Jul 232014
 

Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair: Number 3 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair) Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor. Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realises he’s far too intelligent to fool.

After the disappointment of the previous book in this series, Ms. Laurens has returned to form with this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the confusion over Thomas Glendower/Malcolm Sinclair. I gathered he had appeared as a villain in a previous Cynster book (I later discovered it was the ‘Taste of Innocence’), but as it was not one I’d read I found it a bit confusing over what he had done that was so bad. I therefore started the book feeling like I was missing half the story. It would have been useful if the book blurb had stated where we first met him, so readers could go back to that book if they chose.

Once I put that aside though, it didn’t take me long to get into the story and I really enjoyed it. The first half of the book is very much about Thomas and Rose, their developing relationship and the secrets they both hold. Rose is guarded and unwilling to trust but finds it difficult to resist Thomas, particularly with how he is with the children. Thomas is also surprised at how quickly he feels protective towards them, and seeing his younger self in Homer, he seeks to guide him as he himself never was.  Once Rose trusts Thomas with her problems they move to London, and that is when Barnaby Adair and his (growing) team get involved to solve the mystery. For me this book is a perfect blend of intrigue and romance, and focuses very clearly on the protagonists whereas the previous one didn’t.

Ms. Laurens does not disappoint with her bedroom scenes – steamy as always! But at least this time they focused on the characters that matter.

Overall a great book and having prepared myself for this one to be another thriller with little romance as in The Masterful Mr Montague, I was very pleased to find that was not the case.

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Jun 182014
 

Extinction An extraordinary discovery in the Sahara desert will turn history on its head…

A series of unexplained phenomena create shockwaves across the globe – a huge religious statue moves its arm, and there’s a spate of floods and earthquakes. Many think it’s the end of the world…

Investigative journalist Alyssa Durham receives a call from an old friend claiming that these phenomena may not be entirely natural, but when he is assassinated in front of her, she finds herself on the run for her life.

Alyssa teams up with Jack Murray, a scientist from a secretive government research laboratory, to uncover the truth. But who wants them dead, and what are they trying to protect?

As chaos descends, Alyssa and Jack are drawn into a battle against an unknown enemy with the highest possible stakes, because one thing they’ve learnt is that nothing is safe from extinction…

Wow, this is a hard one to review.  On the one hand, it’s an utterly gripping thriller with some extremely clever parts and on the other it has the worst type of ending for me personally and I’m going to put that aside because it shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of this book.  It’s also hard not to spoil things as there are a few elements that I really want to shout excitedly about!

The story is extremely well written, engaging and emotional, and oh yes, very gory!  The characters are exceptional too, I especially loved Alyssa and was glad she wasn’t made out to be a wilting flower, given her job as an investigative journalist.

Apart from the prologue and epilogue, the pace is full on, have to keep turning the pages while on the edge of my seat.  You can easily see it being a blockbuster action film.

The twists.  Oh my goodness the twists.  I can’t talk about them because they really would spoil the book, but there are two that had my jaw on the floor.  One is outstanding, I didn’t see it coming and it had me in shocked tears.  The second manages to be both extremely clever and a little disappointing.  Clever in that it encompasses the entire book, the writing is part of it, and it wasn’t until after I’d reached the epilogue, that I then had to skim through the book again to make sure it was how I thought it was.  That aspect – stunning.  The disappointing part was that it was so improbable but it is a minor part of an otherwise fantastic book that still has me thinking about it, a week or so on from reading it.

The first book by J.T. Brennan I’ve read and it won’t be the last.  Even if he doesn’t cater to my ending preferences ;)

[book rating=4.5/5]

Book Information
  • Author: J.T. Brannan
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Apr 032014
 

Watch Your Back A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before…
 
Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.
 
It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide…

Wow, this was one breathtaking, heart stopping, gut-wrenching ride!

Stevie is a character I have loved for the longest time and have been both frustrated and tearful both with her and for her.  Clay is just a sweetheart and is no different in this book.  When he does the powerful man thing though, it makes my knees quite weak!

I think this might be the final book focussing on this grouping of characters – I hope I’m wrong because I love them dearly but I’m not sure what direction it would go in now.  Having said that, Karen Rose does have the most amazing ability to connect characters and story-lines across books so there may well be some mention to see how they are doing.  I can only hope!

The story was fast paced and I thought it was extremely well judged to keep me right on the edge of my seat. The plot reveals came thick and fast and I don’t think I could have stopped reading even if I’d wanted to – there was just so much I had to KNOW.  I lost count of the number of times my heart was in my mouth and my husband had to keep checking I was OK, as I would make an audible sound (not that I was aware of it!).

The bad guys were actually really bad and Ms. Rose cleverly wove several elements from previous books into this one and the big reveal at the end – I thought I knew, but wow, I really didn’t.

Just phenomenal and as usual I am desperate for her next book, even if it does involve different characters.  In fact I think I need to read them ALL again!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen Rose
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

May 082013
 

Amnesia Quinn Cortez is a hotshot lawyer and ladies man – when his current lover Lulu is murdered, he wants to find the killer to clear his name, but when ex lovers also turn up dead and he has no alibi, Quinn turns to the best detective agency in the country for help.

Lulu’s cousin Annabelle is desperate to find the murderer and also turns to the Powell detective agency. Forced to work together, Annabelle soon becomes one of the only people to believe in him as the evidence stacks up, and Quinn cannot remember what he was doing at the time of any of the murders.

Wow – this is a fantastic thriller with a superb plot and a strong romance. I’ll be unable to say too much about the plot without giving anything away but suffice to say I did guess the killer, but was never really sure I had the right person until the end – also the reason they were killing was totally unexpected. The story completely sucked me in and took me every which way – every time I thought I had the answer, something else happened to throw me off track!

There was a very strong romance in this book and while the speed in which Quinn and Annabelle got together seemed a bit quick given the circumstances, the way it was written worked for me. Initially Quinn was not my favourite person being a bit of a ‘love them and leave them’ kind of guy, not caring about the broken hearts he leaves in his wake, but as we get beneath his layers we start to see the guy he really is. Annabelle is strong having had to carry the weight of family problems on her shoulders but I did feel she was a bit too trusting.

I have read a few of Ms. Barton’s books and recognized a number of characters particularly Griffin Powell – this is an early one in the Griffin Powell story line and makes you hungry for more information on him. I am missing big gaps of his story and am keen to find out what they are.

Ms Barton is a superb storyteller and this is another great romantic suspense. I started this one and was unable to put it down – there went my housework day again!

NB: This book was also published under the title ‘Killing her Softly’.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Beverly Barton
  • Series: Griffin Powell (5)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Mar 132013
 

Dead Sleep When Prize winning photojournalist Jordan Glass chances upon a portrait by an unknown artist in Hong Kong, she is stunned. The face staring back is her identical twin sister. The painting is part of an exhibition entitled ‘sleeping Women’ and as Jordan studies it she realises, to her horror, that the portraits are all of women who, like her sister have disappeared from New Orleans in recent months.

Wow, first book I’ve read by this author and I am now determined to find everything he has written. This was brilliant, the premise was unique and  I was drawn in to the story immediately. Jordan is no innocent girl, she is 40 years old and has experienced the worst the world has to offer from her work as a war photojournalist. She is tough but also has a softer side hiding some secrets of her own. There was a love aspect but it was a very minimal part of the story and, unusually for me, this didn’t bother me as the plot was so engaging and intriguing.

Special Agent John Kaiser is one of the FBI agents involved in the case, he was okay but the forensic psychiatrist Dr Lenz irritated the hell out of me – it was great when Jordan finally snapped and said “You think she’s dead?” I ask, coming half out of my chair. “Who gives a goddamn what you think? How many times have you been right in the past week? Once?” Hell yeah, I wanted to applaud!

There were lots of twists and turns and I was left guessing right up until the last few chapters. I did find it unusual how easily Jordan was able to become so involved with the FBI investigation, even go so far as interviewing suspects alone, but this was a necessary part of the story particularly as the book is written from her perspective.

In summary, if you like thrillers then read Dead Sleep! I was hooked as soon as Jordan walked into the Hong Kong art gallery.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Greg Iles
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Jul 182012
 

Blackout: The Newsflesh Trilogy: Book 3 I have to apologise for the spoiler contained in the review of Deadline.  It can be incredibly difficult to review a book when an event that is so integral to the story happens. It’s almost impossible to allude to, rather than be able to mention it.  That being said, I try very hard not to use spoilers and didn’t think to put a warning (there is one now).  Lesson learned!

The sneak peak at the end of Deadline had my jaw dropping and luckily I had Blackout to dive straight into.  If I’d had to wait, I think I might have imploded.  This book was the perfect closing to the trilogy for many reasons.  We got to see just how deep the conspiracy ran, the reasoning behind it all… in short, the Truth that Georgia and Shaun Mason had been searching for.  It cost a lot to get there, some might say too much, but Shaun’s tenacity is like an unstoppable force.

The pace of the story of all three books were perfectly measured to me. In Feed it started slowly and gained speed, in Deadline it increased to a nail-biting run, and finally, in Blackout it was an edge of your seat, can’t-put-it-down-until-I’ve-finished-it full sprint.  It suited the story really well and there was no wasted time.

There was more ground covered in this book than the previous two, the characters often being separated because of need and it was interesting having the point of view switching around quite a bit.  It was never confusing, however, as to who was ‘speaking’.  The little snippets of blog entries also let you know how other characters were feeling, be that happy, angry or sad.

There are so many emotional punches just waiting to pounce on you throughout the story.  The biggest one, I won’t mention, but you will instantly know what I mean when you start reading.  It floored me and made me both happy and sad.  Along with that the characters accompanying Shaun were brilliant and well written, as important to the story as Shaun himself.  There was one moment that made me shout ‘I knew it!’ after having suspicions formed from the previous novels. It also made me very happy!

As each revelation came, I got more and more shocked at just what was going on and how people were both capable and felt justified in their actions.  It harks back to other atrocities in our history, where people in a position of power thought they were right in doing what they did.  But this is so much more.  Shaun wanted the truth… and the truth is more terrifying than I could have imagined.

This is an amazing series and if you even remotely like a conspiracy thriller with a dose of zombies, then this is for you.  You do need to read them in order though, so start with Book 1, Feed.

Rise up… and read it!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mira Grant
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Jan 072012
 

This isn’t a definitive list of what is being released this year, just books I am looking forwards to in particular.  I have probably missed some and of course, there will always be authors that are new to me to be discovered.  Let the reading begin… as they get released of course ;)

January

Lothaire by Kresley Cole (Immortals After Dark #12)
Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank (The Nightwalkers #1)
Gideon by Jacquelyn Frank (The Nightwalkers #2)
Seven Princes by John R. Fultz (Books of the Shaper #1)
Unclean Spirits by M. L. N. Hanover (Black Sun’s Daughter #1)
The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #2)
Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz (Dark Legacy #1)
Heir of Night by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night #1)
No One Left to Tell by Karen Rose
Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan (The Riyria Revelations)
Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells (Sabina Kane #4)
Eternal Hunger by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #1)
Eternal Kiss by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #2)

It’s very hard to choose just one out of all the great books being released this month but my top pick for January is No One Left to Tell by Karen Rose.

February

Mass Effect: Deception by William C. Dietz
Darker Angels by M. L. N. Hanover (Black Sun’s Daughter #2)
Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #3)
A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
The Dread by Gail Z. Martin (Fallen Kings Cycle #2)
Eternal Captive by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #3)

The Dread by Gail Z. Martin continues the Fallen Kings Cycle and is my top pick for February.

March

Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop (Ephemera #3)
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #3)
Recipe for Love by Katie Fforde
Elijah by Jacquelyn Frank (The Nightwalkers #3)
Damien by Jacquelyn Frank (The Nightwalkers #4)
Vicious Grace by M. L. N. Hanover (Black Sun’s Daughter #3)
Fated by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus #1)
Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Chronicles of Nick #3)
Exogene by T. C. McCarthy (Subterrene War #2)
Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)
A Rising Thunder by David Weber (Honor Harrington)

March is a very tough month to choose a top pick from, with books out by several favourite authors.  I am going to have to go with Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward since I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood and this is Tohr’s story!

April

Noah by Jacquelyn Frank (The Nightwalkers #5)
Killing Rites by M. L. N. Hanover (Black Sun’s Daughter #4)
Vengeance by Ian Irvine (The Tainted Realm #1)
Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night #2)
The Love Letter by Fiona Walker
32 Fangs by David Wellington (Laura Caxton #5)

The Love Letter by Fiona Walker is my pick for April, her books never fail to amuse and entertain me.

May

The King’s Blood by Daniel Abraham (Dagger and the Coin #2)
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Elder Races #1)
Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon (League #5)
Frostbite by Richelle Mead,  Emma Vieceli and Leigh Dragoon (Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2)

By May I will be jumping up and down with excitement with the release of Born Of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon, the next book in her brilliant League series!

June

Darkness Devours by Keri Arthur (Dark Angel #3)
Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey (Expanse #2)
Blackout by Mira Grant (Newsflesh Trilogy #3)
Storm’s Heart by Thea Harrison (Elder Races #2)
Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione (Lords of Deliverance #3)
Cursed by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus #2)
Messenger’s Angel by Heather Killough-Walden (Lost Angels #2)
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #2)
A Night like This by Julia Quinn (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)
Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells (Sabina Kane #5)

This is not getting any easier!  June has so many books I am really excited about, but if my arm was twisted behind my back to choose (please don’t!) it would have to be Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione.

July

Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld #13)

July is a bit of an obvious one!

August

Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark-Hunter #22)
Shadow Blizzard by Alexey Pehov (Chronicles of Siala #3)
Seawitch by Kat Richardson (Greywalker #7)
Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville #10)

Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn is my pick for August, I just love this series so much!

November

Death’s Angel by Heather Killough-Walden (Lost Angels #3)

This month speaks for itself ;)

Nov 302011
 

I’d heard a lot about this book from various sources, usually with complete enthusiasm but never much about the plot.  Having just finished it, I totally get why.  You can’t say much about it beyond the main character’s sister has gone missing and it’s about her journey to find her.  Any more than that and it would completely ruin it for someone who wants to read it (and you really do!).

Sister is an amazing book that gripped me and I just couldn’t put it down.  I started it Sunday morning and finished it in the afternoon and I was left with that lovely ‘Wow’ feeling and then had to think about it for a while.  I didn’t see the ending coming at all and once I had finished I could see the tiny and very subtle hints leaning towards it but for the life of me, I totally missed putting them together.  Rosamund Lupton is a master at getting you to look the wrong way.  For that very reason I think the ending has that much more of an impact, when the dawning realisation mixed with horror hits you.

As a debut novel, it’s nothing short of amazing; the plot was intricate but easy to understand and the writing so clean and smooth, I didn’t realise how much of it I had read until my husband commented.

It’s hard to put a label on Sister.  It’s part crime, part thriller but with a little edge of future-science to wrap it up into a book that I now want everyone to read so I can talk about it!  I might find I was the only one who missed the clues but that’s not unusual because I get so caught up in the story.

Lupton’s characterisations were extremely well done.  I loved Beatrice and the changes she undergoes throughout her journey, how much her life alters through her solid refusal to believe what she’s been told, and her determination to find out the truth.  She was both believable and real, and the love she has for her sister got to me in a deep and profound way.

The supporting cast were as solid as Beatrice; her mother who has already been through enough tragedy with the loss of a son at an early age, her safe dependable and boring fiance who just wants her to accept things as they are so they can go back to the States.  The police she encounters repeatedly in her search were well written and their actions were understandable, even as you felt her frustration with them.   The best character other than Beatrice was Mr Wright, the CPS Lawyer who takes her through the events of her search.  They make up the most of the book along with narration or a letter to her sister.  He was utterly believeable and I loved him.

I can only briefly mention the ending in that it left me shocked and speechless but with the feeling that I had just read something incredible.

Sister is a fascinating and enjoyable book that will pull you in and refuse to let you go until you know the truth.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Rosamund Lupton
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jul 292011
 

I wouldn’t have naturally picked up this book as it doesn’t really sit comfortably in any of my regular genres, but after hearing S. J. Watson talk about it at his joint signing with Tess Gerritsen, I was intrigued.

Having just finished it, words honestly fail me.  A lot of clichéd phrases go through my mind and while most of them fit, I don’t think they could do this book justice.  It was quite simply phenomenal.

From the start you are drawn in to the world of a woman who wakes up every day and has no idea where she is, or the identity of the man she is sleeping next to.  She’s shocked by the older woman she sees in the mirror each morning.  A daily process of seeing pictures and notes left for her by her husband, to piece together just enough so she can get through the day.  She can retain memory for just that day but once she sleeps, it’s all gone again.

We follow Christine as she discovers that she has been keeping a journal, that a man who calls himself Dr. Nash has been working with her to try and regain some memory and that he rings her every day to remind her where she hides it.

We experience the story through Christine’s journal, and as she reads through it, she finds out things she can’t remember having written, but has the proof in front of her.  It leads to questions and then confusing and often contradictory answers about how she ended up this way, and why she is working with Dr. Nash to try and regain some semblance of life.

The story is moving and tragic and powerful.  Perhaps sometimes there are things we would rather forget but to imagine not remembering anything at all is beyond distressing.

Finally, towards the end of the book, just as you think you know what is happening, as Christine thinks she knows what is happening, it all changes.  The twist is monumental and incredible but utterly believable.

The entire book was gripping and thought provoking and I couldn’t put it down.

As a book, it’s brilliant.  As a debut novel for S. J. Watson, it’s just amazing.

Read it…  Just read it.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: S. J. Watson
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Apr 252011
 

When a mutilated body is left close to her home, Forensic Pathologist Dr. Lucy Trask is shocked, but the eventuality is just another day at the office.  As she performs the autopsy puzzling things are revealed.  The figure ‘I’ has been burned into the victim’s back, the heart, eyes and tongue all carefully removed,  actions that appear to have obvious meaning for the killer.  Neither Lucy, nor Detective JD Fitzpatrick, have any clue what the message is supposed to tell them.  When the body is finally identified, Lucy realises she had a connection to him, and finding him was no accident.  Another body is left for her, with the same mutilations, and that additional connection leads Lucy to something from her past.  Tragic events, hidden truths and cover-ups from her childhood resurface, and a simple bracelet is her only clue to to the killer’s mysterious intent.

I had a list of things to do today, nothing that important, just usual day to day things.  I started reading You Belong to Me with a morning coffee and everything else went out the window, I could not put it down!  Right from the first page I was intrigued, and got completely caught up in the story.  I even had to stop myself from flipping to the back page to see how it turned out, it was that intense, and I’m glad I didn’t in the end.

The main characters were superbly brought to life and I cared so much about JD and Lucy, at times I didn’t want to turn a page for fear of what was going to happen to them.  The moments between the two were so sweet and powerful, it left me a little breathless.  The supporting characters were just as well written, and I had a lot of affection for some of them, but as it should be, they didn’t hold quite as much of my heart as JD and Lucy.

The story itself was amazing.  The plot was both intricate and simple, almost as if two layers are going on at the same time, and I honestly don’t know how Karen Rose kept it all straight.  It was never confusing, however, and I think that is where this book went from a great read, to an outstanding one.

It was truly chilling at times, especially when the antagonist was centre stage or when his handywork had been left to be discovered.  Getting ‘into’ the killer’s head can’t have been easy, nor describing his deeds, yet Rose managed it in a believable and convincing manner.

The pace of the story was excellent, utterly gripping and tuned just right to keep me turning the pages as fast as I could read.

You Belong to Me has now become one of my favourite books from Karen Rose and is quite possibly the best one she has written… so far!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen Rose
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)