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Who Needs Mr Darcy?
Who Needs Mr Darcy?
by Jean Burnett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Georgian romp, 9 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Who Needs Mr Darcy? (Paperback)
This off-shoot of "Pride and Prejudice" is not so much a read as a romp. From the very first pages our heroine, the recently widowed Lydia Wickham, whisks us round England and Europe in her efforts to secure a glittering future for herself as far away as possible from her boring relatives at Pemberley. She really is "the bad Miss Bennet": a card-sharp, a highwayman's moll, seductress, spy, and all-round self-serving hoyden - in fact, the female counterpart of many a roguish hero from the Picaresque (a tradition of novel-writing which the author says informed her choice of subject). Like her male counterparts, Lydia lives by her wits and ricochets from one adventure to another. The pace is fast and the humour dry and often outrageous. Don't expect a plot arc or any character development; that's not what "Who Needs Mr Darcy?" is about. Just jump on board and enjoy the ride!


A Kettle of Fish
A Kettle of Fish
Price: £1.15

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely something fishy going on, 24 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: A Kettle of Fish (Kindle Edition)
What I particularly enjoyed about this novel is the great "fishy" metaphor at its heart. I liked the way the author sustained it throughout and really milked the idea for all it was worth. "A Kettle of Fish" is quite a multi-faceted novel, apparently the simple coming-of-age story of Ailsa who's all set to go to uni and sow a few wild oats but whose plans are frustrated by her mother's mystery illness. In fact the illness, lupus, is soon diagnosed, and the real mystery of the book turns out to be much more sinister, and concerns lifelong secrets and lies. How Ailsa sets about unravelling the truth about her past, her father's disappearance and his purported crimes, is what gives the novel its depth. It also makes Ailsa grow up, fast. Although she indulges in her fair share of sex, wild flings and irresponsibility, it's the business of facing unpleasant truths that changes Ailsa from typical teenager to thoughtful, and surprisingly forgiving, young woman.


The Tree House
The Tree House
by Kathleen Jamie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 21 July 2012
This review is from: The Tree House (Paperback)
I'd not read Kathleen Jamie before, then a friend said I didn't know what I was missing. How true! I read this collection recently and was blown away by it. The beauty, simplicity and clarity of the poet's voice and the power of her images transform the natural world. It is uplifting verse - you truly will feel better after reading it. Kathleen Jamie writes about the flow of life between all things, about our inescapable bond with nature and our responses to it. This is modern lyrical poetry at its best; each poem tempts you back several times and lines echo in the memory all day. You'll never look at trees or birds the same way again. This is what poetry is for.


Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 1)
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £1.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wolf Hall" - utterly brilliant., 6 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, so this is not an easy read; it takes a while to get to grips with Mantel's idiosyncratic style and the book is long. But the effort is well worth it. "Wolf Hall" is possibly the best historical novel I've ever read. When I came to the last page, the last words, I felt bereft. What on earth could I possibly read next that would come close? I'm now pacing about, waiting for the sequel to appear ... very soon!

Hilary Mantel writes beautiful English prose; she can be poetic, coarse and earthy, humorous, ironic, journalistic, moving, biting, idiomatic - you name it, she has the verbal dexterity to deliver. We're used to the broad canvas she seems to paint with ease, after "A Place of Greater Safety", but here there's greater coherence in the wide sweep and, at the same time, a sense of intimacy. We feel close to our own Tudor history as it plays out along the familiar stretches of the Thames.

I struggled with History at school, because it seemed distant and disconnected. Mantel rubs our noses in it. Our senses are assaulted, page after page, by the everyday realities of Tudor England and in this way famous names become flesh-and-blood people. It may be an imaginative reality which historians could pick holes in, but fiction is about enjoyment and about losing youself in a long, glorious read that captivates you. "Wolf Hall" does that, in spades.


A Place of Greater Safety
A Place of Greater Safety
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vive la revolution!, 4 April 2012
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A magnificent book. Mantel writes in such a human voice. Every character comes alive and we're there, laughing and doubting and killing along with them. How does an author get under the skin like this? Dry historical tomes may well contain a few more facts, but Mantel makes us relive history, and as far as I'm concerned, that's the only way to understand it. A long novel, so be prepared for a big read, but personally I didn't want it to end.


Vagabond Shoes
Vagabond Shoes
Price: £2.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vagabond Shoes, 3 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Vagabond Shoes (Kindle Edition)
This is an idiosyncratic trip round large chunks of the world, written with a wicked eye to life's absurdities; Jean Burnett has a unique take on life. With all the aplomb, but minus the corsetry, of her Victorian inspirations, Jean obeys Robert Louis Stevenson's dictum, "The great affair is to move" and rocochets round Europe, South America, India, the USA, etc ... treating us to a wealth of closely observed detail, unlikely encounters, and self-deprecating humour. Read now, and plan your own escape!


Reach for a Different Sun
Reach for a Different Sun
Price: £2.32

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reach for a Different Sun, 29 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fast-paced narrative in an exotic setting. You can see and taste Jamaica in the vivid descriptions, hear its music as the characters talk. An unusual mystery thriller that combines family tragedy with political intrigue.


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