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Rick O' Shea (England)

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Life After Life
Life After Life
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Over and over and...., 12 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Life After Life (Kindle Edition)
I am mystified as to the accolades. The basis of the book - that decisions made in a moment or a minor change of circumstance can change lives forever - is an interesting proposition, but hardly a world shattering concept. Don't we all go through that thought process several times a week? To create a novel out of the proposition needed more skill and innovation than is demonstrated here. The characters were interesting, the settings were well drawn, the research no doubt impeccable, but the whole thing seemed stultified by Atkinson's self-imposed and inflexible format. I plodded through to the end expecting some remarkable insight, but turned the last page hugely disappointed. Reading it was like hearing the same anecdote over and over and over and...


Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics)
Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics)
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witnessing a life, 26 Feb. 2014
Yeah it's truly great. There's little drama, no dead bodies (well maybe one), sex is negligible, just great writing about the little things that make up life for most of us. The character is tenderly created, and it's a privilege to watch the development as he grows up, matures, makes mistakes, and generally has to weather what life throws at him. Well-rounded, well observed, believable, well thought-out writing. I loved it.


Eventide (Plainsong Series Book 2)
Eventide (Plainsong Series Book 2)
Price: £4.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A niggling not really sure, 26 Feb. 2014
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I arrived at this third of the Kent Haruf books having really enjoyed the other two. It is beautifully written in the spare, plain speaking prose which has the effect of making you absorb and appreciate every word. I felt there were parallels with Garrison Keiler's style, and with Annie Proulx, and Anne Tyler too. But there was just something with this last one that seemed a little too cosy and life affirming. I know some difficult subjects were tackled - child abuse, death, homophobia - but - aw shucks dang me I just don't know whether I like it or not.


The Blue Flower
The Blue Flower
Price: £3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Must have missed something somewhere, 26 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Blue Flower (Kindle Edition)
I bought this after hearing a Radio 4 discussion of what constituted a classic book, and this was mentioned by two contributors as undoubtedly fulfilling the criteria. I have not read Penelope Fitzgerald before, and had high hopes, but really just could not have been less entranced. It left me cold and wondering what all the fuss was about. I'm sure it's me and I will read more of PF and perhaps revisit this one.


The Exiles Return
The Exiles Return
by Elisabeth de Waal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg, 26 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Exiles Return (Paperback)
I very much enjoyed the book, particularly after reading The Hare with Amber Eyes, which included so many references to Edmund de Waal's family background. Thus it was intriguing to be reintroduced to his grandmother, this time as the author of fiction heavily influenced by her own experiences. It was a compelling read, and Professor Adler in particular was a beautifully drawn character. Resi presented more of a puzzle, and was less well-developed. Like other reviewers I could not accept that the character - so passive for much of the book- would act in the way that she did in the denoument. More skilled was the descriptive handling of Vienna itself immediately after the war, which was really evocative and delicately done. I certainly felt that I would like to read more of this author if the manuscripts of her other unpublished work were available. The Persephone publishing house does such a great job of introducing us to little known authors, and in producing such lovely pieces of print, thoughtfully designed right down to the typefaces and endpapers which are usually fabrics or wallpaper designs from the period of the book itself. I read e-books and tree books, but Persephone always gives me my fix of paper book, and I keep every one!


Girlchild
Girlchild
Price: £6.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition has pages blacked out, 20 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Girlchild (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book and was enjoying it very much until I got to the chapter titled Boom which is marked on my Kindle as 13% through the book. It begins: 'Here's how the Hardware Man makes the lights go out.' Then the rest of that page is blacked out line by line, whole of the next page consists of black bars...and the next...and the next...and the next...and the next...you get the picture. The next chapter 'Troop' begins with all readable type. This problem occurs off and on throughout the book with pages blacked out almost as if they had been censored. I contacted Kindle about it and they are mystified. If you switch to the 'text to speech' option, then you can hear what the blacked out pages say, so that is the only way of continuing to 'read' until you can get to the next section of normal type and go back to normal reading from the page. I have tried redownloading it, but I have the same problem. I would be really interested to know if anyone else has this prob as Amazon do not seem able to solve it.

Update - have just tried the text to speech option once again, and it too cannot read the blacked out pages and jumps to the next available fully printed page.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2014 9:09 PM GMT


Hester
Hester
Price: £4.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An extremely poor Kindle version, 20 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Hester (Kindle Edition)
The book itself is a marvellous read, and Margaret Oliphant certainly deserves to be up there with the greats. Particularly impressive are her radical views on the role of women in society. However this Kindle edition is littered with typographical errors which seriously interrupt the reading. I began highlighting the errors, but simply gave up in the end as there were so many - 3 or 4 per page in some sections. A character called Roland is printed as Boland countless times. At a crucial point where the family home (called The Grange) is to be sold, the Kindle version brings its own unique take on the text by reading 'The Orange was to be sold'. 'He fully understood' is rendered as 'He frilly understood' 'He had gone' reads as 'He bad gone'. Ampersands and other symbols enter at random, full stops appear in the middle of sentences all over the place, and all in all it's a pretty poor show. Perhaps acceptable if it were a freebie or a 99p buy, but it's not. In fact I think I'll ask for a refund.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2015 8:59 AM GMT


Site Works
Site Works
by Robert Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did the earth move? Yes!, 5 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Site Works (Paperback)
This is such a refreshing book. Original in its subject matter, characters and writing, it is moving, absorbing and insightful. Its descriptions of landscape are particularly delicately written and nicely counterbalance the strong, macho civil engineering narrative and language. The humour of men working at close quarters in sometimes dangerous situations, the scheming and power struggles of the big shots, and the sheer pleasure of reading a book set in an environment about which I knew absolutely nothing, was a joy. From the aesthetic delights of well laid English bond brickwork to the hardships of life in a Portakabin in winter, it's superbly done. And as a woman I would never have thought of buying fiction related to civil engineering had I not heard a radio discussion about it. Go and buy it!


Wool (Wool Trilogy 1)
Wool (Wool Trilogy 1)
by Hugh Howey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Lose yourself in a different world - or is it ours in a while?, 23 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy 1) (Hardcover)
This is an exceptional piece of writing, a book which draws you into a world which at first seems alien and unfamiliar, but then begins to have such parallels with our own. The way Howie has devised and structured the setting is an extremely skilled piece of creation, it's well worked out and all too possible. The characterisation is equally well developed. I am not usually a reader of books of this genre, but I was enthralled and enjoyed it tremendously. Like all the best books it works on many levels - as a straightforward piece of sci-fi narrative, as a study of humanity, as a love story, as a study of friendship and what it means, and of family relationships and other emotional ties. Now on to the second in the trilogy...


The Boy from Berlin
The Boy from Berlin
by Michael Parker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the worst writing I have ever read, 17 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Boy from Berlin (Hardcover)
I bought this book on Kindle's 99p daily deal offer, as the synopsis sounded interesting. Unfortunately the synopsis writer was better with words than the author is. The writing is at the level of a boy's action comic - I started using the highlight feature on my Kindle to count the number of times 'Nazi thugs' was used, then became aware of the number of times 'well-appointed' was used to describe a room, then the recurring description of people in distress as 'the poor woman' or 'the poor man', and on and on it went. In fact there was one complete paragraph that was used early in the book to describe the Nazi secret organisation, which was then reproduced almost word for word later in the book - and it wasn't a stylistic intention. Cut and paste finger twitch or bad memory by the author? The culmination was the description of the Molotov cocktail and machine gun attack which only needed to include the words 'Donner und blitzen' to completely recreate a scene from a 1950's Eagle comic or Biggles annual. I thought the book must be the author's first attempt at writing, but was stunned to see Mr P has several novels under his belt. The plot was a thought provoking concept, but it deserved to be penned by someone who could write. Or is Michael Parker actually a computer software novel writing program? It certainly reads that way.


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