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Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Sandstorm (SIGMA FORCE)
Sandstorm (SIGMA FORCE)
by James Rollins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

3.0 out of 5 stars undemanding action thriller, 18 Sep 2014
I have seen a few reviews that suggest this is like the Dan Brown books, apart from being a thriller dealing with ancient history, it is nothing like Brown’s heavy handed writing. It is more in the vein of early Clive Cussler (before he out-sourced his writing and let the standards slip) in being a fast paced romp. I’ve had this in my pile to read for some while and while characterisation is a little light and you are asked to suspend belief it is quite fun.

Following a weird explosion in the British Museum, Sigma Force, a secret US agency, are brought in to investigate. Hooking up with archaeologists and adventurers, off they set to the desert to track down an ancient mystery, all the time dogged by a bunch of mercenaries and a very strange sect of females. It’s the kind of thing that is not overly unique but just about delivers what is says on the tin. You have to be in the right mind-set and if you question logic/co-incidence or the science then you may struggle, but if you just want to be entertained without making much effort then this might be for you.


Leitz Wow A4 Ruled Notebook - Metallic Pink
Leitz Wow A4 Ruled Notebook - Metallic Pink
Price: £12.59

3.0 out of 5 stars very nice but very pricey, 11 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is very nice, pink in colour, robust with clear pages and a ruler for those who are OCD with their notebooks. As a stroke of genius there is also a folder sleeve inside the back cover where you can tuck notes or receipts etc.

So I do like this, but would have to say it does not represent great value for money, if it was half the price I would be biuying a lot of these, but at this price? Unlikely. Star rating brought down by price, if it was product only I might have gone for 5 stars.


When The Sky Was Protected (Grace Bryant, Federal Air Marshal Book 1)
When The Sky Was Protected (Grace Bryant, Federal Air Marshal Book 1)
Price: £1.80

4.0 out of 5 stars trauma in the sky, 8 Sep 2014
Interesting one this, a thriller about a female air-marshal and an attempted hi-jacking on a transatlantic flight. A few things are covered here, how the incident is dealt with, the mistakes made and the stress of the aftermath. I liked the fact this felt very real and there was a lack of action heroes launching into gun battles. The plot stretches into the background and inconsistency of the event and I confidently predicted where the plot was going and who the bad guys were. I will give away no spoilers except to say I was wrong and this ended up in a direction I wasn’t expecting, so credit to the author there! Credit also to the author for a well-researched book and very real characters. And of course for a plot that works and avoids the obvious. I’ve read that this has an element of romance to it, and that would (I have to confess) be enough to have made me avoid this, but I am pleased to say that while there are relationships in this it didn’t feel ‘romantic’ to me.

So, a good first time effort from the author and (providing there is an on-going lack of romance!!) I would probably pick up a follow on. Not bad at all.


Personal (Jack Reacher 19)
Personal (Jack Reacher 19)
by Lee Child
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly under-whelmed, 8 Sep 2014
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Jack Reacher’s drifting existence is interrupted by an message in an abandoned army newsletter. He follows up to find his services are needed as a top sniper he once arrested might be planning a hit on world leaders and may already have had a practice shot at the French President. Cue Reacher joining up with a young female CIA agent (of course) and tracking snipers to London via Paris. Being British, Lee Child is obviously on familiar British territory and the Brits are treated with respect and not as old fashioned and not up to the job, which was a nice change. But we see Reacher drawing out the bad guys for somewhat typical Reacher confrontations and his unique moral stance.

I was delighted to see the story move from “small town in the middle of nowhere” and “vulnerable female office to work with” to a more international aspect and of course the London aspect was entertaining too. Having said that, the plot and the ‘reveal’ felt quite far-fetched and over elaborate. It felt like Lee Child wanted to take Reacher to London and struggled to find a clever way to make it happen. While Reacher is always engaging and an easy read, I ended up feeling somewhat underwhelmed. So ‘okay’ as a Reacher fix but I wanted a lot more than this delivered.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2014 4:00 AM BST


Oral-B Trizone 4000 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Oral-B Trizone 4000 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Price: £54.95

4.0 out of 5 stars top of the range, 8 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A top of the range toothbrush. If you use one of these I doubt you will ever go back to a ‘normal’ toothbrush ever again.

Comes with a stand and caddy for additional heads (if you were to share it with more than one person) but no carry case for trips away. Cleaning power and ease of use is good and your teeth will feel the better for the experience. It is a tad expensive, but if you are looking for as top of the range electric toothbrush, this is the one to go for.


World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III
World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III
by Ben Winters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The last mystery, 8 Sep 2014
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The final book in a trilogy that has been both different and special. The background to the trilogy is that an asteroid is on its way to wipe out the planet, and as society falls apart, (ex) detective Hank Palace keeps his sanity by doing the job that he knows so well. But in this last book he has a personal dimension, his sister is missing, part of a group that think the asteroid is a conspiracy. Can he find her in time?

This is almost post-apocalyptic as we see society in ruins (but we avoid the too easy option of marauding bad guys) – this is about people coming to terms with the end and their different approaches. Hank is a fascinating character, slightly OCD – he writes copious notes despite the view that they will never be read by anyone, and he wants to make sure his sister is safe, and that might be the final mystery he gets to solve.

Dark, but unique, this has been a fantastic series which I cannot recommend highly enough – make sure you start with the first one and read them in order.


Man in the Middle
Man in the Middle
Price: £2.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing thriller, 8 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Man in the Middle (Kindle Edition)
You feel this was a deeply personal book for the author based on his genuine experience and knowledge.

When a defence contractor appears to have committed suicide, newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Sean Drummond is asked to take a look. Given Drummond is seconded to the CIA there is obviously an intelligence concern. Drummond ends up working with a female from the military police and together they work out that the suicide might actually be murder. To further complicate things, the dead contractor may have been involved in something much deeper that may have taken the US into Iraq under false pretences.

I enjoyed this as I have all the Drummond novels and would have no hesitation in recommending them, but this one does make you think. I appreciate that there are some reviews that suggest the author is lecturing the reader, but I see it more as educating the reader and explaining elements of the Middle East and the relationships between differing Muslim factions. Considering when this book as written and the current situation in the Middle East it has certainly provided me with additional perspective.

But this is a thriller and I also enjoyed it just on that front. I love Drummond’s female boss and enjoyed the complexity of the intelligence machine and the different agendas of all the players


The Shattered Crown (Steelhaven: Book Two)
The Shattered Crown (Steelhaven: Book Two)
by Richard Ford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the first book, 4 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoyed the first book, big cast so you had to make the effort to keep track but worth it. This is much the same, I've read a lot of books between these two and I would have appreciated a reminder of the key elements of the first, but I got into it very quickly.

An army of bad guys is on it's way to Steelhaven where a new Queen is coming to terms with her role and wondering who to trust. Meanwhile all over the city people have different perspectives and agendas, some part of the big picture and some just part of survival in the slums. There are element's of Gemmell's Legend here and echoes of a number of fantasy themes, but I have to say I was engaged with the characters and the plot(s).
Looking forward to the next one already.


Hannibal: Clouds of War (Hannibal 3)
Hannibal: Clouds of War (Hannibal 3)
by Ben Kane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.75

4.0 out of 5 stars The adventure continues, 2 Sep 2014
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Ben Kane’s Hannibal series has been impressive and this is the third (and I sense there will be more).

Set during Rome’s war with Carthage, our central characters are friends who sit on either side of the conflict. In the middle is Aurelia, sister to the Roman Quintus and in love with Hanno who is from Carthage.

Much of this is set on Sicily and the Roman siege of Syracuse and the conflicts and adventures of our three main characters to bring into context the backdrop of the war and the siege. These were not nice times and Ben Kane does well to give us a good perspective from both sides and allows us to have a balanced view. It’s authentic, bloody and brutal.

My favourite is the first in the series, I thought it was brilliantly delivered by the author. I enjoyed this one, but if I had an annoyance with it, it would be that Aurelia seems to have become reckless beyond belief and I found her level of stupidity a little frustrating. Having said that, Hanno and Quintus are as engaging as ever and the story is as vivid and exciting as we have come to expect.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2014 11:23 AM BST


First Daughter (Jack McClure 1)
First Daughter (Jack McClure 1)
Price: £2.99

1.0 out of 5 stars a mess of a book, 18 Aug 2014
Not sure where to start with this mess of a book. The author provides a thriller on the theme of religious fundamentalism but the twist here is that it is US Christian fundamentalism. So far so good, and he adds in an agent with Dyslexia and the daughter of the President elect being kidnapped and dark politics from the out-going administration. Some interesting idea that utterly fail in their delivery, clichéd characters, preaching to the reader, diatribes on faith, a ludicrous bad guy, it’s just a mess and hard to get through. I’ve read a few EVL books and they have been okay, but this one is just best avoided.


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