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Reviews Written by
Nicola "nicola_in_southyorks" (UK)
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When Nights Were Cold: A literary mystery
When Nights Were Cold: A literary mystery
by Susanna Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric writing, 14 April 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Grace Farringdon lives with her parents and older sister in turn of the 20th century London. She is stifled by them and lives for her play-acting with neighbour, Frank Black, when they each pretend to be a polar explorer. Grace is fascinated by the expeditions of the likes of Scott and Shackleton and wants to be just like them. She escapes home life to go to a women's college and forms the Antarctic Exploration Society with three friends. They climb mountains together and form alliances but we know from the beginning that something has gone wrong. As Grace looks back on those times the story unfolds slowly throughout the course of the book.

I loved this story. It's told in the first person and this enables Grace to tell the reader exactly what she is thinking and feeling. I had a strong sense of what it was like for her and her friends on the mountains and even her imagined stories of polar exploration were told so well that it became quite atmospheric. It certainly piqued my interest in such things, where before I had had little interest. The story has an element of the sinister about it and the writing is excellent. I'd highly recommend this book. It's reasonably short yet seems to have so much packed into it and is a very intriguing tale.


Life After Life
Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant stuff, 8 April 2013
This review is from: Life After Life (Hardcover)
I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book and I wasn't disappointed at all. I love Kate Atkinson's writing anyway, but the idea of being able to live your life over again until it was right was so very intriguing to me.

This book is the story of Ursula Todd, born during a snow storm in 1910. She dies immediately. And then she is born again during the same snow storm and lives. The rest of the book follows in a similar vein. It was clever when I realised the links in each of Ursula's lives and how just one thing changed the whole course of them.

The writing is top-notch as usual and Kate Atkinson has such a wonderful style and creates such interesting characters.

I loved every minute of this book. A clever and ambitious piece of work that kept me enthralled.


Tuppenny Hat Detective
Tuppenny Hat Detective
by Brian Sellars
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, entertaining and exciting, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: Tuppenny Hat Detective (Paperback)
This book caught my eye because, like the author, I'm from Sheffield and the book is set in Sheffield and I always like to read books set on my home turf. However, I'm sure anybody would enjoy reading Tuppenny Hat Detective, whether from the area or not.

Set in 1951, the book features 11 year old Billy Perks who, along with his two pals, Yvonne and Kick, starts to investigate the death of the old 'Star Woman', a lady who used to sell the Sheffield Star newspaper. Billy is convinced that there's more to it than meets the eye and he gets himself into all sorts of situations trying to find out.

It's a charming story. It made me smile whilst reading it and is very well plotted. I had no idea whodunnit until it was revealed at the end. This is a book for adults and teenagers and is written with great intelligence. It features schoolchildren but it's definitely not a kids book.

It really was a pleasure to read and I hope Brian Sellars will write more in a similar vein in the not too distant future.


The Last Summer
The Last Summer
by Judith Kinghorn
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.80

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, understated writing, 31 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Last Summer (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is such a beautiful, understated piece of writing and a pleasure to read.

Clarissa is 17 years old, living at her family's country house, Deyning Park, during 'the last summer', being the summer of 1914 just before the First World War broke out. She meets Tom, their housekeeper's son, and falls in love with him, but of course her status means that their love is thwarted.

This is not a book about war, although it looms large over the story. This is a book completely about the torments of love and loss. It's told in the first person by Clarissa and it works perfectly that way. I think it wouldn't have been nearly so good told in the third person because it would simply be a recounting of events rather than somebody giving an account of their feelings.

I enjoyed this book immensely and I found myself engrossed in it. Highly recommended and I'm looking forward to reading Judith Kinghorn's next novel.


In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery
In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery
by Steve Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable genealogy story, 20 Mar 2013
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This is a very enjoyable crime/genealogy story. I'm very interested in genealogy so was pleased to get my hands on this book.

Jefferson Tayte is an American who is called on to go to England to investigate an anomaly in a family history he is looking into on behalf of a client. There follows numerous occasions in which Jefferson risks his life trying to get to the truth.

It's an interesting read, and I liked how it unfolded. I didn't guess the ending which is always the sign of a well-plotted story. I've already bought the next two in the series.


The Land of Decoration
The Land of Decoration
by Grace McCleen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innovative story, 8 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Land of Decoration (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Land of Decoration is in the Bible but it's also a mini world made out of rubbish by 10 year old, Judith McPherson. She lives with her father and they are part of a religious organisation, which sounds a bit like Jehovah's Witnesses. One day, after a preacher visits the church, Judith thinks she can make miracles happen by using her model world to act things out.

This is a very accomplished first novel and I think the writer really captures the voice of Judith. I wouldn't say it's the best book I've ever read but it pretty much held my interest throughout. I sympathised with Judith and her father when their lives were troubled, which they are throughout most of the book and there were parts of the book that made me smile. Overall, this is a well-written story with unusual characters and clever dialogue.


Audio Technica ATR-3350 ATR Series Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone - Black
Audio Technica ATR-3350 ATR Series Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone - Black
Price: 19.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only used once so far but seems good, 4 Mar 2013
I've only used my microphones once but they seem like a good product so far. I have found the little foam bit falls off so that's something to be wary of but they clip on well and don't move around, and the sound quality is good.


Tascam Dr-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder
Tascam Dr-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder
Offered by Fair Deal Music
Price: 149.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only used once so far but seems good, 4 Mar 2013
This voice recorder is a good model, versatile and very capable. It's relatively easy to use once you know what you are doing, and seems to record clearly.


The Girl on the Cliff
The Girl on the Cliff
by Lucinda Riley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable but cliched, 17 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Girl on the Cliff (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really expected to like this book more than I did. It's primarily the story of Grania Ryan, a woman who flees her life and her man in New York to return to her childhood home in Ireland. One day, up on the cliffs she meets Aurora, a young girl. Grania finds her life tied up with that of Aurora, and also realises how entwined their two families have always been.

This is a very readable book. It doesn't require much effort from the reader and is an easy read. But it has such cliched dialogue, in particular the two young girls who feature throughout. I don't believe any child speaks in the way they do. There is also a stereotypical American and the Irish families seem very stereotyped too. And somehow the story manages to jump about five years in the space of one paragraph.

There's a lot crammed into this book in terms of the years it covers, but none of it is particularly well done if I'm honest. It reads a bit like a Mills and Boon sometimes, light romance with a sense of predictability. A bit disappointing.


Finders Keepers
Finders Keepers
by Belinda Bauer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another thriller from this author, 1 Feb 2013
This review is from: Finders Keepers (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Finders Keepers is the third book in a loose trilogy set in the village of Shipcott, Exmoor. It features Steven Lamb, who was the main character in Blacklands, and Jonas Holly, who was the policeman and main character in Darkside. Whilst Finders Keepers can be read as a standalone novel I wouldn't recommend it. I read it straight after Darkside and there are things that are referred to in it that directly relate to what was in Darkside.

In this book, children are being taken from cars and a note left behind saying "you don't love him/her". Jonas and the wider police force have to search for the kidnapper.

Belinda Bauer is becoming a real favourite of mine. I've found all of her books to be absolute page turners. They are quite dark in nature and cleverly plotted with a great cast of characters. I find myself riveted by the storylines and their many twists and turns. Although the big reveal comes half way through this story, I would never have guessed whodunnit and I think that is a measure of good writing. Can't wait for her next book!


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