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PRL (UK)

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It's Neil Gaiman and it's great, 16 May 2014
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Let's start with the easy stuff. This is one of the best things I've read in years. Go buy it and enjoy.

This is a beautiful story about childhood and loss. Much of what I could say concerning the story could very likely spoil it for some, so I'll be brief. There's a boy and down the end of the lane on which he lives is a farmhouse. A young girl, who lives there with her morher and grandmother, calls her pond by the farmhouse an ocean.

This is a book I never wanted to end, but it did and far too quickly.

And that's all you need to know. It's Neil Gaiman, you're in safe hands and the ending will rip your heart in two. I know it did mine.


A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St Mary Book 2)
A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St Mary Book 2)
Price: £1.79

4.0 out of 5 stars The continuing story of St Mary's historians and their love of a nice cuppa., 16 May 2014
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This is another very enjoyable installment in the Chronicals of St Mary's. It's well written, contains very few typos/mistakes, is funny where it needs to be and made me cry on a packed commuter train (fortunately I could play the hay fever card).

There are a few problems with this book. For me, none of them are major issues, with one exception. The ending feels rushed. Whether the author was working to a tight time schedule or a wordcount constraint, I don't know, but the third act was too short and lacked the usual depth with which we have become accustomed. 'After months of hard work...' is a cop out, I want to experience the months of hard work.

Parts of the plot are contrived, some characters are used for nothing more than emotional leverage and lots of time travel issues are conveniently swept under the carpet, but it's still a fun (albeit short) read.


PLOB - Top Humorous Fantasy Books: The first THREE books in ONE Hilarious package
PLOB - Top Humorous Fantasy Books: The first THREE books in ONE Hilarious package
Price: £3.59

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written and in desperate need of a proofreader, 18 Feb. 2014
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It takes a lot to get me to write a review, but this book has managed it. It's one of the worst things I have read in a fair few years.

Currently this book has twenty five 5 star, one 3 star and two 1 star reviews. Part of me finds this quite surprising, a more cynical part of me doesn't.

I should have followed my gut instincts and avoided any book that describes itself as hilarious. Many other reviews bring up names like Pratchett, Adams and Sharp in comparison to Craig Zerf. I'll add Tom Holt to the list, but only because this book really made me wish that I was reading him or one of the others instead.

This book lacks the wit, subtlety, deftness of touch and cutting satire of those previously mentioned, but that's not why it gets 1 star from me.

Mr Zerf appears to believe that the more times you repeat the same joke the funnier it gets, he's mistaken. This is also not the cause of the 1 star review.

The book purports to be published by Small Dog Publishing Limited, I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to investigate this publisher. I have nothing against self/vanity publishing so long as the underlying book is worthy of publication and this is where Plob struggles.

I only read the first book of this three book omnibus. That was enough for me. The humour fell flat on its face, I found the characters one dimensional and the plot (what little of it there was) was devoid of threat, tension or pacing.

At this point I'll mention magical silver bullets. This book needed several of them and you could hear the clang as they were dropped into the narrative. If you can't think of better plot devices than a magic bracelet that protects you and a friend from all harm, a magic cloak that makes you impossible to see and a one use magic cube that amplifies a spell's power a thousandfold, then maybe a change of career beckons. Still this is not the reason for the 1 star.

This solitary star review is due to laziness, namely the author's. I didn't start keeping notes until the third chapter, but by the end of the first book I had highlighted 67 significant errors. These included spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes (missing or extraneous), grammatical errors, incorrect homophones, confusion between singular and plural terms, missing words, extra words, unknown words and sentences that made absolutely no sense. Here are a few highlights.

'a iPod', 'an creepy-crawley', 'Oiuja board', 'cohones', 'I recommend a room to retiring for the knight, and the others, and we will continue said discussions tomorrow.', 'catapults and siege onagers', 'yahdee yahdee' (yada yada) and 'I except this duty'.

Reading on the Kindle app for iPad, every now and then some words, or parts of some words were red, for no obvious reason. For a three book omnibus there's also no table of contents or navigable chapter markers. For an eBook this is unforgivable.

Mistakes happen and a few are almost expected, but this book gives every impression of having never been proofread and if the author cares so little about his work as to not have it checked then why should I care about it?

It may be that I have a tin ear for this brand of humour and that reading it on the train during delays and floods clouded my judgement. I'll leave you to decide that. My advice is to read the free sample before spending any money on this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2014 10:37 PM BST


Afterliff
Afterliff
by John Lloyd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Aachen to Zumpango, 15 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Afterliff (Hardcover)
This book is a most worthy successor to the original Liff books. Regularly laugh out loud funny, but at times better than that, it's endearing. In some of these Liffs you can see yourself reflected, proof that you are not alone in having a certain thought, even if prior to this book there was no name for it.

Some may argue that the quality of the Liffs has been diminished in this volume with the sad loss of Douglas Adams and the numerous crowd sourced contributions. I fervently disagree, but then again this book does include one of mine, so I'm biased.

This book would make an excellent stocking filler/gift but would serve equally well as downstairs loo reading material, a welcome distraction from the Shoeburyness.


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