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A long time away, but now I am back and ready to review!

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since 07/02/2009


92 Pacific Boulevard - Debbie Macomber 31/08/2011

A great heart - warming read

92 Pacific Boulevard - Debbie Macomber 92 Pacific Boulevard is the ninth novel in the Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber. The series tells the stories of a number of characters and in each novel a different house is focused on. In this book, the house of Sheriff Troy Davies is the main focus and his relationship with Faith – the woman he loves from his childhood. As well as Troy, there are a number of other characters featured but the main theme of the book is relationships, mainly broken ones where the characters try and get back together but also those old relationships which have been going throughout the series. This is only the second book in the Cedar Cove series that I have read, the other one being the very first, so there are a lot of new characters and changed circumstances between those that have been in it throughout. There is a very helpful page at the beginning which outlines each character; what their job is and who they are related to. The novel is very easy to read and is really heart-warming. The thing that attracted me to it was the mention of a body that was found in one of the caves but this wasn’t really the main theme in the story. However, I got hooked into the lives of each character and really wanted to read on to discover the outcomes of their situations. What I did find quite annoying though was there were too many ‘quick’ marriages and proposals. This trend started about halfway through with two of the characters, who had only just met a few pages earlier, deciding not to have a ...

The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen 30/07/2011

A murder in Chinatown leads to a gruesome investigation

The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen The Silent Girl is the latest novel by Tess Gerritsen in the Rizzoli and Isles series. It was released in July 2011 and since the release of her previous novel – The Killing Place, a TV series has been launched in America called Rizzoli and Isles. This book is set in Boston’s Chinatown and after the discovery of a body on the roof an investigation is launched into a murder-suicide that happened nineteen years earlier in the same area. I was interested to see if this book had changed at all because of the release of the TV series last year and I am pleased to say that it hasn’t. It’s still written in Gerritsen’s usual style and it was as gripping as ever and I actually think that this is one of her best books to date. As with her other books, the story is fairly simple and told without too many time shifts. It just tells the story of the investigation and what happens in order to uncover the truth. In other books in the same genre there are often several layers to a story which can make it quite complex but in Gerritsen’s books she keeps in very straightforward and easy to read. This doesn’t mean to say that it is boring – on the contrary. There are so many cliff hangers and unexpected things that come to light that the reader starts to get the feeling they are actually part of the investigation. It gives a great insight into what life is like as a detective and soon they learn to expect the unexpected. Although the book is advertised as being a Rizzoli and Isles book, ...

Sepulchre - Kate Mosse 23/07/2011

A very thorough and enjoyable historic read

Sepulchre - Kate Mosse Sepulchre is the second book in the Languedoc trilogy by Kate Mosse. As with the previous book, Labyrinth, it is written in two different time frames – the past and the present day. It effectively tells two stories, but these stories go together and the present day tells of the hunt to find out what happened in the past. Some people may be put off by the changes in time frames, but Mosse makes it very easy to distinguish between the two. The chapters are clearly marked and it doesn’t flit back and forth. There is a substantial amount of time spent in each time zone so you really get into the story that is being told. This was the second time I had read this book. Normally I don’t ready books twice unless they are really good, and this book is really good! It’s not a short book and with over 700 pages it did take me quite a time to read. I had been meaning to read it a second time and finally got around to it last month. I’m not quite sure why I like it so much, I think it’s because of the historic detail in the books and I admire the amount of research that must have gone into writing this. The girl in the present time, Meredith is actually conducting her own research into what happened in 1891 so along with the story of Leonie, the girl who the events in the past happen to, the reader gets a good sense of what life was like in 1891. The book is so long because of the amount of detail that Mosse puts into it and some reader may find this distracting. However, I really ...

HTC Desire 27/06/2011

It certainly is a 'smart' phone

HTC Desire I started using the HTC Desire when my Nokia smart phone gave up and I am really pleased with it. The appearance of the phone is nothing special and is in fact, quite boring really with a bronze and black exterior. The first thing I notice was that it was much lighter and slimmer than my Nokia and it has a much larger screen. The phone is a touch screen phone and there are only a couple of buttons along the bottom of the screen as well as a small scroll button in the middle. There is also a button at the top left of the phone which turns the screen on and off. The welcome screen is very colourful and is practical too. It has all the shortcuts you need already programmed but you can also add and remove as necessary. There is also a large digital clock which I rely on heavily to let me know the time. Another fun thing is the weather. The clock display shows you the high and low temperatures for the day, but there are also motion graphics which show you what the weather is going to be doing. For example, if there is rain, water drops onto the screen and a large windscreen wiper comes and clears them away. Although this is good and fun, it is also a slight drain on the battery life. The battery life was one thing that I noticed not to be so good when I first switched over from my Nokia. Because of the constant moving graphics when you turn the screen on, and other features such as always searching for the Wi Fi networks in range, the battery life isn’t all that good. I find ...

The Shakespeare Curse - J. L. Carrell 08/06/2011

Too much history for me - so confusing

The Shakespeare Curse - J. L. Carrell Every now and then I fancy reading an historical novel and this one had been sitting on my bookshelf for ages before I had another urge to read in this genre. I normally prefer thrillers and crime novels and this one did fit into those topics with the description on the cover telling me about gruesome murders inspired by an age old curse. I have some knowledge of Shakespeare, having read some of his plays at school but Macbeth is not one that I have come across. That might be one of the reasons why I did not enjoy this novel as much as I had hoped. I had not read Carrell’s previous novel so I have nothing to compare it to but it just didn’t live up to my expectations of what I like from an historical novelist. The story follows Kate who has been called to Scotland to investigate some strange goings on at Lady Nairn’s castle. Lady Nairn used to be an actress in the play Macbeth which has famously been cursed and is living in what is rumoured to have been Lady Macbeth’s castle. Some gruesome murders do take place but I wasn’t all that shocked by them, probably because I wasn’t that in to the story. If you don’t know the play, like me, then there are a lot of historical facts that the reader will need to take in when reading this book and that is what I didn’t like. Although I do like learning about the past from historical novels, this one just didn’t grab me because it was all about Wiccan and witch craft which I have no interest in either. There were a lot of things in ...

16 Lighthouse Road - Debbie Macomber 05/06/2011

A good chick lit read but it can get confusing at times

16 Lighthouse Road - Debbie Macomber I actually bought this book as Kindle download because it was in the sale. I have a thing for lighthouses at the moment and because it was in the title and the blurb on the back looked promising, I hit the download button. My first impression was that it was very similar to Cathy Kelly’s writing style, where it tells the story of several different characters who, by the end of the story, find they are all connected somehow. The stories told are of love, loss and picking up the pieces – a true chick lit book. And it all takes place in Cedar Cove. Overall I enjoyed the book, but at the beginning, as the story was getting into developing the characters, the plot got too caught up in each characters past. There was one scene that I recall which was at the theatre. Two of the ladies were waiting for the play to start, which would have only been about five minutes, but what followed was about five or six pages which described what happened in one of the characters’ pasts. It went on for ages and by the time the story got back to present time, I had almost forgotten what was going on. There were several times where this happened and it was even more annoying when I had to put the book down and pick it up again as often I would find myself losing the plotline. However, about halfway in the past lives disappeared and the book was more focused on real time events, which from this point on got a lot more exciting. There are characters from all different generations at several ...

Complicit - Nicci French 05/06/2011

A story that goes full circle, leaving the reader wondering

Complicit - Nicci French Nicci French is one of my favourite authors as I was very pleased when I found this book on offer in a local Sainsburys. The book tells the story of Bonnie Graham, a school teacher who is roped into forming a band to perform at one of her friends wedding. It takes place in the summer holidays so there isn’t much schooling involved but it is mentioned heavily and is also left in the back of readers mind throughout the book. Her being a teacher has great bearing on the happenings that occur in the book. It starts with Bonnie finding a dead body in a friends flat and her and another friend try and cover up the death by disposing of the dead body. So although you know there has been a death, you have no idea who the person is who is dead, how they died or who killed them. This story is written in a before and after style, which to start with I wasn’t keen on but as I got into the book I decided it was certainly the best way of telling the story because it added to all the questions. The reader was able to explore the story in as much detail as possible and it certainly kept me reading in order to find out who was dead. It also didn’t leave me confused as to what was going on, which books of this style often do. Because of the amount of characters that are involved in the book – the members of the band that Bonnie has put together, there were many suspects and also many people that the dead body could be. The characters were well portrayed and built up and the killer was a ...

Gone - Mo Hayder 24/04/2011

A very good read that will have you on the edge of your seats

Gone - Mo Hayder Gone is the first book I have read by Mo Hayder. About a year ago I was recommended to read her ‘Birdman’ book so far I have yet to do so but after reading this book I am desperate to read it! I am not sure why but I had this preconception that Mo Hayder would be American so I was very surprised to find that her books are set in England, just outside of Bristol which is just down the road from where I live now. She has written a series of books featuring Detective Jack Cafferey and this is one of the latest books in the series. After a young girl is kidnapped whilst sitting in the back of her Mum’s car, Cafferey is set the task of finding her and also who took her. Although the book is part of a series you do not need to have read the previous books in the series as the stories are explained quite clearly. There is however, a lot going on in this book, with lots of characters and places so you do need to concentrate hard to take it all in and keep up with the story. This book also keeps you guessing until the end. There is no murder involved so it’s more of a thriller story but I really enjoyed it. The main characters are built up well and their background is well explained. There is also a lot of description, both of the characters and the places involved which gives the book substance. The story was very simple but there were so many aspects to the case that it didn’t feel shallow at all. Before I knew it I was halfway in and not bored, there were times that I couldn’t ...

To The Moon And Back - Jill Mansell 24/03/2011

An absolutely amazing book

To The Moon And Back - Jill Mansell To the Moon and Back is Jill Mansell’s latest novel in her vast collection of work. I have read several of her books but this is by far the best one yet. The book tells the Story of Ellie Kendall, who early on in the book loses her husband in a tragic accident and has to come to terms which his death. Now, before you think it’s all doom and gloom – it’s not. The story quickly skips on 15 months where Ellie is starting again from afresh and meets her new best friend Roo, who lives across the street from her swanky new house in Primrose Hill. From the first page of the book I just couldn’t put it down – it had me well and truly hooked. I have to admit that I didn’t read the blurb all that quickly and although it says about Ellie’s husband’s death on there I wasn’t expecting it and it came as such a shock. I actually felt very sad when she found out and it spurred me on even more to carry on with the book. As usual there are lots of twists and turns and some parts had me almost physically shouting to the pages ‘NO’ when something else went wrong. It was like one of those comic films where you know exactly what’s going to happen but the character doesn’t and you are on the edge of your seat begging them not to do what they are about to do. The book is all about missed opportunities and the thing I love about Mansell’s books is that they are so true to life. There is nothing in them that would not happen to you or I and that makes them easier to relate to. One observation I ...

Twelve Days Of Christmas - Trisha Ashley 03/01/2011

A festive read to get you in the mood

Twelve Days Of Christmas - Trisha Ashley A few weeks before Christmas I was looking for a festive book to read that would get me in the mood for the occasion, when I stumbled over ‘Twelve days of Christmas’, by Trisha Ashley. I had never heard of this author before but when I read the back it sounded just what I was looking for. When it arrived I was very impressed with the cover as it was all glittery – something I am a big fan of and I thought it was unusual to find glitter on a book cover. It made it more festive and if I was looking at it in a book shop then I would certainly pick it up. The book tells the story of Holly (a very apt name) who doesn’t like Christmas one bit. Her husband died several years previously at Christmas due to an accident and since his death she tended to hide away in her house sitting jobs, spending time on her own and forgetting about the time of year. However this year she was just about to face her fear and spend Christmas at her best friends house, when a house sitting job comes up in a remote village. She jumps at the chance and heads on up there. This book has everything in it that you associate with a traditional family Christmas. There is a large old house with open log fires and an aga, a large family that comprises of people of all ages, lots of food and don’t forget the snow. To start with it didn’t feel at all festive and it did feel slightly predictable. After reading the back of the book the reader knew that Jude Martland – who was not present at the start of the ...

Silent Scream - Lynda La Plante 19/12/2010

A tantalising read for all crime fans

Silent Scream - Lynda La Plante Silent Scream is the latest offering from the queen of crime, Lynda la Plante. Amanda Delany is a famous actor who is found dead in her posh London home. Anna Travis, hoping for some time off after her last case had finished, is thrown back into the deep end when she is assigned this case. It seems to be leading no where and after interviewing several suspects they still have no answers. Fans of La Plantes work will be familiar with her character Anna Travis and her relations with her colleague and boss, Langton. For anyone who is not up to speed with Anna’ personal life the story goes over everything again and brings the reader right up to date. Also in her personal life, Anna is hoping for a promotion after performing brilliantly in her last case. Langton has moved on from this station and Anna is glad to be rid of him, until one day when they are getting no where on the case, Langton walks back in and takes control. I really like La Plante’s novels because they provide a detailed insight into the life of a police detective and what it’s like to work for the police. Her novels explain the intricate workings of solving a case and go through the details bit by bit until the crime is solved. She manages to keep up the mystery very well too with the reader being hooked until almost the last page. This book started well and was written from Amanda’s point of view which meant that the reader obtained her last movements before she was killed. However it gave nothing away and ...

A Fatal Inversion - Barbara Vine 18/10/2010

Not as good as I thought

A Fatal Inversion - Barbara Vine Barbara Vine is the pseudonym for Ruth Rendell, mainly because her themes are very different when she writes as Vine. A Fatal Inversion was written in 1987 and has since been adapted for TV in three short episodes. The story starts with the bones of a woman and child being dug up in the grounds of an old stately home called Wyvis Hall. The police estimate that they have been there for around 10 years, which immediately associates them with Adam and his friends who stayed at Wyvis Hall for a few months at that time. There is then great detail about that period of time that Adam, Rufus, Shiva, Vivienne and Zosie all visited the house. It is set in the present time but there are many flashbacks to the past. It starts with Adam finding out he has inherited the house and details all the events leading up to the time when he moved out and sold it. Alongside this story is the one in the present, where the police move to finding out who the killer was. Also, the occupants of the house ten years ago meet up. They had a pact when they left the house that none of them would contact each other ever again. But due to the circumstances, they have to meet up to get their story straight. I had heard great things about this book and was itching to read it. A few people had watched the TV programme when it was on and really enjoyed it. However, I was not over enthralled by the book. First of all, there are lots of characters and luckily the names of the occupants are listed on the back of ...

Radisson Edwardian Mountbatten Hotel, London 09/09/2010

A great location and an excellent price

Radisson Edwardian Mountbatten Hotel, London On our annual trip to London for the Frightfest weekend, we were looking for a hotel that was fairly close to Leicester Square. After much research, as we were looking for a hotel that was close but also quite cheap, we settled for a Radisson Edwardian hotel just off Leicester Square. However, we did some further research a few days before we were due to leave and found that the Radisson Edwardian in Covent Garden was a few hundred pounds cheaper if we were to pay on booking. So this is what we did and we left for London. After an hours delay on our train journey, we got on the tube to Covent Garden and as we were leaving the station we were facing a walk of either 193 steps, or a queue for the lifts. As we weren’t about to trek up the steps with a very heavy suitcase, we had to go for the lift option as there were no escalators. When we reached the top, the next challenge to face us was how to get to the hotel. With all the new technology surrounding us we didn’t think to bring directions and instead were going to rely on our phones to give us directions. Although for some reason, there was a distinct lack of GPS signal and the phones couldn’t work out where we were. Eventually we arrived at the hotel which had one of those sectioned, old fashioned swivel doors at the entrance which I hate. Luckily there were also normal doors too, or we would never have gotten our suitcase through the swivel doors! There was a group checking in just before us, but we were greeted by a ...

Shadow - Karin Alvtegen 25/08/2010

Mystery and Intrigue surrounds a Swedish family

Shadow - Karin Alvtegen Shadow is a very intricate story woven with lots of characters, mystery and suspense. It starts with a small boy at a fairground in Sweden. He tells of his mother and how he keeps being left outside a big house by her while she spends hours inside. This chapter lasts for quite a few pages before he is found by one of the security guards who realises his mother is not coming back. This first chapter is completely anonymous as there are no names mentioned. It is quite intriguing and also quite a moving opening. The reader immediately feels sorry for this child. Also, for a young child, the author has created him with quite an adult voice which does seem a little strange but is crucial to the story because it fills in quite a lot of the background that is needed. The story then skips to the present time where an old woman has been found dead in her flat. She has no relatives, so when a lady from the council is sent in to clear out her flat she finds that the old lady has lots of books by the same author hidden in her freezer. This also immediately raises some questions, because this is a slightly strange thing to do, so why are they there? The rest of the story then goes on to answer the question as to why the old woman has the books stored away, and who was the little boy and how does he fit into it all? This is the first book I have read by Karin Alvtegen. She is a Swedish writer who has won an award for crime writing in Sweden and her books have been translated into ...

The Killing Place - Tess Gerritsen 19/07/2010

An abandoned village full of mystery

The Killing Place - Tess Gerritsen The Killing Place is Gerritsen’s latest best seller featuring Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli. It starts in Idaho telling the story of a girl who is being stalked by an older girl and then a marriage is arranged. There is nothing to tell of the time of this chapter, so the reader is unsure whether it’s the past or the present until the next chapter, which skips sixteen years to the future. It skips to Maura Isles and Daniel Brophy. Fans of Gerritsen will know the history between these two, but those who are new to the series will have to guess at what happened. Because it is quite a few books into the series the relationship is not really explained, so readers will have to gauge the situation by the conversation between the two, which is slowly revealed over time. It is because of this relationship that makes Maura take probably the worst decision of her life, and go on a trip with an old school friend. They drive along a deserted road, get caught in a snow storm and end up being stranded in a village called Kingdom Come. The only thing is, this village is abandoned, and has been abandoned in quite a hurry. What I really liked about this part of the book was the description of the empty houses. There were glasses of milk and animals that had been left in the hurry to get away. Most of those animals are now dead. There are cars left in garages and meals on the table, waiting to be eaten. It is very eerie and really builds up the atmosphere of the village and the situation – ...
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