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Reviews Written by
C. M. Donaldson "aka Pearl Barley (pseudonym)" (UK)

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The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon)
The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.19

5.0 out of 5 stars This one is up there with the best..., 14 Feb. 2015
This is the third Dan Brown novel I've read and this one was fascinating. I loved the storyline and the unexpected ending. There was a great deal of detail in a tale that was so well written and absorbing, I forgot it was fiction. I learnt things about ancient symbols that I never knew before and when the story is told in such a way with a mystery running through it, danger at every turn, a single individual with vengeance on their minds and a race against time, what more could you want? I describe this as a stonking good read. Well done again Mr Brown, this one is up there with the best.


The Power of your Subconscious Mind and Other Works
The Power of your Subconscious Mind and Other Works
Price: £0.71

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a sceptic anymore ..., 12 Jan. 2015
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I'm not a huge fan of what they call 'self-help' books but this one I would class as an instruction book as such. I've actually had this book a few years in paperback before I decided to purchase the Kindle version as well. It was recommended by a friend and I'm so pleased it was. It is a very interesting read, written precisely and with much knowledge and some of the ideas aren't as bizarre as you'd first think. You can use it as a reference book and tap into the chapters that suit you over time, going back and reading chapters containing content that is most pertinent to your own life. I tried some of the exercises and nothing happened at first but I have to say, without sounding bonkers, that there is an untapped power of your subconscious mind that you can learn to control to a certain extent. It might sound airy-fairy but I was blown away and stunned the first time I tried one of the exercises for a specific reason and it worked. You can call it coincidence if you like but I know what I know. I also used the tips to help me in small achievements - again sceptics might need more convincing, but I would advise you read this book and make your own minds up. It is very well written and I'm very glad to have discovered it.


August DTV705 - 7" Portable Freeview TV - Small Screen LCD Television with Multimedia Player - Digital TV for Bedroom, Kitchen, Caravan... - Battery (Internal) or Mains Powered
August DTV705 - 7" Portable Freeview TV - Small Screen LCD Television with Multimedia Player - Digital TV for Bedroom, Kitchen, Caravan... - Battery (Internal) or Mains Powered
Offered by Daffodil UK

5.0 out of 5 stars the picture is superb and it's lightweight and useful for the kitchen and the bathroom, 12 Jan. 2015
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This is a marvelous little gadget, the picture is superb and it's lightweight and useful for the kitchen and the bathroom. It's true what other reviewers have said about the aeriel that comes with it, it is in a word 'useless', but don't let that put you off, just use an ordinary one - the one I use was bought from Poundland and works a treat. This is a lovely little television which was so easy to set up and if you have a stronger ariel in the first instance it will load all of your Freeview channels no problem.

I'm very glad to have bought this and I think it was excellent value for money.


Mystery Man
Mystery Man
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A highly entertaining amusing yarn ..., 3 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Mystery Man (Kindle Edition)
Set in Belfast, this was for me a hugely entertaining and amusing read. The nameless (yes right up until the end) proprietor of a book shop gets involved in a murder mystery very much against his will. The fact that his bookshop is next to a Detective Agency from which the owner has gone missing doesn't help his cause to keep out of things, and when his new-found side-kick, unknowingly the object of his affections who works in a jewellery shop just across the road, wants to jump in with both feet and keenly speeds ahead with the clues he has shared, he finds himself compelled to investigate. Our main character has a myriad of ailments and is sensitive (obsessive more like) and at every turn he uses his poor health as an excuse and he ducks and dives like the unlikely hero he is. And when things start to get serious and bodies start to pile up, he's all for turning tail and minding his own business, but he has to impress his love-interest even and especially when it becomes clear that their very lives are in danger. Other characters to add credibility including a Detective Inspector who is convinced our main character is hiding something and he's not wrong. This story is 'silly-funny' for those who like that kind of thing - a bit of humour in with the seriousness - there were several laugh-out-loud moments and this is down to the down-to-earth narrative. It is a very well written whodunit with many twists and a satisfying ending that I wasn't able to guess right up to the last chapter. I loved it and the surprising ending. There are more stories by Bateman that I am keen to get stuck into.


The Perfect Android
The Perfect Android
Price: £2.39

4.0 out of 5 stars A well written unusual love story..., 17 Aug. 2014
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I really liked this story. I've read a number of robot stories and this one has a familiar ring to it. The Head of Robotics takes home a prototype, Nick, and asks his long-suffering reluctant wife, Sarah, to help with the robot's speech inflections to get the 'robotic' tone out of its voice as it is a very realistic humanoid robot, difficult to tell from a human being. However, this particular android has been contaminated accidently by human DNA and is remarkably more human than anyone knows, a fact that Sarah finds out the longer she spends in its company.

As time goes on Nick becomes much more than a 'household helper'. The thing is though he is in danger of being disassembled before he has a chance to prove his eligibility as a human and the story picks up pace from there. It's a short story that flows really well and develops into a love story of sorts but it's fraught with uncertainty and risk.


Teleporting to Immortality
Teleporting to Immortality
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad effort, but ..., 22 July 2014
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The science behind an extraordinary advanced development was believable in a tale set in the future where teleporting is as commonplace as riding on a bus. A brilliant young biologist has developed a way to use teleportation as a means to prolong life, but the technology is stolen. Of course there is bound to be someone who wants all the glory and will go to great lengths, ethical or otherwise to achieve that goal. Not only that, but the young biologists memory is erased. There begins the adventure. There are some definite good points to this story, the plausibility of the description of life in the future, inroads in technology and a changing in general habits worldwide in the way the world progressed and how mankind evolved. I loved the fact that all food and energy was free worldwide. And education too. There were some other little informative gems in this story which I would say have been well thought-out. The tale does indeed grab you from the beginning and the premise is very good. But now to the negatives: Just as it was gaining momentum, it ended rather abruptly for me. And this short story needs work in the grammar department - for example, in the blurb itself "...World Mafia gets on the way". That should read 'gets IN the way'. There are quite a few examples like this throughout, and I feel the author needs a better proof-reader. All in all, not a bad effort. The ideas behind this work were good ones but I fear the story lacked depth.


The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller
The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller
Price: £2.32

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't underestimate the genius behind this story ..., 7 Jun. 2014
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To describe this tale as a page-turner is an understatement, but of course it was and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish with a mystery developing surrounding the appearance of a creature, dubbed The Stone Man. Why it appeared no one knew. What it was there for no one could guess, but as the story gained pace my heart was in my mouth as the 'dreadful' truth started to unfold. It went, for me, from intrigue, and excitement to dread, anxiety and out-and-out fear. It also invoked the kind of horror that made my own imagination ran away with me. The characters were easy to root for, as human, flawed and vulnerable as you or I, and sheer curiosity kept me going and I didn't want the story to end. But end it did, and what an ending? I, for one, was pleased with the ending (my nerves simply couldn't take any more and I was glad when my heart went back to a normal rythmn once again)

I know my review is sounding somewhat cryptic but I dare not say anymore for fear of letting something slip and spoiling the fun for other readers. All I can say is, it's one of the best books I've read all year and I am over the moon to find other gems by this writer. To sum up, The Stone Man was written with such original imagination and yet a truly human story running through it made it gripping. I also loved the small synopsis at the start of each chapter (that's unusual and I've never seen it before) just to give you a head's up as to what was coming next - it was a very nice touch.

The author managed to turn the subject of a visitor (maybe an alien, who knows) from nowhere into a race against time, getting right into the heads of those involved, and for a scary story there were some very humourous bits in it as well. It deserves a 10 but I can only give it 5, but don't take my word for it, grab a copy and find out for yourself (it doesnt have over 200 reviews in the UK and over 500 elsewhere (at last count) for nothing. The next question is, when's the movie coming out? A word to the author: Thanks!

P.S, if you're interested you can go along to Goodreads and read my running commentary as I progressed through the book.

One last thing: This is how highly I rate Luke Smitherd, I'm the author of a sci-fi lite novel about experimentation into travelling through our dreams The AL-EX Project (ALternative EXistence) (sorry for the cheeky little plug) and ...I wish he'd written it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2016 5:54 PM GMT


Murder In The Library (Book 3 Dekker Cozy Mystery Series)
Murder In The Library (Book 3 Dekker Cozy Mystery Series)
Price: £2.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite light-hearted and entertaining actually..., 14 May 2014
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I've finished it with a smile as it was indeed an entertaining cosy mystery. I like stories where the main characters are older folk and to my mind the story flowed well. I loved all the food talk unlike some reviewers. What's wrong with a side dish of irrelevent banter and culinary descriptions about their meals since both of our characters love to eat? And yes in my mind's eye they were probably rather rotund and unattractive, but not that unusual. I suppose it's safe to say they chomped their way through this mystery to find the killer of their friend The Colonel, when it looked impossible that someone could get in and out of the premises without being detected yet leave The Colonel dead in a room locked from the inside. In this story I really connected with the sleuths and praised their attention to detail. I was also pleasantly surprised at the ending which was quite clever. I thought several times that I could identify the killer but I was thankfully wrong. I can't praise the author too highly and I'm encouraged to read their other works. The editing needs work though.


Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula: The Adventure of the Solitary Grave: The Supernatural Casefiles of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula: The Adventure of the Solitary Grave: The Supernatural Casefiles of Sherlock Holmes
Price: £2.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Totally authentic invoking nostalgia, 20 April 2014
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As a dyed-in-the-wool Sherlock Holmes fan, I was very pleased with this story. It had a definite Conan Doyle feel about it, and tapped easily into the legendary Sherlock Holmes methods of deduction in this original story about Holmes' encounter with Dracula. It had a touch of the supernatural about it with dark undertones, but was so very well thought-out. These 'unusual' elements took the story to another level with the excellent flow of the story as a whole. For a make-believe tale, it made you believe all events were in fact true and plausible. It was a quick, entertaining read, for which I gladly give five-stars and my only tiny gripe would be that I'd have preferred it was part of an anthology of tales by this Conan Doyle imitator (that's a complement by the way). I will certainly be looking out for more of the same by Christian Klaver.

(Oh yes, as mentioned in other reviews, the editing needs work).


The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2 - ebook: Comedy, science fiction, fantasy and adventure (with a dash of romance). Second book in a completed series (The K'Barthan Trilogy)
The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2 - ebook: Comedy, science fiction, fantasy and adventure (with a dash of romance). Second book in a completed series (The K'Barthan Trilogy)
Price: £3.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give it ten stars..., 23 Mar. 2014
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This book was an absolute delight, equally as enjoyable as Few Are Chosen, the first in the trilogy. The story continues surrounding the exploits of The Pan and his rescue mission of The Chosen One who doesn't realise she's chosen, nor does she appreciate the full implications. And the scene shifts between the paralel universe and London, which was unexpected and intriguing. I want to avoid spoilers suffice to say that Lord Vernon is still on the warpath with his evil intentions, looking to gain what he thinks is his but The Pan stands in his way...again! The rollercoaster ride in this tale is nail-biting in places (fabulous) and there are some edge-of-your-seat moments here. The story takes a romantic curve and new characters are introduced integral to the development of a tale that is seamlessly packed solid with adventure, mayhem, mystery and humour. I'm avidly awaiting the next instalment


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