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Story Box: Short Stories
Story Box: Short Stories
by Paul Curd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone, 29 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A nicely balanced collection of short stories, and all very enjoyable reads. There really is something for everyone in here.


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Offered by Batt_Pit
Price: £21.69


The Woods
The Woods
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Familiar Terrtory, 16 July 2007
This review is from: The Woods (Hardcover)
Readers familiar with Coben's earlier work will recognise the device of having something from the past, seemingly dead and buried (quite literally in this case), coming back to disrupt the present of the comfortable protagonist.

It's familiar Coben territory. He even gives a couple of characters from `The Innocent' another run out. This means he didn't have to work too hard at rounding them off. Trouble was, I didn't feel he'd done too well with rounding off his principle characters, either. Paul `Cope' Copeland in particular never really came to life for me. I didn't believe him when he did something quite early on in the book which affected everything that came after. Only an uncaring fool would make the decision Cope makes, and yet Coben paints him as a caring father and a smart cookie with a political ambition. Sorry, it just didn't ring true.

The plot is, as usual, full of twists and turns - although this time out I saw quite a few of the twists coming some way off. Does that mean I'm just getting used to the Coben style, or is Mr Coben simply running out of steam? He has certainly flogged this `past coming back to bite you' plot device, if not death then certainly to within an inch of its life.

And yet.

Despite the sketchy characters, the familiar terrain and the occasional implausibility, this novel WORKS the way a good crime novel should. In the end, I couldn't put it down.

So although this isn't one of Harlan Coben's best novels, it's certainly better than a lot of stuff by other crime writers. I'd give it seven out of ten if I could. As I only have five stars to play with, though, it's definitely more a four than a three.


Consequences
Consequences
by Penelope Lively
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a family saga, 16 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Consequences (Hardcover)
Consequences is the story of three generations of women, beginning in the 1930s with Lorna, then focusing on Molly in the post-war years and finally rounding off the tale with up-to-date Ruth. But this is no `family saga' novel. The book is about the way time changes perceptions, and about memory and loss.

Lively paints with quick, broad brushstrokes, then suddenly paints in a detail that brings her characters and their emotions to life on the page. The history of seventy years is sketched out in less than 300 pages, and yet you feel you know the principal characters intimately. Lively is a master at telling the reader more by writing less.

A novel to savour.


Mister Pip
Mister Pip
by Lloyd Jones
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 7 July 2007
This review is from: Mister Pip (Hardcover)
On a superficial level, this is another novel about an inspirational teacher and the power of books - in this case Great Expectations - to change lives. But the themes and ideas in this book reach much wider than most. On top of that, this is great storytelling. I was hooked. I read this book in two sittings and enjoyed every moment. There is suspense, there is pathos, there is horror, there is excitement - in fact, there is just so much to savour in this book.

Thoroughly recommended.


The Missing Person's Guide to Love
The Missing Person's Guide to Love
by Susanna Jones
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Will Make You Think . . ., 7 July 2007
If you have read either of Susanna Jones's earlier novels, The Earthquake Bird and Water Lily, then you will have an idea of the sort of thing to expect with her latest offering. The writing is superb, deceptively simple and with real pace. I had been warned that I needed to concentrate to fully appreciate this book, so I made a conscious effort to read more slowly. If I hadn't I would probably have whizzed through the book in a single sitting, and may have ended up confused. Because - as the blurb says - nothing is as it seems.

I think if you read the book as a detective novel (which up to a point it is, with Isabel trying to discover the truth about what happened to her friend Julia) you should spot the clues to what's really going on. This is a very clever book by a fine writer.


After Dark
After Dark
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under Surveillance, 2 July 2007
This review is from: After Dark (Hardcover)
After Dark is a very short novel, almost an extended short story, so I was sure I was going to really like it. The action takes place over the course of a single night in a city `like a single gigantic creature'. During this night we are going to meet nineteen year-old Mari, her sleeping sister Eri, a young man called Takahashi and Kaoru, the retired female wrestler and currently manager of a love hotel, together with sundry peripheral characters. There are all living their lives in the darkness of the night, `when everybody's supposed to be asleep'. It is an alien environment, as alien as being under water.

The novel is narrated in the first person plural, often as if through a camera. We have the characters under surveillance, even the sleeping Eri. At the love hotel, we watch CCTV images of a `guest' who has beaten up a Chinese prostitute and later, on the same screen, watch Creatures of the Deep along with several of the characters. We see `weird deep-sea creatures. Ugly ones, beautiful ones. Predators, prey'. Geddit? One of the characters moves from one side of the TV screen to the other, and mirror images remain in the mirror long after the reflected character has departed. This is Murakami, after all.

After Dark is always interesting, and the ending nicely satisfying. Another very, very good novel from one of my favourite authors.


On Chesil Beach
On Chesil Beach
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master Class, 2 April 2007
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This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Hardcover)
I've been a fan of Ian McEwan since "The Cement Garden". Since then, he has been getting better and better, each new book a major event. His latest novel is about the same length as his first, not much more than a novella, but it really is a little gem. Over the years McEwan has matured into a truly great writer, technically brilliant as always but with a growing sense of affection for his characters. In "On Chesil Beach" he condenses two lives into a single evening - a single episode, almost. So much happens in that episode - each of the characters being transformed by it, growing up, becoming different people. McEwan has captured the essence of what it is that makes us what we are and set it out on the page. It's heartrending in places. I finished the book in a few hours and I wished there had been more. Brilliant!


The Tenderness of Wolves
The Tenderness of Wolves
by Stef Penney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Assured Debut, 31 Mar. 2007
The Tenderness of Wolves is a tremendous first novel. The writing is assured, it's a decent story well told, and the sense of place (which every reviewer has remarked upon) is breathtaking. The atmosphere of the isolated town of Caulfield, full of exiled Scots, is beautifully described. Although I wouldn't describe it as a `gripping' read, there's an underlying sense of unease running throughout the book. Overall, given all the hype surrounding this book, I have to say I was a little disappointed. But I think that's because my expectations were raised a little too high. This is a very good book.


The Tenderness of Wolves
The Tenderness of Wolves
by Stef Penney
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Assured Debut, 31 Mar. 2007
The Tenderness of Wolves is a tremendous first novel. The writing is assured, it's a decent story well told, and the sense of place (which every reviewer has remarked upon) is breathtaking. The atmosphere of the isolated town of Caulfield, full of exiled Scots, is beautifully described. Although I wouldn't describe it as a `gripping' read, there's an underlying sense of unease running throughout the book. Overall, given all the hype surrounding this book, I have to say I was a little disappointed. But I think that's because my expectations were raised a little too high. This is a very good book.


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