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)

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)

 

Blackout

 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)

 

Books I can’t wait for in 2012!

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 😉

Sister

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)

Before I go to Sleep

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)

You Belong to Me

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)

 

The Killing Place

With Maura Isles missing, a burned car with four bodies and the local police insisting nothing more sinister was going on than an accident, Detective Jane Rizzoli refuses to accept the evidence that her friend could be dead.

A wrong turn in the snow led Maura and her companions to Kingdom Come, a place of questions and mystery.  A town abandoned, seemingly in an instant and no evidence of the occupants other than a few unsettling clues.

Will Rizzoli find her friend alive and uncover the truth behind Kingdom Come?

It was great to see a new ‘Rizzoli and Isles’ book.  I’ve definitely enjoyed the re-releasing of Gerritsen’s romantic thrillers but she creates something very special when she gets these two characters together.  Their shared history makes them very good friends and I love how that closeness was portrayed when Jane Rizzoli realised her friend was in trouble, possibly dead.  Two such different personalities yet they work very well together.

As to the story, well I read the whole book in one day and couldn’t put it down.  It was gripping, absorbing, emotional and kept me on the edge of my seat hoping that things were not how they seemed.  After the initial build up, the shocks kept on coming in Gerritsen’s usual style yet they were all natural progressions, nothing forced or out of line with what I thought the characters would do.

The pace worked really well, starting at an easy flow then increasing until I had to take breaks to have a reality check before diving back in again.  The twist at the end was outstanding and I was completely oblivious to it until it arrived, although I did have the sense that all was not right, I just couldn’t put my finger on why.

It’s always hard to know how much to say without spoiling it for others but there were a few moments that really got to me, and I’m sure you will know exactly what I mean when you read The Killing Place for yourself.

And you really need to, it’s a good one!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Tess Gerritsen
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Silent Truth

BAD Agent Hunter Thornton-Payne is on a mission along with his own personal agenda.  The assassin that robbed him of his best friend four years ago is back in play by the Fratelli organisation. While BAD’s interests lie with his own he is content to wait it out.  When he meets Abbie Blanton and her quest for answers to her mothers mysterious illness, he sees a connection and opportunity that could lead him straight to the killer.  With Abbie a target, he has to try to keep her at arms length and safe so he can find the answers they both need.  Abbie has other ideas and is determined to help, leaving Hunter at risk of being hunted not only by the Fratelli, but BAD itself.

Silent truth is the fifth book in the B.A.D. series and I was really happy to see this book return to the excellent form of Bad Attitude.  That’s not to say the others weren’t good, they were, I just felt there was something lacking that made the first book such an exciting read.  Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love make a brilliant team and their love and pride of this series really shines through.

It was great to go deeper into the character of Hunter.  When he appeared in previous books, he came across as a bit of an ass and that  made me a little wary when I found out that he was the central male character.  When I learned what made him become so, I realised there was so much more beneath the detached surface.  Dangerous and highly trained yet hiding a compassionate heart behind his ruthless exterior.  Very hot and definitely a character to fall in love with!  Abbie was a solid and believable character as well, I loved her naivety despite what she had been through and given how strong and feisty she was, she was more than a match for Hunter.

The pace of the book was really good, well written action scenes and at times it was very tense.  Of course that meant I HAD to keep reading to find out what happened which I can only count as a good thing.  The way the sexual chemistry and heat was built up worked very well and left me almost as breathless as the characters.

The plot was actually quite intricate, several threads coming together that had been building up over the series and I got to see just how widespread the Fratelli organisation really was.  I thought Linette’s character worked really well within it and I feared for her at every turn of events.

Now for the OMG NO! moment.  I am still in denial and hoping for a miracle in the next book but as it stands, much kudos for it being so well played and emotional.  It really got me.

I can’t say more than that without spoiling it but you will just have to read Silent Truth and find out for yourself.  Enjoy!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Harrowing

Already lonely, Thanksgiving is hard on Robin Stone when Mendenhall, her residence hall at Baird College, empties out for the holiday.  To her surprise she finds that four other students have also chosen to remain at the hall, and while very different to each other they become bonded by their choice to remain for the long weekend.  As they entertain themselves, they become aware of another presence slightly oppressive, persuasive and they play a dangerous game thinking they know who it is.  Five at the hall at the start of the holiday.  How many will be left when the hall fills once more?

I’d heard good things about Alexandra Sokoloff’s work but I do like to make my own mind up about an author that is new to me.  The Harrowing is the first book she released and is a mild horror/suspense.

The first thing that struck me is that she has a very fluid and easy to read style of writing, something that is always a treat to find.  The second is she has a knack for getting you right into the story and in tune with the characters right from the start.  My third and final impression was, while the story wasn’t overly complicated, it had plenty of twists and turns to keep me turning the pages and enough tension that I wanted to peek at the back to find out if it was all going to come out OK.  I managed not to and am glad I didn’t, as I would have missed out on a lot of the build up.  The characters were well created, I could empathise with them easily and I cared and worried about what the outcome would be for them.

Considering it was a debut novel, it was an extremely engaging, enjoyable and tense read.  I definitely look forwards to reading more by Alexandra Sokoloff.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Alexandra Sokoloff
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)