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I Heart Books "Bookworm" (London, United Kingdom)

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The Shadow Wife
The Shadow Wife
Price: £4.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Average but Readable, 20 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The Shadow Wife (Kindle Edition)
I have read a couple of Diane Chamberlain's books and been a little disenchanted, swearing off buying more. However, I bought four in one go so I decided to give The Shadow Wife a go.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how readable this one was. I think I finished it in two or three days. This book "time-hopped" and this is something I normally find confusing, but I was able to follow easily this time. I never had to flip back to remind myself what time I was in. I like the way the stories intertwined and the connection between all the characters.

There were a couple of things that bothered me. One is DC's insistence to include the token gay or gay couple in her stories and the way she CONSTANTLY refers to them as gay. If it's not such a big deal for her, as I'm sure she is intent on proving to everyone, then asserting they are gay ONCE will do.

The other is the way dialogue is handled. I was always taught that each new character speaking their lines of dialogue deserves their own paragraph. And for good reason. It was very confusing working out who was speaking and when.

The final thing I found to be a let down was that I'm sure DC was aiming for a twist and reveal, but for me it was soooo predictable, I worked it out very, very early on in the book.

Therefore, for me, this was a 3 star book. A good, quick read that doesn't require too much effort at all.

Leaving Time
Leaving Time
Price: £2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fell Short of Expectations, 16 Nov 2014
This review is from: Leaving Time (Kindle Edition)
I wait for each new Jodi installation with baited breath. I completely devoured every single novel but disliked two (Songs of the Humpback Whale, which I found boring and Change of Heart, which I found bordering on plagiarism of an idea). Still, I am an avid fan, I attend all her book discussions and I always get her book on its release date.

Leaving Time was different - I waited for her UK book tour before buying it and I am only keeping it because she signed it for me.

Quite honestly? I found it boring for the most part, unrealistic and ..... well, copied. The twist that everyone has raved about was, for me, partly predictable (I worked some of it out) and was pretty much exactly copied from two very well known movies with two very well known actors. Why, Jodi? You have a talent. Why have you, for the second time, written a book that smacks of the work of another person? I KNOW there is no truly original idea (or barely any, anymore) but there is also a way to work a common idea into your own style. The unfortunate thing about the twist wasn't very Jodi.

I feel like her work is starting to become contrived, belted out and, worst of all, so research-heavy that I feel like I am reading a textbook/research paper on the subject of her choice. In this instance, it was elephants. Points were laboured. I grew tired of reading about their temporal secretions and urination. I was BORED. Alice's journalling BORED me. I like animals and I think elephants are interesting but if I want to learn about elephants at that level, I will study them myself. Please go back to giving me fiction, Jodi.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a Philistine. I liked Lone Wolf and even gave it four stars and that was full of research about wolves. In that instance, however, I could distinctly tie the story of the wolves with what was going on. With this book, I felt I had bought two (so value for money, I guess?). One fiction book about a psychic and her motley crew and one non-fiction book all about elephants.

The twist DID help me with one thing. After I read it, I was able to get to that state of suspended belief that you will need when you meet Jenna.

As for the characters: I kind of liked Virgil, Serenity charmed me FAR more in this book than she did in her introduction, Jodi's taster called Where There's Smoke. Jenna annoyed me. Her grandmother was as expected from Larger Than Life. Alice was interesting when I managed to pick out enough about her from between reams of elephant knowledge. Thomas was just a character from another very well known movie. The rest, to me, are just too shallow to mention. Better character development could replace the in-depth analysis of elephants.

I really hope Jodi is not going to continue to take well known movies and weave them into her books. This would really give me pause for thought every time I went to buy a book of hers. As it stands, right now I still wait with baited breath for each installment (as I am for her next one). I have only disliked 3 out of her 23 novels and I think you are bound to become disenchanted with your favourite author from time to time. What I would like to see is a real return to her best. I do not think she needs to revive her court case dramas but I would love to see her return to writing real fiction with less chunky knowledge about whatever subject she has chosen. I read to lose myself when I choose fiction. I have no problem with learning interesting facts along the way, but when a book becomes so focused on the non-fiction as to neglect the fiction....well then I am really just reading a very interesting Research Paper, aren't I?

In summary: Jodi still writes well and I still love her and the passion she has for her research. But when what she is writing starts to mimic a university student's assignment - research and then regurgitate in your own words - I would hesitate before buying any more of her books.

Here's hoping her next novel is as good as it sounded when she explained what it was about.

How to Fall in Love
How to Fall in Love
Price: £3.66

3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Weak Three Stars, 8 Nov 2014
I'm fairly conflicted about how to rate this book. I hovered between two and three stars and finally chose three only because as a chick-lit book in general, it's average. As a Cecilia Ahern offering, it's quite poor. What happened to the strong writer who offered up PS I Love You, The Gift and The Time of My Life?

The premise of this book is good enough but the way it's written is weak. A subject matter as serious as depression and suicide is handled in a glib manner and the unfolding of several events is unrealistic. The humour falls rather flat and several characters are added without being altogether necessary. Their stories don't even go anywhere.

At the end of the book, I feel that a lot is left unresolved and, as usual for chick lit, tidied up in other parts far too nicely. What I used to like about Ahern books is that they didn't always end the same way all chick lit books do - with everyone getting their happily ever after - but this one did. I found it too similar to 100 Names (the annoying protagonist, for one) and unless Ahern returns to her sparkling best, I'll avoid buying any of her books in future.

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah (April 23 2013)
Fly Away by Kristin Hannah (April 23 2013)
by Kristin Hannah
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Story, 3 Nov 2014
This is not just one person's story. It is a story of people struggling to find their place in the world, desperate to understand love and family and to deal with a grief that runs deep.

When Katie Ryan dies, her family's world falls apart. What follows is the story of her daughter Marah, her best friend Tully and Tully's mother, Dorothy.

This is a heartfelt and real account of what happens to people when someone they love, and who they consider the glue who holds them all together, dies.

It's raw and it's solid and it is a very readable book. It proves that appearances can be deceptive, what you always thought you knew may not be so apparent, and that, in the end, family and love matters. We all want to be loved. This book will keep you reading til the end, even if it isn't groundbreaking in its class.

A solid story from start to finish.

Tubby the Tuba [DVD] [1975] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Tubby the Tuba [DVD] [1975] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Dick Van Dyke
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £6.50

2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Quality, 26 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The movie is a great one so it deserves something better than a poor video-to-DVD disc. The picture quality in parts is poorer than my own taped-from-TV in the '90's copy. A shame - this needs a better DVD.

Bose ® SoundLink ® Mini Bluetooth Speaker - SIlver
Bose ® SoundLink ® Mini Bluetooth Speaker - SIlver
Price: £169.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bose Does it Again!, 18 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wow! This mini speaker packs a powerful punch. Small, compact and easy to travel with, the sound that such a tiny piece of equipment produces will blow your mind. It's easy to get started, takes up absolutely no room and blends stylishly in with whatever decor you have. I love it - and am glad I bought it. Pairs beautifully with any bluetooth enabled device and even plays sound for video straight from the speaker. No regrets and would highly recommend.

Price: £3.49

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hooked from the Get Go, 26 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Daughter (Kindle Edition)
I was hooked by this novel from page one. I downloaded a sample and after liking what I read, I bought the whole book. At £1.99, it wasn't the world's biggest risk.

I found the first half of the book intriguing, gripping and a real page turner. I could not wait to get back to it at every chance I had. The middle of the book kind of slowed down for me and the alternating years was a little confusing at times but it kept my interest. I could not immediately warm to any of the characters but I did not hate any of them either. There were one or two characters I was suspicious of throughout the book - characters I suspected may have had ulterior motives - but in general they all seemed to fit in well with what was happening.

I like the way this author wrote - it was not too forced and it was not lazy. I found that the suspense built up well when needed but that attempted twists did not quite come off.

The ending: I am not sure whether I like it or not. I like that it was not a typical wrapped up ending but I am not sure I can fully believe that the main character would quite leave things that way.

Entirely readable and I will look for this author's next instalment. For a debut novel in today's literary world, this shines. It is the first of the newer novels I have read that delivered what it promised for me.

Valverde Large Nautical Canvas Tote Bag by PIA ROSSINI -- Beach Collection
Valverde Large Nautical Canvas Tote Bag by PIA ROSSINI -- Beach Collection

4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy and Well Made, 23 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This bag arrived and I liked it on sight. It was to be a Christmas gift for a friend and I was worried that it would be flimsy and the wrong size when I got it. It was well made and sturdy and the fabric felt good to the touch. It was the right size and the recipient loved it.

Would recommend as a good beach bag or casual carry-all.

'Talk Nerdy To Me' Humour T-Shirt Inspired By Nerds - (Natural) S
'Talk Nerdy To Me' Humour T-Shirt Inspired By Nerds - (Natural) S
Offered by Mad Hatters Tee Party
Price: £14.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Recipient Loves it....But......, 23 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This t-shirt was an immediate hit with the recipient. It is a good colour and fits him well. The only problem is that after a couple of washes, it has faded to look as though it has been washed multiple times over many years.

If it was better made, it would have a higher rating - especially for the price!

Little Lies
Little Lies
Price: £5.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Too Tidy, 14 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Little Lies (Kindle Edition)
I didn't love this book. I didn't hate this book. I just thought it was okay. Having read and enjoyed The Husband's Secret, I snapped this up eagerly. However, this writer has a definite MO. The clichéd suburban housewives, the clichéd outsider and way too tidy of an ending. I wasn't significantly invested in the story - I could barely raise enough interest in "whodunnit" nor was I interested enough to wonder who the victim was. I found the "gidday mate" to be ridiculous pandering to non-Australian readers. I don't know a single North Shore resident who speaks like that. In fact, very few Australians do, outside of stereotypes. If I didn't know better, I would have thought Liane Moriarty was an American trying to encapsulate the quintessential Australian. But Ms Moriarty is Australian so it was positively grating.

The premise of the book was good. The story was engaging enough to make me want to finish but I was not very invested in the characters and there wasn't any one character I loved. I "warmed" most to Celeste and that was only just.

The book didn't capture my imagination enough and the whole murder investigation was treated as though it was slapstick suburban comedy. This wouldn't have been out of place in an episode of Desperate Housewives....oh wait, NOW I know why I felt a nagging feeling of de ja vu throughout.

Will lay off this author going forward.

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