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DebB (Oxfordshire, England)

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Pensa in Italiano! Think in Italian! Carte 1-50 (Italian Edition)
Pensa in Italiano! Think in Italian! Carte 1-50 (Italian Edition)
Price: 0.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work and far too superficial to be useful, 16 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Couldn't get the sound bit of this to work properly, and the subject matter is so limited it really isn't any use. It was cheap I suppose, but if you want this sort of learning experience go to the memrise site - now that's useful and free!

The Universe Versus Alex Woods
The Universe Versus Alex Woods
by Gavin Extence
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quietly compelling with an engaging hero, 16 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an absorbing book that drew me in quickly and totally held my attention all the way through, so much so that I read far too late two nights running as I neared the end, because I just had to know!

The book is told in retrospect - it starts with Alex nearly 18, being stopped by the police and in deep trouble. Knowing that the paragraph the police want to fit into their statement form can't begin to do his tale justice, he undertakes to tell his full story in the manner he thinks it should be told. He wonders whether to go back to the very beginning, his conception, but decides to start at the "more obvious" place, that being the accident that happened when he was 10. He then takes us through his life, and slowly the significance of the events in the first chapter come clear.

Alex's voice is clear and fascinating, at times funny. There's a lovely bit towards the end where Alex is talking German to a German who insists on replying to Alex in English... "It was a strange ping-pong conversation that continued in this vein for some time. The clerk's refusal to speak German I put down to some obscure facet of hotel etiquette that I was unfamiliar with. His slightly edgy disposition I put down to my over-zealous, war-film accent." And that last sentence is just so Alex, it made me laugh out loud. I could hear him, using 1950's war film cod-German "ve are ze chermans" to inform how he spoke German.

The other characters are all diluted through his eyes, so we learn very little about his mother - typically so I suppose, to adolescents their mother is just that and nothing more. Other characters, especially Mr Peterson, have more depth, and the subject matter is at times thought provoking and challenging and at others just daft.

Well worth reading.

Dead Spots (A Scarlett Bernard Novel)
Dead Spots (A Scarlett Bernard Novel)
by Melissa F. Olson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.64

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, well paced and some engaging characters, 2 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I liked Scarlett - our heroine. She hasn't got any spiffy super powers, she isn't a martial arts expert, and she doesn't cling to a gun like a security blanket, instead she uses her wits to survive in a world that changed rather drastically when her parents died.

She's alone and prickly, but has people who rate her and seem to value her. There are two main male characters - Eli who I liked, and Jesse who didn't ring any bells for me. Eli is Scarlett's bed-buddy who's a reluctant werewolf. He clearly sees redeeming features in her, even if she does spend a lot of time trying to shove him away. I'm not sure why I didn't warm to Jesse. He's an impossibly handsome junior cop operating outside of his comfort zone, and he doesn't come across as very capable, not his fault really, this is all new to him after all, but he doesn't actually DO very much!

I was rather taken with Molly, a vampire who's using Scarlett's null abilities to grow older (she was turned at 17 so looks too young for adult fun!) and there are other supporting characters who are well drawn.

I didn't quite get why someone so valuable (we're told there are only 6 or 7 known nulls in the world) is risked on cleaning up supernatural crime scenes and c*ck-ups, and given her lack of supernatural skills, why have her clean them up? Wouldn't someone super speedy, or able to sniff out missed bits of blood and bits be more useful? At first I assumed she used her nullifying ability in some way, but nope, she disposes of bodies, removes forensic evidence and generally tidies up in a normal, un-supernatural way.

I didn't like the prologue - two reasons why, firstly I don't like prologues that hang unresolved for most of the book, to the point where you get fed up of thinking "ah, this is where the prologue comes in" and finding you're wrong, again. And secondly, "gently, reverently, biting down" into someone's neck while they scream wasn't an image that worked for me. Screaming implies fear and pain; gentle reverence does not, so there was something wrong here.

The book ends well, but then has a sort of little after bit, an epilogue of sorts, where something I'd been expecting for about half the book happened, (yay, I was right). Scarlett's reaction is so out of keeping with how she's dealt with everything else that's been thrown at her, I again found the scene jarring. It also contains the words "To be continued, honey", so I imagine there's a sequel acomin'!

However, prologue and "epilogue" aside, this is a good read that pulls you along just fine, and while it may lack the tautness of, say, Ilona Andrews or Patricia Briggs, it's a good yarn that's worth the read.

The Mystery of Mercy Close
The Mystery of Mercy Close
by Marian Keyes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.96

4.0 out of 5 stars As much a tale of depression as a tale of where's Wayne..., 1 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First up, I wasn't aware of the Walsh sisters, so hadn't realised this was the fifth in a series. That said, apart from the occasional sense that I was reading about things I was meant to know a lot more about, this reads just fine as a stand alone.

Lots has been written already, so my two'pennorthworth is:
* the depression is well and sensitively handled, but quite dark at times, and I wanted to shake her flaming family for their lack of support;
* the catastrophic effect of debt and recession isn't overdone, and isn't central to the book, but it is part of the underlying back-story, and as such, is dealt with well;
* the mystery of "where's Wayne" is drawn out well through the book, and while the answer had a sort of "oh yeah, obvious really" feel about it, I didn't get it, nor spot the twist;
* the Ladz element had its comical moments;
* the relationship with Artie and his family was a touch thin, but as this is very much Helen's book, that doesn't really matter.

This is a book I'll read again, and keep, so I recommend it, but it isn't a light, frivolous read. The cover of my book describes it as "very, very funny", but I disagree; it has its smile-out-loud moments, and some endearing bits of daftness, but there are some deep and bleak emotions here as well. Stick with it, the ending is what you'd want and well worth the read!

Mystic City
Mystic City
by Theo Lawrence
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars! Not bad, but this YA novel isn't for older As!, 3 Oct 2012
This review is from: Mystic City (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Some YA books work just fine for the older As among us, but although I read this easily I found myself wanting a bit more depth. No fault of the book, it's clearly badged for the younger audience, and will I'm sure work fine. So my review is from my older adult point of view.

The world building here is credible - a post-global warming, Venice like Manhattan, with the wealthy living safe above the water in the Aeries, and the poor living in the soggy Depths. The character development is solid as well, with a largish cast of supporting characters who are all well, and quite vividly, drawn

Also well done is Aria's muddle headed confusion. The prologue gives a glimpse that all is not well in her family, so you start the book primed to be suspicious of almost anyone close to her. Aria, and we, know from almost straight off that she's lost a chunk of memory, but she can't quite make herself believe what she's being told about how the memory loss happened, nor the Romeo and Juliet-like love affair that's led to the uniting of two rival families. Consequently, she finds herself at odds with almost everyone who shares her privileged and rather empty world, and the book follows her struggles to piece together the few fragments of memory she has and find out what really happened.

The only bit that I thought not so well done was the mystics' power. Again some neat ideas, but I found it a bit all-encompassing; it seemed to cover any need at all and allow its wielders to do such phenomenal things I found myself wondering how they'd got to be quite so downtrodden, put upon, and defeated.

There is love and romance here, it's fundamental to the whole story really, but the plot doesn't allow for anything other than a few kisses, or if it does its so subtle I missed it! There's some violence, albeit sanitised, a monumental sacrifice, and a big crescendo ending. This is primarily a book about betrayal, but also about how love can empower you to fight back.

As I said at the top, I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could - it's more that just OK, but its not going onto my keeper pile. If I were 40 years younger it probably would, but I'm not (sigh!).

The Red House
The Red House
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 13.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly absorbing..., 30 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Red House (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Amazon sent me the audio book by mistake, and on reflection, I'm very glad they did!
I'm a fast, impatient reader and know I would never have had the patience to read this book as it deserves, but by listening to it, hearing every single word with nary a skip or forward peek, I was forced to take it slowly, and to my surprise I found myself totally absorbed.
As other reviewers note, not a lot happens. This is about two related families who don't know each other at all, holidaying for a week in a Welsh cottage. Both sets of parents have their problems, as do the three (very different) teenagers, all grappling with approaching adulthood - the only one mostly untroubled by life is the youngest boy - who at times comes across as being about 6 (giggling over poo and pee jokes), and others around 10. Can't remember what he actually is!
As a listener I was perplexed at times; for example one section starts with some completely new characters running through the undergrowth. Who the hell are these people, how have I missed these names, where have we suddenly moved to? Turns out to be someone reading Benji (the young boy) a bedtime story - which does become clear fairly soon, but that, my difficulty with remembering which name belonged to which female character, and various sections related by "the narrator" who has nothing to do with the characters, made this slightly challenging initially, but once I settled into the style and flow, I was caught.
The ghost element is odd - as if the author thought it a good idea, then forgot about it, then suddenly decided to use it again... I didn't feel it was a necessary or useful plot device, and it could easily have been missed out altogether.
Beautifully read by Nathaniel Parker, who inhabits his characters well, especially Benji!

Full Blooded (Jessica McClain Book 1)
Full Blooded (Jessica McClain Book 1)
Price: 5.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, readable - ends somewhat abruptly, 25 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First up - let me say I enjoyed this. It was an easy, quick read with a likable heroine in Jess, who has family who love her and friends to back her up. She also has an inner wolf who gives her a hard time and knows what (and who) she wants - loved the image of her wolf dancing in circles of joy after meeting a certain someone! The action is well paced and there are suitably nasty and unpleasant baddies to threaten Jess and co. I rolled an metaphorical eyebrow over the interaction with Rourke - it was a bit hackneyed - and as a character we learn precious little about him beyond how big and gorgeous he is. Some of the other characters are a bit thinly drawn - the friendly witch, and the heavy police officer spring to mind.

Be aware - having been caught out in the past with books that are shorter than the Kindle "you are 65% of the way through" bar suggests, when I stopped reading yesterday I thought I had a few chapters to go, given I was 93% of the way through. When I opened up this evening for the final bit, I discover I'd literally stopped reading at the last page. I'd finished!

So the book is shorter than you might expect, and for me, the ending has nothing of "this is the end for now" about it. I don't even feel I've been left with a cliff hanger, just a story that's stopped mid-scene. So I'm feeling a tad disgruntled - however, can't deny I read this and enjoyed it and was peeved it had ended, so it's worth a read.

Blooded: A Jessica McClain novella
Blooded: A Jessica McClain novella
Price: 1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and entertaining!, 16 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this on the recommendation of one of the US reviewers of Full Blooded (Jessica McClain) (the book to which this is a prequel) who felt it provided much needed background and gave a better understanding of Jessica.

I read through this fairly quickly, and the story flows well, taking place over a short period of time. I liked the characters we're introduced to - Jessica, her brother, her foxy-friend, her dad, her dad's second in command - all characters who will feature in the full length book I sure, and I'm interested enough in what happens next to be planning on buying Full Blooded.

Our heroine is a toughie extraordinaire - although whether a human female could really win a fight with a muscled up werewolf male is unlikely. To be fair, she resorts to tactics other than brute force, but even so when we read of her injuries, and hear of injuries she's incurred in the past, I did wonder how it was no one had managed to kill her, seeing as so many seem to want her dead. It's a good job they have their own medic, otherwise she'd have been ringing some serious child/domestic-abuse alarms in the local emergency department!

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Good solid feel to this considering the price, 30 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Has a quality feel to it, which given the price, is great. Does the job, will rub clean - well worth its price.

Forgefix CSK1146B Countersunk Slotted Head Wood Screw - Solid Brass
Forgefix CSK1146B Countersunk Slotted Head Wood Screw - Solid Brass
Offered by Right Tool
Price: 6.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Brass screws in a box - what else can I say?, 30 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These seem fine - they'll do the job they were bought for and were a darn sight cheaper than buying dozens of small packs from my local hardware store,

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