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Debbie (UK)

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Yellow Crocus
Yellow Crocus
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars 19th century American life from a both white and black perspective. Utterly absorbing., 24 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Yellow Crocus (Kindle Edition)
This is just beautiful. The Yellow Crocus of the title represents Spring in nineteenth century America. And Spring is all about new beginnings, new starts, growth and freedom – which is all the more poignant when you live on a plantation where the workers are negro slaves.

Lisbeth is white and privileged, but grows up with a closer bond to her black wet-nurse Mattie than she ever had with her stiff and proper mother. Lisbeth is expected to be educated and marry well, but her childish innocence can’t reconcile her circumstances with her regular visits to the negro quarters and her developing relationship with Mattie.

Told from both Lisbeth and Mattie’s points of view, this is an exploration of life on both sides as Mattie tries to explain her life and Lisbeth realises how her own world is built on a foundation of cruelty. What’s all the more telling is how Lisbeth’s parents believe this to be the norm – they’re not intentionally bad people, but they genuinely believe that this is the way life is and that they “look after” their negro slaves with their best interests at heart.

And as Lisbeth grows up, times are changing and she is forced to make hard choices. Some of her friends have become abolitionists and Lisbeth must decide where her loyalties lie.

I loved this book. It’s one of those fly-on-the-wall stories that depicts the details of a way of life long gone, complete with the values of the time. It makes no apologies for the way things were, and there are no political undertones or tales of morality. It simply was this way and we see it through both white and black eyes. Fascinating and absorbing.


The Critical Path
The Critical Path
Price: £1.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Critical Path, 25 April 2015
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This review is from: The Critical Path (Kindle Edition)
Would this be classed as a "literary thriller"? I'm not sure. This book goes deep into the mind of Matt as he struggles to make sense of events and relate to his life and his girlfriend. It's believable and well-written, if at times a touch slow and ponderous. I did find myself skipping long passages occasionally when Matt began over-thinking the same things - while that may be the case in real-life, fiction tends to be the edited highlights - but that level of detail may well be what other readers enjoy. The twist was predictable but well-executed and overall, it was a satisfying read.


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
Price: £5.70

3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure about this one, 17 April 2015
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Hmm.Odd book. Unsympathetic characters don't help, I guess. I found the jumps in time a touch jarring, but overall a readable book.


Testimony
Testimony
by Mark Chadbourn
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, 28 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Testimony (Paperback)
Bought this a long time ago. Scariest book I've ever read and I don't scare easily. I want to read it again but I daren't.... Amityville UK - and too close to home. Plus I've met the author on a number of occasions and I know he wouldn't pretend stuff was true just to make money out of it. So I'm fairly sure that he believed the house owners to be telling the truth ...


The Bones Beneath (Tom Thorne Novels Book 12)
The Bones Beneath (Tom Thorne Novels Book 12)
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contrived but readable, 19 Mar. 2015
Not one of his better books. Rather implausible and there didn't seem to be the usual build up of tension that Billingham creates. I didn't like the "anonymous" chapters either - seemed very contrived. While Thorne has developed as an interesting character in previous stories, here he's very much led by the hand through the plot and shown what to do and where to go. For all of that, there's some lovely scenery and it it's a good advertisement for North Wales and the Lleyn Peninsula!

Perfectly readable, but not a book that will stick in my mind.


The Son-in-Law
The Son-in-Law
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Two sides to every story, 16 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Son-in-Law (Kindle Edition)
I loved this The story of Joseph - just out of prison for the manslaughter of his wife - and the three children he desperately wants to get to know again. But Scarlet, Theo and Ben watched their dad kill their mum three years ago and don't want to have anything to do with him - a sentiment shared by their grandparents who have looked after them since Joseph went inside.

But things aren't always what they seem and there are always two sides to every story. Told from several different points of view, there doesn't seem to be any way that everyone can get their happy-ever-after. And in the end it's always the children who suffer.

I read the kindle version of this book. I do wish big publishers would take as much care over formatting ebooks as they do for print. The kindle version suffers from several formatting issues which a simple proof-read of the mobi file would have picked up. Irritating but not enough to spoil and excellent story.


Hungry Eyes: Debbie's Story (The Cheshire Set Series Book 1)
Hungry Eyes: Debbie's Story (The Cheshire Set Series Book 1)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for more!, 16 Mar. 2015
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The story of young-and-pampered Debbie, married to a rich older man, and what happens when he doesn't come home and doesn't answer his phone. Assisted by the young and impossibly sexy gardener, Debbie finds an inner strength to sort out her life. Does exactly what it says on the tin - a hot romance with a little bit of sex (but not too much).


Still Alice
Still Alice
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More of a diary than a novel?, 16 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Still Alice (Kindle Edition)
I've not (yet) seen the film, but had a vague idea what this was bout before I started. It was a good read, but suffered from a lack of pace and any real plot. More of a slice-of-life than an actual novel with a beginning, middle and end. For all that, Alice is an engaging character and I really felt for her going through some bewildering experiences. Knowing one's own fate must be truly awful and her attempts to plan for her own future made me want to cry with her. A predictable ending, but then it couldn't really have been anything else and remain credible.


Until You're Mine
Until You're Mine
Price: £3.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Great story - but avoid if pregnant!, 12 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Until You're Mine (Kindle Edition)
A cleverly written novel told from the points of view of stressed stepmum and mum-to-be Claudia, her new nanny Zoe and police detective Lorraine who is investigating the murder of a pregnant woman. I liked the way the stories inter-twined with some clever twists and tight-plotting. I'm not sure one of the story strands quite worked for me in terms of believability, but a good read despite that.


The Informant
The Informant
Price: £3.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But what lets this novel down is the absence of a good edit. The punctuation is all over the place ..., 20 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Informant (Kindle Edition)
This is a hard one to review. 5/5 for characterisation with vivid characters that walk straight off the page. I could really see Kaz and Joey and the dialogue fizzes. But what lets this novel down is the absence of a good edit. The punctuation is all over the place - errors of the "Let's eat Grandma" variety surprised me in a book from a big 6 publisher. And all the head-hopping in the same paragraph - even the same sentence! - left me dizzy and unable to really empathise with anybody. And I read that the author is a television script writer. It shows. But novels aren't scripts - they don't work in the same way and superb dialogue doesn't always make up for prose that falls over in places. And that's a shame because this *is* a good novel and a decent edit would have found and fixed a lot of this stuff.

But I did like this. The idea works for me. I like crime novels and I thought Joey 's psychopathic tendencies were spot-on, as was Kaz's determination not to get sucked back into her old life. I just found it a frustrating read when I kept bouncing out of the story because I was tripping over the words.


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