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Andrew Ives (France)

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I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry
I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry
Price: £3.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, moving and even educational, 20 May 2013
Ordinarily, I probably wouldn't have chosen to read a book in this genre, although I do enjoy the occasional autobiography. Having read a few of Susie Kelly's other books, I gave it a try and found this to be arguably the best of them.

Much of this book is set in 1950s-60s Kenya - a place and era I knew virtually nothing about, and it was these parts especially that I felt appeared 'in Technicolor' to me.

Even a 'roughty toughty' bloke like me couldn't help but be swept up by the emotional rollercoaster towards the end. This book must've been utterly exhausting to write. A very decent 4.25* out of 5*.

Lying in Wait
Lying in Wait
Price: £1.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough but rather undemanding, 13 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lying in Wait (Kindle Edition)
Before I start, let me point out that this isn't really my kind of genre but I didn't realise that until I was about a quarter of the way through. Lying in Wait is very much a 1970s-era, semi-underworld IRA thriller, without quite as much of the subterfuge and thrills that one might expect.

That said, Elizabeth Jasper's writing style is pleasant enough. The prose flows easily and is never stodgy or hard-going. I wouldn't say the story was particularly pacy, but it moved along quickly enough. The book is also rather long, so the reader gets their money's worth.

I would've rated this 4*, if not for the two main gripes I have. The first is easily fixed. I found 135 mistakes or typos of every kind - typos, words missing, hyphenation, many question marks missing. It looked to me as if the text had been spell-checked but not proofread. It needs a good proofread and dare I say, a little editing too. Some minor happenings get a whole paragraph, other major ones warrant hardly a line.

The 2nd gripe is rather more difficult to fix. The denouement for me was quite unbelievable and the outcome predictable. The Kerry scene was rather chaotic and I'm not sure I really understood who did what for the most part.

All said and done, I quite enjoyed this book. It just needs a little polishing. 3.5/5

Hunting Light (Prequel to The Lifelight Series Book 0)
Hunting Light (Prequel to The Lifelight Series Book 0)

4.0 out of 5 stars Short and pacy indie prequel., 5 Mar. 2013
Having read the first Lifelights book some time ago and finding it one of the better-written indies out there, I saw this prequel on free download and gave it a try. It is rather short and took me about a day to read on and off.

Alina's writing style is very agreeable, flows easily and seems to be deliberately mid-Atlantic. Although she is from UK, the story is set in US so it should be equally pleasing to readers from either side of the Pond.

I liked it more than I expected, especially the uncommonly family-friendly 'Cert PG' nature of the story. I was never bored as the pages kept flipping by. I personally prefer something a little more heavyweight, but I'm probably not the intended audience either. An ideal read for a short holiday or a long train journey. 4*

The Magic Of France - Memories Of Life & Travel In l'Hexagone
The Magic Of France - Memories Of Life & Travel In l'Hexagone

4.0 out of 5 stars I downloaded this when it was free..., 21 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Short and sweet, The Magic of France makes a pleasingly varied introduction to Susie Kelly's books. This Kindle 'taster' contains excerpts from several books, most of which I had read already, but I still found them quaintly amusing. I liked the drawings inside rather more than the cover art. Recommended.

The Valley Of Heaven And Hell: Cycling In The Shadow Of Marie Antoinette
The Valley Of Heaven And Hell: Cycling In The Shadow Of Marie Antoinette
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Printed version: Makes me want to visit Paris again!, 16 Feb. 2013
This is the second Susie Kelly book that I've read, and I liked it almost as much I did Swallows & Robins. The writing style is very agreeable, Susie's charitable views on everything she saw made her come across as a likeable virtual travelling companion and her choice of landmarks from Paris and its surrounding areas kept the book varied and interesting until the very end.

I've lived in France for 8yrs myself and thought I knew plenty about French history, yet still I found frequent educational surprises for me. I've been to Paris several times, yet the author's infectious enthusiasm for the area makes me want to visit the parts that I missed - if perhaps not by bike...! The book version that I read was printed wonderfully well, in rather large type which seemed like reading in HD after reading on the Kindle so much.

I hope to read the other two Susie Kelly travel books soon, if they're all worth 4.25 stars out of 5 like this one. Recommended.

20/20 Blindsight
20/20 Blindsight
Price: £2.35

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sample only - never boring, but lacking in artistry, 6 Feb. 2013
This review is from: 20/20 Blindsight (Kindle Edition)
I had hoped this would be a near-future story, but is in fact rather more of a detective story with a few unwanted smatterings of politics.

The story itself moves along at a reasonable pace and I was never bored by it. A few comic similes were welcome, but all too rare. My main gripe with 2016 is that it feels unfinished - in the not-too-lengthy sample, I found plenty of errors. "Fround", "awhile" used wrongly three times, quotation marks forgotten here and there, "again" instead of "against", that kind of thing. Certain sentences are quite terribly written and the vocabulary never reaches any heady heights.

With a thorough proofread, this might get up to 3*, but as it stands, I'm giving it 2.5/5.

The Great Rock N Roll Doomsday Tour
The Great Rock N Roll Doomsday Tour
Price: £1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Short, pacy but not particularly hilarious, 20 Jan. 2013
I realised early on that this was a tongue-in-cheek fantasy romp, maybe something like Hitchhikers' Guide and I suppose having read it, the story is somewhat akin to a cross between Hotshots, Airplane and a ropey Marvel comic.

The jokes (usually in brackets) coupled with a faux Americanness quickly became very tiresome indeed. Although the plot moved along at quite a pace, was never really boring and tied up nicely at the end, by about 20-25% distance I was growing weary. I saw it through to the end because of the (unfathomably) high ratings on GoodReads and because this is not a long book. I had hoped for some laughs later on, but they just didn't arrive.

Spellings and Kindle-isation were pretty immaculate throughout, but there were plenty of other mistakes. This looked to me like it had had a quick once-over by a casual onlooker and was promptly published. I made Kindle notes of the real howlers - totalling 41 - but there were quite a few more such as occasional words, hyphens and question marks missing, "of" instead of "off", capital letters, ellipsis, and even that hardy perennial "it's" which crops up a few times. I would also expect the German characters to know (a) that nouns begin with capital letters in German (b) plurals for words such as "Hausfrau" which were wrong.

All in all, this book wavered between 2.5 and 3.25 stars. Tiresome at times, but never really really bad. It has to be 3*.

Born On a Blue Day
Born On a Blue Day
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sample only - pleasant, well-written and very interesting, 13 Dec. 2012
It hardly took a few pages for me to become totally fascinated by this book. I never found it the slightest bit dry and geeky as one might imagine and the pages just flew by. Amazing.

His Robot Wife
His Robot Wife
Price: £0.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sample only - a very pleasant, agreeable sci-fi read, 5 Dec. 2012
This review is from: His Robot Wife (Kindle Edition)
Personally, I tend to go for the less-outlandish kind of sci-fi - stories set a little way into the future, set on Earth, where things happen that I can relate to and believe in.

This is one such story. I found it instantly accessible from the word go and read through the (short) sample without a pause. Unusually for Kindle indies, I actually wanted to read on.

There were a few tiny glitches - "in from of" instead of "in front of" and similar, the cover is on the 2nd page and doesn't quite fill the Kindle screen. No big deal, but it could do with another once-over by a proofreader to make it 4 stars out of 5.

The Secret Entity
The Secret Entity

3.0 out of 5 stars Sample only - interesting, pacy, a little slapdash in places, 4 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Secret Entity (Kindle Edition)
The sample to this book is quite a lengthy one and gives a fair indication of the style & content of the whole.

I started to read it with a heavy heart once I saw the cover picture shrunk into a quarter screen and an unnecessary margin throughout on the Kindle, then God was spelled wrongly with/without a capital G many times along with a few other little niggles. e.g. plenty of instances of an ellipsis with 5 or more dots.

That said, the story is quite pacy. Lots of characters come and go, all reasonably well-written with signs of depth. The general premise would probably stir up religious fanatics, but as I'm not one of them, I found it an interesting enough read. I even wanted to read on past the sample. I'd give it 3.5 stars out of 5 with the bugs fixed, but as it stands, 3/5.

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