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NinaD (UK)

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The Winter Garden
The Winter Garden
Price: 5.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 July 2014
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This review is from: The Winter Garden (Kindle Edition)
I gave the first book five stars and couldn't wait to read this one. I wasn't disappointed. Jane Thynne is highly skilled at creating atmosphere, and you really feel that you are there in pre-war Berlin (although I wouldn't want to be!) I love the slightly creepy edge the books have because we the readers know precisely what's coming - World War II, and Hitler becoming ever more powerful. I also like the way real-life characters like Goebbels and his wife are woven into the story. Read it!


Waiting for Wednesday: A Frieda Klein Novel (Frieda Klein 3)
Waiting for Wednesday: A Frieda Klein Novel (Frieda Klein 3)
Price: 3.32

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as gripping as the first two, 5 July 2014
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Before the Freda Klein books, I had a love-hate relationship with Nicci French. Some of their books I loved, others I felt were really weak - characters were usually well-written, but the plots were in some cases laughable. I'd be interested to know which of them had the biggest say in working out the plots of the books I didn't like so much...
Anyway, the first two Freda books - loved them. Freda came across as the kind of character we've all met before in fiction and onscreen - the psychiatrist/psychotherapist who has more problems than his or her clients. But she was darker and more complex and I found her intriguing. I could see the end of the first book coming but that didn't ruin it for me. Similiarly, I enjoyed the second book, too.
I bought this book and Thursday's Children to take on holiday a few weeks ago and read them back to back. I think now that was a mistake. I didn't enjoy them as much as the first two - in fact, I found them somewhat depressing, especially 'Thursday's Children' - and it was also fairly easy to guess what was going to happen at the end of both of them. I can't say too much because of spoilers, but if you've read the others, you'll guess the ending of at least one of them. The characters are also starting to grate on me, even Freda herself and her enigmatic decisions that are sometimes never explained. In 'Waiting for Wednesday' the detective, Karlsson, is investigating the murder of Ruth Lennox, a seemingly ordinary wife and mother, and virtually every character he interviews is rude and aggressive towards the police. Consequently the 'voices' of the characters often sound far too similiar. The supporting cast of characters - Josef, Reuben, et al - are also starting to get on my nerves slightly. I find French's portrayal of teenage kids particularly irritating - and yes, I know teens can be annoying - but still…
Having said that, this isn't a bad book. It's just a bit of a disappointment after the first two.


She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me
She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me
Price: 4.19

1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 5 July 2014
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Was looking forward to this as I'd read a magazine article on the same subject, but found the book-length version just didn't deliver. Emma Brockes writes well, but I couldn't sustain any interest in her quest to find out the truth about her mother and grandfather. The narrative felt unstructured and 'bitty' - although Brockes almost pulled it off, it wasn't quite there, for me, at least. I understand this was probably a necessary journey for her to travel, though, for her own peace of mind; I just don't think it translated well into a book of this length. Including transcripts of the court case might have helped but they weren't available for a reason I can't remember (I only skimmed through the second half and would have abandoned it altogether if it hadn't been a Book Club choice). I hesitate to be too critical, as this is someone's real life and not just entertainment for the reader, but for me it didn't work.


The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton
The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton
Price: 5.49

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow, confusing and very, very dull..., 1 Jan 2014
I struggled with this book, I really did. I began reading it while in the dentist's waiting-room - not a very auspicious start, I must admit - so even though I wasn't enjoying it, I decided not to give up and to keep on going. I managed about a third of it before finally conceding defeat. The problem? Well, nothing happened - at least, nothing that made me want to keep on reading. There were too many characters and I couldn't remember who they all were, probably because I abandoned the book for days at a time, not being gripped by the story in the slightest. I didn't enjoy the author's style either - it was too verbose, too sombre and awkward in places.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2014 3:57 PM GMT


It Ends With Revelations
It Ends With Revelations
Price: 4.79

2.0 out of 5 stars Very dated subject matter...., 22 Oct 2013
This struck me as quite an unpleasant little book, although I understand that I'm looking at it through twenty-first century eyes. At first, I thoroughly enjoyed Dodie Smith's gorgeously light and witty dialogue whilst simultaneously thinking that it seemed a little dated, even for the Sixties. Once I realised where the story was heading, though, I couldn't view it as a period piece any longer - it just seemed slightly repellent.
Miles, a well-known actor, and his wife Jill appear to have the perfect marriage, except that Miles is gay and they've never actually had sex. While Miles is consumed by his role in a new play, Jill meets MP Geoffrey Thornton and a romance begins to develop between them.
The problem with this is that Miles is charming and lovely, and Geoffrey is a complete non-character. I found him and his family entirely unattractive, especially his two silly prattling daughters. The reader is obviously meant to fall in love with them, but this reader wanted to shake them till their teeth fell out.


Towers of Silence
Towers of Silence
Price: 0.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, solid, UK-based mystery/crime story, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Towers of Silence (Kindle Edition)
Great if you like this kind of novel (and I do), Set in Manchester, single mum/private eye Sal Kilkenny takes on the mysterious case of a woman who was afraid of heights and yet inexplicably seems to have committed suicide by throwing herself off a multi-storey car park. This story intertwines with that of a secretive teenager whose behaviour is deeply troubling his concerned mother.
Sal is a very likeable character with an interesting domestic set-up, and Staincliffe's writing is easy and accomplished.


Crossbones Yard (Alice Quentin Book 1)
Crossbones Yard (Alice Quentin Book 1)
Price: 1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable first novel, 30 Sep 2013
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Not a bad debut, although I must admit I wasn't particularly keen on Alice, the lead character. I'd just read two of Nicci French's Frieda Klein novels before reading this, and there are several similarities between the two heroines. However, I have to say that I much preferred the Nicci French series (a return to form for them after some dire stand-alones). But for a first book, this isn't bad at all. A murderer is replicating the crimes of serial killers Ray and Marie Benson, who appear to be based on Fred and Rosemary West, and Alice is drawn into the investigation.
Kate Rhodes has an accomplished style for a first-time author. However, the identity of the killer was no surprise, and could have been concealed a little better.
I would like to see more of her work though.


The Engagements
The Engagements
Price: 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable on every level, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Engagements (Kindle Edition)
I read this book in just a couple of sittings as it gripped me from the first word. There are so many layers of plots and themes here, all woven into a satisfying whole. It begins with the story of a real-life woman, Frances Gerety, who worked for Ayer advertising agency and coined the slogan 'A diamond is forever'. Apparently, females in advertising at that time were only allowed to work with 'female' products. From exploring attitudes to women and work in the 1950s and onwards, the story then branches out into exploring engagement and marriage through the subsequent decades. So we see a couple married for years trying to cope with their son's abandonment of his wife and children in the 1970s; a husband and wife struggling with financial problems in the 1980s; a stormy relationship between a young musical prodigy and an older French woman, and finally, a gay marriage. The stories mesh together towards the end of the book. The author's style of writing was easy-to-read and flowed beautifully without being too light. The perfect marriage of style and substance. Recommended.


The Disappearance of Emily Marr
The Disappearance of Emily Marr
Price: 3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic holiday read, 30 Sep 2013
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Filling up my Kindle before a holiday, as you do, I bought this book without many expectations. The cover put me off slightly as I'm not into chick lit. Have to say though that I really did enjoy this novel. The story of a woman who is briefly hounded by the press and social media, after having an affair that has tragic consequences, felt fresh and up-to-date. I didn't spot the twist coming, even though plenty of clues were given in advance.
Yes, some parts stretched credibility a little, but I didn't mind. I also admired the author for going with the ending she wanted, rather than a more obvious finale.
Will definitely try some of her other books.


The Back Road
The Back Road
Price: 2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her first title, 28 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Back Road (Kindle Edition)
First off, I must say that I did really enjoy Rachel Abbott's first book, Only the Innocent. Great characters, an intriguing plot and a satisfying ending, although I haven't bothered to review it yet. Do I only feel compelled to review books I haven't liked very much and if so, what does that say about me?! Sorry, digressing.
I was disappointed with The Back Road. Some of the same elements are there as in Only the Innocent - it has interesting, believable characters such as Ellie, Leo and Max. I also like the way the police officer Tom isn't the focus of all the attention or even the main character; it gives the story a depth that other crime novels don't have. The plot has some of the brilliant twist, turns and surprises that I was expecting after reading Abbott's first book, and doesn't disappoint in that respect.
The main problem for me was that there were just too many characters who were only sketchily-drawn and obviously just there to provide red herrings. The sub-plot with the mystery of Ellie's and Leo's father was an irritant I could have done without, as it seemed to me he was simply there as an extra suspect, and the 'revelation' at the end regarding Fiona was just tacked-on. A number of plot details and characters could have been cut by a good editor to make this book a whole lot better. You don't need a lot of waffly details and extra characters floating around doing not-very-much to throw the reader off the scent.
I hope Rachel Abbott is back on form with her next title (and yes, I probably will be reading it).


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