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Reviews Written by
Gail Cooke (TX, USA)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Adultery
Adultery
by Paulo Coelho
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £29.57

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FASCINATING STORY INTRIQUINGLY TOLD, 6 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Adultery (Audio CD)
Gifted audio book narrator/actress Susan Denaker has appeared in a number of plays in the West End of London plus on national tours. She is also remembered for her appearances in the U.S. She delivers a memorable reading of Paulo Coelho's intriguing Adultery, a story in which various themes are explored including marital infidelity, depression, and a smattering of life's imponderables.

A popular newspaper reporter based in Geneva Linda has all the trappings of a perfect life - marriage to handsome, rich financier, attractive, well-behaved children, and a successful career. Why one then wonders when she interviews Jacob, an old boyfriend who is now successful in politics, does she conclude the questioning with a sexual encounter?

Whatever the case this is the beginning of an illicit affair which briefly seems to bring Linda out of her emotional doldrums. At the same time the affair bothers her as she cannot understand what motivated her to do this. She tries therapy and then a Cuban shaman but finds no help with either. Linda simply cannot understand why she is so entranced by Jacob. Eventually his wife comes very close to making their affair public. What will happen next?

Throughout Coelho's narrative he explores much - everything from St. Paul to Jekyll and Hyde. Adultery is an intriguing tale giving us much to ponder.

- Gail Cooke


Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING TRUE STORY - NOT TO BE MISSED, 2 Sept. 2014
Powerful and gripping this story of four remarkable women who filled unconventional roles during the Civil War is unputdownable from start to finish. Karen Abbott’s research is impeccable, her facts indisputable yet the story reads very much like a novel as it flows so smoothly alternately focusing on each woman. Most fascinating for this reader were the direct quotations taken from diaries and letters written at that time. In addition, the narrative is filled with historical figures - Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Allan Pinkerton and more. Yet it is the courage and passion of these daring four women that gives the story breath and life.

Belle Boyd was but 17-years-old when she shot a Union soldier in her home. She was boisterous, hot tempered and an avowed rebel who became a courier and spy for the Confederate army. She was an inveterate flirt who used her charms to seduce men and gain information. She later lived through imprisonment while continuing to defy the Union by any means possible.

Rose Greenhow was an attractive widow and Washington D.C. hostess with many influential friends. She used her position to acquire information about the Union’s military plans and passed it along. She openly defied and sometimes ridiculed Pinkerton’s operatives who were attempting to catch her, yet she was imprisoned along with her young daughter. At one time President Jefferson Davis even sent her to Europe to lobby for the South.

This quartet of valiant women came from different backgrounds and regions. Young Emma Edmondson escaped a Canadian farm and her cruel father who had promised her to an elderly neighbor. She crossed the border into Michigan where after dressing as a man and taking the name of Frank Thompson she enlisted in the Union Army. She worked as a nurse and courier, most often at only arm’s length from the unspeakable battlefield horrors.

Elizabeth Van Lew was a wealthy Richmond spinster who supported the Union cause. She carefully displayed a Confederate flag in the foyer of her spacious home while she was hiding Northern prisoners in a secret room until her free black servants could assist their escape. She placed one of her servants in the home of Jefferson Davis. The maid who had an amazing memory would gain Confederate intelligence and pass it back to Elizabeth. Even though threatened with death Elizabeth continued her efforts on the Union’s behalf.

Each of these women was willing to sacrifice all, even their lives to further the cause in which they believed. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is true, beautifully written, and not to be missed.

- Gail Cooke


Eye Contour Gel - Eases Puffiness & Dark Shadows, 30ml
Eye Contour Gel - Eases Puffiness & Dark Shadows, 30ml
Price: £15.19

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO EASY ON THE EYES, 31 Aug. 2014
How pleasing it is to find a product that is not only effective but feels good (translate that to wonderful) to use! This gel is cooling and refreshing as you apply. It goes on smoothly with no pulling of the skin.

I also very much like the consistency of the gel, which is light and easily applicable. Another plus for me is that it absorbs quickly so on those rush-rush mornings so I can immediately apply makeup.

Since I've only been using it for about two weeks I can't testify to any long range results but to date it is doing just what I want - hydrating the eye area. With ingredients including cucumber and aloe this Eye Contour Gel promises only good things to come.

The bottle is a generous 30 ml, so it will undoubtedly last quite a while.


Sight Unseen
Sight Unseen
by Iris Johansen
Edition: MP3 CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FINELY CRAFTED THRILLER, 21 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Sight Unseen (MP3 CD)
With over 60 readings to her credit Elisabeth Rodgers is an accomplished audio book narrator. She brings just the right amount of building suspense to this thriller by the Johansen team to keep you listening until the last word.

Kendra Michaels was born blind but at the age of 20 she underwent experimental surgery which almost miraculously gave her sight. However, before her operation she did, of course, develop her other senses to the nth degree. For instance she could identify the make of a car by the sound of its engine or the brand of an electric razor by the amount of stubble it leaves behind. Yes, her senses were and are that keenly developed. This is a unique and valuable gift that had various law enforcement agencies competing for her skills.

When four people are killed in a three car accident on San Diego's Cabrillo Bridge almost immediately Kendra intuits that this was not an accident but murder. In fact, this so-called accident bears an amazing resemblance to a case of hers in Texas. Checking with San Diego's FBI headquarters she learns of two more murders that resemble former cases of hers.

Obviously, there's a psycho on the loose with Kendra at the center of his machinations. But, who, why, where and how can he/she be stopped?

Sight Unseen is a unique finely crafted thriller - enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Inside Man (Sam Capra)
Inside Man (Sam Capra)
by Jeff Abbott
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STAY UP LATE THRILLER, 20 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Inside Man (Sam Capra) (Hardcover)
With the latest entry in the popular Sam Capra series we find Sam's life quiet and uneventful for a change. He's running a Miami bar, not making much but enough to get by and that's fine by him.....until the rainy night when his good friend Steve Robles is shot to death just outside the bar immediately following a meeting with a beautiful woman. It had been obvious to Sam that Steve was trying to protect her, but who is she and why?

Sam is in Steve's debt so the question becomes life or duty? No hesitating on Sam's part - he's seen the killers' car zoom off and he goes after them, placing his life on the line. Before long Sam finds the woman - she is mega wealthy Cordelia Varela, heiress to a shipping fortune. Head of the family Rey Varela is verging on incompetence yet still able to play his three children against each other - in addition to Cordelia there is son Galo whose gods are money and power and stepdaughter Zhanna who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

In order to help the frightened Cordelia Sam insinuates himself into the Varela's luxe Puerto Rico compound where he soon discovers the family business is not all what it seems. That discovery and the uncovering of other family secrets may cost him his life as now the Varelas cannot possibly let him live. Thus begins a series of plot twists that will leave readers gasping as Sam fights against insurmountable odds including a minefield, a maximum security prison as well as countless guns aimed in his direction.

Author Abbott has pulled out all the stops with Inside Man, the fourth in his Sam Capra series, leaving readers wanting more.

- Gail Cooke


Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8)
Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8)
by Stella Rimington
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PRIME SPY FICTION, 16 Aug. 2014
Few international spy thrillers are on a par with those penned by Stella Rimington. Hers are intelligent, informed, exciting. And why not? She is the former head of M15, Britain's famed Security Service and I might add the first woman to hold that position. She knows her territory well and brings a familiarity to it that few can muster. Especially intriguing for this reader are the matters of investigative procedure which she details knowledgeably, concisely. Thus, I joined a host of others in awaiting Rimington's eighth story featuring British intelligence officer Liz Carlyle. When it arrived I turned off my phone, closed the door, and read it from cover to cover. What pleasure!

With Close Call we find Carlyle and her colleagues in the counter-espionage division facing their greatest challenge to date - uncovering the source of under-the counter arms trades in Yemen. With the Arab world in a state of volatility the Brits are concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihadists are building a power base in preparation for an attack. Rightly so. And to make matters even worse the head of the CIA's London station can prove that the weapons being smuggled into Yemen come from a connection in the UK.

Carlyle's pursuit of the source of these arms deals takes her across the globe to Paris and Berlin. And perhaps the greatest shock of all is that the man she is after is a figure from her very own past.

In addition to Carlyle the author gives us a diverse and fascinating cast of characters. Each is unique and captures attention as his or her part is played. Close Call is prime spy fiction!

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash, 6.7-Ounce Package
Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash, 6.7-Ounce Package
Offered by The Beauty Way
Price: £27.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REFRESHED AND REFINISHED, 15 Aug. 2014
It isn't often you can find a body was h that exfoliates as well as thoroughly cleansing, but here it is from always dependable and effective Glytone! It's called "Retexturize" and for good reason as it contains levels of Free Glycolic Acid that promotes easy exfoliation of dry, rough spots (think sandal sore feet) and, if you happen to have them minimizes those unwelcome tiny hard bumps found along outer arms or thighs.

A happy way to use this Wash to concentrate on needed areas is in the shower with a pouf or wet washcloth applied gently but firmly. Then rinse and towel dry. There you are - refreshed and refinished!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2015 4:25 PM GMT


The Angel of Losses
The Angel of Losses
by Stephanie Feldman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.10

5.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING PAGE TURNER, 14 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Angel of Losses (Hardcover)
From time to time I'll come across a debut that is quite good yet it seems that the writer has been a bit tentative, not quite sure of himself or herself as an author, careful, if you will. That is the complete opposite of Stephanie Feldman who has crafted an amazing debut encompassing Jewish mysticism, mythology, family love, and history without missing a beat. Feldman is obviously intelligent, original, and imaginative as she flawlessly blends mythology with our modern world (no small feat!)

At the center of the story are two sisters who grew up in New Jersey, Marjorie and Holly Burke. At one time they were very close but are now estranged due in large part to Holly's conversion to Orthodox Judaism to marry Nathan. Marjorie has been spending much of her time working on a Ph.D. about the Wandering Jew, while Holly prepares for the birth of her first child, a boy whom she will call Eli. When the girls were much younger they listened to their grandfather, Eli, tell them bedtime stories about a bearded wizard, the White Magician.

After Eli's death Marjorie discovers a note of his which is filled with jottings seemingly part biography and part folk tale. Her curiosity piqued Marjorie begins to investigate the notebook's main character, the White Rebbe. However, in the process she discovers more than she had imagined about her grandfather's past.

Beautifully imaged, deftly delivered The Angel Of Losses is a stunning page turner - enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


Civil War Limericks
Civil War Limericks
by Charles H Hayes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINING, 14 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Civil War Limericks (Paperback)
If you think those involved in the Civil War had their hands full without any time for humor think again. Thanks to Charles H. Hayes who has compiled a delightful collection of limericks concerning people or events tied to the American Civil War we see the people as very real human beings and the events as landmark happenings.

Cartoonist/ poet Hayes accompanies each of his limericks with a caricature and a brief description of the person or event that inspired the rhyme. So readers are not only amused but they're learning a few things, too.

For instance, Hayes's opening limerick is titled "Webster, Calhoun, and Clay - The Missouri Compromise." Following the smile provoking rhyme we're reminded that these three statesmen from different parts of the country often worked together in the Senate to avoid a crisis by coming up with a compromise. Of course, the most significant of these was the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

And so it goes through 96 limericks and the same number of reminders of what occurred during the time of the Civil War. This small book is a gem not only for the cleverness of its presentation but for the information shared about the early days of our country.

- Gail Cooke


Olga the Cloud
Olga the Cloud
by Nicoletta Costa
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.52

4.0 out of 5 stars A LESSON IN PERSISTENCE AND PATIENCE FOR YOUNG ONES, 7 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Olga the Cloud (Hardcover)
Olga the cloud is usually a very happy cloud, just rolling along enjoying looking at all the interesting things in the sky and on the ground. Then suddenly while she is admiring the ocean Olga finds herself covered with dirt due to smoke from a passing ship. She dips herself into the water and soon she is as white and beautiful as before.

Now, a slight problem arises as Olga needs to make some rain but everywhere she pauses she is chased away, by a cat, by a mother hen walking her chicks, by a woman hanging out laundry. Olga has tried valiantly to find a way to make rain to no avail. Youngsters will be surprised and happy with her final solution.

And hopefully as young ones see how patient and persistent Olga is they will realize the importance of those qualities.

- Gail Cooke


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