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Reviews Written by
T. J. Jarratt "verseophile" (Hertfordshire)

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The Marseille Caper
The Marseille Caper
Price: 3.79

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice book, 17 July 2013
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I hadn't read any of Peter Mayle's books before so was interested to try this novel. I rather expected something possibly gritty, hopefully tense perhaps with maybe a few nail-biting episodes and a rousing finale. What I found was a nice tale of nice people who wore nice clothes (which were described in detail), went to nice restaurants run by nice people and ate nice food (described in exhaustive detail) and were very nice to each other. They travelled nicely to France and other nice places which were - yes - described in detail. There was a mild caper which was the rather wobbly peg on which the story hung. There were also villains, a semi-comic self-made cockney with big money, his two comic thugs (on the lines of Shakespeare's comic incompetents) and an oily Frenchman.
By half way through I was wondering what was going on. All this niceness must surely lead to a counterbalancing vicious horridness but no. The baddies got their comeuppance quite nicely and everyone finished nicely happily.
Following the above you might expect me to give this very few stars but, actually, it is well written and carries you on from page to page in a dreamy waft of niceness. So losing just one star because it is not a caper except in the sense of prancing around on some nice grass, in the sun, with a couple of friends and several glasses of fine wine (described in detail, of course). But no more Mayle for me.


Playing with Fire (Jessica Daniel 5)
Playing with Fire (Jessica Daniel 5)
by Kerry Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good 'un, 11 July 2013
I can't quite remember how I came across the first Jessica Daniel story 'Locked In' but I recall wondering if this was going to be like some other self-published books I have tried, formulaic, stiffly written and lacking in oomph. How wrong I was. The book was GOOD! I was in line as soon as the following novel 'Vigilante' was released. GOOD again, and the same is true of the following two and now of 'Playing with Fire'.
Let me just break here to tell you that I won an advanced copy of this book by taking part in one of Kerry's little online fun competitions. I was a runner-up and utterly delighted to receive a signed copy. Result! Let me also say that I would have written this piece just the same if I had shelled out the usual price.
Each of the Jessica Daniel stories has a believable plot with twists and turns that make sense. As main character, Jessica, would be a delight, if challenging, to meet in real life. Her relationships with her colleagues, aquaintances, lovers, villains and all are cleverly detailed. What is enjoyable is that Jessica grows as a maturing person as the books progress. If you want satisfying, complex reads, I can't recommend them too strongly.


Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 28
Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 28
Price: 7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 2 July 2013
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It's Bach who, as Douglas Adams said understood the sounds of the Universe. To my untutored ear it's beautifully done. I loved it. I wish I could afford all of this series.


The Sharing Knife: Passage
The Sharing Knife: Passage
Price: 5.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Suits me, 2 July 2013
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I am a great fan of Lois Bujold and have now read nearly all of her books I think. There isn't one that I thought was hard going or not worth the time. Her storytelling seems to fit precisely into my psyche and I hate it when a book is finished as that brings nearer the time when all will have been read. The four Sharing Knife books would make a grand, very thick, novel if printed as one but work comfortably on their own. After the first Bujold takes care to nod at previous, relevant history so one is never left floundering. But each ends in a satisfactory, rounding-up. Swords and Sorcery aren't my thing at all, (I hated Game of Thrones and dropped it after a couple of chapters), but the Sharing Knife and Chalion Series, although using magical ideas, are really about people and their living naturally in a society with all the problems that we have plus some others that we, luckily, don't. Their lives, actions and loves seem quite believable and generate great interest.
If you ever read these comments L McM B please, please keep on writing.


The Back Road
The Back Road
Price: 2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not outstanding, 2 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Back Road (Kindle Edition)
I was asked to review this book and I couldn't even remenber if I had read so I had to have a quick check through my ebooks. I now remenber that it was quite readable and I ebjoyed it as it went on. Usually if a novel doesn't hold on to me I never finish it but this one I did. But sadly I couldn't give you a precis of what went on or how it ended.


The Curse of Chalion
The Curse of Chalion
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars What a great author, 16 April 2013
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I read a lot of science fiction and it is of vary variable quality. I never bother with sword and sorcery as they just seem a little ridiculous a lot of the time especially with the cod-mediaeval stuff often used. However I have become a devotee of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan sagas. They contain regular SF mechanisms and happenings but mostly deal with real people in believable situations, working their way through to an understandable fruition. With this delight in her writing I sought to try her S&S work rather expecting to be disappointed. But not at all. No, not at all. Her writing is very similar to her Vorkosigan books and although the tribulations of her protagonists are because of, or dealt with, by more mystical means these people are real, believable and fascinating. I'm only halfway through this book but will be ordering more to make sure I don't miss out on the sheer joy the reading brings.


Walt Disney / Pixar - Up [DVD]
Walt Disney / Pixar - Up [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ed Asner
Price: 10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Champion, 26 Jan 2013
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I am a sucker for animation so this purchase was a no-brainier. I'm an old geezer myself so I was on the side of Frderickson, of course. But I loved the kid and the dog and the whole thing. Except the bird which was just too Disney and could have been a lot closer to reality without sacrificing anything of the story. There's lots of fun, lots of excitement, dirty deals and triumphs. And the odd tear quite early on. So . . . Worth every penny.


Terminal World
Terminal World
Price: 5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as impressed as I hoped to be, 22 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Terminal World (Kindle Edition)
I read this right through to the end because I rate Reynolds highly but I had to have a couple of extensive breaks here and there to rekindle interest. I'm not quite sure how it disappointed and I can't fault any particular part. I haven't read any Steampunk SF so I don't know if this is a Steampunk novel or not but it employs both a (dying) high science along with horses and carts, armoured Zeppelins, vicious cyborg animals, equally vicious, wild humans with armoured balloons and skinny flying neo-humans. What larks! (Not).
I found none of the characters to be of great interest and the demarcation of the various groups to be simplified to facelessness. I think there was supposed to be areas of nail-biting tension but I never read that into the problems that arose. This is a quest novel and the quest was fulfilled in the end but the big questions were left unanswered. I suppose this means the may be (or is) a sequel.


The Doors of the Universe (Children of the Star Book 3)
The Doors of the Universe (Children of the Star Book 3)
Price: 1.93

3.0 out of 5 stars So so, 22 Jan 2013
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I found this to be rather dull. It is the third of a trilogy where the first two books were aimed at a teenage/young adult market but this one written later to update science facts and for a somewhat older target market. I began to read but found I was more and more bogged down in talk and the angst of the main character. From the previous books I know that this soul searching, blaming, depressive manner will go on and on until close to the end it all comes right and the hero is justified. After pages and pages more in this new book I just gave up. I'm sure there is a wonderful unknotting at the close and all comes out well for everyone on the planet but I couldn't be bothered even to read the last few pages.


Supercontinent: 10 Billion Years In The Life Of Our Planet
Supercontinent: 10 Billion Years In The Life Of Our Planet
Price: 4.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stuff, 22 Jan 2013
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This is a real page turner even though one might expect the subject matter to be dry as dust (or rocks). The book works as an adventure story. It works as a group of potted biographies of men who, sometimes, were seen to be potty themselves but who were later shown to be very, very right. there are snippets of 'did you know this...' like the fact that Ripon was once in the middle of a vast, continent wide desert somewhere south of the Equator. Wow.
I knew a little of what would be described but my knowledge and my interest have been greatly enlarged and I enjoyed every minute of it happening.


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