Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick (4/5)

Monday 31 March 2014 0 comments
"From the bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook. Bartholomew Neil is thirty-nine and lost. He's lived his whole life, up till a few weeks ago, with his devoted mum, but now she has died Bartholomew has no idea how to be on his own. His grief counsellor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded learn how to fly? So Bartholomew turns to Richard Gere, the man his mum adored from afar, in the hope he can offer some answers. In Bartholomew's letters to Richard Gere he explores philosophy and friendship, alien abduction and the mystery of women. The letters also reveal his heart-breaking need of a family, but when Bartholomew does manage to assemble a motley family of sorts, he seems to have taken on more than he bargained for . . ."

Review: Fan by Danny Rhodes (5/5)

"In 1989, eighteen-year-old John Finch spends his Saturdays following Nottingham Forest up and down the country and the rest of the week trudging the streets of his hometown as a postal worker. His blossoming relationship with girlfriend Jen is his only other respite. In 2004 he spends his days teaching in a southern secondary school while delaying the inevitable onslaught of parenthood. Leading inexorably towards the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, and the worst sporting disaster in British history, this book glides between 1989 and 2004, when the true impact of this tragic day becomes evident. Fan is a book about personal and collective tragedy. It’s about growing up and not growing up, about manhood and about what makes a man, and about football’s role in reflecting a society never more than a brick’s throw away from shattering point. Dark, haunting and deeply personal, Danny Rhodes’ heart-felt novel explodes with gut-wrenching emotion and exposes how disaster can not only affect a life, but change its course forever. Danny Rhodes was at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989. #The96"

Review: Betrayed by Jacqui Rose (5/5)

Saturday 29 March 2014 0 comments
Once again I finish a book wishing I was better at writing reviews as there's so much I want to say about this one! I first discovered Jacqui Rose when I read her debut novel TAKEN. I was searching for similar authors to Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole. I definitely found someone worthy of comparison to the Queen of the Underworld. Jacqui is an incredibly talented author and I cannot recommend her work highly enough!

I finished TAKEN and again was lost for words. I knew that when her second book was released, I had to get it instantly. It was even better than the first. Now, normally it would be a case of waiting at least 12 months for an author's next book, not so with Jacqui. She spoils us with two books a year! The fact she can write two books of such high quality in a year just shows how talented she is. 

Review: The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello (5/5)

Friday 28 March 2014 0 comments
I first read a Jane Costello book last year and that book was The Wish List. I absolutely loved it. Jane had been on my to read list for a while as her books are set in Liverpool, the best city in the world and the place I was born and live. Liverpool girls are also the funniest, smartest, sexiest, best dressed women* in the UK world and so I knew a chick lit book set in Liverpool was a must read and would feature some great characters. I stormed through The Wish List and immediately went to Amazon to get Jane's other books.

*Okay okay that's a little bit biased I know...

I think there's one I haven't read yet but I can safely say that I think this, The Time of Our Lives is her best book yet. In my opinion it's probably one of the best chick lit books of the last few years! That could be because I write reviews immediately after finishing a book and so am on a high/still in the characters' world but this book was pretty amazing...

Review: Dead Gone by Luca Veste (5/5)

So crime fiction is my favourite kind of fiction. There just doesn't seem to be much of it set in Liverpool. All I can find are really old books or books which don't sound all that great... So a few months ago when I heard about Luca Veste's Liverpool based crime book I was really excited, I then read the blurb and was even more excited! Definitely my cup of tea and then some. I cheekily tried to get an early copy but had to settle for buying on release day! I am only now writing the review for it and I'm sure I'll forget half of what I wanted to say...

I did A Level Psychology and I tried but struggled with it at university. Me, statistics and SPSS? Mortal enemies. I still have nightmares about variance, reliability and the rest of that bollocks... Anyway when I started A Level Psychology the one thing I loved was reading about experiments, and a lot of them are mentioned in this book. The only difference? Somebody is carrying them out for real along with their own experiments and DI David Murphy is on the case to find out who. 

Review: Running with the Firm by James Bannon (3/5)

Thursday 27 March 2014 0 comments
""Of course I'm a f**king hooligan, you pr**k. I am a hooligan...there I've said it...I'm a hooligan. And, do you know why? Because that's my f**king job." In 1995, a film called I.D., about an ambitious young copper who was sent undercover to track down the "generals" of a football hooligan gang, achieved cult status for its sheer brutality and unsettling insight into the dark and often bloody side of the so-called beautiful game.The film was so shocking it was hard to believe the mindless events that took place could ever happen in the real world. Well, believe it now... Almost twenty years on, the man behind the film has explosively revealed that the script was largely a true story. That man, James Bannon, was the ambitious young copper. The football club was Millwall F.C., and the gang that he infiltrated was The Bushwackers, among the most brutal and fearless in English football. In Running with the Firm, Bannon shares his intense and dangerous journey into the underworld of football hooliganism where sickening levels of violence prevail over anything else. He introduces you to the hardest thugs from football’s most notorious gangs, tells all about the secret and almost comical police operations that were meant to bring them down, and, how once you’re on the inside, getting out from the mob proves to be the biggest mission of all. A disturbing but compelling read, this is the book that proves fact really is stranger than fiction."

Review: This Boy by Alan Johnson (5/5)

Wednesday 26 March 2014 0 comments
"The extraordinary 1950s London childhood of one of Britain's best-loved politicians.
Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in the slums of post-war Britain, but in its transition from two-parent family to single mother and then to no parents at all.

This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was still only a child.

Played out against the background of a vanishing community living in condemned housing, the story moves from post-war austerity in pre-gentrified Notting Hill, through the race riots, school on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging 60s, to the rock-and-roll years, making a record in Denmark Street and becoming a husband and father whilst still in his teens.

This Boy is one man's story, but it is also a story of England and the West London slums which are so hard to imagine in the capital today. No matter how harsh the details, Alan Johnson writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, of humour and openness which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of miseries."

Review: Before You Die by Samantha Hayes (5/5)

Tuesday 25 March 2014 0 comments
A huge thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy. Before You Die will be released on April 24th 2014. Buy it from Amazon in either hardback or on Kindle.You can also follow the author on Twitter.

Oh my God... There is so much I want to say about this book but to say too much would ruin the story. I have had Samantha Hayes' book 'Until You're Mine' on my to read list since its release, and I am now kicking myself so much at not reading it sooner. The reviews were nothing short of amazing and I will be reading Until You're Mine as soon as possible.

Back to Before You Die though and what a story. The story opens with two people riding a motorbike along a country lane. A boy and a girl. The motorbike is stolen and so there's only one helmet which the girl wears. The boy lets the girl ride the motorbike which she then ends up riding too fast resulting in the bike crashing into a tree. The boy is killed instantly, his face and body virtually unrecognisable whilst the girl flees the scene. Later on a suicide note is found from the boy and the town of Radcote fears that the spate of teenage suicides it has only just got over are about to start again.

Review: Snapshot by Craig Robertson (4/5)

I read Craig Robertson's first book last year and loved it. There was a long gap between finishing that and starting this book however and much of that was probably due to the reviews for it on both Goodreads and Amazon. I have lost count of how many books reviews I have read either slating a book or saying it wasn't very good only to then read the book myself and feel the opposite. I feel that this book was so much better than reviews would have you believe, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rachel Narey is one of the main characters and she featured in the previous book. I can't for the life of me however remember any of the other characters but I have read about 100 books since then so it's to be expected! It can be read as a standalone book, it does contain minor spoilers from the first book but it isn't really a 'sequel'. 

Review: NYPD Red by James Patterson (4/5)

Friday 21 March 2014 0 comments
When looking for a crime fiction book you can a) read in a few hours and b) not have to think too hard about, you can't really go wrong with a James Patterson book. Well, you can if you pick up one of the duds but when you have written (or put your name to) as many books as he has it does become a case of picking out the good from the bad.

I liked the premise of NYPD Red and of course with Patterson after just a few chapters I was hooked. One thing I love about his books is the storylines, at the same time as being completely over the top they are also believable. And so when Hollywood comes to New York and people from the film world are being killed across the city the book becomes like watching a film. 

Review: Payback by Kimberley Chambers (5/5)

Thursday 20 March 2014 2 comments

2014's best book

In January 2013 I read The Trap by Kimberley Chambers and said it would be the best book of 2013... it was. In January 2014 I read Payback by Kimberley Chambers and said it would be the best book of 2014... it is.

I discovered Kimberley Chambers about two years ago when looking for similar books to Martina Cole. I read the synopsis for The Feud, started to read it and after a week of hardly any sleep I finished the trilogy and was telling anybody who would listen how fantastic it was. I then eagerly awaited the release of The Schemer. It was in January 2013 however when Kimberley wrote the book that would give the Mitchell/O'Hara trilogy a run for its money and that book was The Trap. I wrote a review for it where I said it would be the best book I'd read in 2013. Well I read 160+ books in 2013 and The Trap was the best one. 

Luckily 2013 ended up being one of the quickest years ever and so 2014 arrived and I couldn't wait for the release of Payback. I was in London for the week and found Payback for sale in the Isle of Dogs ASDA. After practically grabbing the last copy out of some poor woman's hands I ran to the self service till, ran to the DLR and spent nearly an hour on the platform at Bank reading the book until I realised that the quicker I read it the quicker it would be over and so managed to ration my reading until tonight when I just couldn't put the book down until I finished it, and now I am devastated. It is writers like Kimberley that give people readers block! What the fuck am I meant to read after finishing a book as fantastic as this I have no idea... The whole book just feels so real, the characters, the story, the setting.. I stay in Bethnal Green Travelodge when in London and so could easily recognise some of the places this book was set.

Review: Vanished and Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

I first discovered Tim Weaver when I read about his fourth book: Never Coming Back. The cover and the blurb interested me but I decided to start with book one, Chasing the Dead as his books are part of the David Raker series who is a missing persons investigator. After now having read all four books I would say they could be read standalone but it is much better to read the books in order as you feel more of a connection with the character(s) and of course there aren't any 'spoilers' when the author has to recap previous books. 

Please click 'Read more' to read my reviews for Vanished and Never Coming Back which are books three and four in the Raker series. I am now impatiently waiting for book five which if the previous four books are anything to go by will be worth the wait!

Update: My 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge

In 2012 I managed to beat my target of 150 books by reading 170! I was quite impressed with that but started 2014 with a smaller target of 52. The reason being is I felt I was rushing books trying to meet my target rather than reading at a manageable pace that I was comfortable with and so a smaller target means I can take my time with books rather than feeling I need to rush to meet a target. 

As of March 20th I have read 20 of 52 books and they are listed below:

Matt Hilton - Dead Fall 3/5
THE best book of 2014
Matt Hilton - Dead Men's Harvest 5/5
Matt Hilton - No Going Back 4/5
Helen Forrester - Liverpool Daisy 5/5
Harry Bowling - Tuppence to Tooley Street 5/5
Harry Bowling - Paragon Place 4/5
James Patterson & Mark Sullivan - Private L.A. 4/5
Jackie Collins - Lovers & Players 5/5
                             Kimberley Chambers - Payback 5/5
Luke Delaney - The Keeper 5/5
Mandasue Heller - Respect 3/5
Luke Delaney - The Network 5/5
Luca Veste - Dead Gone 4/5
Tim Weaver - Vanished 5/5
Chris Carter - The Death Sculptor 5/5
Ali McNamara - Step Back In Time 5/5
Tim Weaver - Never Coming Back 5/5
Leah Giarratano - Voodoo Doll 5/5
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro - Unlucky 13 5/5

So overall a successful start to the year and some absolutely fantastic books read so far. I will edit this post with links to reviews if/when they are written.


Review: Voodoo Doll by Leah Giarratano (5/5)

A while ago I was searching for crime fiction set in Australia when I discovered an author called Leah Giarratano. I eagerly downloaded the first book in this series called Vodka Doesn't Freeze and had it read after just a few sittings. It was probably one of the strongest and most enjoyable crime fiction debuts I have read. After finishing this, book number two in the Jill Jackson series I am kicking myself for not having read it sooner.

This is crime fiction with a psychological element which for me is the absolute best kind. Leah has created one hell of a character in Jill Jackson and I think she's great. She is written excellently and believably which makes the book so much better than if she was just another bland detective that any old author could be writing about. 

Review: Unlucky 13 by James Patterson (5/5)

13 may be unlucky for some but it definitely isn't for James Patterson who gives us the latest installment in the Women's Murder Club series which, for me, just happens to be the best one yet...

One of my favourite series of books is Patterson's Women's Murder Club. Featuring a fantastic cast of characters and the over the top storylines that Patterson does best they are among some of my most favourite crime fiction books. And so I eagerly await their release each year and read them as soon as possible. I sat down to read this one and after a few hours I knew I wouldn't be moving until the end. 

I finished the book after just a few hours as with a Patterson book the short chapters always end on a cliffhanger and it is just impossible to stop reading. My heart was in my mouth for the majority of the book. Opening with a bomb blast on the Golden Gate Bridge, things become even scarier when it turns out the bomb came from inside actual persons. We then also learn that Mackie Morales has escaped from hospital who regular readers will be aware of and even further in the book another major storyline begins but to say more would be spoiling the story...

Review: Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara (5/5)

Wednesday 12 March 2014 0 comments
A while ago I read From Notting Hill with Love... Actually and absolutely loved it. It is now probably one of my favourite chick lit books and if ever a book was made for the big screen then that is it. The follow up was amazing and I already impatiently waiting for book three which in my opinion cannot come quick enough. My favourite film of all time is Back to the Future. I am however yet to find a book which makes time travel seem anything other than stupid. Until now...

Whilst at times I found myself as confused as Jojo I did love the concept here and thought it worked very well. When Jojo is run over by a car she wakes up to find herself in 1964. Also in 1964 however are people that she knew from the present day. 

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