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.

Ladies Who Launch by Milly Johnson (Short Story)

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Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: So the follow up from the Short Story Here Come The Boys is this one and it’s a perfect continuation and wrap up of both Angie and Selina’s story. Angie and Selina are now firm friends following their years of not speaking after their school days. Their last trip resulted in Seina making the brave decision to leave her husband and it made Angie see what she had waiting for her at home!

This book seemed a little shorter than the last and I literaly read it in about 10 minutes. I think this would have been better being added on to the last short story. Unfortunately about 40% of this was the short story and the rest is extracts from another MJ book. Couldn’t helpp being a little bit dissapointed but am hoping we return with a full length book at some point to see how Angie and Selina are getting on.

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.

The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis

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Synopsis: When Jules Bright hears a knock on the door, the last person she expects to find is a detective bringing her the news she’s feared for the last three years.

Amelia Quentin is being released from prison.

Jules’s life is very different now to the one she’d known before Amelia shattered it completely. Knowing the girl is coming back she needs to decide what to do. Friends and family gather round, fearing for Jules’s safety. They know that justice was never served; every one of them wants to make the Quentin girl pay. 

The question is, what will Jules do; and which of them – her or Amelia – has the most to fear?

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I have been reading Susan Lewis for years and my very first review on Amazon nearly 10 years ago was one of her books. I always enjoy them but every now and then one comes along that I struggle with and sadly this was one of them. In the beginning we see glimpses of Amelia and instantly it becomes apparent she is no ordinary child and if that continues she may well become a very disturbed individual. Jules then becomes the main focus of the story and we see her struggle to come to terms with the news she has just been told. Amelia Quentin will be released from prison following an event that had far reaching consequences for her family.

As the story continues we see both present and past explored but it was done in an easy to read way. There are many elements to this book that maybe wont sit right with some people (subject matter for a start wont be everybody’s cup of tea), however the story flowed well and was easy to get into. However, there were one or two issues within the book I just felt had no added value, as well as the fact that certain elements within the story didn’t seem authentic and to be honest this spoiled things a little for me.

I continued reading and finished the book, and although I enjoyed it there were too many things I didn’t like or had niggles with so felt that the fairest rating would be the middle of the road. I certainly hope her next book is just as enthralling as the numerous others of hers I have read.

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.

Strictly My Husband by Tracy Bloom

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Synopsis: Laura loves it when Tom takes her for a late night tango around the kitchen after their friends have gone home and they’re avoiding the washing up. She can’t dance but who cares when no one is watching?

All that changes when Tom arrives on the doorstep with Carly, a professional dancer, and announces he’s offered her the spare room to rent while she performs in a show that Tom is directing.

An outraged Laura doesn’t feel like dancing with Tom anymore but Carly does. It only takes two to tango, and given Tom’s history who knows where it could end? Will Laura be the one left watching from the sidelines whilst Carly waltzes off with her husband’s heart?

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I like Tracy Bloom books and although I have only rated this 3/5 it was still a good read. The problem I had with this book was Laura, the main character! Laura is married to the handsome Tom and her life is ticking along like normal. However, when Tom brings home a professional dancer Carly to rent their room things start to go rapidly downhill for Laura.

Laura and Tom are very readable and along with them we meet their married friends Jerry and Hannah as well as Tom’s brother Will. Jerry was without a doubt the star of the show for me and was hilarious, full of life and completely over the top. However, Laura just grated on me from start to finish. The woman never stopped moaning and to be honest I just didn’t like her. That’s my main reason for the 3 star rating. Laura, Tom, Carly, and the other characters were great. They were all easily read, humorous and swept the story along. However, every time Laura got on the phone to Hannah to moan I could almost feel the switch in my brain starting to turn off. 

Pushing that to one side, Tracy Bloom has a great balance between humour and storytelling and there is an easy flow to her books which makes them very readable. I feel like Jerry should make a return in future books as I would have loved to have read more about his adventures following the end of this book. Overall certainly not a bad read, but marred by my dislike for the main character.

The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons (Max Wolfe #2)

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Synopsis: On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away. 

The murder weapon – a gun for stunning cattle before they are butchered – leads Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man.

But the Slaughter Man has done his time, and is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game? 

And was the murder of a happy family a mindless killing spree, a grotesque homage by a copycat killer – or a contract hit designed to frame a dying man?

All Max knows is that he needs to find the missing child and stop the killer before he destroys another innocent family – or finds his way to his own front door …

Even the happiest of families have black, twisted secrets that someone is ready to kill for…

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I really wanted to like this, and there were certainly elements I enjoyed but…yes there’s a but. There are major things missing in this book and it almost feels like a puzzle with some key pieces missing. I read the first book in this series and felt rather middle of the road about it. This time around the story was certainly engaging but I couldn’t gel with Detective Max Wolfe. There is a large lack of description for the characters which irritates me as I like to build up a picture in my mind. I have reads numerous books between the last one and this one so I still have no idea what he should look like in me head which is never a good sign.

The story line in this one seemed a lot more engaging and kept me more entertained than the last, but again there seemed to be some rather key elements to the story line either missed or overlooked. I really feel like there is potentially a really great series lurking behind these pages, but certainly things need to improve for me to continue on with the series. Even the supporting characters such as Max daughter Scout and his colleagues did little to leave an impression on me. This book was readable, but not memorable and these reasons can certainly be changed with future books.

My Mother’s Secret by Sheila O’Flanagan

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Synopsis: When Steffie helps her two siblings organize a surprise wedding anniversary party for their parents her only worry is whether they’ll be pleased. What she doesn’t know is this is the day that her whole world will be turned upside down.

Jenny wants to be able to celebrate her ruby anniversary with the man she loves, but for forty years she has kept a secret. A secret that she can’t bear to hide any longer. But is it ever the right time to hurt the people closest to you?

As the entire family gather to toast the happy couple, they’re expecting a day to remember. The trouble is, it’s not going to be for the reasons they imagined…

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I am a big Sheila O’Flanagan fan and am rarely disappointed with one of her books. This latest one, although it wasn’t a disappointment as such, I just felt it was a little bit ‘middle of the road’ for my liking. It’s a typical family drama and the writing style is no different, there was just something that seemed a wee bit off kilter.

Roisin is the older sister to sister Steffi and brother Davey. When she throws an anniversary surprise party for their parents Jenny and Pascal, Steffi knows full well that this isn’t the sort of thing her parents want as they prefer the quieter life, so when her Mother drops a bombshell at the party it gets the book off to a great start. The characters are well fleshed out and you get that real Irish family feel to the story.  There are a lot of different personalities and threads which keep you engaged as a reader.

However, unusually for an Sheila O’Flanagan book, it didn’t seem to go much further than that for me. It’s a solid read but seems to be missing it’s usual magic, and the worst part is I can’t even tell you why. Yes it was a little predictable, but normally I overlook that as the enjoyment parts are so good. This time around, although I didn’t dislike any of the characters, I didn’t really care for them either way. Maybe it’s a one off, but for me this book felt a little bit too old fashioned and that just isn’t the case with this author normally. Here’s hoping her next released brings back that little bit of sparkle I felt was missing in this one. 

The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry

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Synopsis: Everyone remembers their first kiss. But what about the last?

1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.

2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Gordon stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary.

Kat’s Rating: 3/5 

Kat’s Review: I have to hold my hands up here and say I actually put off reading this book. I am a huge Tasmina Perry fan but when I saw her slight departure from style with both the cover and synopsis of this book I was slightly wary. This latest book is set over two time frames, both the 1960s and 2014. We have two stories set 50 years apart featuring Dom and Ros from the Fifties and Abby set in the current time frame.

Abby is archivist and after a separation from her husband she is finding her feet. She comes across a photograph that she longs to know more about. The photograph turns out to be that of Rosamund Bailey and Dominic Blake who was a famous explorer. This is where the story begins to separate and we see Dom and Ros feature. I have to be honest and say that the story was okay, but that’s where it ended for me. I didn’t care too much for either Dom or Ros and felt like Abby was rather flat.

The story itself trundles along but the characters which are just a fancy word for the glue that holds it all together just didn’t interest me enough. The writing style is still glaringly apparent but I suppose I have become accustomed to reading the Bonkbuster style books that Tasmina previously wrote. I am finding it difficult to articulate but in a nutshell I didn’t like or care enough about any of the characters for me to rate it anything outside of average. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed, but can only hope her next book is as engaging as all her previous works.