The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie

No. of pages: 528
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: Before his death in 1609, the brilliant Elizabethan spy and astrologer John Dee hid his most astonishing secrets, trusting his descendants would one day bring them to light. That time has come.
In 2003, Will Stafford inherits a strange legacy from his mother: a key and an ancient script with an enigmatic note. Intrigued, he travels Europe seeking answers to Dee’s riddles, unaware that someone is following every move. Back in London, Lucy King becomes entangled in Will’s cryptic labyrinth. As its mysterious twists take her from France to New York, and from literature to myth, in search of its hidden treasure, she has never been closer to the truth, nor in graver danger.

Review: When Will Stafford's mother leaves him a mysterious key in her will, he has to find out what the story behind it is. But what he finds leads into an awful lot of trouble, as religious fanatics are desperate for the story that is unravelling and will do anything for the information.

I really enjoyed this book, the tone in which it's written is beautiful, the language really flows and just draws you in from page one. I found the contents of the story fascinating - John Dee, 'The Rapture', religion, Shakespeare, cellular memory - there are just so many aspects, but surprisingly they all fit together perfectly. It starts as several different threads and then as the book progresses, they all start to twine together and I really enjoyed how they started to slot into the story. I especially loved the descriptions of the various settings, it has definitely made me want to go and visit them myself one day!

The Rose Labyrinth has been likened to 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'The Labyrinth', so I think fans of those books would enjoy this, but I think everyone could take something from this, it has a bit of everything for everyone and it's a really great book.

Dead And Gone by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 288
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 9)

Synopsis: Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps—and nothing about weres. Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works—and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it. But there’s a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings—older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves—is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.

Review: Being that the world hasn't gone crazy over the vampires revealing themselves, the weres and shifters decide they're going to come out to the human public too, and of course it doesn't go well. Within days a mutilated were-panther body is found hung on a cross outside Merlotte's, and with her brother being accused - yet again - of the murder, Sookie takes it upon herself to find out who the real murderer is. On top of that, her newly revealed relative brings an awful lot of trouble Sookie's way.

I really liked finding out about Eric's human life and how he was turned in this book, and it was also nice to see a lot more of him, being that he's my favourite character. Of course Bill has to be all noble and stand in to protect Sookie, and I wonder how that will play out in the future, I really hope she doesn't go back to him. Of course there's another war, this time between the Fairies and it doesn't end well, in fact I was very upset that one of my favourite characters was killed. I kind of feel a bit like Charlaine is just recycling storylines now, there have been 3 wars in the past two books, she's just changing the race of the creatures it's between. I'm more than ready to see something fresh from book 10, and I'm curious to see where she'll take us next in this series.

From Dead To Worse by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 340
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 8)

Synopsis: After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the fight at the vampire summit, everyone - human and otherwise - is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend Quinn has gone missing. It's clear that things are changing - whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie - Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community - is caught up in the changes. In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.

Review: After surviving the trouble at the vampire summit, Sookie just wants peace, but with the weres going to war and other vampires trying to take over Louisiana, peace is out of the question. So again Sookie gets caught up in the supernatural fights, but will she manage to get out unscathed?

I think Charlaine used this book to wrap up several plot points because I found it a little too busy with so many different things happening one after another. But that's not to say it wasn't fun to read, or unenjoyable, it just probably would have made a little more sense for her to have staggered it over two books rather than just shove it all in this one so she could start something new with the next book. It was very action packed with all the fighting though and was really quick to read because there's so much to keep you immersed. A couple of the plot points ended quite obviously, for example the result of the were war, I had guessed that was coming for quite a while. Still loving this series though, it's completely gripped me, and I can't seem to put the books down!

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 342
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 7)

Synopsis: Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life-the shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit. The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

Review: Sookie is summoned to attend the vampire summit alongside the Queen of Louisiana, to help get her out of a spot of bother and also to use to her mind reading abilities to find out what is happening with the others at the summit. Nothing really goes to plan though, and they all find themselves in an awful lot of trouble...

The ending to this one was brilliant, and not what I was expecting at all. There's lots of tension throughout the book, especially between Sookie, Eric and Quinn. I enjoyed the story about the summit and having an insight into what vampire life behind the scenes is like. I'm still really loving the series, and I'm curious to see where Charlaine will take things in the next few books. Here's to hoping Sookie will finally settle down!

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 324
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 6)

Synopsis: Sookie doesn't have that many relations, so she hated to lose one - but of all the people to do, she didn't expect it to be her cousin Hadley, a consort of New Orleans' vampire queen - after all, Hadley was technically already dead. But she is gone, beyond recall, and she's left Sookie an inheritance - one that comes with a bit of a risk - not least because someone doesn't want Sookie digging too deep into Hadley's past - or her possessions. Sookie's life is once again on the line, and this time the suspects range from the rogue weres who reject Sookie as a friend of the pack to her first love, the vampire Bill. Sookie's got a lot to do if she's going to keep herself alive...

Review: When Sookie's vampire cousin Hadley is murdered, Sookie finds out she has left her an inheritance. So she travels to New Orleans to sort everything out, but what she doesn't realise is that her cousin left her an awful lot of trouble as well...

I was glad to see this book didn't have the missing something that the last one did. Sookie is back to being a trouble magnet and this book is full of action and mystery. Quinn was an interesting addition to the characters, and I was glad to see Eric pop up for a moment or two. He's still the funniest character in the series, and still my favourite. The end of this book links in with the next book, so I'm eager to read on and see how it all continues. Still a fantastic series, and I'm really enjoying it.

Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 295
Rating: 9/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 5)

Synopsis: Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in a little bar in a small town deep in Louisiana. She's funny and pretty and well-mannered, but she doesn't have that many close friends - mind you, that's not so surprising when you consider how few people can appreciate her abilities as a mind-reader. It's not a quality that has the guys beating down her door - well, unless they're vampires or werewolves or the like . . . but they're not just supernatural freaks, some of them are friends, even family . . . And much as Sookie might want a quiet life, when she's around, things just seem to happen . . . like someone trying to wipe out the shape-changing population, and that means Sookie's got just a month, before the next full moon, to find out who wants the shapeshifters dead, and stop the fiend.

Review: When someone starts shooting the shapeshifting population of Bon Temps, Sookie feels obliged to find out what is happening before the next full moon and shapeshifter change. What she doesn't realise is just how much trouble she's getting herself into yet again...

I have to admit, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the previous books, the story just didn't grip me this time for some reason. It's also starting to annoy me slightly how every single supernatural male she comes across falls madly in lust with her, it's a tad unrealistic. The story this time was really predictable, I guessed almost immediately who the shooter was, and was correct in the end. Other than the bits I disliked it was still very easy to read, like coming back to an old trusted friend. I'm hoping the story picks up a bit in the next book, as this one was a bit repetative.

Dead To The World by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 321
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 4)

Synopsis: Dead to the World continues the story of psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who has fallen out with her undead lover, Bill. Bill has no sooner departed for Peru, than Sookie finds the head vampire, Eric, running naked and terrified through the rural night. She helps Eric, and discovers his memory has been destroyed by a coven of unscrupulous, astonishingly powerful witches, newly arrived in her small Louisiana town, and offering a huge reward for Eric. Sookie tries to hide Eric, but her brother sees him - and immediately disappears. And Sookie finds herself caught in a war among witches, vampires, and werewolves.

Review: Sookie on her way home from a night shift at Merlotte's, finds a topless Eric running down a dark road, with his memory somehow missing. Taking him home to protect him, once again Sookie finds herself drawn into a bad situation. But when Jason disappears, Sookie knows she'll do whatever it takes to find him again...

I really enjoyed the fact Eric was the main focus in this book, he's one of my favourite characters but is usually in the background. I loved how different he was without his memory, and how he and Sookie took care of each other. Again, I loved the appearance of Bubba, such a fantastic character! I thought what happened to Jason was a little weird, but I'm sure we'll see how that progresses in the future books. I love this series so much, they're amazingly written, Charlaine Harris has such fantastic talent for writing and she's fast become one of my favourite authors! I would recommend this series to everyone!

Home Before Dark by Charles Maclean

No. of pages: 474
Rating: 9/10

Synopsis: It's the news every parent dreads: Ed Lister's world changes forever the day he hears his art-student daughter has been brutally murdered in Florence. A year later, frustrated with the police inquiry, Ed vows to find Sophie's killer. His quest leads to a mysterious website – and its owner, Ward, a charming, brilliant psychopath. But as the search for Ward follows a trail of bodies across Europe to America, some of Ed's own secrets begin to emerge. And the question arises: is Ed the hunter, or the hunted?

Review: When Ed Lister's daughter Sophie is violently killed while studying in Florence he's devestated, but when after a year there is still no progress towards finding her killer, Ed decides to take it into his own hands. He has the money and the determination to track the killer down, but upon finding the killer's website he realises this is no normal person. This deadly game of cat and mouse highlights the dangers of the internet and how easy it is for someone to get far to close with deadly consequences...

Great story, although slightly creepy when you think of how easily this could happen in real life. It's fast paced and the language used is very easy to get into. The storyline is really clever, I liked how it progressed and then had an explosive ending. I'm not sure whether I liked Ed Lister as a character, but I think that's how you're meant to feel. I really enjoyed this book, and have heard good things about his other books also, so I'll definitely be looking out for those as well.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 274
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 3)

Synopsis: They know how to make a great cocktail in Club Dead - a twist of lemon, a dash of pepper and a shot of Blood Group O. There's only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with (at least voluntarily) and that's Bill. But recently he's been kind of distant - like in another state distant. Bill's sinister and sexy boss Eric has an idea where to find him, which is why Sookie ends up in Jackson, Mississippi, mingling with the under-underworld at Club Dead. It's a dangerous little haunt where the elitist vamps can go chill and chow on some prime flesh. But when Sookie finally finds Bill - caught in an act of serious betrayal - she's not sure whether to save him, or sharpen some stakes.

Review: When Bill disappears, it's down to Sookie to find out what's happened to him. So with the help of Eric and Alcide, she travels to Jackson, Mississippi to hunt him down, but nothing is as she expected...

This series gets better and better with every book. I loved the new characters in this book, Alcide especially, he was such a sweetheart! Eric just gets funnier and funnier and I love him more as the series goes on. I could actually see him and Sookie as couple, but I doubt that will happen sadly. This is definately becoming one of my favourite series of books, and Charlaine a favourite author.

Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 279
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 2)

Synopsis: Waiting tables, sweeping floors, reading minds and solving mysteries for the undead. It's all in a day's work for Sookie...
Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of real bad luck. First, her co-worker gets murdered and no one seems to care. Then Sookie is attacked - and poisoned - late one night by some weird and apparently mythical beast. She only survives because the local vampires roll up and graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it). But in return the blood-suckers need a favour. Which is why Sookie ends up in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire, on the condition that her undead friends don't do anything, well, vampiric while she's there. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly...

Review: When Sookie finds her co-worker dead in the parking lot of the bar she works at, she's horrified. Then she's attacked as a message to the vampires she surrounds herself with. She's starting to think she has a lot of bad luck until she gets summoned to Dallas, and then she really realises what it's like to have bad luck, and a whole lot of trouble coming right at you...

There was a lot more action in this book as the characters had already been established in Dead Until Dark, so Charlaine could focus on the plot rather than the characters this time around. The story is great, gripping right from the first chapter and full of action right until the very end. I loved that we saw more of Eric in this book, he's so funny and had me laughing aloud quite a few times throughout. You get to see a bit more about Sookie and Bill's dysfunctional relationship and also more about the people of Bon Temps, who aren't quite what they seem.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

No. of pages: 326
Rating: 10/10
Series: Sookie Stackhouse (Book 1)

Synopsis: Welcome to Bon Temps. It's just your average sleepy backwater town. You know the kind of place... a dime store, a trailer park, a diner, and a gang of newly 'out of the coffin' undead.
Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of 'disability' - she can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. But then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life.
But Bill has a problem of his own: he's a vampire. With a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of - big surprise - murder. And when one of Sookie's co-workers is killed, she fears she's next...

Review: Great start to what will be a fantastic series. Sookie Stackhouse is a southern girl with a special talent - she's telepathic. She's pretty much a loner though because the awful thoughts she hears in other people's minds just make her dislike them. So when Vampire Bill comes into the bar where she works, she's immediately attracted to the silence - she cannot read his mind, and she loves it. But when women start dying in Bon Temps, Sookie gets very worried that she may be next...

Great start to the series, introducing you to the main characters, but with a bit of action thrown in too. I already knew the plot of this book from watching the television series, True Blood, which is based on this book. So I already knew who the killer would be and who would die, but it didn't ruin it at all, the book is so well written it just sucks you in completely. I adore Charlaine Harris' style of writing, it's so easy to read, and she sure knows how to write a great story!

Blood Brother by J.A. Kerley

No. of pages: 436
Rating: 9/10
Series: Carson Ryder (Book 5)

Synopsis: The spine-chilling serial killer thriller featuring Carson Ryder - the homicide detective with a hidden secret that could destroy his career - these brothers have murder in their veins. Detective Carson Ryder's sworn duty is to track killers down. He's never revealed the fact that his brother, Jeremy, is one of America's most notorious killers -- now imprisoned. Secretly, Ryder has used Jeremy's homicidal insight to solve cases. He's made a career out of it. Now his brother's escaped and is at large in New York. With Jeremy the chief suspect in a series of horrifying mutilation-murders, a mysterious video demands Ryder be brought into help. It looks like a straightforward manhunt. It couldn't be more different -- or more terrifying. A dangerous cat-and-mouse game develops between Jeremy, and the NYPD with Ryder in the middle, trying to keep his brother alive and the cops in the dark. But it's a game of life, death and deceit, a game with an unknown number of players and no clear way of winning...

Review: Carson Ryder is a bit confused when he's rushed off to New York city without anybody telling him why, until he gets there and sees the video his murdered friend has left him. Somehow his serial killer brother, Jeremy, has escaped and is on the loose in New York, suspected of brutally killing more women. Trying to hide the fact that Jeremy is his brother, trying to find him, and trying to stop the NYPD from killing him becomes Carson's burden, but how much time does he have before things start falling apart?

Great plot, fast paced with plenty of gore and horror. These are my favourite kinds of books, I love the mix of murder and suspicion with the police investigation. They always manage to keep you on the edge of your seat, and this was no exception. The characters were well written, you feel a lot of sympathy for Carson, he obviously knows his brother must be caught, but he doesn't want him to be hurt. Jeremy is of the genius murder variety, so he always manages to keep one step ahead of the investigation. The ending was a complete surprise, not at all as I expected, but it was a great ending. The plot was very good throughout, it was well written and kept me gripped. Really enjoyed the story and I'll be sure to go back and get the initial books in the series.

Things I Want My Daughters To Know by Elizabeth Noble

No. of pages: 454
Rating: 8/10

Synopsis: 'My beautiful girls. If you've read this, you'll know it contains some - not all, but some - of the things I want my daughters to know. And the greatest of these is love ...' How would you say goodbye to those you love most in the world? Barbara must say a final farewell to her four daughters. But how can she find the words? And how can she leave them when they each have so much growing up to do? There's commitment-phobic Lisa. Brittle, unhappily married Jennifer. Free-spirited traveller Amanda. And teenage Hannah, stumbling her way towards adulthood. Barbara's answer is to write each daughter a letter, finally expressing the hopes, fears, dreams and secrets she couldn't always voice. These words will touch the girls in different - sometimes shocking - ways, unlocking emotions and passions to set them on their own journey of discovery through life.

Review: A well told story about life after death. When Barbara dies, she leaves each of her daughters a letter, hoping it will help them to figure out and move on with their lives. Each daughter has a slightly different problem but it all comes down to love and acceptance. For her husband Mark, he has to cope with losing his beloved wife and helping the four girls through it too. The book chronicles the months after her death, as each tries to move forward.

Very sad, but incredibly well told and enjoyable to read. I enjoyed how it changed narrative between each of the girls and Mark, and also the letters and journal entries from Barbara. The stories were developed well for each girl, showing how different each was from the others. It was very easy to read and the story flowed well. The ending was a little predictable, but it was a good ending despite that. I will be sure to keep my eyes open for other books by this author.
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