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Mr. A. Gale "Al Gale" (Worcester, UK)
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The Seed Buried Deep: True Story of the First Human-Powered Circumnavigation of the Earth (The Expedition Book 2)
The Seed Buried Deep: True Story of the First Human-Powered Circumnavigation of the Earth (The Expedition Book 2)
Price: £5.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As inspiring as the first installment., 28 Feb. 2014
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Taking up immediately where Dark Waters left off, The Seed Buried Deep continues in the same ex-military tone and style. Lewis remains as determined to complete the expedition as ever, despite numerous obstacles that would deter lesser men, and his descriptive recollections of incidents and conversations ensure a sharp, page-turning focus.

With no requirement to focus on the pre-expedition administration, The Seed Buried Deep seems much shorter than the first installment. Nevertheless, the life-endangering encounters and logistical disruptions which all directly impact the chances of success, all serve to make this installment as equally compelling as Dark Waters.


The Husband's Secret
The Husband's Secret
by Liane Moriarty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A Film Waiting to Happen, 19 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Husband's Secret (Paperback)
Firstly, I have to say that the Husband's Secret is NOT just a chick book. As a man I loved the poetic writing style, the truly three dimensional characters, and the intricate storyline.

The book is about life paths, and how the decisions we make (or that are made for us) alter the direction our lives take. It's about emotions, marriages, and families. And it's all so well described, so perfectly planned and plotted, that it's impossible not to directly relate to all of the characters.

The Husband's Secret makes you want to go and grab your wife and kids and tell them how much you love and appreciate them.

It's an emotional book that's simply waiting to be turned into a film. If done well (i.e. not 'adapted' by the film companies and relocated to the US for no other reason that the Americans won't relate to any other geographical location) then such a film could be hugely successful.

Let's see what happens.


American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
by Chris Kyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

52 of 63 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, Gung-ho, all American. A struggle to complete., 15 Aug. 2013
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This book should be compulsory reading for all UK forces. It forms the perfect handbook for how NOT to act within a warzone, unless that serviceman is hoping for a dishonourable discharge and a long civilian jail sentence. The book also highlights the entirely wrong attitude to serving in the forces.

Contrary to Kyle's opinion, conflict is not all about `whupping ass', looking cool in a baseball cap and being a `bas ass'.
And like it or not, Rules of Engagement have to be followed. They are the bane of the service personnel's life, but failing to understand them (or worse, ignoring them) results, legally, in a murder sentence (look up Lee Clegg!). Acting as Kyle did, such a shooting someone dead AFTER they have planted an IED, is a sure way to jail.

And yet the most infuriating aspect to this book is the fact that Kyle is genuinely under the total impression that the Iraqi and Afghanistani bad guys only want to kill Americans. If this were true, UK troops could patrol without body armour or risk of injury. Kyle utterly forgets that the Iraq wars involved a coalition!

Ultimately, the book has such an utterly American focus that anyone reading it and coming away having any empathy for Kyle can only be a fellow American.


The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1)
The Passage (The Passage Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £6.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enigma, 26 July 2013
'The Passage' is hardly high-brow, and the novel is clearly aimed at the American mass-market (the author even makes reference to America "babysitting" the rest of the world). Were it not for the occasionally swear word, 'The Passage' would comfortably sit in the teen-fiction section along with 'The Hunger Games', and it sometimes appears that Cronin is not entirely sure which age-group he is trying to appeal to. The writing style makes for easy reading, with simple, even concise sentence structure. The reader is "told" as opposed to "shown" what characters are thinking, so there is never any doubt or ambiguity. Fans of Le Carre may feel that they are being spoon-fed.

This all said, the storyline itself is compelling. Sure, none of it is new, and in essence 'The Passage' is '28 Weeks Later' or 'I Am Legend' meets 'The Stand' (the latter of which is suggested as further reading at the end of the novel). But that's not to say that it is not done well. The story moves along at a good pace, with each chapter leaving the reader wanting to read more. The scope of the novel is vast, and with 'The Passage' being able to realistically comprise several smaller novels, for value for money it is hard to beat. The characters live and breathe, and the reader finds themselves understanding character traits and decisions, as well as feeling a high degree of empathy for them.

The enigma for me lies in the way the novel was so compelling, despite an underlying feeling that there was something missing, and that the expectation of the reader to suspend their belief was sometimes pushed to the point where it became unachievable: Would someone who had never had any interaction with the military other than hearsay automatically defer to them and call someone "Sir" whilst stood to attention? Would a small, even tiny, insular community retain enough knowledge through three generations to produce a mechanical and electrical guru? These are perhaps trivial questions, but these and others combine to threaten the fabric of suspended belief, in my opinion.

Overall, from an escapism and entertainment point of view, I would recommend giving it a go - but for me the break to a 100-year distant future never quite comes off. 7/10 for me.


THE GREAT GATSBY [Complete Book with New Illustrations] (2011 Kindle Edition)
THE GREAT GATSBY [Complete Book with New Illustrations] (2011 Kindle Edition)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "Great"?, 15 May 2013
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An undoubtedly beautiful book. A joy to read. But why is he the "Great" Gatsby? He's quite unremarkable. Why not just "Mr. Gatsby"?

Well worth a read, anyway.


Orlando: A Biography (Oxford World's Classics)
Orlando: A Biography (Oxford World's Classics)
by Virginia Woolf
Edition: Paperback

15 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Without doubt the very worst book I have ever had the displeasure of reading., 5 Sept. 2007
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I MUST be missing something. I am widely read, am in the middle of a degree in literature, and all of a sudden as part of my studies I have to read this mindless drivel. I can only guess that it is a kind of Emperors New Clothes test, where they see if you just blindly agree that because a famous author(es) wrote it, it must be good.

The plot, if you call it such, is of a man who lives the first half of his life courting women and having numerous affairs, with very little else happening, aside from a continuing struggle to write a poem. Suddenly he wakes up one morning with the body and mind of a woman. She then survives for many hundreds of years, yet is only around 35 years old herself. She marries, the husband instantly leaving to sail to the Horn, and well over a year later she suddenly gives birth to a child whilst looking out of the window. Bored yet? You will be.

Had it not been a requirement of my next course to study this utter rubbish, I would have put it down unfinished a long time ago. All I am left with now is the feeling of having been cheated out of several hours of my life, and the hope that I will be able to avoid having to study it in any greater detail when that part of the course comes round.

Without doubt the very worst book I have ever had the displeasure of reading.


Sunset Song
Sunset Song
by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic, moving novel - if hard to read at first!, 20 July 2007
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This review is from: Sunset Song (Paperback)
Many people seem to think this novel is "about" Chris, the central female character. Personally I thought it was about rural Scottish life in the early 1900's, and how a particular community comes to be affected by issues far outside of its own borders and its own control.

The close relationships and way of life within a community such as this, means that even very trivial events or actions carried out by an individual all carry great importance to others. Gossip and rumour necessarily play a significant role in the novel.

The unique writing style of the novel does initially make it very hard to read. Sentences are long, and are often not restricted to a single subject or idea, but once the reader learns to engage with the narrator and understands the style, it is like being told a story by a trusted friend.

By the end of the novel, the reader can closely identify with each of the characters, and as their individual fates are decided, it is impossible not to feel a high degree of sympathy for each of them. I personally found it a very moving read - but must admit that had I not had to study this book as part of my degree, I may well have put it down early on and not picked it back up - that would truly have been a great shame. Stick with it, and you will be glad you did!


Last Reveille
Last Reveille
by David Morrell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Morrell, 12 Sept. 2002
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From the author renowned for bringing us John Rambo via the brilliant First Blood, Last Reveille is something far more unusual. Unlike some of his more typical works, such as Brotherhood Of The Rose and The Fifth Profession, this novel is set back in the early 1900`s.
In much the same way as Bernard Cornwell does with the Sharpe novels, Morrell has spent a great deal of time researching the factual history surrounding events of this period, and this gives him more time to spend on the fiction of the characters and the way the storyline intertwines with historical events.
Mexican bandits are causing trouble for the USA, and are growing increasingly brave. In what is seen as a perfect opportunity to prepare their soldiers for the inevitable World War which is brewing, The USA technically invades Mexico in an attempt to wipe out the bandits.
The story centres on two main characters, Prentice, the young and inexperienced soldier, and Calendar, the old and seasoned professional that Prentice yearns to emulate and learn from.
The description of the conditions and emotions they experience is second to none. You can taste the coffee and beans, feel the desert sand in your clothes, and the scorching sun on your back. It is very easy to identify with the characters, and the how’s and why’s of what they do and say are utterly credible and believable.
In short, Last Reveille can only be described as far from typical Morrell. Testament is without doubt Morrells best work, and First Blood is a classic. Last Reveille is right up there with them though, and any reader who has previously enjoyed this author is sure to absolutely love this book.


Last Reveille
Last Reveille
by David Morrell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Morrell, 12 Sept. 2002
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
From the author renowned for bringing us John Rambo via the brilliant First Blood, Last Reveille is something far more unusual. Unlike some of his more typical works, such as Brotherhood Of The Rose and The Fifth Profession, this novel is set back in the early 1900`s.
In much the same way as Bernard Cornwell does with the Sharpe novels, Morrell has spent a great deal of time researching the factual history surrounding events of this period, and this gives him more time to spend on the fiction of the characters and the way the storyline intertwines with historical events.
Mexican bandits are causing trouble for the USA, and are growing increasingly brave. In what is seen as a perfect opportunity to prepare their soldiers for the inevitable World War which is brewing, The USA technically invades Mexico in an attempt to wipe out the bandits.
The story centres on two main characters, Prentice, the young and inexperienced soldier, and Calendar, the old and seasoned professional that Prentice yearns to emulate and learn from.
The description of the conditions and emotions they experience is second to none. You can taste the coffee and beans, feel the desert sand in your clothes, and the scorching sun on your back. It is very easy to identify with the characters, and the how's and why's of what they do and say are utterly credible and believable.
In short, Last Reveille can only be described as far from typical Morrell. Testament is without doubt Morrells best work, and First Blood is a classic. Last Reveille is right up there with them though, and any reader who has previously enjoyed this author is sure to absolutely love this book.


Testament
Testament
by David Morrell
Edition: Paperback

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Morrell`s best novel to date!, 1 Aug. 2001
This review is from: Testament (Paperback)
I really can`t believe I`m the first to rate this book. It is, in my opinion, a true classic, and has been around for years and years, going in and out of print in the UK, mainly due to the fact the Morrell has never really taken off over here.
The main character of the book, a man named Reuben, has been given the chance to write an article on an underground network. Though he has promissed not to show them in a bad light, he decides nevertheless to publish the raw truth about their ruthlessness and determination.
Morrell wastes no time in getting the action underway, and within a few pages the reader will find that Reuben is now the networks number 1 target. Nothing and no-one is going to stop them getting their man. They have no fear and no shame. And there are no limits as to what they are prepared to do!
Raw action from the first few pages, this novel is a true thriller and deserves a place on any action seekers bookshelf!


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