Sunday, 13 December 2015

Book Review: Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Star Wars: Aftermath
Chuck Wendig
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
Star Wars..... what can I say about Star Wars?  It has been part of my life since... well, since I was able to talk, to be honest. Growing up in the early 80's, my older brother Rich made sure I had no choice but to like Star Wars, which I thank him for and as a result we both made sure our younger brother Tom was also given no option. I remember when I started play school (Nursery, Kindergarten) at the age of 3 or 4 I came home every day and asked my mum if I could watch Star Wars. "Again ?" she would ask. "Yes" was always my response. Before I started proper school I could quote  nearly all the film back to you. To my mum's disgust, she could quote 75% of the film as well because it was always on!! I thought this was great. Every time Star Wars was on TV we had to tape it because the VHS tapes always got damaged due to the number of times we used to watch it. When I say Star Wars I meant A New Hope because in those days it was a good 3-5 years from when a film was at the cinema to when it was shown on TV. Empire Strikes back was not on TV till '85 and Return of the Jedi till '88. Of course when they were on TV I watched them just as much. The majority of my toys growing up were Star Wars. I still have some of those now. It is a shame we never kept the boxes though, as they are worth quite a bit of money now. Still to this day I don't think there is a week that goes by where I don't think or quote from Star Wars. It could be telling someone not to be so angry because anger leads to the dark side or pretending the steel pipe of the vacuum cleaner is a Light Saber whilst I tidy up, or even just randomly start breathing like Darth Vader whilst you do your weekly shop. Plus, lets be honest, who has never actually tried to use the Force? 
When I heard that they were making Episode 7 I was so excited -  I was transported back to being a little kid waking up on Christmas morning. At the start of the year they released news that a new book was to be written to bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. This was to be called Aftermath. As soon as I could pre-order this book I made sure I did, so that it would be delivered on publication day. It has actually been a while since I have read a Star Wars book having bought all the in between books when the prequel movies were released. Some of the first books I ever read were the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zhan which I loved.
Star Wars: Aftermath Story: - The second Death Star has been destroyed, The Emperor dead and Darth Vader struck down. The Empire are down to small numbers whilst the Rebel Alliance celebrate this major victory. However, the Imperial threat and the battle for freedom is far from over. Whilst searching the outer rim of the Galaxy,  Wedge Antilles comes across a planet called Akiva,  with what seems to be a small gathering of Imperial Star Destroyers circling it. On the surface of Akiva, a Rebel fighter returns home - she left her planet and family to fight in the recent war for freedom on Endor. What is she returning to? Is her home still there, do her family understand her reasons for fighting? Not long after getting back home, she receives Wedge Antilles' urgent distress call and realises that the war is not yet over. The Imperial Elite are trying to maintain the power of the Empire despite the loss of the Emperor and Vader. She joins forces with her son and a group from the capital city. Can this small group stop the Imperials,  or are they now powerful enough to make their next move to rule the Galaxy...
My biggest fear before reading this book, was that because you love something so much, whether it be a favourite band, actor, or in my case Star Wars,  it may not live up to my enormous expectations.  I really would not want to have to say negative things about it.  I felt my fears were coming true during the first 50 pages of the book. I was confused and could not get my bearings as to where I was or what was going on. There are a number of very short chapters that introduce a number of locations to the story.  Thankfully, once things started to get clearer the story became a lot better. The story is split in two parts really. The main story follows Nora, the returned Rebel fighter. The second part follows Admiral Slone and the remaining Imperial Elite as they plan what is next for the Empire. Every couple of chapters there is an interlude from a different planet in the Galaxy, which I really liked. Although nothing to do with the main storyline, the interlude is simply an update on what is going on around the Galaxy and changes to the particular planet since the last Death Star was destroyed. The story has everything you would expect from a Star Wars story from fight scenes with blasters to space ships and land machines.
I really liked how the author wrote this book. You could tell he was a huge Star Wars fan just by the way he wrote and described things.  Because this book is just a small part in a bigger world this particular story does end, but as you know it does not really end because in the world of Star Wars the stories can go on forever.
The characters in this book were great, there was such a wide range of people, creatures, robots and droids to give it a real Star Wars feel. Nora, one of the main characters we all know even though we don't know ha ha! She is in one of the A wing fighters  at the end of Return of the Jedi who takes a few of the Tie-Fighters away in the Death Star,  so Lando and Wedge can destroy it. However if you are not familiar with the Star Wars world then I think you will be really confused and have no idea who the characters are. You really do need to know your stuff for them all to make sense. Apart from all the new characters a lot of the ones we all know and love made small appearances. There was Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Wedge, Admiral Ackbar , just to name a few.
I think if you love the Star Wars world you should read this book. I don't know if it will have anything to do with the new film or not. I believe it is just a "what has been happening since" book but well worth a read.
I scored this book a 4 out of 5. For me, as stated above the start was a bit confusing and also if you wanted to read this as a stand alone sci-fi book then I don't think you will like it. It says at the beginning of the book that this will be a trilogy of books so I cannot wait to see the next instalment.
I would love to know what people think that have read this book. Do you agree with me or not. Let me know.. Also I would love to know other peoples Star Wars stories and how you became to love this franchise.
Speak soon
PS. May the Force be with you.... Always!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Book Review: Whatever you Love by Louise Doughty

Whatever you Love
Louise Doughty
This book was bought for me by my wife last Christmas. I finally managed to get it read in time for this Christmas... Just. This is my second Louise Doughty book I have read after reading Apple Tree Yard last year.
Laura's daughter Betty is nine and has just been killed in a hit and run incident. Her life is ruined. Laura's grief sets off a very painful memory about her divorce from Betty's father David. Things get worse when Betty's death is ruled an accident and Laura decides the only thing to do is to get her own revenge on the monster that did this. Is this the last thing Laura will ever do?
This book is written in two parts. Before the accident and after the accident. It then flicked between the two. I really like how this was done because you learned all about Laura, how she met her husband and what her life was like before Betty came alone. Louise has a great way of sucking you into the story from the off. There is just enough on each page to keep your mind guessing and to get you to want more. This made the book a real page turner for me. Sometimes you get books that just don't flow but this one did.
The story in it's self is very dark. Death of a child is up there as one of the worst you can get. Laura is a character you really feel for, for what she has gone through, but unless you have been through this personally you will never know what goes on in someone's mind.
The characters in this book were great. Laura & David were the two main ones and the story really centred around them. This gave a feel that put you there with them. The other characters were supporting actors in a way. This was not a bad thing though as I believe the story did not need them to have any bigger parts.
I loved this book... That is until the end. For me I'm afraid it just did not feel right. The ending did not live up to what I was expecting. Don't get me wrong it was not a really bad ending, I was a bit "oh" maybe it is because when you read something that is so good you build your hopes up for something bigger.
I scored this book a 4 out of 5. The ending for me stopped this from being a 5, but it is a great book. If you are into thrillers, psychological thrillers & mysteries then I believe you will love this book.
I would like to know what everyone else thinks that has read this book? do you agree with me or not? Let me know.
Speak soon

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Book Review: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim
Terry Hayes
I first heard about this book when I was on the London Underground in 2013. I kept seeing the poster for it at most stations and it stuck in my head. At the time it was first published I had so many books at home that I had not read so I said I will wait for it to come out in paperback. When it did I bought it straight away only to then keep it on my bookshelf for another year..... as you do. I had heard so many good things about this book I was hoping that the wait would be all worth it.
A young women is murdered in a run-down New York Hotel, a father publically beheaded  in Saudi Arabia, in a Syrian research lab a doctor's eyes are taken from him when he is alive, human remains left on the mountainside in the Hindu Kush, a plot to commit mass murder. Only one man can link these together, only one man can take that journey. That man is Pilgrim.....
Firstly I believe this may be the longest book I have ever read, coming in at 892 pages long. The book started off really well for me, a mixture of introducing the characters in present day and then a little history of their past. The pages were turning really quickly as I got straight into it. For me though, about a quarter of the way through the book this changed. I don't know what it was ,but when the author was describing the "Evil" character and how he was plotting his master plan, I felt it did not run as smoothly and found it tough to get through. This changed again though (thank goodness) just after half way through the book. The story then kick started and had me gripped for the remainder of the book. I could not tear myself away. I flew through the last 300 pages.
The story in its self is believable. Terry Hayes has obviously done a lot of research into this, which showed with the in depth detail of everything, from characters, to places visited, to scientific terminology. Some book lovers would say he went into too much detail but Terry says himself in his notes at the back of the book, this is how he likes to read books so he wrote it this way as well.
I love the characters in this book. Pilgrim, the main character, is an agent in a secret government agency along with Saracen a war veteran. The story is centred around these two characters. Then, there is a mix of other people spread across 3 continents who all have a part to play in this spy thriller. Due to the in depth nature of the how the book is written, the author describes all the characters in detail, even ones that have been dead for years.
Was this book worth the wait? Yes, I believe it was. Apart from the little lull, it was a well written book and very enjoyable. Terry Hayes second novel, The Year of the Locust, is out in April 2016 and I will definitely be reading this.
I scored this book a 4 out of 5. Again it was the tough part that lost a point for me, otherwise it would have been a 5.
I would love to know what other people think that have read I Am Pilgrim. Do you agree with me or do you have your own thoughts. Let me know.
Speak soon.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Book Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

The Good Luck of Right Now
Matthew Quick
The Good Luck of Right Now is the 3rd book that I have read by Matthew Quick, after reading The Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. Having loved both of these so much, it was only a matter of when I was going to read this book rather than if.
Meet Bartholomew Neil. A 39 year old man who has spent all his life looking after his mum. After cancer took his mother from him, Bartholomew realises that he has no idea how to live and be on his own. He has never had a job, never had a girlfriend, never known how to pay bills and never even sat at a bar with a friend having a beer. Through the help of actor Richard Gere, a bipolar priest, a beautiful librarian and a foul mouthed very troubled young man Bartholomew learns all about life. All he wants is love and happiness, but soon comes to realise that you can't have this without pain and sadness.
All of the Matthew Quick's books I have read so far involve mental illness, special needs and troubled characters. The Good Luck of Right Now is no different. Although these books are fictional it really makes you think hard about people whose life is affected by mental illness. I know from personal experiences how hard it can be and I'm sure most of you know someone who has struggled as well. I don't know why, but I find these stories so intriguing and Matthew writes them with so much heart. He uses just enough wit and happiness to run alongside the sadness and hurt of true life. One minute you are laughing out loud the next you are trying to hold back the tears.
I loved all the characters in this book. Each one of them gives you something different. My favourite of them all was Max, the foul mouthed troubled young man. If you are offended by the F word then you probably will not like Max, but I found it to add to his character and think that he would not be the same person without the constant swearing. I love that although Max is dealing with his own personal grief, he is there for Bartholomew to support him on his life journey.
The writing of this book was unique and original. The whole story was all told through Bartholomew as he wrote letters to his confidant Richard Gere. By doing it this way you got a true feel of not only what was happening in the story but everything that was going through Bartholomew's mind good and bad. 
The story in itself was fantastic. You go on a huge journey throughout the book, not only with Bartholomew, but all the characters involved. I always find books that end differently to "everyone lived happily ever after" the best as life does not work that way.
Is there anything I did not like about this book? No, not really. I loved it and could not put it down. I read it in a week and a half which is really quick for me.
I scored this book a 5 out of 5. Matthew Quick wins again. He is probably my favourite author. I can't wait to read his latest book Love May Fail which was recently published. I fully recommend you read this. If you don't normally read this sort of book then why not try it? It may surprise you.
I would love to know other people think that have read this book. Do you agree with me or not? Let me know.....
Speak soon

Saturday, 11 July 2015

2015: Half Year Book Report

2015: Half Year Book Report
So.... We are half way through 2015 already. It's crazy really. People always say the older you get the quicker time goes. This is true. It only seemed like Christmas 5 minutes ago and before you know it Christmas will be here again. Talking of Christmas has anyone still got books to read that they got for Christmas? I still have 3 to go, which is not bad for me as I still have some to read I got the Christmas before.
I don't know about you, but sitting on our bookshelves are about 100 books unread.. I keep trying to read them but then you get sucked into a book shop. Caught in a tractor beam like you are in Star Wars or something.. An hour or so later you leave with another 2 or 3 books which you just HAD to buy. The books you have said you will read next just get pushed to the back of the queue. This seems to be my pattern all year round.
I have been really impressed with how popular books are again and really think that social media is helping. Not only for the big writers out there but for ones that are just starting out. I know that most authors are on Twitter and all the publishers big and small are spreading the word each week as to what new books are out. If it was not for Twitter I would not have read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Disclaimer by Renee Knight both debut novels that were published in 2015. There was a social media buzz about these books that really got me excited and wanted me to go buy these books.
I don't normally set targets for myself in life as I feel they can take over your life and in a way ruin it. However at the start of the year I did decide to set myself a little goal when it came to reading books. I am not the fastest reader at all. But like most things the more I do it the faster I become. I looked at how many books I read last year and wanted to beat this total in 2015. I decided that I wanted to read 1 1/2 books a month which would give me a total of 18 for the year. Now I know there are people out there that have probably read 18 books in the first 3 months of the year but if I achieve this, this will be the most books I have read in a year. How am I doing you may ask? Well on 28 June I started to read my 10th book of the year. This makes me so happy that I am on target. Do you have targets when it comes to books or do you just read books as and when?
My Favourite books of the year so far:
Out of the 9 books I have completed so far this year most have been Thriller/Crime/Mystery novels which is by far my favourite genre. Another little goal I set myself is to read more books from different genres to broaden my knowledge and to learn from different styles of writing and story telling. I am not the biggest fan of Autobiography's but I really enjoyed KP by Kevin Pieterson and I also liked The Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey, a memoir of her life living with a rare disease. I have not read a Sci-Fi book in years but just had to read A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson (one of my favourite actors) & Jeff Rovin. What do you read generally? Do you stick to one genre or do you enjoy mixing it up? My 3 favourite books so far in 2015 all scoring 5 out of 5 are:
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Playing Mrs.Kingston by Tony Lee Moral
Unlucky 13 by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
What is happening for the rest of 2015:
Well books, books and yes you guessed it books. I am a little excited about the next 6 months in the book world. I have just started to read The Good Luck of Right Now by one of my favourite authors Matthew Quick. There are currently 3 books that are to be published later this year which I will have on pre-order. First up is the new James Bond novel called Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz. This will be published on 08 September 2015. Just 2 days later on the 10th is one book I really can't wait for. As a huge Star Wars geek I cannot wait for the new movie to come out on 18 December, but before then a new Star Wars novel is to be published called Aftermath. This is written by Chuck Wendig & Tim Lebbon and the story bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi & The Force Awakens. Thirdly on 20 October 2015 the 3rd Cormoran Strike novel by Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling) is published called Career of Evil. Both my wife and I have loved the first 2 books and will probably have to play rock, paper, scissors to see who will read this first. Other books I will be reading this year are Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (Blindside/Moneyball) which is a story on how computer programmers are changing the stock market on Wall Street. Then I will be reading a book that I have been trying to read for ages. I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. A Jason Bourne type thriller that will take you all over the world. I say this is my plan but it all depends on what those book shops force me to buy between now and the end of the year. It would be just like me to read non of the above...
Lastly I would just like to thank everyone who has read one of my blogs. I am now at just over 1800 hits which is just fantastic and makes me happy that people out there read what I write.
I hope that whatever everyone is reading you are enjoying and would love to hear your reviews and thoughts. You could even write a guest book review on my blog if you like.....
Speak soon


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Book Review: 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

14th Deadly Sin
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
14th Deadly Sin is part 3 of my Women's Murder Club series catch up, having finished 12th of Never and Unlucky 13 this past month. 14th Deadly Sin is the latest book in the series.
The Women's Murder Club is about a group of friends that live in San Francisco, America. They are Detective Lindsay Boxer from the SFPD homicide department, Dr Clare Washburn Chief Medical Officer for San Francisco, Yuki Castellano a District Attorney for San Francisco and Cindy Thomas a crime reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and together they help catch some of the cities most violent criminals.
A string of armed robberies are being committed by people dressed up in SFPD gear. Are they imposters trying to put the blame onto the police? Or are they actual police officers gone rogue? Meanwhile a women is murdered in the middle of the day in front of hundreds of people but the police have nothing to gone on to prove who did this. A member of the Women's Murder Club suddenly decides she wants a change of job, is this going to work out well or will it be the mistake of her life?
I did not know what to expect from this book. As I loved Unlucky 13 so much I was hoping this would follow suit and be just as good, but there was the worry that because Unlucky 13 was so good it was going to be a poor follow up. I'm afraid it was a poor follow up. I mean not that it was a really bad book but just not as good as the previous. I thought the initial plot lines were good and mysterious and you got stuck in to the book as usual. I just felt as the stories went on they went a little flat in places and did not have that spark that kept you gripped.
One of the sub plots was one of the Women's Murder Club leaving her job and taking on a different challenge. As you have grown with the characters throughout the books you personally felt like this was a bad decision. I was shouting at my book telling her not to do it. I laughed about it afterwards and thought to myself I am glad no one can see me doing this. Does anyone else do this when you are reading a book? If you disagree with a characters decisions do you find yourself wanting to butt in and tell them? It will be interesting to see how many people do this.
14th Deadly Sin did something that the other 13 books in the series did not. It actually finished on a cliff hanger. It's as though the 15th book has already started and people are in danger. Did I like this sort of ending? yes in a way as it gets you all excited about the next book. The problem is we have to wait till March 2016 to find out what happens which is way too long and I may have to read the end of this book again to before I read it.
I scored this book a 3.5 out of 5. I was torn between a 3.5 and a 4 but I went with the 3.5. The reason why I chose this score is as stated before Unlucky 13 was so good and this one was way off the mark. I believe if you love the series like I do you must read.
That concludes my Women's Murder Club series catch up having read the 3 latest books. It was great to see how the characters have grown and some cracking storylines. I would love to know what other readers feel about reading back to back books by the same author? Do you like it or do you like to read something different in between? Let me know.
Speak soon

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Book Review: Unlucky 13 by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Unlucky 13
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Unlucky 13 is the second book that I have read as part of my Women's Murder Club series catch up after finishing 12th of Never the other week. The Women's Murder Club series is my favourite by James Patterson but having had a break from reading them for a while I have decided to read the 3 latest books back to back. They are called 12th of Never, Unlucky 13 & 14th Deadly Sin.

The Women's Murder Club is about a group of friends that live in San Francisco, America. They are Detective Lindsay Boxer from the SFPD homicide department, Dr Clare Washburn Chief Medical Officer for San Francisco, Yuki Castellano a District Attorney for San Francisco and Cindy Thomas a crime reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and together they help catch some of the cities most violent criminals.
Two dead bodies are found on the Golden Gate Bridge, however this is no normal crime scene. Detective Lindsay Boxer and partner Detective Rich Conklin have never seen anything like this before. The scene is more what you might find in a war zone and not on one of the worlds most iconic land marks. Whilst trying to find who committed these crimes Lindsay gets a call about a former colleague who is on the run and on the FBI's most wanted list. Is this ex-colleague ready to return to San Francisco and cause more havoc? Meanwhile one member of the Women's Murder Club should be having the time of her life but when tragic strikes it could all end horribly wrong. 
Page 1... 2 dead bodies... and we're off.. No messing about again just straight into the action. Love it.. I was already hooked and not even turned a page yet. This I suppose if why James Patterson sells so many books. His ability to not let your mind wonder and decide whether you re going to like this book or not.
As previously stated on my 12th of Never review, I love the characters in this series of books. I feel as though I have grown with them over the years. The regular guys are always there and each evil character is written so unique and different from all the others.
My biggest wish for this book was for one of the stories from 12th of Never to continue. There was a huge twist at the end I did not see coming and it was never put to bed as to what happened to this character. I was not disappointed. A big part of this book is "What happened next" with this character and was brilliantly written. The story took on more twist and turns all the way to the end. This book like all the others never has just the one story running through it. In Unlucky 13 there are a group of serial killers leaving exploded bodies around parts of San Francisco, another serial killer on the run wanting revenge and leaving bodies as they go and then just to top it off a hijacking of a public area that puts a 1000 people at risk from a group of mercenaries.
Is there anything I did not like about this book? No.. not this time. I loved this book so much. I read it in under a week which is brilliant for me and I have to say, in my opinion this is the best Women's Murder Club novel for a long time. It had everything. I also think it had quite a dark side to it which always makes things more intriguing.
I scored this book a 5 out of 5. I liked it so much I could read again very soon. I also could see this book being turned into a film will all the action that was going on. If you are interested in reading these series of books then I recommend you start from the beginning and start reading 1st to Die. Keep an eye out for my review of 14th Deadly Sin.
I would love to know what other people think that read the Women's Murder Club books? do you agree with me or not?? what is your favourite James Patterson series/book? Let me know....
Speak soon.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Book Review: 12th of Never by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

12th of Never
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
James Patterson is one of the worlds leading thriller writers having sold over 300 million copies in nearly 40 years of being an author. Just like marmite, book readers either love his novels or loathe them. For me, I am a huge fan. It was James Patterson books that got me started with this love affair with reading. Yes, I know that he has a small army of authors that write his books for him, but he writes all the plot lines and has the final say. Patterson is probably most famous for his set of Alex Cross novels. Other popular series include the Detective Michael Bennett books and most recently the Private novels, but for me, my favourite is The Women's Murder Club series. I find them the most exciting to read plus they are set in San Francisco my favourite city in the world...
It has been a few years since I have read a Women's Murder Club book due to the other 100 unread novels that sit on our book shelf. I have decided it was time to catch up so I am going to read the 3 latest books back to back starting with 12th of Never followed by Unlucky 13 and then 14th Deadly Sin. Over the next 3 weeks I will review these one by one. Big thanks to my brother Tom for getting me these books for Christmas & my birthday.

The Women's Murder Club is about a group of friends that live in San Francisco, America. They are Detective Lindsay Boxer from the SFPD homicide department, Dr Clare Washburn Chief Medical Officer for San Francisco, Yuki Castellano a District Attorney for San Francisco and Cindy Thomas a crime reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and together they help catch some of the cities most violent criminals.

Detective Lindsay Boxer is pregnant but there is no rest for her as a professor walks into the homicide department to report a murder that has not yet happened. A convicted serial killer wakes up from a coma and says that he is ready to bring peace to the families of his victims. With all this going on Lindsay's mind is else where as she is faced with the biggest loss of her life.

The book starts off like most of Jams Patterson's books, straight into the action. No scene setting or building up to anything just "BOOM and we're off" This is what I most like about these books. Another thing I love about the Women's Murder Club books are that there is never just one plot to the story. This like previous ones is no different. There are 6 plots going on at one time what with 2 murders, a courtroom battle, a disgraced sports star, heart-breaking news and of course a love story. 

Along with the four main characters there is the usual supporting cast and then the evil "baddies". I love how Patterson writes his characters -  they are all believable and you get a good picture in your mind about them all. Although you could potentially read this book as a one off as there is always a brief history about the characters I would recommend that if you want to read these books then to start from the beginning. This way you learn about how the characters have grown over the years and learn how the relationships have been built and the full history of how they have become what they are now.

The plots lines were all very good and original but most of all you can see these stories happening in real life, which for me makes a good thriller. If you have read a James Patterson book before you know that the chapters are very short which means even when you are so tired and your eyes are closing you know it will only take another minute to read another chapter. Before you know it you have read another 30 pages. This book had lots of twists and turns as usual with one huge one at the end, which I did not see coming at all. I hope this story follows on in the next book. I am not the fastest of readers but you could tell it had me hooked as I read it in just over a week.

Is there anything I did not like about this book? Only just a small thing but I thought that the plots where based around 3 of the 4 main characters and Cindy Thomas was not really used that much. In previous books all 4 have had a fair share.

I scored this book a 4.5 out of 5. I loved this book and it was great to catch up with the gang. I can't wait to read the next book Unlucky 13. If you love thrillers I would recommend you read these books. They also make great holiday reads as you can dip in and out whenever you want. I must give a big shout out to Maxine Paetro who always puts James Patterson's vision into words very well.

I would love to know what everyone's else thinks about James Patterson books. Do you love them or loathe them? Which is your favourite series by James Patterson? Let me know.

Speak soon


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Book Review: Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Renee Knight
Disclaimer is Renee Knight's debut novel and is a psychological thriller with spine chilling twists and dark secrets.
Catherine moves into her new apartment with her husband and comes across a novel she has never seen before. After deciding to start reading this book she wishes she had not. why? Because she realises that the main character is her and she is sickened to know that someone out there knows a dark, dark secret about her that she thought she would take with her to her grave.
I first heard about this book on Twitter. Just like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins there was such a buzz about this book. People who had read pre-published copies were saying it is a must read and you will be disappointed if you don't. Claudia Winkleman BBC Radio 2 art show presenter had also thanked someone on Twitter for making her read it. This just made me more excited for it to be published.
The book started completely differently to how I imagined it would, but not in a bad way. I don't know why. I just read the inside cover and thought the story would be built up but it was just like..... BANG straight into it. I really liked how the book was written as it flicked between Catherine the main character and the person who knew her secret. This I guess is the best way to get people thinking and wondering what has happened. Most of the chapters finished with just a little extra teaser and was begging you to read on. I remember one night reading it and I was tired but so desperate to find out what had happened. It felt like when all the Christmas presents are under the tree a week before Christmas and you are trying to find out what you have got.
The characters were written very well. I liked how you understood all of them, mainly because there were just normal people like you and me which makes it more real life. There were 4/5 main characters and then a few supporting cast members which keeps it less complicated.
Was there anything I did not like about the book? Yes but not much, it was mainly just a few chapters I thought went a bit flat and did not have the spark that the majority had. The rest was really good.
Did I guess what had happened at the end? No.. failed again, but I thought the story was original and not like anything I had read before.
I scored this book a 4.5 out of 5. I only dropped half a point for the flat chapters but that could just be me (Sorry Renee). I definitely recommend you read this book especially if, like me you love thrillers. I can't wait to see what she writes next
I would love to know what people think that have read this book. Do you agree with me or not? Let me know.
Speak soon

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Book Review: A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin

A Vision of Fire
Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin
I have loved Gillian Anderson ever since the first time she appeared on my TV as Agent Dana Scully in my all time favourite show The X-Files. When I found out that she was writing her debut science fiction novel it was never a case of will I read this but when. I got this book as a Christmas present from my wife.
The daughter of India's ambassador to the UN in New York starts talking in tongues and having violet outbursts and dreams. An Iranian boy sets himself on fire and a Haitian girl claws at herself whilst drowning on dry land. Enter child psychologist Caitlin O'Hara who after a call from her friend Ben Moss, a translator for the UN gets involved in what she thinks is a unique situation to help the ambassadors daughter. Tensions are already high for the ambassador as he is trying to stop India & Pakistan from going to war but can't help but worry for his daughter. When Caitlin hears of other teenagers around the world having very similar outbursts she must travel to all parts of the globe to try and figure out what is causing these incidents and how she is going to stop it before it is too late.... A Vision of Fire is book one of a trilogy called The Earthend Saga.
After just the first couple of chapters this book already had an X-Files feel about it. For me this was perfect and just made me get stuck in to this book very quickly.
I thought the writing was great all the way through, especially considering this is Gillian's debut novel, but with the help from Jeff Rovin who himself has over 140 novels to his name I'm not really surprised.
The characters were written well and very believable. I really liked Caitlin. I loved how she coped with her deaf son, being a single mother and how she dealt with life. For me she was the star of the book. I found Gillian's portrayal of the relationship between mother and son to be very comforting. I also enjoyed how diverse the characters were and it shows that the cultures included were researched with great respect.
One of the intriguing bits about this book for me was whilst the main story was going on, there was a sub plot about a secret organisation who smuggle and test rare artefacts from around the world .... A bit X-Files again I know... But I love them, secret organisations make stories interesting, dark and very mysterious. Unfortunately this for me was also one of the down sides to the story. The fact that we did not learn enough about them. They were just a few chapters every now and then about them and as the book went on I wanted to go back to this sub plot and see how this story unfolds. I really hope we learn more about them in the next two books.
This book is classed as science fiction which it is.. But it is not really out there, wild and wacky science fiction so if you are a fan of books that have something different that runs in line with real life then I would give it a go.
I scored this book a 4 out of 5. Overall I did like it and it read really well. It will be interesting to see how books two and three span out. Gillian Anderson is busy at the moment with her TV career so book two of The Earthend Saga is not currently scheduled to be published until June 2016. It currently has no title.
I would like to know what other people thought who have read this book. Do you agree with me or not?? Let me know.
Speak Soon

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Book Review: Playing Mrs. Kingston by Tony Lee Moral

Playing Mrs. Kingston
Tony Lee Moral
Firstly I would just like to thank the author of this book Tony Lee Moral for sending me a copy for me to read and review for him. I really do appreciate this.
New York City 1959, and Catriona Benedict is an actress who has big dreams, but after her latest acting job in the theatre is a huge flop she has to work out her next move. Enter Miles Kingston an extremely influential rich playboy. Miles offers her an acting job like no other. The role: To be his wife. Catriona knows that the pay in this job can set her and her boyfriend up to be able to live out their dreams but when tragedy strikes Catriona realises that living with the Kingstons has a very dark and dangerous twist.
I will be honest, I did not know what to expect from this book. Firstly it is Tony Lee Moral's debut novel and secondly I have not read many books that are set prior to the 1980's.
The book starts off very quickly and the main characters are introduced in the first couple of chapters. The scene setting is minimal but gives you a great incite into the lives of these people. I really liked that about the book. Some books you read take 2-3 pages to describe say a kitchen, which sometimes frustrates me. It did not take me long before I felt as though I was there in 1950's New York mixing it with some of the richest people in the country.
The characters on a whole are written very well. You get to know what they are all about, but it felt like each one of them had a dark secret to tell ,which I loved as it kept your mind wondering as to who was hiding what. One of my favourite characters in the book is Freddie the fashion photography who came to be a great ally for Catriona. He is set out from the start as a bad person but that is only one person's point of view.
The main story throughout the book is a murder mystery but it had everything. Deception, cover-ups, robberies, gangsters, smuggling the lot. There was twist after twist and this kept going all the way to the end, even when you thought it was over the author stuck in another twist just for good measure. This book was definitely a page turner and the chapters were just the right length to convince yourself to read another. 
Is there anything I didn't like about this book? Not really. I have been trying to think of something but I am struggling.
I scored this book a 5 out of 5. I loved it from start to finish. I hope that Tony Lee Moral writes another book as I will definitely be buying it. If you love murder mysteries, then this book if for you. If this book is anything to go by I will be looking to buy more crime/murder books set in the 50's. If anyone has any recommendations I would love to hear them.
I would love to know what other people think who have read this book. If you agree with me or not. Let me know.
Speak soon,

Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: KP The Autobiography by Kevin Pietersen

KP The Autobiography
Kevin Pietersen
This book was bought for me as a gift from my friends Hannah, Charley, Grace & Craig so a big thank you to them for this book.
I don't normally read autobiography's as such. I have only read 5 or 6 in my life. For me I will only read them if I think the person who has wrote it has a great story to tell. It amazes me how many people have autobiography's out and they have only been doing what they do for about 4 years.
In 2014 when this book was published it made front page news in the UK. The controversy and revelations inside shocked not only the cricket world but the sporting world as a whole. Cricket has been part of my life for the past 31 years and having seen Kevin Pietersen play live for England on many occasions it was an easy choice to want to read this book.
For those that are not familiar with Kevin Pietersen (KP) he is a professional cricket player that was born and grew up in South Africa. At the age of 19 he had one dream and that was to play Test Cricket. He realised that due to political reasons in South Africa he would probably not be able to do this for the country he lived in. KP's father was South African but his mother was English so he made an emotional journey to England as a shy but eager young man to try and reach his dream else where. KP signed for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club in 2000 unaware that within the next 5 years he would be one of the most popular cricket players in the world. At the start of the summer in 2005 very little people had heard of KP. By the end of that summer he was on the front of most papers and the talk of the country along with his fellow England cricketers. Why you ask? Well in the summer of 2005 England played a home Test Series against the old enemy Australia. England had not won a Test series against Australia since 1987...... well that is until KP and his team mates came out to war. It was like a heavyweight boxing match all through the summer England on top then Australia then back to England. The country went cricket mad. People were glued to the TV and radio. People who had never really watched or liked cricket were talking about it. In the end England won the series 2-1 and set off on a week... maybe a month of celebrations. KP and his England team mates were treated like rock stars.
Months after this great summer things took a turn for the worse for KP. Not from a cricket point of view but in a kind of in the media for the wrong reasons kind of view. The media has labelled him as arrogant and that the fame had gone to his head. He became cocky and sounded like it was all about him and not the team.
Over the next 9 years KP went on to become England's highest ever Test run scorer, He became not only a great test cricketer but one of the most excitable one day players to ever play the game. Unfortunately with every great cricketing story it came with controversy. The media again labelling him as a money grabbing mercenary for wanting to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League) rather than play for England. There were always stories about him falling out with everyone and causing problems on tour with coaches and other players. We had Textgate and the parody Twitter account scandal. But the most shocking out of all the stories was the bullying scandal within the England cricket team.
I will be brutally honest about KP. My impression of him has always been "One of the best cricket talents in the world but comes across as a bit of a you know what" KP says at the start of this book that all he wants people to do is read his side of the story and then judge him afterwards.
Well Kevin I have read your book and my opinion of you has changed so much. I asked myself why I had this opinion of him, but when you think about it, its the media that tell us that, that is what he is. An arrogant, mercenary trouble maker. Is Keven Pietersen perfect? No but he will admit that. This book is just more proof that there is always two sides to a story.
The book itself is very well written. It flowed very well and was as honest as they come. It gave you a really interesting incite into the lives of an international cricket player which really shocked me in places. Along with the serious stuff it was humorous in parts including one of the funniest chapters I've read in ages called Le Grand Fromage. KP does not hold back at all in this book and tells us how it is.
This book has not only changed my opinion of KP but also of people like Andrew Flower (Head Coach) Matt Prior, Graham Swann & Stuart Broad (England Players) but most of all the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) This organisation that runs everything cricket in this country is more political than the government and so stuck in their own ways you would think it was 1954. For someone who has been involved in cricket for so long it shocked me how bad they really are. 
Have I anything bad to say about the book. It would have nice to read more about the summer of 2005 and more of the success and but that would be about it.
I scored this book a 4.5 out of 5. If you love cricket then I fully recommend you read this. Also if you like sport itself I would give it a try. I have not really gone into too much about all the gossipy stuff and scandals on this review because I don't really want to ruin it for people. Reviewing an autobiography has been a bit strange as you can't describe most things without giving too much away. Do any other bloggers have this problem as well?
I would love to know what other people think who have read it. Has your opinion changed about KP?
Speak soon

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
I first heard about this book about a month before it was published. I follow a lot of book related people on twitter and kept seeing the same hashtag over and over. One day I clicked on #girlonthetrain to see what it was all about. I was surprised by how many people had read pre-published copies and it was all people were talking about. It had been a long time since I had seen a "Buzz" like this around social media about a book that was not yet published. They said is was a psychological thriller which is a cross between Gone Girl & Before I go to Sleep. (You can read my reviews on these by clicking on my book reviews above) Having enjoyed both of these very much I was straight down the book shop on the week it was published.
Meet Rachel, a women who catches the same commuter train every morning into London for work. She knows it will stop at the same signal each time overlooking a row of houses and their back gardens. Rachel has even started to feel like she knows all the people that live in the houses and has given them pet names. She thinks that all the people are happy and have perfect lives, that is until one day she see's something that shocks her. Rachel see's this as an opportunity to introduce herself, but maybe she wishes she didn't. She soon realises that life would have been much better is she had just stayed just another girl on the train.
I liked this book from the off. I don't know if it was because of the excitement I had from what I had been reading but I fell Straight into it. Rachel was the main narrator of the book, She was an alcoholic which I thought gave this book that extra edge. Suffering from hangovers and memory loss gave the story a great spin on things. You don't know what is going to happen and the narrator has no idea what did happen.
I thought all the main characters were very well written, you got a great picture in your mind about them all. Each one of them though felt like they had a dark secret to tell which gave the book that mystery from start to finish.
The good thing about The Girl on the Train was that it kept you guessing all the way till the end. I'm sure there will have been people who got it earlier but for me it was only about 5 pages before I found out. Even then you just had to keep on reading.
This is Paula Hawkins debut novel and I have to say it was written like someone who has had 10-15 books prior. It was kept at a fast pace and after each chapter left you begging for more.
Do I have anything negative to say about the book? no not really I loved it and I was glad the hype lived up to it, although next time I am on a train and it stops and I see someone in their garden I don't know if I will smile or shudder...
I scored this book a 5 out of 5. From the very beginning to the end it was mysterious, dark and kept you on the edge of your seat. If you are into thrillers/mystery books then I would fully recommend this to you. As we will soon be into holiday season and you are maybe looking what to read then make sure you take this with you.
I would love to know what other people think who have read this. Do you agree with me? Let me know.
Speak soon

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Book Review: Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey (Not published until 12 March 2015)

Girl in the Dark
Anna Lyndsey
Firstly I would just like to say a big thank you to Waterstones for sending me this pre published book to read and review for their website This book will be published on 12 March 2015.
Imagine closing your eyes really tight. Like really tight so its so dark you can't see anything. Now imagine if you should open just one of your eyes maybe a milometer so there is just a small amount of light. Imagine if this little amount of light can make your skin burn and your body be in so much pain you can't bare it any more. Imagine going months at a time like this 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Can you imagine? no....Well meet Anna Lyndsey. Anna suffers from "photo sensitive seborrhoeic dermatitis" a rare disorder that means for her to survive she has to live in a blacked out room for months at a time during the worst parts with no light, no TV, no computer, no mobile phone (yes kids no mobile phone).
This book is Anna's story. She tells us how she went from being a healthy women to the first signs of her diagnosis to surviving during the worst parts and how she managed to fight the disorder to make things better.
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written. It was honest, had great humour and sometimes very dark realities about living with a disorder like this. 
I love how Anna talks about her future husband. 99 out of 100 men would have walked away, but not Pete. Its great to read how their relationship works and how important it is for Anna to have someone like that in her life.
Whilst reading this book it made you realise how lucky we are sometimes. I mean most humans like to moan about the silliest of things. "My head hurts", "I have a bad cough", "I feel sick". Well give me a bad head any day of the week rather than what Anna has to put up with. 
This book is such an interesting read. Would I have bought this in the shop if I had not been sent it to read? maybe not but that is my goal for this year. I'm going to try and read all sorts of genres by authors I would never normally even look at.
If I had to criticise this book in any way, maybe it was losing track of what part of the year you were at and what year you were in. At the start of the book it had the month and year but then from half way nothing was mentioned.
I scored this book a 4 out of 5. If you find stories like this interesting then I would fully recommend this or if you fancy trying something different to read then give it a go.
I would love to know what other people think who have read this book. Let me know if you agree or not.
Speak soon