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Dark Clarissa "Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul. - Edvard Munch." (London, UK)

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Poltergeist (Greywalker)
Poltergeist (Greywalker)
by Kat Richardson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow-up, 27 April 2008
Having thoroughly enjoyed Greywalker, I ordered this with great anticipation. Ms Richardson doesn't disappoint. I found the story engaging right from the beginning and enjoyed the further development of some of the characters from the first book. Harper is a likeable heroine, she's a strong, feisty personality with a decisive nature. I found this aspect of the book very refreshing, particularly as I'd got rather fed up with the direction that Anita Blake's character has taken of late. I'd been looking for a story-writer who could give me a strong female character that wasn't perfect, but that, at least knew her own mind. Ms Richardson has created this wonderfully with Harper Blaine. I also like the way the vampires are not gorgeous, velvet and lace clad sex gods, but are scary and sinister.

I particularly enjoyed the way Ms Richardson interweaves historical events into her fiction. It ensures that the story feels a lot more plausible. Her research into the Philip project was fascinating, as well as making the story all the more believable because of this type of experiment having been, apparently, carried out.

I agree with the other reviewers that Quinton is an interesting character and there is definitely more to him than meets the eye. However, I also think that there is more to Albert than we have not yet been told and I am eager to find out about his past.

Harper's acceptance of her status as a "Greywalker" and the development of her understanding of what this means is well written. I particularly like the way that Ms Richardson is not immediately giving Harper any amazing superpowers such as lightning-fast healing powers.

This is a great read, nothing too taxing, although intricate enough to keep me mentally alert. Ms Richardson is a great storyteller and I'm looking forward to Underground.


The Harlequin: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Volume 14
The Harlequin: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Volume 14
by Laurell K. Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Better than Dance Macabre, 23 April 2008
I read this with much trepidation as I was not impressed at all by Dance Macabre. My initial impression of The Harlequin is that it is definitely better. Unfortunately, the first half of the book does tend to ramble aimlessly and there seems like a lot of unnecessary tangents. However, the second half of the book picks up the pace and things start to happen.

Anita Blake now finds herself at the centre of the power of so many of the "monsters" that at times it feels over-complicated. I know that a lot of the complaints about Ms Hamilton's last few books have been that they were full of sex. This book has a lot less sex it in, which, I feel, works to the benefit of the story. I really wish that we could have a bit more of her zombie-raising again, as this element of Anita's life seems to have disappeared almost completely.

I don't want to go into much detail about the specifics of the plot as I would hate to spoil anything for anyone. But, suffice to say, that Ms Hamilton's dealings with one or two of the more annoying characters was a lot more satisfying this time. And I'm so glad that Edward and Olaf make another appearance. Its not a particularly strong storyline, though, and the denouement felt rushed.

This book has intrigued me enough for me to want to now read Blood Noir and I'm pleased with that as after Danse Macabre I was unsure as to whether I wished to continue with the series.


Greywalker: Number 1 in series
Greywalker: Number 1 in series
by Kat Richardson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great urban fantasy!, 15 April 2008
I'm always looking for a writer to completely hook me with an unusual tale and Ms Richardson certainly did this. I bought this book because when I read the excerpt available on the "search inside" feature, I liked the author's style of writing and found myself wanting to find out exactly how Harper deals with her new-found ability to see the Grey. I was not disappointed. I got through the first half of the book in one evening and was completely gripped, but disappointed that I only had half of the book left to read and my enjoyment would be put to an end soon.

Harper's initial scepticism about what she is experiencing is convincingly written, as is the explanation given to her by her soon to be good friends Mara and Ben. Quinton is a fantastically enigmatic character, you just know that there's a lot more to him than meets the eye. What I found fascinating is the way that Ms Richardson tackles the subject of vampirism. She makes assumptions that the reader is aware of certain aspects of vampire lore (such as the obvious, that vampires live a long time). We don't get subjected to in-depth discussions as to how to kill a vampire, or how frequently then need to feed, etc. Ms Richardson treats the reader as an intelligent person and only makes reference to these issues, almost in passing, as they are directly relevant to the story. I found this very refreshing!

The story was well thought out. Not too taxing, but with enough detail and small twists to make it highly enjoyable. I empathised and disliked various characters as I think the author intended. I shall be buying Poltergeist as I really want to follow Harper's life and her development of her new powers as both a Greywalker and a "daylighter".


Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed)
Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed)
by Lara Adrian
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping easy read, 12 April 2008
Having read the first in the series, Kiss of Midnight, I really wanted to follow what happened to the characters that I had been introduced to. In Kiss of Crimson, I was not disappointed.

Dante's character is explored, along with his fears, hopes and desires. He meets a breedmate, Tess, and the story hurtles along from there. Its a fast moving, well written, easy read. Its not deep and meaningful, it won't change your life, but Ms Adrian has created a world that is highly believable and engrossing. These are basically romance novels set against the backdrop of vampirism (tackled very differently to some authors). If you like romance, fantasy, vampire stories and nothing too taxing on the old brain cells, this is the book for you.

I have enjoyed both of Ms Adrian's books as light, entertaining reads and would recommend them to anyone in need of a bit of escapism for a few hours.


Stardust
Stardust
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting..., 10 April 2008
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
I had previously read Neverwhere, so was not new to Neil Gaiman's writing. This is a beautifully written, dark, yet glittering tale of a faerie land that borders a small town in England. Sympathetically drawn characters abound, gorgeous descriptions of magic and folklore, I was gripped and finished this in two evenings.

I shall be reading more of Mr Gaiman's work, however, my only complaint of Stardust was that it was very, very brief (under 200 pages). I would have loved a fuller version of this story as it most definitely could have been expanded on. But this is my only complaint - Mr Gaiman's story-telling ability is nothing short of genius.


The Historian
The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but tough at times, 7 April 2008
This review is from: The Historian (Paperback)
I did really enjoy this book and, therefore, give it four stars. However, I can understand the comments by many other reviewers.

The style of writing may not suit everyone. It is quite archaic at times, but to be quite honest I thought that this suited the gothic theme and atmosphere of the book. Some of the descriptions are a little long winded and the narrative hops back and forth between various characters and time periods. This can be a very effective method of story telling and, personally, I found it excellent. However, I can understand that it can be frustrating and confusing sometimes.

I found myself sympathising with the main characters almost immediately and enjoyed Ms Kostova's character development. My main problem was with some of the narrative and side stories (in the form of letters from the 15th and 16th centuries). Some of these did seem a little superfluous to requirements and dragged on. It took me ages to finish this book and I'm usually a swift reader, but I could only take in a few pages at a time.

I really enjoyed the ending, but wished that I had been able to get to that point without having taken so long to read it. I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys stories of the gothic variety, but would caution them to ensure that they are aware it may take them some time to finish it.


Touch The Dark
Touch The Dark
by Karen Chance
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unappealing descriptions, 19 Mar. 2008
The premise behind the story was a little hard to swallow. A girl brought up by her parents' killer who happens to be a mob-boss-type vampire. She's now grown up and hates him and is trying to live a normal life, but in hiding from him. Cue the rest of the story. But unfortunately, by the time I'd got through the first couple of chapters I had started to not care. I ploughed on.

I personally I found Ms Chance's style of writing awkward and stilted. I could suspend belief for some of the plot lines (which I'm happy to do for fiction - lets face it - its about vampires) and I tried to get immersed in the world and the characters that the author created. But it was tough going.

I've given this book two stars instead of one, because I feel that part of my dislike of the book is due to my difficulty with Ms Chance's writing style. Her descriptions left me feeling distant from the environment and characters, rather than being drawn in. I have read other vampire/preternatural fiction and usually enjoy it immensely. I'm sorry that I didn't with this book.


Notes from an Exhibition
Notes from an Exhibition
by Patrick Gale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but disappointing, 8 Mar. 2008
I was recommended to read this book by a friend who raved about it. I don't know whether my very high expectations of the book coloured my opinion, but I hope not.

There were some lovely descriptive passages, such as when Rachel is painting, but I wished the Mr Gale had included more of these. I also loved the description of the meeting that Rachel had with Barbara Hepworth - I have to say I laughed out loud at this part. Probably partly because the friend that recommended the book actually knew the great woman herself.

Some parts were poignant and touching. Some I totally related to, some I didn't. In my opinion, his description of Rachel's post-partum depression was particularly accurate based on my own experience of this. Her bi-polar was handled very gently and sympathetically - and having a close relative that is bi-polar I found his descriptions excellent. Having said that, he doesn't harp on about her illness.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel that there was enough of a core "plot" to the book. It meandered around to give us background on all of the characters involved, but didn't manage to engage me sufficiently. I found it a real chore to finish the book, but I did - only because I hate to leave a book half finished. I didn't like the ending of the book, not because of what happened, but because I already figured out what would probably happen. I also didn't feel that enough time was given to exploring any of the characters. I was going to say particularly Petroc, but to be quite honest, I really feel that everyone needed more pages spent on explaining their lives, their loves, hates, their psyche, etc.

I would say that anyone that enjoys family saga type books may enjoy this. Its not a work of genius, but is a very pleasant, insightful tale in parts if a little underdeveloped for my taste. But enjoy!


Terminal
Terminal
by Brian Keene
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.28

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner!, 27 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Terminal (Mass Market Paperback)
I bought this book because the premise behind it seemed like a good plot. I wasn't mistaken either. I read it in one sitting last night in about 4 hours.

The author guides you straight into the leading character Tommy's life and skillfully constructs very believable characters around him. His two friends John and Sherm are so like many people that I have met over the years that the relationship between the three is compelling. The lifestyle that Tommy and his friends have is so ordinary in so many ways that as a reader I found myself sympathising with them all and this is even though I found some of their character traits unappealing. There is wonderful pathos and even some laugh out loud humour in one or two areas of the book, which gives it a well rounded feeling. I laughed and I actually cried a couple of times and I haven't found a book that has made me do both of these for a while.

I would have loved to have given this book five stars, my reasons for only giving it four are as follows. I feel that the author didn't give enough attention to fleshing out the character of Michelle, Tommy's wife. Given that we should feel extreme empathy for her situation too, unfortunately she appeared a little too two dimesional. Also, I loved the supernatural angle, but I don't think that enough description was given to these areas of the book. My last reason is that I didn't feel the book was long enough, but that could just be because I found it so gripping (which isn't a bad thing), but if a little longer had been spent on Michelle's role and the supernatural side to the story perhaps I wouldn't have this complaint.

Despite my last couple of comments, I would still highly recommend anyone that likes human drama, thrillers and/or the supernatural to give this book a go. I think its a highly enjoyable read.


Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer
by Sylvia C. Weber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £37.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and informative, 25 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Anselm Kiefer (Hardcover)
Anselm Kiefer's work is always thought provoking and very often deals with uncomfortable historical issues. This book is an excellent view of some of his more recent work. However, there is also an in depth discussion of the inspirations behind Kiefer's current and previous works along with a biography. The book is in German with translations into English and French.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is specifically interested in Kiefer's work but also to those interested in the best of contemporary art.


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