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Reviews Written by
nickyb (Hong Kong)

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A God in Ruins
A God in Ruins
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great God, 15 July 2016
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This review is from: A God in Ruins (Kindle Edition)
As I am a great fan of Kate Atkinson, and she can do no wrong. I so loved Life After Life and just couldn't wait for this "sister"novel.And of course I wasn't disappointed. Her writing is superb. It is the sort of writing you wish could go on for ever. The story telling is exquisite drawing you in and leaving you out to dry with all your emotions cruelly exposed. Atkinson really makes you feel for her characters. They are annoying and lovable. Once you pick up the latest Atkinson book you feel a need to read the whole collection again. Just love her.


A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
Price: £5.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Friends, 15 July 2016
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A most informative look at the intriguing life of Kim Philby. You really can't go wrong with a Ben Macintyre book. He writes with style. He provicdes a marvellous insight in to a man you either love or hate. Macintyre doesn't just regurgitate the Philby tales he puts real meat on the bones. And a very interesting Le Carre insight at the end.


The Year of the Runaways
The Year of the Runaways
Price: £5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Reckless Runaways, 15 July 2016
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An excellent account of the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrants from India and Pakistan in the UK. Some tremendous story-telling here and great characters. All believable. The author provides some most informative background to the various characters who are striving to work hard and succeed in the UK so that their families back home can survive the social disharmony there. You really feel for these young people who are desperately trying to make a living in the UK against all odds. Beautifully written.


The Sympathizer
The Sympathizer
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars So-so Sympathizer, 15 July 2016
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This review is from: The Sympathizer (Kindle Edition)
Was really looking forward to reading this acclaimed novel especially as I was teenager during the Vietnam War and watched those first TV pictures in my living room in south London. Also in the past year I have visited both Saigon and Hanoi and chatted to quite a few people about the war and its after effects. I thought the first person style of writing made this quite a difficult read and the author failed to inform the reader about what made the lead character tick. Why he had chosen that particular path and what he hoped to achieve. I felt very disconnected from the narrative and the long torture sequence at the end was tiresome. It was OK but really quite a big disappointment.


Canal Dreams
Canal Dreams
by Iain Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Dull Dreams, 9 May 2016
This review is from: Canal Dreams (Paperback)
Actually if Banks had edited out all the dream sequences in this book it would have been ten times better. I really don't understand what they're doing in the novel. They slow down the read and confuse the reader. This could have been a very interesting novel but it fails on so many levels. There is little direction for the reader. What's the book about? The loneliness of the successful cellist? Fear of flying? Lost love? Or who to take on a gang of lusty, ruthless terrorists single handed? A most peculiar novel.


Two Lives
Two Lives
by Vikram Seth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Truthful Two, 9 May 2016
This review is from: Two Lives (Paperback)
This is a fascinating investigation into the lives of the author's Indian uncle and German aunt. It's an almost embarrassingly truthful account of a couple who may be life partners but who also may not be truly in love. It is also an emotional look at a man who enjoys a few brief years of pre war happiness in Germany before entering a war that leaves him a changed man. It shows someone who is incredibly hardworking, resilient and yet a man who you feel sorry for. Someone who is lost. The love of his life who he meets in Germany suffers enormous tragedies. Both are expats in Britain leading lives in a sort of exile. Seth is able to reveal much about their lives having lived with them for a short time when he finished his schooling in the UK and went to university. He became their adopted son really. He also had access after their deaths to a number of revealing letters his aunt wrote to family in Germany. It's a good book and an enthralling read especially for students of the Second World War.


High-Rise
High-Rise
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying High-rise, 23 April 2016
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This review is from: High-Rise (Kindle Edition)
I didn't engage with this novel as much as I did with the final Ballard trilogy because really this was a forerunner to Super-Cannes and the others in the trilogy. I only read it because I love Ballard and this novel has just been made into a high profile film. But I do recommend it especially if you have not read the trilogy. This is classic Ballard and is rather good especially as you are reading I suppose a Seventies book in 2016. As usual Ballard is far seeing, upsetting and a genius.


The Husband's Secret
The Husband's Secret
Price: £3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Humdrum Husband, 23 April 2016
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I am very surprised a novelist like Sophie Hannah can say this novel is a staggeringly brilliant book. It really is a very unforgettable two hour read. A book you may take on a plane or to the poolside. Nothing particularly wrong with it, it simply fails to engage. Some smart ideas here and some good writing. But the ideas are not really thought through or properly executed. When drama presents itself Moriarty shies away. Tangled storylines are presented and then quickly untangled. At times I was predicting some real conflict and emotion but in the end it all fell flat. And the end about fate was a real cop out.


A Little Life
A Little Life
Price: £3.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lowly Life, 28 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: A Little Life (Kindle Edition)
This is a difficult book to review because it left me feeling quite empty. It's a long long book and so during my several days of reading I felt elated, let down, excited, emotional, impressed and bored. It even made me angry! As so many other reviewers, especially the lowly starred ones, point out this is simply a story about a terribly abused boy who through the support of some unbelievable friends does really well. But he can never get over that abuse despite the enormous amount of love that is heaped upon him. This book is also about friendship rather than normal family relationships where there are parents with children and grand children and the conflicts that come with such formal relationships. Friendship delivers a different less formal bond that can easily be broken. So at times that casualness makes the book less dramatic or important. So what if these characters fall out of friendship? The only people they hurt are themselves. So it's a tough book to analyse yet it is a novel that is well worth reading - but probably too frustrating on many levels to say it's a great book.


Sleep Tight
Sleep Tight
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sensational Sleep, 28 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: Sleep Tight (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book two years ago and have only discovered it on my Kindle and decided to read it on holiday. It is a very gripping story from the first few lines. Once you've started you will not put this book down. All highly believable really with some great unreliable characters, good police work and some nice twists. This is a well written thriller that will keep you occupied and coming back for more.


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