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Beca "beca_uk2002" (Aylesbury)

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Darkmans
Darkmans
by Nicola Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baffled why I couldn't put it down..., 1 April 2013
This review is from: Darkmans (Paperback)
So here's the thing: I'm an old fashioned girl. I like my books with a linear plot, a clear point of closure and not too many questions left unanswered. Darkmans really doesn't provide any of this - and yet I genuinely could not put it down. I think this is in part due to the incredible characterisation - these are truly three dimensional, immensely larger than life individuals. I also found some of the set piece scenes absolutely hilarious, for example when Kelly finds religion and is discussing this at length with the reverend, I was literally laughing out loud. All of this being said, I read the book over a very short period and I think had I been busier and not able to dedicate so much time to it it may have lost its flow for me. (and I'm still frustrated by the ending!)


Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson
Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson
by Mitch Albom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Torn, 12 Jan. 2007
I am completely torn over this text. On the one hand it seems wrong to criticise words from a man who clearly inspired so many people not only in his life but since his death. On the other, I find it hard to be swept up into over zealous praise when in fact the book is rather mediocre. I feel guilty even typing those words, although the irony is that Morrie himself would tell me not to be bound by the cultural ties that make me feel I shouldn't criticise that which others praise so vehemently!

In a nutshell, it is a sweet little book with some fairly standard but touching observations on life. I imagine for those people who don't have the time to analyse or the mental stimulation to review things independently, it's a good source of thought and discussion. But this wasn't the life changing tome that the cover suggested. Go in with an open mind and you might take something from it - expect too much and you will be disappointed.


Between Two Rivers
Between Two Rivers
by Nicholas Rinaldi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 22 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Between Two Rivers (Paperback)
I cannot actually rave about this novel enough. When my friend had some second hand books for sale, I picked this one on the basis of the one other review on Amazon and I can't thank that reviewer enough! Based on an apartment block in downtown Manhattan, the author intertwines the lives of those residing there with a consistent seamlessness, and even though each character takes centre stage for often just a chapter at a time, the characterisation is so powerful you feel like you know each person intimately. The closing section of the novel is particularly moving, although at first it felt like an unnecessary addition, included purely to be topical. I would recommend this to anyone, it is impossible to put down.


The Flood
The Flood
by David Maine
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Enticing, 22 Dec. 2006
This review is from: The Flood (Paperback)
This is one of those books I stumbled across purely by chance and it really was a pleasant surprise. The premise of taking such a well known Biblical story and then telling it from a variety of perspectives is incredibly effective and thought-provoking. Unlike other novels that try to utilise multiple narrators, there is actually a clear delineation in voice and the characterisation is impressive. It's also a surprisingly funny text and yet touching simultaneously. I definitely recommend this.


The Historian
The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basically a Good Read, 17 May 2006
This review is from: The Historian (Paperback)
Some of the reviews on this novel have been harsh and I think it is easy to pick holes in it. For a start, it is undoubtedly about 100 pages too long and does begin to drag. In addition, the ending was frustrating and the epilogue frankly too predictable. On a personal note I also felt that the character of Barley was underused - liked him a lot! However, there is also an awful lot of good to be said about this too. It is a good read and plays fascinatingly on the idea of stories within stories within stories. It is also an intelligent thriller, with plenty of historical information to keep allegations of trash at bay. Just one tip - don't read it when home alone like I did - scared myself half to death! (but then maybe I am over sensitive!!!)


The Unfortunates
The Unfortunates
by Laurie Graham
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 17 May 2006
This review is from: The Unfortunates (Paperback)
This is a wonderfully addictive novel and I struggled to put it down. Essentially focussing on Poppy as her life and the twentieth century unfolds, Graham creates a world bursting with three dimensional characters who brim with life, whether they be on stage for one chapter or twenty. The novel's other strength is undoubtedly the comedy with which Poppy is portayed - whilst undoubtedly a deeply selfish and self centred character, the author uses a gentle humour that somehow makes her likeable despite her faults. This is a very good novel.


Lunar Park
Lunar Park
by Bret Easton Ellis
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever and Unsettling, 15 May 2006
This review is from: Lunar Park (Paperback)
To take the autobiographical format and then turn it into this sort of horror story was a stroke of genius from the author. Not only does this stylistic approach create by far the most unsettling tale I have come across in years, it also generates a great deal of interest in the author himself from the reader - I found myself questioning what was "real" and what wasn't and subsequently researching the man at great length. I think the fact that I have rated this as a 3 says more about my inability to handle a text where the truth and fiction overlap in such a unprecedented fashion than my actual thoughts on the story. They do say they learn a lot about yourself through literature!


I Am Charlotte Simmons
I Am Charlotte Simmons
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as the rest, 15 May 2006
This review is from: I Am Charlotte Simmons (Paperback)
I love Tom Wolfe's novels - whenever I need true and utter escapism, they never fail to deliver what I am looking for, and this book is no exception. Once again the author skillfully provides insight into the lives of a vivid and varied range of characters, all centring on Charlotte Simmons, the first year university student struggling to cope with the culture shock of leaving behind small town life. At times the empathy I felt with Charlotte overwhelmed me and (much as I usually berate those who make statements like this) found myself marvelling that a male author could emulate such an intrinsically female viewpoint so effectively.

I did, however, feel marginally disappointed with the ending, which felt rushed and each character dealt with a little too easily. But don't let that put you off - this is well worth buying.


Lucky Jim
Lucky Jim
by Kingsley Amis
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Flawless Comedy, 15 May 2006
This review is from: Lucky Jim (Hardcover)
There are many levels on which this tale of a struggling university lecturer can be praised. To begin with there is the plot which, while disarmingly simple, allows Amis to get valuable mileage out of the most basic of social interaction. Stylistically, the novel's comedic value cannot be underrated, with every chapter bringing a smile to my face for some reason or other. In terms of characterisation, each of those introduced as the text progresses takes on a life of their own, without the author falling back on the use of caricature, as so often happens in comedy novels. I truly recommend this.


The Pact
The Pact
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 14 May 2006
This review is from: The Pact (Paperback)
OK I admit it, sometimes I can be a literary snob. And there is something about an author like Picoult who seems to mass produce books with what seem to be such simplistic themes that normally makes me run for the classics section of my local bookshop. However, now is the time to say, if this is trash, give me more! This is a fantastically good book. Picoult triumphs in the slow revelation of detail which literally keeps you hooked to the very last pages. She takes themes that have been dealt with a thousand times - love, death, friendship - and gives them the kind of spin that makes you feel you are analsying them for the very first time. All I can say is, read it read it read it!!!


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