I Heart Hawaii (I Heart 8)


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Synopsis: When you’re running away from real life, there’s only one place to go…

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.

At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up.

A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook…

My Rating: 3/5

My Review: To be honest as much as I love this series I think it’s run it’s course and this seems to be (don’t quote me on it though) the last book in the series which I think it should be. Angela Clarke has been a great character to follow along with her mad friend Jenny and the rest of the gang. This follows Angela as she takes her first break away from her baby and leaves her in the capable hands of her husband Alex, while she flies off to Hawaii with Jenny and a whole crowd of people.

The story has its classic and very funny lines from all involved and as usual had me laughing along to some of the madness Angela gets herself involved in. But for me there was something missing in this book. There is a strain on the friendship between Ang and Jenny and although this is revealed and resolved later in the book, it felt like Jenny was the missing piece for a lot of this book.

There were some very funny moments during the Hawaii trip and Lindsey Kelk’s humour shines through like magic, but for me I was glad this was wrapped up the way it was and it ended the series well. It was a great way to say goodbye to the gang and leave the way clear for new characters and new books.

The Summer Of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

51ob7EeMlZL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Synopsis: One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.

‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there’s always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor.

While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she’s remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel. Continue reading

The Christmas Wish by Tilly Tennant

Synopsis: Christmas is coming but it doesn’t feel that way for Esme. Jilted by her cheating fiancée Warren and mourning the death of her beloved grandmother she’s determined not to let life beat her and books a trip to Lapland, on a holiday that her grandmother had always dreamed of taking.

Beneath the indigo skies of Lapland, love is the last thing on Esme’s mind but she can’t ignore a spark with Zach, a broodingly handsome actor, also nursing a broken heart. But when Esme is bombarded by messages from Warren promising he’s changed and she discovers that Zach is hiding something-will her head be turned? And when a trip to the northern lights reveals the full extent Zach’s own secret past is there any hope that Esme will get the happy ending that her grandmother wished for her?

My Rating: 3/5 Continue reading

The Birthday by Carol Wyer (Natalie Ward #1)

Synopsis: One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home… 

Two years later, Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that still keeps her awake at night…

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?

Kat’s Rating: 3/5 Continue reading

Alert by James Patterson (Michael Bennett #8)

Synopsis: New York has seen more than its fair share of horrific attacks, but the city is about to be shaken in a way it never has before.

Two devastating catastrophes hit in quick succession, putting everyone on edge. Detective Michael Bennett is given the near impossible task of hunting down the shadowy terror group responsible.

Then a shocking assassination makes it clear that these inexplicable events are just the prelude to the biggest threat of all. Now Bennett is racing against the clock to save his beloved city – before the most destructive force he has ever faced tears it apart.

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I really like the Michael Bennett series however sometimes the books can be a little bit hit and miss and sadly in this case for me it was just mediocre. Normally these books pull me in but for some reason this one felt stilted or maybe I just need a rest from reading about terrorism?!? I didn’t feel like Bennett really got his usual outing where he uses his brainpower. This seemed more about packing in as much action as is humanly possible.

We hardly get to see the Bennett clan at all which is another minus for me, although I did like the addition of Martin the kid sitter! I read this and was reasonably engaged but although the storyline ticked along it just felt like it had been churned out to keep people happy. Finished this in record time as I do with most Patterson books but got to the end and just know it’s unforgettable which is never a good sign. I will continue to read the next in the series as normally I love them so I guess the odd one or two I’m not overly enthused with isn’t so bad.

Summer at Seafall Cottage by Lily Graham

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Synopsis: Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary. 

In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.

Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.

Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I was looking forward to this release by Lily Graham as I absolutely LOVED A Cornish Christmas. However, I was surprised as this one seemed a little slower to get into.

Our lead character Victoria’s has gone to Cornwall and made an extremely rash decision and brought herself a derelict house. Following the breakdown of her marriage it appears this is her way of retreating to lick her wounds in private. ‘Seafall Cottage’ Has its own secrets though and when she finds some diaries in the house she cannot help but be pulled into the stories within those pages. Before long she becomes almost obsessed with the owner and writer of the diaries Tilly.  Tilly is a young girl living in the early 1900s and we see the story flip between present day and Victoria and then back to the past with Tilly.

Additional characters such as Angie, Victoria’s houseboat neighbor struck a cord and I really liked her and then there is Adam and a whole host of others. Somehow though I never really connected all that much with any of them. The writing was brilliant and the story enjoyable but I just felt there was something lacking with this latest book that wasn’t with the last one. I certainly enjoyed it, but think her first book was so amazing I spent the whole time comparing which is never a good idea.

Right Behind ou by Lisa Gardner (FBI Profiler #7)

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Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Sharlah Nash knows that the first time her brother killed eight years ago, he did it to save their lives.

Now retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife Rainie Conner have offered Sharlah a new life of safety. She desperately wants to believe this is her shot at happily ever after.

Then two people are murdered in their local convenience store and Sharlah’s brother is identified as the killer.

Telly Ray Nash is on the hunt for Sharlah and as the death count rises it becomes clear that nothing and no one, including Pierce and Rainie, will stop him getting to her.

Now, Sharlah has one chance to take control.

She can run for her life… or turn and face the danger right behind her.

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I was THRILLED to hear that Lisa Gardner was bringing back Rainie and Quincy as it’s been at least 8 years. However, having finished the book I was hugely undecided about the rating and was decidedly underwhelmed by certain aspects of this latest release.  I have read all of the books in this series which I think always helps, however you could easily read this as a standalone and have no issue with what is going on. Previous books have always had me on the edge of my seat and this book did too to a certain degree. However, there was a lot of repetitiveness and it felt like going over old ground time and time again.

Sharlah has been living with Rainie and Quincy for some time and they are looking to adopt her and offer her a new life and secure family. Although Quincy is retired he still gets called to work on cold cases as one of the elite FBI profiler’s. When two people are murdered in a local convenience store Quincy and Rainie get dragged in when it soon becomes clear that the main suspect is none other that Sharlah’s older brother Tell Ray Nash.

Okay, irritation point one is the name of the suspect, for some reason it just didn’t sit right with me and grated on me from the beginning. I don’t let things like that bother me too much, but as I started to read there was a certain something missing from this book that was present in her others. It felt like the spark was missing and maybe that was due to the fact there was too long a gap between the last book and this one? The pace was good but the second half was much better and I found myself reading the second half in just one sitting.

I know I mentioned that something was missing which is generally pretty vague I know, but even though the second half was great again it felt like there was something not right. In addition there were elements to characters (such as Cal the tracker) which if I heard one more time I think I might have screamed. I mean how many times do you need to be told that Cal makes cheese??? I know that sounds petty but that, along with the name Telly, as well as feeling something wasn’t quite as it has been in other books just left me feeling a little let down. I am a huge fan of the DD Warren series and those books are amazing and seem to get better with each one released. For me this fell short and I couldn’t honestly say it stayed in my mind for any of the right reasons. A solid read, but far too middle of the road for such an accomplished author!

Girl In Danger by Leigh Russell (Lucy Hall #2)

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Synopsis: Chasing a story, reporter Lucy Hall plunges into a desperate fight to save her own life.

Lucy Hall’s first summer in Paris promises to be idyllic. She’s fallen in love with the city and enjoys her new job as an investigative reporter. When her friend Nina comes to stay, the girls look forward to a wonderful summer. But Paris is a city of contrasts and Lucy is about to experience its dangerous side.

When an anonymous source promises her a scoop, Lucy can’t resist the chance to make her name. The deeply unsettling meeting with her informant indicates that there may be more at stake than she’d suspected. Returning home with questions instead of answers, Lucy finds her apartment ransacked and Nina gone.

Lucy knows her friend is in danger, but the police are unwilling to help. When her informant is found dead, she realises she may be next. Lucy has something the killer wants and he’ll do anything to get it back…

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I read the first in the Lucy Hall series and enjoyed it, however they are certainly not the same as Leigh Russell’s series of books featuring Geraldine Steel. These are more mystery type of books and seem to be somewhat a slower pace. The first book in the Series Journey to Death I enjoyed and I thought it was a good introduction to Lucy. However, when we meet her in the second book she has moved to Paris to start a career as an Investigative Journalist. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that she is very new to it all and she takes every tip seriously in her quest to break into reporting. Her friend Nina visits her, however following an anonymous tip, when she returns home she finds her flat ransacked and her friend missing. 

The story moves along and she meets a man who seems willing to help her but Lucy can’t help but be wary as she isn’t sure who she can trust. We also see the story from Nina’s point of view, along with the main man who runs the criminal world in Paris. The reason I felt so indifferent with book 2 is that there were times it all felt a little repetitive. Although Lucy is a newbie, things fitted a little too neatly for her to ‘bag the story of her career’ and the subsequent chain of events lay just the wrong side of believable for me. 

Although I liked Lucy as a character I didn’t feel as connected to her in this book as much as I did the last one. Things seemed too well planned and this made me feel more indifferently about her than I did previously. The story was enjoyable enough and I think is probably a good alternative to those who don’t want hard hitting, gory or violent crime novels. For me I just couldn’t connect and as such didn’t feel it was one of Leigh’s stronger books.

Down Among The Dead Men by Kerry Wilkinson

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Synopsis: ‘I’m going to do you a favour: I’m going to tell you my name and then I’m going to give you thirty seconds to turn and run. If any of you are still here after those thirty seconds, then we’re going to have a problem.’

Jason Green’s life is changed for good after he is saved from a mugging by crime boss, Harry Irwell. He is then drawn into Manchester’s notorious underworld, where smash and grab is as normal as making a cup of tea.

But Jason isn’t a casual thug. He has a life plan that doesn’t involve blowing his money on the usual trappings. That is until a woman walks into his life offering the one thing that money can’t buy – salvation.

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: After finishing this book I am still a little undecided but have gone with a middle of the road rating because I’m still unsure. I have never read any Kerry Wilkinson books but do have a couple of his books in the Jessica Daniels series to get started on. This one was a standalone so I thought it may be a good place to start.

Okay, so why the middle of the road rating? Well essentially the writing was excellent in terms of story flow and getting into the book quickly. What didn’t work for me were the characters. I tried and persevered but even towards the end I still wasn’t entirely convinced of the main character Jason as well as his ‘boss’ Harry.  Jason was saved from a pounding when he was a young lad living on a rough estate. What he didn’t realise was that the man who saved him was Harry Irwell, a man who he would end up working for.

Jason was a pretty average character to read about, and even towards the end I didn’t like or dislike him, I was just indifferent. In addition to that there were a couple of occasions which involve Harry which also didn’t feel right. Harry came across as a very bland and stereotypical ‘Crime Boss’. The story itself was okay and there were times when I became engrossed, it just didn’t have enough of a pull for me to rate it any higher.

Overall I can certainly see Kerry Wilkinson’s talents as a writer, but think that maybe I should start the series featuring Jessica Daniels. If the reviews on this series are anything to go by, it should be a hit!

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches (George McKenzie #1)

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Synopsis: HE’S WATCHING HER. SHE DOESN’T KNOW IT…YET

When a bomb explodes at the University of Amsterdam, aspiring criminologist Georgina McKenzie is asked by the police to help flush out the killer.

But the bomb is part of a much bigger, more sinister plot that will have the entire city quaking in fear. And the killer has a very special part for George to play…

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: This book has had rave reviews and seeing as I had an early copy of book 2 I figured I had better get an idea of book 1. This was certainly a slow burner for me and about a quarter of the way in I was wondering what was going on. The main character George is certainly readable as is the Detective Van den Bergen, but in the beginning I was struggling to keep up with all the unconnected characters, let alone the Dutch pronunciations. The main scope of the story involves a bomb that explodes in Amsterdam, drawing George into the investigation.

However, as the story progressed I became more engrossed and wanted to know what part the additional character Ella in London played. The story was a bit of a slow burner for me but as time went on it became more thrilling and I found myself absorbed in wanting to know what had happened. In addition there is another plot thread concerning George but I found myself not as concerned by this thread until later on.

For me the book was good, but still not as good as it could have been. Because of that I felt like I should rate it somewhere in the middle. I am certainly with the minority of people on this book, but maybe it was just me. I know that character names shouldn’t make such a difference, but sometimes for me they make a book that it harder to read if they aren’t that memorable or are particularly difficult to pronounce. Having said that, I am actually really looking forward to book 2 and now feel like I know George and Van de Bergen that bit better. Hopefully, I will be absorbed from page 1 with the next book.