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Amanda - Reviews (England)

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Golden South Sea Pearl Linda Earrings in 14K Gold
Golden South Sea Pearl Linda Earrings in 14K Gold
Offered by ThePearlSource
Price: 1,259.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing: Not as pictured or described, 6 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I paid extra 70 and ordered 10mm gold pearl earrings on the understanding that 10mm size is a minimum of 10mm diameter per pearl. The pearls were both only just over 9mm in diameter. Neither was larger than 9.5mm. Which I believe makes them 9mm pears by UK jewelry standard - as confirmed by calibrated calipers and independent goldsmith.

The colour of the pearls was cream, certainly darker and more creamy than a traditional white pearl but not remotely gold and certainly nothing like the colour of the gold pearls shown in the product image.

The best thing I can say about my purchase is that Amazon offered a free return service and didn't quibble about refunding my money.

Midnight Brunch (Casa Dracula Series, Book 2)
Midnight Brunch (Casa Dracula Series, Book 2)
by Marta Acosta
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.17

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!, 25 April 2007
Hip, funny Milagro do los Santos thinks she's finally found love and a home at the California ranch of fabulous Oswald Grant and his urbane relatives, who have a rare genetic disorder that some call vampirism.

But Milagro is bewildered when she's excluded from an ancient and mysterious midnight ceremony whose participants include Oswald's unfriendly parents, a creepy family elder, and Milagro's ex-lover, the powerful and decadent Ian Ducharme. What skeletons are the vampires hiding in their designer closets?

When Milagro's life is threatened by a rogue family member, she flees to the desert to hide. Instead of solitude, she encounters an egomaniacal actor, a partying heiress, a sly tabloid reporter, and a lavish spa full of dark secrets - all of which might help her find a way home.

With chupacabras, tabloid scandals and militant neovampires - what is a girl to do when she discovers she's the main course on the menu?

Review: - Midnight Brunch is the sequel to Happy Hour At Casa Dracula and events in this book take place a year after Milagro first met Oswald. Midnight Brunch starts with Milagro living very happily with Oswald but feeling excluded from his vampire family. When they argue before Oswald goes on a business trip it leaves Milagro with plenty of chances to get into new trouble without him.

The writing style of Midnight Brunch is slightly different to Happy Hour At Casa Dracula. Milagro's antics and observations are still laugh-out-loud funny but the emphasis in the book has shifted from romantic comedy of manners to vampire comedy mystery with romance elements. This means that Milagro no longer speaks like a Latina Jane Austen character (and yes, I know that Jane Austen didn't write about Latina vampires!) The result of the style change is a story with both dialogue that flows beautifully and a plot that keeps the reader hooked.

The story is told in first person by Milagro. Throughout the novel the reader sees her character develop from being someone who is like a "beach-read" to being someone much more "serious and sincere." Which is a relief - because there is only so many times that I can laugh at a character making the same mistakes over and over again in a book series without getting irritated. It will be interesting to see how Milagro's character develops further if the author writes another book in this series. (Fingers crossed that she will!)

The vampires in Midnight Brunch are still more natural than supernatural, passing quiet lives living as humans and generally satisfying their cravings by drinking only animal blood. Paranormal romance readers looking for sex, blood and death may be disappointed by the almost mundane lives that these vampires lead but the well written characters - who manage to be realistic, comic and appealing - have a lot more going for them than just supernatural thrills, which should make Midnight Brunch appeal to a wider audience.

Summing up - Midnight Brunch is a highly entertaining, fast-paced read and definitely a book to add to your summer reading list.


Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula
by Marta Acosta
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Summer Reading!, 14 April 2007
Happy Hour At Casa Dracula is Marta Acosta's debut novel. Pitched at the cross-roads of the popular chick-lit and vampire romance genres, the first thing that the author has done is throw away all of the old established vampire clichés.

Milagro's new family don't refer to themselves as vampires, they insist that they have a genetic condition that has been misunderstood by ignorant and superstitious people throughout the ages. They claim that their craving of blood comes from a protein imbalance and apart from an ability to quickly heal small wounds and a slightly improved life expectancy that they are just like everyone else.

The vampires in Happy Hour At Casa Dracula have no supernatural abilities which may prove a disappointment to some fantasy or paranormal romance fans who prefer their characters to be more 'para' and less 'normal'.

However, it is the characters in Happy Hour at Casa Dracula that give the book its strength. The outlandishly named Milagro de Los Santos (Miracle of The Saints) narrates the story in first person and her wry observations are genuinely laugh out loud funny. Milagro is someone who sees herself as a square peg in a round world and although she desperately wants to find her place in that round world she will not change who she is in order to fit in. This leads to some comic situations as she bursts into the lives of the refined and somewhat repressed vampire family.

Above all Happy Hour At Casa Dracula is a comedy of manners and it reminds me somewhat of the writing style of Jane Austen in places. This is perhaps an odd comparison but it is more the construction of the prose and some of the situations that Milagro finds herself in that gave me this impression of the novel. (And yes, I know that Jane Austen never wrote about vampires or sex, so as I said - it is an odd comparison!)

Happy Hour At Casa Dracula is perfect summer reading material - if you are looking for supernatural thrills, blood and death this book probably won't be for you but if you are looking for an entertaining and witty romance with a twist I think you'll enjoy this, I know I did. Recommended reading for the beach... or the park... or the garden... or the sofa (in the event of rain)!

Amanda - [...]

Vampire Apocalypse: A World Torn Asunder
Vampire Apocalypse: A World Torn Asunder
by Derek Gunn
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 20 Mar 2007
Vampire Apocalypse: A World Torn Asunder is Derek Gunn's debut vampire novel. As the title of the book implies he has chosen to set his novel in an apocalyptic America where society and order has broken down but with vampires playing the part of the evil tyrant government.

This book will not be for all vampire genre fiction fans. There is no vampire angst here. The vampires are not velvet suited fops, sitting around feeling sad because nobody realises how terrible it is to be a vampire and live for centuries while all that they love dies. There is no vampire romance here. These vampires are not irresistible seducers promising great sex for eternity.

No, these vampires are the oppressors of humanity, destroying free will while they control people like cattle. They are not attractive. They smell so revolting that being close to a vampire makes people gag (gagging is probably the last thing that they do before being torn to pieces by the vampire.) They use their vampire powers to terrify and subdue their food chain and if they have any finer feelings, as readers of the book, we are not aware of it.

Vampire Apocalypse is a fast paced, action packed adventure novel, peopled with realistic and believable characters. The characters are not fully developed in the story but this is probably because the novel is fairly short and the author has concentrated on keeping the high octane action going throughout the story. Which was probably a good choice on his part because the book races from one high point to another and effectively sucks the reader into the story and pulls them along for the ride.

I hugely enjoyed reading this book. I think that if you like reading about ordinary people fighting against overwhelming odds for their freedom you will enjoy reading this book too, regardless or not of whether you like vampire genre fiction. I would have given this book 5 stars but I felt that it was let down by poor proof reading and the typos that appear throughout the book become irritating after a while. Don't let my punctuation prejudices put you off reading this book however - it is definitely worth checking out.

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