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Ignite (East Yorkshire, UK)
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The Half-Life Of Hannah (Hannah series Book 1)
The Half-Life Of Hannah (Hannah series Book 1)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed the read, 23 Sept. 2015
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I bought this ages ago and have no idea why I left it so long to read it. Something else must have cropped up to distract me. I found myself really pulled into the story of Hannah, her dreary husband Cliff and her loose-moralled sister Jill. They holiday together with their children (one per sister) and Jill’s gay friend, the chef Tristan. One day when Hannah’s out, there’s a phone-call from Cliff’s brother which throws Hannah’s composure out of the window. Her son Luke has an accident and this, too, makes her re-evaluate her life and its direction.

This is one of those books where you don’t instantly fall in love with the characters. There are, as in life, those you warm to and those who make you squirm. I liked Hannah, though I sometimes wanted to shake her, found Jill annoying and Cliff cold. The children and Tristan were people I liked. I couldn’t guess the ending (I think there’s more to come in another book) and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.


Famous Animals: Volume 1
Famous Animals: Volume 1
by Katie W. Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.22

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 21 Sept. 2015
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If you have a young person with a sense of humour and a thirst for knowledge in your life, you really need this book. I ordered two copies. My nearly -11 year-old grand-daughter will really appreciate it, but I wanted one for myself. Why should the youngsters get all the fun? Each full page illustrations (for example, Felix Mendelsswan – the cover character) faces a page with a little information about the animal and a brief biography of the person. It’s beautifully done, with delightful pictures and is both fun and factual. If you buy one to give away you’ll want another to keep! For the number and quality of the illustrations it’s an absolute bargain.

The author writes for young people and doesn’t talk down to them. It’s all done with wit and imagination. The best thing about it is discovering there’s a Volume II in production. Wonderful!


An Impossible Dilemma: A Psychological Thriller Novel
An Impossible Dilemma: A Psychological Thriller Novel
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 21 Sept. 2015
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This book is a really exciting and readable tale of a woman in the most dreadful of circumstance. She faces the deterioration of her five year-old daughter’s health with a condition which is terminal. Another crisis occurs in her life to make this even more poignant – if you can imagine anything worse than losing your only child. Clinical trials on the use of a hormone have been halted and Victoria, a vet, together with her father-in-law Frank, is determined to try this to give her baby the only chance of life. Would you commit a crime to give your child life?

The story is well told and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it at all credible. However, as someone who likes sci-fi and fantasy, I can suspend my disbelief to an extent. I didn’t find it likely that Vic and Frank would switch character so suddenly. Having said that, I read it in a day – that’s how the author pulls you into the story. A very good read and a solid four stars from me.


600 Hours of Edward
600 Hours of Edward
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 20 Sept. 2015
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Edward Stanton is 39 years old and lives with Asperger’s Syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. His life is only bearable because he has established a routine of collecting data about the weather and his waking times and the familiarity of it allows him to cope. Any deviation from this sets him worrying and makes him frantic. He sees a therapist once a week and likes her because she is logical. He loves logic and facts. The darker part of his life is his relationship with his father, a character I couldn’t warm to either. A new neighbour with a nine year-old son changes his life and he has to make some decisions.

I really enjoyed this book. I see others have labelled it repetitive which it is but this highlights Edward’s condition and the fact that the slightest variation from the routine he has established for himself renders him unable to cope. He manages his condition but knows it isolates him. This is a very difficult concept to explain but here the author has shown us the mind of Edward. He is frighteningly literal and a character I could feel very fond of. A great read.


Rebecca
Rebecca
Price: £2.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 19 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Rebecca (Kindle Edition)
Newly born Rebecca is the product of a short-lived relationship between Sarah and Cal, both due to go to college. Sarah has qualified for Yale but with the birth of her baby, won't be able to go. At the start of the book, Sarah hasn't bonded with Rebecca and refers to her baby as 'it'. The author brilliantly captures the tedium and despair of days and nights spent with a restless, crying newborn. The problem for me was that the book became a bit tedious at that point too. I think that early part would have been better edited down.

It’s spot-on with post-partum depression and it also covers homosexual feelings and the way people can make a young person feel ‘evil’. We learn about Sarah's sexuality, her mother's deep and fundamentalist religious faith and Sarah's own attempts, through her relationship with Cal, to try to be 'normal’. Her friend Tiff is her saviour and we see relationships coming to fruition in spite of a couple of blazing rows and some violence. I thought, at about 30%, that the story was too slow with insufficient action but I have to say, the author pulled it all out of the hat and by the second half I was totally hooked. A very good read.


The Cage
The Cage
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic horror, 18 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: The Cage (Kindle Edition)
Ted, retired from the police force, works as a private detective. He has some regrets. If he had killed a child-molester who got off through the incompetence of one of his colleagues, he knows he could have saved further harm to children but his conscience wouldn't let him kill. He's called in to look into a murder in a remote hotel. Heavy snow traps him there and we find out more about him - and the occasion on which he actually did take a life.

David Haynes has created a claustrophobic story which works very well as a horror novel at surface level. It's as creepy and spooky as you could want. It works as a metaphor too, of the cages in our minds where we hide our secrets or our fears. The literal and metaphorical cages in this novel make you shudder. There are hauntings of different types here and the slow crumbling of a mind. This is a modern classic horror story by a man who has made the genre his own.


Each Day I Wake: A gripping psychological thriller: US Edition
Each Day I Wake: A gripping psychological thriller: US Edition
Price: £0.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tangled web, 15 Sept. 2015
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Tom Markland is rescued from Canary Wharf after almost drowning. He loses his memory as a result but when it begins to return he recalls the strangling of four young women - apparently by himself. Gradually his memory returns and he finds he is a journalist who was engaged in investigating a company's huge financial irregularity. He is in danger from the company boss and his enforcer and also from the real killer of the girls.

The story is an exciting one with a tangled web of characters and motives which the investigative journalist teases apart, only to find he's still not at the end of the journey. I too found I jumped to erroneous conclusions and the swift changes kept me on my toes. This is an action-packed thriller in which, although the story unfolds and results are achieved, there is a slightly unsettling ending. I loved it!


One Day
One Day
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary fiction at its best, 12 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: One Day (Kindle Edition)
Dexter and Emma meet at their graduation and the story follows them on that day each year (St Swithin’s). It’s so compelling because it takes the hopes and enthusiasms of the young people and we watch the dreams unfold. As with all of us, life never really turns out as we expected, whether for good or ill. Emma is rather earnest but I liked her. She’s true to herself. Dexter seems fairly shallow and sybaritic and, to me, much harder to like. I loved the story throughout, with its up and its, sometimes very low, downs. Each takes a partner but there’s always that pull between them. I was on edge wondering how it would end and I was nowhere near in my guesses.

I loved this story and although my university experience was long before theirs, I recognised the idealism, the aspirations, and enjoyed following their careers. I also felt the class and north/south divisions hadn’t changed. I was the prickly, working-class northern girl! This is a memorable story and feels real. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction at its best.


White is the coldest colour: A gripping dark psychological thriller (Dr David Galbraith Book 1)
White is the coldest colour: A gripping dark psychological thriller (Dr David Galbraith Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Grim but exciting, 9 Sept. 2015
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This story of the man who leads a paedophile ring is both bleak and gripping. Dr David Galbraith is that suave, educated and plausible man who, in the guise of a saviour to children in crisis, causes them further, unimaginable pain. There is little graphic child abuse described so don't be afraid to read it. It's the story of a troubled family; a weak father who leaves home to move in with a younger woman, a dominant mother who is a rather unpleasant and manipulative person, much though she loves her children, and those children themselves, the younger of whom suffers badly at the family breakdown. The referral to the doctor is meant to help.

It's a grim and exciting story as we follow the family's troubles and the police and child protection workers trying to help them. The author has considerable professional expertise in this field and the authenticity shines through. I have issues with the dialogue however. People don't use one another's name all the time in conversations. They really don't. It's a tactic to avoid using 'said so-and-so' but once the characters in the conversation are established (and this happened even in phone calls where there were only two) then they speak alternately. No need to keep adding Trevor. It was infuriatingly distracting.

This niggle aside, it's a powerful story and I hope people read it and take care who they trust with their children.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2015 8:57 AM BST


Six For Seven (647): A South African Dinner.
Six For Seven (647): A South African Dinner.
by Jo Roderick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like peeking through a window, 6 Sept. 2015
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Almost the entirety of this novel takes place around a dining table where a number of disparate characters discuss, argue and flirt over a long meal. Naturally, much is said and even more is intimated by allowing us to be privy to the thoughts of those whose point of view we are currently reading. It makes for a most unusual book. Initially I admit I found some of the conversation stilted. Later I tried reading it to myself in my version of a South African accent (that’s where it’s set) and it began to feel more alive. I felt that the author got into his stride in the second half of the book which flowed much better for me.

The author admits to a quirky sense of humour. Much is based on puns which are not my thing at all so it wasn’t a rib-tickler for me but its strength lies in its illumination of the workings of the South African political scene and the lawlessness and police corruption which accompany it. That’s not to say it was a heavy-handed political diatribe – not a bit of it. Wry observation was interspersed with details of the personal lives of the diners. The denoument was a bold exploration of the following eighteen months. I don’t want to spoil it by saying how but I’ve not seen a story wrapped up in this way before. A good sneaky peek through a window on South Africa.


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