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Reviews Written by
Jane E. Nicholson "Jane" (London, UK)
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The Blood of Senbralni (Zarder Book 3)
The Blood of Senbralni (Zarder Book 3)
Price: £2.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and simple tale with a twist, 13 Nov. 2012
The third novel in a series about the Onizards, a race that resemble dragons. Ever since the Fire Queen killed her own mother and took over the Kingdom of Day, the Onizards and the humans have been suffering the consequences. Even after the Fire Queen was discredited and exiled, things are still not right. This time Fire Queen has murdered Mekanni, ruler of the Night Kingdom, and kidnapped innocent young Iraeble. Now Amblomna must rescue her kidnapped love, and Senraeni has to stay behind and help rule the Night Kingdom. But how are the deaths continuing, when no one sees the Fire Queen come and go? And why can Amblomna speak with the rain?

This is a novel about discovering your own strengths, about redemption, and about letting the past go. The Onizards are simple creatures with strong moral values, a respect for life and love, but also intent on following strict rules of etiquette. For example, Amblomna is looked down on by some Onizards for having been in egg before her parents' official joining, and Senraeni is expected not to form a joining pair until the confusion caused to him by the sudden accession to Child of Light has abated.

A good read for young adults.

I was given a free copy of this book in order to review it.


Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha)
Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha)
by Kameron Hurley
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark and grimy intrigue, 12 Nov. 2012
Nyxnissa - still not a bel dame despite her deal with the Queen, and working minor jobs just keeping her team fed - is plunged back into the fray when a rogue bel dame attempts to assassinate her current protectee. Nyx has to decide whose side she is really on - the bel dame sisterhood's, the Queen's, or a rogue element thrown out of the bel dames many years before - and what she is prepared to do in order to become a bel dame again.

At the end of God's War, Nyx's team has spread to the far winds. Her magician and shifter have gone to a safe third country, where they won't be compelled to fight. Her comms specialist is dead and her best gun has set up as an independent. The new team is more-or-less an excuse to rescue lost causes, and Nyx will need her old people and a lot of called-in favours to discover who is trying to kill her and possibly overthrow the kingdom of Nasheen.

The narrative here flows better than God's War, despite the jumping around to various characters' viewpoints. Inaya, Khos and Rhys have excellent character development, and we get to learn a little more about Nyx's contacts within the bel dames and the magicians, not to mention the Queen and her security service. We also see some more history and learn just how unusual Inaya's shifting abilities are. However, the world of Umayma is still too much a dark and depressing place for me to be able to invest in it emotionally, and Nyx seems to be not only adding to the horror of it but intent on continuing to do so.

I was given a free copy of this novel to review.


God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha)
God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha)
by Kameron Hurley
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impressive worldbuilding but ultimately not my cup of tea, 12 Nov. 2012
Nyxnissa is a bel dame, a member of the elite fighting women that mete out death to those who have broken the culture's most important laws. Or she used to be. And now she'll do anything to survive, even if that means going up against all of her ex-sisters.

The world of Umayma is at constant war, the reasons for which aren't even questioned any more. Nasheen and Chenja are evenly matched, living on a planet where magicians control bugs to perform their magic, feared and hunted 'shifters' can change form, and almost all body parts can be replaced if damaged or lost. Nyx is hired to find an off-worlder who may threaten the stability of the two nations, taking her behind enemy lines where she has previously lost her partner.

Nyx is emotionally and mentally scarred by her experiences at the front, and both hates and loves her role as bel dame. The setup for the novel (which occurs 6 years before the main events) describe how she parts company with the sisterhood and is a little disjointed, more like a series of short stories in which we meet the characters. The flow of the novel is improved once we're into the main story, which is a reasonably compelling thriller. However, I struggled to get into the work as I couldn't like Nyx enough to want to immerse myself in the horror of her world. Rhys (a minor magician and devout Chenjan, who crossed to Nasheen for sanctuary rather than go to the front) and Inaya (an even more devout woman, who is ashamed of being a shifter despite being so having saved her life) are interesting and almost likeable. They are both warped by suffering but are trying to heal and become human again, unlike Nyx who is forming herself into an ever-sharper weapon.

The body count is quite high, and violence is common and casual.

I was given a free copy of this to review.


The Mystery of Smugglers Cove (The Mystery Series Book 1) (FREE Adventure Book For Middle Grade Children Ages 9-12)
The Mystery of Smugglers Cove (The Mystery Series Book 1) (FREE Adventure Book For Middle Grade Children Ages 9-12)
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read for younger children, 8 Nov. 2012
While they are on their summer holidays, Joe, Ann, Sarah and Will face off with a gang of crooks who are using the seaside caves for goodness-knows-what. While the police are easily misled, the children stay on the case until it is solved!

The story has rather more back-and-forth to the same locations than I recall from Famous Five and similar novels, and the adults seemed more relaxed about the children getting into scrapes. We also watch the children solve the mystery rather than join in, but there is plenty of engagement with all the characters and the central mystery is a good one that children will easily understand and enter into.

I was given a free copy of this book in order to review it.


Women of Power
Women of Power
Price: £2.24

2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this, 5 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Women of Power (Kindle Edition)
The plot was interesting and the political machinations had a lot of promise, but my enjoyment of the book was spoiled by the protagonist. Nisha is a Qi advisor, and when Qi is properly developed, one doesn't have an emotional stake in any particular outcome. In this way impartial advice can be given without rancour. Unfortunately, if the main character isn't emotionally invested, it's difficult for me to become invested as well.

Nisha, at 18, is already a fully developed character and so there is no room for growth. Despite having to have the same arguments over and over (often with the same detractors!) she never varied in tone or substance in her responses, which made the discussions frustrating. If she had still been growing as a character, so that the arguments developed, this would have worked better for my enjoyment (but I see why the authors chose as they did, as personal growth of Nisha would have been counter to the premise of the novel.)

I think I would have enjoyed the book much more if it had been written from the perspective of one of the other characters. Still worth a read, if you are looking for a relaxing story without emotional tension.

(I was given a promotional copy of this work to review.)


The Shoulders of Giants (A Jake Abraham Mystery)
The Shoulders of Giants (A Jake Abraham Mystery)
Price: £2.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A compelling mystery made very easy to read, 30 Oct. 2012
This mystery novel has a different feel from most of the suspense/thrillers that I have previously read. The protagonist labours under none of the usual 'grunge' stereotypes - he doesn't spend time agonising over his alcoholism or his relationship with his family; he doesn't appear to be under constant financial pressure; and although he is sometimes caught in shady underworld situations, they don't have the underlying feeling of grime that permeates the genre. Jake Abraham is a very likeable detective, who appears to have no problem charming everyone from mob bosses to press-shy police. Indeed, I occasionally found jarring the ease with which he seemed to get answers from people who started off not particularly interested in helping. Either Jim Cliff has a nobler view of humanity than other authors, or he's setting up for a twist in a sequel.

This was a fun read, and kept me interested to the end. The first couple of chapters don't do the work justice, so my advice is to persist. I particularly enjoyed Jake's relationship with his friend in the police force, which will come in very handy for future novels. I hope to see more of Jake Abraham in future.

Recommended for fans of British police drama rather than American spy novels.

(I was given a free copy of this book in return for a review.)


Notebk Optical Mse Win32 USB Port EN/NL/FR/DE/EL Hdwr Silver
Notebk Optical Mse Win32 USB Port EN/NL/FR/DE/EL Hdwr Silver
Offered by Buy It Love It
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiny & perfect, 11 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This mouse fits in the hand perfectly, and is very convenient for taking places. I could wish the cord was a little longer since my new notebook has the USB port on the wrong side, but making it longer might actually spoil the carrying convenience.


Rain Design iLap 13" Cooling Stand for MacBook Air 13"
Rain Design iLap 13" Cooling Stand for MacBook Air 13"
Price: £46.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Large but comfortable, 4 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product works well, although it is large enough that I constantly feel it is about to fall off my lap.

The surface clings nicely to the laptop, meaning that it doesn't slide about, and the velvet wrist rest feel wonderful. The rotatable foot for the rear of the laptop is also nicely cushioned so that it won't create scratches on a wooden table.

I thought it was overengineered at first sight, but I am won over by it.


Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 2: Research
Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 2: Research
by Tom Siddell
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful work, 7 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Tom consistently underrates his own artistic talent - these books are a lovely tale, told in an imaginative way, involving fabulous characters and an intricate mystery that is suitable for children and adults.


Orientation (Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1)
Orientation (Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1)
by Thomas Siddell
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful work, 7 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Tom consistently underrates his own artistic talent - these books are a lovely tale, told in an imaginative way, involving fabulous characters and an intricate mystery that is suitable for children and adults.


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