Friday, 28 June 2013

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day

Entwined with You is the third book in the best selling Crossfire series. It features city girl Eva Tramell and her turbulent yet steamy liaison with successful businessman Gideon Cross. Gideon seems the full package; gorgeous, fit, wealthy and successful and he is madly in love with Eva. However both are damaged and each has secrets which intrude on their relationship. 

I hadn't read any of the Crossfire books before this one but was so curious following the hype that I had to try it regardless. I learnt that Gideon had killed for Eva and in this book they downplay their association whilst the police continue their investigations, which paves the way for exes to pop up and rumours to circulate. 

Dare I compare this to Fifty Shades of Grey? I'm going to risk it. The similarities are huge; stinking rich Adonis falls for seemingly ordinary girl and fends off all bad guys with money, aggression and power. Not to mention all the amazing sex in between. I did think the sex scenes were much more varied than in Fifty Shades, but with less of the kinky stuff, although that’s my view from this book, you’ll have to let me know if it’s a different story in the first two! 

Overall I did enjoy this book. I didn’t wholly like the main characters all of the time but that might be because I hadn't got the feel for them via the previous books. I liked that there was an actual story line (as opposed to pages of inane bonking!) and more prevalence of supporting characters. I also liked the fashion references which added a touch of glamour to the story.

I assumed that this would be a trilogy but I actually really liked the ending which left things open for more. Definitely worth a read for mainstream erotica fans or even those (like me) that are just plain curious. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Devil's Ribbon by D.E. Meredith

After thoroughly enjoying the first Hatton & Roumande book Devoured, I was thrilled to get a hardback of the second book (which is gorgeous to look at!) to review.

For those that don’t know Professor Adolphus Hatton is one of the first forensic detectives, implementing new forensic techniques to unusual police cases. He is aided by his friend and morgue assistant Albert Roumande. 

In this tale it is summer in London and temperatures are running high with not only a cholera outbreak but also increasing political unrest. The flamboyant yet shady Inspector Grey calls on Hatton and Roumande when an Irish politician is murdered which leads them on the trail of Irish extremists who have death and destruction in mind. The pair must use all their wits and skills, including a new fingerprinting method to help solve the mystery, which proves hard for Hatton as he becomes distracted by a beautiful woman who dredges up memories from his past. 

Once again D.E. Meredith has skilfully brought to life her clever characters in Victorian London. The crime scene and forensic details provide the fascinating and at times gory embellishments to a riveting story. It is interesting to note that many people of this time were hugely sceptical about early forensics; with opinions ranging from academic curiosity, mild disgust with references to butchery to public outrage with accusations of witchcraft.

Like the first book, I raced through this story, taking in every clue and hungry for the case’s conclusion. Intriguing and expertly written, once you’ve picked up a D.E. Meredith novel, you won’t want to put it down. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Humans by Matt Haig

Dear Humans, after studying your kind by reading a varied cross section of literature, I have finally found a book written by one from my own planet that clearly defines what it means to be human... just kidding (obvs) although this book is narrated by an alien.

The nameless narrator is the replacement for Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University, whose solving of the world’s greatest mathematical problem was also the cause of his murder and otherworldly substitution. On his arrival, the new Andrew Martin is found wandering naked along the motorway but is soon returned to his ‘family’, a wife called Isobel and a teenage son called Gulliver, both of whom repulse him. He does however make friends with the family dog Newton.

The newcomer’s mission is to eradicate all evidence of the solved maths problem including the people in the know but the longer he spends interacting with humans and living as one of them he finds the task proving harder than he first thought.

I’d heard a lot of things about this story before reading it, both good and bad; I think this is the sort of book you either love or hate. I happened to love it. The alien Andrew Martin was very endearing as he fumbled his way through his new life. Outside of the charming storyline, the prose is incredibly intelligent; who knew prime numbers could be so interesting?

This is not only a wonderfully weird tale but it is also an articulate and heart-warming study into what it means to be human. I truly enjoyed this book and I urge anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of The Humans to give this expressive and meaningful book.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

In 1812, in the midst of battle and on the brink of death, young Lord Nicholas Falcott unexpectedly jumps forward two hundred years in time, saving his life. He is taken in by a mysterious yet powerful organisation, The Guild, who set him up with the means for a new life and the strict rule that he can never return to his time. With no other choice, Nick makes a new life for himself in America, where he is seemingly happy for ten years.

Meanwhile, back in 1815, a girl from his childhood, Julia Percy, finds her own life dramatically changing with the death of her grandfather, the Earl of Darchester, and the secrets of a power he has left behind; the ability to manipulate time.

Both Nick and Julia are hiding secrets centuries apart, but when Nick is summoned by The Guild for a special mission to return to the past, their complicated lives will be thrown together in ways they couldn’t imagine.

Time travelling novels have been quite popular of late. From my own previous reads, I loved The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and more recently the time travelling murder mystery The Beauty of Murder by A.K. Benedict.

This book is a beautiful blend of 19th Century history, genteel adventure and love story. It is romantic without being soppy and incredibly well researched. I liked how both the lead characters were smart and headstrong in their own ways and the setting suited this exciting yet moving tale. If you are sceptical about time travel in literature, then try this novel out; a stunning book both inside and out.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust

Revealing never before seen secrets of the lead characters, The Zodiac Paradox is based on the acclaimed Fringe television series.

It tells of university students Walter Bishop and William Bell who use an unusual chemical mixture to connect their subconscious minds. In the process they accidently open a portal through which they unleash the notorious Zodiac Killer, who even in a world unknown to him, still has the unstoppable urge to kill and has even more ability to do so.

When the two students realise the consequences of their actions they enlist the help of the wily Nina Sharp to come up with a plan to stop the killer. They theorise that their new discovery could be the answer to their problem but the technology is so new it could also have unthinkable results.

The story was very clever with an extensive knowledge of science throughout. Set in 1970s America I found the new technology and science aspects played an interesting contrast against the hippie, free love traits of some of the characters and their student surroundings. This was also highlighted with the presence of shady police and government agencies that showed up occasionally. The Zodiac Killer is definitely an intriguing character and his presence in this story made for riveting reading.

I’ve never seen the TV series Fringe before so I couldn’t say if the characters were true to the show or not. However, as it is set before the official creation of the Fringe Division, this book does paint a picture of the scientists more naive beginnings. I thought overall that Fringe: Zodiac Paradox was and intelligent and exciting read and I would love to know what fans of the show think of this book.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch

If you are of a nervous disposition, look away now! Wounded Prey is the latest epic crime thriller from Exhibit A books. A young girl is snatched from her school in broad daylight, her teacher gunned down in the process, despite the intervention of rookie cop Kevin Kearns who lets the man get away. The girl is later found assaulted, murdered and hanging from a tree.

Retired Police Inspector Bob Farrell sees the horrifying story in the news and realises he has seen this MO before – the calling card of a deranged child killer he let slip through his fingers twenty years previously.

As the psychopath, ex-soldier Vernon Slocum sets of on a bloody path of death and destruction, Farrell enlists the help of Kevin Kearns to pursue Slocum themselves; a job that the FBI seems unable to do. Against the rules and against the clock, the unlikely pair have their work cut out to catch a madman before more die.

I really enjoyed the pairing of Kevin Kearns, naive in some ways but determined and goodhearted, and seasoned investigator Bob Farrell with all his vices and great sense of humour. Theirs is the sort of relationship I can’t wait to see carried through into other books. The hulking figure of Vernon Slocum was probably one of the most menacing villains I’ve read in a while and his crimes were truly gruesome. The military background worked well in the storyline and all the characters were clearly defined.

Adrenaline pumping, gory and scary at times, Wounded Prey is an expertly written crime thriller debut definitely not for the faint hearted.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness by Rich Pitman

Jimmy Threepwood doesn’t have a happy childhood. He loves his father but he is generally unappreciated by his mother and has few friends.

Around his eleventh birthday strange things begin to happen to him. He is followed by crows, gains an odd scar in a Bunsen burner accident and there is an ominous black storm cloud slowly inching closer to his house. Then on his birthday, he suddenly learns that his unhappy childhood was part of a deal brokered with The Gatekeeper of life and death before he was born, and now he must leave everything he knows to go on a dangerous quest.

Jimmy is thrown together with three other chosen children who all bear the same strange mark, where they all learn they have special abilities and must train together in order to carry out an age old prophecy. They learn spells and combat, and how to summon strange creatures to help them.

The world Jimmy ends up in is full of its own legends and mythology which I really enjoyed. There are also a host of interesting characters and creatures including giants, warrior toads, goblins and sorcerers, as well as the scary vision of the grim reaper  Gatekeeper himself.

I liked how the other world crept into Jimmy’s normal life, like the sinister storm cloud hanging over his house. There’s lots of action on this jam-packed adventure, that fans of Harry Potter are sure to love. A thrilling tale of light and dark, fantastical and intriguing, this is a great start to an imaginative fantasy series.