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Dead in Time (The Sara Jones Cycle, Book 1)
Dead in Time (The Sara Jones Cycle, Book 1)
by Terence Bailey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book impressed me because I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it. In fact, 30 May 2017
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

This book impressed me because I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it. In fact, I accepted it for review for two key reasons – it’s a crime novel and it’s set predominantly in Wales. I like crime novels, and I also like crime novels that are set in Britain – especially when they’re not set in London. That’s why I like Peter James’ Roy Grace series – he does a great job of portraying Brighton and it evokes a real sense that you’re wandering along the seafront.

What I didn’t realise – at least, not until I started reading this – is that it has elements of the supernatural, touching on psychic abilities and even using it as a main plot device. For me, that would usually be a turn off, but Bailey did a great job of blending supernatural elements with a police procedural, and the result is a page-turner of a book that makes it easy for you to suspend your disbelief and to just enjoy the book for what it is, rather than trying to pick it apart.

It’s also the first book of the series, and while I won’t spoil the plot by telling you what happens, I can say it ends in such a way that it left me wanting more, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. This book, then, whets the readers appetite, but it also leaves you feeling hungry for the main course. There are plenty of different directions that the author could take this, so I guess we’ll see.


Ginny Moon
Ginny Moon
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I think it does a better job of it, 28 May 2017
This review is from: Ginny Moon (Kindle Edition)
This book exceeded my expectations and made me rethink the way I think about things. It’s well-deserving of a five-star review because the author is able to use language in a way that brings autism to life, which is why it’s earned comparisons to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Personally, I think it does a better job of it, and Ludwig’s Ginny Moon is quite the character – more three dimensional than most other characters, and that’s a testament to the strength of Ludwig’s writing.

Loosely speaking, the book is told through the eyes of its protagonist, 14-year-old Ginny Moon. Ginny suffers from autism and she’s currently living with her forever parents, but she wants to find a way back to her abusive mother so that she can check on her Baby Doll. Along the way, she gets herself into plenty of trouble, but you can understand why she makes the choices that she makes, even if you don’t agree with them. And ultimately, that’s one of the strengths of this book – it puts you inside Ginny’s mind, and it gives you a great understanding of the way in which she sees things.

That all comes down to the skills of the writer, and so kudos to Ludwig for that – especially because this is his debut novel. He even nailed the little twist at the end, which I didn’t see coming but which made perfect sense as soon as it happened. That’s the hallmark of a good storyteller, and Stephen King does the same in many of his books. Benjamin Ludwig is not Stephen King, but he is Benjamin Ludwig – and that’s a name that you can expect to hear more from in the coming years.

This, then, is the impressive start to what I’m sure will be a successful career. Better still, it’s the kind of book that we all should read, because it helps us to relate and understand.


Lunch Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
Lunch Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
by Frank O'Hara
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars it was something of anti-climax – good poetry, but not as amazing as I was ..., 27 May 2017
I was told about this book while studying creative writing at Roehampton University, and I’d been looking forward to reading it for years. After that, it was something of anti-climax – good poetry, but not as amazing as I was expecting. Still, Frank O’Hara is the kind of poet that every serious reader should take the time to introduce themselves to. His work is fun, it’s just not completely revolutionary.


On Love
On Love
by Charles Bukowski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars This book does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, 26 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Love (Paperback)
This book does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a collection of different poems by Charles Bukowski that focus on the topic of love. What’s interesting is that there are different types of love represented here, from the love he had for women to his love of the horses, his cats and his typewriter. But mostly, the poems here follow his musings on love and the phenomenon that it causes inside a person. After all, just because Bukowski was a cynic, it doesn’t stop him from having the same feelings as the rest of us.

That, by its very nature, makes this one of his more approachable books. It doesn’t push the reader away – it invites them in, which makes it the perfect introduction to his work for people who’ve never read him before. The presentation of it is fantastic as well, and it even includes a few of his doodles. Some people have said that this is just an attempt to make money from his memory, but I think it’s a beautiful little book and a great addition to my collection. I’m glad I own it. Buy it – you will be, too.


On Cats
On Cats
by Charles Bukowski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book for many reasons, 25 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On Cats (Paperback)
I loved this book for many reasons. It’s Bukowski, which helps, and it’s about cats, which also helps. I’ve recently adopted a cat of my own and so it was fun to see him writing about their little quirks and idiosyncrasies. I also liked the way that it included photos of Bukowski with his cats, as well as a mixture of prose and poetry.

This would make the perfect novelty book for any cat lover, but it’s also pretty much a must-have for any Bukowski fan – especially as it includes previously unreleased material. It’s entertaining and heartwarming at the same time.


Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's)
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's)
by Jodi Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars This book was a delight to read, 24 May 2017
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

This book was a delight to read, something refreshing that I could really sink my teeth into. It’s one of those books where every time it feels like it’s drawing to a close, something exciting happens and shakes things up again. It works well and makes it hard to put the book down.

The author also has a cracking sense of humour, and the subtle little jokes that she uses – as well as the not-so-subtle ones – make it more fun than a regular novel, although she doesn’t skimp on plot and character development, either. I even liked the little bit of sex that was involved, because it was just the right amount – it didn’t feel gratuitous, it felt realistic, and it genuinely added to the story.

Ah, the story. It’s interesting because the world-building here is as good as anything else you’ll see on the market. It’s a bit like Harry Potter for history geeks, a little bit like Rick Riordan but for adults, and with less magic. If anything, it’s sci fi. It follows what happens to the residents of St. Mary’s, a faculty with the ability to travel back in time to observe it. Of course, the temptation there is to meddle, but it’s not that easy. History has teeth and it bites back. You can’t just go and change it because it won’t let you.

I’m not going to give you all of the details, but I will tell you that you get to see a whole bunch of different historical periods, including the time of the dinosaurs – where, incidentally, it all goes a bit pear-shaped. But on top of that, it’s also just a cracking story, a page-turner that drags you in and sets up the rest of the series. I don’t have any of the other books yet, but I shall certainly be looking out for them. It reminds me of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, except I only got as far as the first book for that one and I’d like to follow this one all of the way – and fast. I want to find out what happens to the St. Mary’s team next. Read it!


Woom
Woom
by Duncan Ralston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars like vaginas, mutilation and viscera, 15 May 2017
This review is from: Woom (Paperback)
Disclaimer: While I am to be unbiased, Ralston is an author friend that I’ve known for a couple of years.

Well, well. Woom is interesting because it’s so hardcore – Ralston doesn’t shy away from ‘gross‘ subjects, like vaginas, mutilation and viscera. But it works well, and I like the way that there’s a story within a story – although you’ll need to read it for yourself to find out how that works out. What I will say is that this is definitely not for the fainthearted, and it should probably be accompanied by a massive, massive trigger warning. That’s probably why I liked it – Ralston is a compelling voice in indie horror, and I look forward to reading more of his work.


Only Love Can Bring You Peace: Selected Lyrics (1990-2014)
Only Love Can Bring You Peace: Selected Lyrics (1990-2014)
by Simon Joyner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Simon Joyner is one of my favourite singer/songwriters of all time, 14 May 2017
Simon Joyner is one of my favourite singer/songwriters of all time, and so when I got the chance to catch one of his live shows, I jumped at it. It was a great show, and I had a chance to meet the man himself, but one of my highlights was coming home with this little beauty. I didn’t even know it was existed, but I was able to grab a signed copy there and then from the author – which was awesome.

This, then, is Simon Joyner’s collected lyrics, and the songs inside span over a quarter of a century of creative output. Reading through is almost like binging on his music, except that you can get through more if it more quickly. It’s also like reading a poetry book, which just goes to show that the best lyricists really can be poets in their own right. I’d say that Joyner is one of the great lyricists, and I’ve always enjoyed his work. Seeing it in book form is like a natural evolution, and it works really well.

Add that to the fact that it also includes interviews, liner notes and stunning pieces of art that were created by Joyner fans and other musicians and you can start to see why this is such a cool piece to add to your collection. It might not mean as much to you if you’re not a Simon Joyner fan, but you’d still enjoy it. And if you’re a fan, it’s just sublime. It’s an absolute must-have, at least for me.


Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Book 1)
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Book 1)
by Rick Riordan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars because it seems like everyone under the sun has already read Riordan’s Percy ..., 14 May 2017
I suppose there are a few things to note here. The first is that I’m behind the times, because it seems like everyone under the sun has already read Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. I’ve read one of Riordan’s other books, and I didn’t think much of it, so I put off starting this one. I shouldn’t have.

See, this book is basically the best start to a series of this ilk that I’ve come across. It even beats out Harry Potter, because the first Harry Potter book was only okay. But this book drew me straight in, and while I couldn’t necessarily relate with the main character – Percy Jackson – I think that’s more because I’m not really the target audience, rather than a problem with how the character was written.

Of course, there were one or two one-dimensional characters, but that was largely intentional – and it played into Riordan’s unique take on Greek myths and legends. In fact, I’ve noticed a trend of late of authors imitating the approach, a little bit like what happened when Dan Brown released The Da Vinci Code. The funny thing is that it never really happened with J. K. Rowling – sure, people were influenced by it, but nobody reduced themselves to literally releasing an imitation.

Now, this might sound weird, but this book reminded me of a cross between R. L. Stine and Neil Gaiman. It has much of the world-building that Gaiman used in American Gods, and it has a similar feel, like an epic road trip. Stine, meanwhile, used simple language and near-childlike plots to hook his young readers into the story. But Riordan’s work feels in no means like a rip off – in fact, he has a new, original voice, at least in this book. Perhaps he becomes more jaded over time, but I wouldn’t know.

Overall, then, I’d definitely recommend Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, even if you don’t go on to read the rest of the series. It might not be for you – but if you like myths, magic and mayhem, I reckon you’ll probably like it.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board Book]
The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board Book]
by Eric Carle
Edition: Board book
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 14 May 2017
All of the nostalgic vibes.


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