Daily Archives: 15 January, 2012

Sanctuary: Review

SanctuarySanctuary by Donna Ball

In the terrifying tradition of Dean Koontz…

Fleeing the violence and crime of life in the city, architect Laura Kane and her five year old daughter Christy move to an exclusive planned community deep in the untouched mountain wilderness of the Smoky Mountains. Legend has it that their home is built on holy ground. Other legends tell of hideous beasts that roam the mountainside, Yeti-like creatures so terrifying that no one has ever dared disturb their sanctuary… until now.

First there are random acts of vandalism, then small pets begin to disappear, and then men go into the woods and don’t come back. When Christy’s nightmares begin to suggest that she can actually communicate with the creatures who are wreaking such havoc on their small and vulnerable community, Laura is terrified. Because Christy’s dreams tell her that the monsters are coming for her next.

And she is right.

Sanctuary is a suspense-filled tale of love, courage and redemption that will take you in its grip from the first page and leave you breathless by the last. Because sometimes the real monsters are the ones you can’t escape, no matter how far you run.

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantastic tale – I love the subtle change of view of the “monsters” from evil aliens to…well, you’ll have to read the book – I’m not going to spoil!

This was pretty much unputdownable…I read myself to sleep rather than put it down! I like Donna Ball’s writing and Sanctuary did not disappoint. Some of the lead-up plots were a little unbelievable, but the action and main plot were well crafted.  The suspense builds nicely throughout the book, interspersed with more ordinary goings-on.

I downloaded this free eBook from Amazon.

I’m claiming this book as No. 9/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge and No. 4 in the Why Buy the Cow? Reading Challenge.
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Tinseltown: Review

TinseltownTinseltown by Victoria Fox

Fox is ‘giving Jackie Collins a run for her money’ – That’s Life ‘Victoria Fox…puts the bonk back into bonkbuster!’ – Lovereading “a heady mix of corruption, glamour, lust and power…get your scandal fix here!” – Closer on

Hollywood Sinners Dom Judd is the hottest man in Hollywood. He’ll do anything to get out of being a sexy Santa in Hollywood’s famous Tinseltown parade…but can he persuade his brother to take the reins? Waitress Clare has just been dumped. Playing Rudolph is hardly going to help her single status – until she sees how drop-dead gorgeous Father Christmas is! Laney Allen has shot to fame, but hates the limelight – and it seems only Santa can help her overcome her stage-fright… As the snow falls and sleigh bells ring, whose Tinseltown dreams will come true? I hope this seasonal short story will make your Christmas merry and bright, Love, Victoria Fox x

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A great short book…more of a taster than a full tale. Well written and the characters were well sketched in the short time available. I’d like to “meet” them in future.

This is a nice seasonal story, some parts fairly predictable (like who’s in the Santa suit) that leaves you with a warm glow just right for Christmas.  Still, I read it before Twelfth Night so it was still the Christmas Season! LOL.

I downloaded this free eBook from Amazon

I’m claiming this book as No. 12/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge and No. 3 in the Why Buy the Cow? Reading Challenge.
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The Wedding Gift: Review

The Wedding GiftThe Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna

It is a spine-electrifying supernatural tale where a huge Southern States mansion contains one of the most terrifying, violent and indeed psychopathic ghosts to haunt any town. It is also a murder mystery – why did Robina Willets apparently kill all five of her young children, and her husband, before stabbing herself to death? And, if you are in the camp of believing that ‘justice …. just is not’, then this will have you frothing at the mouth with righteous social fury. Add to that the vision of two exceptionally beautiful girls lying on a landing stage in the middle of a secluded lake, sleeping naked in the sun …. …. and then see if you can find any consecutive ten minutes in this book when you don’t at least snicker at the heroine Leeann’s sly, caustic, sometimes-knowing sometimes ‘too stupid to live’ commentary.

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The main character is Leeann, whose self-absorption, selfishness and lack of morals were tempered by her genuine good heart and unexpected flashes of insight – and her courage and compassion. Her friend Jessie is the practical, more worldly-wise of the two 17 year-olds and it is Jessie who for most of the book, keeps or digs Leeann out of most of her troubles. The rest of the supporting cast, including George, Leeann’s husband, are less well drawn. This fits entirely with the premise that the book is Leeann’s journal and therefore knowledge, and insight, of the characters is that of Leeann.

This is ghost story with a difference. It is unpredictable and suitable twisty.

Well written, well plotted. A gem of a find.

I downloaded this eBook from Amazon for free.

I’m claiming this book as No. 11/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge and No. 2 in the Why Buy the Cow? Reading Challenge.
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Desperate Housedogs: Review

Desperate HousedogsDesperate Housedogs by Sparkle Abbey

When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors. What she doesn’t expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets – Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day either an iced tea or a margarita.) Visit the authors at www.SparkleAbbey.com

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book surprised me – in a really good way. I downloaded it during my first “free kindle book” sweep on Amazon…I wasn’t convinced – it looked like chick lit – but I thought “Hey, it’s free.”

The book is well written, well paced and populated with a range of well drawn characters, including the eponymous dogs and several stereotypes. The plot is as unrealistic as any other “member of public gets drawn into solving mystery” story, but is written well enough to allow the necessary suspension of belief. There are madcap diversions, lots of doggie welfare notes and an exciting denouement.

The epilogue is a neat twist…and, in my eyes, redeems the book from the charge of chick lit 😉

I recommend this book – it’s a great light, amusing read and guaranteed to cheer you up.

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Darkest Fear (Harlan Coben): Review

Darkest Fear (Myron Bolitar, #7)Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Darkest Fear represents an interesting transition between Coben’s comparatively lightweight and formulaic early novels and his more recent, nervier and darker novels such as Tell No One and Gone for Good. It is part of the series dealing with the misadventures of Myron Bolitar, sports agent and occasional investigator, but this time Myron has more than the convenience of his clients on his mind. An old girlfriend turns up with the revelation that her son is dying for a bone-marrow transplant–and that the son is his. Myron has always had an overdeveloped sense of personal responsibility and this time it goes into overdrive. He, and his efficiently violent friend Win, find themselves involved with one of the richest and most secretive families in America, with a particularly brutal serial kidnapper and murderer and with the FBI on one of its off days.

Coben takes his wise-cracking series hero and puts him in real physical and emotional jeopardy–the book is impressive, and a decisive break with the formula he had established earlier. After this, gloomier and more dangerous books were inevitable, and protagonists less fundamentally cheerful than the ebullient Myron. —Roz Kaveney


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like Myron and Win. I read the books out of sequence, as I find them, which I find makes things more interesting, putting the threads together.

This filled in the Myron-Jeremy link that I’d come across in later books. There was less Win in this book, a shame as I like Win (he wouldn’t like me!).

The plotting was classic Coben, with a couple of extra twists and unanswered questions that hung about like bad smells until inspiration struck Myron. Coben captured the savoir faire of today’s teenagers perfectly in the last chapter.

I think the reason I disagree with RK’s assessment above regarding the dark/light transition in Coben formula is because I read the books out of sequence.  I’ve already read several of the later Bolitar books as well as a number of the non-series novels, so I think of Coben as a somewhat dark writer and thus Darkest Fear fits right in with that assessment.

Either way, if you like mysteries, you’ll like this.

I’m claiming this book as No. 5/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge.
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