20 Jan 2019

Book Review / The Runaway Jury by John Grisham



Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake begins routinely, then swerves mysteriously off course.

The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juror is convinced he's being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors' increasingly odd behavior.

Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more importantly, why?






Published:     First Published in 1996
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought



MY REVIEW

Just as I had predicted when I first picked up this book, I loved it.  This was one of those thrillers that even though it had been written quite a number of years before it still stands up today.   As I work my way through reading John Grisham's novels, this being the latest read, this is one of my favourites so far.  It is one of those thrillers that, for me, was not fast paced or massively action backed but more laid back but full of twists and turns.  This more laid back thriller style matched perfectly with what was happening in the story and certainly made me sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, taking as long as I wanted with no need to hurry along.

I have to say that with this novel it is better to go into this not really knowing a great deal, only knowing the basics such as there is a trial and the jury is the main focus of it.   You certainly have a very small handful of main characters and a handful of other characters that form the 'background' to what is happening.  Even though I suspected what was going on, I still was rooting for a lot of the characters, even though maybe you were not supposed to!

A slow paced thriller with twists and turns all the way through you won't want to miss...







Continue reading Book Review / The Runaway Jury by John Grisham

15 Jan 2019

Series Review / The Immortals by Alyson Noel


The first book in Alyson Noël's extraordinary new Immortals series. Enter an enchanting new world, where true love never dies...

After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people's auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone's entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact to suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school — but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head - wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is - or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.


Published:     First published in 2009
Publisher:  Griffin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 6, The Immortals
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

Now, this is a series that I first picked up several years ago but never completed.  I believe I got as far as book 5 when I gave up on the series, as I was no longer interested.  Despite that, this has been one of those book series that has always stayed at the back of my mind, wondering whether if I re-read this series and completed it, would I still feel the same about this series.

For me, this is definitely a series that you should go into without any expectations.  This was fun to read and everything is at face value, nothing really digging deep to think about here.  Although I did find Ever to be very self absorbed at times, I did want to root for her to find her happiness.  That said, as it became clear that there really wasn't any sub plots in this series and the only story to follow is the story of Ever and other characters in this book, I did get a little bit bored by just following her in her trek to find the solution to her problem.  I am deliberately being vague about this as I don't want to spoil the story for those who have not read it and want to read it but let's just say that this story is really only about one thing and that is really what you should expect going in.

This was a really fun series but not one that I would pick up again.  I really enjoyed the writing style and will certainly be picking up more by this author in the future but maybe not any more in this world.





Continue reading Series Review / The Immortals by Alyson Noel

6 Jan 2019

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Series Review / A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas




Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
 


Published:     2015 to 2018 so far...
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2, 3 and 3.1
Source:  Bought and Owned



MY REVIEW

I wasn't sure whether to read this series now or wait until it had finished before I picked this up but, honestly, I just could not wait any longer!  I had read A Court of Thorns and Roses when it first came out and loved it and had slowly been collecting the other books in the series but not reading any more.  I can't believe it took me this long to catch up on this series.  Just as a I felt when I read the Throne of Glass series, I was (and still am) thoroughly addicted to this series and Sarah J Maas' writing.

For me, the best part of this series is the romance and drama.  You have Feyre who I see as the main character in this series.  You then have Tamlin who, at the start, I thought was utterly delicious.  I am not going to go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil for those who have not read the series or are only halfway through the series but OMG what a twist in the story line where you have another character who comes in and completely steals the show!!!  My favourite character by a long shot is this other character who is funny, entertaining, inspiring and just the perfect person.

I am now sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next instalment in this series, which I hope will not take too long!!!!!!!

Continue reading Series Review / A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

1 Jan 2019

Reading Challenges 2018 and 2019



2018 Reading Challenge Goals
Goodreads 150 Book Challenge - I almost done it!!!  Can't believe it!  Although it has meant that throughout the year I have read smaller and more easy to read books and not the larger more complicated ones that I have fancied picking up from time to time, I have really enjoyed pushing myself to read more than what I would normally.   Even though I didn't quite get to the 150 book mark, I went past the 100 book mark, which is more than I have ever done before.  
Read Your Own Book Challenge - Done it!  Always a goal of mine and like to keep a good balance of reading those books that are on my shelf more than ones I have either just bought or were very kindly sent for my review.  
Big Book Challenge -  Done it!  Although a lot of these are ones that are only just over 400 pages, I am glad that I completed this one bearing in mind by 150 Goodreads challenge above.  



2019 Reading Challenge Goals
Goodreads 100 Book Challenge - Always a staple in my goals.  This year I am only limiting myself to 100 books, which I still think is quite a lot but we'll see how we go.  2019 is going to be the year of reading more complicated and in depth books along with series and stand alone novels that  have been on my shelf or on my wish list for a long time now.  
Read Your Own Book Challenge - Always a goal of mine to make sure that I read from my own shelf and not review books or books that I have only just bought..
Big Book Challenge -  A true staple in my challenges that can often get forgotten.

Read 2 Classics  - I always say that I will get around to those one at some point.  2019 is going to be the year.   I have only set this at 2 because there is 1 hefty book and 1 reasonable size novel that I want to get to this year.  Those are:


Read at least 1 book from the Manbooker Winner List  -  For a long time now I have been wanting to try to read a book that has won the Manbooker Winner List.  I bought the book below a long time ago and it has been sitting on my shelf for ages.  2019 will be the year!!






Continue reading Reading Challenges 2018 and 2019

29 Dec 2018

End of Year Wrap Up / Favourite Series of 2018

2018 has been my best reading year so far!  Over the past few years, my reading has still been good and regular but I have struggled to reach my 100 book goal.  This year, I wanted to push myself a little bit, so I set a challenge to read more than 100 books.  You can't imagine how happy I am to have achieved it.  Although, I do have to admit that reading all those books in 1 year has come at a cost.  In times where I have wanted to pick up the larger book, the more complicated read or a classic that might take longer to read, I have not gone for those.  I have gone for the books that I know, or hope, that I will enjoy that are fast reads or easy reads rather than those that are longer etc.  It has certainly been interesting to see what my reading has turned into when I task myself with reading more than what I would normally.  

So, there were quite a few gems that I came across throughout the year that I wanted to highlight to you here as my favourites for the year.  I will be doing a separate post with all my favourite stand alone reads of the year as well, so look out for that one.  

The list below includes completed series, series part way through waiting for more books and further books in a series that I have read this year.  


Check out my review here - Wychwood and Hallowdene  

Elspeth May, a young female journalist who never seems to be in the right place at the right time, suddenly gets her big break only to find that no one will ever believe her story.

When a local woman is found murdered in her own home, slashed viciously across the throat, the police begin a manhunt of the surrounding villages, unsure exactly of who or what they are looking for. Elspeth, accidentally first on the scene, finds her interest piqued, and sets out to investigate the details surrounding the crime. In doing so she finds herself constantly battling against Peter Shaw, a police sergeant working on the case and under suspicion due to a terrible incident that occurred during a previous investigation. More murders follow, each of them adopting a similar pattern.

What links the victims? And why are some of the local people trying to cover things up?"






Check out my review here - 
          
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.


Check out my review here (book 3 in the series) - The Song is Rising

To avoid spoilers, below is the description for The Bone Season (book 1) in this series.  

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.




Check out my review here (book 1 in this series) - Otherworld

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.




Check out my review here (book 5 in this series) - Origin


Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.
As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.
Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself... and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery... and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.


















Continue reading End of Year Wrap Up / Favourite Series of 2018

26 Dec 2018

End of Year Wrap Up / Favourite Books of the Year 2018

2018 has been my best reading year so far!  Over the past few years, my reading has still been good and regular but I have struggled to reach my 100 book goal.  This year, I wanted to push myself a little bit, so I set a challenge to read more than 100 books.  You can't imagine how happy I am to have achieved it.  Although, I do have to admit that reading all those books in 1 year has come at a cost.  In times where I have wanted to pick up the larger book, the more complicated read or a classic that might take longer to read, I have not gone for those.  I have gone for the books that I know, or hope, that I will enjoy that are fast reads or easy reads rather than those that are longer etc.  It has certainly been interesting to see what my reading has turned into when I task myself with reading more than what I would normally.

So, there were quite a few gems that I came across throughout the year that I wanted to highlight to you here as my favourites for the year.  I will be doing a separate post with all my favourite series of the year as well, so look out for that one.



Check out my review here - A Sky Painted Gold

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.


Check out my review here - The Chamber

In the corridors of Chicago's top law firm:

Twenty -six-year-old Adam Hall stands on the brink of a brilliant legal career. Now he is risking it all for a death-row killer and an impossible case.

Maximum Security Unit, Mississippi State Prison:

Sam Cayhall is a former Klansman and unrepentant racist now facing the death penalty for a fatal bombing in 1967. He has run out of chances -- except for one: the young, liberal Chicago lawyer who just happens to be his grandson.

While the executioners prepare the gas chamber, while the protesters gather and the TV cameras wait, Adam has only days, hours, minutes to save his client. For between the two men is a chasm of shame, family lies, and secrets -- including the one secret that could save Sam Cayhall's life... or cost Adam his.


Check out my review here - The Pelican Brief

In suburban Georgetown a killer's Reeboks whisper on the front floor of a posh home... In a seedy D.C. porno house a patron is swiftly garroted to death... The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief... To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it was political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder -- a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust -- an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate -- to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of  Louisiana and the White House's inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For someone has read Darby's brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime.


Check out my review here - A Baby's Bones

"Finely observed beautifully written" Daily Mail on The Secrets of Life and Death

"It was a secret burial. Maybe even murder..."

Archaeologist Sage Westfield has been called in to excavate a sixteenth-century well, and expects to find little more than soil and the odd piece of pottery. But the disturbing discovery of the bones of a woman and newborn baby make it clear that she has stumbled onto an historical crime scene, one that is interwoven with an unsettling local legend of witchcraft and unrequited love. Yet there is more to the case than a four-hundred-year-old mystery. The owners of a nearby cottage are convinced that it is haunted, and the local vicar is being plagued with abusive phone calls. Then a tragic death makes it all too clear that a modern murderer is at work...




Check out my review here - The Greatcoat

A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.
 
In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.
 
One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.
 
His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.



Check out my review here - A Time to Kill

Before The Firm and The Pelican Brief made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice -- at last it's available in a Doubleday hardcover edition. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence...as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town...Clanton, Mississippi.

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life...and then his own.













Continue reading End of Year Wrap Up / Favourite Books of the Year 2018

15 Dec 2018

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Book Review / Leverage In Death by JD Robb

Lieutenant Eve Dallas puzzles over a bizarre suicide bombing in a Wall St. office building in the latest in the #1 New York Times bestselling series…

For the airline executives finalizing a merger that would make news in the business world, the nine a.m. meeting would be a major milestone. But after marketing VP Paul Rogan walked into the plush conference room, strapped with explosives, the headlines told of death and destruction instead. The NYPSD’s Eve Dallas confirms that Rogan was cruelly coerced by two masked men holding his family hostage. His motive was saving his wife and daughter—but what was the motive of the masked men?

Despite the chaos and bad publicity, blowing up one meeting isn’t going to put the brakes on the merger. All it’s accomplished is shattering a lot of innocent lives. Now, with the help of her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.


Published:     4th September 2018
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 47, In Death
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

This series just gets better and better with each and ever book that comes out!  Full disclosure, I have not read each and every single book in this series but is something I am planning to do, so you do not have to read these in order or start from the very beginning to enjoy this series.  That is one of the great aspects of these books, you can just pick up one along the road, start and carry on from there, although I do suspect that I would get a lot more out of the story if I did start from the beginning as you have ongoing characters, main and side line, that feature in most of the stories and I would really like to know more about their background and how they came into this world.

The magic of this book and all that I have read in this series is the characters that feature in each and every story.  I have read them before, know what they have been to and with each and every book I read you see more of and more of those characters, their personality and how they interact with each other.   It really feels like a team that work together to help solve crimes being led by Lieutenant Dallas.

Can't wait for the next instalment!!!




Continue reading Book Review / Leverage In Death by JD Robb