Light On Snow by Anita Shreve

No. of pages: 272
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: The events of a December afternoon, during which a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow, will forever alter the 12-year-old girls understanding of the world and the adults who inhabit it: a father who has taken great pains to remove himself from society in order to put an unthinkable tragedy behind him; a young woman who must live with the consequences of the terrible choices she has made; and a detective whose cleverness is exceeded only by his sense of justice. Written from the point of view of 30-year-old Nicky as she recalls the vivid images of that fateful December, her tale is one of love and courage, of tragedy and redemption, and of the ways in which the human heart always seeks to heal itself.

Review: When 12 year old Nicky and her her father find an abandoned newborn baby in the snowy forest one night while they're out walking, they don't realise it's the start of a life changing event...

I read this book about 3 years ago, and for some reason I didn't really think much of it. So when I decided to re-read it, it was pretty much just to confirm that it's not something I wanted to keep. But I was surprised to find I enjoyed it much more this time, and I read it in only two sittings. It's a sad story, full of longing and regrets, but I think the characters start to come to terms with their own stories near the end, and that was nice to see, although I would like to have seen just a little bit more of the story wrapped up.

Hunted by P.C. & Kristin Cast

No. of pages: 439
Rating: 9/10
Series: House Of Night (Book 5)

Synopsis: The good news: Zoey’s friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren’t Neferet’s secrets any longer. The bad news: Ancient evil with the face of an angel has been let loose – that and various other nasties (whose faces aren’t so angelic). Grandma Redbird is in trouble. Heath is in trouble. The House of Night is in trouble. Okay, let’s face it – Zoey’s whole world is in trouble! But when the trouble comes from a being who appears to be beauty personified, will the world believe it? Especially when only a teenager and a group of misfits are the only ones who really understand the danger he brings. Will Zoey have the strength and wisdom to reveal the truth? Especially when, in the House of Night, the truth is often hard to come by…

Review: Things really aren't going well for Zoey and her friends, but as they are the only ones that can stop the ancient evil that has arisen, they must forge ahead and restore the balance to the House Of Night...

The series has definitely gotten better with the two latest books, there's a great storyline to keep you gripped and characters you come to know and love. I think Hunted really brings together all the plot lines so far and weaves them into one story and it becomes clear what the previous books have been leading up to all along. I'm glad I only have to wait until October for the next book, as I can't wait to see what happens next!

Untamed by P.C. & Kristin Cast

No. of pages: 411
Rating: 9/10
Series: House Of Night (Book 4)

Synopsis: Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird; she's become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened.

Review: Things really go downhill for Zoey in this book, when the pressures of becoming a vampyre priestess come to boiling point, and she's left feeling very alone...

This is definitely my favourite so far in the series, there's much more action and drama, and the storyline gets very dark. It was also really nice to see the development of characters that have been more in the background, and get to know them more as they become part of the main group. The ending was really gripping and I can't wait to see what the storyline leads in the next book.

Chosen by P.C. & Kristin Cast

No. of pages: 322
Rating: 8/10
Series: House Of Night (Book 3)

Synopsis: Dark forces are at work at the House of Night and fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird’s adventures at the school take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this “highly addictive series”, in which Zoey’s mettle will be tested like never before.

Review: Everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong for Zoey in the third book of the House of Night series. Not knowing where to turn, she finds friends in unexpected places, and trusting them will have severe consequences...

I thought this book definitely had a darker tone than the two before, and has more sexual content too, which makes them more grown up. I enjoyed the story slightly less in this one though, mostly down to the ending, which I felt just didn't fit in with everything that happened up to that point. I also feel that the storylines are starting to get a little repetative, so I hope that changes in the next book.

Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast

No. of pages: 375
Rating: 9/10
Series: House Of Night (Book 2)

Synopsis: Things seem to be going pretty well for Zoey Redbird. She's settled in at the House of Night finishing school and is coming to terms with her incredible new powers. It all seems too good to be true. And guess what? Someone has begun murdering human teenagers, and all evidence points to the vampyres at Zoey's school. Which means her first assignment as the leader of the Dark Daughters is finding out which one of her classmates or - gulp - teachers is a killer. Sigh. And she thought her boyfriends (yes: plural) were going to be her biggest problem this year...

Review: Carrying on where Marked left off, Zoey is struggling with all the new responsibility, and with all the boy trouble she has going on. But then human boys she used to know start dying, and when the vampyres of the House of Night start being blamed, she has to find out what's going on...

I thought this one was more action packed than Marked, with so many different things going on in Zoey's life it keeps you completely engrossed. There are also lots of great characters in Zoey and her friends, and they're fun to read about. Because the books are aimed at young adults, they're really easy to sink into and get lost in, but the 'teen' writing does grate a little bit sometimes, almost as if it's a little too forced. I do love the House of Night world though, I think the premise is really good and they're enjoyable to read. I'm definitely still interested to see where the story will lead to next.

Star Gazing by Linda Gillard

No. of pages: 261
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: Blind since birth, widowed in her twenties, now lonely in her forties, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister. Marianne's passionate nature finds solace in music, a love she finds she shares with Keir, the man she encounters on her doorstep one winter's night. But can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his island home on Skye, to 'show' her the stars?

Review: Marianne has been blind her whole life, so for her 'seeing' involved sound, smell and feel. So when a guy she barely knows asks her to spend a week with him on Skye so he can show her the stars, she doesn't really know what to expect. But Keir manages to show Marianne beauty she never could have imagined.

I adored this book, I thought all of the characters were greatly written and perfectly complimented each other. The descriptions that Keir gave to Marianne were so beautiful and I loved how he described things to her by saying they were like certain pieces of music. I really enjoyed the relationship aspect of the story too, I really felt what the characters were feeling and became completely engrossed in their world. I thought Star Gazing was fantastic, and I cannot wait to read something else by this author!

Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast

No. of pages: 348
Rating: 9/10
Series: House Of Night (Book 1)

Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird gets Marked as a fledgling vampire she must join the House of Night school where she will train to become an adult vampire. That is, if she makes it through the Change. But Zoe is no ordinary fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the Goddess Nyx and discovers her amazing new power to conjure the elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. When Zoey discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look within herself to embrace her destiny - with a little help from her new vampire friends.

Review: When 16 year old Zoey Redbird is marked to be a vampyre, people she has known her whole life are suddenly afraid of her. So when she leaves to go to the House Of Night, the vampyre finishing school, she's happy to leave her old life behind. But as she realises she has powers that are very strong in the vampire world, she knows it's not going to be an easy journey...

I really enjoyed this book, however, I'm surprised it's marketed for teenagers, yet has a warning on the back saying that it's not for younger readers, as some the content is definitely aimed towards an older teen I'd say, rather than someone of 13 or 14. There's definitely a teenage aspect about it though, but I did think the sex scene near the beginning was a bit out of place and definitely unnecessary for such a book. I really liked the idea of a vampyre school where you learn how to become a vampyre, it was interesting to read about and kept me wanting to read on. The character of Zoey was very easy to like, as were her close friends and they were all very well written. I'm curious to see where the next book will lead so I'll definitely be picking it up very soon.

Dexter By Design by Jeff Lindsay

No. of pages: 290
Rating: 10/10
Series: Dexter (Book 4)

Synopsis: Dexter Morgan is back. After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. Married life seems to agree with him: he's devoted to his bride, his stomach is full, and his homicidal hobbies seem nicely under control. But old habits die hard - and Dexter's work as a blood spatter analyst never fails to offer new temptations that appeal to his offbeat sense of justice...and his Dark Passenger still waits to hunt with him in the moonlight. Luckily for Dex, there's someone out there with particularly twisted tastes. Dexter may have never been a big fan of art - but the discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a beach chair) naturally piques his curiosity. Miami's finest soon realize they've got a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business.

Review: Dexter is back to his old self at long last, and just in time for Miami's new crazed serial killer. This one is a fan of artfully displayed bodies, who takes a liking to Dexter, which doesn't bode well for his newly formed family...

I really enjoyed this one, and think it's become my favourite in the series. I loved the new 'family man' Dexter, and enjoyed the involvement of Rita, Cody and Astor in the storyline. I think Cody and Astor are really funny, and they always make me laugh with their witty little retorts to Dexter. The ending was hilarious, although I already knew the plot point from the TV show, the way it was written was great, and I can't wait for the next book to see where it will take Dexter next!

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

No. of pages: 197
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: Charley Benetto is a broken man, his life destroyed by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits rock bottom after discovering he won't be invited to his only daughter's wedding. And he decides to take his own life. Charley takes a midnight ride to his small hometown: his final journey. But as he staggers into his old house, he makes an astonishing discovery. His mother - who died eight years earlier - is there, and welcomes Charley home as if nothing had ever happened. What follows is the one seemingly ordinary day so many of us yearn for: a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain the family serets and to seek forgiveness.

Review: When Charley Benetto finds out his daughter got married without inviting him, he decides his life is just not worth living anymore. With no wife, a daughter that doesn't want to know him and a life dependent on alcohol, Charley drives back to his childhood home to kill himself. But his mother who died 8 years previously is there, and what follows is a day Charley will never forget.

This book is very like Albom's two previous books, basically it's about death and redemption, but like the other two, it's very easy and enjoyable to read. It makes you think about things you'd go back and change if you had the chance to do it, and the things you'd say to people you've lost in your life. His books always leave me with something, and I think about them for days after I've finished reading them. I definitely would recommend reading one of his books, they're kind of touching and well worth the read.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

No. of pages: 148
Rating: 4/5
Series: Sherlock Holmes

Synopsis: The Hound of the Baskervilles is the classic detective chiller. It features the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, in his most challenging case. The Baskerville family is haunted by a phantom beast "with blazing eyes and dripping jaws" which roams the mist-enshrouded moors around the isolated Baskerville Hall on Dartmoor. Now the hound seems to be stalking young Sir Henry, the new master of the Baskerville estate. Is this devilish spectre the manifestation of the family curse? Or is Sir Henry the victim of a vile and scheming murderer? Only Sherlock Holmes can solve this devilish affair.

Review: When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead under suspicious circumstances, his close friend goes to Sherlock Holmes for help to solve the mystery of the hound that curses the Baskerville family...

When this book was chosen for a book circle, I was dreading having to read it. I've never managed to complete a 'classic' book before because for some reason I just cannot get my head around the old language. But I was pleasantly surprised, not only that I managed to read it pretty easily, but that I really enjoyed it too! I've always loved a good mystery and this one was well written, although parts of the ending were fairly guessable. The characters had very strong personalities, and although many weren't that likeable, I thought Watson was a great character and he fast became my favourite. I will definitely be looking into other Sherlock Holmes books in the future!

Dear Fatty by Dawn French

No. of pages: 366
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: It's become a cliché in Britain to call somebody in the entertainment field a national institution -- but that's exactly what Dawn French is. As both comedienne and actress (the latter in both comedy and straight parts), she has become one of the best loved entertainers in the country. Her range is not wide (unlike her dimensions -- and that's the sort of joke she’d crack), but she is utterly winning in everything he does. And that quality continues in Dear Fatty, a truly entertaining memoir of an event-packed life.

The form of the book is a series of letters by French, conjuring her transformation from a West Country RAF girl to a star of the cult alternative comedy group The Comic Strip. This was followed by the groundbreaking all-female Girls on Top (which did much to establish the position of women in British comedy), the astonishing success of the TV series French and Saunders (with French’s equally talented friend Jennifer Saunders) and the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, where French’s wickedly sardonic touch keeps the tweeness of the basic situation -- female vicar in a rustic town -- at bay.

Review: Written in the form of letters to various people in her life, Dawn French writes about particular moments that had a strong impact on her such as her father's suicide, meeting and marrying Lenny Henry, IVF and miscarrages, and the adoption of their daughter, but mixed in with this are her carefree days growing up with her brother, living in America for a year, going to university, meeting Jennifer Saunders and much more funniness!

This is a rollercoaster of a book, there are stories which have you in stitches of laughter and then on the next page a story that is really sad. I loved how frank she was, especially in talking about Lenny cheating on her, I think that's a really brave thing as she could have very easily left it out with the format that the book's in. The letters are a really nice layout, especially when she writes the letters to her dad catching him up on her life. If you're a fan of Dawn French you should definitely read this book, her humour really shines through, and it's a great insight into her life.

Stop Me by Richard Jay Parker

No. of pages: 328
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: Forward this email to ten friends. Each of those friends must forward it to ten friends. Maybe one of those friends of friends of friends will be one of my friends. If this email ends up in my inbox within a week, I won't slit the bitch's throat. Can you afford not to send this on to ten friends?

Vacation Killer Leo Sharpe's life is shattered when his wife Laura suddenly disappears. His desperate need to find her turns to obsession when he becomes convinced she's the latest victim of The Vacation Killer who has claimed eleven lives already - is Laura going to be the twelfth? The MO is the same every time - a woman disappears and within hours inboxes around the world receive a threatening email. A few days later, grim evidence of the victim's death is delivered to the police. But in Laura's case, nothing is sent. Has the killer spared her life? Why? And for how long? For Leo, the clock is ticking - he needs to do everything in his power to stop the killer before it's too late.

Review: When Leo's wife disappears from a restaurant, he doesn't have a clue what's happened to her. That's until he sees the newest email from the Vacation Killer, and is positive he has her. But when no jaw bone is sent to confirm she's been murdered, Leo's life falls apart. He is determined to find out what happened to Laura, and will stop at nothing to get answers...

It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel because it's just so well written. The story flows effortlessly and it's so easy to sink into Leo's world, even though his reality is so warped. I really loved Leo as a character, even though he was so messed up, there was just something so endearing about him. The ending completely surprised me, I would never have guessed how it played out, but I thought it was great. I would definitely recommend this to thriller fans, it's something you will certainly enjoy.
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