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H D. Steel (UK)
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The Rise of Zenobia: Volume 1 (Overlord)
The Rise of Zenobia: Volume 1 (Overlord)
by JD Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and interesting, 17 Jan. 2016
I knew little about the history of the Eastern Roman Empire of the 3rd century so this well-written novel (the first of a series) was a very welcome introduction to what was happening in Syria in this turbulent period. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the story and its many characters but once I had, I read the rest of the book at one sitting. Zenobia was the daughter of a Syrian general and became the second wife of Oedanthus, King of Palmyra and client of Rome. She seems to have been a remarkable lady, as others have pointed out, a kind of Eastern Boudicca. I wouldn't be surprised if George R. Martin had her in mind when he created Daenerys Targeryan. I like historical novels that transport me to the era they are set in and this one did so very successfully. I see the novel was written some time before the tragic despoiling of the archaeological remains at Palmyra. Reading about the city's former glory made what we know now all the more poignant.
Incidentally, it's a great pity that the reviewer who gave 2* gave up on the ground that they don't enjoy historical novels written in the present tense, that only lasted until the beginning of the second chapter.


The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga Book 1)
The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga Book 1)
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing blend of fact and fantasy., 14 Jan. 2016
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Mary Stewart's writing is still a delight after all these years. Her interpretation of the Arthurian story and the coming of age of Merlin remains, for me, the best, though some may find the pace a little slow for modern tastes..


A Short Way From Home (The Home Series: 1)
A Short Way From Home (The Home Series: 1)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Please, 14 Jan. 2016
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An excellent collection of short stories that brightened a winter's evening up very nicely. As a keen gardener and vegetable grower, I particularly enjoyed Over the Moon. More please.


The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) (Penguin Classics)
The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) (Penguin Classics)
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical and melancholy, 17 Nov. 2015
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This affected me less than it did when I read it as a teenager but that's probably more of a reflection on me. It's still a lovely read with a melancholy,, lyrical, magical quality. I love the way it evokes the times in rural France. A bit of trivia - Fournier worked in London for a while as tne French clerk for Sandersons wallpaper company. Odd to think of him doing a rather pedestrian job.


Love2Sleep WHITE GOOSE FEATHER AND DOWN PILLOW 4 PACK (4 PILLOWS) / HOTEL QUALITY 100% CRISP COTTON COVER - ANTI DUSTMITE
Love2Sleep WHITE GOOSE FEATHER AND DOWN PILLOW 4 PACK (4 PILLOWS) / HOTEL QUALITY 100% CRISP COTTON COVER - ANTI DUSTMITE
Offered by LOVE2SLEEP
Price: £59.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 17 Nov. 2015
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Extremely comfortable, they do the job.


The Ice Twins
The Ice Twins
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read although it didn't quite deliver its early promise., 17 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: The Ice Twins (Kindle Edition)
The opening of this novel intrigued me although I had to suspend disbelief to a certain extent. We have identical twins in my family and their mother and father were always able to tell them apart as children, even if other members of the family had trouble at times. By the end however, I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed. I don't want to spoil the story for others but it seemed to me that the author threw in a theme too many. A revelation about the heroine revealed an episode I also found hard to credit. Nonetheless, a good read with plenty of heart stopping moments, just not quite a 5*.


The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard)
The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard)
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much psychology, not enough thrills., 2 Nov. 2015
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The premise for this one was good - art fraud, a prominent charity that launders money, skulduggery in high places and arms theft should make for an exciting thriller but I'm afraid that for me, this book was a let-down. The high-functioning autistic heroine, Genevieve, works for an international insurance company that highly values her uncanny skill in spotting patterns in information and reading body language. Unfortunately, the author was so keen to get the psychological point over that it became tediously repetitive and I ended up very bored by Genevieve. Would she really have been so rude in the opening scenes either? Surely if she was so smart, she would have learnt how to control herself in a professional situation rather better than she did.
The male characters around her were only slightly more interesting. The adrenalin-pumping finale I'd hoped for didn't happen either. I also found the author's stylistic mannerisms jarred - far too many eyes widening and narrowing, jaws clenching and lips thinning or even disappearing altogether. I got to the end but it was an effort and I'm not tempted to continue with this series.


Songs of the Coromandel Coast
Songs of the Coromandel Coast
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: £6.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 19 Oct. 2015
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I bought this for the Requiem which very moving but enjoyed the other pieces too. A good quality recording.


Dreaming in Norwegian
Dreaming in Norwegian
Price: £2.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 26 Aug. 2015
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I'm interested in history so I was attracted to this by the mention of the Shetland Bus, an episode in the history of WWII I wanted to learn about. In fact, the story was primarily a contemporary romance but none the worse for that. Once I got into the characters and the plot, I found it most enjoyable and convincingly realistic. The author's style is straightforward; she doesn't go in for flowery descriptions and that seemed to suit the settings - Norway and the Shetland Isles. Like all good books, this one made me want to visit them.


Lady of Asolo
Lady of Asolo
Price: £1.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat., 3 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Lady of Asolo (Kindle Edition)
A delightful romance inspired by history and art, spiced up with scenes of high drama and political intrigue that are truly chilling. I loved the way the author evoked the Renaissance world and, in particular, the glories of the Venetian Republic at the height of its powers. Her imaginative take on the life of Gorgione, that most enigmatic and elusive of Italian painters, is convincing and enthralling. Her characters never failed to engage my interest and I cared about their fate right up to the last page. The only disappointment was that the novel had to end. I look forward to the next one with eager anticipation.


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