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L. M. Bailey
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Warriors of the Storm (The Last Kingdom Series, Book 9)
Warriors of the Storm (The Last Kingdom Series, Book 9)
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The best combination of storytelling and history., 30 May 2016
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I'm addicted to this whole series. It's a great story but it's also as accurate about the times as Cornwell can make it. Where he deviates from known history he tells us in the Historical Note at the end. The books are gripping to read but they also lead you into the equally fascinating real world of pre-Conquest Britain.


The Good Father
The Good Father
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, 11 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: The Good Father (Kindle Edition)
This book is way too long. The premise is interesting, but the writing is longwinded and dull. I read to the end to find out if a) the son was a murderer and b) if there was a reason. The end was convincing but again incredibly slow. And a lot of the detail of other murders was again too long so it felt like padding. I have no objection to long books; when you are absorbed in another world you don't want it to end - but that was far from being the case here.


caseable Fire Cover (7" Tablet, 5th Generation - 2015 Release), Colorful Stripes 1
caseable Fire Cover (7" Tablet, 5th Generation - 2015 Release), Colorful Stripes 1
Price: £15.99

2.0 out of 5 stars This looked fun in the picture but the reality is that it ..., 6 Mar. 2016
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This looked fun in the picture but the reality is that it looks incredibly cheap. I was dismayed when I unpacked it.


21 Aldgate
21 Aldgate
Price: £7.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good story buried, 31 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: 21 Aldgate (Kindle Edition)
This was a good story that should have been told by someone else - and EDITED by someone - anyone. The bones of the novel are great: the two very different settings, Chelsea and Aldgate, the Jewish East End perspective on London and the new suburbs, Paul Maze's involvement in the war and his WWI book. But the structure of the book, the characterisation and the writing are awful. Other reviewers have commented on basic mistakes of fact; there are also dozens of grammatical and spelling errors, and words omitted and doubled up. But although poor grammar is irritating, it doesn't spoil a book for me. That was done by the limp structure and the cardboard characters (even Churchill sounded like Paul Maze, who sounded like Rogers, who sounded like every other male character except Henry). Situations arose full of drama - the search for Aunt Lizzie, the illness of Sula, the birth of Victoria - and then faded away. Clara was the worst character. We were constantly being told - not shown - what a feisty, independent-thinking woman she was, but all we read was cliché upon cliché. She never had an original thought, she never showed any humour or wit, she was boorish towards her husband and banal in her speech. There was no obvious reason for Paul Maze to fall in love with her except for her (constantly mentioned) blonde beauty.

There were positives! I bought the book for its depiction of the East End before and during the war and was not disappointed in the account of a Jewish family. In fact, the most colourful writing was about the busy life within number 21. The Chelsea part was less interesting, showing no real knowledge of the area or its people, whereas the blurb led me to believe it would be presented as a detailed contrast to East End life. A few mentions of a butler, a limo, a posh frock and some visits from Churchill don't exactly conjure up 1930s Chelsea.

For people interested in first-hand accounts of this period I would urge them to read any of the numerous memoirs of both rich and poor, for example Silvertown by Melanie McGrath or the Diaries of Harold Nicolson.


After You'd Gone
After You'd Gone
by Maggie O'Farrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm amazed at these good reviews, 8 Dec. 2014
This review is from: After You'd Gone (Paperback)
I'm amazed at these good reviews. There are so many better books out there. It's a predictable, long-winded story of two-dimensional characters where the tragedy is based on an issue that has one very obvious solution that isn't even explored. Alice is irritating, her sisters and friend Rachel are all lovely in exactly the same way, her mother is angry - just angry, all the time - and the men are cyphers. Can you even believe that the dull, aggressive Anne could have a lover? That John is so loveable and gorgeous when we have so little to go on? And when his conversation is so dull? I read to the end thinking something must happen to justify all these words, but no, nothing remotely surprising or well-written happened at all.


Guilt: Department Q 4 (Department Q Series)
Guilt: Department Q 4 (Department Q Series)
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Second rate sentimental sensationalism, 5 Jun. 2014
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I was so disappointed in this book. The other three were variable but I enjoyed them. This was like a Jeffrey Archer. All the criminals are psychotic, Rose and Assad are unknowable and undeveloped, the shooting of Morck has yet another outing to no conclusion, Morck himself becomes more unlikeable with each novel and a lot of the scenes are just unbelievable as the author struggles to come up with yet another gruesome death. Indeed, a key plotline here (set in the past) is plain silly. And the last scene? Sentimental rubbish and lazy writing. I was annoyed that I'd wasted time and money on the book.


Redemption (Department Q)
Redemption (Department Q)
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Rather long-winded, 2 Jun. 2014
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I was reading this on Kindle. The plots had trundled along nicely after a great beginning and I looked forward to the conclusion - then noticed I'd only read 48%! There really isn't as much of a thrill if you're just waiting for the police to catch up with what you (mostly) already know. I've enjoyed the books but now wonder if the villains are too one dimensionally villainous. There's nothing below psychopath. And what was the point of the Rose/Yrsa switch? And Mia and the fire? The latter didn't make sense on any level.

I'd also like a bit more humour from Carl if he's going to be forever lighting up, sleeping, swatting flies and being boorish to his colleagues.

I'll buy the 4th though.


Montalbano's First Case (The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)
Montalbano's First Case (The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sack the translators!, 17 Feb. 2014
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I love the Montalbano books. They are witty, well written, have rounded characters I care about and are full of references to good food - perfect light reading. This one is only tolerable because I am so hooked on the characters and the setting I want to know how it all started. (I haven't seen the TV series.) But the translation! People don't call in or visit, they 'swing by'; the main street in Vigata is now the 'main drag'. The cliches are so abundant it's sometimes difficult to spot the original language in between. And what editor would allow this sentence: 'His father was dressed elegantly as usual and his movements were very elegant as well.' It's not the worst; it just happens to be on the page I'm reading.

I feel sad!


Wildlife of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (Traveller's Guide)
Wildlife of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (Traveller's Guide)
by David Hosking
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.58

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for animals; bad for birds, 21 Nov. 2013
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I bought this book hoping to identify all the new animals and birds I would be seeing on safari. It wasn't easy.

The good points? The book is compact and easy to carry around. The colour pictures are generally very good and there is one per animal/bird. The animal section had some interesting background information as well as descriptions. There is a small section of the most common trees and flowers.

Not so good? The bird descriptions are detailed but lack the one thing that will often identify a bird at a distance or in dense forest - its call. The photos only show the birds in profile which is not so useful at a quick glance if, e.g, an ordinary looking bird has an orange patch under its wings that you can read about afterwards but not spot immediately. A simple profile of the bird n flight would have been useful. I would also have valued a more obvious division of the birds. It's apparent that birds of a certain type are grouped together but there are no headings or breaks, or even a note of what the groups are, so I often found myself flapping through the pages (134 of them) to find the most likely area for the bird I was looking at. (The animal section is the same - no divisions - but it's quicker to leaf through as the pictures are bigger and the animals are more easily identified anyway.) When our guide identified a bird and I looked it up I was disappointed to find very little information apart from its distribution and the detailed physical description. The animal section has additional behavioural and habitat facts.

My advice would be to buy a dedicated bird book if that is your interest.


A Killer In Winter: The Ninth Matthew Bartholomew Chronicle
A Killer In Winter: The Ninth Matthew Bartholomew Chronicle
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and complicated, 28 Oct. 2013
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I think all the favourable reviews for this book must be because the medieval Cambridge background, excellently described, has blinded people to the tedious, unnecessarily complicated plot. As one character was gasping out plot detail after plot detail to our hero (who by the way didn't solve anything), I struggled to remember who all the people were. So many names, so many completely forgettable characters. I realised how bad it all was when I knew I didn't care who had killed whom or who was related to whom. I just wanted the pain to stop. No detail is too small to omit or to repeat. No chance is missed to ask question after question about the plot status, questions that cover the most unlikely events as well as the most obvious. The reader could do without both. I love the setting and the historical detail and would be happy to think I had a whole series to read, but I couldn't put myself through this again.


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