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Nancy Williams "tigertwo" (London, England)
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Elemental Arcane: An Urban Fantasy Novel Series (The Eldritch Files Book 1)
Elemental Arcane: An Urban Fantasy Novel Series (The Eldritch Files Book 1)
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars this one was pretty good - good enough that I wanted to get ..., 19 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For a free book, this one was pretty good - good enough that I wanted to get on and buy the second book in the series when I had finished. I have to admit I didn't warm to Samantha quite as much as I thought I would. There is a fine line between being independent and being plain rude and I felt that she crossed that line on a number of occasions. But I did like the magic world building and I did like the story. I think it deserved a solid 3.5 stars.


The Hemingway Hoax
The Hemingway Hoax
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but odd..., 23 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
review What an odd book? Somehow, if John Baird succeeds in forging the lost stories of Hemingway, he will disrupt not just the world in this universe but also in all parallel universes, and bring disaster. But who is John Baird? He's a man who cannot seem to die, who slips from one universe to another and who is uncannily close to Hemingway himself. The ending of this book still has me puzzled.


Killing Me Softly
Killing Me Softly
by Nicci French
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A weak main character and predictable ending, 4 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Killing Me Softly (Paperback)
Would you catch eyes with someone in the street and be in bed with them during your lunchbreak several hours later, only to then leave partner, friends, family and everything to marry that person who is so clearly trouble that you'd have to be blind not to notice? I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief for this book. The characters were predictable. Alice lacked backbone and was so naive to do what she did that it bordered on irritating, and Adam was simply unpleasant.

Sexy? Not in my opinion. I found I couldn't engage with any of the characters, I could tell the ending right from the beginning, and the discovery of the crime was so tenuous that it was incredible Alice discovered it. It struck me as a book churned out by the author because it was demanded by the publisher's contract, not one written because the author had had a fantastic idea.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2009 4:15 PM GMT


Heart of Darkness: AND Youth
Heart of Darkness: AND Youth
by Joseph Conrad
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark classic - dated but fascinating, 6 Nov. 2008
Probably one of the most studied novels in tertiary education today, The Heart of Darkness is one of those books which we all 'should' read. Having read several other books on the Congo, I was attracted to this edition due to the introduction by Tim Butcher. The introduction was good, placing the story in its time, but recognising its timelessness.

The book is a story within a story - the narrator, Marlow, describes an event in his past where he is sent up the Congo River in a dilapidated steamboat in order to rescue an enigmatic man named Kurtz. The river and the country are never named directly, but the story is clearly set in the colonial period of Belgian Congo - a time when racism and exploitation was rife. Although the plot is very simple, the story explores themes of civilization and depravity, black and white, and cruelty and kindness. It is grim reading, although it is a grim period of history. The prose is dense but evocative, and the story remains relevant as Tim Butcher points out.

Perhaps because the novella has been so talked about, it has lost its shock value somewhat. Conrad's ideas are certainly of his time, and his characters lack a little bit of depth. Nevertheless, this edition with the inclusion of Youth at the end, is worth the read.


The Gargoyle
The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and unusual, but it loses its way a bit, 4 Nov. 2008
This review is from: The Gargoyle (Hardcover)
There is no doubt that this is a work of vivid imagination. It is a combination of fantasy, fairy tale, horror, romance and cautionary tale. I wasn't sure whether I loved it or hated it. I think I loved it because it broke the boundaries of your average story, but I hated it when the author found himself resorting to cliches, sickly sweet stories and evangelising.

As a first novel, I think this is a great start. As an idea, it is magnificent. I loved the fact you questioned all along which parts of the story were real and which weren't. The book jumps between the present day circumstances, where the narrator is a victim of some horrific burns, coming to terms to the fact that he is now a 'monster' and the fourteenth century where he had allegely lived as a mercenary and Marianne Engel, the strange woman who began to visit him in the hospital, was a nun and his lover.

Even with his questionable past, I warmed to the narrator right from the outset. Strangely enough, I found Marianne Engel slightly irritating most of the way through. This is a story of redemption and hope, but this theme might have been layered on a little thick at times. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining read, and I am sure the author will only get better.


A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, poignant - get ready to get angry, 4 Nov. 2008
This is a magnificent story of the plight of women in Afghanistan, both before, during and after the Taliban. It traces the story of Mariam and Laila, both from very different background, but both finding themselves living without freedom, with constant violence and with nothing but their love for one another and the dream of a better life to keep them going.

Books such as this are essential reading because so many of us are ignorant to the every day lives of people living in a war torn country such as Afghanistan. We hear about the victims of regimes, but when you look at stories in newsprint, or hear them on TV whilst you are eating a good dinner, or living your comfortable life, they can be distant. This book, despite it being fiction, allows you to see what it could be like to live in Afghanistan as a woman with very few choices. If you are like me, it will make you furiously angry that in today's modern world people are still treated this way, simply by virtue of the fact that they were born female.

Nevertheless, this book is full of hope. It is beautifully written and demonstrates how the will to survive can prevail, especially when boosted by love, no matter how unexpected. I think this a mature novel written with thought and understanding. I had to keep putting it down to bring my emotions back in check, but I couldn't actually stop until I'd finished.


The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919
The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919
by Mark Thompson
Edition: Hardcover

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating history of a forgotten front, 10 Oct. 2008
For those of you who have read Hemingway's Farewell to Arms, you would be aware that the a war was fought on the Italian Front during the Great War. However, because so much is written about the Western Front, Gallipoli and even the Eastern Front, it is easy to forget this part of the war. Thompson, however, has brought together a book which seeks to redress this balance - and in my opinion it does so beautifully.

Unlike many dry history books, Thompson paints a picture of suffering, confusion and unbelievable bravery from a front which claimed millions of lives over the course of the War. Many of us know how the advent of technology brought about countless deaths on the Western Front, but countless more were lost on the Italian front due to the adherence to out of date tactics and ideas, and a futile attempt to gain land towards which many of the soliders fighting felt very little.

The book doesn't just provide names and dates. It also explores the politics, poetry and society which emerged out of the fray. It is easy to read, well researched and engaging without alienating the reader in any way. For a comprehensive understanding of an under represented period of history, you couldn't do much better.


If My Father Loved Me
If My Father Loved Me
by Rosie Thomas
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Empty characters, dull story - a disappointing read, 13 Mar. 2008
This review is from: If My Father Loved Me (Paperback)
Despite reading this book from cover to cover, it was a truly disappointing read. The characters were contrived, the circumstances were irritating and the ending was so saccharine sweet that it was awful. The one thing that saved this book were the descriptions of London which were lovely and which were the parts which show the author's skill, but sadly the rest of the story didn't match up.


Regeneration
Regeneration
by Pat Barker
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A psychological look at World War I, 13 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Regeneration (Paperback)
Unlike many novels about World War I, Regeneration doesn't offer graphic tragedy and horror. Rather, it focuses on the psychological tragedy of soldiers who live through it and have to then live with their experiences. It is based on the story of Siegfried Sassoon who wrote a Declaration of protest against the futility of the war in 1917 and was sent to a psychiatric hospital as a result. Barker then looks at the war through the mental suffering of those officers who have been sent there.

This results in an arms length view, but it gives you time to consider the nature of break-down, shell shock, human psychological resistance, misunderstanding of the mind in the early 1900's and the sadness which comes from the suffocating expectation placed upon men of the time.

A thoughtful novel which mixes fact and fiction to produce an alternative picture of World War I.


Get into Bed with Google: Top Ranking Search Optimisation Techniques
Get into Bed with Google: Top Ranking Search Optimisation Techniques
by Jon Smith
Edition: Paperback

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, to the point and easy to understand, 13 Mar. 2008
This book helps to demystify SEO to a degree. You don't have to be a programmer to understand it. It doesn't get bogged down in technicality. It just gives 52 easy to follow tips on how to make the best on the search engines. It is very quick to read but that doesn't detract on the thoroughness. If you want an in depth book on SEO, this isn't it. But if you want to grasp what it is all about and gain some valuable tips quickly, then this book is fantastic.


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