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LML "linda12751" (Northern Ireland)

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Journey to Ki: Highest Monastery in the World
Journey to Ki: Highest Monastery in the World
Price: £2.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top of the world, 15 Nov. 2012
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I hovered between three and four stars for this publication, largely because of the length. It feels more like a magazine article rather than a travel book; there are times when a more detailed narrative would have been welcome and the ending was rather abrupt.

Bearing this in mind, I still found this to be a very interesting and honest reaction to what appears to have been a gruelling journey. The beauty of the landscape comes through, contrasted with descriptions of industrial towns and extreme poverty. The shock to western senses is also shown clearly, with some of the westerner's arrogance being displayed in the early stages.

When they finally arrive at their destination, the monastery proves to be almost deserted, bone chillingly cold and from the descriptions, isolated and utterly beautiful. The inspiration for the journey was a photograph by Samuel Bourne. He travelled throughout the region and photographed the monastery in 1866. This is another reason to think that this would have worked very well as a magazine article - illustrations are really indispensible for this type of work. I'm grateful to the author for the introduction to Bourne's photographs and in particular the photograph of Ki.

More detail, in particular about the author's travelling companions, would have been very welcome, although the introduction to Samuel Bourne's photographs has made up for these shortcomings. The formatting for kindle seemed fine to me and it has been one of the more interesting free downloads to be made available.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2013 11:44 AM GMT


Murder in the Philosophy Department
Murder in the Philosophy Department
Price: £2.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 25 April 2012
This is a very entertaining murder mystery that is set in, as the title suggests, a philosophy department. When the head of department is found dead, his colleagues fall under suspicion. Laura Ryder, a professor with a strong alibi, begins to investigate her co-workers - more out of exasperation at the disruption than anything else. Laura is very smart, prefers her dogs to anyone that she works with and writes novels (the subject matter is a guarded secret from her colleagues) under a pen name.

The story is well plotted, the setting is convincing and the characters are strong (especially Laura). There's plenty of humour and it's quirky in a way that isn't laboured or trying too hard. I found it to be great fun, have recommended it to various people and I really hope that in the future there will be another story featuring Laura and the philosophy department.


The Gauntlet Assassin (An Action Thriller)
The Gauntlet Assassin (An Action Thriller)

4.0 out of 5 stars AKA The Arranger, 25 April 2012
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When I downloaded this book it was called "The Arranger" but whatever the title it is a very exciting read. Set in the near future (in 2023), public funding in the USA has been cut so far that representatives of each state compete to take part in The Gauntlet - a televised competition that will earn the winner's home state extra funding for police, hospitals and other public services. Laura Evans - a freelance paramedic and former police officer, arrives in Washington to compete.

The second story line involves Paul, a computer programmer, who is painfully aware that he is shy, overweight and unlikely to stand a chance with his beautiful co-worker - unless he can come up with a way of making the money he needs to reinvent himself.

As the story lines merge and become intertwined, the excitement builds and the ending left me firstly feeling satisfied at the way the story is resolved and secondly hoping that there will be further stories involving Laura.

While the plotting was very good and the separate story lines were handled very confidently, the main strength for me lay in the characterisation. I thought that Laura Evans was very convincing - focussed, strong both physically and mentally and intelligent. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it as a well written, entertaining read.


Still Life Paintings
Still Life Paintings
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Still Life Paintings, 1 Nov. 2011
This is a very promising book of three short stories, that are linked by art and painting. The first story was very emotional - a woman paints obsessively, producing the same painting every time, but unable to recognise the subject of the paintings because of her grief and pain. It's quite a haunting story, and the only problem I had with it was the ending, which I felt was a little rushed. It perhaps needed a little more time spent on the ending to make the story and it's resolution complete.

The second story was very nicely told, with a mother using art and painting as a way to occupy her children; the details were good and the idea was very good - I just felt that there was something not quite satisfying about the way the story ended. Having said that, I enjoyed reading it.

The third was very short, and probably the one that I liked the least - this is more to do with my preferred taste in reading than with the story. Romance is not a genre that I would choose and the final story undoubtedly falls into this category. It was also a little too sentimental for my taste, but it's likely that there are many others who would have enjoyed this very much.

Overall it was a quirky and interesting trio of stories, very different in subject matter but all using painting to illuminate the themes in the stories. I feel that the book would definitely benefit from rigorous proof reading and editing; the stories have the feel of works in progress. There is a lot of potential shown in the ideas central to the stories, in the way that painting and art is used to illuminate ideas and express emotion, as well as in the writing. Writing style can always be improved and if the author maintains the creativity shown in these stories, I think that any future work will be very interesting. I'll certainly be looking out for it.

I received a copy of this book as a LibraryThing Giveaway in October 2011.


Diary of the Displaced - The Last to Fall
Diary of the Displaced - The Last to Fall
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strange new world..., 31 Oct. 2011
This is the third in the Diary of the Displaced series, and once again it is a very well written, imaginative story. Joseph Dean, the narrator, had a small mention in 'Chasing Spirits' and in 'The Last to Fall', he describes his own journey to the world in which he now lives and his purpose there.

One of the strengths of this series is that the settings created by Glynn James are completely convincing and while too many details can be the undoing of some authors, in this book (as in the others) the details of survival in a hostile, unknown and battle scarred world are very important in building up the reality of that world.

Joseph is telling this story to his son and it's easy to forget as you're reading it that the work is actually a monologue - Joseph's is the only voice we hear. There is plenty of action and suspense, with the possibility of a sequel in the ending. The characterisation is very good and Joseph's companion through most of the story is Bailey, who eventually moves on to the next part of his task and it would be great if a later book followed his story.

All three books in the series are very good indeed and it almost seems churlish to mention the occasional spelling or formatting issues that appear. These can easily be sorted out in later editions and while they don't detract from the high standard of writing and the imaginative stories, the books would be even better without them. I'll be checking out Glynn James' other work and would recommend this book, as well as the others in the series, very highly.

I received this e-book from the LibraryThing Members' Giveaway in October 2011.


The Paperboys Club (A Paranormal Murder Mystery of Crime and Suspense)
The Paperboys Club (A Paranormal Murder Mystery of Crime and Suspense)
Price: £2.38

3.0 out of 5 stars Paperboy's Club, 29 Oct. 2011
A crime thriller, with supernatural elements and a touch of humour - this book was an enjoyable and entertaining read. There may be some aspects of the writing style that could be improved; this in no way detracts, however, from the characterisation and storyline, which are both very good. This book shows a lot of promise and hopefully there will be a sequel; in any case I'm looking forward to reading some of his other work.

I received this ebook free from librarything as a giveaway for October 2011.


In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery #1 (Jefferson Tayte)
In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery #1 (Jefferson Tayte)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unlikely hero, 28 Oct. 2011
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A genealogist seems, on the face of it, an unlikely hero for a mystery/thriller novel and yet this book is a real page turner! What seems to be a routine assignment for Jefferson Tayte - tracing his employer's family tree in Cornwall - turns into an adventure in which his life is threatened by a sinister stranger. Tayte is a very likeable, affable character and there are a range of intriguing people that he comes into contact with. The writing throughout is of a very high standard and the cornish setting is beautifully drawn. The weaving together of the contemporary and historical stories works very well, with plenty of suspense and drama in both strands. At times the ending of an exciting book can be a bit of a let down, but not in this case. Without giving anything away, I can say that I thought that the murderer's motivation, when it is revealed, is very convincing, as is the truth behind the events in the past. I really enjoyed this book and found it difficult to put down - I'm looking forward to Jeff's next adventure.


Diary of the Displaced - Book 1 - The Journal of James Halldon
Diary of the Displaced - Book 1 - The Journal of James Halldon
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Outside the box..., 23 Oct. 2011
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It's unlikely that I would have come across this title in a bookshop - the tags so far list horror, paranormal, survival horror,undead - and these are genres that I would never browse. Which is where the kindle comes into it's own - sampling allows you to take a chance and read outside the box.

As I was reading this story, the details of how the narrator survives in a unknown, harsh and dangerous environment made the world that was being described seem very real. As he becomes more confident and begins to move further and further from the safety of his camp, the place starts to take shape and gradually the story of how he came to be here unfolds. I liked the pacing and the touches of humour, as well as the other inhabitants that eventually reveal themselves. There's plenty of tension and suspense, as well as the horror elements, and I found the whole story very satisfying.

Although I still may not frequent the horror section, I have already read the second in this series Chasing Spirits (Diary of the Displaced #2) and have the third high on my to be read list. It's a very imaginative novel and has widened (albeit slightly) my reading horizons.


The Brothers
The Brothers
by Elin Hoyland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 8 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: The Brothers (Hardcover)
I first learned about this title through a review in the Guardian, which published a gallery of the photographs. I found it very difficult to forget the photographs, partly because of the quality but mainly because of the character in the faces of the two brothers and the generosity that they showed in allowing the photographer to record so many of the details of their lives. The photographer has shown great respect in the way that he has captured the brothers' way of life as well as the dignity with which they continued to live in the home and in the way that they have always known. There is some text which is not out of place, but which I found unneccessary because the pictures really tell the story in a way that words somehow can not.


Lilies
Lilies
Price: £0.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving and beautiful, 8 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Lilies (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this story as a freebie for kindle, based on the synopsis and the one review that had been written at that time. I'm not a fan of short stories in general, but am always open to something that sounds original, which this certainly is. The writing is very, very good - restrained, yet conveying the sadness and despair of a society caught up in a continual war. The setting and time are never specified, which gives an otherwordly sense to the story. It has elements of both past and present, not defined but suggested, that makes it almost but not quite a familiar world. I found the story very compelling - I haven't read any of Iain Rowan's other work yet, but it will be on my to-read list. If his other work doesn't engage me as much as Lilies, that won't matter because this is stand alone excellence.


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