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Sue Ryan "Sue" (Newcastle upon Tyne)

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Foxglove Summer (PC Peter Grant Book Book 5)
Foxglove Summer (PC Peter Grant Book Book 5)
Price: £5.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite make it...., 14 Jan. 2015
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A bit of a disappointment for me. Really enjoyed Aaronvitch's first four books all based in London - light, easy reading and amusing. Stories about PC Peter Grant, who is assigned to a branch (him and one other) of the Met Police who investigate 'unusual happenings' that may/may not involve magic. He is assisting an investigation into the disappearance of two young girls. Foxglove Summer, for me anyway, didn't quite 'get there'. And then it ended. A bit like watching a race when the leader is getting overtaken but the finishing post comes a bit too soon. I think if you've read this author's others.. it's an ok read and you'll hope his sixth one returns to form. If you haven't read Aaronovitch before, don't start with this one.. it will give you a false impression.


I Am the Messenger
I Am the Messenger
by Markus Zusak
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Zusak does extraordinary things with ordinary words....., 4 Jan. 2015
This review is from: I Am the Messenger (Paperback)
I've just finished 'I am the Messenger' by Markus Zusak.

Ed Kennedy, a young taxi driver, foils a bank robbery, has a moment of fame and then returns to his ordinary life, until a posted playing card, the Ace of Diamonds, sets him some tasks. While asking 'why me?' and wondering who set them, he completes them and the others that are given to him via the remaining Aces. Zusak's way of writing is wonderful and Ed was wrapped around my heart well before I'd even reached half way though the book. Like the Book Thief, it's a story about ordinary people. It doesn't have a war or Death as a narrator, to give it that extra bit of 'heart clutch', It does have moments of humour, darkness and sadness wrapped up alongside friendship, loyalty and love. I would like to know what the future has in store for Ed, his friends, Ritchie, Marv, Audrey and his dog, the Doorman.


Dark Places
Dark Places
Price: £3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars It gave me no pleasure., 20 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Dark Places (Kindle Edition)
I've just finished reading 'Dark Places' by Gillian Flynn and have taken no pleasure from so doing. This is a different 'kettle of fish' to her other two... with those, I did not enjoy the 'process' of reading but could enjoy having read them. If this had been my introduction to Flynn's work, it would also have been my last. In a way, I find it the least 'Dark' of the three tales...it had the feel of a 'scary tale told by the bully of the dorm, after lights out'. Socially isolated teenagers, dysfunctional families, manipulative children, hints of abuse, devil worship and slaughter of animals, all have their parts in the tale and, in a way, that prevented me feeling any involvement with the story, the writing or the reading. I finished it because I hate leaving books unfinished unless they are so bad that I just can't go on, or unless they bore me rigid. This book was neither bad (see the reviews) nor boring (see the reviews). I guess it just wasn't one for me.


Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars A clever story, skilled writing and a good read, but can I say I enjoyed it...?, 10 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Sharp Objects (Paperback)
Finishing 'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn has left me feeling as if I've been sitting in a damp and dank place and now, having got back into the light, I am getting the occasional whiff of the dark smell that has stayed cloyed to my clothes. Did I enjoy it? Should I give it three or four stars. A young woman, Camille, escapes the small town where she has been raised and becomes a 'cub' reporter on a minor Chicago newspaper. When she is sent back to cover the murder of a teenage girl, she returns to her family home. The closeness and 'closedness'; snobbery, bitchiness and uneasy under-currents of the community are well portrayed. Camille and the assigned detective, also an 'out of towner' share drinking time along with some information about the case. That the eventual outcome of the story was not totally a surprise suggests that my 'professional hat' slipped from its retired peg rather readily and probably accounts for my feelings of sadness and a little guilt that I could do nothing to stop it nor 'make it better'.


Fallout
Fallout
Price: £9.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Do I give it three or four stars? Or, even only two?, 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Fallout (Kindle Edition)
I have just finished reading 'Fallout' by Sadie Jones and I don't think I have enjoyed it as much as her previous three novels. Jones always writes about damaged characters and dysfunctional relationships and seeing them 'opened out' on the page can be painful and/or confusing for the reader and being able to see and understand why the characters are so flawed does not necessarily make them anymore likable. This is a book about four young people who aspire to work 'in the theatre'. The main two are, Luke, who wants to write plays, grows up in Northern England with a mother in a mental hospital and a father who has opted out of life, not just parenting; and Nina, the only child to a mostly absent mother who kids herself and Nina that she is a actress of some note. It is inevitable that Nina gets sent to acting school. Luke, meets Paul and Leigh when they stop their car to ask directions. Paul describes himself as a producer and Leigh as his assistant. They like Luke's naivety and openness about his life and spend a little time with him. When Luke decides to move to London, he arrives on Paul's doorstep and all four lives become more and more intertwined. Luke and Nina move into the spotlight, while Paul and Leigh appear to become supporting characters.

It is Luke's honesty 'of self' that attracts Paul and Nina and this is referred to several times. For Nina, who has lived with her mother's self-deception and manipulations all her life, this is both fascinating and frightening. Luke, who has wanted to 'feel love' has tried to find the emotion in many physical relationships but does not yet have the skill to recognise it. It is inevitable that these two characters both emotionally feed and feed-on each other. Luke's lack of guile is equally attractive to Paul and Leigh and their feelings for him come the nearest, I think, to what Luke is seeking. They love him and accept him and it is this love, I believe, that makes them appear passive in their roles in the book. Tony, Nina's husband, presents as a self-serving, rather sadistic misogynist who uses passive-aggression to manipulate and control Nina.

Laying over all this, like a blanket, is the stereotypical gender roles of the times and Jones points this out clearly when she has Leigh 'make a scene' outside the theatre where Tony's production is showing.

I did not enjoy reading this book and found it hard work to stay with it but I could not have stopped reading either. I felt all manner of emotions for the characters but never liked them. I kept expecting that moment when I would realise that I cared about the people I was reading about and it didn't really happen. I experienced a sort of 'softening' in the last two or three pages and now I look back and think, "I am glad I read it." and only now do I realise what an excellent and expressive title Sadie Jones chose for her clever book. So, how many stars do I give....?


The Necessary Harmless Cat Weatherproof Wall Plaque Gift / Ornament Free P&P
The Necessary Harmless Cat Weatherproof Wall Plaque Gift / Ornament Free P&P

4.0 out of 5 stars The little mouse is cute., 24 Nov. 2014
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I bought this as a gift for some cat-loving friends who have recently moved to a new home and were sorting the garden. I haven't seen it in situ yet, but they expressed their pleasure on receiving it.


Encore Cat Tin Tuna and Shrimp 70 g (Pack of 18)
Encore Cat Tin Tuna and Shrimp 70 g (Pack of 18)
Price: £16.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Try not to let your cats develop a taste for this..., 24 Nov. 2014
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If my cats had written the review, all but one would have given 5 stars. I didn't because I have no idea what it tastes like. It looks good though and is the only wet food one of my cats will eat. I'm glad I found it on Amazon because locally I can only find it in Tesco and they do occasionally sell out. I have bought the mixed boxes from Sainsbury's, but my cats do not appreciate the assortment.


Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad series Book 3)
Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad series Book 3)
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I've read this., 24 Nov. 2014
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My first read by this author. It took me a little time to get into the rhythm of the text, I think, because I'm not Irish, but could well imagine the close knit community that the story is played in. It involves two families living opposite each other with the shared history of day-to-day life. Historically, the families have always been at loggerheads which makes it very difficult for a teenage daughter of one family to enjoy her romance with a son of the other. One night, the couple disappear. The story moves to the present and is told by the same son who did not disappear but only not go home. He is now a policeman, married and divorced with one daughter. He goes back to his parents home in a professional role when a suitcase, thought to have belonged to the absent girl, turns up in a derelict house on the Place. Old and unsettled arguments are re-started, old enmities are just as strong and old truths and lies have to be sorted. But is blood thicker than 'the job'?

I enjoyed the book, probably more now, than I did at first.... an intricate weaving of family discord, ethical behaviour and love.


Verso Cover, Versailles Damask  [will only fit Kindle Paperwhite (5th and 6th Generation), Kindle (5th Generation), Kindle Touch (4th Generation) and Kindle (7th Generation)]
Verso Cover, Versailles Damask [will only fit Kindle Paperwhite (5th and 6th Generation), Kindle (5th Generation), Kindle Touch (4th Generation) and Kindle (7th Generation)]
Price: £34.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the cost., 24 Nov. 2014
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Bought this as a gift for a friend together with the basic Kindle. I think he likes the cover more than the Kindle! It feels and looks good and does exactly what it is supposed to do.


Joules Floral Leather Style Folio Case for Kindle 4/Touch/Paperwhite
Joules Floral Leather Style Folio Case for Kindle 4/Touch/Paperwhite

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable selfie-treat., 24 Nov. 2014
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Love the look and the feel of this as soon as it arrived and still do. I think it was a bit expensive but worth it now I have it. It holds the paper white Kindle securely and has a nice little envelope on the inside of the top cover where I keep my little bits of 'research'. For example, a recent read prompted me to look up the dates of the British Monarchy --- I could only get as far as James 1st, and then went blank.


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