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Lucybird (Birmingham, UK)

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Kerb Crawling
Kerb Crawling
Price: 1.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Kerb Crawling, 13 May 2012
This review is from: Kerb Crawling (Kindle Edition)
I suppose you can say the key thing about the novel is that the main character (or heroine if you want) is disabled. It is good to see a book which focuses on a disabled person but isn't a sob story. I can't really think of another book which does focus on a physically disabled person, which probably means I haven't read one good enough to stick in my mind rather than that they don't exist. I'm pretty certain the majority of what is around is really about how hard it is to be disabled. in Kerb Crawling however you could almost forget that Jas was disabled. Generally speaking it was more a story about the friends of Jas, and her. Sure there was the disability element, and I suppose that was the hook but I don't think that was really the important thing. I think what needed to be said to do with her disability was said, and it was the aspect that got the story going as it were but it ceased to really be important.

The whole conspiracy aspect I did find a little far fetched if I am honest. However it added an element of action which kept the story going, and I suppose it underlined how something which can seem like a small issue can actually have a wide reach. In a way it parallels the lack of access for disabled people. It may not seem like much if one place doesn't have disabled access, or if one person takes a disabled parking space that they don't need but if everybody thought like that it would make life a lot harder for the disabled. Even just one person thinking it can make that true of a few disabled people. So maybe that wasn't such an unnecessary element after all. I think all the drugs were though, can't say I liked that.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sick, 13 May 2012
This review is from: SICK (Kindle Edition)
Oh this book made me so angry. I know it's real but I can't believe someone could behave the way Greg did, especially where his son was concerned. Sometimes I must admit I was annoyed with Jen too. Not because she didn't see what was happening or didn't try to get out of it, because she did try to get out of it once she realised what was happening. More I was annoyed at her for going back to the drugs after she gave birth. I had hoped she would realise then that the drugs weren't helping her situation. However I can understand why she couldn't give them up, I blame the drugs, not her. In fact in some ways I felt that Jen still blames herself for not getting out. I thought however she was very brave to try so many times, and I could understand why it didn't work out, she needed to realise she could do better with help.

Barefoot Girls
Barefoot Girls
Price: 2.55

3.0 out of 5 stars Chick-lit with an extra something, 29 April 2012
This review is from: Barefoot Girls (Kindle Edition)
At first I was a little unsure about whether or not to accept this book is I'm completely honest. The author described Barefoot Girls as woman's literature which pretty much sent off chick-lit sirens in my head. It's not that I don't like chick-lit exactly, but it does tend to be rather formulaic and predictable which does give a bit of a trashy air. I do read chick-lit but only very occasionally, usually when I want something easy to read, something I don't want to have to concentrate on. The synopsis of Barefoot Girls didn't really sound like your stereotypical chick-lit however, but it still seemed like it would share chick-lit's easy readability. That's why I accepted it. It's also why I read it when I did, after 1Q84 I wanted something easy to read.

Having read it now though I think maybe that calling it chick-lit does it a bit of a disservice. It certainly has elements of your stereotypical chick-lit. There's a love interest and a related problem (although it's one that really related to a more serious side of the novel, which makes it more than a stereotypical love story), it's easy to read- the language isn't too complex- it's generally speaking plot driven, it's focused around women, all pretty much things you would expect from chick-lit. However there's a more emotional element which can sometimes be found in the better chick-lit, chick-lit with brains I like to call it. There's a mystery element of the type you find in more general contemporary fiction and which keeps you guessing. There's a certain crime element too which adds an extra plot line.

Overall I did like it. Certainly I like Hannah, one of the main characters, and Zoeey. I think possibly I was meant to like Keeley more, but I just couldn't connect to her, and Amy kind of grated on me. Seeing as it was essentially a book about friendship however I did like their friendship and how it was depicted, although there was a certain element of wondering how they remained friends, especially as some of the scenes where you saw one of the characters on their own didn't seem to fit with the way they were when they were together. Maybe that just showing the things friendship bring out in a person though?

I like the mystery element as well, and how that mystery effected the characters- especially Hannah. I must admit however I guessed the twist long before it was revealed- although I kept wondering how it came about.

The only thing I didn't really like was the Rose storyline. It seemed a bit pointless and rather than feeling dramatic it really just made me feel sorry for Rose. I didn't really think it was needed- it felt almost as if McTiernan added it just for a bit of action.

The Last Hundred Days
The Last Hundred Days
Price: 5.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last 100 Days, 22 April 2012
I know pretty much nothing about Romania, and even less about Communism in Romania. I was only 2 when Ceaucescu was overthrown so I certainly cannot claim to remember it, and seeing as it is not a widely covered topic in `popular' history I would really have had to look into it to find out much about it. That's not to say I wouldn't have been interested just that it never entered my knowledge far enough to become interested as it were. I can't decide if this lack of knowledge is good for my reading of McGuinness' book or not. On one hand it makes it feel more true I suppose, because I don't have any historical knowledge to compare it to, but then it becomes my historical knowledge which is not so great- because it is, ultimately, fiction. Having said that knowing nothing also helped me to understand the narrator, who, before he went, seemed to know almost as little as I do about Romania- and I suppose in a way it showed me how little the world was really bothered- at least when it came to the fictional world. Oh I am getting myself in a muddle now!

Anyway it certainly succeeded in getting me interested in that part of history, although I'm having a little more trouble finding out how truthful the book is- I expected just to be able to find an interview or even a wikipedia post on The Last 100 Days, but apparently it is not that easy.

I do enjoy historical fiction and this one was written well. I loved the reality of it- it wasn't all drama and intregue, but there was enough of it to keep me interested in the book as a story. The atmosphere was built really well, and I loved some of the characters.

In case you were wondering McGuinness did spend a year in Communist Romania as a student (although he wasn't there for the revolution) so at least something of the atmosphere is probably fairly reliable.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2012 5:07 PM GMT

How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life : Windfall:  A Blessing or a Curse?
How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life : Windfall: A Blessing or a Curse?
Price: 2.70

2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what the point is, 9 April 2012
Not really sure where to start with this review. To be perfectly honest it felt more like a self-help guide for people who suddenly became millionaires than an insight into lives of lottery winners, which was what I was expecting. There was some talk of what Sandra spent her money on, but no real detail, she talked about how some spending was personal, which is all well and good but if you are going to write a book about winning the lottery surely you have to let go of some privacy?

She often refereed to the reality television show with which she had been involved but didn't give any real details about it except that they edited the show in a way that framed her in a bad light, and to mention a time they had filmed without her knowledge. It didn't really say anything much specific and that meant a lot of the book was lost on me as I haven't seen the show. At some points I thought that the book was a defense against the show but without seeing the show that meant it lost its meaning.

The writing wasn't bad. It was pretty conversational which made it easy to read, but as a conversation it tended to be a bit repetitive.

Brooklyn Bites: Truffle Fries & A Little Taste of Chocolate
Brooklyn Bites: Truffle Fries & A Little Taste of Chocolate
Price: 0.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 9 April 2012
Calling this book is a a bit rich. It's two short stories really and it took me less than an hour to read both. However the two stories were beautifully crafted. In the first story (Truffle Fries) in particular you could really sense the tastes of the truffle fries, and you could almost feel the emotions that the main character was feeling. I found the way the two stories sat with each other was very clever too. After reading the second story it put a different twist on the first, and I don't really want to say more than that for fear of giving things away. It's only 77p so hardly breaks the bank. I would certainly recommend it.

When it comes down to it I would rather have a short story of this quality that a long one of middling quality.

Life in Pieces
Life in Pieces
Price: 1.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Life in Pieces, 6 April 2012
This review is from: Life in Pieces (Kindle Edition)
I don't really know where to start with this review. I have things that I want to say but I'm not sure where to start. Part of my problem is that I don't really like the synopsis, but I am awful at writing my own overviews or synopsis' (synopsi?) so I'm kind of plumping with it. Plus if I did write a synopsis it would kind of reveal a secret which I don't really understand why is a secret. In fact I'm not even sure if it is a secret or a presumption I have made, based on the ending that might be more exact...but I think I'm right. (Talk about cryptic, right?)
I really enjoyed the style of writing. It felt more like you were having a conversation with the characters of the book rather than reading about them. I could almost imagine what might be going through their heads at certain moments. I must admit the old man's story held my attention the least but I still found it rather moving, I guess it's just that it had the least storyline. Of course that's not always a bad thing, but alongside the other two stories I felt a little like I was waiting for something to happen. The story of the student interested me early on but the story of the politician became my favourite. I did like how the student story balanced quite well between the other two however, it made me think more than the politician story (although there were elements of that story which did make me think, they were kind of peripheral), but wasn't moving in the same way that the old man's story was.
I was trying to guess all the way through how the three stories related to each other, if at all, but I think I got it in the end.
The only negative thing I can really say is that I noticed a few mistakes, sometimes just typos but at other times in word choice (e.g. know instead of now) which wouldn't have been picked up by a spell check. These were few and far between but did seem to increase in volume towards the end of the novel, almost as if a proofread had gotten lazy towards the end. I am a bit more forgiving of this seeing as Life in Pieces is self-published*, but I'm still not exactly happy about it.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
by Jeff Lindsay
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Dexter, 1 April 2012
This review is from: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Paperback)
I'm sure I've said before that crime novels are not usually to my taste. I find them not exactly predictable but somewhat formulaic and it kind of puts me off. I can really enjoy a good crime novel though and I'd heard lots of good things about this one so I thought I would give it a go. The Dexter books sounded pretty original to me too so I wasn't expecting anything very formulaic
Well I can certainly say I raced through it. I can read about 100 pages a day without too much of a struggle but it doesn't happen very often. Still I managed to finish Darkly Dreaming Dexter in just under two days which is pretty fast for me, especially when one of the days is a work day. I found the story very compelling and I really wanted to keep reading.
I found I had a somewhat of a love hate relationship with Dexter himself. Which I think was really that I enjoyed reading him as a character but felt I shouldn't like him because, well, he was still a murderer, even if he was one with a `good heart'. In some ways I think the love hate thing gave me more of an understanding of Dexter too as that seemed to be his attitude towards himself.
I liked how the story was actually told by Dexter. It felt like you could really see how murderers tick (whether or not Lindsay had researched criminology I can't say but it felt genuine). I think it was the psychologist in me that liked that, even though I haven't studied criminal psychology since I was doing the a-level. In ways the book made me interested to look a bit more at criminal psychology (and I may well do that).
The actual storyline was exciting, I could never figure out things before Dexter did- but I suppose that is because I cannot think like a murderer (thinking about that it makes the idea of meeting Lindsay a little scary!). It's an aspect that kept me going with the story and even at the end I was still scratching my head trying to work out what happened between the last chapter and the epilogue. The major twist at the end I never expected although parts of what made it work I had considered.
Adding the next to my wishlist right now!

The Piano Tuner
The Piano Tuner
by Daniel Mason
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Slow, 1 April 2012
This review is from: The Piano Tuner (Paperback)
I really struggled with this book. It's not that it was a bad book by any means, it was well written, and enough happened for me not to give up but the going was very slow, I was almost halfway through the book before Edgar even reached Burma and really for a book that supposedly is about him visiting Burma that really is something which takes a long time to arrive. I must admit that I found that the pace did quicken as I got further into the novel, and that meant I found the last few chapters actually went comparatively quickly, but two weeks for a book is a long time for me (especially as I had already read six others the same month) and that spoiled my enjoyment a little.

There were lots of sections which got me intrigued and wanting to know more, but often nothing more was said about them which made me a little annoyed as they were part of what kept me reading. In fact the most interesting portion for me was the man with one story, and I think I would have actually prefered a book about him to the book that was actually written! (I checked, it doesn't seem Amazon has a book by Mason about the man with one story, although his second novel, A Distant Country sounds interesting) By the end I did want to know what was going to happen next but the end was a bit of a let down for me, there were lots of unanswered questions which I don't even really have any theories about. I actually got the impression Mason didn't know the answers either.

I had high hopes for this book as it was recommended by the same person who introduced me to Marukami but I didn't get on with it half as well as Norwegian Wood

Syren (Septimus Heap)
Syren (Septimus Heap)
by Angie Sage
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Syren, 1 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Syren (Septimus Heap) (Paperback)
There is something about the Septimus Heap series in that it takes a while to really get going, you get hints that it will get exciting but it's only towards the end that it actually becomes exciting with a gradual build. his was still true of Syren, although I do think it got going a little quicker than the previous books. I think I am enjoying the stories more as we go through the series as well, and whereas before I read the other books without and real anticipation I am actually really looking forward to Darke, I just wish it was out already!

Really my main problem with this series is that it isn't much of a series in the way the books link together. In some ways this one was linked to the other books, and I can definitely see how it may link to the next book, but it also seems in some ways unnecessary to the series as a whole, and as if Sage was just trying to stretch out the books.

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