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An Evil Mind
An Evil Mind
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet, 26 Aug 2014
This review is from: An Evil Mind (Kindle Edition)
As an avid fan of Chris Carter I was looking forward to reading his latest book and as normal he did not disappoint.

This is the latest novel about Robert Hunter and follows on straight after the events of One by One (although it doesn't reference that book at all) where Robert is about to take a well earned vacation (holiday to me) when he's called back into work to assist on an FBI case. It turns out that they have the suspect in custody and Robert knows him from college - he was his old college roommate. From there we are taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotions from the normally stoic Robert Hunter and events that don't let up right until the very end of the book.

I can't talk about the plot of the book too much as it would spoil the entire experience. Needless to say that we find in this book a killer who has been committing crimes for over 20 years with no one realising and not even appearing on the radar of any law enforcement or government agency. Cater has a knack of creating villains that are so heinous you wonder whether anyone like that has ever existed. However the difference with this one was that Carter has drawn on his own personal experiences as a criminal psychologist which makes this book even more chilling to think that some of the murders could have actually happened.

I love Robert Hunter as a character and in this book we saw a different side to him. Normally he's a tough cookie to crack and he controls his emotions incredibly well. All that goes out of the window in this one and it was a refreshing change for him to come across someone who could really get under his skin and with that we saw so many emotional reactions from him and the difficulty he experienced in trying to keep them under control.

What I loved most about this book was that there were so many shock moments that took me completely by surprise and even when I thought I had something figured out I was completely wrong (on many occasions). The last hour of reading this was such an adrenalin rush and right up until the end I had no idea what the outcome would be.

I am anticipating the next adventure for Robert Hunter with baited breath which may be a while seen as this one has only just been published!!!!

Alone: The Girl in the Box, Book 1
Alone: The Girl in the Box, Book 1
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to this series, 2 Aug 2014
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For a while now I've been harassed by a friend of mine insisting that I read the Girl in the Box series by Robert J Crane. It seemed like every other day she would telling that I need to read this series - she is completely hooked and is waiting very impatiently for book #10. So I've eventually got around to reading the first book (I had to move it to the top of the list of my books to read just to stop the harassment!).

This series is all about a girl called Sienna Nealon. This first book pulls no punches and gets straight into the the action with no set up or hesitation. She wakes up to find two men have broken into her home, she manages to render one of them unconscious and distract the other one long enough to escape her house to find someone else outside her home in car wanting to help her escape (later on we find out he's called Reed and knows all about Sienna). It's not long after this that she comes across a creature called Wolfe who is very aptly named. Wolfe wants Sienna and becomes obsessed with her, stopping at nothing to track her down and wanting to 'play' with her before handing her over to his boss. She barely manages to escape him and finds herself with the two men which had broken into her home and are agents with an organisation called the Directorate. They whisk her away and this is when she realises that there is something very special about her. She is a Metahuman but hasn't quite matured into her powers yet. Of course by the end of this first instalment she realises just what they are.

Sienna is a very interesting character. She shouldn't be as confident and as self assured as she is after her childhood (which we learn about as the book goes on). Whether this is a consequence of her powers or not I'm not sure. But anyone else who had been treated like she had would be a mess and totally incapable of reacting the way she does and adapting to life outside of her home so easily. This is probably the only issue that I had with the book otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to reading the other 9 (I'm hoping that book 10 is out by the time I'm ready for it!!). I'm also interested in how her relationship with Zack develops and whether Reed can really be trusted.

There are plenty of questions left unanswered, like what happened to Sienna's mother, who is Reed, what is the Directorate really all about, should Sienna trust them, who was her father, just how old is Old Man Winter, who hired Wolfe and plenty more. This introduction to the Metahuman world - which seems very X-Men like - has been very cleverly written. There's just enough information so that you don't get too lost or confused but not so much that you don't need to read the next book and think well that's the end of that story no need to read anymore.

Price: £4.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Great finish to the series, 29 July 2014
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This review is from: Ruins (Kindle Edition)
Ruins is the final part of the Partials trilogy and after the excellent Fragments I was expecting a lot from this book. Although I did love this part I think that Fragments is still my favourite - partly for the relationship between Samm and Kira.

At the end of the previous instalment we saw Kira being taken away by Dr Morgan to be experimented on in the hopes that they would find the cure for expiration and in the process save the remaining partials. Unfortunately Dr Morgan is unable to find what she's looking for and gives up and then remains curiously absent for the rest of the book. Of course Kira manages to figure out the cure and leaves Dr Morgan to see if she can actually put her theory into practice. Along the way she meets a partial called Green who she befriends and a group of modified partials called the Ivies led by someone called The Blood Man - whose identity came as a huge surprise and a twist that I never saw coming. We also find out that the world has been reset thanks to a member of the Trust - Jerry - who we had heard about previously. This reset meant that winter finally returned to the US and the seasons would start to go back to normal.

Although this book tied up the issues of expiration for the Partials and RM for the humans I felt that there were a few other strands of story that were left up in the air. Samm made the trip back east to find Kira with Heron, a few of the revived Partials (that had been kept unconscious by Vale) and a couple of humans but there is no hint that they had thought about the people and Partials left in Denver after everything had been resolved. Also, the plot surrounding Ariel, Isolde, Xochi and Nandita was a little lacking after a certain point only for them to miraculously turn up at the end.

I wondered how they would treat the triangle between Kira, Samm and Marcus and I was pleased with how that ended. After Kira left East Meadow it felt like her relationship with Marcus had been cast by the wayside as you saw her feelings for Samm develop. You could see the difference in the two relationships, it was almost as if Marcus was her first crush but not really serious and Samm was the more mature relationship.

One thing that I wasn't too keen on was that there were so many different view points in this final instalment which felt a bit overwhelming at times and meant that some of them were cut short like Ariel's. However despite this I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and I was very pleased with the outcome.

Throughout the series Kira really came into her own as a heroine. She started out as a young medical intern with dreams of finding a cure for the disease that was preventing the human race from surviving and finished as a strong leader representing both humans and Partials. She was able to grow from every situation that she was faced with good or bad and you could see her evolving along the way. She was very well written and someone to look up to - she never gave up and would always try to look for the positive in everything she went through. Even when it appeared that she was giving in to a bout of self pity it didn't last long and she put it behind her to try and help everyone.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this series to anyone who loved the Hunger Games or Divergent and I feel that these books would make amazing films!!!!

Wild Storm (A Derrick Storm Novel)
Wild Storm (A Derrick Storm Novel)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Castle book, 22 July 2014
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Wild Storm is the latest in the Derek Storm series based on the Castle TV series. I've read all of Richard Castle's books so far and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. This one was no different.

Derek Storm is a larger than life secret agent who is kind of affiliated with the CIA but better described as a private contractor that the CIA use on occasions when any normal agent just won't do. This book starts with a flight and a climber on his way home (who we later learn is Storm) when he feels something wrong with the plane and he ends up climbing on the wing to fix the problem and help it land safely. He then finds out, once on the ground, that three other planes were not so lucky. From there we see him travel to Panama, Monaco, Egypt and Gibraltar among other places as he tries to figure out what happened to the planes and why those in particular were targeted and what it was they were using to bring them down.

Storm always seems to get into impossible situations that any normal 'spy' would be hard pushed to get out of. However Storm always seems to be prepared with just enough knowledge and equipment to avert every disaster. These books offer just the right amount of escapism without going too over the top.

What I always love about the Richard Castle books are the references to the TV show - the best one so far was in Wild Storm. One of the victims turned out to be none other than Pi, a fruitarian cult leader who preys on young college girls although they didn't go so far as to name one of his victims Alexis!

Part way through the book everything took on a whole new meaning. It was eerily similar to the Malaysia Airlines crash of flight MH17. Reading about fictional accidents is one thing but when something like this actually happens where a plane is apparently shot down with a weapon and innocent people die it starts to make you think. It saddens me to think that we have come to this place again where innocent people are caught in the crossfire of a fight that has nothing to do with them.

Reality aside, this was a great book. I'd love to know who actually writes these books as I'm quite sure that it's not Nathan Fillion - although it would be an awesome twist if it did actually turn out to be him!!!!

Maze Runner 3: The Death Cure
Maze Runner 3: The Death Cure
Price: £3.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic conclusion, 13 July 2014
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The Death Cure is the final part of the Maze Runner trilogy. The trials have ended and now WICKED believe that they almost have the blueprint needed in order to create a cure for the Flare.

We start this book with Thomas in solitary confinement away from the other Gladers. Once he's released and reunited with them they are given the opportunity to have their memories restored by having their brain implants taken out. The only ones not to go ahead with the procedure are Thomas, Minho and Newt. Unfortunately that's not what Rat Man wants to hear and after a nights sleep they are forced to have them taken out. Luckily, Brenda (who we find out works for WICKED) helps them escape with the help of Jorge. From there they make their way to Denver where it appears that Gally is still alive and working with a group called Right Arm. Their aim is to take down WICKED who are enlisting bounty hunters to kidnap people who are immune to the Flare. We find out that there a hand full of people who have this immunity and that most of the Gladers were immune. There were a couple of control subjects added to the group to compare the results and Newt was one of these. From here we see their journey as they plot to take down WICKED and save the kidnapped immunes that are being held.

One of the sad things in this book was the descent of Newt into madness as he succumbs to the Flare. The most heartbreaking scene was his final one with Thomas. He'd left Thomas specific instructions over what to do and initially he thought that Thomas has just disregarded them which made him angry. As it turns out Thomas didn't know at this point what Newt had asked him to do. I could understand Thomas's dilemma when it came to carrying out Newt's wishes and given the same circumstances I'm not sure that I could do it. It was only after a moment of lucidity and a heartfelt plea from Newt that Thomas finally went through with it. Watching Newt spiral in the madness induced by the Flare was tough to read about but ultimately necessary. After seeing what happened with Newt we could then see the same thing happening to Rat Man who seemed even more insane and I was glad to see what happened to him. I think the difference between the two of them was that I had come to know Newt as a person throughout all three books and I really didn't like Rat Man!

There was also still a question of loyalty over Theresa. It seemed that Thomas just couldn't work past what had happened between them in the Scorch. After everything, it was never going to be the same between them any more. We also got to see the developing relationship between Thomas and Brenda which I really loved. Thomas naturally held back but you could see that he was starting to feel more for her than just friendship which was really nice to see.

This was a fantastic finish to a great series of books and I've already bought The Kill Order to see how they got into this mess to start with. James Dashner has created a great dystopian future which isn't your typical YA world. I find that in most of these series they have mostly girls as the main characters and this was a nice change to see a boy in this position. Thomas was a great hero, flawed but determined to do the right thing. I have my fingers crossed that the Maze Runner is successful as a film because I would love to see how the other two books translate onto the screen.

Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials
Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials
Price: £3.60

4.0 out of 5 stars What next for the Gladers?, 11 July 2014
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The Scorch Trials is the second book in the Maze Runner trilogy and is the continuing story of the Gladers after they have escaped from the Maze and mistakenly believe that they can relax.

The morning after they escaped from the Maze they wake up to find that they've been abandoned in a building with no food. After opening the door to their dorm room they find people hanging from the rafters and Theresa has disappeared to be replaced by a boy called Aris. They soon find out that he came from a Maze just like theirs, only filled with girls and Aris was the last boy to be sent to them. Their experiences were also remarkably similar, except that they managed to escape a few days before the boys. After almost starving to death they are visited by someone who they call Rat Man who tells them that they are not quite free yet. They have to travel 100 miles north to reach a place called Safe Haven and whoever makes it there will be safe and receive a cure for the Flare (the disease that has killed the majority of humans left on the earth following the devastating sun flares) which they have all been infected with. This leaves them with no choice but to do what Rat Man says.

This book relates their journey, first underground and then in a place called The Scorch which has been so damaged by the sun flares that there is barely anything left and is inhabited by people with the Flare and past the Gone. They also encounter the other group of girls from the other maze and meet up again with Theresa and along the way they meet Brenda and Jorge who help them reach their final destination.

Of course things were never going to run smoothly. We lose several Gladers along the way, although no major players. This instalment has you questioning every loyalty and friendship and leaves you trusting no one. To start with I was a bit disappointed with how Theresa was portrayed in this book, she seemed like a different person even after everything was explained. By the end of the book I was wondering whether I knew her at all and if everything she'd done in the first book was all an act. With Brenda, I was suspicious about her from the beginning. I really wanted to trust her but with everything that was happening I didn't know if I could.

The difference with this book was that I had the needed background information about what was going on and the state of the world in general which was lacking in the first book. Again James Dashner has executed the follow up to the Maze Runner brilliantly and even made me feel like I was in an episode of the Walking Dead at certain points. There was great character development for Thomas, Minho and Newt who stood out from the other Gladers. And again just when you thought they'd reached the Safe Haven, WICKED threw them another curve ball to deal with.

Despite everything you could see that there were still going to be some complications to come in the final book despite the assurance that the trials were finally over. This book was written in such a way that I couldn't wait to read the final instalment and so had to immediately buy it and start reading it to see how the story would end - bravo Mr Dashner. That's exactly what I want from a second instalment. Too many times I find that the middle book in trilogies is sometimes lacking and has a certain amount of filler used to get you to that final chapter in the story. Not so with The Scorch Trials, I was eager to see how everything would finish in The Death Cure.

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner
Price: £3.60

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant start to the trilogy, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: The Maze Runner (Kindle Edition)
This is going to be done from memory as I read this book over a year ago now and never wrote a review at the time. What's spurred me on is that I've recently finished the trilogy and now feel that I should review all three books.

This is the first book in the trilogy and introduces us to Thomas and WICKED (although by the end there still so many unanswered questions about this organisation). The book starts with Thomas in 'The Box' where he is being transported somewhere unknown and with no memories at all. All he knows is that he is called Thomas. He ends up in a place called The Glade with a group of boys called the Gladers. It's here that we meet Minho, Newt, Gally, Alby, Frypan and Chuck among others and we start to find out about life in the maze. Not long after Thomas arrives in the Glade, they get another new arrival, which is strange as they don't normally arrive so quickly. Stranger still is that fact that it's a girl who calls out Thomas' name before lapsing into unconsciousness. Attached to Theresa is note that says that she will be the last one. Later we find out that Thomas and Theresa can communicate via telepathy and that they may already know each other. The book then becomes a journey for the Gladers trying to escape the maze.

It took me a while to get into this book as I, like Thomas, had absolutely no idea what was going on! Obviously this turned to be very clever and as Thomas found things out we, as readers also got more of an insight into life in the Glade and why they were there and what they need to do to escape through the Maze. Once I got used to this and being in the dark for so long I really started to enjoy this book. Thomas was a very likeable hero and it was made quite clear that he was someone quite special and sent into the Glade/Maze in order to progress things along to their needed conclusion.

One thing that I couldn't imagine was what the Grievers actually looked like. The description was so ultra detailed that I got very confused over what they looked like. I could only picture a cow shaped creature with blades protruding from various parts of them and covered in some sort of jelly like substance and then being able to shoot out needles from other parts. And they could climb walls! For me it was like information overload and the only issue that I had with the book.

This was a very original idea and story and executed brilliantly. It was also left very open for us to think about what would happen to them next as you could see that the end was merely just another beginning. I cannot wait to see how this translates into a film and very excited to see Dylan O'Brian as Thomas.

Fire Country (The Country Saga Book 1)
Fire Country (The Country Saga Book 1)
Price: £2.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 22 Jun 2014
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Fire Country is the first in the Country Saga and the first of David Estes books that I’ve read. After reading one I can safely say that I would definitely read more.

The setting for this book is earth at some point in the future where it looks like there are a few small groups of humans left after a meteor hit. This story focuses on the Heaters who live in Fire Country. Their life span has been drastically reduced and so their law is that when youngling girls reach the age of 16 they are assigned their call and are tasked with having children to keep the village populated. This book tells the story of Siena who happens to be the daughter of the one of the elders of the village (called Greynotes) who is second in command but effectively running things as the Head Greynote is suffering from The Fire – the disease that kills most of the Heaters.

Siena is close to a boy called Circ and gradually realises that she’s in love with him which her father does not approve of. As Circ is younger than her he’s not eligible to be her Call. Siena is not looking forward to her Call and as it draws closer she becomes more resistant to it. I love the way the she ignores the rules and does what she believes is right even if it will antagonise her father – who is very handy at giving out punishments. She comes across as very brave, even if she doesn’t think that about herself. After these random acts of bravery she thinks that she’s acted rashly and stupidly not realising the courage that she’d needed in order to help and stand up for the people that she cares about. I loved the conflict in her – she was afraid of the unknown but at the same time very curious about it and tried everything she could to find out about what was outside of the village. It took a significant event to push her into making the decision that I could see that she would have to make at some point. She was a great character and in my opinion a great role model. She had her flaws but she worked on them and was stronger than she ever gave herself credit for.

Siena’s father was also an intriguing character. I did not like him. He was manipulative, misogynistic and ruled his household by fear and with an iron fist. Siena ended up being on the end of his punishments so many times and more often than not, for the smallest infractions. He was plotting the entire time and Siena made it a part of her ‘mission’ to find out his secrets. He was a perfect example of someone who had been given a little power and had taken it and became greedy for more and I got the impression that it changed who he was as a person as he strived for more power.

I was very grateful for the list at the front of the book giving me explanations as to the various words/phrases/things/expressions that were specific to this ‘world’. It confused me at first but I was very happy to have gone through before reading the book – it helped me out no end!

This was a great book and I’m eager to read the other books which focus on different parts of the world which are touched on in this book. They will be added to my growing list of books to read which is getting embarrassingly bigger every single day!!!

The Visitor: (Jack Reacher 4)
The Visitor: (Jack Reacher 4)
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Running Blind (in other words!), 18 Jun 2014
This is the fourth Jack Reacher book and in my opinion the best one so far. Of course, I’m reading them in order so I have only read four of them and as I slowly work my way through the rest of them I may change my mind. But for now I’ll stick with this one as the best.

Reacher is coerced into helping the FBI solve a serial case. He does not want to help but is not left with much of a choice after they threaten Jodie’s (his girlfriend) safety. The involves the murder of several women, unfortunately the FBI have no idea how they are being killed or have any ideas as to suspects except the fact that they think he is/was part of the army. The killer leaves no evidence at all and the murder scenes are peaceful. I had my suspicions over who the killer was part way through but after all the usual red herrings they made me change my mind! However, I did end up being right about how the killer was managing to kill them.

I love Jack Reacher as a character – a loner with no fixed abode who can kick some major ass when needed! With this in mind I was slightly concerned that after getting together with Jodie at the end of the last book he would become someone different. The appeal of Reacher is the fact that he can end up wherever Lee Child wants him without the restriction of him living in a specific city. I was very glad to see that Reacher was indeed true to his character.

The FBI agents were an interesting bunch with several different personalities. Obviously Harper was the one who got the most ‘air time’ as she worked closely with him IE babysat him! She was confusing to start with and I wasn’t completely sure that an agent would be allowed to wear shirts that would show quite clearly that she didn’t wear a bra most of time. However, she grew on me and by the end she was willing to go along with Reacher when his outside of the box thinking took them in a very different direction than the FBI were looking.

Great book with an intriguing twist and just when you think things were done Lee Child throws in a curveball! Can’t wait to read the next one.

The Killing Game (Carson Ryder, Book 9)
The Killing Game (Carson Ryder, Book 9)
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 15 Jun 2014
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** spoiler alert ** The Killing Game is another book in the Carson Ryder series. I’ve really enjoyed all of his previous books so I was expecting nothing less from this one. Although I did enjoy this book, it didn’t really match up to some of his previous ones.

You got an insight into the killer right at the beginning of the book, except at the beginning he wasn’t a killer. It was only after an altercation with the police after a routine traffic stop that he decided to show the Blue Tribe up and specifically Carson Ryder. He was chosen after a video of a class he was teaching ended up on the internet. Gregory singled him out as the most worthy opponent to try and teach a lesson. He felt he was smarter and could show up the police by performing such random acts of killing that they could never hope to solve the cases.

Of course, this is a novel so the cases were going to be solved. However, the result was so unsatisfying and unfinished in my opinion. There was so much more to be resolved that it kind of felt rushed and just left up in the air. I had the same opinion about part of the ending to Gone Girl too. And despite enjoying the book up to this point it kind of ruined it for me. Although it did set up the location for the following book, where it seems that Carson has moved to Florida.

Throughout the book I kept feeling that not everything was as it appeared to be and was extremely suspicious about a lot of what I read with regards to Gregory. He was so incredibly damaged from his childhood growing up in a Romanian orphanage. The scary part of this was that some of what he experienced probably happened to a lot of kids at that time. It’s unbelievable that even in this day and age we can still treat others with such contempt and as less than human. Sometimes it seems like we have a lot to learn still. That being said, there are some amazing people out there who will always stick up for the little guy and help others in any way they can.

One thing I did love was the return of Jeremy – he is sorely missed in these books when he’s not in them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he plays a more significant part in future books. Despite the disappointing ending it won’t stop me from reading the follow up books – hopefully they can be redeemed.

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