Sunday, 28 April 2013

Just what kind of mother are you - Paula Daly

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How would you feel if your best friends young teenage daughter went missing and it was YOUR fault? That's exactly what happens to Lisa in this super debut thriller novel "just what kind of mother are you?"

Lisa and her taxi driver husband Joe live in the lake district where she balances a stressful job managing the local dog and cat sanctuary, running her home, juggling the family finances to make ends meet, bringing up her children, hardly surprising that at times things get on top of her.

I think many of us will relate to that feeling of chasing your own tail around in circles, waking up feeling even more tired than when we went to bed. This novel really does feel true to life, as if we're being given a privileged glimpse inside someone else's life.

As if all that's not enough to cope with, Lisa has to battle the feeling that she's not quite good enough, that her friends somehow look down on her, she's not quite as well heeled as they are, and in the back of her mind constantly taunting her is that little indiscretion years ago that she's almost but not completely managed to put behind her.

So one day when she lets her daughter stay off school, it's not very surprising that it slips her mind that her daughter's friend 13 year old Lucinda was supposed to be coming home after school that night to stay over. Even when Lucindas Mum, Lisa's rather upmarket friend Kate rings her the following morning she barely even notices that Kate's asked "how are the girls?" rather than how are the kids and her non committal reply fails to alert her to the fact that Lucinda is supposed to be there, in her home with her own daughter Sally. When she discovers that Lucinda is missing and people are saying she is to blame, she takes the guilt on board and blames herself too.

Meanwhile the police investigating Lucinda's disappearance begin to draw inevitable comparisons to another young girl who went missing in the same area recently and when a 3rd girl also disappears it seems a serial paedophile is on the prowl in the normally tranquil, Lake District in the depths of winter.

One of the investigating officers is Joanne, a really well written character I grew to like immensely. There are lots of excellent, well rounded characters all extremely believable. Lots of twists and a strong storyline with lots of pathos with side storylines featuring the animals at the sanctuary where Lisa works, the background of DC Joanne Aspinall and her aunt with whom she lives "Mad Jackie" who far from being mad seemed one of the saner characters in the book and I also liked her enormously. It kept me turning the pages and wondering what was behind Lucindas disappearance right until the end. A very well written, enjoyable read and I look forward immensely to any future books by this exciting new author.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

White Horse - Alex Adams

White HorseWhite Horse by Alex Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won a copy of this book from the publishers Facebook page. I wasn't completely sure whether it would appeal and I probably wouldn't have gone out and bought it - what a GEM I'd have missed out on!

The book cover likens it to "the hunger games"The Hunger Games and this made me expect a YA fantasy. Don't get me wrong I've read and loved The hunger games, but this is quite, quite different. It's a truly horrifying look at the breakdown of society following a pandemic and man made disasters which could all too easily really come to pass!

Set in our world just before and following global disaster, the narrative flits back and forth between two time periods - then and now. Told in the first person by Zoe, a thirtysomething woman, THEN - widowed and working in a cleaning job in a laboratory, to fund her further education. She has a recurring nightmare which leads her to see a shrink, to whom she ultimately finds herself attracted. NOW - she wanders a dystopian world of nightmarish scenes, where she is one of the few survivors of a worldwide pandemic a terrible virus which, in the few instances where it doesn't kill has the power to alter and mutate genetic structure, meaning that even if she comes across another survivor who looks ok, she can't assume their humanity is still intact.

She is on a journey of survival and takes us along for the ride - what happens is often brutal, very gory and completely terrifying. It takes quite a lot to scare me and this one most definitely had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who isn't too squeamish and even though it might appeal to many readers of the hunger games it is MUch more adult in theme and I'd urge you to judge it for its own merits.

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Saturday, 6 April 2013

A Stitch in time by Amanda James

A Stitch in TimeA Stitch in Time by Amanda James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't completely sure about the idea of this book initially, kind of sci-fi/fantasy romance but as soon as I began it, it really reminded me of recent series' of Dr Who. In fact so much that throughout it, in my mind, John spoke with David Tennant's voice (my favorite Doctor Who actor) and it swept me along in a lovely swirl of excitement and continued to entertain and enthrall me as much as this tv show does.

It's a fast paced easy reading contemporary romance which follows the adventures of Sarah, a middle aged divorcee teacher, struggling to get job satisfaction from her work as a history teacher, licking her wounds following a very painful breakup of her marriage when suddenly her life becomes complicated and exciting in ways she'd never dreamed of. Into her life appears the enigmatic and undeniably attractive John Needler, who reveals that he's involved in time travel and Sarah has been chosen to go back in time to put right some wrongs to ensure history doesn't re-write itself to the suffering of many folk.

Her knowledge of history proves invaluable as she is whisked back to the blitz, then the early 1900s and even further back as an American settler. But her vulnerability, having been badly hurt and unable to trust anyone seems set to ruin any chance of happiness she might seem to be going to find with John whom she finds she is passionately attracted to yet unable to really trust.

What unfolds is an exciting and interesting story with lots of historical detail, and a lovely will they/ won't they/ get together/ stay together romance with enough twists to keep you guessing, a delightful hero you want to grab hold of and snog, and enough throw away laugh out loud one liners to keep you thoroughly entertained wherever you're reading it. The perfect holiday read and of the consistently high quality writing I have come to expect from Choc-lit. If you're looking for a fun and enjoyable reading experience with lots of romance thrown in you won't go far wrong with this book (or others from the same publisher)

You can buy a copy now here at Amazon and at the time of writing  a copy for your kindle is a bargain at under £2