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Dulcinea "Dulcinea" (UK)

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Miserable Middles
Miserable Middles
by Boo Irwin
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Laughing at Life After Death, 9 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Miserable Middles (Paperback)
Miserable Middles is a funny, funny read. In the tradition of Terry Pratchett it delivers funny social commentary in a fantasy setting but don't be fooled into thinking that this makes it hard hitting or serious. On the contrary - there is not one paragraph of this book which makes you feel blue (and that is saying a lot when you are talking about a book about a limbo like Kingdom where smiling is frowned upon!). Seriously (or not seriously as the case may be) even the murders, fatal accidents and job dissatisfaction in this book brought a smile to my face.

Once again I say - a funny, funny read.

Buy it - how can you resist a book with a rock star who advocates using disgruntled fairytale dwarves at ten pin bowling skittles?


Rebel Moon: An Anthology of Supernatural Tales
Rebel Moon: An Anthology of Supernatural Tales
by Stephanie Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Collection, 9 Aug. 2010
I loved Rebel Moon. Every last story. It was also a refreshing change from the pure fantasy and horror that I have been reading lately as, in Rebel Moon, even the contemporary tales seem to have a gothic horror feel to them. The whole collection has a feel of the Tales from the Crypt or of the short stories of Stephen King in that each story leaves you with a satisfying ending yet still knowing that the story does not really end there.

I read Rebel Moon in one sitting as each story made me want more but it is also a good pick up-put down book.

Long live the wonderful literary tradition of short story collections! A publisher to keep your eye on.


Forbidden (Definitions)
Forbidden (Definitions)
by Tabitha Suzuma
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking!, 28 May 2010
If you thought that the Greeks and Shakespeare had the monopoly on tragic, beautiful love stories then think again. Forbidden truly is a modern day Romeo and Juliet for a contemporary audience. What's more it deals with a far more emotive and impossible situation than two warring families. In fact probably one of the most impossible situations to overcome when dealing with a love story as Forbidden is a novel about incest.
Incest? I have a brother and my immediate thoughts were the admittedly immature ones of "ick!" but literature at its best is about pushing boundaries so I pushed mine and began to read. Thank the Lord for that because what a treat Forbidden was (and completely "ick" free).
When you first pick up Forbidden you would be forgiven for thinking that this taboo is something which is rare and perhaps it is. As you read on, though, you begin to see how it could possibly be a natural progression in a damaged family and there must be hundreds of families in England (thousands and thousands in the world) who are just as damaged as this one. Older children in these families will find their own coping mechanisms; Lochan and Maya's coping mechanism is each other.
Lochan is approaching his eighteenth birthday; Maya is sixteen. They have three younger siblings and an absentee mother who pops in once every couple of weeks when she needs a change of clothes or Lochan has nagged her enough about paying the bills that she drops off a token amount of money to cover them. So, still school children themselves, Lochan and Maya have become the mother and father figure in the house. They pay the bills, cook the food, shop for uniforms and survive the daily drudgery of child rearing such as homework, bath-time, bed time and dealing with tantrums. On top of all of this they have to keep up their school work and hide their mother shaped hole at home from everyone for fear of the children being taken by Social Services.
For the non-parents out there in Reader World you will know that a secret can hold two people together, that sharing a secret with just one person can make that one person be the only one you can feel truly yourself with. For parents of young children and young teens you will read this book and see the familiar scenes of family chaos - nagging, whinging, crying, attitude and having nothing in the kitchen cupboards - that can drive you to distraction. You will see Lochan and Maya dealing with this as a young couple who love and support each other.
Forbidden is beautifully written. We start the book with Lochan and Maya seeing each other just as siblings and you are a good hundred pages into the book before any glimmers of attraction appear. This is a skilful move by Tabitha Suzama and a perfect example of subtle story telling as you (the reader) see how subtle and natural the change in Lochan and Maya's feelings for each other are. Yes I keep using the word `natural' and perhaps, considering the circumstances, that is very much the wrong word to use but, when you read the book, that is exactly how it feels. Perhaps not a natural love but definitely a natural progression.
Throughout the book my heart broke a thousand times. It broke as an adult who understands the heartbreak that love can bring. It broke as a human being living in a modern Western society; knowing that this was a love that couldn't possibly lead to a life of happiness. Most of all it broke as a mother. I wanted to cry for five year old Willa who has never known a real family life and soldiers on through scraped knees and falling out with best friends with quiet acceptance - not even realising that her class mates go home each night and share these parts of their lives with loving parents. My heart breaks for the eight year old Tiffin - just beginning to realise that his mother isn't all that she should be yet still aching for her to be there - half still a little boy and half understanding for the first time that his mother doesn't really want him. My heart aches for thirteen year old Kit who already knows all that Tiffin does and has now reached the stage of his childhood where he knows about sex and acknowledges that...well that his mother is a promiscuous drunk who is happy to ditch her kids for weeks on end to try to recapture her youth. Poor Kit is also struggling with the alpha male in the house - Lochan - and resenting that his brother acts more like he is his father and orders him around. Plus the embarrassment that his brother is a social reject - that does not help their relationship one bit.
Most of all my heart breaks for Lochan and Maya and you will read this book wondering how on earth they can have a happy ending...
Forbidden is written by Tabitha Suzama and published by Definitions (a Random House Books company) ISBN978--1-862-30816-9


Dragontales: Short Stories of Flame, Tooth, and Scale
Dragontales: Short Stories of Flame, Tooth, and Scale
by Adam L. Bealby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Collection of Little Bites, 10 Oct. 2009
Dragontales is a lovely collection of short stories which jettison you into not just one but many different worlds and times. From historical stories to fantasy to 'real life' there is a story for everyone.

A great read for anyone who fancies a slip away from reality on the bus, tube or bath!

Whether you devour the whole book in one sitting like a greedy dragon munching down damsels or pick and choose your favourite scaly tales this is a book for everyone not just for teens!


The Ingredients of a Good Thriller: A Simple Guide to Noir, Cops, Gangsters, Heists, Badasses in Book and Film, and How to Make That Genre Work for You
The Ingredients of a Good Thriller: A Simple Guide to Noir, Cops, Gangsters, Heists, Badasses in Book and Film, and How to Make That Genre Work for You
by Chris Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cookbook of Crime, 25 April 2009
The title of this book is very appropriate. It truly does give the ingredients of a good thriller.
The book is written in a style which is ideal for someone sho is disecting the make-up of a thriller book or screenplay in order to write one themself. It would also be useful for anyone mid-novel writing who suddenly finds themself wondering where to go next or unable to decide if their plot is too simplistic or too complex.
The Ingredients of a Good Thriller is written in sections with each section tacklling one element of a thriller; the main character, the side kick, the villain, the motive and so on. It evenb strays into territories such as the use of comedy, how to produce unexpected shocks and how to build a character through "show" rather than "tell"
Although the tips given in this book are aimed at thriller writers (and readers) they would be useful for any fiction writer.
Throughout the book there are regular examples of movies used. At first glance you may wonder why a book on writing makes so much reference to movies rather than books (although there are some book references and a guide on the best books to read). Once you start getting into this book, however, you realise that this was a savvy move by the author.
How many times have you read a guide to writing with many literary references and lost the point and context of what the author is saying because you have never read the literary classic (even though you really meant to!). Thriller and crime fans are highly likely to have seen most popular or cult thriller/ crime movies and so by giving reference to these Chris Wood not only maintains the attention of his audience but also makes it easier for you to picture the scenes (which is a useful talent when writing fiction).
This is an easy and enjoyable read and a useful book for any fiction writer no matter what genre they write in. Also recommended for any non writer film fans.


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