Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Book Review - Caught

Caught by Harlan Coben
Released 17th February 2011
Paperback 400 pages
Rating 4/5
Source Purchased

Seventeen-year-old Haley McWaid never gave her parents a moment's worry. Until one morning her mother wakes to find that Haley didn't come home the night before. Three months quickly pass without a word, and everyone assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission: to identify and bring down sexual predators via televised sting operations. Her latest target is Dan Mercer, a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens. But his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

CAUGHT tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realises she can't trust her own instincts about this story - or the motives of the people around her...

My thoughts...

I have read a few Harlan Coben books in the past and have always thoroughly enjoyed them. My Mum is a huge fan and is constantly pushing his books onto me so when I saw this I thought I'd give it a go, especially since I had been reading a teary love story and lots of erotic fiction.

Scandal, suspicion, murder is the tagline, and Caught is full of it all. From the very beginning the story grips you and pulls you in.

From the beginning I was left hoping that Dan wasn't the monster that he was made out to be, but the more I read on, the harder it became for me to believe it and the more I doubted myself. Dan was made out to be this amazingly gentle and giving man, but as the story moved on everything seemed to change and he started to appear to be the man that the reporters had made him out to be.

The story is told from Wendy's point of view, after revealing Dan as a pedophile, ruining his reputation and life she gets a gut feeling that she may have been wrong about him. Out of the blue he calls her asking her to meet him, in a trailer in the middle of no-where she witnesses him being murdered. From that moment, everything that she thought she knew came tumbling down around her and she could no longer trust anyone.

Caught is everything that you want from a thriller, every chapter leaves you wanting more, you are on the edge of your seat and it has so many unexpected twists that it is impossible for you to guess where the story is going to end up.

This is probably one of the hardest books that I have reviewed so far, with so many unexpected events it is hard to put into words how incredibly thrilling this book is without giving anything away.

Until next time, keep reading x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Book Review - The Best of Me

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
Released 16th February 2012 
eBook 436 pages 
Source Purchased

They were teenage sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks - with a passion that would change their lives for ever. But life would force them apart.

Years later, the lines between past and present are about to slip . . . Called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who gave them shelter when they needed it most, they are faced with each other once again. Can true love ever rewrite the past?

My thoughts...
The Best of Me is the first, and currently only, Nicholas Sparks book that I have read. Having seen The Notebook and Dear John I had high expectations, and a box of tissues at the ready. I am so pleased to say that this book didn't disappoint me in the slightest.

So many reviews of this book will talk about how this is typical Nicholas Sparks, a genre that he does so well and so on, but as I have nothing to compare this to I cannot say this. Yes I have seen the films,but films very rarely stick to the story of the book and no doubt The Notebook is far more tragic, heart-wrenching and tearful to read than see.

For me The Best of Me is a love story of epic proportions. My expectations were high and not only did it meet them, it exceeded them. The book was everything that a love story should be, plus so much more that I didn't know I wanted.

From start to finish I was drawn into the love story and willed with everything that I had for Dawson and Amanda to not only find each other but end up together and live happily ever after. The story took so many turns, where I'd think that they would end up together, one would change their mind, then change it again. Stumbling blocks were put in there way at every turn, and I was always left wondering what could be thrown at them next.

I loved the changes in narrative, constantly changing characters to get the story from some else's point of view. For me this added more depth to the story and with so many different characters I think it was important that we got to know each of them as they all played such important roles in the overall story.

Without giving too much away, for me the ending wasn't what I wanted it to be. With that being said, I was happier than I thought I would be as Dawson made one final sacrifice to help others, paying the ultimate price.

One small comment that I would make is that I wish we had got the chance to find out what happened to Alan and how is felt about Dawson being the one to save him, if he even know who Dawson was, or even how Marilyn felt about it.

Overall I adored this book from beginning to end, I almost didn't want it to end. As predicted the tissues were needed as the ending to a truly inspiring love story got the better of me.

If you are looking for a good love story then I would highly recommend this.

Until next time, keep reading! x

Monday, 13 August 2012

Book Review - Life Knocks

Life Knocks by Craig Stone
Released 16th February 2012

eBook 436 pages
Rating 3/5
Source Sent by author
Where to buy Amazon

Amazon summary
This is a love story for anyone that has ever loved and lost; it’s a story about how two people in love are capable of setting themselves on fire because of the human condition to turn good things bad.

Life Knocks is the prequel to “The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness.”

In 2004 Colossus quits his city job because he feels he is on the wrong path and as a consequence of following his thoughts he ends up falling in love, travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and living on Kauai, the smallest of the habitable Hawaiian Islands.

The story is told from two timelines; one in the present day and one in the past.

Whilst we learn about Colossus then, we also see him now.
Back at work again.

Back doing a job that makes him miserable and with a senile old landlord that obsesses over him, lives in the same building and won’t leave him alone.

So what went right, what went wrong?

Life Knocks is about how Colossus Sosloss had nothing, then achieved more than most could dream, then lost everything and starts again.

This is a love story; but it’s so much more than that.
And it’s no Hollywood love story either.
And it’s funny.

Colossus meets and survives the Cambodian mafia, almost drowns in Thailand, survives hiking a mountain on six Pringles, takes on five Thai guys whilst on acid in a jungle on New Year’s Eve and that’s not half of it.
In the present day he has to manoeuvre around the bizarre world of his racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-everything and everyone landlord that won’t leave him alone and has a penchant for prostitutes.

His landlord breaks into his flat, brings him soup randomly at 3am, throws Colossus between himself and a prostitute he has angered, and threatens the life of Colossus when for inexplicable reasons the landlord accuses him of being Somalian.

And all this why Colossus Sosloss is trying to find love again and recover from the failed love that led him to his present day; it’s not easy for Colossus to find love, maybe because he’s not sure he wants it, but he thinks he should; so sit back and read about his attempts to impress several girls that end up being some of the most awkward moments to be documented by man.

My thoughts...
Life Knocks is the second book from Craig Stone, but the first of his that I have read.  Overall I enjoyed the book, I found the characters interesting, witty and real and the story took you on a special journey with Colossus.

At the beginning I struggled to get into the book, and I think this is mainly down to the way the book is written. The story is written from Colossus's point of view, one paragraph he will be describing an event in his life, the next he will go off an a tangent with some strange thought (this is probably due to the amount of drugs and alcohol he has consumed though). At time this confused me and I did find myself having to re-read sections. To me, this made the book harder to read and I felt that the book would have worked fine without these pieces of information.

With that being said, as the story developed these random outbursts made a lot more sense, probably because I started to understand Colossus a lot more and they didn't seem so strange.
One of the things that I really like in this book is the character development. You follow Colossus through various times in his life, from a young man falling in love for the first time, to an adult having made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions trying to turn his life around.
Mohammed was my favourite character in the book and I always looked forward to seeing what he had been getting up to, and with him I really felt that his problems were resolved in the end. Whereas I think more could have been done with Lily for us to get to know her better so that we could have had more sympathy for her during the big argument chapter.

The ending, I feel, didn't answer all of my questions... what happened to Alicia and Julia? What happened to Colossus? Did he move out to live in the park? Did he find love again? Did he finally eat something other than rice, tuna and curry sauce? Did he realise that he is an alcoholic and stop drinking? I personally would have liked to have seen more closure to his story, as much as the character was developed throughout it could have gone that little bit further to finish it off.

I don't want to be negative about the book, because it really is a brilliant read and I have already recommended it to several people, I am just being picky with my comments and being completely honest. The very first chapter is one of the funniest I have read in a long time and I am certain that a lot of people will be able to relate to it on some level and will have dreamed about sending something very similar themselves, I know I have!

Until next time, keep reading! x

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Book Review - Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed by E L James
Released 26th April 2012
Paperback 592 pages
Genre Adult
Rating 2/5
Source Purchased
Where to purchase Amazon

Amazon Summary
Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, the Fifty Shades trilogy will obsess you, possess you and stay with you for ever.

When Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged entrepreneur Christian Grey, it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives irrevocably.

Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them had anticipated. Ana must learn to share Grey's opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity or independence; and Grey must overcome his compulsion to control and lay to rest the horrors that still haunt him.

Now, finally together, they have love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of infinite possibilities.

But just when it seems that they really do have it all, tragedy and fate combine to make Ana's worst nightmares come true ...

My thoughts...
As the third and final book in the Fifty Shades trilogy I was hoping that the story would go out with an almighty bang, instead it went out with more of a small pop, leaving me slightly disappointed. I know that James is a romance writer and the book isn't supposed to be a thriller, but the storyline was written in a way that could have given the reader a much more thrilling experience. Rather than ride along the wave of the

The last installment picks Ana and Christian up on their honeymoon, as you can imagine no expense was spared as you follow them across Europe, reading this book during the hottest week that we have seen this year made me feel like I was in Cannes with them. The story follows them as they adjust to married life, with Ana wanting her independence and Christian wanting to take control of Ana's life. With all newlywed there are issues that need working through, but I feel that with the Grey's neither will ever be 100% happy with each other and they will always want to change something about the other.

There are plenty of jaw dropping, page turning moments that will keep you reading, just like Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker did. As already mentions I feel that these moments could have been a lot more dramatic and a lot more thought could have gone into them. It almost feels to me like the book was quickly put together with no real time put into the suspension moments. Work went into building them up but to no avail.

As with the first two books there is a lot of repetition which can be very frustrating, it would be nice for Ana to do something other than blush! But if you have already read the first two books you should already expect this and you get used to it as if it is normal.

The ending of the story was satisfactory, which doesn't happen very often. You got to flash forward and see what they are doing in four years time, which I really liked and gave the book a happy closure. However after the ending it goes back to when Christian was a child and first went to live with the Greys and then when he first met Ana. While it was interesting to read Christians thoughts as a child, I don't think reading there first meeting from his point of view added to the story or to his character and I do think that it was really unnecessary.

Overall I didn't hate the book and I did enjoy reading it, I got the ending that I wanted and the book did manage to tie up most of the ends, with the only exception the Mia and Ethan story. For someone wanting to read a well written, well thought out story, with a knowledge for good literature then this isn't the book for you. For someone wanting a quick and easy read, maybe a holiday book, then this will be perfect for you.

Until next time, keep reading x