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Jo Bennie (UK)
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The Catalyst
The Catalyst
by Helena Coggan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

2.0 out of 5 stars A good story of Earth lost to aliens, but not well written, 14 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Catalyst (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Veilbreak. A great crack appears in the skies over all of Earth and through it pour souls that meld with human souls to create two kind of people: the green-eyed Gifted who share their soul with an angel and can do magic, and the grey-eyed Ashkind who cannot. After a terrible war an uneasy peace exists with the Ashkind as underclass.

Rosalyn Elmsworth (Rose) is the child of David, the power behind the Department, a militaristic intelligence service responsible for upholding the law. Into this unstable arena come the Gospel and the Regency, extremist groups on either side of the split. Rose and her dad are hiding a secret, and then there's the Demons, black eyed Ashkind who can, against the rules, do magic

The concepts are interesting but not completely original, the use of angels and demons as ciphers for good and evil and the undermining of that analogue is not new, Constantine does it exceptionally well.

However, that's not my major problem with the book, it's the writing and in particular the characterisation. Rose is a stereotypical flawed heroine with a secret, almost always brave and never passive, strongly reminiscent of Doctor Who's companion Rose. The other characters are even less three dimensional, the plucky friends who don't know her secret, the ex army dad tortured by his past, the boy secretly in love with Rose, the clichés mount up.

This isn't without it's merits but could have been much better .


Conquest (Chronicles of the Invaders 1)
Conquest (Chronicles of the Invaders 1)
by John Connolly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.79

2.0 out of 5 stars Great story, shaky writing, 11 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Ilyri have the earth, they came from beyond the stars and firmly restored peace between nations. The Ilyri are taller than humans but physically and socially very alike. The Ilyri rule is absolute, insubordination severely punished, insurrection by death. But on both sides there is dissent.

Syl is an Ilyri born on Earth, she loves to sneak with her best friend Ani out of their home in Edinburgh Castle to mix with the humans of the city in disguise. Paul and Steven are human brothers, the sons of a father killed by the Ilyri. They are part of the Resistance that harries the Ilyri with bombings and attacks.

When the four are thrown together by a pair of bombings on the street their lives mesh with high Ilyri politics, treachery and power play, and the narrative becomes an exciting ride, peril, death, danger and terrible secrets.

My major issue is with the writing, there is a lot of cliché and exposition, I felt shaken out of the story by many instances when a piece of information is given that should really be shown rather than told. These would be better woven into the fabric of the narrative itself so they do not jolt the reader out off the flow of what is a great story.


Dead Jealous (Poppy Sinclair)
Dead Jealous (Poppy Sinclair)
by Sharon Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of writing., 8 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Teenager Poppy Sinclair is a little bored, she has gone with her mum and step dad to the John Barleycorn pagan festival by lake Scariswater in Cumbria, mainly to escape going to Julia's 16th birthday party. Julia is Michael's girlfriend. And Michael is Poppy's best friend since childhood, but now Poppy has fallen in love with him, but keeps her secret buried even as it burns her. The first time Poppy came to the festival was when she was 8 and delighted with a new age world of tarot, goddesses and shamanism. But now she is jaded and fed up of crying. At the only van selling meat she falls for the cheeky smile of burger boy Tariq and the way he makes her feel. She hasn't felt properly alive since her near fatal sailing accident a year ago, and she is weary of her feelings for Michael.
Later she walks up to the hill overlooking the site and meets a girl Beth drowning her sorrows in a bottle of Jack Daniels after a day of searching for Maya, the girl she loved, they talk for a while. As Poppy wakes the next day she walks down to the lake determined to face her fear, but is instead felled by Beth's hands as her body floats just under the surface of the water. The police say it was an accident, but Poppy isn't convinced. Her questionings draw her into a warren of secrets and badness in which her scepticism is tested to its limits by shamanic ritual, an uncanny tarot reading and the unquiet dead. Really well written and paced, characters well drawn, enjoyed immensely.


AmazonBasics 19-Inch (48 cm) Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
AmazonBasics 19-Inch (48 cm) Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of good features, 8 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A real improvement on our worn out cat box. The wire door is secure and the lock easy to use. The top opening panel is a really good idea, allowing me to drop our cat into the box rather than shoving him through the door. The mechanism for the top hatch is a little difficult for one person to operate but its possible. Our cat is a big cat but does fit and I think it will be secure. The sides are held in place with both clips and screws. The box comes in pieces and the construction instructions were easy to follow


Rexel Mesh Bags with Black Zip (Pack of 10)
Rexel Mesh Bags with Black Zip (Pack of 10)
Price: £20.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Great really useful product, 7 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These sturdy mesh bags are just larger than A4 and are perfect for toting around projects with lots of bits, such as my 11-year-old's friendship braid instruction book, threads and scissors or my zentangling book, sketchbook, pens and pencils. They work out at a reasonable price each. It's easy to see what is inside, and the zips across the top appear to be strong. Useful for offices, families and busy people


The Hebrides: 50 Walking and Backpacking Routes (British Mountains)
The Hebrides: 50 Walking and Backpacking Routes (British Mountains)
by Peter Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.88

4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book for experienced walkers, 7 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a well thought out guidebook to spectacular walks across the Hebrides. Each walk is accompanied by a map, detailed instructions and lots of full colour photographs. For each island travel arrangemnets and ferry locations are provided. These are not beginners walks, some are over days and require wild camping. A level of expertise and preparedness is assumed but these are walks that would reward the effort, there's even one on St Kilda.


The Reader on the 6.27
The Reader on the 6.27
by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and well written, 5 May 2015
This review is from: The Reader on the 6.27 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Thirty-six-year-old Guylain is a grey man living a life of quiet desperation. Every morning he boards the train to commute to a job he hates and despises, returning at night exhausted to his tiny flat and only companion, a goldfish named Rouget de Lisle. Weekends are bleak, Sundays ruined by the thought of the week ahead. But Guylian does something extraordinary to survive, every morning on the train he reads random fragments of books out to the other passengers. And then one day he finds a lost flash drive. It's the diary of a toilet attendant called Julie who is also struggling against suffocation by the mundane.

I finished this in one short sitting, it isn't long but it glows. Didierlaurent's characters are beautifully crafted, full of life and so different from each other. The author touches on the existential angst of today's readers living in the modern world for whom their day to day existence of drudgery at work denies freedom of spirit and crushes a rich internal life.


Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Grow Your Own Kit
Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Grow Your Own Kit
Price: £18.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Growing well so far!, 5 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is quite an easy kit to use, you cut a hole in the inner plastic and soak submerged for 12 hours, I had a bit of trouble finding something heavy enough to weigh it down with. After soaking you put it back in the box and out into a shaded position in the garden. You then water it twice a day by spraying with the provided mister. Ours has been going about a week and so far we do have mushrooms coming out on the box but nothing big enough to eat yet.


The Gracekeepers
The Gracekeepers
by Kirsty Logan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quietly powerfully beautiful., 5 May 2015
This review is from: The Gracekeepers (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Callanish, a girl with webbed hands and feet remembers her first sight of a travelling circus and witnessing a terrible night of blood and screaming. Elsewhere, another time, North waits behind the circus curtain for her turn in the ring with her bear. The world has changed, the seas have risen and our world of vast tracts of land has been submerged, our great cities replaced by small strings of archipelagos. Society is split between those who live an itinerant lifestyle on the water and those who live on land, each distrustful and afraid of the other.

The two girls reflect this split but also speak of a world coming into being where human and sea merge, a fabulous world of mythical selkies, their children, strange sea burials, tree worship and the anarchy of the circus.

Logan tells all this in a lyrical prose in which every word seems carefully chosen, a world strange to us is rendered very much alive.

A book of great beauty I was sad to finish. Yes there are echoes of Carter and Mieville, but this is very much Logan's book


Toshiba THNU08HAYWHT(6 8GB TransMemory USB 2.0 Flash Drive - White
Toshiba THNU08HAYWHT(6 8GB TransMemory USB 2.0 Flash Drive - White
Price: £2.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 5 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good little flash drive with plenty of room for data


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