This book is truly magical. It hooked me from page one and did not let me go until I closed the final pages, and it was with a heavy heart that I saidThis book is truly magical. It hooked me from page one and did not let me go until I closed the final pages, and it was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to this wonderful place and its small cast of characters.
Jack and Mabel arrive in Alaska in 1920 to make a new home for themselves and to get away from the terrible heartache of losing their only child at birth ten years before. Their sense of loss and grief is palpable and their sadness at realising that they are also losing each other is felt clearly through those opening pages. Just as things seem to be coming to a head, Jack and Mabel - in a rare moment of companionship - build a snowgirl together when the first snows of that winter arrive at their homestead. They dress it in mittens and a scarf and use the juice of berries to give some colour to its lips. The next morning, not only is their snowgirl gone, but there are little footprints leading away from the mound of snow and the couple start to be convinced that they have seen a little girl in a blue coat dashing between the trees in the snow, followed by a red fox.
What follows is a truly captivating and spell-binding tale of a little girl, who we come to find out is called Faina, and her place in the rebuilding of the lives of Jack and Mabel. As the elderly couple open their hearts once again, Mabel remembers a book that her father used to read to her when she was a child: a snow child that appears at the house of a childless couple and, despite many re-tellings and different endings over the years, always ends with the little girl melting back into the snow, and Mabel comes to dread the day that Faina will leave them too. Faina herself is not quite tamable and always slightly out of reach of the couple and it is through her that the reader is treated to such a feast of beauty and nature and landscape. Just wondferful.
Istill can't quite believe that this is a debut novel and beacuse of this, I cannot wait to see what else she comes up with in the future.
Verdict: Wow, just wow. My favourite book of 2011 and I am head over heels in love with it. ...more
I have been a huge fan of Lisa Gardner after discovering her books about 2 years ago, and I particularly like the Detective D.D. Warren series of whicI have been a huge fan of Lisa Gardner after discovering her books about 2 years ago, and I particularly like the Detective D.D. Warren series of which Catch Me is the latest. Her books always start with an intriguing prologue that grabs you by the throat but actually gives away very little meaning that the rest of the book is up to you to work out. I still have a lot of Gardners’ books to read (yay!) so I can only speak for the ones that I have read so far, but what I have found (and liked) is that there is usually an ureliable narrator at the helm. In some cases this is deliberate (for reasons that become apparant later on) and in some cases (i.e. Catch Me) it is because the narrator can’t actually remember any more than she’s telling us so we are muddling through in the same way that she is.
Charlie Grant (or Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant as she insists upon being called) tracks down Boston Detective D.D. Warren on 17th January to ask for help: she thinks she only has 4 days left until she will be murdered. On the last two January 21sts her two best friends, Randi and Jackie, were murdered a year apart and Charlie thinks she will be next. As well as working on what appears to be a serial killer of paedophiles , D.D. is intrigued enough to check out Charlie’s story at the same time, and becomes more so when it appears that the two cases may be linked…
You don’t have to have read all (or indeed any) of this series to be able to get full enjoyment out of this book (I have read only the latest 4 which means I can now go back to D.D’s roots and see where she started out) but I do like the fact that I have seen her character develop. Once hard-nut workaholic D.D. is now mother to 10 week old Jack and living with partner Alex and for once actually looking forward to getting home after a shift. Old habbits die hard though and D.D. ins’t one to let a case go cold and her spidey-senses start tingling like mad towards the end of this one.
What I also liked about this particular book was that characters from some of her other series’ had cameos too; in fact quite a few of them did. Again, if you’re not familiar with Gardner’s books you wouldn’t even notice (and it wouldn’t spoil the book in any way) but for fans this was actually a real treat.
Verdict: One of my favourites. I ripped through it in no time at all and enjoyed every page. Highly recommended for crime fiction fans.
I have been a fan of Lisa Gardner’s books for a while now, but for some reason she doesn’t seem to be as well known in the UK as other crime writers.I have been a fan of Lisa Gardner’s books for a while now, but for some reason she doesn’t seem to be as well known in the UK as other crime writers. I hope that changes soon as her books really are great! I am especially loving this series starring Detective D.D. Warren who is one of Boston’s top homicide Detectives.
Love You More is a gripping thriller that opens with State Tropper Tessa Leoni being arrested for the murder of her husband and the disappearance of her 6 year old daughter. Tessa’s narrative takes the reader back and forth through her relationship with Brian and their last moments together and it becomes clear early on that she may not be a reliable narrator, as her story often changes, but why does she do this? The reason does become apparant nearer the end – and it’s a good one! Interspersing Tessa’s story is Detective D. D. Warren and her race to find missing six-year-old Sophie. D.D. is a great character – she’s fiesty, funny (without trying) and kick-ass; I love her. The switching between the two perspectives keeps the plot fast-paced and interesting too, espcially as you are wondering who to believe most of the time.
Verdict: As with all the previous books of Gardner that I have read, this one is equally as addictive and has twists and turns a-plenty.
What a wonderful book to read in the run up to Christmas. I have just been swept away on a tide of vintage clothes, soaps and old-school glamour.
MiracWhat a wonderful book to read in the run up to Christmas. I have just been swept away on a tide of vintage clothes, soaps and old-school glamour.
Miracle on Regent Street is about Evie Taylor, the stockroom girl at Hardy’s – a 100 year old department store in London – and despite feeling that her talents should lie on the shop floor, she is completely invisible to anyone else who works there (OK, she’s not exactly invisble as oposed to blending into the background so much that the entire staff still call her Sarah which is the name of her predecessor of two years before). One day, right at the beginning of December, Evie overhears a conversation between the owner of Hardy’s and her manager, and it horrified to realise that if Hardy’s fortunes don’t turn around before Boxing Day they will all be out of jobs. What follows is Evie’s secret attempt to turn the shop around before Christmas, with a little help from some rather unexpected corners – Sam the delivery boy, Lily from the tea-shop who still dresses as though she’s going to a tea dance from the good old days, Felix the security guard and a couple of eastern european cleaners. I loved the whole cast of characters in this book, and despite wanting to shout at Evie for not standing up for herself (I’m not one for keeping my mouth shut if something bugs me at work ), I still found her engaging and routed for her and her friends throughout.
One of the things I loved about this book was the wonderful nostalgic trip through a long-ago age where shop assistants spent time with customers, women were made to feel like women and a trip to the department store was a special treat. The transformation of the store through Evie and her secret elves made me long to be part of that world and I could see this wonderful place so clearly in my mind that I wanted to wander round the stalls and browse through the gold compacts, crystal perfume bottles and vintage peep-toe shoes (and this from someone who is not remotely a girly girl!); I wanted to glide down the huge wooden staircase and pick up the handbags, trilbys and corsets and then pop into the tearoom for tea and cake, red lipstick and stockings firmly in place.
I do love a chicklit book now and then, but I have to say that this is one of the most sophisticated that I have read; it didn’t have the cheesiness or sickliness of some and instead it had old fashioned glamour, romance, wit and warmth and it was a delight to read.
Verdict: If you are looking for a christmassy feel-good read then please, please look no further than this book. It is a real treat.
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover: It looked eerie and intriguing. Perfect People is a stand-alone thriller which was a perThe first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover: It looked eerie and intriguing. Perfect People is a stand-alone thriller which was a perfect place for me to start with Peter James’ books as I have yet to pick up one of the Roy Grace series.
According to the blurb, this book has been 10 years in the planning. When the idea first came to James about writing a book about designer babies, it was just that – an idea. Now it is a reality. That makes reading this book all the scarier – we may just be looking at our future.
John and Naomi Klaesson live in California and have lost their 4 year old son to a rare genetic disorder which made them watch him die a slow and horrible death. Still young and desperate for another child, the Klaesson’s opt for paying a huge sum of money to geneticist Dr Leo Dettore who has promised them that he can prevent this child from being born with the same disorder that killed their son. What soon become apparant is that Dr Dettore can also offer them so much more scope in “designing” their next child.
This book poses so many questions and will undoubtedly make you think about what you would do in the same situation. Being faced with the option to make your child more empathetic (but would that make them a playground bully target?) or allow them to survive on only a few hours per night like many CEOs and politicians do (but would that mean that they may have sociopathic tendancies?) what would you decide? These are the dilemas that also face the Klaessons when going through page after page of tick-box options. The Klaessons are normal people, they have normal jobs, they live in a normal house and they only thing they really want is a disease-free child…but does that mean that they can’t be tempted by anything else?
What makes this book so compelling is that it becomes apparant pretty early on that something isn’t quite right. It’s so difficult for me to be say anything more about the plot as it really would spoil it, but what I will say is that with fairly short chapters that have a tendancy to end at a point where you can’t possibly put the book down, then this makes for one migthy page-turner.
Verdict: An amazing thriller. One that will make you question what you would do, one that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and one that has sufficient twists to keep you on your toes and not get too comfortable… ...more
Just over a year ago I discovered S J Bolton’s books, starting with Sacrife which I absolutely loved. Since then I have gone on to read three more ofJust over a year ago I discovered S J Bolton’s books, starting with Sacrife which I absolutely loved. Since then I have gone on to read three more of her books and this latest book is every bit as good as all the others.
Dead Scared is the second book featuring Detectives Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury and this time they are in Cambridge investigating an unusually high number of student suicides at the University over the last 5 years. Lacey is sent undercover to live as student Laura Farrow at the Universtity and only days into her “new life” she discovers that the suicides aren’t quite what the first seem. The students, usually female and pretty, are killing themselves in increasingly violent ways after complaing of nightmares and being terrified for weeks beforehand. Lacey/Laura delves deeper into the lives and histories of the student deaths with the help of University Psychiatrist Evi Oliver (who is apparantly a character from Blood Harvest which is the only obe of Boltons books that I haven’t read yet – to be rectified VERY soon!). Evi is the person who alerted the police to her concerns about the high suicide rate in Cambridge and soon finds that not only is she suffering from nightmares herself but strange and very scary things are starting to happen to her in her own home too.
Despite this being the second book to star Flint and Joesbury, I don’t think that it is at all necessary to have read the first in the series, Now You See Me. There are a few references to things that happened in that first book but I was really pleased to note that Bolton didn’t give away any of the plot that would spoil it for readers who haven’t picked that one up yet. Also, the way that this book ends means that surely there is a next in the series to come. YES!
Verdict: Highly recommended. I found this book absolutely fantastic and had trouble putting it down. It had me hooked from page one (which has been something pretty rare recently as I have struggled to get into a few books), and it was an intelligent and fast-paced thriller with genuinely creepy moments and if you are of a nervous disposition I would heartily recommend that you don’t read this book alone in the dark…. ...more