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Reader 11

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Rodi European Made Single Bowl/ Drainer/ Reversible Kitchen Sink with Waste and Plumbing Kit.
Rodi European Made Single Bowl/ Drainer/ Reversible Kitchen Sink with Waste and Plumbing Kit.
Price: £69.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality sink with defect that has not been resolved, 29 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Where do I start?!

Problem number 1 - Although the sink is pictured and advertised as having a drainer system rather than a plug, it came with a plug and chain which there was no way of attaching to the sink. Unfortunately the plumber only alerted me to this problem after he had installed it, so I was unable to send it back. To Amazon's credit, they refunded me some money, but were unable to resolve the problem so I was left to contact the manufacturer in Portugal. They sent a plug with a chain attached to a screw - the only problem was that the screw was bigger than the one it was meant to replace, and so would not fit into the sink. I cobbled something together using the new plug and the old screw, by forcing the end of the chain in behind the old screw, but every third time or so you pull the plug out, the chain is pulled out from behind the screw. The manufacturer's response: Sorry, we can't help. Really? They don't have a screw and plug of the right size to fit their own sink?

Problem number 2 - The sink is very cheap and flimsy and this means that the tap can't be secured properly and wobbles about.

Problem number 3 - It marks and stains really easily. Even water splashes leave marks that you would need to polish out after every use if you wanted it to look OK. It is in a house that has not been lived in yet and the sink is only used maybe once a week or so, but already there are stains and marks that won't come out no matter how hard you polish.

So, to summarise - the sink, which is of poor quality, was supplied with a defective component, and the problem could not be resolved.

Next time I will spend a little more money to get something reasonable.

The Last Day I Saw Her: An emotional story of secrets, hope and long lost friendship, with a supernatural twist
The Last Day I Saw Her: An emotional story of secrets, hope and long lost friendship, with a supernatural twist
Price: £0.98

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, 21 April 2016
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I LOVED this book, but… don’t start it if you need to be doing anything important! I was well and truly hooked from the first chapter – the automatic drawing really gave me shivers – and the next thing I knew it was after 2 o’clock in the morning and I was a third of the way through…

Janey and Hattie are lovely characters who soon seemed real to me, and I really cared about both of them. Their friendship is at the heart of the story, and will, I think, really resonate with anyone who’s lucky enough to find a friend who ‘gets’ them. I loved Janey and Hattie’s saying, as children, ‘It’s just like telling yourself’ when encouraging the other to divulge information!

There are lots of different mystery strands that all weave cleverly together in the end, but I bet you can’t guess how. Although there are plenty of crime-y elements to the story, Janey and Hattie’s world is so appealing, and there is so much that is funny (Jody and Co. are back – hooray!), that it’s the kind of book that somehow allows you to relax and enjoy it at the same time as being worried for the characters and wondering what on earth is going to happen next.

Miss Fortune and the piano lessons – I won’t say any more, other than… ohhhh! (As Hattie might say.)

I was expecting great things after Tiny Acts of Love by the same author, and she has definitely not disappointed with this one. It has the same charm and wit as Tiny Acts of Love, with characters who are just as lovable, but with an added strong mystery element which (as a lover of crime fiction) I really enjoyed.

I wish there were more books like this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2016 9:44 AM BST

Stranger Child
Stranger Child
Price: £3.48

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shame about the writing, 25 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stranger Child (Kindle Edition)
An interesting premise and a tight plot, with great storytelling... But the writing was poor, I felt. A real pity. There was no wit or humour in it - very flat and pedestrian with no nuance or subtlety, no room for the reader's imagination. Every point was laboured, every emotion flogged to death. I didn't care about any of the characters and didn't believe in their relationships.

The last third of the book was really exciting, though - the action scenes were gripping.

One star for the writing and four for the storytelling.

Red Leaves
Red Leaves
Price: £5.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 27 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Red Leaves (Kindle Edition)
This reads like a self-published novel by a 15-year-old, not the output of a traditional publisher. What were HarperCollins thinking?

A typical example of word use: 'her gaze passed the window'.

The writing is so bad that it's often unclear what is happening. Another example:

'On his way out, Spencer was delayed after bumping into a seven-year-old girl who suddenly started screaming. It took him a few seconds to notice two of her fingers were stuck in the crack of the door.'

This incident is impossible to visualise because it's not properly described. (We need to know that the girl is standing by a door when Spencer bumps into her.) And the scene is from Spencer's point of view, so how does he know the girl's exact age?

When Kristina sees the black boots in the window they are just 'a pair of black boots', so the reader can't form a picture of them. Later they are described as 'pretty and graceful, with leather shoelaces.' Still don't know what they look like. Ankle boots? High boots? Glossy? Matte?

These problems with the description of scenes are mirrored in problems with characterisation, pacing etc. The whole story has a flat, skimmed-over feel, and I was never able to believe in it. The dialogue was dull and clunky, and the humour laboured.

Would give this zero stars if I could.

The Miniaturist
The Miniaturist
Price: £3.04

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why the hype?, 5 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Miniaturist (Kindle Edition)
Found this quite a chore to finish, as others have done. Dull dull dull - story, characters, setting, writing. And the shoehorning in of all the stock 'issues', very much from a modern perspective, was hilarious - but sadly this was the only entertaining thing about it. The setting and attitudes didn't seem at all authentic to me. Disappointing, as I had been looking forward to it after all the excitement in the press - was expecting something rich and subtle, funny and moving and intriguing (along the lines of The Crimson Petal and the White), but it's none of those things.

The cover and the coverage are very misleading, I feel - like chicken nuggets, as another reviewer put it, in a beautiful deli box.

Tiny acts of love
Tiny acts of love
by Lucy Lawrie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, witty and uplifting, 28 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tiny acts of love (Paperback)
Tiny Acts of Love is the sort of book that you miss when it's finished. It’s by turns very very funny and very very moving, but most of all I just found it so uplifting – better than any self-help book! (You will definitely need a pack of tissues, but mainly for happy tears!) Having read it through very quickly, I’ve been enjoying dipping into it and reading a scene at random, more slowly, savouring it – and then getting on with my day feeling a little bit better about life in general.

Beautiful writing can sometimes be quite indulgent and self-conscious, and the reader’s experience seems to be of secondary importance – but here beautiful, perceptive and very witty writing is combined with a wonderfully entertaining emotional rollercoaster for the reader. I was entirely in Cassie’s world, and was never conscious, as I often am with ‘literary’ fiction, of the cogs and wheels whirring under the stage. I forgot that it was a story at all. I was there with Cassie and really wanted everything to turn out well for her and Jonathan and Sophie.

The whole cast of characters seemed very real to me – even the awful, hilarious Babycraft mums and dads.

The witty observational humour juxtaposed with very touching moments and piercing insights reminded me a little of Alexander McCall Smith, but I hesitate to make any comparison because I think Lucy Lawrie’s voice is entirely original.

Loved it!

Angel Of Mercy: 1
Angel Of Mercy: 1
by Joanna W Mackintosh
Edition: Paperback

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Illustrates the problems with self-publishing, 1 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Angel Of Mercy: 1 (Paperback)
Before the self-publishing boom, this sort of stuff would never have seen the light of day. A complete absence of writing ability is demonstrated in the first few pages. There is no understanding of the craft of storytelling - no tension, no pacing, no vividness of characterisation or description or narrative, no wit, no voice at all... nothing to interest, let alone captivate, the reader. The writing itself is dull, clunky, overblown and ungrammatical. Word use is sometimes wrong (almost making me wonder if the writer's first language isn't English?). The best that can be said of it is that in many places it's unintentionally funny.

Don't you love self-publishing?!

Family and friends are no doubt full of kindly meant encouragement for this venture, but are really not doing the perpetrator of this work any favours. Her time and energy would be much better employed elsewhere. She is never going to be a writer. I'm sorry if that's harsh, but I think she needs to consider long and hard before embarking on the threatened 'series'.

Dead of Winter (Dc Ebony Willis 1)
Dead of Winter (Dc Ebony Willis 1)
by Lee Weeks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish, 28 April 2013
The idea behind this story is good, but the execution is just terrible. It's a bit of a worry that the author has been an English teacher! There are too many problems with the writing to list here, in terms of both the nuts and bolts of grammar and the basics of storytelling, but I'll give a few examples.

The point of view is all over the place. An unintentionally amusing example: 'Harding was still on the phone to her ex-husband. On the other end of the phone Simon was feeling a growing nausea in his stomach. She had it on loudspeaker for Davidson to hear.'

There are problems with tenses, particularly the use of the past perfect, which can lead to confusion re chronology (e.g. the start of Chapter 34). The dialogue is really clunky (Carter ends nearly everything he says to Ebony with 'Ebb'; for example, 'Those tyre prints, Ebb?' - at one point, this happens over and over again in the space of a few pages and becomes really irritating.) There are run-on sentences all over the place ('The room had four long desks and housed eight staff in all, at the moment there were just two...'). There's also lots of repetition ('...listening to the hum of pipes overhead. There was a sickly heat in the corridor from the pipes than ran overhead.)

There are a lot of inconsistencies and bizarre lapses in logic. On p. 1, 'The weather was getting worse', but on p. 2, 'today the weather looked like it was improving.' On p. 18, a man who's 'got money', is 'young enough to attract women' and is 'fit enough to bury them under the patio' must be 'Over thirty-five and under fifty-five then, Sarge.' Huh??!! Later, 'Carter ordered the same as Ebony: a Full English, which was served all day even though it was past lunch time.' And then: 'Carmichael. If he's involved, it's murder' (so if he wasn't involved, somehow it wouldn't be murder?!)

At one point, a character says 'I can't find out where he was after he left the SBS and before he joined the Police Force for almost a year, October 1992.' The first problem is that this doesn't make sense grammatically. The second is that later Carmichael tells Ebony that he was 'searching for answers' about the deaths of his wife and child during this missing year, even though this was before he was married and before the child was born!

I agree with the reviewer who wonders where the editor was! This is the sort of stuff you generally see in self-published novels, not the output of a reputable publisher. The story itself is told in a very tedious way, which, combined with all the other problems, hardly makes for a riveting read. An author to be avoided, I think. It's telling that the usual glowing quotes from the papers and well-known authors are completely absent from the cover of the book, and I see that the quotes given here on Amazon are from pretty obscure sources.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2016 11:04 PM GMT

The Prague Cemetery
The Prague Cemetery
by Umberto Eco
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Emperor's new clothes?, 7 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Prague Cemetery (Paperback)
The gushing critiques from The Sunday Times etc. are the real mystery here. Maybe the explanation has to do with the combination of a famous name and a dense non-story full of literary allusions and turgid historical anecdote... so if you don't like it, maybe it's because you're too thick to 'get' it.

Characters interact by spouting essays at each other about the Jesuits, psychology, Garibaldi, etc., with no attempt to make any of it interesting or engaging. Most events are related in summary form, so there's no immediacy and no feeling of involvement. Characters appear and disappear without being brought to life. It's impossible to care what happens to any of them. There's no narrative pull to the story - although, actually, there isn't a story. Often there aren't even proper scenes. It's just one long info-dump, as if the writer threw all his bits of research and random ideas up in the air and put them together as they fell.

But there must be a market for it. I suppose it's the kind of book that looks good left lying around for your friends to ask about. 'Oh yes, it's the new Umberto Eco - not an easy read, and it does assume a certain knowledge of French and Italian history...'

Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache)
Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache)
by Louise Penny
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed, 15 Oct. 2011
I agree with the others who found both the storytelling and the writing here poor.

For me, there were two main problems with the writing: (1) there were an awful lot of basic grammatical errors, mainly in punctuation, and (2) there were also some problems with the text just not making sense. Here is an example, from p. 66 (the one I was able to remember because it made me laugh so much):

If the Chief asked him to conduct the interviews naked, he would. But of course he would never ask that, which was why he trusted the Chief. With his life.

The first sentence is fine, and quite funny. But what follows is just bizarre: `But of course he would never ask that...'. Why would this character even think it was a POSSIBILITY that the Chief MIGHT ask him to get naked in an interview?? Unless... are there maybe two types of Chief in the Canadian police force - the ones who regularly require workplace nudity, and the ones who don't? And have the subordinates found a strong correlation between this attribute and whether or not the boss can be trusted in a life-or-death situation?

As for the storytelling, there were far too many characters in the three unrelated threads - so many that the author didn't really have time to make any of them come to life. The flashback to the kidnapping incident was confusing rather than compelling, and just not convincing.

I'm amazed that so many people seem to have enjoyed this.

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