Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sworn SecretSworn Secret by Amanda Jennings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Amazon: When Anna, Lizzie Thorne's charismatic sister, is killed in a tragic fall from the roof of her school, her family is plunged into shock and despair. One year on and grief still has a suffocating hold on them. Her mother, Kate, consumed by loss and desperate to find someone to blame for Anna's death, retreats from her family, locking herself away to paint Anna's portrait for hours on end. Jon, her father, is doing his best to care for his loved ones but the pressure of trying to stop his marriage collapsing is pushing him to breaking point. And amid her parents' turmoil Lizzie just wants to grow up and leave her sister's ghost in the past. But then a devastating revelation rocks her parents further still and raises questions concerning what really happened the night Anna died. While Kate and Jon grapple with their dead daughter's secrets, Lizzie throws herself into a passionate but forbidden love affair that frees her from the heartache all around her - but also threatens to tear her family apart.

 What a gem of a book. The author conveyed the sadness, anger, helplessness and a ton of other feelings that this family are experiencing after the loss of their eldest daughter. Each main character - daughter Lizzie, Mum Kate & Dad Jon - were well drawn and really came to life. Weirdly, Jon was the character I was drawn to the most - going into the book I fully expected to care most about Lizzie - this man is struggling with the biggest loss a parent can suffer, but trying to hold it together for his family. These people aren't perfect - they're human, with all the flaws that come with it.

And just when things are at rock bottom, a friend of their deceased daughter drops a massive bombshell that makes them question what they thought they knew about their beloved Anna and some of the people around them.  Heartbreaking stuff, but so well written. I especially liked that you are left with questions at the end of the story - go back and read the opening chapter again, and draw your own conclusions.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Chicago Way (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)The Chicago Way by Michael  Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Kelly is a Chicago cop turned PI who is hired by his former partner to look into an old rape case.  He enlists the help of various contacts - journalists, cops and old friends - but when people connected to the case start dying, Kelly realises things are more tricky than they seem.

I've had this on my TBR for a while now and am kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.  I'm a big lover of crime thrillers, but haven't ever really read many noir - but I think I'm a fan!

I really warmed to Kelly as a character.  He's a man with a past, deeply flawed and seemingly unemotional but he's on the right side of the law (sometimes just barely!) and I'm intrigued to see where the series goes.

Plus - I love the cover on the edition I have!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dark Inside (Dark Inside, #1)Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

YA dystopia seems to be everywhere in my TBR recently - sometimes it's great (The Hunger Games) and some leaves me cold, but I'm pleased to say that this - while not up there with Suzanne Collins' amazing trilogy - was pretty damn good.

An earthquake strikes North America (Canada as well as the US) and people begin to act strange - turning on friends and family and killing each other.  We follow 4 teenagers - and their struggle to survive eventually leads them to each other.  I liked the multiple POV's but did struggle a little with the 2 boys - I found myself having to go back to remind myself which was which and them both having names starting with an M just added to my confusion.

I found this to be quite a scary read - especially at the beginning and the short chapters and fast pace made this a page turner.  The second book is due out in the autumn and I'm really looking forward to it.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Contrary to many reviews, I really engaged with this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Yes, you have to suspend your belief, but it is after all, a YA novel and one  that has me eagerly looking forward to the next in the series.

Designer babies is such a current topic that the idea that it may come back to haunt mankind in a few generations is such a clever one.  While scientists are currently doing everything they can to find ways to cure disease and screen embryo's, I wonder if they would do it if they knew that sometime in the future it would have a deadly side effect.............

Some reviews I've read of this complain that the world DeStefano has created would not exist in the relatively short space of time between "now" and the books setting (it's never made explicitly clear when that is), but I disagree - firstly, it's a book - anything's possible and secondly, the world is a funny place - it wouldn't take much for it to fall apart.  I would love to know more about the "first generation" - the only elderly people left and what drove them to such lengths to secure the (pretty rubbish) future of the human race.  Hopefully we'll find out in the next book!

It's not as good as The Hunger Games (and I feel that there are some aspects that could have been straight out of those pages - attendants making you look good for public appearances etc) but I like the new (to me anyway) twist on a dystopian society.

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This is also my January read for my Sci-Fi challenge