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Lisa L. Hansen (Køge, Denmark)

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Agent 6
Agent 6
by Tom Rob Smith
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More of a history book than a novel, 30 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Agent 6 (Hardcover)
What a let down. I was really excited to read this book after having read "Child 44" but where that was a novel, "Agent 6" is more a history book thinly disguised as a novel. Leo Demidov and his family tragedy are used merely as a vehicle for showing how much the author has learned about life in the Soviet Union and its involvement in Afghanistan and they could easily have taken 300 pages in the middle of the book and whitled them down to about 30. Also, the poor typesetting of this book (many grammatical errors, missing words and weirdly structured sentences) makes it actually annoying to read in some places. Overall it's quite sad that a character like Leo Demidov, who started out so vivid in "Child 44", is being used as such a 2-dimensional prop in this book. And without giving anything away, the text on the back of the book "Three decades, two murders, one conspiracy, who is agent 6?" is one of the most ill-fitting back cover texts ever - only the flimsiest framework of this story is actually about this. Tom Rob Smith has definite talent and writing skills - it's just a shame that he didn't want to a be novelist with this book.

Shutter Island
Shutter Island
by Dennis Lehane
Edition: Paperback

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a league of his own!, 14 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Shutter Island (Paperback)
I love my job but never have I regretted its low wages as much as I do right now because after having read "Shutter Island" (my first Dennis Lehane experience) all I want to do is rush out and buy every single other book he has written.
The story takes place in 1954 when two US. marshals arrive on Shutter Island off the Boston coast to investigate the inexplicable disappearance of one of the patients of the hospital for the criminally insane which is located on the island. The chief physician and the rest of the staff are unhelpful to say the least and the more that the two marshals look into the whole affair the stranger it all gets. Something is definitely not as it seems and perhaps their reason for going to the island isn't what it seems either.....?
Every time you think that you've got it figured out the story takes another turn and draws you in even further and you wouldn't be able to predict the ending to save your life. All of the elements as such have been seen before but it's not what he does that makes this book great, it's how he does it. How he puts it all together and creates a book which is absolutely mind-blowing. Everything fits together just right and is just where it should be and the ending, although it is sad, is the only proper one. There may not be such a thing as "perfect" in literature but this is close enough to kiss. Read it, read it, read it! :)

New Boy
New Boy
by William Sutcliffe
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the effort, 5 Feb. 2004
This review is from: New Boy (Mass Market Paperback)
How this book managed to sneak under the radar of the Penguin editor and actually get published I will never understand but it did and the literary world is a poorer place for it. I usually finish every book I've started reading no matter how bad it is, because I always keep on giving it just one more chance and one more and one more.....but not so with this one. I made it to page 108 (out of 200) and then had to put it away as my mind was threatening to cave in under the weight of how bad this book is.
First of all, the title of the book is "New boy" but only a small part of the book is actually about the new boy, Barry. Instead most of it is about its narrator, Mark, and never have I met a character that got on my nerves that quickly. He will spend three or four pages telling a story only to end it with "but that's actually not really what happened. I made it up because the truth would have been too boring" and this happens in chapter after chapter. He's also just plain nasty - he will humiliate other people in order to be "one of the boys" and doesn't see anything wrong with it unless the victim turns out to be stronger than him and he generally has absolutely no empathy for other people. Everything in his world revolves around himself.
Second of all, it is being marketed as a gay love story but apparently no one has told this to William Sutcliffe as the book deals mostly with what it was like to be in an all-boys school in the mid-80'es with various anecdotes (some quite funny, I'll give him that) thrown in here and there. It reads like William Sutcliffe wanting to share stories from his own days at school but thinking that he had better dress them up as a novel to get people to read them (and then he doesn't even include that many stories).
All in all this is a book with little plot and narrative drive and an extremely unpleasant main character and although it does offer an occasional chuckle here and there it is simply not worth neither the time nor the money. Best avoided.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2009 8:15 AM BST

Under The Skin
Under The Skin
by Michel Faber
Edition: Paperback

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great idea put to average use, 4 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Under The Skin (Paperback)
The idea of this book is really good and in my opinion quite original but unfortunately Michel Faber doesn't do as much with it as you could have wished for. The gradual introduction of the characters and the environment is really interesting but all of a sudden the book ends and you realize that there was never really any plot. This book is almost pure description of the idea and hardly any story and it is such a shame because it would have made a brilliant book if it had been developed further. Instead it reads more like the author sitting down for coffee with you and describing this really cool idea he has just had for a book he might write one day. Here's hoping that he actually does that one day because the idea really is good. "Under the skin" is definitely worth reading if you can just overlook the lack of plot and see it as a description instead.

Kissing in Manhattan
Kissing in Manhattan
by David Schickler
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it and a unique experience will await, 17 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Kissing in Manhattan (Paperback)
Do yourself a favour and commit to reading at least the first two stories, come hell or high water, before deciding whether you like this book or not. If you only read the first one then you will abandon it, as I almost did, which would be a real shame because although this book requires a bit of dedication it is definitely worth it. It’s not that the first story is bad, it just simply…pointless. There’s no reason for it to be there.
The book, which centres around the Preemption building and its inhabitants, is somewhere between a collection of short stories and a coherent novel as in the first stories the characters are introduced either one by one or in couples and then later they start weaving in and out of each other’s stories. For a first-time author David Schickler pulls this off remarkably well, managing to keep a constant narrative flow which never over-explains or over-emphasizes any single character. They may not all be likeable but they are definitely all interesting. Even as the book moves into its second half and you start to have three main characters, with the rest of them becoming somewhat more of a backdrop, you don’t regret having met a single one of them as they all become building blocks which together create the special atmosphere of the book; one which will linger after the final page is read and the book is closed.
“Kissing in Manhattan” is like tasting a piece of a completely new kind of exquisite confectionery – two minutes ago you didn’t even know that it existed but it will leave you with a craving for more.

The Twins
The Twins
by Tessa de Loo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will change your perspective on the world, 16 Jan. 2004
This review is from: The Twins (Paperback)
This is a very unique book and reading it will almost undoubtedly change the way you look at both history and the world today as at times nothing much seems to have really changed. We still judge people on their nationality and judge entire nations on the actions of a minority without even thinking about it but reading this book will make it impossible to continue to do so. At times it puts a little too much effort into explaining how the German people suffered just as much as the people of the occupied countries but I think it's necessary to really prove the point. Even today there are people who paint the picture of the war in complete black and white and see all Germans of the time as Nazi-sympathizers and this book manages to put a much more human and personal face to each side of the war.
The story of the two women being sisters doesn't always work that well ' in fact it's not until the last third of the book that it begins to seem real ' and there's a bit too much emphasis on Anna but it is still a marvellous and thought-provoking read. I grew up listening to my great-grandmother's stories of the war and the way that she never forgave neither the Germans nor the Russians (and consequently I was 14 years old before I started questioning still laying the guilt at the feet of all Germans and Russians alive today) and I wish that she was alive now so that I could read this book to her. It's strong enough to might even have been able to broaden her perspective and given her some peace of mind. The ending was so sad yet perfect that it gave me goose bumps all over my body.

Noughts and Crosses
Noughts and Crosses
by Malorie Blackman
Edition: Paperback

51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will turn your view of the world upside down, 13 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (Paperback)
"Noughts and crosses" is being marketed as a children's book but don't let that keep you from reading it - I'm in my mid-20'es and absolutely loved it. The story is thought-provoking to say the least and the characters stop being characters after about 15-20 pages and become real people who you will care for and root for till the very end.
It's equal parts suspense and love story and both will have you at the edge of your seat, turning page after page and needing to "just read one more chapter" until you are well into the wee hours of the morning.
Don't keep anything breakable nearby though as the unfairness of it all will have you wanting to hurl something heavy through the air quite a lot; instead, a box of tissues will come in handy as the ending is both incredibly sad and incredibly beautiful. All in all the book, its theme, its questions, and its people will stay with you for days after you've finished it and it is a book which you shouldn't cheat yourself of. This is the first book I've read by Marjorie Blackman but it definitely won't be the last.

Nigella Bites
Nigella Bites
by Nigella Lawson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only for those with way too much money on their hands, 14 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Nigella Bites (Hardcover)
First of all let me just say that I adore Nigella Lawson and would pretty much like to marry her book "How to be a domestic goddess" so it's not about wanting to bash her. She does a great show and has made some really great recipes but with this particular book I can only advise you to stay away....stay far away.
It is supposed to be 260 pages long but if you take out all the blank space, the "note pages", the empty (except for a few words in oversized print) pages which start off each chapter, and the sometimes 4(!) pages of pictures which accompany a single recipe then you're left with more like 70-80 pages of actual recipes. These are divided into chapters which follow the tv-series and this actually works quite well but there are just too few things to choose from within each segment. Some of the recipes are really, really good - like the "Orange breakfast muffins", the "Chocolate Cloud Cake", or the "Ham in Coca-Cola" - but all in all you're left with the impression that this book is nothing but a quick cash-in. Compared to "How to eat" and "How to be a domestic goddess" this book shows no soul and no heart and it seems that very little effort has gone into making it. It is such a shame when you know how wonderful she can be when she puts her mind to it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2013 1:33 PM BST

False Memory
False Memory
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More of a patchwork than a coherent novel, 2 Oct. 2002
This review is from: False Memory (Paperback)
The best I can say is that it seemed like a good idea for a plot when I first started reading the book. It still does now that I have finished it but unfortunately this good idea has been carried out very poorly indeed. Mostly because Koontz didn't just stick with the original theme of mind control but cluttered up the story with lots of other little bits and pieces. It ends up touching down on so many subjects but rarely doing more than scratching the surface and it leaves the book looking more like a bulletin board than a well-rounded entity.
Especially concerning things like the scientist rivalry and the Institute - things which could have made for really interesting parts of the story but instead are used only as fragments to support the story here and there. Instead one is treated to more details about clothes and furniture than is necessary to last a lifetime. How vital is it really for the reader to know the colour and material of the doctor's bathrobe or that he had his breakfast served on an antique silver tray? Too few details will make a story seem lifeless but too many will outright kill it.
Helping along with this murder on the reader's desire to keep on reading is the cardboard feel of many of the characters. You have the hero and the heroine, the psychopath, the "paranormal enthusiast", the icy witch, etc. etc. All something, which has never helped a story so far and probably never will.
Neither does wrapping up your story with a cut-and-paste solution. It seems as if Koontz went back and inserted the Keanuphobian woman long after having originally finished those scenes because he had tried every other idea and failed.
All in all it is still a fairly decent read (a good beach/summer cabin read) but not even within shouting distance of his best work.

Understanding the Tarot: A Personal Teaching Guide
Understanding the Tarot: A Personal Teaching Guide
by Juliet Sharman-Burke
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for beginners, 17 Sept. 2002
This is an absolutely brilliant book for people who are just beginning to get into tarot cards. It explains very little about the history of the tarot and things like that so for that you'll need to find another book but in terms of getting to know the different cards and different sets and also ways of laying the cards it is absolutely indispensable.
For each of the cards in the major arcana (the "picture" cards) cards are shown from four different sets and each is gone through meticulously in terms of symbols and how the meaning of the card is represented in the picture. Because it deals with four different cards it gives a very extensive understanding of what the card stands for and so it is a great help when you pick your own set and look for things in its pictures which communicate the meaning to you. For each of the cards in the minor arcana only one card is shown but you still get a really good idea of what each card means.
At the end of the book, eight different ways of laying up the cards are shown and explained through cases, which makes them very easily accessible.
All in all, cards from 12 of the most populars sets of cards are used and so you get a good idea of the diversity which can be found and how different cards suit different people.
All in all this really is a must for people who are beginning to look into tarot cards. I doubt if you'll find another book which is as extensive and easy to use as this one. Once you've gotten into it a bit it also works great as a place to look if you're in the middle of a reading and have just forgotten the meaning of a card or two.

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