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ditz68 (London)

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Hearts and Arrows
Hearts and Arrows
Price: £1.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you don't find a story you like I'll eat my hat, 12 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Hearts and Arrows (Kindle Edition)
Towards the end of last October I had the pleasure of reading The Halloween Book from KUF; an anthology of Halloween themed short stories. It was enjoyable, and fed into the themes of the season especially well. This anthology, aptly entitled Hearts and Arrows is perfectly placed for Valentine's day and includes a collection of nine (modern romance) short stories. Much like the last outing it's well put together (and edited) with a good selection of authors, which is a great way to introduce you to some new books. Overall I've given it 4 stars because I did enjoy it, but as with any anthology I read there were definite favourites amongst the bunch namely `Un-Valentine's Day` and `You Don't Have to Say You Love Me`. Let me point out that this isn't so much because of the quality of writing in this case, but more to do with how much I related to the short story in question.


Ferryman (a short story)
Ferryman (a short story)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A lingering short read, 11 Feb. 2012
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You might be able to guess what a ferryman is, but I doubt you could imagine the world that Nigel Edwards brings to life in this short. Definitely worth a try.


The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chonicle: Book 1 (Kingkiller Chonicles)
The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chonicle: Book 1 (Kingkiller Chonicles)
Price: £5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Kvothe is an enigma, 11 Feb. 2012
This one had me losing sleep, skipping work, and left me generally useless until I'd managed to reach the final page, at which point I was pulling my hair out trying to get hold of the next book... However disruptive that may be for my social life it's generally a good indicator for the book in question.

You begin this book with Kote, the quiet bartender in an out-of the way village who you quickly discover is not all he appears to be. Eventually you're introduced to Kvothe, an incredibly talented child who grew up to become the infamous 'Kingkiller' eventually resorting to faking his own death as a bid to escape attention. Once discovered by Chronicler, a travelling scribe, he agrees to tell his story but demands 3 days to do so. The first book covers the first of these three days where we learn how Kvothe came to learn magic in a desire to learn the Name of the Wind, and earned the first of his many titles `Kvothe the bloodless'. From the start we're warned that this story will span 3 books and I suspect that a subsequent trilogy will cover what happens next, as clearly Kvothe's story will not be limited to how he became so infamous.


Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn
Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I gave it a try, 11 Feb. 2012
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This novel revolves around the infamous Anne Boleyn and the `threads' that connect her to other souls in previous and future reincarnations. A large part revolves around her relationship with Henry VIII and describes in some detail (some of it speculative) her perspective of their relationship. She is faced with the challenge of forgiving him for betraying her spectacularly, but mostly it comes across as an introspective analysis of her many `lives'.

To start with I found this novel a little slow and vague, but with a little perserverance I eventually became embroiled in the storyline. The characters were well developed, but then the author already had someone to work with, and the quasi-historical aspect with a fantastical twist was especially interesting. Although it required a little perseverance on my part in the beginning, by the end I was a wishing there was more!

Published through Infinity publishing [...] this book surpassed my expectations of self-published/indie work. It was clear, concise and grammatically perfect; so much so that I didn't realise it was indie until after I'd finished it. That being said, it's also on its 3rd edition so I assume it's been through several editing stages.

Based on reviews given in Amazon and Goodreads there were some who were looking for something more historically accurate and others that felt the fantasy angle wasn't explored enough. I'll agree to the latter: the `blurb' did suggest that the story focussed more on her reincarnations than it actually did, but it seems this was not the main aim of the author. With regards to any historical inaccuracies there is a disclaimer at the end and to be honest I tend to give a bit of leeway to fiction works based on history. Afterall, if I was aiming for historical fact I could have picked up a textbook...


Bella
Bella
Price: £7.46

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, tragic, broken?, 11 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Bella (Kindle Edition)
Bella is a compelling and tragic novel about the extent to which a widow will go to find out the truth about her husband's death: She was told that he'd died by enemy hands but this lie is shattered by an anonymous phonecall and in the midst of her pain she resolves to find the truth, whatever the cost.

This novel isn't narrated from Bella's point of view however, instead it is narrated by Washington journalist Danny Patragno, who is roped into the investigation by her 'persuasiveness' and a little prod from his editor... For me, the advantage of the first person point of view is that it feels more personal and the author uses it with style to pull you in.

Throughout the book there is the underlying theme of journalistic integrity, which I found especially interesting in light of the phone hacking scandal dominating the UK press at the moment. Any good journalist will check their facts and strive to get both sides of the story, but to sell the piece to the general public there needs to be a 'hook' and this can often be sensationalist. In the end I don't think anyone can be unbiased, but they can at least try, which is what Danny struggles with.

There were some curve balls thrown into the story, but generally it was believable as life will ultimately throw up such surprises. Any negatives? If I'm going to be brutally honest I initially found the ending a little drawn out. For most of the book I was focussed on resolving the mystery of Hank's death and once this was done I also expected the story to finish. However, in hindsight, the majority of the ending sequence comprehensively delivered the consequences of Danny's actions throughout the book. Instead of closing the book with a 'solution' to the mystery, it tied up the frayed personal strings of his life, an ending that was perhaps worth the investment.

Overall the editing was on par with what I would expect from a traditionally published book and it was an excellent read, as evidenced by a couple of nights lost sleep over when I found I couldn't put it down...


Devil's Kitchen (The Crown Phoenix series Book 2)
Devil's Kitchen (The Crown Phoenix series Book 2)

4.0 out of 5 stars Swallowed it in a day..., 29 Jan. 2012
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The second novel in a YA Steampunk series, I read the first: "The Night Watchman Express" late last year and had immediately added this one to my reading list... I liked how the elements of this (and the previous) story are carefully threaded into the prose, finally coming together at the end. The only negative I can find is that perhaps because it had been a couple of months between reading the first and second book I had some difficulty remembering some of the earlier characters, such as Furnace. (Although, I have to say I prefer this over the 100 pages of introduction/re-hashing I've had with some other series *cough* Sword of Truth *cough*.)


The Secret Branch
The Secret Branch
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What would you do...?, 21 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Secret Branch (Kindle Edition)
I read this short story in one sitting. I loved the familiar phrasing of the opening paragraph and how it just sucked you in. This short is about trust, a quality that some struggle to find and others give away too easily. How far could you trust your spouse? friend? What would you do if you were pushed to the edge?

Yes, there were times when I found the language slightly clumsy, which is why in the end I've given it a 4/5. This could however, just be a reflection of the American `dialect' that the author was aiming for. On the whole I think I appreciated the symmetry of the story and if you do happen to read it you'll see what I mean!


Death Comes On The Wind (Fell's Hollow Book 1)
Death Comes On The Wind (Fell's Hollow Book 1)

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy with strands of mystery and adventure., 26 Oct. 2011
The first short in this set tells the story of Chibb - a young boy new to the sea who's already found time to break the first rule of his ship: `Don't get friendly with the captain'. As strange as this may seem, I loved the foreword to this story, a semi-fantastical background which I couldn't quite decide was real or not.

On the whole it was well-written, imaginative, and short enough to finish in one sitting. A warning however; it does end on a cliffhanger, but then for serialised work that's almost to be expected and this first piece shows great potential for a set of serialised short stories some of which are already available.


Love & Wrath: The Beginning
Love & Wrath: The Beginning

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first of a promising series, 15 Oct. 2011
Set against a backdrop of the Kansas City artworld this novel tells the story of Lily, an independant middle-aged woman who's recently re-invented herself from corporate drudge to budding artist. Encouraged by her best friend and business partner Sheila, she's quickly making a name for herself as a talented photographer.

This book was a casual stroll through the character backstory, which quickly accelerated as the suspense began to build, culminating in a dramatic conclusion. At the end I found myself genuinely interested in where the protagonists Keisha, Lily, Sheila and Marco will find themselves next, but without the annoyance of the 'standard cliffhanger' designed to pull you in by force. It's the first of three books and there are definitely indications of further back-story not yet explored (such as why Lily chose to leave Atlanta so quickly...) that I expect will continue through the series.

Some disadvantages with this book that leave it a little shy of the 5 star mark include a few minor spelling mistakes, that it was written in the third person (not a favourite of mine) and there were times where the prose could have done with a little more polish. But, as obvious from the rating none of these would deter me from trying the author again and, all thing considered it shows great potential.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2011 11:22 PM BST


The Cookie Tin (A fantasy novelette from Greyhart Press)
The Cookie Tin (A fantasy novelette from Greyhart Press)
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent short read, 23 Sept. 2011
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"Have you ever wondered how someone would feel if they were you?"

"Are you sure?"

I have to be honest here... the cookie tin is not the first short story I've read by Nigel Edwards, so I had an idea of what to expect, in short something original and potentially thought provoking. In this case it's the idea of how you experience someone else's emotions if they were thrust on you - a question of interpretation perhaps...? The story comes across as what i like to call a 'mysterious fantasy' in that you don't quite know what to expect but there are still elements of sci-fi/fantasy genre thrown in there.

As always it was beautifully written, with no annoying grammatical errors and in good ebook format (at least for the kindle). The only fault I can come up with is a plot-turn/twist in the middle, which I found a little sudden (and if you've read it I'm referring to her choice of 'test-subject'). Although this veered away from the predictable flow of events (which I consider a good thing) it still required a leap of faith. In the end however, it worked well, almost as if you had been thrown into the situation much like the main character had been.

For a short read I'd definitely recommend this one. ;)


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