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Andy Szpuk

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The Long and the Short of it.
The Long and the Short of it.
Price: 0.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tidy collection, 5 Feb 2013
Great characters slipped into ordinary situations, with an immediate tension palpable from the first paragraphs. Storytelling at its most compulsive, and I felt connections with all the characters on an emotional level - Jan Ruth makes them believable, whether it's Clara and Frank hitting a crossroads in their new relationship, with his wife Ella hovering in the ether, or Teddy Roberts stripped to the waist catching the eye of Pattie over the hedge.
The motivations and desires of these characters are captured in close-up, with the reader sucked into the inner workings of their minds where all their frailties are revealed.
And there is a mischievous quality - the stories make you smile, but also provoke thought around how people exist in their everyday lives mostly in bubbles of longing for the missing piece of the jigsaw.
Recommended.


Reflections - Eternal Curse
Reflections - Eternal Curse

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Supremely well-crafted, 22 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a really excellent and engrossing read. The portrayal of Jo, the main character, was sympathetic and realistic - I really felt I was in the head of a seventeen year old girl - no mean feat!
The tension built up like a slow fuse and then exploded at the mid-way point with the storyline developing nicely.
I was charmed by this story of young adults feeling their way through their lives and searching for love. And there were one or two moments of humour which really made me smile.
J Dorothy is a polished author who delivers a compelling and believable tale, with flair and conviction. This is a series poised to grip the imaginations of readers. I'm already looking forward to the next one.


Huh?
Huh?

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Larger Than Life, 25 Oct 2012
This review is from: Huh? (Kindle Edition)
Huh? captures the desperation in the life of teacher Colin, with his world weary cynicism, raising a smile on every page.
There are many insights into human nature, the drives and motivations of people, and the observations ring so true.
What impresses keenly is the dialogue, which drives the story along much of the time - it is very well-constructed.
The humour flies off the page refusing to die until the reader raises a smile. It's a terrific read, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to the next one.


The Division of the Damned
The Division of the Damned

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 3 Aug 2012
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Richard Rhys Jone takes what appears on the face of it to be an outlandish premise ~ that the Nazis recruited a vampire division in World War Two, and makes it a believable, entertaining yarn.
The attention to historical detail is impressive, and Jones creates a cast of characters with diverse motivations and with human traits.The story comes to life . . .

And anyone who has any in-depth knowledge of World War Two history will also know that the Nazis were far-reaching in their strategies, using all manner of ways to further their ambition. So, the idea of recruiting a vampire army is intriguing.
Jones constructs his narrative with mischievous twists here and there, and his cast of characters is well-developed. The storyline stabs in many different directions, until it all comes together in an apocalyptic magic.

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing . . .


(BRADT UKRAINE (UPDATED)) BY Paperback (Author) Paperback Published on (05 , 2010)
(BRADT UKRAINE (UPDATED)) BY Paperback (Author) Paperback Published on (05 , 2010)
by Andrew Evans
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a travel guide, 26 Jun 2012
Andrew Evans blends a wealth of information with a strong readable narrative which has a wonderful conversational tone. 'Ukraine' delivers far more than a straightforward guide. There's a lengthy section on the country's history, which is fascinating and before the reader even begins to read about the diverse places to visit, there are sections on geography, climate, politics, culture and more!
But even if the reader cuts to the chase and reads, say, the chapter on Vinnitsya, then the background is still delivered and I have to say my appetite was whetted for this city.
A visitor to Ukraine might plan to stay in Ukraine for 10 days, or 2 weeks, but after reading this guide may also wish to visit the following year. Mr Evans draws out the magic of Ukraine east to west and north to south.
This is an educational read, and a 5 star travel book.


dayrealing
dayrealing

5.0 out of 5 stars Larger Than Life, 26 May 2012
This review is from: dayrealing (Kindle Edition)
Dayrealing captures the desperation in the life of teacher Colin, with his world weary cynicism, raising a smile on every page.
There are many insights into human nature, the drives and motivations of people, and the observations ring so true.
What impresses keenly is the dialogue, which drives the story along much of the time - it is very well-constructed.
The humour flies off the page refusing to die until the reader raises a smile. It's a terrific read, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to the next one.


Bright Links, Dark Links
Bright Links, Dark Links

5.0 out of 5 stars Totally compelling, 2 Nov 2011
Bright Links Dark Links revolves around the story of Jeanie and her ability to see beyond the real world. Her longing for a life partner is a strong study of the need for love, but also of self-doubt - Jeanie is anxious about revealing her powers. She meets Sam and inadvertently gets involved in thwarting a supernatural scheme to raise the dead. Bright Links Dark Links is a story that shines - the themes of tradition and modernity are interwoven well, and Jeanie and Sam's relationship takes one or two twists and turns before they are plunged into the maelstrom of a spirit world where evil forces are invading and causing mayhem. It's a compelling story, both thought-provoking and moving, as the reader begins to question what is real or not real, and how events are influenced by forces beyond the control of ordinary people. It is a thoroughly entertaining read, with buckets of tension throughout. Recommended.


Closure (Closure Series)
Closure (Closure Series)
Price: 0.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing portrait, 29 Oct 2011
Lisette Manning captures a longing quality in this short story, and the gnawing desperation of a man (Ben) who is losing his wife. We are told in the opening line that she is leaving him, and then, in 3 over-lapping sections, the story is revealed.
The idyllic nuclear family is painted by a view of Ben's parents, at a family picnic in the park, who are happy and, on the face of it, appear perfect. Tension drips from a prose that flows well and a poetic quality is the undercurrent.
It is Ben who has to deal with the situation that has presented itself, a situation that has crept up on him. He digs deep inside to search for reserves of inner strength, and the ending is poignant, as he discovers his true self.

Also included is a preview of Lissette Manning's forthcoming novel, 'Careless'.


Everything Flows (Vintage Classics)
Everything Flows (Vintage Classics)
by Vasily Grossman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-read account of Soviet times, 6 Aug 2011
In a forest of 27 chapters planted across 225 pages, Vasily Grossman fills reservoirs with essay-style discourse in between rivers of real-life, from characters sucked into the whirlpool of a post-revolutionary force that was the Soviet Union.
The opening is poignant, Ivan Grigoryevich returns home after 30 years in a gulag. His memories are strong and he relishes freedom, but he sees that Russia has lost none of the absurdities and paradoxes of communism.
Grossman constructs a narrative around this homecoming to illustrate this, and to open up the dark heart of Russia's communist legacy. He weaves his message around a complex array of characters, with the result a damning indictment of an evil regime that brutalised and murdered its own people.
Grossman skilfully utilises language, metaphors and similes that not only create strong images, but which also provoke thought and feeling. He switches viewpoint effortlessly, pulling the reader into the story with ease.
The final chapters are compelling and astonishing, as Grossman goes deeper and deeper into that black Soviet heart. We are left in no doubt who are the guilty, but despite the overall dark tone of this novel, we are left with hope for the human race.


Liberation: The Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945
Liberation: The Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945
by William Hitchcock
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.69

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many valuable insights, 22 Jan 2011
The intention of the book is clear from the outset - to describe the experience of civilians post World War 2, and, in that sense, it is largely a success.
The book is constructed as an academic exercise rather than a dramatic account, and despite that limiting factor, it delivers several moving snippets - the description of the liberating armies as they arrived at the Nazi death camps is incredible.
Very real details such as the Allies' (failed) attempts to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among their troops provide fascinating material.
For anyone researching this post-war period, or a related subject, 'Liberation' is a worthwile reference and is very readable.


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