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A Trick of the Mind
A Trick of the Mind
by Penny Hancock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

4.0 out of 5 stars A third hit for me!, 18 Oct 2014
This review is from: A Trick of the Mind (Hardcover)
I have read all Penny Hancock's novels and this one is well up to standard. There is something about her writing which makes them utterly compelling - I takes weeks reading some books, but I always get through hers in a few days.This was no exception. The plotting was irresistibly fast moving and never flagged, and there were a couple of terrific twists I didn't see coming. Her books have a unifying feel to them - when you open a PH novel you know what you're getting, and she never fails to deliver. Three hits out of three I'd say - and I'm looking forward to the next!


Shot Through The Heart
Shot Through The Heart
by Matt Cain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Page-turning glamour from start to finish, 20 July 2014
This review is from: Shot Through The Heart (Paperback)
This is an assured debut from someone who knows the ins and outs of the creative industries like no one else. Matt Cain is better known as the Channel 4 News arts correspondent, but his talent for stringing together a gripping plot and believable characters should see his new career take off with equal success. Its themes of moviestars-as-public-property and the perils of stardom in the closet feel eminently up to date. Ultimately the trials endured by his lead characters are satisfyingly resolved, with just a hint that there may be more to come. Highly recommended as a page-turning beach read... Jackie Collins better watch her back!


Beyond Belief (Emily Castles Mysteries)
Beyond Belief (Emily Castles Mysteries)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping, refreshing delight., 5 July 2014
This murder mystery is a refreshing read, with it's contemporary trappings (overblown TV magicians, viral advertising, twitter) and rollicking plot, all set in a creepy seaside hotel. Haven't come across these before, or the sleuth, Emily Castles, but it's a great antidote to the bloodthirsty crime series that seem to dominate the genre. A fine holiday read, particularly for a holiday on the blustery English Riviera! Recomended.


Clay
Clay
by Melissa Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and evocative, 29 Jun 2014
This review is from: Clay (Paperback)
This lady is as good a writer on and describer of nature-based themes of anyone I have ever read. The way she evokes the simple flora and fauna to be found in an urban park is a delight, and a theme that permeates every chapter of this gripping narrative. The characters are extremely believable and well drawn, and the plot draws to a satisfying conclusion, cleverly sidestepping one or two cliched themes just when you think you know where it's going. The ending is uplifting without being gooey and is all the more believable for it. Highly recommended, look forward to another!


Ghostwritten
Ghostwritten
by Isabel Wolff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and well-paced tale of two tragedies, 25 April 2014
This review is from: Ghostwritten (Paperback)
It's always sobering when a book makes you realise how little you know about shocking and relatively recent historical events. Both my parents saw active duty in the Second World War and, whilst I'm familiar with their stories, the events on Java were all entirely new to me. Isabel Wolff's novel brings home the hardships and inhumanity suffered by so many in prison camps at this time.

She tells the story in tandem with another, set in later decades, through the medium of reminiscences between a ghostwriter and her subject. The two stories share parallels which never feel forced yet bring out the tragedy suffered by both characters, the effects of which haunt them for decades to come. The two settings - Cornwall and wartime Java - are brilliantly evoked, and the two lead characters in particular are highly memorable and a pleasure to spend time with.

It seems that Ghostwritten is a bit of a departure from the author's earlier works which are more mainstream romances. I suspect this will win her more male readers like me, and I will certainly look out for the next. Highly recommended.


The Darkening Hour
The Darkening Hour
Price: £3.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Another total page turner, 25 Jan 2014
I discovered this author through her first book, Tideline, which was easily the best novel I read that year. The follow up is equally compelling, a pacey read in contrast to some of the plodders I've made myslf wade through of late...

What I particularly liked was the way that PH makes you wonder which of her two main characters you should be siding with - overbearing Theodora or poor, downtrodden Mona. She keeps us guessing right to the end and the big reveal packs a weighty punch.

As in Tideline, PH catches the atmosphere of south east London brilliantly, this time in all its multicultural glory. Can't wait for the next one, whether similarly set or somewhere new.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a dark, disturbing and deeply satisfying read!


Build A Man (Serenity Holland Book 1)
Build A Man (Serenity Holland Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking good read, 25 Oct 2013
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This book was so fast paced and lively it almost read itself! Talli Roland is an adept writer who knows how to keep her characters and plot on the boil. With an unseen twist and some serious points to make, it is a step up from the conventions of the genre. I enjoyed it would recommend it to anyone who likes an easy yet thought provoking read.


Maggie & Me
Maggie & Me
Price: £4.12

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, 23 Sep 2013
This review is from: Maggie & Me (Kindle Edition)
I read a lot of books that have their covers and front pages festooned with review quotes, saying how marvellous they are. Many's the time I finish the book and wonder if the reviewers were reading something else... But in the case of Maggie & Me, the praise is well and truly deserved.

It's a riveting if often heart-rending memoir, beautifully told. You warm to the narrator immediately for his unflinching honesty and eye for the absurdities of life. I was carried along from the opening page to the closing chapters, which quite knocked me for six with a a revelation or two I didn't see coming. The author has a wonderful turn of phrase, and the use of Mrs. T. as a framing device for the narrative is a brilliant touch. So many of us lived through that era but no one else has thought of using it like this.

I genuinely can't wait to see what Damian Barr writes next. I hope it's fiction, because I think he will write a terrific novel one day, and I'll be first in the queue.


Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar
Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar
by D. J. Connell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tassie teen classic!, 31 Aug 2013
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I can safely say I've never read a gay teen coming of age novel set in Tasmania before, so this was a delight! If you enjoyed the Aussie cultural milieu conjured up in movies like Best in Show and Strictly Ballroom, you'll love this. The writing is pacey, the characters instantly believable reflections of the world they inhabit. And Julian himself is a hero for our times, overcoming bullying siblings and beer-swilling parents in his quest to be re-united with the crush of his dreams. A corker!


The Comedienne
The Comedienne
by V.G. Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking debut, 5 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Comedienne (Paperback)
This is the one of the most assured, restrained and refined debut novels I have ever read. I was captivated from the first page and wolfed it down in 24 hours. VG Lee's writing has the ring of truth to it, and the narrative is packed with characters who feel both entirely original and utterly believable. I laughed out loud in numerous places - who'd have guessed that an author could make me do so with something as subtle as an absent full stop; well, VG did it on page 38. I highly recommend The Comedienne, look forward to discovering more of her writing, and the day when VG Lee receives the wide acclaim that she deserves.


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