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Where Secrets Sleep
Where Secrets Sleep
by Marta Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.15

4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet mystery, 17 July 2015
Allison, an Interior Designer living in Philadelphia, inherits Blackburn House when her estranged Grandmother dies. Blackburn House is in the small Amish/Englisch community of Laurel Ridge in Pennsylvania, it's a three storey mansion converted to house several small businesses and shops.

In order to retain her inheritance, Allison must satisfy some conditions in her Grandmother's will. But some people doesn't want Allison in Laurel Ridge, and they have no intention of hiding their bitterness towards her. There are also people who become attached to Allison - she makes some friends quickly, and feels a spark with a local Carpenter. But as things keep going wrong, is it worth the effort for Allison to stay or should she hand Blackburn House over to her cousin?

This was a sweet book, if it were a TV movie on Lifetime or Hallmark I'd happily while away a few hours watching it. The mystery was good, it wasn't profane, and while there was an element of insta-love, it wasn't looming over the whole book and it wasn't forcefully done. This is the first book I've read by Marta Perry, and the first book I've read featuring the Amish community. I'd definitely read more, this was a nice little palate cleanser in between heavy thrillers.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC via NetGalley.

My So-Called (Love) Life
My So-Called (Love) Life
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Leading Man, 15 July 2015
Tig (short for Tigerlily, she has hippy parents) is a twentysomething living in London. Dumped by her fiancée Darren a mere five days before her wedding, Tig and her mates have spent the last seven months brooding over their failed relationships. Their regular "Misery Dinners" are an outlet to rant and rave about their exes and how much they hate them - until Tig receives an invitation to Darren's wedding to someone else.

Not sure how to handle it, in steps sexy barman Ollie, who is only in town for another few months before he heads off to his dream job in the Bahamas. Ollie and Tig both need a significant other for show and tell purposes only, so they agree to be fake boyfriend and girlfriend. We all know where this is going, don't we?

I have to say, "the fake boyfriend" arc is one of my favourites. I don't care how cheesy that makes me, but it is. It's exactly the kind of thing I loved to read in Mills & Boon books as a teenager. I would call it a guilty pleasure but I'm always reminded of Sir David of Grohl when it comes to those:

"If you like something, just f*ing like it! This whole guilty pleasure thing is a pile of BS."

Ollie was a great leading man, he was sexy and he was instantly likeable. I can't say the same for Tig - I did love aspects of her character - how driven she was, how she had worked so hard to better herself, how she didn't take any rubbish - but she was really ascerbic and full of anger in places. I didn't dislike her, but I'd probably be a little bit afraid of her in reality.

Overall this was a nice night time read, it only took a few hours and I liked A.L. Michael's writing style. Lots of swearing is always okay with me.

Thanks to Carina UK for the digital ARC via Netgalley, this review should have been up months ago...

The Lost Child
The Lost Child
Price: £4.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but Enjoyable, 14 July 2015
This review is from: The Lost Child (Kindle Edition)
Elaine Ellis is back in her mother's home town to scatter her mother's ashes. While there, she befriends Brodie, a teenage tearaway living with her Great Aunt. Brodie comes from a family destroyed by the loss of her sister Mandy when she was three - Mandy disappeared without a trace and Brodie's mother never got over it. Somebody in the town knows what happened to Mandy - but why is Elaine being dragged into it? Is her family more involved than she'd like?

This was okay - I guessed "the secret" within the first 10% of the book so it was a matter of waiting for the characters to catch up. This didn't necessarily bother me - it's bound to happen when you read a lot, so it wasn't an issue - but there were several things I disliked about the book. There were a lot of showy words in the book - recalcitrant, wraith, bumf, exponentially, interminable - when simpler words would have done. It was really distracting and read like a thesaurus had been used in every second paragraph. It just slowed the flow of the story for me because I kept thinking "that's a really odd word to use there". Also, there was just too much going on. Who was the villain of the piece? The old woman or the young man or the posh people or one of the mothers or the bitchy sister? There were so many unnecessary secondary characters. I didn't take to Elaine or Brodie, and Dan just seemed angry all the time.

This isn't a "bad" book by any means - if you haven't read too many of this kind of genre, then by all means it's worth a shot. For me, I've seen this so many times before, it was a little stale.

Thanks to Carina UK and Netgalley for the digital ARC.

Are You Watching Me?
Are You Watching Me?
by Sinéad Crowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Second Novel, 11 July 2015
This review is from: Are You Watching Me? (Paperback)
Last year, Sinéad Crowley's 'Can Anybody Help Me?' was one of my favourite reads. It gave a fresh new voice to the Detective genre in the form of Detective Sergeant Claire Boyle and her no-nonsense professionalism. When it was revealed that her next novel would also feature Detective Sergeant Boyle, I was dubious - would the notoriously difficult second book live up to my expectations?

I needn't have worried. While it didn't grab me instantly in the same way the first book did, it was a solid, engaging read and one I'd be happy to recommend.

We revisit Detective Sergeant Boyle, now mother to a seven month old baby girl, as she investigates a murder linked to Tír na nÓg, a drop-in centre for elderly men who have no other source of interaction or companionship in the community.

Twenty-something Liz McClafferky is the reluctant public face of Tír na nÓg - but with her newfound celebrity status comes some very unwanted attention in the form of some creepy letters from someone who is constantly watching Liz.

When another crime is linked to the centre - Liz realises that she may be in real danger, but she needs to come clean about some incidents in her past, and she's not the only one.

Meanwhile, Claire's marriage has become an exercise in score-keeping that will be all too familiar with parents. I remember an argument when our twins were about two months old over one of us claiming to have slept an hour less than the other one. There's no happy families here - interestingly, it's Claire's husband, Matt, who feels trapped. That's usually a role dished out to the female parent in novels, so it was great to get the perspective of a tired husband who just wants to get out of the house for an hour or two. The battle between wanting to be a good parent/spouse and still maintain some shred of independence was realistic and well written.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC.

I Let You Go
I Let You Go
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Carlsberg Did Thrillers............, 28 Jun. 2015
This review is from: I Let You Go (Kindle Edition)
5 year old Jacob Jordan is killed in a horrific hit and run accident. His mother let go of his hand so that he could cross the road, and the car came out of nowhere - she blames herself and is heartbroken with guilt. Feeling like she can't continue, she flees.

Jenna escapes to a very remote cottage in Wales, where she starts over with her life. She makes a few friends, but still can't forgive herself for Jacob's death. As time moves on, she slowly begins to make a new life for herself - until her past comes crashing down around her.

Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens and his team are working on the hit and run case. Ray has his own issues - his family need him, his wife is annoyed with how he prioritises work, and his son is going through something at school. His colleagues provide a welcome distraction, but something has to give, and it's a difficult decision for Ray.

This book is TERRIFYING. It completely changes pace in the middle, and it knocked me for six - there's a character in here that can only be described as pure evil. It made for incredibly uncomfortable reading at times, and it was very upsetting. The author has a background in Police work, and that shows - the police parts were fantastic and so believable. Even though DI Stevens makes some mistakes, he is a great character who just wants to please everyone.

Brilliant, if disturbing, thriller. I can't believe this is a debut! Fantastically well written - very clever and not the same-old formulaic thriller. On at least two occasions I sat with my mouth open - I didn't think a book could shock me any more.

The best thriller I've read so far in 2015.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Quality, Excellent Value, 26 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great quality and a lovely assortment of colours. Not branded and only one white and black.

Date With A Rockstar
Date With A Rockstar
Price: £5.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Funny, Cute., 26 Jun. 2015
Set in America in the distant future, the world is now overpopulated and polluted. Families can only have one child. Disease, while curable, is now rampant - especially in poorer areas, where people can't afford to pay the thousands of dollars needed to buy the cures. Monet O'Neal is a 17 year old girl dealing with one such disease - she has Fluxem, a highly contagious disease that eventually leads to serious illness and death if not treated.

Monet and her mother are poor - her mother works several jobs to try and save the money for the cure, but Monet has found another way - there's a competition to meet and date rockstar Jeremy Bane. The prize money is 30,000 dollars - enough for the Fluxem cure - but Monet must get through the auditions and on to the Reality TV show where voters will determine if she's the one for Jeremy. She will only get the prize money if she is picked - but how can she compete with nine other girls who are throwing themselves at Jeremy? As secrets and lies are revealed about the other contestants, what will the production team dig up about Monet?

This was such a cute book - I loved it. The writing was witty, clever, and the lead characters were brilliant. I loved Derek! The Reality TV show setting was fantastic. Some parts were completely over-the-top (it reminded me of the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous in parts) but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It could have been so cheesy and predictable, but it wasn't. It was funny and warm, there was just enough Dystopia without it being the focus of the story, and the romance was believable. I really enjoyed this (way more than I should have at my age), I'd love to read more from this author.

Thanks so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC via NetGalley.

I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas)
I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas)
Price: £3.66

3.0 out of 5 stars Way to go, Tracy. Way to go!, 1 Jan. 2015
36 year old Michelle is Mum to 15 year old Josie. In order to stop Josie from throwing her life away by not going to University and sleeping with her horrible boyfriend Sean, Michelle makes a deal with Josie - if Michelle asks George Clooney to marry her, Josie will not sleep with Sean on her 16th birthday and she will go to University. Josie agrees, and so begins Michelle's quest to find George.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? When I was a few chapters in I thought it was just silly, Michelle had told everyone she was going to marry George. Josie was a complete and utter cow, and Michelle's supposed best friend Gina was second only to her mother in how horrible she was. Both repeatedly told Michelle, someone they should have cared about, how she wasn't George's type because she was too fat/ugly/frumpy (delete where applicable).

However. With the reappearance of Rob, ex-boyfriend of Michelle's deceased sister Jane, things picked up a bit. While I still didn't like Gina, I liked Michelle's other friend Daz a lot, and Rob was likeable. Rather than look at it as "I will marry George Clooney", it started to be "I will show my daughter that when you follow your dreams, anything is possible". The "Chickens for Charity" event was funny, and I loved how they went to the hotel afterwards. I thought the Italy thing was silly, in particular when the other person showed up - who DOES that?!

Altogether it wasn't a taxing read, it was funnier and more heartwarming than I thought it would be. The ending was sweet, I was hoping that would feature somewhere in the story.

Copy provided by Netgalley, thank you to the publisher.

The Boy in the Cemetery
The Boy in the Cemetery
Price: £2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars The Boy Who Lived..........Sorta, 30 Dec. 2014
The story of a girl who lived but was not alive....and a boy who was dead but could not die. Boy has witnessed both his parents die - his beloved mother from the consumption, and his not-so-treasured father after an incident in the Cemetery. Finding himself alone in the world, Boy seeks solace in the Cemetery but gets more than he bargained for, ending up unable to live but unable to die.

Carrie Anne has endured horrific abuse at the hands of those who supposedly love her. When her family move to a new town for a new start, Carrie Anne feels like an outcast, burdened with keeping family secrets and bullied for trying to involve herself at school. She is instantly drawn to the Cemetery where she meets Boy - a meeting that will change the course of events forever.

This is on the more mature end of the YA scale, because of some of the subject matter - particularly some of the things that happen Carrie Anne. There's no profanity as such, but there is quite a graphic description of self harm and strong allusions to sexual abuse by a family member. This was uncomfortable to read and I found myself wishing Carrie Anne's story was different, and that's why I've docked this one star. Her mother infuriated me, and it made me so sad to think that this does happen in reality. I could have done without the school bullies - Carrie Anne's story was scary enough without that being added. They were terrifying and completely unhinged.

This is my second Sebastian Gregory story, and I definitely think he has found his own voice in this genre. It's Gaiman-esque, but in some ways it's even more sinister because the biggest horrors are human ones.In the way that Gaiman brings the reality into the fairytale, Gregory brings the fairytale into the reality. I would have liked the book to be a little longer, but I did enjoy it insofar as one could given the subject matter.

I liked the ending a lot, though it was a bit rushed. I liked Boy the best of all the characters. I thought the Detective had great potential and would have liked more of her.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy.

Getting Over the X
Getting Over the X
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read, 18 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In 2004, Steve Brookstein won the first series of the Xfactor. He had a number one single, successful debut album, then seemed to disappear amidst a plethora of "he's difficult to work with" articles. In this book, Steve doesn't mince words, but he doesn't put a spin on the events before and after the Xfactor.

It's very clear that he was branded with the "Pub Singer" image from the get-go - in fact, he had turned down a job supporting Lionel Richie to appear on the Xfactor and had just finished supporting Dionne Warwick. From his first audition when Sharon Osbourne yelled "stay out of the pub, p*sshead" to the live final in which she tore strips off him on live TV, Steve bit his tongue and remained cool for the duration of the pantomime.

This is such a good read - I finished it in two days despite having a list of stuff to do - I couldn't put it down. It's an honest, well written account of what really happened behind the scenes, and the awful way that Steve was treated because he didn't always tow the party line or walk around with his head up Simon Cowell's bum. If in any doubt of Steve's claims - take a look at the careers of Matt Cardle, Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, and Joe McElderry. All were winners, all were dropped relatively soon after winning this supposed "dream prize".

Read it, it's excellent.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 12:41 PM GMT

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