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I have always loved books ever since I learnt to read. The sort of person who would look at an instruction manual if there were nothing else available. Not that that has happened too often - I have tottering piles of books not to mention e books. I will read almost anything as l long as it holds my interest. Besides books. I love music, photography, cryptic crosswords and playing Fitz 1 & 2 games.
The Idea of You - Amanda Prowse

Lucy, 39 is desperate to be a mum and so is thrilled to meet and fall in love with Jonah, but things get a bit tricky when his teenage daughter comes to stay. It's a bit hard to like Lucy as she is sickly sweet and some of the other characters are often irritating. The dialogue isn't always convincing plus there's an awful lot of someone saying something twice in the same sentence - e.g. I'm going to do something, I am which irks a bit. Very descriptive though of Lucy's troubles and you can sympathise with her, up to a point. A bit of all sorts in this book, feel good factor, sadness and happiness too. I liked it.

Did You See Melody? - Sophie Hannah

Cara isn't pleased with her family's reaction to some news, so on a whim takes herself off to a very fancy, very expensive hotel/spa complex in Arizona, where she sees something she shouldn't have. This is a strange book where most of the characters behave oddly and are quite bizarre - would anyone go as far as Cara did just to think? Would the rest of them act like they did, no one being who they seemed to be? I did like the descriptions of the spa, but there were too many pages devoted to it and it did get a bit tedious when Bonnie Juno appeared - all those pages of transcript to get through. I enjoyed the last quarter, especially that twist. Could there be a follow up? Time will tell!

Last Breath: A gripping serial killer thriller that will have you hooked (Detective Erika Foster) (Volume 4) - Robert Bryndza

Be very careful if you arrange to meet someone you've chatted to online as you just don't know who will turn up - the man of your dreams or an evil monster! After a spell away, pushing paper around DCI Erika Foster is back to lead the team, hunting for a sadistic killer of several young women. She's still pushy and opinionated but that's all part of her "charm!". I love her commitment to finding the murderer, who is a rather nasty specimen and has absolutely nothing going for him. This book is like a bike going up and down a hill - starts slowly and then picks up speed especially on the downward stretch. I raced through to see how it would all end and it certainly didn't disappoint - just hope my next book will be as good as this!

DEAD & BURIED a gripping crime thriller full of twists - Helen H. Durrant

More bodies and unsolved crimes in a small Pennine town near Manchester. DCI Callandine and some of the other members of the team from the other books in the series are on the case plus an abrasive woman from another division who is there temporarily, working on a different angle. These stories work best if you read the other books in order. I liked some of the characters but that Callandine is a one with his women - don't know how he does it! This is a gripping tale and not too violent, ideal for the more sensitive souls amongst us and would make a good holiday read.

DARK CRIMES a gripping detective thriller full of suspense - Michael Hambling

A woman found dead on a footpath in a Dorset coastal town is the first case for a new DCI - Sophie Allen. I love the setting (Swanage) plus the other familiar places in Dorset, so I would read other stories for that reason alone. I liked the team and the way they worked together to solve the crime but although the villain did horrible things to the victims didn't really come across as frightening or menacing which is a pity and when arrested it was an anticlimax which left me thinking "is that it?" as the character did or said very little afterwards. A promising start and I shall look forward to meeting DCI Allen again!

The Girl in the Painting - Kirsty Ferry

Three and a half star rating.
Cori moves down to London, is fascinated by the PRB and consequently meets the lovely Simon and then Daisy who goes on to make her presence felt in many ways. This is a good mix of art, obsession, ghosts and two different timescales featuring ladies who resemble Ophelia, told in an easy restful way. Perfect book for people who like romantic mysteries, with amusing characters, just the sort of thing to take away on holiday!

Sweetpea - C.J. SKUSE

Anyone who is a bit of a prude or shrinking violet should keep well away from this book, but for everyone else be prepared for a fantastic read and I certainly couldn't put it down! Here we have Rhiannon, a mouse by day and a terror at night who only wants to be happy. What a great story, filled with people we have all come across and who hasn't felt the same as Rhiannon in the supermarket and elsewhere with so many inconsiderate people around. Lots of laugh aloud, close your eyes and ouch moments - so irreverent and un PC, a real breath of fresh air. To call this gripping would be an absolute understatement, so if you can cope with swearing, violence and lots of comedy, then read this and you won't be disappointed - I wasn't and it is definitely my favourite book of the year so far!

Doll House - John Hunt

Olivia is grabbed from the street on her very first day of leaving home for university by two men wearing animal masks and is not seen again for several years. The graphic, gory descriptions of violence are definitely not for the faint hearted and are liable to give some people nightmares. There's a strong sense of menace and fear running throughout the book - a page turner if ever there was one. Could people be as horrible as this pair? One would hope not and it makes you aware of who you might pass in the street, of who might be watching you, which is a good thing. Make sure the windows are closed and the doors are locked! I'm afraid the ending was far too abrupt to be satisfying.

Obsession - Amanda Robson

One rainy night on holiday Carly asks Rob a question and doesn't like the answer. A whole chain of events then begin to unfold from this conversation. Be prepared to ride the rollercoaster of emotions reading the points of view of Carly, Rob, Jenni and Craig, who are all so appalling that you'll hardly dare to peek at the words! I wouldn't like to meet even one let alone all four of them - a terrible foursome indeed. This book certainly kept me gripped the whole way through and I was very glad to get to firmer ground again afterwards. The constant description of "eyes" was a bit tiresome otherwise I would have given this the full five stars. After this book can't wait to read something else by this author.

Born Bad - Marnie Riches, Samantha Seager, HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Gritty, contemporary crime drama set in Manchester, two rival gangs with plenty of villains and violence galore. Told by multi voices, but you soon get used to all the different characters as things swiftly fall into place. Who will end up being "king" of South Manchester - get a copy of this book and find out! Loved the style and tempo of this and it was hard to put down as the hard hitting story progressed. My first book by this author but definitely not my last!

The Walworth Beauty - Michele Roberts

This is a wonderfully descriptive book in two different times. Joseph in 1851 and Madeleine in 2011. Joseph is researching the life of prostitutes, so spends much of his time walking the streets, trying to get answers. Everything is described so vividly that the reader could be Joseph's shadow - smelling the aromas both pleasant and usually not so pleasant, seeing the sights, hearing the noise of the busy city of London. Then there was Madeleine in 2011 who now lives in the same area and also spends a lot of time walking the streets. She feels and senses things as she wonders around in Joseph's footsteps. This was exactly my sort of book and just wish I could have enjoyed it a bit more than I did, but it was just a little too slow for my tastes and would have liked it more had there been a little less of it!

Everything but the Truth - Gillian McAllister

Jack and Rachel, madly in love, with a baby on the way - everything is great until Rachel catches a glimpse of an email on Jack's iPad. From then on she starts questioning, delving into his past and won't be satisfied until she discovers everything there is to know. Meanwhile she is hiding something herself. Loved this, the cover, the style of writing and the great descriptions of Oban and Newcastle. What a fantastic, intriguing story and I couldn't wait to find out what the perfect Jack was hiding! Ooh, that Rachel though, she was so infuriating at times - she needed to get a grip. Looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Watching Edie - Camilla Way

Three and a half star rating.
Edie, the popular one and Heather the loner become friends at school. All Heather wants is to look after her friend and keep her safe, even more so when Edie finds herself a boyfriend. Something happens and the pair lose touch - jump forward to the present time and Edie is pregnant and Heather is here again, to look after her and we discover what went so wrong before. Written then and now by both girls, we get to see what made them be the way they are. The pace of the story was good as we get to know more about these characters who are sadly not too likeable but I did empathise with them at times and could see why they behaved the way they did. There were some creepy moments and the subject was dark, especially towards the end. It was compelling enough to keep turning the pages and I would definitely read other books by this author.

On My Way Home: A Hospice Nurse's Journey with Terminal Cancer - Joyce Hutchison

Three and a half star rating.
A short account of the author's battle with cancer and ultimate death, plus a little about her life - the irony being that she used to take care of people in this exact same position. A sad book of course given the subject matter, but also uplifting as she faced her treatment and final days with courage and dignity. This lady thought a lot about other people, especially her family who did all they could for her, and not much about herself. This was a very moving book and came away feeling Joyce would have been a wonderful friend.

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay - Jill Mansell

A light and very summery read. Set in a small Cornish seaside town which is idyllic. Two step sisters, Belle and Clemency who make a vow never to encroach on eithers boyfriends, a vow which is hard to keep. It's a funny, crossed wires and misunderstandings kind of book, with no villains, or at least no proper ones. A happy, feel good story with nice, colourful characters - the sort of people you'd like to know yourself, the ones you could have fun with, rely on and fall in love with. Very entertaining, enjoyable, comical and romantic, not to mention a happy sigh at the end - perfect!

Lock the Door - Jane Holland

A three and a half star rating.
It's Meghan and Jon's wedding anniversary and they have invited 2 other couples around for dinner. What should have been a happy occasion turns into tragedy when their baby son is snatched from his cot upstairs. The baby has a life threatening illness which compounds the situation. Meghan, naturally is distraught and is not helped by the behaviour of other people. I loved the cover, idea and that it was set in lovely Truro but didn't feel the same about any of the characters. Meghan comes across as annoying and wishy washy. A stronger police presence might have prevented her from doing stupid things. Take this book on holiday as it's very easy to read and not over complicated - just right for the beach!