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pigsmayfly (Manchester)

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A Madness Of Angels (Matthew Swift Novels)
A Madness Of Angels (Matthew Swift Novels)
by Kate Griffin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Requires patience., 11 May 2015
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Patience is required for this. Another reviewer stated - correctly - that it is confusing in the beginning. She went on to say that this was quite deliberate because our character is in a confused state. Several pages into the book, I still had no idea who this character was, why the character sometimes referred to "I", others "we", nor was there any indication that a revelation was imminent. I figured I'd probably be halfway through the book by the time the author revealed the storyline so I'm moving onto my next book. Failed to hold my interest through the rambling start, I'm afraid.


Of Things Gone Astray
Of Things Gone Astray
Price: £3.24

3.0 out of 5 stars a genre bender, 7 Feb. 2015
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I wouldn't know where to begin placing this work. It is set in London today in a normal world but where abnormal things happen.

The premise is about people losing things that are most important to them. However, nothing that would happen in real life, which puts a fantasy slant on the book category. For example, whole buildings and part of buildings disappear and a girl takes root and turns into a tree.

I like the ideal behind the book. What happens when we lose that which is most important to us? Or take it for granted and fail to acknowledge the thing or person we most need? I can even go along with the use of fantasy as a means of exaggeration to make a point.

The end was rather abrupt though, as we read of a resolution to one story - but none of the others. They just came to a point where they couldn't be taken any further and their story ends. So we didn't learn anything from each individual tale.

An average book that had the potential to be so much more.


Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death (Grantchester Mysteries Book 1)
Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death (Grantchester Mysteries Book 1)
Price: £5.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I didn't think he was even particularly nice. So it didn't have much to offer for ..., 20 Aug. 2014
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Not my cup of tea at all. It's a series of linked 'mysteries' - in the loosest sense of the word. Mr Runcie writes in such a way as to make the solution to each particular problem very obvious well before the revelation. Furthermore, he hasn't made Mr Chambers a particularly charismatic chap, I didn't think he was even particularly nice. So it didn't have much to offer for me but I wouldn't let that put anyone else off having a go.


A Swarming of Bees
A Swarming of Bees
Price: £2.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who enjoys Karen Maitland's work should enjoy this. A well researched historical mystery story, 20 Aug. 2014
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The review already posted here say it all, there isn't a lot to add. Anyone who enjoys Karen Maitland's work should enjoy this. A well researched historical mystery story.


The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
by Deborah Blum
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.33

4.0 out of 5 stars History of Forenics in the US, 14 May 2014
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This book has a misleading title. Yes, it does discuss noxious substances, but from a scientific point of view at a time when forensic medicine had not yet been born.From moonshine to chloroform, we learn about the compounds that many ignored and a few decided to investigate - often using their own funding to do so whilst the government buried their heads in the sand. Fascinating!


American Gods
American Gods
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quantity over quality, 14 May 2014
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This review is from: American Gods (Kindle Edition)
A definite case of quantity over quality - which is a shame. It started as a good read. However, somewhere towards the middle it became tedious and I started skim reading. And it still took me an age to finish. Such a long book (and I have read many a long book) has to be an epic that the reader lives in and is sorry to finish. This was rambling. I spent a whole day reading it just to finish the damn thing and move on.

I believe that the original publication was shorter and that the version I read was 'the authors prreferred version". I would highly recommend the editors cut, I may have given this another star if I had read the original publication.


The Silence of the Sea: Thora Gudmundsdottir Book 6
The Silence of the Sea: Thora Gudmundsdottir Book 6
Price: £4.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Suspense on the Ocean, 30 Mar. 2014
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This is what Yrsa does best. Not your fast paced thriller but a slow-burning psychological tale of terror. Not as terrific as her last, which had extra bite because it was based on a true story. Also, I thought there was a glaring error in this but it turned out to be a part of the plot - she made a character able to drive with a broken leg. Still, this character, complete with cast, didn't hide the fact he was driving and no other character questioned it (I guess maybe you can drive an automatic with such an injury). So it had to drop a star.

In this, we are back with Thora and her eternal thorn-in-the-side secretary, Bella. In previous books in this series, I've felt we heard more about domestic whinging than we did a mystery. To so in this - although we keep up-to-date with what her children are doing, home life has been put in the background where it belongs. I even started to thaw towards Bella, who had been made so stupid and sullen in previous books that it became irritating.

This mystery is all the more creepy for being set on a yacht voyage from Lisbon to Reykjavik, with all the superstition of the seafaring community subtly woven in to add to the spine chilling disappearances of those on board. The yacht arrives in port devoid of human life, and the reader is drip fed the circumstances on board and how we lose each person, alternating with Thora and Bella trying to piece together the mystery.

My only further comment must be - buy it and read it.


Giant's Bread
Giant's Bread
Price: £5.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Giant's Bread (Kindle Edition)
This is one of the titles written by Agatha Christie under the pen name Mary Westmacott. Being a big Christie fan, I was really looking forward to reading my first Westmacott novel.

I was aware that it wasn't in her usual genre of crime novel, however, I read lots of different genres so the difference just made me llook forward to reading it even more. However, I have to say I really didn't like it.

Under her own guise of Christie and her crime novels, it is accepted that she doesn't develop her characters, who we don't really get to know very well and who often appear to be shallow. Giant's Bread is a great departure from her plot driven novel and is all about growing up with the characters and getting to know them psychologically. Unfortunately, our author is a mistress of cariacaturising the human personality - here, she takes the ugliest facet of each character and accentuates it, despite the fact that our cast often behave in ways that prove they have more redeeming features. The upshot is that I didn't like any of the characters or care what happened to them - I would quite happily have killed the lot off!

That wasn't the only reason I disliked the book. There was a very strange take on the perception of music, I felt that our author was expressing a high-brow opinion without actually having any musical intelligence. Not knowing very much about Christie, I don't know if that is true but her concept of using instruments to create and replicate sounds - cold logic replacing human emotion - calling it revolutionary, and the 'music of the future' displayed almost a childish lack of understanding of music.

Finally, it was all very predictable - inevitable that the child who hated music was going to grow up to be the composer of the revolutionary opera and that the grown up characters would behave in the manner that they did, purely because it was inevitable that the unpleasant characteristics of our cast would dominate over the redeeming features which were not allowed to develop.

I shan't be reading anymore Westmacott. Very disappointing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2015 9:30 AM BST


The Axe Factor: A Jimm Juree Novel
The Axe Factor: A Jimm Juree Novel
Price: £4.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A foray into self indulgence, 18 Mar. 2014
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This is difficult. I was a huge fan of the Dr Siri series and was looking forward to this new series too. Jimm Juree and her family present entertainment and charm, if not quite capturing the reader in the same way that Siri and his colleagues did.

Focussing on this book though, we see a journey into self indulgent waters by Mr C, casting one of the main characters and suspects as himself. It would be easy to describe the portrayal of this character and Mr C poking a little fun at himself - but having the arrogance to turn himself into a main character, perhaps his portrayal of himself as a lothario is based more on self image than we would like to believe.

Despite the fact I don't want to be financing Mr C's forays into such fantasies of himself, I could have forgiven this had it been the only annoyance. However, I was confused by the passage below:

"Like Tesco, Christmas at the Gulf Bay Lovely Resort was not a celebration of Jesus getting hammered to a cross and bleeding out. But I tend to believe that most of the people who celebrate the day barely give a thought to that aspect either. No, for us it was a chance to put our predecessors’ beautifully hand-crafted English sign out front"

Now, I don't claim to know my bible, nonetheless, I remember (not celebrate) Jesus 'getting hammered to a cross and bleeding out' at Easter, not Christmas - at which time, my friends and I celebrate the birth of Jesus and sing songs about mangers and bearing gifts etc......

Another trend that keeps cropping up is weight issues. Poor Jimm, at 50 kilos, is described as overweight. When I weighed 55 kilos, once upon a time long long ago - I was quite underweight. One can only assume that Jimm is 3ft tall. Weight crops up several times in this book, has cropped up several times in other recent works. I would be starting to think that Mr C is a closet anorexic, except for the fact he describes 85 kilos as 'a perfectly normal weight for a male'. Whilst it is scientific fact that the healthy weight for a male is somewhat more than that for a female - not by 35 kilos it isn't. So, girls - if you are not seriously underweight and have a delicate self image, skip these books and stick to Mr McCall-Smith. Paranoia? Perhaps. However, in another of Mr C's works, 'Ageing Disgracefully", the author expresses an opinion that put him in the gutter in my estimation (as a brief summation - scantily clad western girls deserve to be raped and brutally murdered by the indigenous Thai population - made my Thai friend rather angry upon reading too).

So, why is this difficult? Why not give one star, have done and move on? Well, because Mr C has redeeming features. He is funny. His books are easy to read, often charming and mood enhancing. The negatives can't make one toss ones hair in indignation and confine a work to the bin when there is a lot of good too. I LIKE reading Mr C's work. I just wish he would remember why he became a successful author and start writing for his readers again rather than for himself. And bring back Dr Siri, for goodness sake!


Kipling Unisex Child 100 Large Pen Case Fir Green K09405482
Kipling Unisex Child 100 Large Pen Case Fir Green K09405482

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the description, 25 Feb. 2014
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I don't know why this is listed under toys - I have an array of pens, pencils etc for work and this not only holds everything but allows me to separate quality pens from the cheap work horses.


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