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Richard Pierce "RPS" (Suffolk, England)

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Netgear 200Mbps Mini Powerline Twin Pack Ethernet Adapter
Netgear 200Mbps Mini Powerline Twin Pack Ethernet Adapter
Price: 14.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all robust, 17 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Stopped working 2 days after I bought the pair, which is awful, so I returned it. Very poor, and I'm very disappointed. R


Frozen Out
Frozen Out
Price: 4.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding without being standard Scandinavian noir, 30 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Frozen Out (Kindle Edition)
We've all become used to, and probably tired of, Scandinavian noir crime novels with detectives who carry massive personality disorders as part of their daily baggage, or who are addicted to one thing or another, or who fight depression as well as crime. The really refreshing thing about Frozen Out is that Bates does not give us yet another set of world-weary Scandos. Instead, here is a crime novel suffused with real-life, crime-weary, politician-weary humour.

Gunna, the main police character is wonderfully drawn, and, although she is described as fat, "with a face to scare the horses," she is, in actual fact, well-drawn, and not without a degree of less than maternalistic sensuality. For me, her moral and mental strength, lift her head and shoulders above the rest of the book's cast, although that cast, too is very well-drawn.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the language (which I think could well be the result of a decade spent in Iceland by Bates), because very often it is simplicity of language which makes novels great, where purple prose is nothing more than an author showing off after swalling a dictionary and a thesaurus.

To be able to read a crime novel that is so up to date, and which does give a glimmer of hope in dark times, is something that's always a great experience, and I was totally and utterly absorbed in this. High-quality writing at a bargain price. Go and get it!


Echoes from the Lost Ones: 1 (Song of Forgetfulness)
Echoes from the Lost Ones: 1 (Song of Forgetfulness)
by Nicola J. McDonagh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive and engrossing, 20 Sep 2013
I must admit I was surprised by this book. Post-apocalyptic novels tend to drift into desolation and lack of humour very easily, and often to imitate those books about the end of the world that have gone before them. This definitely does not. It creates its own unique world where there's danger, and fear, and regret, but where there is a barrel load of humour, too, because, in the end, humour can be what saves us not just from ourselves but from whatever dangers the world decides to throw at us.

The narrative rattles along at a fair pace, and the reader is engrossed in this odd world right from the off. And keeps going and going, and believing in this strange little world with its strange people, and the independent feisty (and soft and frightened) girl at the centre of the story, with the voice that can call the birds down from the sky.

More I cannot reveal for fear of spoiling the story, but suffice it to say that I'll be getting the second volume of the trilogy when it's out.


The Scattered Proud
The Scattered Proud
Price: 4.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Written the way historical fiction should be, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
To read The Scattered Proud is not to read the words of a modern author sitting in front of a computer screen and looking back into the depth of some randomly-chosen history. Instead, it is to read the thoughts and emotions, the soul, of someone who is living that history, someone who is there, someone touching the very fabric of the late 18th century, someone a part, indeed, of that fabric.

What I mean to say with this, not being one who recites plot and characters' names and gives half the story away, is that the book reads as if it was written in the period of which it tells. To start this book is to become immersed in a woman's diary, to all intents and purposes, and to live with her through the turbulent times just after the French Revolution and the ascent to power of Napoleon Bonaparte, even when the great Napoleon is nothing but a bit-part player in this story, which really is a Bildungsroman, the growing up (and all the problems and tribulations that brings with it) of the main character, Janet.

I was engrossed in this from the first page to the last. This is what real historical fiction should be written like - demure, fiery, desolate, despairing, joyous, all in one, with a voice from the time it belongs to.


The Radio
The Radio
Price: 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging and very readable debut, 21 April 2013
This review is from: The Radio (Kindle Edition)
Although I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute towards the sleeve notes, I felt it was important for me to write a slightly more extensive review of this extremely engaging and readable debut novel.

Modern thinking is that you need to have a strict plot running through a book to make it interesting, readable and worthwhile. I don't agree with this, and this book proves my point. Not only does it read so well it is a brilliant page turner, but it also portrays a great number of universal truths about daily life, about the mundanity of daily existence, that make it more than just a quick read. It has something in it for the reader to carry away with him/her when the book is finished.

The twist at the end leaves the reader wanting more, which I think is a good thing. Really good books leave the reader felling bereft, and that's how I felt when I reached the end.

Couched in simple language, this story leads the reader through the full gamut of emotions, from hilarious incredulity through to the depths of despair. This is what makes it such a good a worthwhile (and quick) read. Entertaining from start to finish, it isn't as superficial as many chick llit books, and the serious undertone of it makes me feel that the blurb describing it as a black comedy does it a slight injustice. This is a satire as well as contemplative narrative which will enrich the reader.


Too Young: The Diagnosis: Diary of a Bowel Cancer Patient (True Cancer Story) (Volume 1)
Too Young: The Diagnosis: Diary of a Bowel Cancer Patient (True Cancer Story) (Volume 1)
Price: 1.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously brave, 28 Mar 2013
First, let me declare a personal interest here. I have never met Janie in the flesh, but have known her, via writing web sites and social media, since 2008. She's the first writer I ever met on a web site called authonomy, in September 2008. I have always admired her writing. And this makes it easy for me to be impartial about this, because we are writers, not a mutual admiration society.

To write about your own illness, and one which, to be frank, could kill you, is as brave as battling the illness itself. Maybe even more so, because you expose yourself, your fears, your worries, the depths of your despair, and become naked before the rest of the world.

But that's not the only thing that's so remarkable about this book. The quality of writing is what makes it stand out, and it's a quality of writing that's marked by its simplicity, by the way it speaks a language that everyone can understand. However painful it might be to read, it's a text (because that's what it is, a semincal text) which patients and carers need to read, not to wallow, but to gain hope and strength from, to realise that the human spirit is indomitable, and that what we might think of as our very weaknesses are, in fact, our strengths.

Astounding.


My Demon
My Demon
by Lisa C. Hinsley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, 4 Mar 2013
This review is from: My Demon (Paperback)
My Demon starts off almost light-heartedly, lulls the reader into a false sense of security, amkes us feel comfortable with the oddly kitted-out demon, Clive, and the shy, unthinking 19-year-old Alex, just another girl frittering her life away with banalities.

It's when Clive takes Alex's life over more and more that the story becomes much less light-hearted, and the writing really makes us understand what it must be like to think you're going mad, to start not understanding what's real and what's not. It's the stuff of nightmartes, and I found myself not knowing what to believe either, even when I tried to analyse Alex's situation. It even made me doubt some of my own experiences, wondering if they were imagined or real. This is the power of quality writing. I'm not surprised Simon & Schuster have signed Lisa. She is a top writer.

I'll not give the end away, but put it this way, I didn't expect it, and that made it even better.

I read this on my Kindle.

R


The Night Circus
The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great literature, 15 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Night Circus (Paperback)
I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern yesterday after just 3 days of reading. I find it an amazing piece of work, and the best book I've read since I finally got round to reading Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending earlier this year.

The thing that gripped me was the voice, from the very first sentence. Written in the present tense, which I know is not very popular with many people for some reason, it still transported me into the past, and evoked all sorts of emotions in me, including a longing for my past, a wish to be able to influence more the future, and a determination to de-chaos the present. I know this sounds odd, but very good books lead the reader to some kind of catharsis.

The only thing I could nitpick are that, occasionally, sentences which really should be split by a full stop are only marginally separated by a comma.

I couldn't care less that the book has been really hyped, nor that there have been some fairly scathing reviews of it. To have what one might describe as a slow burner of a book which runs along diverging and then converging time lines, which sees dialogue as only part of the story, and one subservient to observation, description and atmosphere is a wonderful thing. To be able to hold a book in my hand that I know I can go back to over and over again to read favourite passages to myself, to take from the shelf on a rainy day and escape from the English weather is a boon in an age when the market is populated by celebrity memoirs and poorly-written, hardly-remembered pap.

If this seems overly effusive, I'm not sorry. This is a great book, and, for me, great literature.

R


Urdustan (A Collection of Short Stories)
Urdustan (A Collection of Short Stories)
by Sabina England
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Real life, from a different angle, 10 Oct 2012
You'd think a Muslim punk would be a contradiction in terms, and you'd think it would be impossible for a Muslim punk to put into words her real life, albeit fictionalised stories from that life. You'd be wrong.

Urdustan is a collection of short stories, each unique, each crafted with a different voice, but each giving a taste of a different slice of the real world. There's even a zombie story in it, which I read as a metaphor for how the challenges and inane urbanities of life can turn us into zombies and make us indifferent to love and indifferent to the pain we might inflict on other people.

The language in all the stories is refreshingly simple and fresh, a rawness fighting against the artificial smoothness of our ever-increasingly processed life (and food). There are flavours in here, scents and scenes we would never encounter in our lives if England had not presented them to us in this gem of a collection.


Sanctus (Sancti Trilogy 1)
Sanctus (Sancti Trilogy 1)
by Simon Toyne
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and interesting, and unconventional, 10 Oct 2012
One thing I really liked about Sanctus was that the story is led by two strong female characters rather than by one single male main character who is swooned over by all and sundry. Add to that the fact that the main makle character (a policeman) is exceptionally well drawn and different (I won't give away why), and you have a book which, while on the surface observing all the conventions of the religious conspiracy/mystery genre, is totally unconventional and, dare I say it, innovative.

All books require a certain suspension of disbelief, and I find it quite incredible that some of the reviews on here criticise the fact that disbelief has to be suspended. This is fiction, for heavens' sake! The short chapters don't just give an illusion of a fast-paced plot; they are so tight and short because the plot moves quickly. That's something that's actually very difficult for a writer to achieve.

Finally, because love interest is a simmering, maturing one, it doesn't detract from the story. This is another positive. Writers in this arena seem to have a compulsion to dilute their plots and pace with gratuitous love (or sex) which distract from the main mystery. It is one of the many strengths of Sanctus that it does not fall into this trap.

I liked this a lot.


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