Monday, 23 February 2015

Book Review: Love On The Rocks by Veronica Henry

Love On The RocksLove On The Rocks by Veronica Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since I discovered Veronica Henry I have been a big fan of her works. She creates stories that aren't overtly feminine with characters and plot lines that are strong and familiar. Of all her books I didn't particularly enjoy A Night On The Orient Express but with this one I felt on much safer ground. There are a variety of characters with different backgrounds and abilities, some you love and some you love to hate. Of all of them I really warmed to Lisa. She was down to earth, a sympathetic main character. Whereas George and Victoria less so. But I didn't think you were supposed to like them, they were steal very real. Some characters, like George's friend, I found a bit superfluous.
The interweaving stories were much better and varied, ranging from how to deal with a death in the family to starting up a business and Henry switched between the different stories enough to keep in interesting but not so much that it became irritating.
The setting of Mariscombe I also found to be pleasant and charming, a place I could easily picture, made up from different parts of the British seaside that I visited during family holidays.
As always Love On The Rocks was a great read, I equal her books to getting into a bed made with fresh bed sheets and look forward to reading her next.

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review: In The Woods by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #1)

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)In the Woods by Tana French
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had been recommended to me by my Mum a while back and I really fancied a book that was gritty, surprising and a page turner. I must admit, upon reading the prologue I was disappointed. The author used lots of flowery language and fluff about summertime in Ireland and I like my murder mysteries to open with a body on page one. But, after the prologue the story soon got going. We are introduced to Rob/Adam Ryan and instantly he informs us that he lies. It is clear he is far from a reliable narrator.
He details us on the case of his missing friends, and the events that took place around the time. The situation is really intriguing and it's clear that the police officers at the time hadn't got a clue.
Then we are brought up to the date, Rob had relinquished his first name as a child and has now become a policeman on the Murder Squad. He and his 'more than friends, but not quite lovers' partner Cassie get the case of a murdered twelve year old in the same location as where his friends went missing.
The case is slow going, with different leads and suspects. The family are certainly interesting and not everything is as it seems. But could the two cases be related?
Tana French is an excellent writer, her characters seem full and thought out and she sets the scene beautifully. As I read I felt my feelings change, felt tense and hatred which is exactly the kind of reaction I want when reading a novel. Rob Ryan for me personally went from a character that I put up with to a character that I hated after one single event. His behaviour infuriated me, so I must admit I did rush the last portion of the book, just to finish it.
The case itself had plenty of twists and turns and I didn't figure out who the murderer was, but I was disappointed by the result. After everything that had happened it seemed a bit of an anti-climax. But what irritated me more was that the original case, of Adam's lost friends was never resolved! And it doesn't appear to be resolved in any follow-up books.
I originally gave this four stars when finishing it, but since I've delegated it to three. The ending was so unsatisfying, and the behaviour between Cassie and Rob seemed odd to me. I have a male best friend and you couldn't pay me a million pounds to touch his feet!
Overall, a solid novel, with so much promise. I really enjoyed French's style of writing, so I'm likely to pick up another of her books. As long as you can promise me that there is a conclusion!

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Book Review: A Trip to Jerusalem by Edward Marston (Elizabethan Theatre #3)

The Trip to Jerusalem (Elizabethan Theater, #3)The Trip to Jerusalem by Edward Marston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I picked this up in the bookshop I couldn't wait to get home and start reading it. The plague, a touring band of players, murder and mystery and all narrated by their stage manager. As a stage manager myself it was interesting to read about what my role would have been like if I had been alive during that time period (and had been a man).
Initially the style of writing took me aback. I had expected it to be of the period, and am accustomed to reading Shakespeare but some phrases took two readings for me to understand what was being said or going on. However, as the book progressed I became more used to the language and the book flowed well.
The characters were an eclectic mix which I enjoyed reading about, especially the magnificent Lawrence Firethorn! Dubious in character, but an excellent actor. The other players were also interesting, all distinctive enough to keep separate in my head. Although it did annoy me when Martson constantly referred to them by their full name but actually this became useful as were introduced to more people within the novel.
The story itself of Westfield's Players, their travels on the road and their running feud with Barnaby's players was enough to keep me enthralled. In fact, I found the two running stories alongside a bit boring, especially the one about the traitors. The woman who had abandoned her husband for God was a bit more interesting but it's conclusion was a bit bland, and it had no tie into the main story.
Overall an excellent book, a quick read and a very original idea. I hope to discover the first two of these novels and enjoy them just as much as I have this one.

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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Book Review: Poppet by Mo Hayder (Jack Caffery #6)

Poppet (Jack Caffery, #6)Poppet by Mo Hayder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have always been a fan of Mo Hayder's books, especially the Jack Caffery series. As an author, she does a fantastic job of transporting you into her world. Whilst reading, you are lost amongst the pages, turning them at a frantic pace, awaiting every twist and turn. I once described a book of hers as feeling like you were underwater you were so engrossed in the story, and closing the book was like a breath of air. The same applies to Poppet.
I love the character of Jack Caffery, although I always picture him looking somewhat like Paul Bettany despite the fact that he has dark hair. This book followed three characters, Flea Marley, a thirty year old diver, Jack and AJ LeGrande, who is a nurse at Beechway High Security Unit. AJ is likeable, but human, and he's a character easy to sympathise with and relate to.
The story itself focuses on the deaths of patients at the unit, and 'The Maude', a dwarf ghost who supposedly sits on the chests of her victims. The patients are terrified of her, but so are the staff.
Jack and Flea's storyline also follows the case of Mitsy Kitson, which was featured in the book 'Skin'. I didn't remember all of the details but Hayder helps you along, so for those who haven't read that novel, it isn't a complete drop in the ocean.
Unfortunately, the prevention of this getting five stars is the fact that I managed to work out who the murderer was before the end of the book. I hate that. I really like being surprised and in most cases I am.
Overall, this is a great novel, which is just what I expect from Mo Hayder. Great characters, great ideas, great location and totally gives you chills!

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