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Deborah (Kent, UK)

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Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Odd, but oddly enjoyable, 13 Feb. 2015
I came across this by accident, so I've started the series in completely the wrong place, but I'm not sure that this matters. I think I managed to get a hang of the Holmes-Mary relationship as I went along - or as much as I needed for this story. There are comments from longer-established readers of the series that the plots are running thin and I did notice this, in that I found myself occasionally wondering how and when Mary would progress in discovering the possible criminal. But to be honest, I was enjoying the chaos of the whole set-up so much that I didn't really mind - I felt as though I was being swept along on some sort of madcap ride that was totally suited to the silent movie business that was the backdrop for Pirate King, and I just sat back and enjoyed it, trusting that it would all be wound up in time for everyone to go home (which it was). I really liked Mary's voice as the narrator and I very much like Ms King's writing style. I am obviously a complete dimwit as the inaccuracies and Americanisms mentioned in other reivews mostly passed me by (in fact the only Americanims I noticed were Mary's, and as I now understand that she is, in fact, American that's not a problem). I will definitely be reading more of this series.


The King's Corrodian (A Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery Book 10)
The King's Corrodian (A Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery Book 10)
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paperback now available, 22 Aug. 2014
Update at 28th February: There IS now a paperback - it still doesn't show up on Amazon, but when a friend's order finally came through from another site after a wait of about 4 months, it was a paperback, which was apparently published on 19th Feb!

Previous review:

Very disappointed to learn that there won't be a paperback of this novel. I had it on order and, after a number of queries about its non-delivery, I contacted the publisher direct (Constable and Robinson who are a part of Little, Brown). The reply stated that

'the paperback of this title has been abandoned so the only edition available is the hardback' and went on to tell me that I could still buy the hardback for £18.99!

I don't know if it's a permanent decision, or whether it will be the same case for her next book (I'm pretty sure there's one in the pipeline, I'm sure I saw it somewhere).

I don't have a Kindle and am not planning to buy one. I managed to find a hardback for £13 but I am very disappointed with the publisher's decision and just wanted to say that if there's anyone out there waiting for the paperback, its' not going to happen. I love hardback books, but sometimes I don't want to spend the money on a hardback or have the bulk or weight of one, but I still want the physical book itself.

I know this isn't a review, and I do apologise, but I wanted to let anyone interested know about this.

5 stars is in support of Pat McIntosh and a great series of books!


Dolly Bird
Dolly Bird
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What a voice!, 25 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dolly Bird (MP3 Download)
What an amazing voice! I particularly really, really liked the last three tracks (Fairytale of New York, Perfect Day and And When I Die) which surprised me when it came to Perfect Day, because I love the original so much. Through the whole CD I just kept turning the volume up and up. And is scat a verb? If not, it should be - Liane Carroll can scat with knobs on.

(I wasn't so keen on the arrangement of Natural Woman - it was beautifully done, but it made want me to listen to Aretha Franklin.)

I put Son of Dolly Bird on as soon as Dolly Bird finished, because I needed more of the same.


The Red Queen (Cousins War 2)
The Red Queen (Cousins War 2)
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious. And inaccurate?, 26 Mar. 2013
I was given this book to read by a friend who loved it. Other than this the only Philippa Gregory novels I have read are Wideacre (many years ago) which I didn't really like, and The Other Boleyn Girl, which I loved.

Many of the problems I had with this are the same as a number of other reviewers - first-hand narrative by someone who didn't really see much of what was going on is boring, and constant references to Joan of Arc, which are tedious. All in all I found PG's Margaret a pious, unsympathetic, unlovable woman which she might well have been in real life, but which is a bit tough to bear when it's the main voice of the novel.

But I'm also getting confused in my history and need some help - Margaret and her mother bang on about how any son of Margaret's will be in line to the throne because he'll be descended from John of Gaunt (3rd son of Edward III). But her descent is through John Beaufort, John of Gaunt's son with Katherine Swynford, and originally illegitimate. Although the Beaufort children were legitimsed when John of Gaunt married Katherine, they were specifically barred from any claim whatsoever to the throne. The last legitimate Lancastrian was the son of Henry VI. I know the Tudors made various claims, but all the stuff at the beginning from Margaret and her mother is, I think, just wrong.

I know that historical novels aren't always true to fact - I have no objection at all to a bit of licence or embellishment from a good writer, but if a character is very, very annoying and also rather boring and unlikeable, then the facts might as well be right. Perhaps it's historically accepted that the Beauforts chose to ignore the legal bar, and PG has chosen to go with that, but all I know is that for me it was too much on top of all the Joan of Arc stuff and whenever Margaret or her awful mother started on about it I wanted to throw the book away. Perhaps if this hadn't been written in the first person there could have been room other characters' opinions on their claim.

Like many reviewers here, I do like the portrayal of Henry Stafford. Poor man, he deserved someone much nicer.

t


Reluctant Odyssey
Reluctant Odyssey
by Edith Pargeter
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, excellent story of WWII Africa and Singapore, 27 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Reluctant Odyssey (Paperback)
Published in 1946, this is the second book in Edith Pargeter's Jim Benison trilogy about the Second World War. I haven't read a lot of novels about WWII - A Town Like Alice, Empire of the Sun - and I only picked this one up by accident. But I'm going to try and find the 1st and 3rd books now as I thought this one was excellent. The action takes place first in Libya and then in Malaya and Singapore. There were references to the first book, but I didn't feel at a disadvantage for not having read that yet - it just made me want to read it once I'd finished this one. I really liked the way Pargeter deals with her characters, and her descriptions of places and events makes them feel very close, very real. She doesn't flinch from violence, and the way in which her characters are affected by the war is very moving - and very interesting. Pargeter also wrote as Ellis Peters, but this is a world away from Brother Cadfael and Shrewsbury.


Beyond Black
Beyond Black
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark, dark story made bearable, 24 April 2010
This review is from: Beyond Black (Paperback)
This could easily have been a sordid, unpleasant book that left the reader with a nasty taste in the mouth and feeling more than a little dirty after reading it. Morris and his other - deceased - companions are completely vile pieces of work: abusive and sadistic, as more and more is revealed of what they were capable of doing to Alison during her childhood, as well as to the dysfunctional Emmie and the long-dead Gloria, and as more and more is revealed of what Alison herself was driven to do during that time, the reader is swamped by feelings of disgust and pity, and it's hard not to flinch when reading. But what raises the book far above the squalid is, of course, Mantel's writing, which is superb - she drew me in so deeply that I simply had to stay with it just to see if Alison would pull clear of 'the fiends'; and she made it possible for me to stay with it by the excellent characterisation and terrific humour which again and again drags the plot and the characters back from the brink of the unbearable.


Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 6 April 2010
This review is from: Wolf Hall (Paperback)
I'm firmly in the 'loved it' camp. The writing is beautiful - it's eloquent and sharp and clever and observant and gets under the skin of its characters (and yes, the description of certain deaths did bring tears to my eyes). I rarely found the use of 'he' confusing - for me it brought Cromwell so close that that I almost began to read 'he' as 'I', except that the 'he' maintains just that vital bit of distance so that the reader can still be objective, can still be allowed to see and hear things that a first person narrative would preclude. Sometimes I got the wrong 'he' but I found I simply didn't mind.

I think Mantel works the ignorance about Cromwell's early life so well - in Wolf Hall there are things he has forgotten, things he has chosen to forget, things he will simply never tell people - including us - and things that are apparently invented (mostly by Wolsey). He wrong-foots people about his past and turns rumour to his advantage, so that the fact that so little is known about him seems to be almost entirely his own choice. Mantel's Cromwell is an amazing man, leading a cast of three-dimensional, believable, vivid characters. I'll read it again, for sure, and I hope that Mantel decides to continue the story, even though I don't want to see him fall.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2010 12:39 PM GMT


Lancaster And York: The Wars of the Roses
Lancaster And York: The Wars of the Roses
by Alison Weir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plugging a black hole of a gap in my knowledge, 26 Mar. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I enjoyed this very much. I found it much easier to read than Weir's book on Isabella of France, and it filled what turned out to be huge gaps in my knowledge - I always thought I had a pretty good grasp on the history of the Plantagenets, but the reign (or reigns) of Henry VI was something about which I turned out to know nothing at all, apart from the fact that he became king while still a baby. It was fascinating to read and Weir presents this confusing chain of events with its huge cast of characters in a way that I found interesting and even absorbing in places. But I am going to have to read some more on the subject to find out whether Margaret of Anjou was a bad as Weir makes her out to be. By the time I finished reading Isabella of France, I could not believe that Isabella was as misunderstood and maligned as Weir made her out to be. As a result, by the time I finished reading the Wars of the Roses, I was not sure whether to trust the presentation of Margaret of Anjou as so very much to blame as she appears in this book. It may be that she was, but I don't feel that I can accept only Weir's word for it, which is a great shame. But then I suppose readers of history should never rely on only one source for their interpretation of events and characters. It was still a 4-star book for me, and I shall definitely keep it for reference and re-reading.

One point about presentation - the family trees were a necessity for me and I referred to them frequently to double-check who was who. I understand that from a stylistic point of view it might've been thought attractive to present them as though hand-written, but I found the font very hard to read, particularly some of the dates.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2010 8:11 PM BST


Panasonic SC-PM38DBEBK DAB Micro HiFi System with Direct iPod Dock
Panasonic SC-PM38DBEBK DAB Micro HiFi System with Direct iPod Dock

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what we hoped it would, 17 Feb. 2010
We've just given this to my son for his birthday and we all think it's excellent. We looked at so many, and he'd originally asked for a JVC model (the UX-LP5B) but for around the same price this also had DAB radio and the clock (vital for getting up in the morning) and - last but not least - a really good sound. The speaker wires aren't long enough to put them on the shelf where he wants them, but they're not ridiculously short, and we can fix that anyway. We don't seem to need an ipod adaptor (mentioned by the previous reviewer). Our son's really happy with and and we can hear why (turn that music down!)


The Feeling: Twelve Stops and Home (Piano/vocal/guitar songbook)
The Feeling: Twelve Stops and Home (Piano/vocal/guitar songbook)
by The Feeling
Edition: Sheet music
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward arrangements - good fun, 1 Oct. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for my son, and he's played from it almost every day. The arrangements are straightforward, but the piano music actually sounds like the music on the band's own CD, which isn't always the case with songbooks linked to albums.


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