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Mistress Vanilla

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The Bones Will Tell (Skye Cree, Book 2)
The Bones Will Tell (Skye Cree, Book 2)
Price: £3.17

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but a little meh..., 11 Jan. 2015
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This is promising, but doesn't pay out.

The main characters (goodies and baddies) behave and talk like airhead teenagers, the ending is rushed and anti-climactic, there's a particularly nauseating sex scene at a wholly inappropriate moment (let's not even get into the issue of combining romance and sexual predators). The author doesn't understand genetics or police procedure, and the Native American angle whiffs... like wet wolf.

Ultimately, this reads like the work of someone with a natural talent, who is still in high school - particularly the overuse of MS Word thesaurus alternatives without checking the meaning of the alternative: for example, discussing serial-killer tracking tactics is NOT 'banter'. Not even in Seattle.


Does GOD Ever Speak through CATS?
Does GOD Ever Speak through CATS?
Price: £3.53

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No., 10 Jan. 2015
Cats ARE God.


Shatterday
Shatterday
Price: £2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A collection of 70s stories, and that's where they should have stayed, 20 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Shatterday (Kindle Edition)
I've had to take a break from this for a while, as I'm finding it very hard going.

I know little of Harlan Ellison apart from the fact that he wrote The City on the Edge of Forever, or a form thereof, and some Twilight Zone episodes. I can't honestly say I've ever read any of his work before: perhaps a short story or two in an anthology, but nothing that sticks in the mind. As I'm a voracious sci-fi reader, I found the lack of data disturbing enough to seek out this book.

Now, I've abandoned it for the time being. I cannot for the life of me get into it. The tone of many of the stories is 70s 'groovy' - dated and tiresome, while Ellison's supposedly humourous introductory pieces are unfunny, self-congratulatory braying that sheds an interesting, not to say incriminatory light on the disputes that have dogged his writing career.

I may return to finish this book at some point and update this review accordingly. Or not.


The Curse Merchant (The Dark Choir Book 1)
The Curse Merchant (The Dark Choir Book 1)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Something interesting this way comes..., 20 Dec. 2014
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If there's one thing I've learned since begining to read Kindle novels, it's that I should avoid initialled authors. Granted, I'd have missed out on the Harry Potter novels, and possibly ASOIAF, if I followed this advice with real books, but I've learned the hard way that XG Pring and VW Polo are hiding more than their identities - they're also quite successfully hiding any writing talent, mainly from the reader.

So I have no idea why I downloaded this book, but I am glad I did. Nicely paced, an increasingly engaging anti-hero, an interesting concept - not a million miles from the Dresden Files, but sufficiently different to warrant my checking out the rest of JP's oeuvre.


A Head Full Of Knives - A Supernatural Mystery
A Head Full Of Knives - A Supernatural Mystery
Price: £2.32

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe enough plot for a short story., 20 Dec. 2014
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I have to concur with the other 1-star reviewers and wonder why so many good reviews for this book. The fact that so many have titles that are variants on "Luke Smitherd does it again!" is perhaps a hint.

It's not badly written, and doesn't suffer from the spelling and grammar mistakes that plague so many Kindle authors. There's an interesting enough concept behind the plot. A major problem is that there's a lot more going on: mysterious ritual murders start the book, and are then virtually ignored - at least up to the 62% mark, which is as far as I've read. As a short story, focussing perhaps on the messages from the animals and Martin's terrible choice, this could have been an excellent old-school horror tale in the Sheridan Le Fanu style (who thought it was sci-fi? REALLY??). As it is, it comes off as the work of a student who is "good at English", trying to shoe-horn in every possible idea. The result is uneven, jarring, irritating.

There are also some issues that require better research. A mentally-ill single father with no income (he's a writer, but writes nothing after his wife's death), living in nanny-state UK, would not be left to raise an infant without some outside intervention. Yet, from the book, it seems that the just-widowed Martin simply goes home with his son and has no other help apart from a doctor who, over at least the next five years, cheerfully prescribes ever-higher doses of anti-depressants. No health visitor ever calls to check on the baby, and therefore there is no followup, no referral to social and psychiatric services, nothing. In the first year after his wife's death, Martin is apparently left virtually alone.

The mysterious murders are taking place at an ever-increasing rate world-wide - at least one person in 3 is, or knows someone attacked (p.105). Now, that is a truly shocking statistic: 1 person in 3 attacked, presumably by one of the remaining two, the third presumably only being 'affected'? At least one attack is occurring in every single nuclear family in the world - potentially involving the deaths of up to one-third of the world's population.- and this is over the course of only 5 years. That's not a background problem, it's a total breakdown of society - or a whole other book. How is anything approaching normality supposed to continue in such an atmosphere of lawlessness? I doubt if any but the very worst war zones could produce such statistics.

Finally, the book is too long. As I said, the plot is worthy of a good short story. There's a lot of padding, much of it Martin's navel-gazing and his oft-praised imagination. I can't go on reading it, although I'd happily stab the whiny sod to put him out of my misery.


Deadly Straits (A Tom Dugan Novel)
Deadly Straits (A Tom Dugan Novel)
Price: £0.99

2.0 out of 5 stars George RR Martin called..., 17 Nov. 2014
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and he wants his 10,000 characters back....

Ye gods and little fishes, how this does drone on. And on. And on. The premise is good, multinational terrorist conspiracy, but there are simply too many characters, with too many back-stories, which are too over the top. For example - anf without giving too much away - the nanny does not need to be anything more than a bog-standard nanny. She certainly doesn't need to be a former heroin-addicted child prostitute who murdered her father and stole a war widow's identity(1) in order to become "the best nanny in London". It would also make a lot more sense - and little to no differnece to the story - for one of the protagonists to have simply inherited a shipping company from his rich daddy than to have scraped and fought his way from penniless orphaned refugee to multi-billionaire. The teenager could just be a teenager, etc., etc., etc., but everyone's background is as exotic, involved, and unlikely as is possible.

There are some jarring elements which make me wonder about the writer's age and nationality - I'm not sure any American has used the word 'limey' since 1945, and in the UK, we don't need cable installed to watch television (do we even HAVE cable here? I'm with satellite myself).

The story is pretty much over half-way through the book, but it keeps plodding on. I'm at 74% atm, and wishing the frakkin' boat would just blow up already.

Two stars for the meticulously detailed accounts of How Boats Work (yawn). It's like a waterlogged Lord of the Rings trilogy - the dreary, mind-numbing books, that is, not the okay movies with the compensatory hot long-haired guy-candy...

(1) Without the Army, the medical card system, the National Insurance scheme, and all those other pesky government agencies poking their noses in and catching her??


Extra Long Premium Thin Tip Stylus Pens - Bundle of 3 XXL High Precision Universal Gaming Stylus Pens with 3 Replacement Tips and 2 x 15" Elastic Tether Lanyards - Retail Packaging (Black/Red/Silver, 7.3-inch)
Extra Long Premium Thin Tip Stylus Pens - Bundle of 3 XXL High Precision Universal Gaming Stylus Pens with 3 Replacement Tips and 2 x 15" Elastic Tether Lanyards - Retail Packaging (Black/Red/Silver, 7.3-inch)
Offered by The Friendly Swede [UK]
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for designers, 14 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great items! I am a designer, and use these for sketching ideas on my Kindle Fire - far more accurate than anything I've tried before!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2014 5:28 PM BST


The Sword of the Banshee: (Historical Fiction About Bold Women)
The Sword of the Banshee: (Historical Fiction About Bold Women)
Price: £2.99

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There isn't even any redeeming sexual shenanigans to recommend this pish..., 1 Sept. 2014
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Awful. Two thoroughly loathable characters, a mariticidal Stockholm-syndrome sociopath and a deeply unpleasant sexist 'hero', trundle drearily through anachronism and geographical anomaly on both sides of the Atlantic, with added triggers for the PTSD reader.

Set in the mid-1700s (actually a fairly quiet and rebellion-free period in Irish history), India (only a girl's name since the British Raj of the 1800s) and her cousin Lorna (a name made up by RD Blackmore in 1869 for his novel, Lorna Doone) visit a Halloween ritual of a type unknown in Ireland, where India meets her future husband, leading the furries present. The meeting is inauspicious - she hates and is terrified of him, but nonetheless marries him with little demur when they meet three years later. Oddly, no one objects to this wealthy Protestant girl marrying a much older Catholic ex-convict and known rebel. Shortly afterwards, she is transformed as if by magic into his righthand woman. Etc and so forth, till she kills her now-disabled husband and absconds to America with the rebellion funds.

I can't really comment on the American side of the novel. Some extremely unpleasant scenes - child abuse, rape, murder. Stay away.


Reign of Blood (Reign of Blood #1)
Reign of Blood (Reign of Blood #1)
Price: £0.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A story-like tale of ..., 14 May 2014
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...metaphorical similes and descriptive adjectives, like a word dictionary or lexical thesaurus filled with words, both of which contain descriptions of nouns and verbs and adverbs like searing agony, which you could get in your throbbing head when a searing migraine makes your senses feverish as if you were in a casino, or even another casino, and your senses tell you there are more noun words somewhere that you might fit, pack, thrust, crush or shove into an ordered sequence of meaning-carrying language units, ordered according to grammar and syntax to put more words in....


Life Among the Dead
Life Among the Dead
Price: £4.48

1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother., 14 May 2014
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Written by a someone who doesn't get out much. Deleted after the first few pages. Can barely be bothered to complete the review word count.


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