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Reviews Written by
Raymond Gilbert "Ray" (Nottingham, United Kingdom)

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Secret Smile
Secret Smile
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but let down by implausible plot twists, 10 May 2015
This review is from: Secret Smile (Kindle Edition)
Like others have pointed out, Secret Smile is an extremely well written novel that grips from the opening page. However, there are several problems with the plot that prevent this from being a 5 star review *Spoilers Ahead*
Secret Smile is basically a psycho stalker thriller along the lines of "Fatal Attraction"/"Play Misty For Me" - The lead protagonist Miranda is very well written and highly likeable along with much of the supporting cast. However, there were too many implausible plot twists for me to take much of what happened seriously. For one, I find it unlikely that Miranda's parents would be so taken with "Brendan" that they would be able to overlook the fact that he has just callously dumped one of their daughters and moved onto the next so swiftly. Much is made of Miranda's so-called obsession with Brendan, but I find it hard to believe that her parents would welcome a "gigolo" into their lives so readily. Wouldn't the natural reaction be to treat this man with caution after what he did to one of their daughters? What parent would honestly support the man who allegedly turned Miranda from a confident woman into a "psycho"? If anything, the lie Brendan told that it was he that dumped Miranda and not the other way around should serve to distance him from her parents - sadly, not in this book. Nobody acts the way you would expect them to and this is just one example of the implausible and frustrating behaviour from the characters who by and large treat Miranda inexplicably cruelly. Why did Miranda's family force her to take Brendan and her sister Kerry into her home despite Miranda living in a cramped one-bedroom flat? Why couldn't they stay in a hotel? Why couldn't they stay with friends? The explanation we are given feels weak and contrived. Also how unlikely is it that Miranda's parents would be pleased for Kerry to marry Brendan - a man with no job, no money and no career prospects who within a short time has become financially dependent on them? I also find it unlikely that everyone from Miranda's best friend to a senior police officer would discount Miranda's allegations so easily, especially given Brendan operated under an alias - the fact that he changed his name multiple times throughout the book is never explained or explored properly. If Brendan's real name was Simon, then surely this would have come to light during his wedding to Laura, or, for that matter, during the so-called background checks carried out by the police after Troy's murder? Towards the end, the police call upon Naomi for Brendan's alibi, and yet no one questions why he is known to her as "Ben" and not "Brendan." Surely this alone should ring alarm bells? And don't even let me get started about the unprofessional behaviour of the senior police officer who would most certainly have been disciplined over his biased handling of Miranda's allegations. No way in hell would he have been allowed to question Miranda's credibility or be so impartial. It just didn't ring true to me. Finally, the way the chapters are broken up is really frustrating - often there has been great time lapses which leaves you scratching your head and wondering what took place in the intervening period.


Getting Over the X
Getting Over the X
Price: £3.47

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! You simply have to read this., 15 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read this book from cover to cover in two days. Couldn't put it down. Steve Brookstein has been very brave to finally put his side of the story across. After a decade of half-truths and wicked media spin, we finally learn the truth about what happened to the first ever X-Factor winner. This book is outstanding - part memoir, part critique of the monstrous publicity machine surrounding the seemingly unstoppable goliath that is the X Factor. Steve comes across as warm and witty - a hard working musician who found himself unwittingly caught up in a nightmare that wasn't of his making. Getting Over the X is especially poignant because it serves as a lesson to those who strive for a quick shot at fame and also the catastrophic damage that can be caused to a person through vindictive and careless journalism. What I found particularly hurtful was the way Steve described the ridicule he experienced from the tabloids when he went back to work as a 'gigging' musician at Cafe Nero etc. How dare the media criticise somebody for trying to make an honest living? This book exposes the fragility of fame and the wickedness of those on top who chew up young hopefuls and spit them out in pursuit of a fast buck. I wish Steve nothing but the best with his career as he has an amazing talent and deserves much success. Well done for writing an honest, balanced account of what really happened and for finally setting the record straight. It's about time the tables were turned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2014 6:58 AM GMT


The Girl On The Bus (John Halle Thriller Book 1)
The Girl On The Bus (John Halle Thriller Book 1)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing!, 1 July 2013
This has to be one of the best thrillers I have ever read. The author has a beautiful way with words and his attention to detail is astounding. This reads like a hypnotic poem and once you start you'll be madly flipping the pages to find out what happens next. I look forward to more work from the wonderful Nick Holland. Five big beautiful stars.


Life Of Pi
Life Of Pi
Price: £3.49

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull and pretentious, 11 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Life Of Pi (Kindle Edition)
Despite all the rave reviews, I just couldn't get into this. I found the prose leaden and long-winded, the plot as shallow and flimsy as an Aesop's fable. I just couldn't enagage with any of the characters or what was happening. I am well aware of the 'twist' ending, and am dearly glad I didn't bother wasting my time to find out. The movie looks rather dull too - gorgeous special effects and no storyline. Overall, pretentious, literary rubbish. For a truly moving experience, read The Kite Runner instead.


We Need to Talk About Adam
We Need to Talk About Adam

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 31 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent study of a depressive mind. Very well written ... conveys true depth and understanding of the condition. Yes the narrative structure is unconventional and all the better for it. Highly recommended.


Apple iPod nano 8GB - Graphite - 6th Generation (Launched Sept 2010)
Apple iPod nano 8GB - Graphite - 6th Generation (Launched Sept 2010)

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be Warned . . ., 22 Dec. 2011
Dear oh dear, where do I start? The 6th generation Nano is really a glorified iPod Shuffle albeit with a larger memory capacity. I used to have a 5th generation Nano. I used to be able to play music videos on it. I used to be able to properly scroll through the tracks without having to worry my fingers might accidentally play the wrong one. 5th generation Nano was slim, compact, a must have. EVERYTHING the 6th generation Nano is not. I mean, is it possible for an upgrade to actually be worse than its predecessor? I think so. In the case of Apple, it's a resounding YESSSS. Either that or the designers need their heads examined. I mean, what kind of idiot designer allows a screen to 'flip' 90 degrees for no apparent reason? What exactly is the benefit of a screen being able to flip? Oh, and why have a touch screen feature when the screen is so small your thumb barely fits over it? On a screen that small it just defeats the whole purpose. On the 6th generation Nano, instead of being able to watch videos, I have a world clock and a timer. Ooh whoopie do da. Oh yeah, and that thing I mentioned earlier? That thing about the scrolling being difficult on a touch screen so small? It annoys the hell out of you after a while, especially if you listen to audio books like I do. I've lost count of the amount of times I've tried to return to a chapter but accidentally started the whole book again due to the screen being so small. Finally, the sound quality sucks too. Sorry Apple, I'm not impressed. Time to go back to the drawing board me thinks.


Cemetery Girl
Cemetery Girl
by David Bell
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Gripping Page Turner, 17 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Cemetery Girl (Paperback)
This is one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. It is an utterly convincing story about a father's journey to find the truth about his daughter's abduction. I found the protagonist very sympathetic and believeable. There are plenty of twists and turns in the narrative and you never quite know what to expect. It is written in the style of a gritty detective novel and I found it easy to follow. What I loved most of all was how realistic the father's reactions were. The author really has a grip on how a man relates differently to a tragedy and I found this utterly compelling. Highly recommended. A**


The Woodsman [DVD] [2004]
The Woodsman [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Kevin Bacon
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic performances especially Kevin Bacon, 12 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Woodsman [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
The Woodsman is an amazing achievement. It takes a very special kind of actor to create an anti-hero that makes you hate and pity them all at once. But Kevin Bacon manages to do this and THEN SOME. This is a deeply moving, thought-provoking film about a taboo subject which is handled with intelligence and finesse. The supporting cast are also great too, in particular Mos Def as the police detective. Not easy viewing but highly recommended. I felt strangely uplifted after watching it as it gives you hope in the human spirit.


28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £1.26

7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Over-hyped and unoriginal, 12 Oct. 2011
This review is from: 28 Days Later (2002) [DVD] (DVD)
I watched 28 days later and found it mildly entertaining. Entertaining, but definitely not great. The plot was simply too derivative. What I do not get are all the rave reviews and chirrups of 'how original' it is. 28 Days later is basically I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (written cira 1954) relocated to modern day London. Deadly plague: check. Only a handful of people immune: check. Those infected are turned into zombie-like creatures: check. Even the supermarket scene is a blatant rip-off of Dawn of the Dead. I'm sure Danny Boyle will be quick to write off any similarities as 'homages' but I didn't exactly see him citing Romero and Matheson when all that praise was being heaped on him by the critics. 28 Days later is, in essence, the kind of movie that every zombie-obsessed film school graduate would love to make. Only difference is, Danny got the funding to do it. The biggest belly laugh I had was when people accused Will Smith's I Am Legend of copying 28 Days Later. Hilarious when the source material for I Am Legend is from the 50s. Perhaps people should do their homework before accusing Smith of plagiarizing.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2014 4:27 PM GMT


Insidious [DVD]
Insidious [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Wilson
Price: £2.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts off well but descends into farce, 12 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Insidious [DVD] (DVD)
The two stars are for the first twenty minutes which were highly original and genuinely scary. At first I thought I was in for a treat. The set-up and atmosphere was suitably spooky, but somewhere around the time they call in the 'ghostbusters', things start to go horribly awry. Insidious suffers from the same problems as many new horror films: they aren't much good because they owe so much to their predecessors. So unless you're under twenty and haven't watched a horror film in the last decade, perhaps you'll enjoy Insidious. Unfortunately, the rest of us will find that the scriptwriters just ran out of ideas and settle for a mish-mash of: The Exorcist, Ghostbusters, House on Haunted Hill, The Grudge . . . the list goes on and on. It's not that Insidious is bad. It's just not terribly good, and I actually found myself laughing out loud when the 'twist' ending came as I'd spotted it early in the film. To be fair I think there were the grains of a good story here. Sadly, less is more, and if perhaps the filmmakers had trusted the audience not to show us quite so much and let us use our imagination instead Insidious would have been more successful. Note to director: demons with hooves and horns haven't been scary since Darth Maul. Oh, and BTW has George Lucas given you permission to use his creature suits? Lol.


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