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shaunok

ShaunOK 'Book Addict'

Avid reader reading a mixture of crime fiction, chick lit, young adult, autobiographies and true crime. Looking to follow readers who actively read and review books I enjoy to read.

Vodka Doesn't Freeze (A Detective Jill Jackson Mystery #1) - Leah Giarratano Ages ago I searched for crime fiction set in Australia and found this series by Leah Giarratano. Only now after finishing this, the first in the series, am I kicking myself for not reading it sooner! The subject matter made this a pretty disturbing read at times but other than that I enjoyed it immensely and cannot reccommend it highly enough.

I read a lot of crime fiction, though this book was more psychological thriller I felt and the thing I enjoy most about it is 'series' crime fiction. Series allow you to not only read a mystery story but also get to know the main character rather than each book having a generic detective who tries to solve a crime. Jill Jackson is the main character here and she was fantastic.

Jill has demons of her own and knows all too well about the effect paedophiles have on their victims. So when called to the scene of a murder of a paedophile Jill has to question whether the killer should actually be found, after all the killer is only ridding the world of probably the worst kind of human beings. But at the same time her job is to prevent crime and so along with her partner Scotty they try to work out who the killer can be when more bodies turn up and various connections begin to appear.

The focus of the book was just as much on Jill as it was on the rest of the story. We learn about her childhood, how she was a victim of abuse herself and how all of those things have made her the woman, and police officer that she is today. There were some comedic elements to the book with the police politics and the troubles she has with some of her idiotic colleagues but some readers may find parts of the book tough going but it all felt very true to life and it was clear throughout the whole book that the author was a professional in the field she was writing about and not just another crime author trying to shock.

Overall I really enjoyed this and only wish I had read it sooner! I have a to read list that will never be completed but the rest of the Jill Jackson series will now be placed somewhere near the top with the hope of reading them soon!
Bad Girl - Roberta Kray Hmm. In my search to find similar authors to Martina Cole a few years ago I came across Jessie Keane and Kimberley Chambers. Both those two authors I feel can compete with Cole (her earlier work at least), especially Jessie. Mandasue Heller was another author I discovered but found that her books were a bit hit and miss. Roberta Kray was on my radar for a while, but I just never got around to reading her books. Plus there was always the question of whether she got published just because of her marriage or because she was a good writer.

Kray's previous books didn't really jump out at me when I read the plots for them but when I read the plot for Bad Girl I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately however I didn't feel like there was much of a story and for a book that is 520 page, that's a very disappointing thing. I like books like this that are full of violence, sex, murder and more violence. Hardly any of that was present here. The bad guys are badly written cardboard cutouts and it is never clear what they actually do, just that they run the East End. Yes we all know what these people do to become a face and rule the roost so to speak but I actually want to read about it. Think early Martina.

Helen was the 'main' character and we follow her life after the death of her mother when she is returned to the clan that threw her mother out on the street. Hated by everybody except her uncle she finds herself lost in the world not feeling loved or wanted. As she grows up she wants to learn more about her background and find answers to what happened when she was a little girl. The story however at the end felt very rushed and ended unresolved, this isn't a problem in a series of books as you simply wait for the next one but Kray's next book isn't about Helen so I am annoyed that she chose to finish the book like this.

I read two books in between starting and finishing Bad Girl so it was by no means an unputdownable read but it did have the potential to be a good book. Perhaps Kray's earlier work is better but I don't feel in any great rush to read it. Even Martina's latest stuff is better than this and that's saying something. I'm a bit disappointed but the plot for Kray's next book does sound good enough to tempt me to read it. Unfortunately though, judging from this book alone it would appear that this is more a case of 'who you know'.
The Kill List - Frederick Forsyth This is my first Frederick Forsyth book and maybe it won't be my last as whilst I did enjoy this book I am led to believe that his earlier work is far superior so I am interested to check his earlier work out. The Kill List follows the Tracker (Kit Carson) as he tries to hunt down the Preacher who is radicalizing young Muslims to carry out assassinations around the world. The Preacher makes it personal to Kit meaning he will stop at nothing to hunt down this person.

The book felt quite short. There wasn't much action or suspense but I found the book felt incredibly realistic and that the storyline could happen in real life. Until the last part of the book however when it really picked up and I just had to reach the end! Some authors rely on being too over the top in their scenes, they have a death on every other page and their characters often find themselves in silly situations. Instead here we have a great character in Kit and despite it being a little mundane at times following him from a to b he was a fantastic character. However I feel had the book been a bit longer then we could have learnt more about Kit and indeed all the other characters that were in the book. I really liked the character of Ariel who is a computer nerd of sorts with Asperger's who is recruited by Kit in his quest to hunt down the Preacher.

I enjoyed reading about all the different intelligence agencies and how they came together in the hunt for the Preacher. One thing I didn't like is the author kept on writing paragraphs such as 'later, so and so would discover' or 'it wouldn't be until the next day that' etc and I'm not a fan of writing like this. (Those are made up quotes and not from the actual book). Also I'm not an expert in this field by any means and certain things just went straight over my head but I knew enough to be able to follow and enjoy this story and would definitely reccommend it.

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC via Net Galley

High Rollers - Jack Bowman '' Airline crashes. Gambling. Gangsters. Take the ultimate high octane thrill ride - Do NOT read this on a plane ''

The thing that drew me to this book was the cover. But after a few pages I was gripped to the story. And that is why I finished this book at 12.09am when I should be asleep ahead of having to be in work in a few hours. However the last part of this book was so action-packed that there was never any doubt of me not finishing it in one sitting. Anyone looking at this book in the airport before a flight should put it down and buy it when they reach their destination airport, and then read it. Or for any daredevils, buy it and read it on the flight! (It feels odd to reccommend a book but not reccommend it at the same time!)

Tom Patrick is playing poker when the engine of a 737 explodes at LAX, taking the lives of maintenance workers and potentially ruining the lives of the ones that weren't killed. We learn that Tom is the top air-crash investigator but has been demoted for shouting his mouth off too many times. Tom is my type of character, the sort of person who defies his bosses but does it for good reasons not because he wants to be a dickhead. He reminded me a little bit of Matt Hilton's Joe Hunter, and certainly got into the sorts of scrapes that Hunter often finds himself in!

Following the disaster at LAX another plane blows up mid-air and crashes somewhere in Africa. The author didn't shy away from very vivid descriptions which is why this book is definitely not flight reading. The book felt incredibly realistic and this was thanks to excellent descriptions from the author who has clearly done his research into the subject. Alongside all this Tom meets a woman called Ness while he is playing poker and together they go off to Africa in search of answers to the planes falling out of the sky. Tom's recklessness means that his bosses are reluctant to listen to him never mind help him but he is determined to find answers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and there were plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing and not wanting to put the book down. I had it read within 24 hours which is always the sign of a good book. It's hard to say any more about the story without giving away the plot but despite a lot of coincidence the book was fantastic. This was the type of book that I would love to see made into a film.

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC via Net Galley.

Usually at this point I would link to the author's Twitter but his bio says that 'Jack Bowman is a writer and a gambler. He does not blog; he does not tweet; he does not answer the phone or the door to unsolicited callers. He is 38. Or was. Or will be soon. He lives alone.' Very mysterious! To me this didn't feel like the work of a first-time author but rather somebody who has been writing for a long time.
Covet - Tracey Garvis Graves READ THIS BOOK!!!

My review of On the Island can be read here.

One of the signs of an amazing book is one that takes less than a day to read. Another sign is when you have to stop reading and can't stop thinking of the moment you can pick it up and continue reading. Another is when you should be sleeping but you can't because you are nearing the end of the book and it is impossible to stop reading until you finish it. And perhaps the most obvious sign of a good book is when you finish it and are left feeling ecstatic at finishing a good book but sad at the same time that it is over, and when you have no idea what your next book will be because you feel like nothing can beat the story you have just read. This book was all of those things and that is why I am writing this review at 2.26am, just moments after finishing this book. Again though I find myself wishing I could write a review that does the book justice, I will try!

About a year ago I downloaded to my Kindle a book called [b:On the Island|15505346|On the Island (On the Island #1)|Tracey Garvis-Graves|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1339162550s/15505346.jpg|18151286]. I hoped for a half decent read after reading the plot which I found pretty exciting. What I ended up reading was one of the best books I read in 2012 and what I now call one of my favourite books of all time. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of returning to that island in the novella [b:Uncharted|17268741|Uncharted (On the Island #1.5)|Tracey Garvis-Graves|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363971188s/17268741.jpg|23880831] which was just fantastic. Needless to say that when I requested this book on Net Galley and was approved, I couldn't wait to get started. I was in work when the approval email came through and had to get through four hours more before I could start Covet.

I knew however that this book would be very different from On the Island. I am not the intended reader for this book but to me that doesn't matter. If a book is good then it can be read by almost anybody, and despite this being classed as Women's Fiction, I feel that the book, or at the very least extracts of it could be read by men. Particularly those who may be facing problems in their relationship or marriage. This certainly isn't one of those awful erotica novels that are constantly at the top of the bestsellers charts, what it is instead is a wonderfully written story which felt very real, you could have been reading a person's life story as opposed to a story from a writer's imagination.

The chapters alternate between the three characters: Claire, Chris and Daniel. The bulk of the chapters are from Claire's POV however it was nice to hear from the other characters so we weren't just getting Claire's side of things and we could actually see what Chris and Daniel were thinking as opposed to what Claire assumed they were thinking, if that makes sense. Chris and Claire's marriage is pretty much on the rocks, Chris loses his job and Claire takes us through the months that followed the loss talking about how they grew apart and the trouble they faced with his unemployment. Then Chris finds work that means him being away from home throughout the week. I remember as a child my dad would work from 7am until 11pm and I would hardly ever see him despite living in the same house. I could definitely relate to the children in this book and it is only when you are older that you fully realise and understand what your parents do for you.

Claire at the start of the book is pulled over by a police officer because of a problem with her car. It is all fairly innocent at first but in the weeks and months that follow a friendship is formed between the two to the point where there is a question mark surrounding whether anything will happen beyond that. It's hard to continue talking about the characters without giving away too much of the plot so all I will say is that you feel for all three characters. I didn't really feel that Claire was in the wrong throughout the book, but perhaps having never been in love or married makes me see the story differently than somebody who is/has. I read a few comments on Goodreads from people who were a bit wary about reading this book because of the cheating aspect but I urge those people to read this book and forget about those worries. The story here is incredible to the point where I just didn't know what I wanted Claire to do.

The three characters I liked very much. Claire has diabetes which I thought was very interesting and made for some heart stopping developments throughout the book. There were some wonderful scenes between her and Daniel regarding this but to elaborate would be giving the story away. I also liked the flashback scenes where we learnt more about Chris and Claire when they first met. The love between these two characters is evident. I definitely synpathised with Chris having to work away from his family for most of the week to support them. His love for his wife and kids was clear throughout the book. I really liked Daniel. I loved the scenes between him and Claire.

Overall I cannot reccommend this book highly enough. It now cements Tracey Garvis-Graves as one of my favourite authors as she has now written three books which I will always rate as some of the best I have read. In reading the acknowledgement section Tracey mentioned an alternate ending and after only just finishing this book I want to know what that ending is so badly because as I said I didn't know what I wanted Claire to do and I don't know how I would have written this story or indeed ended it. I was satisfied with the ending of the book however. When I finished On the Island I couldn't stop thinking about the story for a while afterwards. I think the same will be true of this book. I don't feel like I have just read a of fiction but instead somebody's life story. Tracey thank you for another truly amazing book which I just loved reading. Your next book cannot come quick enough as far as I am concerned (whatever it may be)!

Follow the author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tgarvisgraves
And thank you to the publisher for allowing me to receive this book via Net Galley (not sure if my begging was what swung it for them or not...)
The Enemy Inside - Vanessa Skye Wow. This book was very different from what I was expecting, but it was a thrilling read from start to finish nonetheless. I don't know how I would categorise this. It isn't just your usual crime fiction, it has elements of many other genres. Romance is probably one of them but for the most part the book is about the crimes and the mystery surrounding them. The two main characters also have damaged pasts which seems to be a common theme in books today. For a debut novel this was incredibly well written and had me hooked after just a few pages. The cover stood out to me and when I read the description I couldn't wait to read this book.

Alicia 'Berg' Raymond is our main character and one I liked very much. I enjoyed learning more about this character and what made her the way she is in terms of how she does her job and how she lives her life. Jay O'Loughlin is her partner (in the police sense) and at the start of the book he also has a dark past that he is keeping secret but eventually himself and Berg have a heart to heart and we learn all about these two characters pasts. These two characters both felt very real, I would say at times the book felt more like a true story than something that came from an author's imagination.

It isn't just these two characters either, Vanessa Skye has created other believable characters. Especially Captain Leigh and Chief Consiglio. Having read many crime books I am well aware of the politics surrounding the police force and how those high up want results and want them fast but Consiglio especially was a horrible character who just wanted any results rather than the actual right one. His political career came before anything else. Leigh was an interesting character also.

One thing also worth mentioning is that Skye does not shy away from using very vivid descriptions. When the bodies of murdered victims were found she went into incredible detail about how they had been mutilated and how they looked in death. I feel immune to such descriptions having read so many books like this but some people might feel a bit squeamish at some of the scenes in this book! And there are a lot of them. The murders come thick and fast and had me guessing throughout the whole book as to who was responsible for them. I certainly did not see the ending coming as it was one hell of a twist which I always love because sometimes the ending of books like this can be so obvious that it ruins the book. Not the case here however. There were just so many twists and turns that the book was just, as I said in the opening paragraph, a thrilling read from start to finish.

I will definitely be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series in the hope that it is even half as good as this one!

Follow the author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessaskye
And thank you to the publisher for the ARC via Net Galley
Bad Angels - Rebecca Chance Having spent the last week and a bit reading all of Rebecca Chance's books before the release of [b:Killer Queens|18134378|Killer Queens (Kindle Edition)|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372355004s/18134378.jpg|25042093], I can now say that Bad Angels is the most outrageous of the lot! And definitely my favourite. It had a fantastic cast of characters and some unbelievable storylines.

I loved the setting of this book. Limehouse Wharf is a huge skyscraper in London housing apartments which only the vulgarly rich can afford. Next to the apartment block is the Canary Clinic where rich people come to have work done before recuperating inside Limehouse Wharf in one of the two apartments that the clinic own. Inside apartment one is Melody Dale, an actress coming home from LA to get her former face and former boyfriend back. Melody was probably my least favourite character and the one I cared least about. I also found her chapters too long and she wasn't really a relevant character in terms of story so all she did was make the book longer than it needed to be really.

Inside the Canary Clinic's second apartment is Jon Jordan, a former hitman. Looking after these two characters is Aniela, a Polish nurse having troubles of her own and who is more than happy to spend Christmas and New Year alone looking after these two patients. But of course she isn't alone for long once she meets the mysterious Jon Jordan. And it isn't long before the obligatory massive penis is out giving Aniela the multiple orgasms that Chance's characters never fail to have.

Also with an apartment in the Wharf is Grigor, a Russian oligarch who owns Kensington football club and is in town to throw a huge Christmas party for his football team. At the start of the book you find yourself wondering how all these characters are going to interact but it soon becomes clear with the introduction of Grigor's estranged wife who turns up at the door of Jon Jordan with a proposition. Other characters include Andy, the Wharf's concierge, Sergei, Grigor's right hand man and Wayne, England's most famous and best footballer. The book also features a gay storyline however I did find the writing for the gay characters to be a bit ridiculous especially the coming out scene. Wayne was scared of people finding out he is gay but he has a few drinks on NYE and suddenly comes out and turns dead camp? Idiotic and unbelievable.

Overall though the book was outrageous and immensely enjoyable which is all you want from books like this. It was a long read though and I did feel it could be shorter. I stand by what I said earlier though and this probably was my favourite Chance book so far, and finished just in time for the release of Killer Queens which promises to be another fantastic book.

One final thing I feel is worth mentioning is that whilst Chance's books are standalone reads, her characters appear to live in the same world. She likes mentioning previous characters in her books and in this one she practically gave away the whole plot of Bad Sisters in one paragraph. So people new to Rebecca Chance should start with Divas and read the books in order to avoid potential spoilers of other books.
Malibu Nanny:  Adventures of the Former Kardashian Nanny - Pam Behan, Sara Christenson I love the Kardashians. I couldn't care less what people think about them but I am addicted to KUWTK and following their lives. I did find the idea for this book a bit trashy but was interested to read it. Well, after reading it I'm glad I did but for the most part it was a waste of time.

Pam was first the nanny of Brody and Brandon before Bruce took her with him when he married Kris and she then became the Kardashian nanny. The first 60 or so pages are about Linda Jenner, Brody and Brandon and the relationship (which Pam stresses was only ever friendship) with Bruce Jenner. I wasn't really interested in this part of the book, or the letters that Pam wrote to her parents that were dotted throughout the book. They just felt a bit randomly placed, and probably used just to pad the book out a bit and make it seem longer than it is.

The bits about Pam being the Kardashian nanny weren't very revealing and this certainly isn't a tell all book where she dishes the dirt. Instead she speaks about being the nanny of the Kardashians with such love and warmth that it is clear that this is a woman who loved those kids and the time that she spent with them. She also speaks about Kris being a bit of a ballbreaker (well, we know that) and how Kris always wanted to be famous and how she loves name dropping and being friends with other celebrities (well, we know that too) and how you should never forget the broccoli unless you want to face the wrath of Kris Jenner.

Overall it was interesting to read about this girl from the Midwest moving to L.A. and becoming the nanny of what would one day be one of the world's most famous families but ultimately Pam didn't spill any juicy secrets, she mentioned how she would overhear conversations during the O.J. Simpson trial but how she wouldn't feel comfortable divulging them in the book, boooooring. The book will probably sell because of the subject matter but perhaps the authors obvious love for the Kardashian children and Bruce, who came across quite well in the book prevented her from revealing anything that was actually worth reading about. The book ends saying 'to be continued...' but to be honest there isn't much else she could say about the Kardashians unless she was willing to be more open, if the next book is just about Pam and her life after leaving the Jenners then I won't be looking out for it.
Bad Girls - Rebecca Chance Yes. Books like this are why I stick with an author after reading a book of theirs I didn't like much ([b:Bad Sisters|11018937|Bad Sisters|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348255519s/11018937.jpg|15938249]) because I am always hopeful that they will write a book similar to the one by them that I loved ([b:Divas|13258853|Divas|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344664246s/13258853.jpg|6891134]) and this is that book! I could not put it down once I had started and it contained such a fantastic cast of characters.

My favourite was Skye. A lap dancer recruited by a US gossip rag to go to rehab and seduce movie star Joe Jeffreys who is going to rehab for his sex addiction and to save his relationship with girlfriend Jennifer. Girlfriend Jennifer however is the Jennifer from [b:Divas|13258853|Divas|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344664246s/13258853.jpg|6891134] who is in a lesbian relationship with her publicist Carmen, who we also met in Divas. I enjoyed the storyline between Joe and Skye despite it being incredibly predictable.

Petal Gold (no idea who this character is based on...), awful name with a rich rock star dad is on her way to rehab after an appearance in the papers partying and taking drugs with her rocker boyfriend. I did like Petal despite her being a spoilt bitch. But then I always find characters like this to be likeable on some level as after all if they are born having everything given to them and having unlimited credit when they become teenagers why do the parents act so surprised and shocked when they go off the rails? Her mother in this book is a despicable character and 'Gold' wasn't much better, as he seemed to have his own Yoko Ono following him round turning him against his daughter.

Amber is a model going to rehab for drug addiction also. However Amber was introduced to us in the first chapter as being drugged up and trapped in a room surrounded by magazines and photos of herself strewn around the room. The reader isn't aware of who her captor is but as the book progresses we see Amber making enemies and falling out with people so you are left wondering whether any of these characters are to blame. I sort of guessed who it was but there wasn't too many suspects so it's not hard to guess.

Overall this was probably my favourite book from Rebecca Chance so far. It reminded me of books from my favourite author Jackie Collins back in the early days. Chance isn't afraid to use bad language or to have her characters engage in some very descriptive sex scenes. Her female characters have endless orgasms and her male characters have huge penises and very talented tongues and the sex does get a bit repetitive after a while but if you are a prude then steer clear of books like this however for fans of Jackie Collins you can't go wrong with a book from Rebecca Chance (well, you can if that book is Bad Sisters but anyway...)
Killer Heels - Rebecca Chance Okay, now this is more like [b:Divas|13258853|Divas|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344664246s/13258853.jpg|6891134]. After finishing the rather boring [b:Bad Sisters|11018937|Bad Sisters|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348255519s/11018937.jpg|15938249], I started Killer Heels hoping that it would contain everything that I loved in Divas. Let me tell you that it did, and then some. It was Ugly Betty on steroids. Fantastic characters, so much backstabbing and bitchiness. Characters who would do anything to what they wanted. Ruthless isn't the word for some of them.

My favourite character by far was Victoria. She doesn't have shit on Wilhelmina Vivian Slater but she was a fantastically bitchy character nonetheless. Coco was another great character who I rooted for throughout the whole book. You read stories in the media about the fashion world but this book took it to a whole new level and the lengths some characters go to to maintain weight and to get what they want is unbelievable.

This book did seem to have a hell of a lot more sex than in previous books. It seems that the worries Chance had about the amount of sex in Divas had vanished by this, her fourth book under the Rebecca Chance pseudonym. It does get a bit tiresome reading about the endless orgasms that these women are able to give themselves. Or the orgasms that men (who always have huge, throbbing penises) can give them. I know this book is aimed at women so they may love all these descriptions but it was a bit of a yawnfest for me. I haven't however deducted any stars because of this as I don't review books which aren't aimed at me and then criticse them.

Anyway moving on... I did enjoy this book but it didn't 'grip' me as much as Divas. I found myself skipping whole pages just to move the action along a bit and read about the characters I actually cared about. Namely Coco and Vanessa. Reviews for this book had me looking forward to reading it but overall it wasn't the fantastic review that those reviewers made it out to me. It was a fun and bitchy read however which sometimes is all you want from a book.
Bad Sisters - Rebecca Chance After finishing [b:Divas|13258853|Divas|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344664246s/13258853.jpg|6891134] by Rebecca Chance two days ago I couldn't wait to get started on another book of hers. It was between Bad Sisters and [b:Killer Heels|13544334|Killer Heels|Rebecca Chance|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344400363s/13544334.jpg|19109380] as her other two books are not ready for collection at the library yet annoyingly! I chose Bad Sisters because it sounded like the more boring of the two, Killer Heels sounds like Ugly Betty on steroids and I can't wait to read it. So I started this to get it out of the way.

It started off quite strongly. Three very different sisters who we learn killed their stepfather back in 1993 as he was abusing the eldest sister. The three sisters are now famous and we meet Deeley who is returning to London after her fake relationship with a gay actor is ended, Devon, a TV cook married to a rugby player and Maxie who is married to an MP. I didn't take to these characters as much as I did with those in Divas. My favourite was probably Deeley who I liked for most of the book. Devon I found to be a bit of a silly character and who I kept picturing as Coleen Nolan for some reason (ugh). Maxie however I didn't like one iota. Abysmal character and I couldn't have cared less about her part in the story, until near the end that was!

The male characters were quite weak, again. As said in my review of Divas strong women are expected in a book aimed at women but must they always have such weak men? An MP who likes to be spanked because it reminds him of school, a rugby player who plays Xbox and has zero personality and of course the obligatory stud type characters with massive penises who give the women endless orgasms. Apart from Maxie who is satisfied with her hand which in one scene gave her more orgasms than I think she was able to count. She must have one hell of a hand.

The book seemed to just drag on I felt. There wasn't much bitchiness or action and it was only in the last 60 or so pages that the book really picked up and we got into the meat of the story which probably saved this book in my eyes. I didn't see the ending coming so it was a bit of a shock but following that the ending was a bit cheesy. Compared to Divas this was a poor read and I only hope that Chance's other books are on par with Diva and not similar in quality to this one.
Divas - Rebecca Chance I. LOVED. THIS. It was like classic Jackie Collins. Ms. Collins is my favourite author but her recent work is quite tame compared to her earlier stuff. This book however was anything but tame. The writing was so small I struggled to read it at times and it was around 450+ long but I still managed to devour it within 24 hours because I could not put it down! There were parts of the book which actually had my jaw dropping - literally! It was like an adult Gossip Girl, fantastic.

Immediately we are introduced to It Girl Lola Fitzsimmons who I immediately loved. The thing with girls like Lola is they are born into money, from a young age they have everything they could possibly want and then some and so you can't blame them for acting like spoilt rich kids, that's what they are after all. That's why I felt sympathy for her when her evil stepmother swept in and took away all her luxuries and leaving her to fend for herself. Yes Lola came across as a horrible person but she doesn't know any better. I did however love Lola throughout the whole book and felt that the experiences she went through humanized her and made her grow up and see the world through the eyes of those less fortunate than her.

I also really liked Evie. She reminded me of Ivy from Gossip Girl (who I also loved) and who I pictured as Evie in this book. Evie comes across as a gold digger initially, as she is the mistress of Lola's father but again we learn about her history and why she is like she is and again the experiences that she goes through also improve her as a person and she is an extremely likeable person throughout the whole book. The bit about her basically being Lola's twin was a bit American soap opera-ish but I loved it!

Carin was a nasty, vindictive character with nothing on her mind except money. The other two girls want money too but they aren't trying to get it in an evil way. Some of the things Carin did were disgraceful but as the principal villain of this book she was absolutely fantastic. I was seething at some of the things that she did in the book but all it did was improve the book and make it even more unputdownable that it already was! And the courtroom drama was fantastic. This book would play out incredibly on TV or in the cinema.

The male characters however I found to be quite weak. However this book is aimed at women and so, unlike some reviewers who read a book not aimed at them and then criticise it I will say that this book ticks all the boxes for a woman's read. Jean Paul was an idiotic character who turned into a camp Queen pretty much overnight. If he had been like that along then God only knows how Lola didn't work out he was gay. David was another silly, unbelievable character. Jean Paul's brother was an okay characters (despite me forgetting his name?) but who seemed to go to pieces every time he had sex which seemed to weaken his characters somewhat for me. Plenty of amazing female characters however which chick lit books have to be full of obviously...

Overall I loved this book and didn't want it to end. Certainly not my last Rebecca Chance book as I have the rest of them ready and waiting to be read! Fans of Jackie Collins should pick up Chance's books ASAP.
Ruthless - Jessie Keane This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013 and it did not disappoint. I discovered Jessie Keane early last year when I devoured the Annie Carter series in a week. Finally, I thought, an author who can actually compete with Martina Cole. Early Martina that is, not her recent stuff. I discovered Kimberley Chambers around the same time too, another author who is as good as Martina in the early days. People have compared Mandasue Heller with Martina but I can't see it myself. Heller's books just have something missing for me (a story and decent characters usually).

Jessie is a fantastic writer. Unbelievably every single one of her books has been unputdownable. It is rare for an author to consistently write books that are so fantastic. Strong characterisation and gripping stories is something she does so well and this latest release shows that Jessie has no signs of deteriorating like so many authors do after a few releases. This was one of her best books yet and I am just gutted to have reached the end. Of all her books the Annie Carter ones are the best. Annie is a fantastic character and I love the relationship she has with Max Carter. Talk about love/hate...

Many years ago Annie survived death and thought that the Delaney twins had been sent to theirs shortly after. But had they? The book skips back and forth between time periods showing us exactly what happened the night that Orla and Redmond were believed to have died. We also learn more about Annie's life and the rather troublesome relationship she has with her daughter Layla, who is very much a daddy's girl. It's hard to talk too much about the book without giving away too much of the plot but needless to say it is a gripping story which once started is extremely hard to put down. All the old cast are back too, Annie's old driver Tony. Ex-brothel madam Dolly. Ellie and Chris. Alberto Barolli. Jessie creates some great characters.

I didn't have any idea where this book was going towards the end as with these sorts of books you are used to the main character(s) coming out on top and so all the troubles they face throughout the book don't affect you because you know it'll all work out in the end but Jessie writes in such a way that anything could literally happen which does lead to a few shocks throughout the book. I also thought that the ending was quite open ended also which leaves me hoping that a future Annie Carter book is in the works? I did hope for another Ruby Darke book but I now want to read more from Annie and Co!
All the Single Ladies - Jane Costello Okay, shocked at the ending but I didn't enjoy this book. I was massively disappointed in fact. I read Jane's latest book The Wish List last week and loved it. That was quickly followed by Girl On The Run which was fantastic, then My Single Friend which as I was reading it felt eerily similar to another book, that book is/was Jane's two books after My Single Friend (Girl On The Run and The Wish List). And this book also felt similar to those two books.

I know chick lit authors tend to stick to what they know, but all of Jane's books that I have read so far could seriously have had the same character in all of them! A twenty something career woman living in the nice part of Liverpool (no jokes please), having man trouble either with one man or multiple, with fantastic friends to give her advice and eating and drinking in the nice Liverpool bars (the woman in this one frequents a cafe which charges extortionate prices). I didn't really see anything original in the main character in any of these books where you could say, 'Yes, that's Sam' or 'Yes, that's Emma'. They were all copies of each other just with a different story taking place.

And the annoying thing is Jane's books have some great stories, it's just boring when they are essentially featuring the same characters. I prefer a bit of originality but that isn't present here. Sophie Kinsella is another one, her more recent books feature characters who are basically Becky Bloomwood. I loved The Wish List but feel that if I'd read Jane's books in order then this one would get five stars and it'd be The Wish List getting three. This book was enjoyable and as a standalone read, having not read any of Jane's other work my rating would probably be higher. It also pains me to give a Liverpool author such a bashing but I just can't see past the similarities between the characters. Perhaps, given that the women in Jane's books all frequent the same bars she could have had them bumping into each other to remind the reader that they aren't in fact the same person.
Uncharted - Tracey Garvis-Graves Once again I find myself wishing that I was better at writing reviews. As with when I wrote my review for [b:On the Island|15505346|On the Island (On the Island #1)|Tracey Garvis-Graves|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1339162550s/15505346.jpg|18151286] (read it here), I felt that nothing I wrote could possibly do the book justice. I loved On the Island so much that it was probably my favourite read of 2012. And when I found out about this prequel I couldn't wait to read it, despite being a bit apprehensive that it wouldn't be about T.J. and Anna completely, but that they would feature in some way. After the first few chapters though all apprehension disappeared and I devoured this book in one sitting. I now urge everybody that read and fell in love with On the Island to stop what they are doing and read this book!

I don't want to talk about the story too much as I feel that readers need to discover Owen's story for themselves. Rest assured however that it is a wonderful story, sad in parts but on the whole every bit as fantastic as T.J. and Anna's story. The idea of leaving your life behind to go and stay on an island by yourself indefinitely appeals to me, even after reading these two books! It's just the idea of escaping every day life and not having to worry about anyone but yourself that appeals. I loved reading about Owen and what made him want to do this, and reading about how he coped with life on the island. Even with the help of Mick and having trips to the mainland, it was still a struggle for Owen to adjust to life on the island.

The one thing about this book was it didn't ever just feel like a fictional story. Owen's story felt so real that it almost felt like it was real. I didn't say it at the time but thinking about it the same could be said of On the Island. That too felt like a very real story, and not at all fictional. Tracey Garvis-Graves is a phenomenal storyteller to be able to create worlds, stories and characters that feel so real. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as On the Island simply for the fact that I was unsure about the premise, and because of there not being much T.J. and Anna scenes but for anybody sharing those worries, put them to one side and download this book ASAP. Just don't do it if you have to go to school/work/somewhere as you won't want to move until you reach the end of this thrilling story. It has made me want to reread On the Island and it has only been about a year since I read it for the first time. Loved the teaser for Covet too. Wish I had it available to read right now!
My Single Friend - Jane Costello Hmm. A bit disappointed with this one if I'm honest. After reading [b:The Wish List|17156849|The Wish List|Jane Costello|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1355939306s/17156849.jpg|23579212] and [b:Girl On The Run|10083474|Girl On The Run|Jane Costello|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327954669s/10083474.jpg|14980309], I couldn't wait to read Jane Costello's other books. This one I actually started about a year ago but had other books I couldn't wait to read so put it down and took a year to pick it up again. The premise is okay but the book just didn't 'grip' me like her other two books did and I found myself just wanting to get to the end of the book, not because I couldn't put it down but because I wanted it to end.

One of the best things about chick lit is the predictability, there's something comforting in reading a book in which you know the character(s) will get their happy ending and that nothing bad will happen in the book, however this book just felt a bit too predictable. It was the sort of book where you could read the first few chapters and the last few chapters and know the whole story. The middle section was just filler between two characters eventually getting together.

I also didn't like the characters as much as I did in previous books from Costello. However I did find Lucy to be incredibly similar to Emma (Wish List) and Abby (Girl on the Run). Another successful career woman living in a nice area of Liverpool with great friends and not much luck on the love front. I hope it isn't just a case of Costello writing similar books with essentially the same character just doing something different. Henry was a bit of a dull character as well. The makeover wasn't very believable. I don't see how a woman wouldn't notice his looks underneath messy hair and glasses. Or how somebody who has lived with someone for years hadn't seen them near naked at least once.

Overall disappointed however still wanting to read Costello's other work in the hope that it is as enjoyable as The Wish List and Girl On the Run which I absolutely loved.