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T. Banting "Fiction Fan" (Blackpool)

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The Wedding Girl
The Wedding Girl
by Madeleine Wickham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember your handkerchief!, 8 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The Wedding Girl (Paperback)
Having read several reviews on here, I thought I would add my own opinion and understanding of the Madeleine Wickham / Sophie Hannah conundrum. It seems to me, through reading and mooching round the web that this author went to Oxford to do her degree (lucky girl!) and then started her career under her own name. She seems to have been moderately successful, until her reinvention as Sophie Kinsella, when Shopaholic took off into the stratosphere.

Now her early work is being reissued, in order to sell more opies, which seems to me to be a sensible approach. I can't say I noticed errors in my copy, despite being a pedantic old teacher; maybe I was engrossed in the story!

I loved this! Started at 5pm yesterday and finished it 20 minutes ago. I thought it was an entertaining and well written tale, which made me weep buckets, mostly over Allan and Rupert, a pair who had such a poignant story I found it unbearably sad. It goes to show how far we have come in our tolerance of those who are a bit different to us. I remember well the stigma of being an un-married mother in the 1980's. Obviously being gay wasn't much fun either, if there is much truth in this novel.

Other than those two, the characters were all flawed, though I didn't find them unlikeable, just misguided. I thought there were plenty of twists and turns and a happy ending. It wasn't Jane Eyre, but it rattled along and had a satisfactory ending, with most issues resolved. I thought it was a great read and has helped me clear a space on my overstuffed bookshelf! Very enjoyable!


Until You're Mine
Until You're Mine
Price: £1.49

46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Stunningly Good Read!, 15 July 2013
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This review is from: Until You're Mine (Kindle Edition)
It has been a while since I reviewed anything, despite doing a lot of reading. However 'Until You're Mine' is such a fantastic read that I have to review it, simply to say that if you haven't read this, buy it today. I wouldn't start reading until you've a very easy day or so ahead though. I planned to spend yesterday getting organised for our summer holiday, but succeeded only in being utterly self indulgent and spending most of the day curled up with this novel.

It is very well written, with three strands which compliment each other brilliantly. It has a very satisfying conclusion and left me with no loose ends to irritate over the coming days. My only regret is that I should have saved this for the beach. If you are reading this review with a view to purchasing this book, then I cannot recommend it highly enough. I envy you the pleasure of anticipation of an excellent novel.


The Calling: A John Luther Novel
The Calling: A John Luther Novel
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 27 Dec. 2012
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A must-read for all fans of the TV series. Having seen the series you don't need to imagine the characters as you already know them. A thoroughly enjoyable page turner.


The Helper (Callum Doyle 2)
The Helper (Callum Doyle 2)
by David Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb new author. Read this book!, 23 July 2012
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I was attracted to 'Pariah', David Jackson's first novel, by the reviews on Amazon, which were overwhelmingly good. As always there is the concern that the author might have only one good novel in them. I can assure you that David Jackson has managed to surpass my expectations with his second work, 'The Helper', which is just brilliantly executed, with a great story line, well rounded characters, and a level of suspense which leads to late nights spent reading just one more chapter.

This man is here to stay, and I think that, in years to come, he will be compared to the likes of Mark Billingham and others of that ilk.

Having just returned from the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Festival at Harrogate, where I met several authors including David Jackson, I can confirm that he is such a pleasant and unassuming gentleman that I really do hope he receives the critical and popular acclaim he deserves. Definitely one to watch. I reckon he may well be one of next years Festival's 'Rising Stars'.


Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace)
Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace)
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead good!, 9 Jun. 2012
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Peter James has done it again, with another carefully plotted story, which draws the reader in, keeping one reading way beyond a reasonable bed-time.

This book is a little different, due to the American angle. In my opinion this doesn't detract from the novel in any way. I love all of the regular characters, including the delightful Humphrey, Roy Grace's dog. I follow Peter on Facebook, and the more I hear of him, the more I feel Roy Grace is based upon him. This is a good thing!

Along with numerous other readers I am hooked upon the on-going story surrounding Roy's wife, Sandy, who disappeared a decade ago. This book offers more information about her, with more to follow.

If you haven't read this series before, do start at book 1. They are fantastic, and I envy you, having all 8 to read!

Thanks, Peter, for your reliable, thrilling novels; one of the highlights of my summer each year!


Lasting Damage (Culver Valley Crime)
Lasting Damage (Culver Valley Crime)
by Sophie Hannah
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another stunningly good thriller from Sophie Hannah, 27 Feb. 2011
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I finished this latest offering from Sophie Hannah a week ago, but had originally decided not to review it, as the first reviews were up and running. However, having read the 1 * review I decided that my 5 *s would up the average ratings.

I do believe that this author deserves more than 1* in anyone's opinion. I have read several newspaper reviews too, and while Hannah has been criticised for unlikely endings, in other reviews she receives the highest praise. I do feel that, even if the story isn't to one's taste, to accuse her of poor writing is an unworthy criticism, and not one I would expect of Hannah at all. In fact I don't think I can recollect her being criticised for this ever before.

So, yet again, we have another brilliant mystery. She starts, as is usually the case, with an unlikely event. In this case a body is seen on a website, but only seen once. Hannah then spins out a web of intrigue and mystery, keeping us guessing to the very last page.

I decided that this time I would manage to solve the mystery, but yet again I let myself down, with a complete failure to predict the ending.

I actually think this may be her best novel so far, as it was very 'readable', with well rounded characters. The detectives in the novel continue with their on-going life stories, this time with an added twist. I love to catch up on their lives, but I have to say, this is a series which benefits from being read in chronological order, otherwise one is unlikely to fully appreciate what's going on between the characters. Anyone familiar with Charlie will understand her horror at the relationship between her sister Olivia, and Gibbs.

In conclusion, another brilliantly planned and executed novel, beautifully written. I'm left awe-struck at Sophie Hannah's talent, and just a little bit envious. Buy this book, you deserve it!


A Room Swept White (Culver Valley Crime)
A Room Swept White (Culver Valley Crime)
by Sophie Hannah
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Room swept White: another beautifully written chiller from Sophie Hannah., 27 Mar. 2010
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This is the story of a TV Producer, Fliss Benson, who becomes embroiled in a documentary about miscarriages of justice involving cot death mothers, who have been accused of murdering their babies.

As always the characters of DC Simon Waterhouse, DS Sam kombothekra and Charlie, Simon's partner in crime, and the strange Superintendant Proust, AKA the Snowman all make an appearance, and all add to enjoyability of the tale.

Eventually the killer is found, and the ending ties up a number of loose ends in a more than satisfactory fashion. So far, so good, so normal. I'm being super careful not to give much away, as there are so many twists and turns that any unguarded comment could be a plot spoiler.

I'm making this sound like a standard crime fiction novel , and it isn't. Sophie Hannah is way ahead of the majority of writers of this genre. I love her work, all of it, so perhaps I'm a little biased. However, she writes with such style and panache, and has such a grasp of her subject, that she is elevated to the status of my favourite author.

I was desperate to read A Room Swept White because of its' subject content. I experienced the death of my infant son 23 years ago; a time when the were 500 or so cases of SIDs each year, sleeping babies on their tummies was the norm, and ignorance was bliss, though fear was not.

As an adopted person I was inspired to trace my birth family, only to uncover a brother, also a victim of SIDs more than 40 years ago. And so a pattern has emerged. I'd rather it doesn't exist, but it does, and I know that when I become a grandmother all my 3 boys will be referred for genetic counselling. Anyway, don't worry, this isn't a misery memoir, but I tell you this so that you are aware that in real life there are people out there, who, as well as living with the loss of a precious child, have to live with the fear of the future. Many of them are new mothers, who are terrified that another dead child will lead to villification and prison. I can't speak for all of them, but I'm sure that many of them, and certainly myself, are grateful for this sensitively written, engrossing thriller, which avoids over sentimentality in a way this reviewer has failed to do!

Thanks Sophie, 5 more stars for your collection!


The Dead Room
The Dead Room
by Chris Mooney
Edition: Paperback

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast Moving Thriller, 4 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: The Dead Room (Paperback)
Having absolutely loved Chris Mooney's last two novels, I couldn't wait to read this one. As in his previous novels the main character is Darby , a resourceful and intelligent cop, following in the footsteps of her dead father, Red.

Unfortunately I was somewhat disappointed this time. The novel certainly had numerous twists and turns, and kept the reader gripped. However,in my humble opinion, this is much more a man's book. There are numerous descriptions of weapons and spying equipment, which I found tedious.

Furthermore (and I hate myself for this!) One of the characters had a major speech impediment and I found her dialogue difficult to enjoy, to the point that I skipped some of it. I'm a pretty patient person, being a teacher of pupils with special needs, but I found the dialogue frustrating.

I did enjoy the twist in the novel, but can't tell you about it, as it would spoil the story line. You'll know it when you read it. Suffice to say, all is not what it seems!

I'm certainly not saying this is a bad book, just not as good as his last two. You, of course, may love it!


The Neighbour
The Neighbour
by Lisa Gardner
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Lisa Gardner, 31 July 2009
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This review is from: The Neighbour (Hardcover)
Having looked forward to this novel for many months I am delighted to report that Lisa Gardner is back on form. I agree with Colonel Hall in his assessment of her last novel, which was a disappointment.

This time she provides her readers with a riveting story, which I found impossible to put down.

I won't give you the story line, as other reviewers have provided that. However, it won't spoil the novel if I tell you that none of the main characters are what they seem, and the twists keep coming thick and fast.

By the end I was reading so quickly I had to re-read the last two chapters more carefully in order to fill in the bits I'd missed!

Incidently, the child in the novel, Ree, is delightful. Made me want a daughter all over again!

I am sure this is a completely original story line, but (and this is not a criticism) I am reminded of Sophie Hannah's Little Face. This is a real compliment, as Sophie is one of my absolute favourite authors.

Buy this novel; you won't be disappointed! Alternatively, if you're lucky enough to be new to Lisa Gardner, buy anything and everything she's written, as almost all of her books are brilliant; well paced, gripping and well written.


Innocent Blood
Innocent Blood
by Elizabeth Corley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic British Crime, 4 May 2009
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This review is from: Innocent Blood (Paperback)
Another excellent novel by Elizabeth Corley, Innocent Blood is the fourth in a series all featuring DCI Andrew Fenwick and Sergeant Louise Nightingale.

These are really enjoyable crime fiction novels, written in the true British tradition, yet with a modern edge that keeps them bang up to date. Corley isn't afraid to explore the darker side of life in any of her novels, and in Innocent Blood she takes us into the murky world of paedophilia. A deeply unpleasant topic, yet she handles it superbly well, and the reader is never left feeling besmirched by the contents of the novel.

If you're a new reader, then you're in for a treat! Corley writes a gripping, suspenseful novel, with the personal lives of Fenwick and Nightingale interwoven into the story.

The tension never lets up for a moment, and the conclusion neatly draws all of the loose ends together, while still leaving one wanting more. (I have a personal weakness for tidy endings, having little imagination, I'm afraid!)

It's best to read these four novels in order, making Innocent Blood the last of the four, but don't be put off by that if you only want to try one. While this is excellent, my own personal favourite remains the outstandingly good Fatal Legacy. However, why not splash out and read them all? Hours of reasonably priced entertainment, and as good on the beach this summer as they are curled up in front of the fire on a wintry evening!

If, like me, you've completed the series, you'll be wondering when the fifth is due. So if you're reading, Mrs Corley, do tell?


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