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Jan Marshall

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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
Price: 4.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and fascinating, 19 July 2012
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I love this book. I've always been a people watcher ~ whether sitting at an airport, travelling on a train, standing in a queue, or indeed anywhere where there are people to be observed. And that is what this book is about: people watching.
It doesn't matter that the characters don't have names and aren't as fully developed as they might be in other works of fiction ~ because you are people watching in the simplest form. It's as if you are walking up and down a street, peeking through a window, glancing through a door ~ leaning against a door frame and observing passers by. I found it compelling and fascinating to read. The observations reminded me of T S Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and Dylan Thomas's "Under Milkwood" and there are definite echoes of James Joyce. I think this novel is a contemporary masterpiece.
I noticed in other reviews that some people found the style of the writing and the lack of punctuation spoiled the book for them. I personally think it added something for me. The lack of punctuation meant I read the book aloud in my head (as if I were reading it aloud, yet doing so silently) and it had the strange effect of making it seem as if I could hear the voices actually speak. I found I was inserting the punctuation without even thinking about it. They key to enjoying this book is to go with the flow ~ just allow yourself to read it without any pre-conceived ideas about how a book should be. I found I couldn't wait to pick it up and read more and the opening paragraph is one of the best I've ever read, ever.
What a fabulous read!


When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone
When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone
Price: 5.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly as it should be, thought provoking and life affirming, 18 Jun 2012
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I cannot recommend this book highly enough. By chance, I read a review of it in "The Times" and was intrigued enough to buy it. I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't disappointed.
Philip Gould tells the majority of his story about the cancer that ended his life in his own words ~ although it is left to his beloved family to tie up the loose ends after his demise. He was an excellent and compelling writer and he was brave enough to explore how the impending approach of his own death focused his mind and changed him as a person. He said himself, the aim of the book is to 'change the narrative about dying'. It certainly did that.
I have lost several much loved and important people in my own life to cancer ~ and reading Philip's book enabled me to understand some of the decisions that they made in their own dying process. It was if I suddenly understood, as if someone had turned on the light in a darkened room. For that I am grateful. I am also a cancer survivor ~ having been diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma (a rare primary bone cancer) in 1995.
We must all die someday ~ so read this book whilst you have time to ponder upon it and change your own approach to your inevitable death. I have just bought a copy of a previous book that Philip wrote before he was ill ~ I want to know more about the man.
RIP Philip. I wish I had been lucky enough to meet you whilst you were alive.


Me and the Ugly C
Me and the Ugly C
Price: 3.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and uplifting ..., 18 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Me and the Ugly C (Kindle Edition)
I read this book within 2 days ~ and would have read it even more quickly had life not got in the way. It is one of the best blog to book conversions I have read.
Becky tells her story in an authentic voice, expressing her fears with honesty and in a way that helps the reader to understand and empathize with her situation. I found her story very moving and cried several times. Throughout the book there are photos of Becky undergoing treatment ~ they were wonderful and yet heartbreaking, but they did help me to see her as real person enduring a real illness.
As a cancer survivor myself I could relate to much of what Becky said (I was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma ~ a rare primary bone cancer, in 1995. I found this a truly uplifting read.


The Messiah Matrix
The Messiah Matrix
Price: 3.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Informative, 21 May 2012
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An enjoyable fast moving read that is well researched. I found myself wondering how much is fact, how much is fiction. I like the style that moved backwards and forwards through 2000 years as it gives you a different insight into history in the making, and then the long term effects. The content is thought provoking and there were times when I found myself pondering about the content in between having time to read.
I also think this novel taught me much about the institution of the church (much of which I already suspected) and I was intrigued enough to look into the biography of the author to find out which angle he was coming from.
A good absorbing read ~ along the lines of a Dan Brown book (although I hate to compare).


daily dose of dogs (aka cats with your coffee)
daily dose of dogs (aka cats with your coffee)
Price: 8.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational and heartwarming read ..., 15 May 2012
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This is a wonderful heartwarming and inspirational book about the animal rescue work of Chrystal Parker. I've been following Chrystal's blog for a long time ~ I've cried with her, laughed with joy at her success and always remained in awe of the good work that she and her family do to help animals in need. This book chronicles Chrystal's day to day experiences in rescuing animals (mostly cats and dogs) and although one cannot help but feel angry at the suffering some humans inflict on animals through ignorance and neglect ~ one also feels joy that there are such compassionate people who truly care.
This book is well worth reading and I highly recommend it. The profits from it all go back into rescue (if you purchase directly from the publisher, Xlibris, the profits are larger therefore more will go back into the rescue).


The Most Beautiful Thing
The Most Beautiful Thing
Price: 2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy, beg, borrow or download it, but read it., 4 May 2012
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Sometimes when you read a book, it's as if you've thrown a stone in the water and the ripples spread out all around, going far beyond the immersion. That's how it was when I read this novel. I've told everyone I know to read it. It's an extraordinarily beautiful piece of writing, subtle and layered and thought provoking. I love the central characters, Joe and Nel and of course the cat; I love that you gradually get to know them and form your own views. I love that Joe was never actually labelled as autistic, high functioning or not. I was enthralled from beginning to end and will most definitely read more from this author. Buy it, beg for a copy, borrow it, download it, but read it; you won't be disappointed. 5 star for sure.


Gray Justice (Tom Gray #1)
Gray Justice (Tom Gray #1)

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ingenious plot with a surprising ending., 26 April 2012
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A really good read ~ it kept me gripped from beginning to end. The storyline made me think really hard about the justice system in today's society, and its failings and what should be done about it. It's hard to say too much with spoiling the novel for others ~ but I didn't predict the ending, which was fascinating.
I completed this book yesterday, and today purchased book two in the series, enough said!


Thrift (The Misadventures of an Inadequate Teacher)
Thrift (The Misadventures of an Inadequate Teacher)
Price: 0.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read!, 19 April 2012
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Thrift is a light, frothy, fun read that made me laugh out loud. It gives a humorous insight into the shenanigans of reluctant students and inadequate teachers and governors, in a failing school. The characters are interestingly and convincingly drawn and despite their mutual self delusions and abilities to lie and manipulate whenever the situation requires them to do so, one ends up feeling some sympathy for them.
There were some editing errors and the conversion to an e-book was not as good as it might have been (chapter breaks were poorly laid out etc.) but overall this didn't spoil my enjoyment of a funny, witty first novel, full of pathos. I would definitely read another book by this author.


Bird Dog (TYPO FREE VERSION)
Bird Dog (TYPO FREE VERSION)
Price: 1.02

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking and interesting read, 10 April 2012
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A really good thought provoking read, and despite the fact that the storyline is about two vigilantes seeking out and destroying child molesters and murderers, there is no gratuitous violence in this novel. The characters are sympathetically drawn and believable and the storyline flows really well. Unlike other readers (according to reviews) I didn't have any difficulty in working out who was who. The only thing I wasn't sure about at first was the title of the book ~ it seemed rather odd but then I looked it up and it all made sense.
There probably isn't a reader out there who hasn't thought or said what they'd do if they came face to face with a pedophile in a closed room, especially a pedophile who had harmed a child they knew. So it's hardly surprising that readers experiences a dichotomy of feelings ~ disgust at the torture and murder of the villains, yet a guilty secret pleasure at feeling that their particular brand of evilness has been extinguished by the vigilantes.
Definitely worth 4 stars ~ buy it, you won't be disappointed.


Driving Me Nuts!
Driving Me Nuts!
Price: 1.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Men lead lives of quiet desperation ..., 3 April 2012
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This review is from: Driving Me Nuts! (Kindle Edition)
Warning ~ don't read this book in a public place because you will laugh out loud so often, people will think you are as insane as the three major protagonists. This novel is hilarious, witty and clever BUT much, much more; it is also a serious story, with a deeply emotional storyline and compelling, likeable characters.
You quickly realize it is a tragicomedy ~ as a shockingly awful series of events are slowly revealed as having happened to all three main characters, resulting in their withdrawal from society and their unusual crazy behavior. The author handles sensitive topics such as mental illness, and the sickening and deeply disturbing issues of child abuse and rape, with a straightforward raw and honest emotion.
When you are not laughing out loud at the humour in this novel, it makes you feel sad, sickened, angry and long for justice to be carried out against the perpetrators of these terrible offenses. The book takes you through the full emotional gamut of feelings and enables you to realize that many people live lives of quiet desperation, it's just that the rest of us are not always aware of why. We also learn of mans' indomitable spirit of survival in the face of appalling life experiences. Heartwarming as well as Horrifying.
I highly recommend this book ~ it is not just the light comedy the cover and title suggests.


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