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Mishkalina "mishkalina"

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Fractal Cadence
Fractal Cadence
Price: £3.05

5.0 out of 5 stars unbelievable world-building, 14 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Fractal Cadence (Kindle Edition)
I have owed this author a 5 star review for many months but have not felt able to adequately describe the brilliance of this book. However, this author deserves recognition (and credit) for writing such a well-woven tale of small and large scale apocalypse/dystopia so here is my effort in thanks.

The majority of the narrative is first person, describing the experiences of a woman who is unique in a medically sophisticated society in that her body systematically rejects a grafting treatment common in repairing traumatic limb injury. She finds a solution which makes her difference subtly intolerable to a society which doesn't like to be reminded of mortality.

Her difference leads to social alienation which is then followed by real isolation when a pandemic occurs - to which she is immune)

There are numerous variations on a theme of solitude/interaction, the book itself is a winding road through years of experiences.

There are several magnificently written vignettes, mini chapters in third person which allow us moments to observe the protagonist from a different perspective.

It is lengthy - and circuitous - and it did take me awhile to finish reading as I kept having to put it down and let the story steep for awhile... really, I think it contains MANY stories, which is another reason this author deserves top credit.

The novel, the character and the world kept pulling me back like an addiction; they have such magical and intelligent properties. And the...ending? Yeah, my words can't do justice to the fascinations inside this microcosmic tale. But it's well worth reading if you want a submersive reading experience.

Hot Cakes
Hot Cakes
Price: £1.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite, 15 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Hot Cakes (Kindle Edition)
This tale will enfold you in its richness and, like any baking endeavour, make you watch closely to ensure it turns out right.

I'm not sure I've ever been so engaged by a diary-type narrative before but this was just so delightful to read. I have to agree with all previous reviewers that this novel fully deserves 5 stars.

Strangely Sober
Strangely Sober

4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly Intoxicating, 2 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Strangely Sober (Kindle Edition)
Firstly I must admit that I got this when it was free, and only then because I was curious as to how such heavy subject matter would be handled in a book tagged in the romance section.

Paranoid schizophrenia, human trafficking and drug cartels - the product description both intimidated and intrigued me. I took a tentative dip into Chapter One where the charisma and craziness of the characters pulled me into their world without any of the discomfort I was expecting.

Sal, when we meet her, has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia for some time and is currently running a bar. Well, there are no customers as such; just her gang (who hang out there between 'jobs') amongst whom she has been acknowledged as a kind of kamikaze genius. She had to leave her last paid employment for an act any office drone might commit in their head on a bad day at work. And in moments of great stress Sal often hallucinates an advice-giving Gary Busey, which would be less of a problem if the hallucination wasn't so happy for her to commit acts of urban warfare.

Her mental health may have been compromised, but her mental attitude has allowed her to compensate and she is ideally placed to deal with unconventional situations because her responses are not, by any definition, normal.

Cole, the leading man, is the epitome of cool control - to such an extent that he can use it to defuse Sal at her most dangerous state. Sometimes. It is this dynamic that carries us with such positive energy through the mayhem of Sal dealing with a father and sister she didn't know she had (one of whom they could both have done without) and the trafficking, cartels and mental health issues previously mentioned.

This interplay between Cole and Sal kind of describes the book - a counterpoint between crazy and normal (people and situations) which shouldn't work but does. Especially because of the inherent acceptance of characters of the things you can't change - like mental health - and the absolute brilliance of the same characters not accepting external situations which sometimes seem as insurmountable as ignoring the film-star hallucination determined to give you life advice. Involving weaponry.

I loved this book for inventiveness, wit and wickedness and Essa Alroc has been added to the very short list of authors whose books I hungrily await and happily pay for. If you like this one, you'll probably enjoy the follow-on novella and novel:

#2 The Apology
#3 Assymetric Angels

Strangely Sober is ridiculously well titled and the only reason I can give for this is that the book is oddly intoxicating. Have a sip and see what I mean.

Dancing with the Devil (The Firstborn Book 2)
Dancing with the Devil (The Firstborn Book 2)
Price: £3.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Properly (Thought) Provoking, 15 Dec. 2012
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Marilyn is a professional woman making an exit from her corporate life and we meet her as she is travelling to the shore to attend the funeral of her beloved grandmother.

After the will has been read, her grandmother's attorney provides her with a packet in private (her grandmother's instructions) to give her the choice in whether to share the existence of its contents with the family. The packet contains two physical items and a strange, somewhat obscure legacy.

Marilyn then has an extra-ordinary (literally), life-changing (not just her own) meeting at the beach. Oh, and she's also hearing a voice in her head.

First up, this is not a "romance" romance, nor is it your typical paranormal tale. There is a love story in here, intrinsic to the plot and yet beautifully taken for granted in its purity and how late we learn of it.

You get a little taste of what's to come when reading the prologue to the book. This is written in an entirely different voice than Marilyn, one that echoes with a kind of biblical "Genesis" mysticism. Then, at Chapter One, the jump from arcane to mundane creates a bit of a culture shock...but the juxtaposition of the two worlds is intriguing.

Initially the style made it difficult for me to slip into comfortable 'reading mode', but I found that this had surprisingly little impact on my desire to know what was going to happen next. I had to finish it at what I call "the midnight-sprint" and although it might not be to everyone's taste (there was the odd element that I found a little aggravating), I found it very well done.

The complexity comes from the writing style and the mystical element rather than the plot (though still inventive). There is, no pun intended, a fair amount of soul to this work and I think it probably benefits from a reader who likes to think a bit while they're exploring their book-world. It certainly contains enough thought-provoking ideas to be of significantly greater value than the paranormal romance I thought I was indulging in and I'm fully intending to get the rest of the series to sate my curiosity.

A Family Affair: Truth in Lies (Truth in Lies, Book 1)
A Family Affair: Truth in Lies (Truth in Lies, Book 1)
Price: £0.00

36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much witch-crafty as well-craft-y, 2 Aug. 2012
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A bit overstimulated by all the paranormal and action-adventure romance around, I decided to branch back into the more "normal" romance genre in a bid to reconnect with things that could actually happen in real life.

This tale does not suffer from its lack of vampires or artillery; in fact, I was a little worried when I started reading that the emotional nature of an infidelity story would make it a bit depressing. I should have had more faith in the author.

I have the bad Kindle habit of flicking between books when I'm not sure what I want to read and nothing pulls me in. I downloaded this, opened it to have a glance and then....well.....finished it in one go. Not sure I even remember stopping to make a cup of tea.

No spoilers, as the plot is outlined well enough in the blurb. But what I will say is that Ms Campisi wields a compassionate pen (by which I mean keyboard) and has created a believable world filled with believable characters...albeit comfortably encapsulated in a somewhat predictable story. Like any writer worth her salt, though, she has managed to overcome the fact that you might be able to guess what's going to happen by connecting to the characters through the description of their emotional experience rather than the story itself.

This is how a good story stands out from what can so easily fall into cliche and this is why this book is well worth a read.

Two Days of a Dream
Two Days of a Dream

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastical fiction, 2 Jun. 2012
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What would you do if you were convinced that the world around you wasn't real, but a dream? How would you relate to it if you were certain it was your subconscious....and there would be no consequences in your waking world?

If you like your romance anchored in the real world but slightly skew-whiff, then this fantasy will work for you. In some senses I found this an odd escapist fantasy as our heroine puts on a nightgown that transfers her to the Iraq desert to infiltrate (pacifically, romantically) our hero's world, but because she is convinced it is a dream there is a wonderful metaphorical approach to the story. One of my favourite parts is where she analyses what the dreams occupants might signify...which she does verbally, in their presence.

What I really enjoyed was the strength of characterisation, especially the well-written supporting cast. I think it's the mark of a good book when you find yourself curious about what's driving every one of the characters and what their stories might be. Thank you, Ms Gilmore, for a very enjoyable read.

Stealing Chance
Stealing Chance
Price: £2.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On a Roll......, 16 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Stealing Chance (Kindle Edition)
Anyone else find it it take ages to write something that reflects the quality of the book you just read? I just hope I do this one credit:

Talia Chance Mercer works for a psychic phone service. She's a genuine psychic - her readings are achieved through the rolling of a set of special dice - and she has a loyal client base because of her accuracy and her ethics (she won't take readings on anything like "when will I die?" or "Would the world be a better place without me?").

She's young (ex-foster care/group home), independent and pragmatic, troubled and compassionate. She's also dealing with the complications of being on the run, in love and being wooed in such a fashion that it could almost be termed stalking. In no particular order, these three supporting characters are the ex-wife of a drugs tsar, a billionaire actor and a determined cop.....all ruthless in going after what they want, which is mostly a piece of Chance.

This is well written, romping through a storyline that never loses its energy, with at lease one surprise/novel angle in the book that'll please some and perplex others. It's the characters that are worth reading, as much as the story, especially Talia. I'd recommend this for anyone who enjoys their romance with a bit of intrigue, alpha-male and dash (both adjective and verb). Give it a whirl. Or do I mean roll with it?

Rising Tides
Rising Tides
Price: £2.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Seaswept away......, 9 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Rising Tides (Kindle Edition)
First up, I should admit that I'm a long-standing advocate of romance; the world's a harsh enough place without reading/watching things that don't have some form of hopeful uplift or happiness to them. That said, every once in a while I try to read something a little more reality-balanced and it's kind of obvious from the blurb that this book is not about the "HEA", so I dipped a toe into reading with a wary curiosity about what sort of "ever after" it would end with.

Kelly, the narrator, is a woman dealing with terminal illness and a marriage in trouble. We meet her on a beach, near the hotel where she is staying with her husband, Gary, and Gary's personal assistant Debra. The beach is also where she meets Tyler and his dog, spoilers, but we follow a story which is as much an internal unfolding of the characters as an external narrative of what their days contain.

The only reason I give four and not five stars is because I found the story so emotionally engaging that I can't critique the book in a literary way, only a story-telling way. It's been a while since a book made me cry, but this one somehow just hooked me in and I genuinely couldn't put it down until I'd finished. A day later and I'm still a bit zoned out by the height of the emotional experience and I wanted to demonstrate my support for this writer by just saying how much I enjoyed this book (although "enjoyed" should probably be a much stronger, richer, deeper, emotionally and vibrantly-charged adjective with slighly red-eyed undertones). I haven't reviewed anything for a while on Amazon, but this book just wouldn't let me go without saying thank you to its author.....even if, as in life, I wish things could be different....

The Superior Person's Book of Words
The Superior Person's Book of Words
by Peter Bowler
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars How quisquous!, 15 Dec. 2009
For word-lovers or even word-lover-haters. I was given this book because I love words, obscure and pedantic, and have a habit of using a diminutive word where a small one might do.

This book gave me all sorts of new words with which to boggle the mind of my family and friends....but it was given to me by someone as a protest against word snobbery who found it equally funny.

Our ante-jentacular conversations are now geared around the quisquous nimiety (perplexing excess) of those who struggle against boondoggling (carrying out trivial work in such a way as to convey the impression of being extremely busy) and hebetation (growing dull or stupid). I also discovered the beautiful excuse of aprosexia (the inability to concentrate).

Happy parisologising!

Prince of Secrets (Mills & Boon Historical)
Prince of Secrets (Mills & Boon Historical)
by Paula Marshall
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Paula, 11 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A wonderful follow-on from the Dollar Prince, although perhaps more vivid after having read previous episodes of the Dilhorne Saga - particularly Hester Waring's Marriage, since such a strong parallel is drawn between Cobie Grant and the original Patriarch, Tom Dilhorne.

A little deeper, a little darker and a little more detailed than some of her other works, underneath the harshness this is still a book filled with humanity and hope.

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