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Profile for Samharnold > Reviews

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is a villain? Who is a hero?, 6 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vicious (Kindle Edition)
Who is a hero? Who is a villain? Well the author of this book is both hero and villain. A hero for writing such a brilliant book a villain for making me stay up to past midnight just so I could finish it.

What is the difference between hero and villain is something you will ask yourself constantly throughout the book. I asked myself several times which out of the two friends Eli and Victor was which. It is an answer that you could debate for hours after the book.

There is so much to like about this book it is hard to quantify them all. The fact the author that I believe is female is as addicted to marvel superhero's as myself. The short quick chapters that change timeframe and give you all the background on the characters. You just want to keep reading to see what has happened to these characters and how their lives develop. The character development of these characters is the real strength of this book. Not just the two lead characters but the supporting cast. They are all well developed and likeable flaws and all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am definitely going to be looking for more from this author. If you like superhero's, good character development and a good story that is quick and easy to read then I must urge you to pick this up.

"Victor was the first to speak, and when he did, it was with an eloquence and composure perfectly befitting the situation."

The Woods
The Woods
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Traditional Twists and Turns, 20 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Woods (Paperback)
As a fan of Harlan Coben I am always excited to start a new book from him. I have to admit this book took me a while to get into but I think that was more to do with me than the quality of the writing. The book is trademark Coben and that is what I like about the author you always know what you are getting.

The book is centred round two central characters who's life is changed early on. I liked both the lead characters and like the fact that some familiar faces from other books pop up such as Loren Muse and Hester Crimstein to name a few.

The action is fast paced and the book has the traditional twists and turns right through to the end. Some of the twist I had my suspicions about but most were a surprise.

A really good fast paced beach read that I loved.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Stand Alone or Companion to the Series, 9 Jun. 2014
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I have to start this review by saying that I love the series of Game of Thrones and am addicted to every episode. It is with this in mind I picked up the first in the series. When I started this book I wondered if I would have enjoyed it more if I had not seen the series. I can only imagine how complicated the range of characters would be to someone who had not had the series to help them. I actually read this book as part of a group read and the feedback from others was that it was too complicated to follow. As a fan I loved the fact that the book offered more information to the series and also helped explain some of the facts I had missed out on from watching the series.

The book generally is well written in easy language which flows well. I progressed through the book at a great speed and greatly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading the next in the series of books to continue through this great adventure.

The Bone Season
The Bone Season
by Samantha Shannon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All been done before, 7 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bone Season (Hardcover)
I normally give a book 50 pages to see if I like it and then move on it it doesn't engage me. Due to the hype and reviews surrounding this book I gave it until half way until I realised it just was not for me. The story basically has all been done before. The unique twist around psychics being found is the only unique factor. After this we move into the training of a new recruit all very similar to Divergent. The characters did not engage me and the fact it was written in first person did nothing to encourage me to continue with it either.
I appreciate there are a lot of fans of this book as we are all different. I simply did not enjoy it and found myself struggling through it. I for obvious reasons will not be reading the next in the series.
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2014 10:57 AM BST

Price: £5.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novel outside all the normal parameters, 26 May 2014
This review is from: Above (Kindle Edition)
After finishing this book it has taken me a while to fully digest it. Not for the normal reason of the story, but rather because I simply can not decide whether I enjoyed it or not. The first thing that I noted about the book is the physical production of the book is hard to read. It is produced in a very unforgiving paperback which was physically hard to hold and turn the pages.

When you start the book it is far from slow and the story takes off almost immediately. However, I would not say that I initially thought it was a hit with me. I believe in parts this is due to the horrendous images the author has created through the horror the female hero goes through. The horror throughout the book is more referred than actually written. This makes the psychological impact of what you read even more. The author has an excellent use of language which makes this reading hard but beautifully written. There are times when this books slips through several years over a chapter. Sometimes this jump appears too large a leap. The book may have benefited from dates being added to the beginning of the chapters to help with these jumps.

As the book progresses however it changes genre. The first part of the book I would describe as psychological thriller and is clearly horrific in parts. The second half of the book then changes to dystopian. I thought this twist was clearly very clever and greatly enjoyed it. However, I do wonder whether this clever twist maybe the downfall of the book for some readers. I have also seen this book advertised as a young adult read and would greatly disagree with this. I would offer caution if you suggest a young adult read this before you are fully aware of the content.

The ending of the book is unusual in the fact that it has not got a characteristic big bang ended but still manages to complete the story perfectly. I urge anyone who would wants to read a book that does not fit into the normal parameters of a novel to pick this up. I only hope some of my friends do as I would love to discuss this further with others, it is that type of book.

France or Prison: Kneesworth Hall
France or Prison: Kneesworth Hall
by Mr David John Salter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.56

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good character driven novel, 11 May 2014
The story starts with Derek as a young boy. I think it is fair to say Derek is someone who pushed the boundaries of life to the limit. I loved the opening part of chapter 2 when it describes Derek as someone who was utterly and hopelessly opposed to doing what he was told. Having spent a large amount of my adult life working with teenagers like this, the line perfectly described a handful of young people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

The story is hard to categorise it is essential a character driven plot which I have discovered is not one of my personal favourites and probably a large factor in why I only graded it three stars. A reader who enjoys character led literature would enjoy this novel more than me. I would describe it as a semi biographical, coming of age story, if I had to pick a genre. For the reason that the book centres on just one character, Derek and his life I was left wondering whether this story would have suited a first person narrative better. Again this is a personal choice.

The story is exceedingly well written with some lovely use of language. I did find that some of the chapters were a little lengthy and sometimes there was one to many examples of the trouble Derek got into. Some of the high jinx could have been left out to produce a quicker more fluid read.

Overall this was a well written novel that had me gasping and smiling in equal measure at Derek's life. I think the author has a huge talent and look forward to reading more from him as he develops his craft. If you like character driven novels then I urge you to pick up a copy and see what you think.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Photos Not Such Beautiful Subjects, 23 April 2014
This story is primarily written for young adults. The beautiful photography that is included means it is a book that will appeal to all ages. When I say beautiful photography I mean stunning old photographs not so much beautiful subject matter.

I have to say the photo's are what attracted me to this novel. That and the hype that had been produced in the book community. I was not disappointed at all this is one of those rare things a book that lives up to its hype. The story is well rounded and starts of with introducing us to the main characters that will take us forward on our adventure. The plot is unusual in its self as well as its title and deals with an island over two different time periods. The only negative I found with the book was that although I was originally attracted by the photography in the book during it some of the photo's left me feeling that I hadn't imagined a particular character the way it was shown in the story.

This book is clearly the start of something more to come and I can't wait to carry on reading the series to see where the adventure takes us.

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)
The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brave and Amazing, 23 April 2014
I approached this book with in trepidation especially after how much I had wanted to like The Casual Vacancy and simply didn't. I have to start by saying that this was a wonderfully brave move from this author to write under another name to see if the book made it and to walk away from the hype that surrounds this author.

So I have to say I was not disappointed at all, this book was simply amazing. This is classic JK Rowling with excellent characters that are well developed and equally as flawed in places. The two main investigating couple I loved and this made the book easy to get into. The plot was brilliant and the story was engaging. I have to say half way through the book I wondered whether the story had enough to sustain the 500 pages but as I finished the book I realised that this had not been a problem. The story just flowed effortlessly and I never identified a quiet mid section of the book which is common in this genre.

This story has certainly left me wanting more from the two lead characters and from Robert Galbraith / JK Rowling. I will definitely be searching out the second Cormoran Strike novel.

The House of Silk: The Bestselling Sherlock Holmes Novel
The House of Silk: The Bestselling Sherlock Holmes Novel
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Imitation, 23 April 2014
If I had never read the genius which is Arthur Conan Doyle I would have liked this book. I however, have read the original Sherlock Holmes and loved it. Rather than try to put his own interpretation on the stories for me Anthony Horowitz tries to imitate the previous author and this was simply not for me. I understand that the original remit for the author may have been to copy the style completely but then this book left me thinking it was a poor imitation and was not really needed in todays market.
As mentioned by other reviewers there are clear inconsistencies with the story and the original although this did not spoil the story for me as I have not studied the original text clear enough for this to be an issue. I just simply found the book hard to get into and the story uninspiring. I was never eager to pick it up again and start reading. It didn't help that the production of my book made it hard to read as a paperback as it was unyielding and hard to hold.

Having completed this read I have to say that I would prefer to stick to the original literature and am not going to look at any of these new stories again. However, I will eagerly still read other works by this author.

The Outcast Dead: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 6
The Outcast Dead: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 6
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing as always, 5 April 2014
I think it is important to say before I start this review that I love Elly Griffiths. She has fast become one of my favourite authors and this book does nothing to change this. Elly Griffiths is that rare writing talent that can mix; historical fact, familiar character developments and a dame good thriller into one.

This book is one of the best I have read from her and as usual I find myself enthralled by the historical information which is passed throughout this book. The book also has a fair amount of dealing with familiar characters such as Cathbad, Ruth and Nelson. Whilst reading this story you find yourself investing in all the characters as you always have. I am as excited to know what happens to my favourites as I am to solve the mystery.

This mystery is as good as any others she has written. The story kept you guessing until the last minute and I found myself working out who was the culprit at exactly the same time as the lead characters. The story is harrowing in places and on more than one occasion I found a tear coming to my eye.

This is a brilliant read as a stand alone or if you are a fan like me.

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