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Lucybird (Birmingham, UK)

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Going Out
Going Out
by Scarlett Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Past her peak?, 14 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Going Out (Paperback)
I very much enjoyed The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas, and her next novel, Pop Co, is one of my favourites. However I was disappointed by Our Tragic Universe. When I saw Going Out in the shops I was excited but I didn't immediately feel the need to buy it as I had with Our Tragic Universe, not because it didn't sound interesting, but because I didn't want another let down.

I can't exactly say Going Out was a let down, but I think that was more due to the fact that I didn't go into it expecting something as fantastic as Pop Co. However it certainly didn't reach p to the levels of Pop Co. or even The End of Mr Y.

It did interest me, but it really took a long time to get going. Most of the time it was just a story of a girl who worked in a pizza place and was scared of everything. I didn't even feel a particular affinity with her character. The most I can say for it was that there was a certain coming of age novel feel to it.

Once the journey got started I did begin to get interested, mainly because I wanted to see if things would work, or how. Even that though was not that fantastic. It was a little anti-climatic.

I will still read Scarlett Thomas' latest offering, Bright Young Things, but I have a feeling she has passed her peak.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2013 5:48 PM BST


The Secret Keeper
The Secret Keeper
Price: £3.59

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Kate Morton Yet, 14 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Secret Keeper (Kindle Edition)
I was ridiculously excited to get this book from netgalley. I've read and really enjoyed the rest of Kate Morton's novels. The idea of getting this one early, and for free was pretty much awesome.

In a way it's like a Kate Morton book which was written just for me. There was the usual intrigue and secrecy, which kept me thinking. Less of the whole gothic nature (which is something I really enjoy in Morton's books, I love me a bit of gothic fiction), but still enough to satisfy me. Plus the historical sections are set during the second world war, the world wars are the time I tend to turn to when reading historical fiction. So it's like two of my favourite types of books built into one A book that makes me think and a book set during an era I'm interested in.

Seriously though this book did really make me puzzle. I kept thinking I'd cracked it, even to the point that I thought the story was more or less finished when I was only halfway. It just kept throwing up new twists, or new things kept being discovered.

Even now, several hours after having finished the book it's still running through my head. There are those little loose ends that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but still keep you wondering. I imagine it's the type of thing which annoys some readers, but I like it. It's something which makes a book stick with you, even after you've finished it.

The ending completely threw me. It was not what I expected in any of my imaginings. It was the perfect ending though. Maybe not a happy ending in all ways but the best possible ending. It brought a smile to my face.

There is little more I can say without giving away spoilers, but I certainly recommend this book. Has to be my favourite Kate Morton to date.


The Crimson Petal and the White
The Crimson Petal and the White
Price: £5.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crimson Petal and the White, 14 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I do not rate amazon's synopsis of this novel at all, it is far to basic, however I do not feel I could write an adequate synopsis myself so I am going to stick with it.
I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this book. There were times near the beginning where everything was very slow and I thought I might just give up. Towards the middle I kept expecting it to end, although by this point I was much more interested and didn't really want it to end, there was just something about parts of the middle which felt like the end was coming, even though I knew I'd only read around about half the book. Towards the end I wanted to do nothing but read it. I started a new paperback but only read a few pages because I wanted to read this one. I had to force myself to stop when reading on my lunch break so I wouldn't be late back to work.
I can't really tell you what happened towards the middle which made it more interesting. Technically there was really no more plot, and the plot didn't drastically change, I think maybe I just began to feel more about the characters, and that made me anticipate things which I saw as being inevitable- which in itself made me want to find out what would happen next. I wasn't always 100% correct in my assumptions however which stopped the novel from becoming predictable.
There was a point in the middle where I became rather confused actually, and a point at the end, but to say more would only serve to spoil.
Certainly an atmosphere of Victorian London is built up very well, you can almost see it, smell it, touch it, taste it. In terms of showing a place, and building at atmosphere it's got to be one of the best novels I've read. Don't go expecting something sanitized, everything is described in great detail.
My main problem actually is that the ending felt rather abrupt, which really doesn't seem to fit for a novel which is almost 1000 pages long, surely a few extra pages would be no problem?


My Dead Friend Sarah: A Novel
My Dead Friend Sarah: A Novel
Price: £2.80

4.0 out of 5 stars My Dead Friend Sarah, 14 Oct. 2012
It's taken me a little while to get around to actually writing this review so I don't remember the story perfectly clearly, however I will do my best.

I enjoyed this story, it was pretty easy read but I don't think it lost any thrill or quality from that. The chapters were split up into chapters narrated by Max and by Sarah so you could see two sides of the story. That is up until the moment of Sarah's disappearance. It was quite clever how Sarah's voice just stopped. It makes the reader sure that Max's conviction that Sarah is dead is correct, but you still hope he is wrong.

You really feel as if you know the characters, and as such there is a certain level of inevitability.


Big Fish
Big Fish
by Daniel Wallace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so, 28 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Big Fish (Paperback)
When I picked up Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination my boyfriend picked up Big Fish but he didn't like it so he passed it on to me. I can kind of see where he is coming from, he thought it was just to fanciful *(says the guy who mainly reads fantasy books!). I suppose the way it was presented was like a biography but really most of the stories couldn't be true (except for maybe the naked woman and the snake, cause, you know, naked women are always at risk from snakes...). Actually though I quite enjoyed the stories, although I found it easier to see them as short stories in their own right rather than as a longer narative. I enjoyed it well enough although it wasn't really some great story. It was pretty humourous but it didn't really seem to have that much of a point really.

I prefered the film.


The Child Who
The Child Who
Price: £3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Live up to potential, 28 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Child Who (Kindle Edition)
This book was not what I expected. Maybe partly because I hadn't re-read the synopsis before I started reading the actual book (although that is only usually something I do if I can't decide what to read).

It wasn't that the book was bad, it's just it really didn't reach it's full potential. I expected much more about Daniel, and his reasoning behind the murder, and that was the part I was really interested in. Actually the whole Daniel thin felt like it had been skimmed over and the focus was much more on Leo and the effect the case had on him and his family.

It's not even that I didn't find the Leo side of things interesting I did, especially after the main event happened, but it pretty much made the fact that a child was involved in the case pointless.

There was a certain crime/mystery element but I would it rather predictable, so really that's didn't keep me hooked.

It was an easy read however, and interesting enough to keep me reading.


Charlotte Street
Charlotte Street
by Danny Wallace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Something for fans of Nick Hornby, 28 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Charlotte Street (Paperback)
Charlotte Street was one of those books that made me both sad and satisfied to have finished. It's been a long time since I last got this feeling from finishing a book. I wanted it to carry on, even though I knew it had definitely reached a conclusion.

I liked the characters, especially Dev. I quite often thought they were idiots but that just made them more realistic. Jason was certainly the flawed hero- if you can call someone whose behaviour borders on stalker-ish a hero! He did sometimes doubt whether he should be behaving the way he was, but there was always a friend to put him on the `right' path, and I loved that.

In some ways you could actually call Charlotte Street a coming of age story. Maybe it was later in life than the typical coming of age story but Jason (and actually the other major characters too) certainly learnt something from the beginning of the book to the end and entered a new stage of life.

Wallace's writing style reminded me a lot of Nick Hornby's books, especially High Fidelity. Flawed hero- check, love interest- check, geeky friend- check, shop- check. It wasn't a copy my any means but there were a lot of parallels. Amusing but in a real-life way rather than an artificial humour.

I had meant to read something by Danny Wallace for a long time, in fact since reading Are You Dave Gorman? when I was at school, and finding out Danny Wallace had written solo books, but somehow it hasn't happened until now. This is probably the worst book to start on seeing as it's Wallace's first fiction book, but it has made me more eager to read something else by him.


Ninepins
Ninepins
Price: £3.79

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ninepins, 28 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Ninepins (Kindle Edition)
I've had this book waiting for review for a while, when I got it I intended to make it my next read in paperback, but I was really struggling with The Good Angel of Death (which is weird because I normally love Kurkov) and ended up reading it for more than a month without getting very far. Eventually I decided I was in a bit of a slump (I started having trouble with the book I was reading on kindle too), I read Olivia Joules, and then Big Fish before returning to The Good Angel of Death but still couldn't really get anywhere with it. So I decided to read Ninepins, partly because I felt a little guilty for leaving it so long (usually review novels go straight to the top of my pile) and partly because I remembered it as something that sounded easy to read.

Well in a way my memories were off. I was imagining something vaguely chick-litty, although maybe more sophisticated. I was wrong. Ninepins wasn't hard to read, but it was far from chick-lit like too. Actually it kind of reminded me of Kate Morton. There was the same kind of atmosphere built using the surroundings (a little gothic at times in fact, which I always like in a novel). There was also the family issue centre and hints of a big secret, although actually the secret, while never revealed fully was quite easy to guess at.

I thought that the way Thornton was able to make you feel about the characters, especially Beth and Laura, was clever. Beth was a pretty stereotypical teenager, not exactly a rebel but certainly testing some boundaries and trying to gain a bit much independence. Laura (whose voice the novel was told in) was understandable frustrated by this but despite the fact that you should be siding with Laura I found actually I had a lot of sympathy for Beth and found that Laura was a bit stifling. In fact at points I even found she was a little stifling to Willow despite the fact she was only meant to be Willow's landlady. That didn't mean that I didn't see her viewpoint, or feel sympathy for her but sometimes I just wanted her to relax and let go, or let someone else take responsibility for once.

I did really enjoy it however. I think it's one fans of Linda Gillard would enjoy, and (maybe to a slightly lesser extent, as it's less of a mystery and more of a family novel) Kate Morton's fans may well appreciate it too.


The Time Keeper
The Time Keeper
Price: £3.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Takes some getting into, 28 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Time Keeper (Kindle Edition)
The Time Keeper has everything you would expect from Mitch Alborn, a bit of sadness, a bit of thoughtfulness, a feel good ending and the ability to move.

At first I wasn't that keen. It wasn't bad. I just felt that more could have been made of how `Father Time' invented time. In fact I barely even saw it as him inventing time.

One the more modern side of the story got going however my interest increased. I had a bit of a love hate relationship with the teenage girl. She was naive, and a bit of a drama queen, but I understood her. She seemed like a real teenager (and not the `popular' type girls you so often get in books and films.

I didn't like the old man at all though. He was so self-centred, even when it came to the ones he supposedly loved.

I think maybe it was good to have a hate element to those two characters however, it made the feel good element better.

What was best however was when Father Time came to our modern world. It was interesting to see the world through his eyes, and it was when the book really got going.

If you're a fan of Alborn you should enjoy this one, and you may be interested if you are a fan of historical fiction too. If you're not sure at first it is worth the perseverance.


The Report
The Report
Price: £5.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but could have done more, 28 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Report (Kindle Edition)
The Report is based on a real life incident where almost 200 people were crushed to death as they entered the tube station at Bethnal Green to shelter from an air raid during the second world war. Although only one character is based on a real person (the writer of the report into the disaster) most of the factors which contributed to the disaster are based on facts.

The factor which was fictional is written well to fit into the real events which surround it. As a reader you can see how it might have been true.

There is little I can really say without giving away the secrets included in this book but it does keep you guessing almost right up to the end. It is possible to work things out by yourself although as a reader you cannot work out exactly how events would pan out.

There is a certain sense that Kane could have made more out of what she turns into a major contributing factor, most of what is interesting about it is waiting for the `facts' to be revealed. Why that factor came about however stays somewhat of a mystery and I would have been interested to find out more about it.

Having said that the text is rather emotive and it made me want to find out more about the disaster.


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