Saturday, 19 September 2015

Her past comes back and she becomes

Reeve LeClaire is not a victim.  Not any more.

It's been seven years since she escaped from evil psychopath, Daryl Wayne Flint.  he held her captive for four of her precious teenage years, and now she's finally getting her life back.

But Flint, imprisoned in a top psychiatric hospital, has been watching and waiting - meticulously planning his getaway.  And now his chance has finally come.

His escape is Reeve's worst nightmare.  As he persistently evades capture, baffling authorities and leaving a bloody trail through the forests of Washington State, Reeve is hit by a fearful realization:  She will have to face her kidnapper one last time.

His perfect crime.  His little cricket

When I realised this was book 2 in the series I did stop and start at the first book.  As we are mostly aware, the first book in a series is setting out the characters and the settings.  But that is not the case with these books.  In deed this book can be read as a stand-alone.

In contrast to the first book, this one deals with an evolution of Reeve’s story some many years after her initial abduction and just as she is coming to terms with her life.  She had an ongoing interest with psychotherapy and at her psychiatrist’s suggestion is now in college studying the subject officially.  Don’t get me wrong she is still flawed and had a hard time trusting people … but she is getting there.  The reason Reeve makes such a good advocate for kidnapped people are that she is not only attuned to their horror but also that of the abductor. 

Reeve, as well as the other characters, is believable and well crafted.  There are elements of Reeve’s character that make the reader want to root for her.  However, going forward having such black and white characters could be limiting; the author needs to investigate the grey areas that we all have.

The story of the abductor is faultlessly interwoven with that of Reeve.  This book started at a really good pace and did not let up until the end.  Not only does this book refer back to Reeve’s kidnapping but it also provides a forward story (both are inter related).   Suspense is an integral part of this story and hardly lets up until the final page.  And the cliff hanger keeps you rooting for Reeve and invested enough to read the forthcoming books. 

If you love psychological thrillers this novel will get you hooked from the first page.  There are enough twists and turns to keep you interested until the last page and badgering the author to release the next book sooner rather than later.

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this ? stars on Netgalley and 'I liked it' on Goodreads (3 stars) and Amazon (4 stars).

Friday, 18 September 2015

Does anyone know what they really want?

Your date with ski champ Jett Casey is an either/or deal.  He'll take you off-pieste for the ultimate Montana ski adventure or he'll put his handyman skills at your disposal for a week.  Which one would you choose?

Singe mom Mardie Griffin has a run-down old house in need of fixing and a memory of Jett Casey as her savior in a time of great need.  So when her friends acquire Jett's services at a bachelor auction and send him to fix up her house, she sets aside her mistrust of men and lets him in.

Elite athlete Jett Casey has the world at his feet and no desire for stability.  But there's one woman he's never forgotten and if he can help make her safe this time, maybe she'll stop haunting him.

No strings, no sex, no commitment.  Just fix things.  Surely it can't be that difficult ...

Mantra to self:  I must stop requesting for books that are part way through a series.  I must stop requesting books that are part way through a series!

This book is my first read by this author and unfortunately it may well be my last.  As with such books like this it was very formulaic.  There was a broken woman to proud to ask for help, great wealthy friends wanting to help aforementioned female, an alpha male and a charity auction, insta-love and a HEA ending.  Enough said.

The alpha male is called Jett, a skier who has had an injury.  He is attractive (as they always are) capable and dependable as well as strong and drawn to Mardie who is a single mother recovering from a disastrous relationship (as most women in these types books are).  So she is rather reluctant to begin another relationship. 

Although there is the ubiquitous insta-attraction the discovery is deliciously slow.  And there is obviously a precious history between these two main characters.  In short this novel deals with an honest joining of minds.  There is no game playing or posturing (such things become irrelevant when there is a child in the mix!).

There are thrills a plenty but for this reader they were far from electrifying!  For this reader it was a let-down in more ways than one.

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

 rated this 1 star on Netgalley and 'I did not like it' on Goodreads (1 star) and Amazon (1 star).

I often think that I live on

Reeve LeClaire was abducted when she was twelve years old and help i captivity for four years. Now in her twenties, she has a fragile stability.  With the help of her psychiatrist, she had started to build a life of independence.  But she will never shake off the terror and memory of the monster she believes is behind bars.

When Tilly Cavanaugh is rescued from a basement having suffered a similar experience, her parents call Reeve and ask her to help their daughter rediscover a 'normal life'.  But when two more girls go missing, the police confirm that there is a serial abductor at large.

Reeve knows that she alone has the knowledge which will help to find the perpetrator - but can she overcome her demons to discover the truth?

I loved mystery thriller novels even before the advent of the rather lacklustre Gone Girl.  (Why that book got loads of attention was rather beyond this reader’s comprehension). 

Rather than focusing on the victim, as many novels of this genre does, this novel is different in that is deals which what happens to victims after then have been rescued from their ordeal and how they handle life afterwards with their ongoing issues.

This novel is told from two differing points of view – that of the killer and that of Reeve who, because of her experiences, has been called in to help another hostage victim (because of her unique experience).  Not only does she help but she also becomes embroiled in the investigation of the current killer.  Yet, unlike many females in these novels she calls the police in at the first opportunity, even if they dismiss her as a nutcase.

The characters drawn by this author are complex and fascinating enough for you to want to continue to read past this first novel.  This novel is a compelling and tense thriller with complex twists and turns that keep the reader turning the pages.  The plot is fast paced and stays with you long after reading.  Reeve so wants to be normal but the scars of her past experience are preventing her from being so.  Yet somehow she finds reserves of spirit and determination that help her catch the killer.  It also shows the close bond Reeve had formed with her psychiatrist Dr Lerner.

Although the subject matter of child sexual abuse, may put some readers off everything else is handled well and in particular the experiences of the kidnapped girls.  So please put your fears behind you and grab this book with both hands and don’t let it go until you are finished. 

I loved how she (Reeve LeClaire) got involved in the story I became so invested in her that I cannot wait to discover her forward journey.  No one can really comprehend what Reeve went through during her captive years but watching her forward journey will be extremely interesting.

This novel is this author’s debut and if she starts like this I am sure she will have a long a fruitful career.  I for one will be following this author’s journey.

I rated this as 'I liked it' on Amazon (4 stars) and Goodreads (3 stars).

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Not just any ordinary detective but ...

Phones, light typing ... and murder.

Think breaking into show business is hard?  Try landing a temp job without office skills.  That's the challenge facing aspiring actress Isobel Spice when she arrives in New York City, fresh out of college and deficient in PowerPoint.  After being rejected by seven temp agencies for her lack of experience, Isobel sweet-talks recruiter James Cooke into letting her cover a last-minute vacancy at a ban,  New to his own job, and recently sober, James takes a chance on Isobel, despite his suspicion that she's a trouble-magnet.  His misgivings are borne out by lunchtime, when she stumbles across a dead secretary in a bathroom stall.  With her finger prints on the murder weapon, Isobel sets out to prove her innocence by investigating the crime herself.  While learning to juggle phone lines and auditions, she discovers an untapped talent for detective work - a qualification few other office temps, let alone actresses, can claim.

To enjoy this book one does have to suspend belief to a certain degree.  But it is rather an interesting setting for this new series of crime dramas - if only all temp jobs were this interesting!

The prose is witty, charming and stylistic, as is Isobel Spice, an aspiring musical actress who is earning a crust while waiting for those all-important auditions hoping that one would lead to her ideal job.  The auditions add an interesting dimension to this whole reading experience.

I enjoyed the interplay between Isobel and James Cook, her temp agent.  Their exchanges are engaging and cleaver.  The characters are given great depth (even in this first book) and are interesting.  Isobel is innocent, likeable and vivacious; she is a recent New York plant.  In contrast, James is more cynical, and has more than a few demons; he is also harbouring a few feelings for his new temp.  When James eventually reveals his demons to Isobel, she accepts them without so much as an eyelid bat; in fact she even defends him in a certain situation.  (It is refreshing to find one of the key characters dealing with a real life problem an how this affects their life and other’s perceptions of them.)

The characters are engaging and it is nice to see that they are not perfect.  Isobel’s propensity to put her mouth into action before she puts her brain in to gear gets her into plenty of hot water but it is quite refreshing.  Even the secondary characters are given the same treatment as the main characters.  All of whom are imaginative and colourful and each has their own detailed background.  Too often authors do not spend enough time with the supporting cast of characters but here the author has paid attention to detail in every way.

I will not go into the story line itself but just rest assured that not everything is plain sailing and there are some cringe worthy and laugh out loud moments during the duration of this novel.  There were plenty of plot twists which were confounding and quirky (like our main character.

Unlike many crime mystery books which have become very formulaic, this series sees the author bring an exciting fresh take to the genre like a breath of fresh air and is very much welcomed by this reader.  I will certainly be looking for more books not only in this series but also by this author.  Not lease because I want to see how the relationship between Isobel and James pan out and whether Isobel eventually gets her dream job.

If you want to read a new, engaging, entertaining and highly delightful novel then you NEED to read this one.

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 4 stars on Netgalley and 'I liked it' on Goodreads (3 stars) and Amazon (4 stars).

Honestly, would one night be enough?

The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six incredibly wealthy men who have vowed success in business - at any cost.  But success when it comes to love is a different matter.

Kylie may be a make-up artist to the stars, but she knows that it feels like to be overshadowed. Especially by her famous boss, the pop singer Daphne. That's why she's stunned - and delighted - when one night at a party, she attracts the attention of a gorgeous stranger.  But when Daphne decided she wants the handsome billionaire herself, Cade Archer is suddenly off-limits for Kylie ...

Cade has known Daphne for years, and always wondered if she might be the right woman for him - even though she never gave him the time of day.  But one sizzling night with Kylie has changed everything.  So why is she suddenly avoiding him?  Fortunately Cade is determined to get what he wants, and hell do anything to show Kylie she can get everything she wants to.

This is my first experience of reading this author and although this is book six in a series it can be read as a stand-alone novel (which is what this reader did).

It is nice to see that instead of a slim, powerful, wealthy, beautiful woman the subject of the male’s affection (in this case his name is Cade Archer) is none of these but a rather buxom, curvaceous, insecure female is the subject of this alpha male’s desires.  But do we constantly need to hear her commenting on the fact that she is overweight.  Honestly if she is that worried about it she should do something about it!  Honestly this sort of repetition is just padding and shows lack of creative writing.

Another fine detail is that although she is overshadowed in part by a female celebrity this does not detract the male from his infatuation.

In contrast to the wealthy male (he always has to be, for some reason), Kylie has much more to lose in this relationship.  Her previous relationship ended extremely badly for her and because she is cautious with regards to Cade’s advances and his previous history with the secondary female figure; he seems more determined to pursue her.  I could identify with her fears in engaging in this relationship but still found it hard to identify with the people in this novel.

As is inevitable in such novels there is insta-attraction, sizzling sex and the inevitable Happy Ever After ending!

It was lovely to see a novel that dealt with personality over looks but this reader felt that overall this novel was rather lacklustre.  Perhaps this is because I had not read any of the previous novels and had nothing invested in these characters.  So although this novel can be read as a stand-alone book I would suggest that you start and the beginning and work your way through the series to this one.  Then I am sure your experience of this book would be more rewarding than mine.

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 3 stars on Netgalley and 'It was OK' on Goodreads (2 stars) and Amazon (3 stars).

Some things are better off staying lost

To be published on 3 November 2015.

In 930 CE, a revered group of scholars pen the first sanctioned Bible, planting the seed from which other major religions will grow.  But in 1953, half the manuscript goes missing while being transported from Syria.  Around the dame time, in the foothills of the Dead Sea, an ancient scroll is discovered - and promptly stolen.  Six decades later, both parchments stand at the heart of a geopolitical battle between foreign governments and radical extremists, threatening the lives of millions.  With the American homeland under siege, the president turns to a team of uniquely trained covert operatives including FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos, and FBI terrorism expert Aaron Uziel.  Their mission:  Find the stolen documents and capture - or kill - those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil.  Set in DC, New York, Paris, England, and Israel, The Lost Codex has been called "a masterwork of international suspense" and "an outstanding novel" y Douglas Preston

I love books that are based on fact and yet make a fictional book based on that fact and this is one of the many reasons I love authors like Steve Berry and Andy McDermott; and now this author.

As other books have reawakened my interest in the Templars for example, this book is re-awakening my interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Israeli/Palestinian war.

Karen Vail is a psychologist with the BAU (another plus as far as this reader is concerned) although in this book she took a lesser role behind Aaron Uziel and Hector DeSantos.  The characters are well rounded and the camaraderie between all three is rather refreshing and well written.  What one lacks one of the others has in spades and makes for a good group dynamic.  When they are undertaking a mission off the books they need to rely on their previous experiences, their friendships and contacts but most of all they need to rely on their training and wits.

The book started out reasonably well but then stalled.  This was because of the complex nature of the plot, a few things needed to be explained before the plot took off which did slow the start down.  However, once that was under our belts the pace sped up, too you through the wringer and did not let up until the last sentence.  Yet everything was not plain sailing for the team as they faced some operational problems.  There were just enough red herrings to keep up the suspense and the reader interested.

For action junkies there is loads of it; as we race around the world following the protagonists and the heroes as they try to save the day.  The descriptions of all these countries were so real one felt as though you were actually there (the descriptions of Jerusalem brought back memories of a school trip 33 years ago!)

I have not read any of the previous novels in this series and although references were made to previous operations they were not over done nor did they detract from this story.  However, what did annoy this reader were the constant references to a London operation which did my head in. 

This is my first novel by this author but it certainly will not be the last.  If you want a book that is well researched and explains some of the tensions in the Middle East (and living in Egypt I can certainly say that he has the Arab mind set down pat).  It also deals with the motivations behind Islamic extremists.  Even if these things are not your normal bag but you love fact based fiction you cannot go far wrong with this novel

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 5 stars on Netgalley and 'I loved it' on Amazon (5 stars) and Goodreads (4 stars).