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Tony (West Wales)

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Stevenson's Treasure
Stevenson's Treasure
Price: £4.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 16 Sep 2014
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the first novels I remember reading, so it was with high expectations that I started reading Stevenson's Treasure, by Mark Wiederanders, and I was not disappointed.

In the best tradition of historical fiction, Mark uses an informed imagination to fill in the gaps in his extensive research. This included reading dozens of letters between the main characters, many of which had been 'edited' by family members for the sake of decency.

As a struggling young writer in the summer of 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson (referred to as Louis) risks everything and sails across the Atlantic to find Fanny Osbourne, an American woman he has fallen deeply in love with.

Awkwardly for our hero, she is much older than him and married with children to a gun-toting Civil War veteran. This is a love that won't be denied, however, so we live through the pleasure and the pain as he tries to find a way for them to be together.

I particularly enjoyed the last chapter, 'Finding Treasure', where we find ourselves on a rainy day in Braemar, Scotland and understand a little of how Treasure Island came to be written.

Mark Wiederanders has an engaging and very readable writing style, with a fascination for the story of Robert Louis Stevenson which really shines through. I highly recommend Stevenson's Treasure.

The Biology of Luck
The Biology of Luck
by Jacob M. Appel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.54

5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite 'anti-novel', 14 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Biology of Luck (Paperback)
I remember watching an artist painting. Having roughed out the structure, he could apply deft touches of colour with such skill that I immediately recognised what was intended, not just the physical representation but with atmosphere and the emotional connection that distinguishes great art. Jacob M. Appel’s new book The Biology of Luck reminded me of that artist, as his skill is to bring the otherwise mundane to into sharp focus with a few well-chosen words.
Although by profession a psychiatrist, Jacob has worked hard to become a registered New York City tour guide, work which provides rich material from the many opportunities for social observation. I really grew to like his ‘anti-hero’ and the impossibly wonderful subject of his affection – and am happy to accept the startling coincidences as part of his unique postmodern style.

This is a book that will appeal to writers, particularly novelists. Jacob describes it as an ‘anti-novel’ which breaks as many of the rules as he can. Why? Because it is something you will never have seen before. With the entire book covering the events of a single day, Jacob Appel has taken on the challenge of writing a book-within-a book. It can mean you have to sometime stop and re-read a few paragraphs but the rewards are there. Highly recommended.

To Touch The Sun
To Touch The Sun
Price: £3.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Don’t have nightmares!, 24 Aug 2014
This review is from: To Touch The Sun (Kindle Edition)
I’m not usually a fan of vampire novels, so they have to be a bit different to hold my attention. To Touch The Sun, by Laura Enright was different. I liked the linking back to the horrors of the First World War – and the pseudo-science I was almost starting to believe.

Adding a clever twist to all the popular vampire legends, Laura shows how even a well-worn genre can still carry a good story. I did find myself wondering how a vampire could become a successful chef without ever seeing the sun – or how scientists could so easily accept some really challenging ideas - but part of the fun of the genre is to not take itself too seriously.

Well paced, with plenty going on, I found this an easy and engaging read that kept me guessing. The door has of course been left open for a much needed sequel, as there are still many questions. Sleep well – and don’t have nightmares!

Price: £0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every minute of it,, 14 Aug 2014
This review is from: renatus (Kindle Edition)
Renatus is one of those imaginative dystopian novellas that has you hooked from the start and leave you wanting more. In Ryan Link’s bleak vision of the world a hundred years from now, a scientist lives on the dangerous city streets, addicted to a strange drug, until he is ‘rescued’ for a secret mission of national importance.

I enjoyed every minute of it, from the convincing technical details you would expect from an author with Ryan Link’s background, to the well observed characters. I even felt some sympathy for the men guarding our hero’s door, as each has a hint of back story that makes them real.

By the time I was half way through I was already speculating about who should be cast in a movie version. There is plenty of scope for ideas in this book to be developed in the future, so I look forward to seeing a sequel. If you are want something fast-paced and thought provoking, I recommend Renatus.

English Rain
English Rain
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £5.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 11 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: English Rain (Audio CD)
Everything you would expect from of of the most talented new singers around. I've played it over and over!

Lies Told In Silence
Lies Told In Silence
Price: £3.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 11 Aug 2014
A sense of historical inevitability forms a backdrop to events throughout the book, yet although the reader may know about the decisive battles it is timely, in the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities, to spare a thought for the ordinary people of France, as well as the young soldiers from all over the world who came to their aid.

Taking the unusual viewpoint of an extended French family, we follow the ominous beginnings of the First World War and experience the life-changing impact it has on each member of the family. As a Canadian, Mary brings a certain authenticity to the involvement of allied soldiers in the defence of France, with an eye for convincing details brought together by a powerful narrative.

The title offers a clue to where the story could possibly lead, although I was taken completely by surprise by the turn of events. This is without doubt one of the most moving and engaging books I have read in a very long time. It is the perfect counterpoint to Mary’s first novel, Unravelled, and I hope both will be read by future generations as a way of understanding the human side of the 'war to end all wars'. Highly recommended.

5 Star Selling: From Beginning to Excellence
5 Star Selling: From Beginning to Excellence
Price: £4.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of tips and timeless basics, 9 Aug 2014
I like to think of it as ‘influencing skills’ rather than ‘selling’ but, whatever you call it, we all need to do it well. Career sales manager Lee Davis wrote this book for his son, Ryan, who was starting his first sales job and asked his dad for advice. Lee couldn’t find any sales books on the market found that quite fitted the bill, as most covered more advanced topics.

5 Star Selling: From Beginning to Excellence is a great collection of tips and timeless basics aimed squarely at anyone new to sales, to offer them the best possible start. I liked the way each chapter is followed by a list of the key points and illustrated by Lee’s real-life examples from over thirty years of practical experience in the field.

I also liked the way his approach is based on positive values. He says, ‘People like to be around enthusiastic, positive people. Brighten their day by your presence. An unconscious habit of mine, when people asked how I was doing, was always to answer, “Excellent.” Even if things weren’t that good, they seemed better.’

I’m happy to recommend this book to anyone, not just those thinking of a career in sales and marketing, as it is really about how to communicate ideas and help meet people’s needs with integrity. Excellent!

The Mine (Northwest Passage Book 1)
The Mine (Northwest Passage Book 1)
Price: £2.26

4.0 out of 5 stars THE MINE is definitely one to add to your ‘to-read’ list., 9 Aug 2014
I really enjoyed John A. Heldt’s time-travel love story, full of engaging likeable characters and interesting period details. His adventurous hero, Joel Smith, is someone you’d want to have on your side - good in a scrap (and anything he turns his hand to) yet sensitive to the needs of his friends.

As with all the best time-bending stories, there is always the danger that he’ll do some small thing that entirely changes the future, such as finding his twenty-one year old grandmother worryingly attractive!

It’s helpful of course, that he knows his sporting stats well enough for the occasional wager to pay off big time – and that all the ladies are fighting over him. The problem is that he knows too much, such as the outbreak of WW2, which hangs heavily over his new life. Does he dare to warn his friends? Does he even want to return to the present day?

John A. Heldt deserves his reputation as a story teller - and THE MINE is definitely one to add to your ‘to-read’ list. Highly recommended.

A Lonely Magic
A Lonely Magic
Price: £3.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be amazed, 27 July 2014
This review is from: A Lonely Magic (Kindle Edition)
A world without any books? A place where Google is unheard of? I should also mention that Sarah Wynde's new fantasy A Lonely Magic is also set in a secret location deep under the ocean, from where 'watchers' visit the surface to check out human progress.

It is really when we take the plunge to the mysterious underwater world that we see Sarah's creative imagination notch up a gear, with a whole civilisation to get your head around. Rather than take the easy option and slip into complete fantasy, I liked the way Sarah has gone to the trouble of providing the 'magic' of the title with an almost plausible quasi-scientific explanation.

Well paced and easy to read, with a great cast of characters, I'm sure we'll hear more of in the future. Recommended!

The Time Traveler's Wife [DVD] [2009]
The Time Traveler's Wife [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Eric Bana
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 16 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great interpretation of one of my all time favourite books -

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