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EL (England)

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Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book, 18 April 2011
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This review is from: Replica (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed the first of Lexi Revellian's books that I read on Kindle, 'Remix', so I decided to try this one too. I enjoyed 'Replica' just as much, although in many ways the stories are very different.

The similarity is that the heroines of both books are loveable and likeable, but both a bit too trusting and, well, nice! I thought the weakest part of this book was the initial set-up, of Beth being cloned and the implausible nature of the technology etc that enables this. Never mind, I was happy to suspend my disbelief, because as soon as the story got underway it was full of suspense, and I love the author's writing style.

Although occasionally I wanted to hit Beth for being so naive and trusting of various characters and situations, I thought on the whole she was a brilliant character. She was believable and in general she reacted much as I think most of us would during a lot of the action. The fact that, while on the run and fearing for her life at every turn, she still felt tempted to correct a spelling error in some obscene graffiti was just the icing on the cake of a perfect character.

Nick is a lot more ambiguous, and I'm not sure I ever figured out quite what I thought of him (which I think was at least partly the intention). It was an interesting change to have a 'hero' who does an awful lot of things that are anything but heroic, and who is not working solely for the good of the other characters.

I think in actual fact I probably would have given this 4.5 stars, because I felt the ending was a bit rushed after all the suspense, but I've rounded it up because I enjoyed the rest of it so much. I'm looking forward to reading more by Lexi.

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Kearsley - not to be missed, 16 April 2011
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This review is from: The Rose Garden (Kindle Edition)
Having read, loved and re-read (many times) all of Susanna Kearsley's previous books, I had high expectations for 'The Rose Garden'. And I wasn't disappointed.

Like several of her other novels, this is essentially a story about love and friendship complicated by time. As with 'Mariana' and 'Sophia's Secret' (known as The Winter Sea outside of the UK), there is a link between the past and the present, in this case through the heroine, Eva. The love story is as beautiful as we have come to expect from Kearsley, and albeit somewhat predictable, the humour and dilemmas the characters face gives it an original feel.

There are plenty of interesting characters, both in the past and the present. The Halletts who own the house in Cornwall where Eva is staying are all very believable as old friends of hers. Daniel, the hero of the tale, is the kind of character that leaps off the page, and I found myself grinning stupidly whenever I was reading a passage he was in. Fergal - a wryly funny Irishman - is another highlight of the 'past' storyline.

Eva finds herself quite literally divided between her life in the modern world helping out at the eponymous rose garden, and the past of almost 300 years ago where smugglers and rebellions are the reality.

There is a nice little twist to the story near the end that I hadn't seen coming - one of those little details that you kick yourself for not noticing, and Kearsley wrapped all the loose ends of the plot up very neatly. This is the kind of book that you wish hadn't ended, even though you can't pace yourself because it's such a page-turner. If you're already a Susanna Kearsley fan then don't miss this one, and if you're new to her books then this is as good a place as any to start. 'Sophia's Secret' is still my favourite I think, but 'The Rose Garden' isn't going to let me forget about it just yet. I'll definitely be re-reading it in a few months when the paperback is available. I only read it in Kindle format this time around because I couldn't wait the extra weeks to buy a physical copy!

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 13 April 2011
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This review is from: HOUSE OF SILENCE (Kindle Edition)
I must admit (guiltily) that I bought this a couple of days ago, and much less than 24 hours later I'd read the whole thing.

House Of Silence is brilliant, and more than deserving of finding its way into paperback form. I'm so glad that Linda Gillard chose to e-publish after all the waiting for this book to be available, and it was definitely worth the wait. HoS is every bit as atmospheric as her other 3 novels, and it has a bit of everything. There's romance, comedy, hints of tragedy, suspense, and most importantly characters whom you can't help but fall in love with.

The setting of an 'outsider' visiting a big, old country house for Christmas and finding that the eccentric family are hiding something is reminiscent of Agatha Christie at her best, and Gillard lives up to the challenge. The character of Marek in particular is a masterpiece, and one of the most interesting heroes I've encountered in modern fiction.

If you haven't read the author's previous books then I strongly recommend them - particularly Star Gazing, which is my personal favourite and probably the best-known. Now I'm just looking forward to the next book!

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover, 12 April 2011
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This review is from: Remix (Kindle Edition)
Oddly, I was initially put off by the cover art, so it took me while to even take a look at the blurb on amazon. This book kept popping up though, so in the end I was curious enough to take a closer look. I'm so glad I did.

Remix is perhaps a little less 'serious' than many of the books I read, but I've found that the kindle is great for getting you reading things you might not normally pick up in a bookshop. Once I had read the product description on amazon and glanced at some of the reviews, I bought this straightaway and settled down to reading it. I found it was quite a good page turner, and although there weren't a huge amount of cliff-hangers, the writing style was excellent, and I just wanted to keep reading on and on.

The characters, if perhaps a little typical, were none the less loveable for it, and they were for the most part very well developed. I loved the details about Caz's job restoring rocking horses - it's the little things like that that make this book special.

I'm glad I took a chance on this one - although I'm not quite sure why I was so put off by the cover in the first place - and for less than 50p it's a chance you should definitely take. You might just find that you really enjoy it. I believe the author has just published another book on kindle, so I'll definitely be buying that at some point too.

edit: Since I wrote this the cover art has changed, so ignore my comments about that. I really like the new image by the way!

Graveyard Games
Graveyard Games

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all, but..., 9 April 2011
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This review is from: Graveyard Games (Kindle Edition)
Like the previous reviewer I was quite enjoying this book, and I actually read it all in one sitting because I was drawn to the characters. Admittedly most of the characters and the set up were rather cliched, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing when the book's well-written.

The problem was with the ending. I was really hoping that there was going to be a clever explanation for the mystery going on throughout the book - the type of thing where you are kicking yourself for not figuring it out. But no such luck. If the ending had been more 'believable' then I would have given this 4 stars without hesitation, but it's frustrating to read a whole book and then be disappointed by the way it turns out.

I'll keep an eye out for other books by the same author though, because the writing itself is promising.

Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse Book 1)
Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse Book 1)
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What on earth?!, 9 April 2011
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I only got this in the first place because it was free for kindle and in the bestseller list. I assume plenty of other people did the same.

However, although I did read the book to the end, I wish I hadn't bothered. To begin with it just seemed like an overly cliched murder 'mystery' book. Inverted commas because the murderer was ridiculously predictable, so there wasn't an awful lot of mystery involved. It was the ending of the book that was really dreadful. For some reason, out of nowhere, there was a graphic and absolutely revolting scene in which the killer was revealed. Not revolting in a good way either - just plain unnecessary and not even well-written.

Added to that, Culverhouse was exactly the stereotypical sexist and non-politically-correct police officer that is so often portrayed in this type of fiction. Imagine Morse but without any of the originality or likeable features. Not to mention that Wendy Knight, the protagonist, was unbelievably gullible considering that she was also a police officer.

To sum up: stereotypical and shallow characters, predictable plot, bad advice is to stay away from this one and save your time for something much much better. The only good thing is that it's such a short book.

Rock & The Tide
Rock & The Tide
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £14.22

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good if not better, 26 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Rock & The Tide (Audio CD)
A lot of people have said that they think this album is a big change from Joshua's two earlier albums, but I don't think this is necessarily the case. Yes, some of the tracks are 'louder' than a lot of the softer more melancholic tracks on We Were Here, but the overall quality is pretty similar.

Joshua has a very distinctive voice, and it is very much in evidence again here. If you liked (or even loved) We Were Here and Simple Times, you ought to love this too. Don't expect it to be just more of the same - of course he has matured and developed as a singer.

Tracks that I think stand out are 'The Ones With The Light', 'Streetlight' (which is pretty reminiscent of some of his earlier work), and 'We Are Getting Better'. In fact, there are no real failures here at all. Almost all the songs are strong and memorable, as well as being just as catchy as old favourites like 'Brand New Day' (which is reprised here) and 'One Of Those Days'.

Highly recommended!

The Gift (Pellinor Trilogy)
The Gift (Pellinor Trilogy)
by Alison Croggon
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To my surprise, I loved it!, 1 Sept. 2010
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I, like the previous reviewer, had read Croggon's response to an earlier criticism of the book. Likewise, I found myself wanting to like the book for the simple reason that standing up and defending oneself (coherently, I might add) is to be admired. I felt the author was right in being angered by the suggestion that the book plagiarises other famous works, and decided to see for myself who was 'right'.

I've actually had The Gift on my to-read pile for quite some time, as it has been recommended to me by seemingly countless friends and acquaintances. For some reason the storyline, and especially the blurb, put me off. How many times have you heard of a book with a poor young girl rescued by a mysterious older man, who helps her to discover her own powers? It sounded cliched and unoriginal. However, in the end I decided to try it and see for myself. And I'm so glad I did.

I'm a huge fan of all Tolkien's work, and certainly The Gift has some similarities in terms of story and themes. But doesn't all fantasy fiction remind you of other works you've read before? Perhaps it's just me, but I think there are only a limited number of characters and scenarios authors can invent, so there are bound to be links between books, especially ones which authors enjoyed and were inspired by. In several ways The Gift also reminded me of Trudi Canavan's writing, and to my mind at least I would categorise this book as a mixture of Canavan's modern sensibility and Tolkien's scope and vision.

For the first few chapters the story did seem as predicatable as I had feared, and I was initially put off by the characters' names, which I didn't much like at first. However, after a relatively short while I found myself reading faster and faster to see what would happen next. In the end I read until the early hours of the morning, simply because I couldn't bear to put the book down. To be honest, I have no idea what it is that makes The Gift so captivating. The reviewer before me did not find it particularly gripping, yet I definitely did. Of course this is almost certainly down to individual tastes and preferences. My best guess at the reason for this series' success is the lightness of Croggon's writing. She manages to simultaneouly give a sense of age and gravity to the story, and yet never stumbles into the trap of becoming pretentious.

Maerad and Cadvan are what I would call 'stock characters', yet they are infinitely likeable, and it is all too easy to become engrossed in their lives and trials. I have yet to read the later books in this series, so I admit I have no idea what is in store for the characters. What I do know is that I thoroughly enjoyed The Gift, and I will be reading the next books as soon as I can get my hands on copies.

Lost In Blue 3 (Nintendo DS)
Lost In Blue 3 (Nintendo DS)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I imagined, 17 Jan. 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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I have previously enjoyed playing The Sims 2 Castaway, and have had no experience with the Lost In Blue Games, but I saw this going relatively cheap on Amazon and thought it would be worth a try. It turns out that Lost In Ble 3 has completely exceeded my expectations.

First of all for anyone who has played Sims 2 Castaway and enjoyed it, this game is a must have. It has most of the elements of Castaway, but also many more, and is overall both more challenging and more stimulating. You have a lot of choice in how you play, i.e. how quickly you take things, how often and how far you explore, and the general pace of gameplay. There are seemingly countless locations to find and get to know, and several bases spread over the island.

As with all games there are a few frustraing tics, such as the repeated 'Welcome back, how was your day' kind of speech you get from your partner every time you re-enter your base. Overall though, the game is original and addictive. The music is a lot less grating than you would normally find on a game of this type, and the graphics are also pretty good.

I think the best thing about Lost In Blue 3 is the intuitive touch screen and/or button controls, that give you a lot of freedom to do things the way you like, combined with the addictive gameplay and scope of the storyline. Thoroughly recommended, and in my opinion much better than other similar games such as Castaway.
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