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Reviews Written by
tiggrie AKA Sarah (UK)

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The Half-Life Of Hannah (Hannah series Book 1)
The Half-Life Of Hannah (Hannah series Book 1)
Price: £1.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this, editorial issues just too distracting., 15 Dec. 2012
I guess we all have things that bug us disproportionately. Unfortunately, excessive and misused commas and unnecessary apostrophes (in this case, used inconsistently when names were shortened: Han' is fussy to start with, but when it isn't even consistent, it is very distracting) are a couple of mine.

I'm not especially keen on present tense. I am also not 100% with the mix between that and the forays into 1st person. I felt I might have enjoyed it more if it had stuck to 1st person. Hannah's narrative voice was more enjoyable than the multiple viewpoints in the 3rd person. It felt a little muddled. Nothing really grabbed me.

The characters are reasonably interesting if not thrilling.

I think it is probably worth a try at 20p, but I just found there were not enough positives to keep reading. Those kind of editorial things tend to fade into insignificance if I am absorbed, but not being engaged by the characters plus being bugged by weirdly punctuated sentences meant I just could not suspend disbelief and get into the story.


The Exploits of Lydia
The Exploits of Lydia
Price: £2.32

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Accurate portrayal of the character, but not something I'd re-read., 12 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Credit to Angela Darcy, she takes a vibrant and lively version of Lydia Bennet on many adventures on the continent. I have to disagree with those who complain that this could have been any old character - this is very much the "wild, noisy and fearless" Lydia familiar to readers of Pride and Prejudice, and on the whole Darcy uses language and phraseology that are appropriate to the period and the character. There was an occasional phrase which seemed a little out of place, for example "call it quits" and a character who "blew his own brains out", but overall the writing (indeed, even the spelling) feels so correct in the Regency setting that, particularly as I am no expert, I'm more than willing to give Darcy the benefit of the doubt.

All this being said, this is a continuation of P&P at which many fans of the book may baulk. Lydia has already slept with three men besides her husband before one is a quarter through the book, there is murder, suicide, intrigue, spies and war, and unlike Jane Austen's largely pastoral novels set in country houses and quiet rectories, this takes place in fine houses, cities and on battlefields all over Europe. Told in a brisk first person, almost stream of consciousness, from Lydia's point of view, there is none of the subtle humour or gentle storylines one is used to in Austen.

Basically, as a continuation of Lydia's story this succeeds very well, but if you're expecting anything Austen-esque then you might be in for a wee bit of a shock! It's certainly readable, and I wanted to know how things would work out for Lydia, but to call it a continuation of P&P is pushing the definition.

It's a fun enough romp, and I would definitely take a chance on this author's work in the future, but it wasn't to my taste, and I probably wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't wanted to know what happened to Lydia largely because she IS Lydia. As a long time fan and re-reader of P&P, I was extremely interested to find out what was going to happen to her, but I don't think, if this was a character I had encountered cold, I would have felt especially drawn to keep reading.

So... if you're an Austen purist, at all prudish, or like your characters to have some, well, character, this is probably one to avoid. On the other hand, if you're one for a fast moving, slightly saucy adventure through Europe with a heroine of questionable virtue but unquestionable entertainment value, and if you ever wondered what exactly became of the incorrigible Miss Bennet/Mrs Wickham, then this is most definitely worth a look. I am glad I got it free, but for its target audience, the list price seems pretty good value to me.

I was torn on a star rating - for me, it's not something I'd re-read, and not really to my taste, but I can't deny it's well written, packs a punch in sheer eventfulness, and has a lot to recommend it. I'd give it 2 stars for personal enjoyment, but at least 4 for quality of writing and breadth of imagination. As such, 3 seems like a reasonable compromise.


Winter Warmers: An ebook exclusive from Carole Matthews
Winter Warmers: An ebook exclusive from Carole Matthews
Price: £0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars OK for a freebie, a bit lacklustre., 11 Dec. 2012
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Some clunky writing, rather predictable, sweet but sometimes too sweet.

Nothing offensive but nothing memorable either. Occasionally steps over the line from cute to nauseating.

OK way to spend 30 minutes but just nothing special. Several times I felt it could have used better editing/copywriting - in that respect, it felt rather "thrown together".

Overall, though from an author whose novels I have enjoyed, this collection is just so so. I do not think it would have seen publication if Matthews was not an established author already. I have read worse, but that is probably the best thing I can say about it.


The Men Who Stare At Goats
The Men Who Stare At Goats
Price: £4.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half funny, half terrifying., 11 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Some of this books is hysterically funny, some of it is plain scary.

Quite how much of this is completely factual is open to interpretation. One cannot help hoping at least some of it is exaggeration (and that some of it is just plain fiction... please :-o)... Sadly, some of it at least very definitely is not, including some of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the "good guys". It is shocking to see the ways supposedly civilised countries treat those they suspect of being terrorists.

This is illuminating reading, and manages to be both very entertaining and often genuinely shocking. A thought provoking read.


Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats & Treasures
Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats & Treasures
Price: £16.46

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced., 8 Dec. 2012
I got this for free but I am appalled by its list price.

As a freebie... well I think unless you have a specific interest in what spoiled children have received for Christmas over the last century, this is of questionable value. Frankly it reads more like a personal memoir than anything else, and for the casual reader it is a bit dull and verbose.

Baby boomers may find some pleasant memories jogged. For free, I have read worse but cannot recommend it. For its list price of sixteen quid? Woah. Extortionate.


The Witches of Santa Anna (Books 1-6)
The Witches of Santa Anna (Books 1-6)
Price: £2.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow and overwritten, 5 Dec. 2012
This is a pretty typical teenage paranormal romance.

One the one hand, I quite liked the main characters. Natalia is a nervous new girl, but believably so, with a small amount of sass. Cam is a decent guy trying not to be a jerk as well as a jock. Raine and Brody are reasonably intriguing antagonists.

However, the book is spoiled for want of a really good edit. The novellas are all VERY short and would make very poor standalone books. In fact it is somewhat of a misnomer to call them novellas. There is an overabundance of DUH DUH DUHHHHHHHH melodrama which rapidly gets comic, and the foreshadowing is applied with a trowel.

The formatting is also not great which makes it a bit of a headache to follow some of the conversations. Not the best idea when trying to keep your reader hooked.

On the whole, fairly engaging characters wasted. I would imagine that the Witches of Santa Anna story, if this first chunk is any indication, might make an enjoyable and satisfying novel, or possibly two, in the hands of of a really good writer, or with the aid of a skilled editor, but in this current incarnation they were a frustrating and ultimately rather dull read.


Stolen Promise (Dark Hearts Series)
Stolen Promise (Dark Hearts Series)
Price: £4.79

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic and full of stereotypes., 4 Dec. 2012
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If you are after a romance with a slight gypsy flavour and plenty of drama this might fit the bill. I guess I am not the target audience.

I got this because I am interested in the Romani culture, but I am left feeling that there is precious little reliable here.

Wilkinson does sprinkle a fair bit of Romanes through the text, but the effect is rather spoiled by the painful stereotypes. Jade, the female lead, and a skilled fortune teller (of course...), is described so often as exotic that I ended up with adjective fatigue, the male Romani characters are every stereotype of ignorant male dominance through brutality, and this reader came away with the impression that Jade wants to leave her tribe just for a taste of civilisation. I am no expert on Romani culture but I think I would be pretty insulted by a portrayal of my own culture this shallow. I know enough about the culture to know that painting them as semi criminal ruffians is, at best, unfair. This leave me wondering about how accurate depictions of, for example, the wedding ceremony are.

There is also much more use of Gypsy, even from the Romani characters, than of indigenous words, although Gypsy is widely seen as derogatory - the Romani equivalent of n*****. There is a degree to which a reader who is totally new to the culture needs some use of Gypsy as Romani, Roma (and other subgroups from the same roots) etc are not so familiar to the average reader, but the constant use of Gypsy when Romani would be much more appropriate made me wince a lot.

There is also a really irritating problem with the typsetting when two words run together. Bent to becomes bentto for example. It is not unusual in ebooks, but this is the first I have read where it is so absurdly common.

It is not so predictable as to actually be painful, but not especially original. Really, just a bog standard beige romance, with a slight Romani flavour.

If you want more than a glimpse then this book is not for you, and as a romance, disregarding the disappointing portrayal of a culture, it is nothing special. A historical romance has to get at least one right out of "historical" and "romantic" - for me, this hit neither goal. Glad it was free.

ETA: Obviously it seems some people have got the impression that the one star is for typos and a culture badly portrayed. Sadly, no. It's also for a boring, predictable story with one dimensional characters that isn't very well written, either. It's just not very good.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2013 11:38 PM BST


I Called Him Dancer
I Called Him Dancer
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this... but I didn't., 4 Dec. 2012
I can see there is a good concept here, but it is let down by the execution. It is very slow to start, and there is way too much padding and extraneous information. I kept waiting for it to kick in. Unfortunately, I can't agree with the other reviewers, I did not find the characters compelling, likeable, or engaging.


The Queen Bee of Bridgeton (Dancing Dream #1)
The Queen Bee of Bridgeton (Dancing Dream #1)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did., 2 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm not going to let this book put me off trying Lesley DuBois's other books, which I also got for free. There are things here that make me think she's got some talent, and that it's worth giving her the benefit of the doubt, but this was disappointing.

The characterisations are a bit thin - Sonya is definitely MarySue ish in a "too good for this world" kind of way, talented, beautiful, hard done by, and she's fawned over by her gorgeous boyfriend who fell in love with her at first sight

There are also too many silly grammatical errors, sentences that don't make sense or are badly constructed, etc;

"While on the ground clutching my forehead, a pretty redheaded girl and a cute blond boy stepped out."

The same boy is described a couple of paragraphs later as "the cute, if not, lewd blond boy" - I was left scratching my head at that one. I also had to laugh at the unfortunate typo, "sugar plume faeries". I assume this was intended to read as "sugar plum fairies"...

I wasn't 100% convinced by Sonya's ballet training - it just didn't ring true.

The kids at her school who dislike her so much are also just over the top, and her sister, Sasha, blows hot and cold, being sweet and loving one minute having just told her how useless she is.

The book as a whole reads like it needs a really good edit. I can't help thinking that if the padding, unnecessary explanations etc were cut out, assuming the rest of the trilogy is similarly overwritten, the story could have been told in one really tautly written book.

It just did not capture my interest soon enough, strongly enough. It's aimed at teenagers, who may be more forgiving in some respects, but I just didn't feel like this was edited or finished to my satisfaction.

Unfortunately, though I really wanted to love this book (ballet, overcoming the odds, surviving, love, what's not to love?) it left me pretty cold and I can't see me investing in books 2 and 3. That said, there is something here that makes me want to give the author's other work a try, so it's not all bad. If I could give 2 1/2 stars I would.


Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill [DVD]
Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill [DVD]
Dvd ~ Eddie Izzard
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £6.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Izzard I ever saw, and still my favourite., 24 Nov. 2012
Eddie Izzard's comedy is not to everyone's taste, but for those who get it, this is a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours. Such classics as San Fransisco as the city of snakes and the Queen beating off crazy dogs with her handbag originated here, along with the film Speed in French with monkeys, and gently barbed commentary on the NRA, the European Union, imperialism and many other topics.

Book a couple of hours with everyone's favourite executive transvestite and treat yourself to a bundle of laughs.

Fun extras include commentaries, a trivia track, and Eddie performing in French in Paris.

Tea and cake or death!


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