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The Lay of the Lost Minstrel
The Lay of the Lost Minstrel
Price: £1.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric., 5 Mar. 2015
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If you enjoy atmospheric historical shorts then this is for you. Beautifully written and packed full of atmosphere and an excellent introduction to Fire and Sword, providing an interesting and convincing back story for one of the main characters there.


This Little Piggy
This Little Piggy
Price: £4.21

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 22 Jan. 2015
This review is from: This Little Piggy (Kindle Edition)
This Little Piggy is classified as crime, but perhaps could more properly be described as ‘suspense’. A baby dies by falling from a balcony in a sink estate and a young child appears to know something about what happened, though the police don’t consider her a reliable witness. Claire, a reporter on a local newspaper, is covering the story, while wrestling with problems of her own that make her particularly vulnerable to the death of a baby and to the plight of the child who is suffering severe neglect. The story is played out against the backdrop of the 1984 miner’s strike, and Davenport skillfully weaves issues arising from that conflict into the plot.

There are all sorts of emotional tugs in the story - should Claire report the child’s situation to the relevant authorities, despite the child’s obvious terror of social services; the inherent pitfalls if she herself becomes involved in the child’s welfare; and the risk that her engagement with the child and with a miner’s representative is clouding her judgement and challenging her appropriate detachment?

The central mystery is who is responsible for the death of the child, and I was very near the end of the book before I worked that out, and I certainly did not anticipate the climax.

Initially I was sympathetic towards the child, and the depiction of her circumstances was well done. But I found my sympathy waning as the story progressed, though, as someone who has been involved in fostering, I understood how and why she acts as she does. And although Claire is the main character, there are some of her actions that I found hard to understand, though most were clarified, at least to some extent, by the end. However it is Joe, another reporter, that I find most likeable, and he is (for me) the person whose story I’d like to follow past the final pages of this book.

There are elements of tragedy and comedy and an ending, which is, on the whole, satisfying, though we are left with the possibility of more to come. If contemporary suspense is your thing, you will enjoy this book.

The relevance of the title becomes clear near the end, but I found it somewhat of a distraction as I read, spending more time than I think the author would have wished in trying to work it out. (This may, however, be a feature that regular readers of the genre will recognize and expect.)


I am David (World Mammoth)
I am David (World Mammoth)
by Anne Holm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely moving., 22 Jan. 2015
THis is an intensely moving and extremely well written book. I read it first as a child and it still has the power to move me today. It is that rare thing, a book that lives on in the memory long after you turn the last page.


[(This Little Piggy)] [ By (author) Bea Davenport ] [April, 2015]
[(This Little Piggy)] [ By (author) Bea Davenport ] [April, 2015]
by Bea Davenport
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Suspense to the end., 20 Jan. 2015
This Little Piggy is classified as crime, but perhaps could more properly be described as ‘suspense’. A baby dies by falling from a balcony in a sink estate and a young child appears to know something about what happened, though the police don’t consider her a reliable witness. Claire, a reporter on a local newspaper, is covering the story, while wrestling with problems of her own that make her particularly vulnerable to the death of a baby and to the plight of the child who is suffering severe neglect. The story is played out against the backdrop of the 1984 miner’s strike, and Davenport skillfully weaves issues arising from that conflict into the plot.

There are all sorts of emotional tugs in the story - whether Claire should report the child’s situation to the relevant authorities, despite the child’s obvious terror of social services; the inherent pitfalls if she herself becomes involved in the child’s welfare; and the risk that her engagement with the child and with a miner’s representative is clouding her judgement and challenging her appropriate detachment.

The central mystery of who is responsible for the death of the child is cleverly sustained and I was very near the end of the book before I worked it out - I certainly did not anticipate the climax.

Initially I was sympathetic towards the child protagonist, and the depiction of her circumstances was well done. But I found my sympathy waning as the story progressed, though, as someone who has been involved in fostering, I understood how and why she acts as she does. And although Claire is the main character, there are some of her actions/ feelings that I was unsure of, though most were clarified, at least to some extent, by the end. However it is Joe, another reporter, that I find most likeable, and he is (for me) the person whose story I’d like to follow past the final pages of this book.

There are elements of tragedy and comedy and an ending, which is, on the whole, satisfying, though we are left with the possibility of more to come. If contemporary suspense is your thing, you will enjoy this book.

The relevance of the title becomes clear near the end, but I found it somewhat of a distraction as I read, spending more time than I think the author would have wished in trying to work it out. (This may, however, be a feature that regular readers of the genre will recognize and expe


Bingsale Folio Slim Fit Leather Smart Cover Case with Auto Sleep and Wake Feature for Kindle 6" (7th Generation)(Kindle 7th Generation, purple)
Bingsale Folio Slim Fit Leather Smart Cover Case with Auto Sleep and Wake Feature for Kindle 6" (7th Generation)(Kindle 7th Generation, purple)
Offered by BingSale Store
Price: £8.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Jan. 2015
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perfect fit and nice looking too.


Fire and Sword
Fire and Sword
Price: £4.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant depiction of the times., 6 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Fire and Sword (Kindle Edition)
The term ‘Fire and Sword’ is a perfect description of the life and lifestyle of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. This novel does a great job of depicting that reality, including the terrible consequences and the privations of ordinary people faced with the wholesale destruction of their homes and livelihoods in the name of family loyalties, yet without ever straying into gratuitous violence or overly graphic detail. Top marks, Louise Turner, for that.

Top marks too for the depictions of the two main characters – John Sempill and Hugh Montgomerie, both of whom I found believable and flawed (as all good characters should be) but ultimately characters whom I could like.
Disclosure: I too have written a novel including a Hugh Montgomerie as a main character. My Hugh is of the same family, but of a lesser status, and living some 100 years later, so perhaps I might be expected to harbour some sympathy for Turner’s Lord Hugh, but it is a testament to Turner’s skill that a character presented as having a fearsome reputation for violence and few friends, should nevertheless be so easy to like.

Top marks for the quality of the writing, particularly the dialogue, which rang true throughout and significantly added to the development of the characters. I loved it. The storyline too moved along nicely, particularly in the second half of the book and came to a satisfying conclusion, though I would have ended it one chapter earlier than Turner does…

So why am I giving this 4* rather than 5*? This is a reflection of my personal preferences and may not adversely affect other readers, but the one part of the story that didn't totally satisfy me was the romance element, which I felt was written in a rather formulaic way and therefore didn’t sit well with the quality of the rest of the book. A slightly different treatment of this aspect and for me Fire and Sword would have been a 5* book all the way. I am, however, very much looking forward to the sequel. Thank you, Louise Turner for a very enjoyable read.


Death in a Scarlet Gown (Murray of Letho Book 1)
Death in a Scarlet Gown (Murray of Letho Book 1)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable historical murder mystery., 1 Jan. 2015
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I thoroughly enjoyed this first in a series of books with Murray of Letho. It is a murder mystery on the cosy spectrum, and although there is a death early on it is accidental, the murders themselves coming much later. I didn't mind the wait, partly because having been at St Andrews Uni myself I enjoyed re-visiting the town through Conyngham's eyes, and can testify to the accuracy of the portrayal. I also found Murray an attractive protagonist and I'm looking forward to reading more of his adventures. I have to confess to being disappointed in one character, for whom I'd had sympathy, who turned out to be a rotter, but that's all part of a mystery writer's skill, so top marks for that. I did feel that the body count (murders) was one too many, but overall this is an entertaining read, with good characterisation, well-realised setting and lots of fine turns of phrase. (A wee map of the centre of St Andrews might be useful for those not familiar with the town.)


Bridie McMahon
Bridie McMahon
Price: £1.97

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant rags to riches story, 23 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Bridie McMahon (Kindle Edition)
This is a pleasant, if a little predictable rags to riches story with plenty of obstacles along the way. And an ending to please all romantics. It is always a difficult thing to decide how in writing to convey an accent, and unfortunately here it didn't quite come off, and parts of the story are rather cliched, but if you are looking for an easy read historical romantic novel, this is for you.


Honey, Mud, Maggots and Other Medical Marvels: Science Behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives' Tales
Honey, Mud, Maggots and Other Medical Marvels: Science Behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives' Tales
by Robert Scott Root-Bernstein
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars so much here to fascinate., 27 Jan. 2014
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I generally reserve 5* for books that I will read and read again, and this is one of them - I've read it, listened to it on CD and read it again. Great for car journeys - can't fall asleep with these facts being read to you. As a writer of historical fiction it has a particular interest for me - some of this will definitely make it into my books - engaging and easy to follow style also - glad to have it on my bookshelf.


Anne of Green Gables Stories: 12 Books, 142 Short Stories, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne's House of Dreams, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside, Chronicles and More
Anne of Green Gables Stories: 12 Books, 142 Short Stories, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne's House of Dreams, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside, Chronicles and More
Price: £1.50

5.0 out of 5 stars These are books to read and re-read - what more can I say?, 27 Jan. 2014
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I don't know how many times I have read these - all I really want is a complete set in hardback! I'm not so keen on the two 'Chronicles' ones, but al the others I'm happy to read again and again. And perhaps more importantly there are incidents that however many times I read still make me cry - in fact my throat begins to constrict when I'm coming near to the crucial point. These would definitely be with me on my 'desert island'. - If you're a UK reader you'll know the reference...


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