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Mme Suzanne Lageard

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Earth Drummer: Volume 2 (Equilibria)
Earth Drummer: Volume 2 (Equilibria)
by Echo Fox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.76

5.0 out of 5 stars A great follow-up to Wave Singers!, 19 April 2016
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After finishing Wave Singers, the first in the Equilibria series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Earth Drummer, the next in line.

Whilst Merry, Wave Singers' heroine, did not at first know of the magical world of Pangaea and we as readers discovered it along with her, here we are immersed in the land of Cerea from the start. From the very first pages, I was completely drawn into this new environment, where extraordinary things are accepted as commonplace (such as each human having his or her own animal totem - I was soon longing to have one myself!).

Both Gentian and Geanna appealed to me intensely as the heroes of the novel. Though we see the world through Gentian's eyes, I felt Geanna was just as strongly drawn as he was, and I was very interested in what her fate would be. Her situation is not easy as she, much more than her brother, is under the command of her father, and I willed her to fight her unfair treatment, which resonated very deeply in me.

Just as Merry wasn't perfect, neither are Gentian and Geanna, and for me that is one of the great strengths of both the novel and the series as a whole. I warmed to these two characters who do their best in confusing and difficult situations, and empathised with their doubts and emotional turmoil. My need to know what they would do next along with my thirst for discovering more aspects of their world kept me turning the pages, and I finished this one just as quickly as I had the first!


Wave Singers (The Equilibria Collection)
Wave Singers (The Equilibria Collection)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars First tantalising glimpse of the enticing world of Pangaea..., 17 April 2016
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I loved the story of Merry and of the Mer people, told in the Wave Singers, the first book in The Equilibria Collection. We first get to know Merry as a normal teenage girl with a special talent for singing, and then follow her as she discovers a new and enchanting world. What Echo Fox does wonderfully well is allow the reader to explore the parallel, fantastical, universe which Merry is drawn into at the same time as she does, making for an exciting and page-turning read.
Another thing which I loved about this book is that Merry, the main character, is allowed to be flawed, but remains incredibly loveable nonetheless. At times she makes mistakes, the same mistakes any teenager might make, especially when it comes to love. She is also sometimes bewildered or frustrated by what happens to her; but ultimately is a strong and fierce heroine who takes control of her own destiny.
After finishing this book I couldn't wait to read more about this world in the next volumes of the series!


The Wake: Man Booker Prize 2014 Longlist Edition
The Wake: Man Booker Prize 2014 Longlist Edition

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unable to get past the archaic writing style, 19 July 2015
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I had read a number of reviews before buying this book, suggesting that it would be easy to get into despite the unfamiliar, old writing and spelling of words. However, I could not believe as I struggled through the first few pages and chapters that the whole book would continue in the same way, as it really was very difficult going and did not get any easier. I kept expecting to turn the page to find some 'normal' writing. In the end, I did not care enough about what I had read in the beginning of the book to keep going and gave up on reading it. I would not recommend it as a good read.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving winner of the Man Booker price, 19 July 2015
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This book was beautiful and harrowing at the same time.
I found the writing exquisite and evocative, well matched to describing both his protagonist Dorrigo's life before he leaves for the war and the horrors he encouters whilst captive in a railway building internment camp in the jungle.
I found that part of the story almost too realistic, sad and poignant to read. Many times, I was overcome by emotion at the sheer cruelty shown by the camp leaders to their prisoners.
Flanagan does a wonderful job of describing Dorrigo's inner life - his motivations and how they are in turn seen by others. He is not perfect by any means and yet I found myself caring deeply for him.


St Andrews Tartan Golf Club Head Covers (pack of 3)
St Andrews Tartan Golf Club Head Covers (pack of 3)

2.0 out of 5 stars whilst the covers look great and my boyfriend, 19 July 2015
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Unfortunately, whilst the covers look great and my boyfriend, whom I bought them for, really enjoys the design, they are not elasticated and have repeatedly fallen off his clubs as he plays. He has a number of times had to retrace his steps to go and pick up a fallen cover.


Astonish Me
Astonish Me
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, evocative piece of writing, 18 July 2015
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This review is from: Astonish Me (Kindle Edition)
I adored this novel, about a ex-ballerina and what her life is like once she is married and no longer dances.
I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful and I strived to read through the pages slowly, savouring each word and sentence. I felt it was a sensuous novel, beautifully describing the world of dance and the sacrifices ballerinas make, what Paris is like, and also the way in which we all make sacrifices and transform as we grow older.
I cared immensely about Joan, the protagonist, to the extent that I sometimes wanted to shout at her, for falling for the wrong boy and not always being able to show the man who does love her that she loves him back. I was really gripped by the story and felt fully immersed into it.


A Visit From the Goon Squad
A Visit From the Goon Squad
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 18 July 2015
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I really enjoyed this book and it stayed with me for quite a while after I finished it.
Egan does a great job of making the reader care about characters who aren't always likable, who repeatedly make wrong decisions and who live in a world I for one do not know that much about and cannot really emphasise with, though I was fascinated by it. She does not hide her characters' flaws, especially those of the two main male protagonists, Benny and Lou. Still, despite initially fearing I wouldn't get into it, I found this book a real page turner and was keen to find out how things would turn out. I especially liked another charater, Sasha, whose vulnerabilities are laid out, and rooted for her to be happy.
Egan masterfully plays with time, keeping the reader engaged all along. All in all, I would decribe this novel as a real joy to read.


Presumed Innocent: The Ultimate Thriller - With a Killer Twist (Kindle County Book 1)
Presumed Innocent: The Ultimate Thriller - With a Killer Twist (Kindle County Book 1)
Price: £3.79

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, 2 Sept. 2014
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I really enjoyed this thriller. I don't usually read thrillers, although when I do, I tend to enjoy them. Presumed Innocent was first on a list of best thrillers published by The Times, so I thought I would give it a go. I had read a few other very different books beforehand, and was really keen to read something with a well structured plot. Basically, I was looking for a page turner.
I wasn't disappointed at all. This book is excellent. For around the first third of the novel, Turow sets the scene: a murder is being investigated by Rusty, who works for the PA's office. It gets increasingly more complicated as we find out (pretty early on, these revelations aren't spoilers) that Rusty had had an affair with the woman who was murdered. I don't want to reveal too much, but the rest of the novel is pretty much an account of the court case for the prosecution of the presumed murdered, and is very effectively handled by Turow. The reader continues to question what he hears and the voice of Rusty, from whose perspective the story is told. It kept me guessing almost until the very end! I read this book over the space of a few days, and definitely agree with The Times' praise of it.


Recapitulation (Penguin Modern Classics)
Recapitulation (Penguin Modern Classics)
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after Crossing to Safety, 2 Sept. 2014
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I recently read another book of Stegner's, Crossing to Safety, which I asbolutely adored. I was less taken, however, with Recapitulation, another of his novels.
In Recapitulation, we follow Bruce Mason, who once escaped from his life in Salt Lake City but has now come back for his aunt's funeral. Whilst he is there, he visits the town and as he does, he travels through his memories of the past. I found this novel difficult in a few ways; first, Bruce isn't exactly a very sympathetic first-person narrator, especially the younger version of him. As he matures, he does become more likable; for me, the book's main achievement was to illustrate how easily we give our empathy. Indeed, despite my reservations about Bruce's character, I did find myself rooting for him throughout the book, and was to some degree anxious to find out what had happened to him.
I also had some issues with the writing in this book; whilst Stagner's style is also very literary and complex in Crossing to Safety, I felt that it served the story and wasn't obscure. In Recapitulation, on the other hand, a number of metaphors were used where I couldn't picture what was being described or how it matched the situation and a few times, I found myself rereading a passage over and over again, struggling to understand what was being said. All in all, it didn't draw me in much.
I still gave this novel three stars because I did enjoy reading it despite the points made above, and I was compelled to finish it. There is also some evocation of a very specific period of American life in a Mormon city, which I knew very little about and which I therefore found interesting.


Moon Tiger (Penguin Modern Classics)
Moon Tiger (Penguin Modern Classics)
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A well written but somehow superficial novel, 23 July 2014
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I feel oddly ambigious towards this book.
I have only just finished reading it and yet it is receding from me already, leaving no particular mark.
It's the story of Claudia, a formidable, unusual and beautiful woman, from her passionate childhood fights with her brother Gordon all the way to her deathbed. In the middle, there is the war. Claudia was a war correspondent in Egypt during the Second World War, experiencing the battle if not firsthand, than at least from closeby.
There is some value in this book, for me particularly in its account of the war. Lively did succeed in giving me a sense of what it would have been like to be there, of the weird cohabitation of a normal expat life in the city and soldiers fighting and dying in the desert. But I was somehow kept at a distance from the emotions the characters felt, especially Claudia, and that prevented me from being engrossed in the book, in its descriptions, in the atmosphere Lively seeks to render.
Claudia seems opaque to me because she is opaque to herself. I gained little understanding of her motivations, of the reasons she choses certain relationships over others. She seems oddly passive for someone who sees herself as commandeering and argumentative. We are given some insight into the way she sees her brother, and we know that she has experienced a deep and overwhelming love story. And yet I feel as if I've been told these things, rather than shown them. For instance, I found the dialogue between her and the man she is crazy about oddly sterile, not especially appealing.
The book was an enjoyable read and the writing is skilled; but to me it felt one-dimensional. I usually love fiction which makes me ask questions about the world, or shows me things I might have overlooked myself. But here, I felt like an outsider.


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