Quote of the Day

Sunday, 15 December 2013

"Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared."

 - J.K. Rowling

It's a reminder

‘Your favourite object… what is it?’

Her fingers rose to her throat, idly playing with the golden chain that hung delicately around her neck. The heart-shaped pendant bouncing a number of times against the solid expanse of her chest before landing squarely between Olivia’s fingers.

Olivia stared at him for a long moment trying to gouge his intentions before allowing the words to flow off her tongue, ‘my mother left this,’ raising the necklace as high as it could go, ‘with the owner of the orphanage to give to me when I was old enough. She never left her name or anything – just a baby and a necklace.’

‘Hey, liv, I’m sorry.’

She shook her head, ‘stop. I don’t want your pity. It’s hard to miss the mother you never had.’

‘But you still wear it.’

‘It’s a reminder. A reminder of the life I lost. The life I could have had and the only thing keeping me rooted to the woman who gave me up.’

Caged In

Monday, 9 December 2013

There was no use crying anymore. It wasn’t going to help. She was trapped like a wild animal, naked and begging for death. The throbbing darkness swelled around her with the flicker of the overhead light, casting grotesque shadows around the room.

The woman tugged relentlessly against her restraints, the rough surface of the rope cutting into her thin, fragile wrists. Droplets of blood slowly winding their path down her hand. There was no room for manoeuvre, a dull ache pounding in her shoulders.

If she could just loosen the rope then maybe, just maybe she could escape. It was her only hope but that small shred of hope shrunk with each passing second. She was going to die here.

She tried to rein the sobs in but the sheer intensity of emotion racked her body.

The woman shivered with the chill breeze sweeping the room, caressing her naked flesh. She couldn’t pinpoint the source. There were no windows – only four dingy walls.

The constant flicker of light illuminated the mixture of red welts and dried blood lacing her aged skin, deep purple bruises marking her breasts and thighs.

She never saw their faces but every single disturbing mask that covered their faces would haunt her thoughts until her last dying breath. Every encounter was different but each brought a new round of pain. Her skin still stung from the force of the whip that had been slashed across her legs.

She knew it was only a matter of time before things got drastically worse.

Book Review: Kindred In Death by J.D. Robb

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Kindred in Death (In Death #29) Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She was just an instrument. A weapon. He wanted it to be in that house, inside the house where the cop believed his little girl would always be safe.
A phone call from up high interrupts Eve's plans to have a lazy day with her roguish husband Roarke: The teenage daughter of Captain Jonah McMasters, head of the NYPD drug squad, has been found raped and strangled. A terrifying video of Deena, bloody and beaten beyond recognition, suggests a link to a criminal in her father's past, but Eve is getting nowhere - until another murder, and another video, reveals the killer's deadly intent: merciless retribution in the cruellest way possible. Eve and her team must race against the clock to identify the next victim of a killer who will stop at nothing...

My review
After a couple of extremely dull 'In Death' books Kindred in Death brought back the plot lines that are so apt at keeping readers clinging to the pages.

Dallas returns to a truly horrific case in which the daughter of a decorated cop is brutally raped, sodomised and killed in her own home whilst her parents are on vacation. The senselessness of this murder truly hits the reader. The brutalisation of such a young girl on the cusp of womanhood is a crime to shock, disgust and anger the reader as well as every character involved.

Robb/Roberts never flinches away from describing every element of the gore and I admire that. I love that. She doesn't skirt the issue. Like Eve Dallas, she tells you it all as it is.

The one thing I find that works so well with these books is when the killer is someone who poses a huge challenge for Eve, for her relationships, for the whole Police department. He may not always interact with Eve directly but he touches everything that surrounds her. He can ignite anger, passion, fear and so much more with his actions.

The killer is a psychological challenge and Eve Dallas is his greatest opponent.

Sometimes Robb/Roberts puts in some minor characters that I end up falling in love with. They end up in a book for the maximum of about 4/5 chapters and yet seem so incredibly well rounded. In this case that character was Charity Mimoto, a 90 year old woman who certainly isn't afraid of kicking ass and taking names. It was so damn refreshing to see an elderly character (and an elderly woman at that) who didn't have be portrayed as frail or senile. She still had vitality, humour and character. I can honestly see Eve being depicted as something similar when she hits the old end of the age scale.

The only aspect of this book that truly bothered me was Peabody's involvement in the interrogation scene. Interrogation is Eve's domain. No one in this series can conduct an interrogation like Eve can (which somehow swells with awesomeness when she teams up with Feeney). Peabody trying to embody the bad cop felt slightly out of place and diminished the effect of what would have otherwise been another classic and brilliantly executed interrogation. Eve has the ability of getting in your face and hitting all the right buttons that get you spewing out your darkest secrets. She does it all with a whole lot of sass and ass kicking.

This was a truly great book and another In Death favourite.

Book Review: Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Strangers in Death (In Death, #26)Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Technology may be different in 2060 New York, yet the city is still a place of many cultures and great divides. But as ever, some murders receive more attention than others—especially those in which the victim is a prominent businessman, found in his Park Avenue apartment, tied to the bed—and strangled—with cords of black velvet.

It doesn't surprise Lieutenant Eve Dallas that Thomas Anders's scandalous death is a source of titillation and speculation to the public—and of humiliation to his family. But while people in the city are talking about it, those close to Anders aren't so anxious to do the same. With some help from her billionaire husband, Roarke, Eve's soon knocking on doors—or barging through them—to find answers.

But the facts don't add up. Physical evidence suggests that the victim didn't struggle. The security breach in the apartment indicates that the killer was someone known to the family, but everyone's alibi checks out. Was this a crime of passion in a kinky game gone wrong—or a meticulously planned execution? It's up to Dallas to solve a case in which strangers may be connected in unexpected, and deadly, ways.

My review

I can't say this has been one of the best books in the series because it really hasn't. The spark you expect with an In Death book wasn't there. Looking at the title and summary alone you knew that Roberts was going down the 'Strangers on a Train' route. All of that psychological mind play and expertly placed twists Roberts is so good at were no longer an element of surprise in this novel.

As soon as Eve began her investigation into the death of Thomas Anders, a prominant businessman, found by his Housekeeper with his arms and legs tied to his bed and a cord around his neck - I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Where is the second murder? How do they connect? It doesn't take you long *spoiler* to realise that Baxter and Trueheart's cold case was in fact the second or let's say first murder in this 'Strangers on a Train' storyline. But let's just take a moment to talk about Trueheart. SUCH A CUTIE PIE. I just want to see more and more of him. I loved the little awkward, bumbling routine he had to play with *spoiler* Ava *spoiler*. Played to perfection.

I don't want to get too deep in case related detail in fear of spoiling the plot but it was to an extent disturbing to see a woman sift through potential candidates to find someone to murder her husband. And, Oh boy did she find the perfect person. By perfect, we mean worst. It's never the best idea to be hard-faced bitch and want your husband dead, let's face it.

Sub plot. Sub plot. Sub plot. I absolutely loved how the relationship development between Charles and Lousie arose in this novel. I could really see where Eve was coming from - with her issues of seeing Louise date a man who got paid to have sex with other people - so to see him take that huge leap and quit his job, buy a house and propose all for the sake of bettering himself was damn good to see.

The little argument between Roarke and Eve over money was something really interesting to see and I'm glad we did. What couple hasn't argued over this particular issue once, twice or a million times before. Realism. We like it.

Ultimately, it didn't feel like there was too much at stake emotionally for the main characters - it's generally those books where the emotional stakes are set high that come out as being memorable and un-puttdownable. Conflict (especially between Roarke and Dallas) can really drive these novels like no other.

The 30 or so pages, however, totally made up for the lack of spark from the rest of the book. This was when the ball really got rolling, Dallas already on her A game. The battle of brains between Eve and *spoiler* Ava *spoiler* was intense. Who's the top bitch? We all know the answer to that one and watching Eve prove it will never get old.

Book Review: Creation In Death by J.D. Robb

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Creation in Death (In Death, #25)Creation in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Eve has seen this crime scene before: the artfully arranged body of a young brunette, arms spread, palms up, body marked by the signs of prolonged and painful torture. Carved into her torso is the time it took her to die - in hours, minutes, and seconds. And on the third finger of her left hand has been placed a silver ring. Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier, when a man whom the media tagged 'The Groom' put the city on edge with a killing spree that took the lives of four women in fifteen days.

Eve and her partner Feeney, her friend and mentor, couldn't stop him before he disappeared, only to resurface in other parts of the world to kill and kill again. But now The Groom seems to have come back to where he started. When it turns out that The Groom's most recent victim was employed by Eve's billionaire husband, Roarke, she brings him onto the case. A move that proves fitting when it becomes chillingly clear that the killer has made it personal. The corpse was washed in products from a store Roarke owns and laid out on a sheet his company manufactures. With the Groom's monstrous return, Eve is determined to finish him once and for all. Familiar with his methods, she knows that he has already grabbed his next victim. But his sights are set on the biggest challenge of his illustrious career - an abduction that will test his skills and that promises to give him satisfaction as he's never known.

Time is running out on another woman's life and for Eve.

My review

I absolutely loved this book and it instantly become another one of my favourites. Creation in Death is definitely not the best In Death book in the series so far but is defintely hovering around that top spot.

The novel explores Eve and her team hunting down a serial killer whom the media dubbed 'The Groom' - 9 years ago. The killer seems to have resurfaced to finish what he started - painfully torturing women for prolonged periods of time, carving into their torsos the time it took them to die. On the third finger of their left hand is placed a silver ring. This time, however, the killings become a whole hell of a lot more personal with all the victims being employees of Roarke.

'The Groom' case was an extremely good one for bringing out some variety with how characters react and interact with each other - most particularly the strain it caused between Eve and Feeney. I enjoyed the fact that Roarke got a more hands on approach with this case - being involved every step of the way - and got more of a feel of how cops operate during high-profile/intense cases.

The fast pace of the narrative was a very nice additition, helping reflect the speed the killer ets through his victims as well as highlighting the non-stop buzz within the team as the tried to hunt him down. It would have been extremely interesting to see if Robb was abale to incorporate more twists but the plot worked regardless.

I absolutely loved 'The Groom's' last victim, Ariel. She was brilliant in trying to prolong her life and her interaction/connection with Eve was something that made me smile. I'd love to see her in a future novel even if only mentioned in passing.

In the future of the series, I hope we get to see Eve in a little bit more danger, and by that I mean, where Eve is put into a position where Roarke, Feeney, Peadbody etc have to work hard to get her back. Physically make a huge effort. An effort that may last a few days where we get to see the strain it places on everyone involved. I don't want the team to already be legging it towards the place Eve is being help minutes after she's been captured. Other than that, this was a well written book, with another cracking case and more brilliant characterisation.

Book Review: The Marriage of True Minds by Stephen Evans

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Marriage of True MindsThe Marriage of True Minds by Stephen Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The story of a crossed love that is star to every wandering bark.

Together as husband and wife, Nick Ward and Lena Grant ran a successful boutique law firm in Minneapolis, vanquishing all their legal foes side by side. When Nick’s charmingly erratic behavior finally became too much for Lena, the marriage and the partnership ended. But—like C. K. Dexter Haven and Tracy Lord—it seems that Lena and Nick just can’t quite separate.

Lena works out fiercely, keeps her dates with the boring and conventional Preston Winter, and daily battles on against corporate greed. But Nick’s not doing so well.

Still brilliant and devilishly clever, he is now also almost crazy. He is prone to fantasy and the big gesture, and he engages frantically in guerrilla activism for the sake of animals wild and domestic. Nick doesn’t make plans; he has visions. And eventually his antics put him back into Lena’s hands. While she tries to navigate the legal waters into which he’s thrown them, Nick veers out of her wake and into the midst of a strange set of companions, including Oscar, his psychiatric attendant and Action Comics collector; Ralph and Alice Wilson, the rebellious managers of the city animal shelter; and an aging Russian hound named Wolfram.

My review

The Marriage of True Minds may be one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Evans sharp ear for dialogue and brilliant characterisation makes this novel an extremely witty and fun read.

The reader is immediately thrust into the magnetic and somewhat dysfucntional relationship between the clever Lena Grant and devishly brilliant/delusional Nick Ward.

Recently divorced, Lena is entrusted with the burden of baby sitting her eccentric ex-husband after he ends up in the psych ward for filling the mayor's pool with ice and live lobsters - making his getaway in a stretch limo. Lena battles the waters of keeping the very blasé Preston Winters happy whilst inevitably keeping Nick out of prison and confronting her feelings once and for all in regards to one extremely 'cracked partnership'.

This minimalist novel cleverly interlaces themes of love, mental health and animal rights into a scintillating narrative where ideals clash with reality.

The Open Book

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A man strode down the street, winding in and out of the bustle of human bodies, a confident elegance in his manner as his leather shoes tapped against the resurfaced pavement. Astute fingers reached up, flicking his jacket collar up against his neck, shielding the taut skin of his throat from the morning chill. He took a sharp left at the corner, walking into the small coffee shop, The Open Book, the usual buzz of noise greeting his ears. 

Men and woman sat cluttered around various tables, some on their own, and others in small groups, gossiping over steaming cups of coffee or enjoying the morning’s newspaper. The strong smell of caffeine assaulted his senses, the glint of the television screen in the far corner catching his eye as he joined the back of the queue. 

His attention zoned in and out, the figures on the screen nothing but dancing pixels in the blur of his vision, the subtitles hazy smudges. The man shuffled forward in the queue, rubbing absent-mindedly over the strip of white skin that was a few shades paler than the rest of his delicate fingers. He took note of the number of riff raff that began to hang out on the street corner, only a few ever daring to step indoors – it seemed routine. His foot began to tap impatiently against the tiled floor, his eyes slowly drawn back to the screen in the corner, his breath catching in his lungs. The image of a small child flashed before his eyes, the thick blonde curls that hung in tendrils around the sweet heart-shaped face, her blue eyes sparkling on the room. The man swayed on the spot slightly, his mind working overtime, tears rushing to the corners of his eyes, daring to fall. It couldn't be true - they’d have rung him. He had rights, if there was one thing he damn sure knew he had in this country, it was rights. 

He distantly heard someone shouting ‘next’ and the impatient sighs from those behind as he slowly took his time. He stumbled forward, not quite seeing where he was going as he collided with something solid, burning hot liquid spilling down the front of his suit. 

‘Oi, you watch where you’re goin’, mate,’ shouted the stranger, the vein on his large forehead bulging slightly. ‘I just gone an’ bought that, you prick.’

This book saved her life.

Her slender fingers glided over the front cover of the battered novel, memorising every detail. The slight ridge of the title, the small rip that had formed at the top of the page, and the colours that had faded over the years from the days it spent sitting on the window sill of her bedroom. It was one book from a series of seven but it felt like a part of her being. She rarely let on about how much these books meant to her, to others it was simply a series of books that she enjoyed to read but to Olivia it was so much more than that. The ruffled, battered pages proved that. The spine hanging to its last threads proved that. This book saved her life.

aspiring author attempting world domination with a bit o' magic and some kickass moves.