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VickiT (Australia)

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The Merry-Go-Round
The Merry-Go-Round
Price: £2.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging romance, 30 Jun 2012
"The merry-go-round was traveling in reverse. The horses, tigers, bears, zebras were all circling tail-end first as if competing in some bizarre, backward race." - The Merry-Go-Round, a romantic comedy

Thirty-eight-year-old lawyer Lauren Flynn harbours a lot of resentment toward her soon to be ex-husband, Greg. All she wants from him is his signature on the divorce papers. Or at least that's what she tells herself.

While I didn't feel that this was a comedy, it was one of the best romances I've read in a long time. Engaging story with strong, real people. Lots of sexual tension but no gratuitous sex scenes. Balanced pacing with no flat spots.

I didn't warm to Lauren straight away, but the more I got to know her, the more she grew on me. In the beginning, she came across as quite hard and bitter, but I soon discovered that was only a veneer and brittle at that.

Highly recommended.

John's Leukemia Survival Story
John's Leukemia Survival Story
Price: £3.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and eye-opening, 20 Jun 2012
"So back to the urgent care facility we went. At that time my wife was acting very concerned about me and she followed me into the checkup room to see the doctor. She and the doctor got into a little spat with her stating that something seemed really wrong with me and the doctor asking her, `What medical school did you graduate from?' This hurt her feelings so badly that she cried all the way home from his office." - John's Leukemia Survival Story

I'm not a violent person, but when I read that I wanted to flatten that doctor. Your wife probably knows you better than you know yourself and certainly a lot better than any doctor, regardless of qualification.

Thank you for sharing your story, John. I hope you never have to go through anything like that again. Your wife deserves a medal, too.

With Full Malice (Five Star Mystery Series)
With Full Malice (Five Star Mystery Series)
by Brenda Hill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precarious justice, 13 Jun 2012
"She aimed for his heart and pulled the trigger. Blood sprayed from a blackened hole in his shirt and he staggered backward. The pistol recoiled, but she stepped forward and fired a second time, knocking him off his feet. Bending over his sprawled form, she fired again, putting a round through his temple." - With Full Malice (Five Star Mystery Series)

This is the second Brenda Hill novel I've read. I enjoyed this one even more - it's not quite as intense as Ten Times Guilty and the reading is effortless, the writing more assured.

Hill's strength is her character development. The author explains it best when she says she writes about women in crisis, celebrating the inner strength women sometimes forget they possess. And it's this growth that we see with Maddy Young, haunted by the murder of her parents when she was only six years old and the promise the killer made to return for her. I cared as much for Maddy as her grandmother and Detective Dexter Quinn did.

If you're looking for a fast, easy read that packs a punch, then I highly recommend With Full Malice (Five Star Mystery Series).

The Naked Room
The Naked Room
Price: £0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Australian thriller, 31 May 2012
This review is from: The Naked Room (Kindle Edition)
"I crouched over the steering wheel, urging the Suzuki car on. Drivers coming the other way leaned on their horns as they fronted my headlights. The car behind me caught up and settled right on the back bumper, forcing me to take more chances. It swerved and began to draw alongside, until I could see the dark shape of the driver in the side mirror. I did a lightning inventory of what was in the car. Nothing available for a weapon. Can't out-run him." - The Naked Room

The Naked Room was recommended to me as a cracking good read, and it's that and more. Hockley's writing is strong, sensory and compelling, the plot complex and fed on secrets and lies. The many strands are woven seamlessly into the story.

The book's structure is a bit different from the norm in that there are multiple points of views with most narrated in first, one point of view per chapter. It's a technique, I imagine, that takes skill, but it works well here. Chapter headings help keep the reader in the right head and on track, although I had to occasionally flip back to check whose head I was in. I think that's probably more about the way I read than the narrative, though.

Highly recommended. I look forward to reading Hockley's next, The Celibate Mouse.

The Lottery Ticket: A Novel
The Lottery Ticket: A Novel
Price: £0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Greed is a powerful motive, 9 May 2012
"A thunderous bang shattered the surreal moment as the car hit the slope of the mountainside. Jason watched trees and bushes fly by as he stomped with full force on the brakes. The seatbelt cut into him like a violent fist refusing to let go. He lost all orientation when the car started tumbling down the slope." - The Lottery Ticket: A Novel

The Lottery Ticket: A Novel is a fast-paced, easy-reading thriller populated with complex characters, each with his/her own agenda. Greed is a powerful motive.

Eldridge's writing flows with an ease and naturalness that makes reading a pleasure. It's a "clean" story - no offensive language or the like - which also makes it suitable for a younger audience.

I look forward to reading more from this author.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2012 6:06 AM BST

SHIPPING AND DECEIVING (warehouse thriller trilogy)
SHIPPING AND DECEIVING (warehouse thriller trilogy)
Price: £1.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Forklifts, pallets and murder, 26 April 2012
"The pallet smashed tighter onto my ankle, and I heard a snap. Oh god, let that just be the pallet that snapped and not my ankle. It wasn't the pallet." - Shipping and Deceiving

Shipping and Deceiving (I like the play on words) builds from a slow start with the inciting incident not happening until chapter 6, but the payoff is well worth it. From thereon, the pace is fast, the action intense. I could easily visualise it as a movie.

The author's strength, however, is her characterisations. Her characters are real and strong, drawing you deep into the story. I was right there - not on the outskirts of the story, but in the midst of it. Perhaps part of that is my experience in warehousing, but for the characters alone, I'd recommend this book.

There were a few issues with homonyms (e.g. "click" for "clique" and "ring" for "wring") and other grammar/punctuation errors, but these can be easily fixed and didn't detract from the story.

The Doll Collection
The Doll Collection
Price: £2.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars E equals evil equals Gloria, 26 April 2012
"L-O-V-E. L . . . loathsome, O . . . obese, V . . . vicious or vile, vile is a more suitable word for her, I think, E . . . elephant? No, elephants are nice, egotist, no - evil. E equals evil." - The Doll Collection

A gripping psychological thriller that had me wanting to warn the hapless Maurice at every turn about what he'd got himself into. Though Maurice is the protagonist in the story, the manipulating and conniving Gloria is the centre of attention, but then she wouldn't have it any other way.

Gloria, the doll collector of the title, is the embodiment of evil. I don't think I've ever despised a character as much as I did her.

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Ten Times Guilty: Psychological Thriller
Ten Times Guilty: Psychological Thriller
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He waited in the stand of poplars..., 5 April 2012
"He waited in the stand of poplars behind the bus shelter, his black sweats fading into shadows cast by the midnight moon. A ski mask covered his face.

At twelve-seventeen, a Denver city bus approached the residential shelter. Air brakes hissing, it rolled to a stop and Cindy Harris, a sweater draped over her blue scrubs, stepped to the pavement. Glass shards from the streetlight crunched under her feet."

The above excerpt was my introduction to Brenda Hill. Those few words hooked me and the rest of the story didn't disappoint.

Though it starts a little slower than I might've expected, suspense and pace soon build. In hindsight, I think what I perceived as slowness was simply setting the scene and very necessary. As the story unfolded, I often found myself holding my breath and turning pages as fast I could read them.

Rape is not an easy subject to write about, but Hill handles it with both strength and sensitivity. Tracy, the rape victim - and I hesitate to use the word victim here - is vulnerable yet possesses a strength she doesn't know she has.

Highly recommended.

Widow's Tale
Widow's Tale
Price: £0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down, 16 Feb 2012
This review is from: Widow's Tale (Kindle Edition)
This is the fourth Maureen Miller novel I've read, so I knew before I even started what to expect. And I wasn't disappointed. Widow's Tale is a fast-paced, easy read that I found hard to put down (I read it in two sittings). For me, the author's strengths are her sense of place - I felt as if I was right there on the rugged cliffs of Maine - and her fine balance of mystery and romance/sexual tension. Highly recommended.

A Shocking Exhibition!
A Shocking Exhibition!
by Dorothy McCluskie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a puff of Lynx deodorant., 13 Nov 2011
This review is from: A Shocking Exhibition! (Paperback)
From the opening sentence - Someone famous once said, "When you're tired of London, you're tired of life." - I was hooked. A SHOCKING EXHIBITION! is a fast, entertaining, racy and, above all else, fun read. It's packed with so many laugh-out-loud moments, I wouldn't recommend anyone reading it in public.

And the author's colourful turn of phrase brings the story to life. How can it not with gems like this:

" a puff of Lynx deodorant."
"...granny-like age of thirty-bloody-four."
"...loud snorking from a boyfriend-shaped duvet mountain."

Simply a delightful book.

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