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Reviews Written by
C. M. Donaldson "aka Pearl Barley (pseudonym)" (UK)
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Location, Location, Damnation (The Brackenford Cycle Book 1)
Location, Location, Damnation (The Brackenford Cycle Book 1)
Price: £2.32

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous fun!, 4 Feb. 2014
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Sci-fi lite author of The AL-EX Project (ALternative EXistence)

There are many parts in this book that are just hilarious. It reads like an adventurous romp with the uncanniest goings-on, and really compels the reader to turn the page. You take an ordinary guy who discovers he's got a secret power that he didn't even know about, nor does he know how to control it and his mind can't take it all in. From the off he's not sure how to handle things, then we know when he's sure because he'd much rather forget all about this new phenomenal development and get on with his dull and mundane life. And so enters centre-stage our reluctant hero, and truly they have to drag him kicking and screaming to 'do his duty' because there are nefarious creatures and a demon to be slain and he has the power to overcome this evil whether he likes it or not. And by all accounts, he's the only one who can do it.

Add a touch of danger and he's ready to turn tail and run at sights his eyes can't quite comprehend. I loved the narrative, at every turn he's just about ready to run for the hills.

Some of the humour was just so ridiculously funny and I like ridiculous fun! As our Trev learns the background to his secret power and is shocked that his own grandfather also had the power but omitted mentioning it, it's only a matter of time before it becomes necessary for him to hone these powers quickly, charging him with the task of becoming a saviour fighting good against evil and whereas you would think this would be a serious tale, it's in actual fact a veritable laugh a page.

The journey to the end is a delight, an adventure and an escapade with our hapless Trev making it up as he goes along.

This was entertainment at its best. It was imaginative and I loved the inventiveness of the other-worldly creatures - there's a ghost, talking swords and Oscar who can do more than just cough up furballs. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Will Trev triumph or will he get slaughtered? With every page turn it was a close call. You couldn't take anything for granted.

The first line grabbed me at the start "Trev Irwin didn't believe in ghosts...which made it something of a shock when he saw one!"

I rest my case!

Halfway through I wanted to give it five stars, now I've finished it, I'm sorry I can't give it a 10.


A Well-deserved Murder (Trevor Joseph Detective series Book 7)
A Well-deserved Murder (Trevor Joseph Detective series Book 7)

4.0 out of 5 stars A well-deserved four star rating..., 8 Jan. 2014
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It was not too complicated with good development of the characters. It would just so happen that the neighbour being complained about the most - a thorn in the side of her other neighbours - ends up dead. Not only that but everyone seems to have a reason to kill her. Our Sergeant Peter Collins in charge of the case has a particularly trying job to do because it was his own cousin, who incidently lived next door who complained most bitterlyk, now in frame, with all the evidence pointing directly at him.

Fortunately (is that the right term?) there are others who could have committed the dastardly deed, so it's not so cut and dried even if it's touch and go for a while. The investigation uncovers other illicit secrets and it's a case of weeding out the wheat from the chaff, or in this case the real evidence from the red herrings.

I enjoyed this novel. It was entertaining and intriguing and I would certainly read more from this author.


Creme de Banane Giffard 25% 50cl
Creme de Banane Giffard 25% 50cl
Offered by Drink Finder
Price: £10.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious stuff, this..., 6 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Creme de Banane Giffard 25% 50cl
I was introduced to a lovely cocktail with this ingredient in it, and simply had to try it myself at home. I'm extremely pleased with the product, and enjoyed many a delicious cocktail over the Christmas period. It lasts a fair while too as you only need to pour a very small amount.


Die Laughing (A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Book 12)
Die Laughing (A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Book 12)
Price: £4.27

3.0 out of 5 stars An average read, 6 Jan. 2014
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I wouldn't say it was a bad read, nor would I say it was a particularly good one either. It was like an Agatha Christie wannabe trying to emulate one of the greatest mystery writers, and this effort disappointed me in content and execution.

Finding your dentist dead when you arrive for your appointment has actually been done before, and then the introduction of so many characters into the plot was overwhelming (so as to make out the world and his wife wanted him dead). I got quite confused about who was who and how this one was connected to that one. I'm not even sure the Daisy character was believable either given the era setting, and I wonder how many wives of police inspectors, as she was, irrespective of title (The Honourable) would be allowed access to confidential information about an ongoing crime even if they were the one's who found the victim. It all seemed a little far-fetched to me.

It might be just me, but I became impatient to reach the conclusion as the story did seem to go 'around the houses' a bit, and so much detail left me bewildered. But then there was another death about three-quarters of the way in and clues as to the perpetrator were quickly and neatly forthcoming. On the other hand, trying to be fair, I stuck with it even though in my humble opinion it was over-long. I had to find out who the culprit was as all avid mystery readers are prone to do, but in all honesty that's the only reason I was determined to finish it. Don't take my word for it because by all accounts many other reviewers absolutely loved it.


Did I Mention I won The Lottery?
Did I Mention I won The Lottery?
Price: £1.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, love it, love it!, 3 Dec. 2013
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There's a certain amount of intrigue that grips you right from the beginning and compels you to read on. It's like reading a mystery novel. Our main character Rebecca wins the lottery and even reading the beginning part where she's not sure if she's even won or not is nail-biting. Once it's confirmed, of course she has a great deal to think about, a lot to organise, and this is a brow-beaten, down-at-heel woman with a husband, Daniel, completely self-absorbed, who takes her for granted and complains bitterly about his life, his job, his ambitions and his future without a thought for her. He's likely to sweat blood at the thought of her mother coming to stay for a weekend, such is his selfishness, and he's made all the marital decisions, as is his right as far as he's concerned. To be blunt, his wife is invisible until or unless he wants his meals, and as his skivvy she ought to be grateful. In short he's made her life a misery.

The author takes us cleverly into Rebecca's head and we're privy to all her thoughts. She's a meek non-confrontation kind of person, and the decisions about the money are clearly very difficult to make. Then there's Daniel to consider. And the kids...and her mother ... and her job ... her future, her very life!

So...what will she do?

Read and find out. This is an excellent read, very entertaining, even heart-warming, but best of all I loved the intrigue. Definitely a page-turner!


TALES FROM THE FUR SIDE Purrfectly Adorable Cat Stories
TALES FROM THE FUR SIDE Purrfectly Adorable Cat Stories
Price: £2.22

3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected but entertaining nonetheless..., 2 Dec. 2013
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I thought this was going to be full of funny cat tales of mischief and mayhem. The tales were entertaining and interesting don't get me wrong, but I'm not yet sure if I was disappointed or not to find it was not quite what I expected.

The stories made me think that this is the way all felines think, and for a while I got carried away by the feeling that the cat's perspective was entirely real and plausible. Then I pulled myself up and realised these were not biographies/memoirs but plain fiction, yet done in a very believable way.

This one is tricky to call and I'm not sure what to make of it but I would encourage those who love cats to read it. I really want to fault it but I can't, yet it doesn't quite deserve more than a 3* rating, which just indicates that it's worth a read.


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A five-star cozy mystery, 23 Nov. 2013
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Let me start by saying what a shame it is that the 40-odd reviews from Amazon.com haven't crossed over to the dot.co.uk site, but at least you can still see them (scroll right down to the bottom of the author's book page) which is a good thing because this is an extremely entertaining and amusing read.

While our main character Mara grieves for her soulmate/husband of 30 years, it appears that he's left a mystery to solve in his wake (pardon the pun) that starts with the discovery of a letter from a mystery woman, indicating that he may in fact have been conducting an illicit affair. It's a bitter pill to swallow as Mara's idyllic life crumbles before her very eyes and all the memories she held dear of her long and happy marriage seem to have been a lie. But all is not what it seems as the letter may hold more than the obvious explanation. So deciding to involve a private detective, the very handsome and single Alex Strange, there are twists and turns and red herrings in adundance. And the action really kicks off when someone is trying to get hold of the letter stopping at nothing to get it, even kidnap and possible murder.

This story hooks you in from the beginning and the author's style makes it a page-turner.

If I had a tiny gripe it would be that the story was somewhat short, but that doesn't take away from the quality of the writing and the empathy you felt as you delved further into Mara's life. She is a very likeable and memorable character. I would liken the tale to that of MC Beaton, of Agatha Raisin fame, a modern-day Agatha Christie whose humour runs through all her mystery tales making them a very compelling must-read. I gather the author has amended any typographical mistakes mentioned previously because I came across only one or two throughout the whole book.

If you like your mysteries cozy I would highly recomend this novella.


Time Killer (Max Larkin Detective Series Book 1)
Time Killer (Max Larkin Detective Series Book 1)
Price: £0.80

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brutal!, 2 Nov. 2013
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This story hits you between the eyes from page one. We readers become privy to each murder in graphic detail, and hope against hope that the main character Max, and his new partner Jesse, piece the puzzle together as deftly as possible and with much haste as the death toll increases. The deaths seem so senseless, but all is revealed at the very end.

There was one point where I thought the two partners might get it together, and I was seriously hoping that wasn't the case, since their first meeting was quite chilly, and it was obvious that neither liked the other. That's usually when we find them, three-quarters through the story, in bed with each other in the most predictable way. However, I was spared this cliche, and their bond in actual fact relied completely on something other than romance and was more tangilble, which was refreshing.

There is a twist at the end that wasn't completely unexpected, but it was handled well, and overall this was a good story, but I wouldn't say it was nail-bitingly original.


Death In July
Death In July
Price: £2.30

4.0 out of 5 stars A good deal more than a cozy murder mystery..., 15 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Death In July (Kindle Edition)
I would say I personally thought this story was a little long drawn out, meaning it could have been several chapters shorter and still hold the reader's attention. Mine wandered sometimes, but fortunately because of the story-telling style and the likeable, believable, main character, I was determined to get to the end to find out 'whodunnit'. Sam - a former cop, now private investigator - is asked to help with the mystery of a death that isn't what it first appears. The more Sam digs, the more someone is trying to get to him, probably to keep him at bay or to shut him up. The danger level escalates and the intrigue increases as it appears another death looks suspicious, but are they connected? Then yet another suspicious death is uncovered. The plot thickens and Sam becomes embroiled in something completely unexpected.

This story is very good despite my former comments, and is a good deal more than a cozy murder mystery as the author has a very good descriptive talent that lands you, in your mind's eye, exactly where he wants you to be - all the better to see the story unfold with appropriate dramatics.


Whatever Happened to Nathan McKenzie?
Whatever Happened to Nathan McKenzie?
Price: £1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly written with imagination..., 25 Sept. 2013
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What would you do if you could travel in time? Where would you go? Who would you visit? What would you want to change? And what would be the consequencies of travelling into the past and then into the future? These questions were answered with a great deal of plausibility, considering this is fiction. You do need to keep your wits about you as you read, because there is a lot to take in, but I couldn't fault the storyline, and applaud the writer for stretching my imagination.

Amazingly written with imagination, this is a tale that keeps you hooked to the very end. I experienced the feeling of not wanting it to finish because I was swept along, quite naturally, by the well-developed story. The characters were also very believable.

To sum up, this story is very, very good indeed, and the proverbial page-turner that makes you think. In fact, I'd go as far as to say I can 'see' the movie. I'm now going back to read the book all the way through again. Thank you, JackEddyOliver, for an extraordinary read!

C.M. Donaldson is the British author of The AL-EX Project (ALternative EXistence)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2013 10:48 PM BST


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