What I’ve Been Reading – February 2015

SUNDAY 1st MARCH 2015

Happy Sunday folks! We’ve just returned from a weekend away in beautiful Ambleside in the Lake District. The excuse was to celebrate my (belated) birthday as the hubby was away for my actual birthday.

Five mile walk at Elterwater certainly blew away a few cobwebs

Five mile walk at Elterwater certainly blew away a few cobwebs

However, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for us both. After a particularly stressful week at work – hubby on call and I dealing with one of many urgent projects – getting away from it all was the breath of fresh air we needed.

And it doesn’t get much fresher than at the Lakes.

Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness

Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness

Recharging our batteries with the obvious indulgence in food and drink, we justified it all with a five-mile walk around Elterwater. We played our role as tourists by participating in the red cruise from Ambleside to Bowness and tapped into a more sophisticated side of us both – listening to live music at the Jazz café Zeffirellis.

I managed to squeeze some reading in yesterday morning at the lovely B&B we were staying in – Lacet House – when hubby had to make an emergency trip to Asda (something to do with forgetting a suitcase. Now that’s a different story). And since this blog is about stories, I won’t waffle on about our trip

I’ll cut to the juicy bits.

Here’s what I read in February:

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

Renee Knight – Disclaimer

James Patterson – Mary Mary

But first – let’s see where January ended …

Lee Child One ShotI ended January’s reading list half way through Lee Child’s One Shot. I finished this book early into February and I can confirm that I was pleasantly surprised. It all comes together in the last 100 pages where the pace really picks up and my heart was in my mouth, I couldn’t put it down. The slow start was worth persevering with as the action toward the end of the novel more than makes up for it. A clever concept.

 

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

SynopsisKeep Your friends close

Your best friend isn’t who you think she is.

You’ve been friends since university, when you became the people you are today.

You don’t see each other enough but when you do it’s as if you’ve never been apart.

She’s one of the family. You would trust her with your life, your children, your husband.

And when your daughter is rushed to hospital, you’re grateful that she’s stepping in at home, looking after things.

But your best friend isn’t who you think she is. You’re about to find out just how wrong you were.

Thoughts:

A Psychological thriller that’s wickedly clever. You can’t help but fall in love with Natty’s control freak nature as she’s like many of us – striving for perfection, to have it all; the husband, the children, the business. But when her daughter takes ill and she rushes to France to be by her side, we see Eve, her friend from college, prey on her weakness – her absence from her already neglected husband.

We’re so wrapped up in Natty making sure that her daughter’s alright that when we get to Eve and Sean’s antics, we’re devastated. Daly builds up the tension from start to finish, with the sexual tension between Eve and Sean, to the volatile feeling Natty has towards them and the effect this has on her daughters. We follow this tension to an intense finale.

There are underlying stories from other characters such as Natty’s father. We also see the return of Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall, who appeared in Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?

Daly has again written a page-turner and Eve is a character that you love to hate. The character’s are realistic and the emotions that they experience, particular Natty, you feel with them.  Daly builds up the frustration and anger wonderfully and there’s a scene where she has no means to pay for petrol. It’s a small, but significant scene. A point where we could all relate to the circumstance in one way or another and in this story, it’s like the straw that broke the camels back. Something minor in the grand scheme of things but tips you over the edge.

We’ve all been there in some way shape or form.

I was lucky enough to host Paula Daly last month on my Cuppa and a Catch Up feature. You can read the full interview here.

Renee Knight – Disclaimer

Disclaimer Synopsis

When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up in bed and begins to read.

But as she turns the pages she is sickened to realize the story will reveal her darkest secret.

A secret she thought no one else knew…

Thoughts:

This is a debut thriller from Renee Knight and she’s joined Paula Daly in my shout-through-the-rooftops love for books that I can’t recommend enough.

The snappy synopsis is short but once those three lines were cast, they hooked themselves into my mind from the moment I read them.

What an interesting concept – a story within a story. I was intrigued as to where this novel would take me.

Catherine Ravenscroft has the perfect life; a successful career, a doting husband and a grown-up son who is finding his independence in the world. After moving house, things are just about settling down and, like many of us, she picks up a book for a bit of escapism.

However, the book (The Perfect Stranger) does not provide the kind of escapism Catherine is after.disclaimer 3

The structure of Disclaimer works wonderfully; the chapter’s flit between the present and the past, following both Catherine and the author of the book she’s reading. Disclaimer is written in such a way that you become attached to both character’s at different stages throughout the story, the words leading you into changing your loyalties. I found my perspective of Catherine changing and I was horrified to find myself feeling like that. It made me want to read on – to challenge why the author of the book she was reading had written it. And if it indeed was true.

And this is where Renee Knight has you gripped.

Disclaimer has an undercurrent of suspense throughout the novel leading to a very tense finale. My heart raced as  I stayed in bed for an emotional two hours on a Saturday morning, the household chores and plans for the morning completely cast aside as I simply had to read on, to find out if the ending of Disclaimer married up with the ending of The Perfect Stranger.

That’s an outcome which you will just have to establish yourself.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Transworld Publishers. Disclaimer is released on the 9th April 2015

James Patterson – Mary, Mary

Mary MarySynopsis

This is the eleventh book in the Alex Cross series

Somebody is intent on murdering Hollywood’s A-list. A well-known actress has been shot outside her Beverly Hills home. Shortly afterwards, the Los Angeles Times receives an email describing the murder in vivid detail. It is signed Mary Smith. More killings and emails follow – the victims are all major Hollywood players. Is it the work of an obsessed fan or a spurned actor, or is it part of something far more terrifying? As the case grows to blockbuster proportions, Washington, DC, FBI agent Alex Cross and the LAPD scramble to find a pattern before Mary can send another chilling update. Filled with the ruthless and shocking twists that make his fans hunger for more, MARY, MARY is James Patterson’s most sophisticated thriller yet.

 

 

Thoughts:

My love affair of James Patterson’s novels continues in the form of Mary, Mary.Mary Mary 2

Written in his usual short chapter structure, with the last sentence always begging you to turn to the next chapter, Mr Patterson tells us the story of a murderer going by the name of Mary Smith.

Mary Smith is an arrogant killer that leaves no trace, creating their own story by murdering Hollywood A-lister’s and taunting the FBI and LAPD by sharing the details with the press.

Mary, Mary is a typical James Patterson page turner and has all the right ingredients for a crime thriller, right through to a decent and satisfying ending. I did enjoy this book and it had me hooked, but the concept of the storyline wasn’t up there with some of the books that I’ve read recently.

 

Spring has sprung and I can’t wait to see what books March has to bring …

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

 

Clean Cut – Lynda La Plante

 

THURSDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 2011

Well, I have moved onto yet another Thriller writer; Lynda La Plante, following another recommendation.Missuswolf Clean Cut book cover Lynda La Plante

I have only managed a couple of pages this afternoon but I intend to get stuck in when I cosy up into bed tonight. I love opening a new book and waiting to see how it all unfolds!

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2011

I am half way through this novel and I am enjoying it. As opposed to the James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell I have recently read, it’s based in England and although it is about murder and awful offenders, I can relate to it more as I can actually visualise  the Police Detective Characters as well as the scenarios i.e the setting up of Major Incident Rooms around the  police stations. Having worked in an administrative role near this type of environment makes this book ever more realistic.

The main character’s strength captures me. DI Travis not only has gruesome murders to contend with, she has a rollercoaster of a personal life to try to run parallel with her work. Thanks to the lovely late Indian Summer and the fact I am night shift tonight, I managed to get a good hours read in the glorious sun this afternoon (makes the book seem less scary whilst read under a bright blue sky). I hope to read a little more this evening during any ‘Q’ times (will not mention the word for fear of jinxing myself)

WEDNESDAY 05th OCTOBER 2011

I finished reading this book last night after attending Lesson three of Geek Club. I thoroughly enjoyed it; it kept me intrigued all the way through albeit at times I did struggle keeping up with the storyline as there was a few characters involved that all linked together. Not to fear though, the author handled this brilliantly by providing a recap several times towards the end as part of the wrapping up of the investigation. Very clever and an interesting storyline.

Love Missuswolf xx

Postmortem – Patricia Cornwell

SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2011

After completing my second James Patterson novel this morning, I am now moving onto another recommended and well-known Crime Author – Patricia Cornwell. Yes, this is also my first Patricia Cornwell book.

Another day spent powering through the Love/Hate relationship I have with a place I call work (today strangely being muchos love for the job. It won’t last) I found myself rewarding my weary, exhausted head with a new escapism in the world of Kay Scarpetta on my lunch break.

My kick was only fulfilled for a mere fifteen minutes, only as I had to return to work, but it was the antidote I needed.

Already I can’t put it down, only a few pages in. Again, like James Patterson, we are thrust straight into the storyline and,  a phrase used commonly at work, you hit the ground running.

I am night shift tomorrow, perfect opportunity to get stuck into this little gem …

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 19TH 2011

I am about to embark on my last nightshift prior to four days off. I managed to squeeze a few pages in last night at work, however I turned out to be a little busier than first anticipated (I know, on a Sunday evening as well would you believe!). I made up for it by reading a few more pages when I woke up this afternoon.

I am thoroughly enjoying this book as I feel that I am learning from it, that the main character is a Chief Medical Examiner and it explores the scientific areas surrounding her role. I particularly like how it broaches the subject of a female in a strong job position battling in a still male dominated environment, even  in this supposed equal opportunities era. She is an interesting and inspirational character, and I am only a few chapters in and I feel her frustrations already.

Let’s see how much I get read tonight …

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 20TH 2011

An unusually quiet night shift allowed me to get a fair few chapters in last night so I am working my way well and truly through this book. There are more questions being tossed around my mind now as to who the killer is and I am finding myself starting to become suspicious of every character; which I think is a recipe of excellent writing by the author and a dash of my wary mind …

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 22ND 2011

I devoted a couple of hours first thing this morning to complete this book whilst the hubby ventured off to play golf. It had me guessing right up until the end, which I do like in a book as that holds my interest.

I was  pleasantly surprised that I did guess right about a scenario that occurred towards the end (which I will not go into for anybody who has not read this yet).

On the whole, an interesting book – as I stated earlier because the main character is a Chief Medical Examiner, the book describes forensic medical procedures and explains them.

Thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to reading more of Dr Kay Scarpetta’s escapades.

Love Missuswolf xx

Postcard Killers By James Patterson

  • EVENING OF SEPTEMBER 13TH 2011

As the remainder of the winds from Hurricane Katia continued to batter our flat, I settled down to read a few pages of my next James Patterson adventure.

Once again, I was sucked right into the storyline and ended up reading through over 100 pages (oopsies! considering I was back in on Early Shift the next day, this was not really in the plan to get carried away and have a late night).

I read an article on the internet yesterday that Stephen King was not a fan of the style in which James Patterson writes. In my opinion, they are both two completely different writers with different styles. I like the pace of James Patterson’s books, you are thrown in and swept along straight away into the storyline. I have only ever read one Stephen King novel (The Stand, featured in my previous ‘what i am currently reading’)to compare too; and that was a much slower paced book in comparison; chapters are longer, writing is smaller. But they both deserve and have earned their titles in their own rights.

SEPTEMBER 14TH 2011 UPDATE

I have been hooked today, on my first day back at work on an Early shift (blah!) cramming in as much reading time as I can on my breaks. No doubt it will be groundhog day again when I go to bed and can’t put the book down. The storyline is based around a couple who murder honeymooners in different countries in Europe. It is particularly intriguing how it tangles one of the journalists into it. I don’t want to give too much away but I am enjoying the storyline so far and making me bloodthirsty for more …

MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 17TH 2011 UPDATE

In the words of Gordon Ramsey…DONE!

This book has had me gripped over the past couple of days, I haven’t been able to put it down; breaks at work, quiet times at work, last thing at night/first thing when I wake up…and I was told by a colleague that this isn’t one of his best! So my God I am excited to read more of James Patterson as I did enjoy this.

The idea of the storyline is an interesting one, although a bit disturbing. I think it is a book that you could envisage being made it to a Thriller/Crime Movie as although the murder scenes are gruesome, the clever description enables you to conjure up a vivid image which I think would work in a film (Think CSI style murders).

On the whole,  a thoroughly enjoyable and all questions – well that I had anyway – were all answered towards the end of the book.

Love Missuswolf xx

9th Judgement by James Patterson

AUGUST 25th 2011

I am nicely tucked up in bed ready to let my mind wander …

Missuswolf James Patterson 9th Judgement

AUGUST 28TH 2011 UPDATE – I am officially a MASSIVE James Patterson fan!
3 days into it, page 175 Chapter 44….and I am LOVING this book!
Particularly the way it is written. I love the short, snappy chapters that drift from the point of view of one of the Detectives to that of the reader exploring different character’s lives. The storyline is gripping, I am constantly wanting to read on to find out what happens.
This is a lovely bit of escapism for me to enjoy on my breaks at work. Working long hours doing a mentally exhausting job, I find my way of switching off and winding down is to escape from it all and immerse myself completely in a different life, a different world, a different character whose so different to mine.
And this book is doing the job fantastically!
AUGUST 31ST 2011 UPDATE – DONE!
Well, I actually finished this in the wee small hours of Tues 30th August during a (unusually) quiet nightshift.

Absolutely fantastic! It had my emotions riding hide toward the end and took me on a rollercoaster ride as to what was happening. Fantastic storyline with intriguing characters. I will definitely be reading more!!

Love Missuswolf xxx