Sunday, 29 March 2015

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See takes us on a journey back to a captivating era of Chinese history and delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

I picked this up after the hype of how good a book this was and also it was a Buddy read with a friend. But unfortunately for me the Foot Binding back in the days isn't for me. Made me cringe. I couldn't fathom why they would do this kind of barbaric thing to girls just for their own violence for their girls to get married.

I'm sorry if people liked the story, but it wasn't for me.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Missing Gretyl by Si Page

London. Poncey Bridge. Marbella. Are you ready for Gretyl Trollop? Some say she is loud, hairy and obnoxious. Others are less complimentary. Witness the antics of Gretyl, her long-suffering husband, Albert, the Soddall family who have 'sod all' and other great characters in this hilarious comedy novel. Married for over fifty years, it's all trouble and strife for the Trollops. They live in a high-rise tower block in London's East End, where there isn't enough room to swing a cat. Gretyl is glued to the TV shopping channels and addicted to car boot sales. Albert finds respite in his allotment and the local bookmakers. They carry on with their separate lives until a mysterious letter threatens to change everything and turn Albert's world upside down. Has Gretyl Trollop finally met her match as she takes on Neil Rochester and his cronies in Poncey Bridge? Can Gretyl play the fraudsters at their own game? Will she survive the murderous attempts of Arti Chokes? Does Albert end up missing Gretyl?

It was suggested by the author that I read his first novel that he had written, as I was looking for something to get me out of my Thriller reading rut.

I found the characters lovable but rogue in their own way. Gretyl Trollop (without the E m'dear I can hear her saying in my ear), is an interfering old fuddy duddy and has her hands in all sorts of pots lol. Albert is the long suffering husband who after fifty years of marriage would rather stay in his shed (wouldn't we all if we had Gretyl as our partner lol). We also have the Soddall family who just want to get off the estate. Then we have Mr Neil Rochester the stuck up old man who thinks he owns everything in Poncey Bridge. What happens between these characters is hilarious with the goings on in London, Canvey Island and Poncey Bridge. But what happens in Spain with a certain person is even more funny as he just does what he thinks he's meant to do.

Si Page is a really good author who tries to bring out the best in his characters with their wit, humor and sometimes serious nature. Will definitely be looking out for more by Mr Page in the near future.

Monday, 23 March 2015

EMBRYO 5: SILVER GIRL (EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller) by J.A. Schneider

A beautiful young TV star, Jody Merrill, dies mysteriously and police are stumped. They are even more at a loss when the grisly remains of yet another actress, Jody's co-star, are found.

Detectives request the help of doctors Jill Raney and David Levine, police friends and detectives on their own. For Jill and David this is personal; they are heartbroken since both murdered young women were their friends. Furiously they resolve to find the killer: to skirt the law as they always do in cases of sex crimes, child abuse and murder; helping where cops' hands are tied ("No warrant? No problem!"), or in ways that police forensics never imagined.

The killer, capable of unspeakable savagery, must commit more murders in order to hide...possibly behind the glitzy cover of Show Biz Hell. As Jody Merrill called it, "That gorgeous, sparkly bubble that closes you in, bloats your ego in some weird, alternate universe where you lose all bearings, lose yourself. Fame is unhealthy."

I have read and loved all 5 of the Embryo series so far. This story line wasn't what it usually is with the others I've read. 

Yes it's fast paced (would be as I've read it within a day), has all the action packed characters that the previous books have. Jill and David are caught up in the middle of a great action, fast paced and heart racing story. You never see the plot coming til you are like gasping for breath. Thinking it's one person and finding out it's someone completely different.

Hope J.A. Schneider writes more soon as I am so hooked and it was all thanks to a friend who said this series was nail biting.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will."

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….

I was given a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have given this to half way and I really can't get the characters and the past/present parts. I couldn't connect to the characters after I read 11% of the book. I am sorry for people who loved and was a page turner, but I really wasn't keen on any of the characters.

Embryo 4: Catch Me (EMBRYO: A Raney & Levine Thriller) by J.A. Schneider

A terrifying serial killer who just targets couples, and leaves taunting notes for the NYPD signed CATCH ME... At a loss, police request the help of doctors Jill Raney and David Levine, police friends and detectives on their own. Both have helped when cops' hands are tied, or in ways that even police forensics never imagined.

But this killer, a sharp shooter, is always a step ahead. He wears gloves and disguises, shoots victim pairs at random with an unregistered gun, and leaves no physical evidence or eyewitnesses. He's enraged to hear that David is also a crack shot, and intrigued with the couple's adopted little son, Jesse, almost one year old, dubbed by the media "the miracle baby," and already showing signs that he is as intuitive as his mother...

The killer draws closer, gripping New York City and the entire nation in horror, pulling Jill and David into the worst terror they have yet encountered.

This is the 4th book in the Embryo series. It carried on from where book 3 left off. Ms Schneider doesn't disappoint with book 4 and makes your heart race from the 1st page to the last.

This time someone is killing couples. What has it got to do with Jill Raney and David Levine? Is there any cause to be concerned for baby Jesse? You will find out all the characters are still in this wonderful intriguing and fast paced book.

Can't wait to read book 5 - Silver Girl and see what more antics and heart racing things will happen to Jill and David and Baby Jesse.

Friday, 20 March 2015

If I Could... by Rene D. Schultz

At nineteen, Ema Vaduva was pregnant when she was forced to leave Romania. For twenty-eight years, Ema and her daughter, Daniela, reclusively lived a quiet and modest life. They were inseparable until one fatal day—Ema dies. That day would change Dani’s life forever—until one afternoon while cleaning out her mother’s closet, she finds a brown box. Are secret clues to her mother’s past tucked inside? Alone and desperate, and with nothing else to lose, Dani’s goes in search of answers. Will that brown box hold the answers to Ema’s past and Dani’s future…?

I was given a copy of this delectable book from the author.

I have read ALL of Rene Schultz books. I was wondering how she could top off all her other books with this 1, I wasn't disappointed lol. Not 1 has made me an emotional wreck. I have loved all the ups and downs of this wonderful book.

The story has such emotional feelings from a young woman who thinks she has lost EVERYTHING. But following her story and her ups and downs makes you think of life in general. I laughed at some of the antics the characters got up to. Had lumps in my throat at the sad parts. But all in all I LOVED and fell in love with the characters (someone even comes back in this book from a previous book). 

Now to wait and see what book Ms Schultz writes next to top off this book. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

High Desert Siren - Marilyn Bledsoe

I was asked to give an honest review in exchange for a copy of this book of poetry from a friend.
Well, I am not usually a poetry kind of person. I understood some of the concepts of the hard life this author has taken. I liked to get to know the author more through her sayings, but some bits I felt was going on or going away from what she was trying to get the reader to understand about her thoughts. I feel she has had a hard life I agree. I am sorry that her mother is not well and I send my thoughts to her. I also get the feeling that she has loved and lost loads of people over the years through her writing too. Adding to some of her poems to me, she could do with expressing in a less than blunt way of the writing. Try and get the words to flow into kind of sentences that the reader can understand a bit better. The poem The Last Rose of Summer that Marilyn and Dusti spoke about, the way the words flowed through and was understood what the poem was about and when Dusti said how it affected his reasons for writing in the first place hit home.

Some poems have a lull in them to the extent that you can connect to the author's past, present and hopefully the future of what they write. I won't say I HATE poetry, but some poems have grown on me and life won't be taken lightly in the retrospect of the writings of this lovely author.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Raney & Levine (Embryo #3) by J.A. Schneider

Another doctors-&-cops adrenalin-packed thriller: First, tension enters Jill's & David's relationship over what to do about newborn Jesse. They both love him, but David feels that he'd be safer adopted anonymously. Suddenly their stress turns to horror when they discover that a murderous religious zealot is after both Jesse - whom he calls "devil spawn" - and Jill & David's hospital which he calls "the devil's workshop which must be destroyed!" This time, the whole hospital is threatened... Jill and David join forces with the police in a terrifying race to track down a killer, and to prevent an unthinkable catastrophe.

Another thrilling ride on the back of Raney & Levine novel. 

OMG, where do I start. I will start by saying I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters from this series. Some of the book had me gasping that I didn't want it to go on any further as there was some slow parts (sorry J.A.), but it certainly had my heart pumping like anything when the action was going. I never saw who the culprit was in the end as I thought it was a certain someone and it WASN'T lol.

Another action packed book and can't wait to read book 4 soon.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Crosshairs (Embryo #2) by J.A. Schneider

They thought the nightmare was over. Intern Jill Raney and the man she loves, obstetrical resident David Levine, barely escaped death at the hands of a madman on the steep roof of an old part of the hospital. The awful scene, captured by overhead news choppers, became a media obsession, run horrifyingly over and over. Jill and David are now reluctant "celebrities" - and the targets of every wacko who wants to share in the attention.

Including a killer. Someone who begins venting his fury at their "fame" by his hideous assaults on women - assaults which Jill and David discover are also death threats to them, and to a 6-month-old baby who has yet to be born.

Their predator is clever. Haughty. Leaves cryptic "clues" to taunt them and the police, who are at a loss. He knows how to leave no physical evidence behind. No prints, no fibers, no eyewitnesses.

Jill and David must still return to their exhausting hospital duties, knowing that any psycho can just walk into a hospital. Friends beg David, who is a crack shot, to carry a gun, but he doesn't. "What's the use?" he asks. "A doctor's back is always turned."

Instead, Jill and David join forces to become detectives on their own, helping the police in ways that even forensics experts never imagined; working frantically to uncover an unspeakable secret that dooms their fate and that of a sweet-faced, unborn child...unless they can put an end to an obsessed killer's twisted quest.

I have been wanting to read book 2 since I finished book lol. Ok, it took me a few days to read it after I finished my previous book. But I could easily dip in and out of this book and knowing I will follow the pace.

It carries on from where book 1 left off. Jill Raney and David Levine are on a few days sabbatical due to the previous trauma (read Embryo to find out). They are shoved straight into the media attention as soon as they come back and STRAIGHT into danger all over again.

I guessed who the culprit was this time and it even made me think if I had the right 1 as they thought it was someone else. I am so glad I read this and the ending is great. Can't wait to dip into book 3 soon.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.

But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one. But when an attractive upstairs neighbour, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible . . . until she receives a phone call informing her of Lee’s impending release. Soon after, Cathy thinks she catches a glimpse of the former best friend who testified against her in the trial; she begins to return home to find objects subtly rearranged in her apartment, one of Lee’s old tricks. Convinced she is back in her former lover’s sights, Cathy prepares to wrestle with the demons of her past for the last time.

Utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, Into the Darkest corner is an ingeniously structured and plotted tour de force of suspense that marks the arrival of a major new talent.

I have had this book/audio for a while. I keep putting it off and no idea why now lol.

It has all the making of a great psychological thriller that brings you loads of twists and turns. I was going to give up at 25% of the story as I couldn't see it going anywhere. So glad I carried on listening/reading it though.

Cathy was made to be mad and Lee was meant to be an angel. I HATED Lee with a vengeance for all the stuff he was doing to Cathy. I will definitely be reading more of Elizabeth Haynes books in the future as she has a great flaw for making those pages turn.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Embryo (Embryo #1) by J.A. Schneider

"Maria Moran's first inkling of trouble was the coppery taste in her mouth. It came suddenly, a rushing whoosh of something that made her gag, and when she reached to wipe her mouth, her hand came away smeared with blood." 

So begins this thriller about a young intern, Jill Raney, determined to investigate tragedies and terror at a famous fertility and genetic engineering hospital. When two pregnant women die and a fetus is delivered with severe chromosomal abnormalities, Jill's superiors - including handsome, smitten-with-her resident David Levine - insist there's no common link. 

But her suspicions deepen with the grotesque murder near the hospital of another pregnant woman - her belly drained of amniotic fluid. And when a woman miscarries in the hospital and then disappears, Jill frantically searches for her - following a terrifying path that seems to link all the victims: Is someone playing with life...and the structures of human life itself? 

An unforgettable tale of suspense with a shocking denouement, Embryo takes you deep into the mind of malignant genius.

.    .    .    .    .    .    .

The heart-stopping ending of Embryo creates a new crisis in its sequel,
Embryo 2: Crosshairs.

This was recommended to me by a friend who has read all the books so far (number 5 is out soon).

It starts off really good and the pace for the book is brilliant. The characters make you believe you are with them throughout the whole ordeal. The author has certainly done her work when it comes to the medical stuff to do with In vitro and fertility things. 

I felt sorry for the main character who was doing all she could to find out why babies and their mothers was dying. It made you think you was going one way in the story and then all of a sudden you was taken a different way and was like "WOW". Highly recommend this book if you love your thrillers with a medical twist.

Can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

An enchanting first novel about love, madness, and Kenny G.
The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife’s betrayal.
During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.
When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their “contract.” All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.
In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way. 

I have been meaning to read/listen to this for a while. Not sure what I think of it. 

Depression is a illness that is still not spoken about as much as it should. I am not keen on Pat's dad who I think is ignorant about his son's illness. I am not sure what I think of this as I can't fathom what the story is to do with.

I still don't think I know what Pat did for his wife to leave him in the 1st place. Some parts had a smile from me, but not sure I would listen/read this again. Won't be watching the film. Sorry for people who liked the film or the book.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner

Abbie Jennings is Manhattan's top food critic until her expanding waistline makes staying incognito at restaurants impossible. Her cover blown on Page Six of the New York Post, her editor has no choice but to bench her—and suggest she use the time off to bench-press her way back to anonymity. Abbie’s life has been built around her career, and therefore around celebrating food. Forced to drop the pounds if she wants her primo gig back, Abbie must peel back the layers of her past and confront the fears that have led to her current life.

I was given a copy of this via Netgalley in exchange for my review. Well what can I say from a book that has recipes, love, heartache, loads of JOY and LAUGHTER from a new to me author.

Abigail Jennings is a Food Critic with a difference. Her love of food comes from her grandmother. So what exactly did that PAGE SIX picture reveal? Well it revealed loads of things for Abbie to contemplate on her life. What happened over the years will all be revealed with recipes along the way. 

I've loved every single recipe that Abbie has given us and the humor with the book flows nicely and makes you look at your own life a long the way. Definitely be reading more from Jenny Gardiner.