a character is very easy to like, a lady that has her own past and is trying to make a fresh start in a new city. When Elena Munoz dies, Paige is determined to get to the bottom of the secrets she was holding. We also meet Grayson Smith, who also has his own secrets but has made a success of himself as an attorney.

    Paige meets Grayson and together they try to piece together the evidence they have and set about finding the killer for numerous murders. This book, even by Karen Rose standards was quite a long one but this one seemed more intricate in detail. The storyline keeps expanding with new possibilities and leads at every corner.

    At just over the halfway mark I couldn't put it down, and although it got more and more complicated and dangerous I just had to keep reading. The list of crimes that they uncover, seem get longer by the hour with murder, corruption and suicides to name a few.

    As usual we also get to meet a whole host of other characters such as Grayson's family along with some familiar faces. One of the things I love about Karen Rose books is that I have read them all so the feature of some characters is an added bonus for me. We get to see Detective Stevie Mazzetti, Investigator Clay Maynard and Dr Lucy Trask who all feature in other books.

    The pace is kept up from start to finish and although the book is lengthy it kept my interest from the first page to the very last. This book is a fine example of Karen Rose's brilliant writing. Once again, I will have to wait impatiently for the next instalment.

  7. Leigh Russell Death BedMy Rating: 4/5

    I have read each of the books in this series and was looking forward to this one which is book 4 of the series. However, with the relocation of Geraldine to London I found myself feeling like we were back at the beginning in a certain sense.

    After finishing book 3 which I loved and rated a full 5 out of 5, I had high expectations and I think the new setting may have thrown me slightly. Geraldine is once again on uncertain ground as she tries to get to grips with her new role and new colleagues. I loved Ian Peterson, an ex-colleague of Geraldine's but found myself being introduced to a new sergeant that she will be working with (who I am undecided about at the moment).

    When Geraldine is assigned to work on a case, she doesn't realise the potential media impact, as the case could have a racist element to it. The story itself was as usual a good one, and the descriptive gruesomeness of some scenes was brilliant. However, I think that after finishing this book there were some elements missing. I feel like just as I was getting to know characters and Geraldine's setting, we are thrown in with new settings and characters which made me feel like it was harder work than it should have been.

    I also think that because of all of that, the actual crimes that were taking place seemed to take a bit of a back seat for me. Towards the end of the book the pace was picked up, but there was an element of it being wrapped up too neatly at the end for my liking.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book and loved re-visiting a character I have grown to look forward to reading about. I just wish that I didn't feel like we have gone back a few steps with the character, and can only hope that I grow to like Geraldine's new colleagues as much as the old!