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The Silent Wife
The Silent Wife
Price: 0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping your distance does not keep you safe..., 26 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Silent Wife (Kindle Edition)
A very interesting read, chosen at random in my local bookshop. I've glanced at some of the reviews and notice that some readers found the writing style too impersonal, pedestrian even, but I think this was an effective and considered technique that perfectly suited the female protagonist (for reasons that would reveal too much in this review). The chapters alternated between 'His' view and 'Her' view, and their stories were told in a way that matched their characters. From the male viewpoint, the distance of the narrator shrank, his impulsive behaviour and terrifying fall into chaos captured with breath-stopping clarity.

This was a well crafted novel about the disintegration of a relationship, with some brilliant insights dropped subtly into the skilful narrative. The psychological layers deepened as the novel progressed until I couldn't put it down. My only criticism would be: why did we need to know at the very start that she would kill her husband? I would have preferred the suspense of not knowing this until much later, if at all before the idea was almost a plan. Still 5* though, because overall it was superb. I don't understand comparisons to 'Gone Girl'; to my mind this is in another league entirely. It's a tragedy that the author died before the book was published and I hope its well-deserved success brings some comfort to her loved ones.


The Sky is Not Blue
The Sky is Not Blue
Price: 2.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising..., 11 Jan 2014
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I read this book a while ago and I plan to read it again because I'm still thinking about the characters even after several months. It had a strange and subtly mesmerising quality that hooked me gradually; like a slowly turning vice I barely noticed until I was firmly in its grip. Then, as the sense of foreboding grew I experienced a surprisingly real sense of falling, or sinking, a presentiment perhaps, at which point I let go and became immersed, swept along by the novel's unexpectedly relentless power to draw me in. Highly recommended.


Rupee Millionaires
Rupee Millionaires
Price: 1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irrepressible ode to the human Spirit - with (silver) bells on, 30 Oct 2013
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Where to start with my thoughts on this captivating story? Honestly? It's the most entertainment I've had (with words) since Round Ireland with a Fridge, which, if you could splice together with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, might bring you close to imagining the heady pull of Frank Kusy's superb Rupee Millionaires.

I've never been to India, but I've lived a decade there through Frank's eyes, and was utterly captivated. But it's so much more than an entertaining travel memoir. To me, this is first and foremost a story of friendship, of the way the strangest people are drawn to one another, and the efforts they can go to to maintain a friendship in spite of oh, overwhelming evidence that it's destroying them? that they should have turned and walked away years ago? All of that, and more, which means it's about Faith. It's about Hope. It's about Love. At times wrought with tenderness, it's about the irrepressible human Spirit. It soars and it inspires. It's moving and it's also very funny.

Read the other reviews for marvellous descriptions of the sights and sounds and flavours and smells and engaging characters of India - they are beautifully described and every word is true. As with the life of a London market trader - all incredibly well rendered and yet I am skimming over all that because (marvellous though it all is) I am trying to get to the essence of my own perception, which hit home when I read what Christof had learned from all his spiritual searching, which was (and I quote): 'I learnt that my place is not in the mountains. It is in the world.'

So, to finally get to the point, my experience of this fabulous story is something akin to a modern day Siddhartha, with laughs.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2014 12:06 PM GMT


Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap
Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap
Offered by Online Pet Doors
Price: 65.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing catflap that changed all our lives for the better.:), 8 Oct 2013
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It's probably six months since we first installed our amazing microchip cat flap and it must be the greatest invention of modern times. We've had a standard cat flap in the past which was well loved by our cat and all his friends. And that was the problem when we got our new kitten. Bubble was a friendly kitten and our house was very welcoming to any cat that roamed his territory. The Sureflap cat changed all that for good. Now our home is a haven of tranquillity for Bubble. I've left it this long to write a review (though I was so impressed I wanted to shout about it straight away)because after a month or so the first one stopped working. We changed the battery and still it didn't work so I contacted Amazon / Sureflap who without quibble sent us a new one. I don't know what the problem was but it has not happened again and six months on we haven't even had to change the battery. Clever Bubble is now over a year old and he even manages to bring us 'presents' through his special door... but apart from that, life with our new microchip-controlled cat flap is everything I had hoped for.


The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees
Price: 4.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, (and about time too) to see this lovely book at #1, at last., 4 Oct 2013
Where did it spring from? It can only be the readers, like me, who over the years have read and loved this book, and word spreads, though it can take time, but somewhere trust comes into it - trust in that the best books *will* rise to the top, because (and it gladdens my heart) it's the readers who have the last word.

I am thrilled.


Breathless
Breathless
Price: 3.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless - a family in crisis. Highly recommended!, 21 Jun 2013
This review is from: Breathless (Kindle Edition)
There is something extraordinarily authentic about this novel of a family in crisis. The characters are compelling and I got completely wrapped up in the dilemmas and challenges and relationships so beautifully portrayed in this gripping novel.

Clare, long-married, with teenage children, whose first love turns up just when she is at last facing the reality of life married to a domineering, obsessive man who turns out to have secrets of his own. Her priority is her daughter Hannah, who has cystic fibrosis, and while the condition is central to the novel it does not dominate it in any way.

I think this novel would appeal to the same readers who loved Thursdays in the Park, except I think this is much better. Highly recommended!


Yesterday was Summer
Yesterday was Summer
Price: 3.43

5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant, beautifully told story., 7 Jun 2013
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A poignant, beautifully written story with love at its heart.

Yesterday was Summer brings the tense atmosphere of a small Scottish community into sharp focus. Relationships within the family and especially the doctor / patient relationship are explored with sensitivity and tenderness. A lovely book.


The Devil's Minister
The Devil's Minister
Price: 3.43

5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating and well-told mystery, 7 Jun 2013
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I first read this book in hardback more years ago than I care to remember. I still have that copy, and like all books I have enjoyed, after some years have passed I like to re-visit them. Nowadays I prefer paperbacks, and my Kindle, so when I discovered The Devil's Minister now available for Kindle, I had to download it.

I can't give a real flavour of the book without something being lost in my poor interpretation, so instead I have typed up an extract for you, to let Alistair Mair's writing speak for itself. From Chapter 3:

'That journey must be one of the most enchanting - as well as one of the slowest - rail journeys in the world. Especially is it enchanting when the sea is reached and the line winds along the broken coast, by little shingle bays, past rocky headlands, with the sea breaking over the thrift which clings to the crevices of the shattered rocks, with heather and birch and stunted oak growing down almost to the high water mark, and, far away, a mighty panoply of mountains disposed against the sky, patterned by the shifting shadows of the clouds, islands and mainland merged beyond the blue, white-flecked water in a prospect as magnificent as any I have ever known.

On that first day, it made a tremendous impact on me. I have known places infinitely more remote, but few in which one sensed so strongly the tortured chaos out of which the world sprang, the labouring influences of time and nature on its face, the origins of man, with his toe-hold on the shore, struggling to survive on that narrow strip between the sea and the unfriendly hills, but surviving, building up a way of life, creating a culture, working out a philosophy which comprehended man and the unruly sea, the mountains and the wide sky, and then living in that philosophy, happily, for generations, with well-springs of wisdom tapping far back in time to the dark days of his beginning.

In such a place, the past and the present are one. The continuity is there, written by the ice on a piece of stone set in the corner of a cottage gable-end. And men can be humble and proud at the same time, which is an excellent thing - humble, because all but the most foolish of men must be humble before the record of the past, and proud, because they and their fathers have endured and begotten and torn poetry out of the throat of the shouting storm.'

'...and torn poetry out of the throat of the shouting storm.'


Crock-Pot 3.5L Slow Cooker Polished Stainless Steel Finish
Crock-Pot 3.5L Slow Cooker Polished Stainless Steel Finish
Offered by TJ_Hughes
Price: 19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but pity about the plastic handle on the lid, 5 Feb 2013
Excellent slow-cooker which does what it says it will do. Beef stew is tender and delicious, with the meat falling apart and the root vegetables well-cooked but not disintegrated. I put mine on at 8.30 on slow when I leave for work and it's ready when I get in at five. I then thicken it with gravy granules, give it a stir and turn it up to high for a little while to thicken, and then turn it down to the 'keep warm' setting till we're ready to eat around 7.00pm.

I wish it came with a recipe book, but it doesn't really matter as there are loads of recipes online for slow cookers. My only gripe is the plastic handle on the lid: you can't re-heat food for the next day in the slow cooker, so I have to transfer the second day's stew into a saucepan to re-heat. If the handle on the lid was metal I could just bung it in the oven in the ceramic crock pot to reheat in the oven like a normal casserole.


We Need To Talk About Kevin
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Price: 4.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, emotionally intelligent writing., 18 Jan 2013
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I struggled to continue with this book, and read other books to give me a break from the unrelenting and (at first glance) self-obsessed spiel of the narrator. It was an interesting read, so I returned to it. I had to take breaks as it was so harrowing at times.

I gave this five stars because it is astonishing, emotionally intelligent writing and it's rare to find such unflinching honesty from a narrator - she didn't tiptoe around the various shocking thoughts she had, some of which we'll never know whether they were just her wild imaginings or if Kevin really was as evil as his mother seemed to think he might be.

The other thing that edged it to five stars was the ending. The whole book fell into place and I came to the conclusion that this book is really about unconditional love, and the lengths some people will go to to test others' love for them. I think Kevin was testing his mother all along, subconsciously even as a baby, when she didn't immediately bond with him, and then later when I read the ending I thought, yes, he tested her and she has passed the test - or her thoughts indicate that she will pass the test at some point in the future when she has a chance to implement those thoughts - at horrendous cost. It's frustrating that I can't explain my conclusions in any depth without giving the ending away!

I nearly gave this four stars because I found the narrator's (the mother) obvious sharp intelligence at odds with her occasional 'I'm not stupid but I'm not exactly clever' comments. This led me to doubt the authenticity of the narrator - I got the impression I was hearing the author's voice, with her detailed emotional analysis and searing insight, not a mum who runs a travel company and has a son whose behaviour and interaction she finds troubling. Not that a travel agent can't be clever, that's not what I mean, it was that she portrayed herself as not that bright, yet I was reading the thoughts of a very clever person.


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