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Reviews Written by
A. Hunt "book review watcher" (Glasgow, Scotland)
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The Madness of July
The Madness of July
Price: £3.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but a bit ho-hum, 29 Mar. 2015
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Not bad, but it's obvious why this book has been given so much exposure. It's more related to the fame of the author than the quality of the book – and it's unlikely the book would have made it to publication if Joe Bloggs had written it.

Having said that, clearly the author's authoritative in terms of knowing his subject matter, so that helped. It's just a bit, well, underwhelming.


For Faughie's Sake
For Faughie's Sake
Price: £3.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Fast Satire, 29 Mar. 2015
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Fun, feisty, surprising. Fast, furious, side-splitting (sometimes, anyway). Farcical (here and there), funky, satirical. In short, pretty much like Laura Marney's other books. If you like her unvarnished take on the human condition, with funny lines that are never mean-spirited but usually quite close to the bone, this one's for you.


H is for Hawk
H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 29 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: H is for Hawk (Hardcover)
Like pretty much all the other readers, I loved this book. Hardly surprising, given that I am a big fan of nature and nature-related writing. There's not much I can add so I'll just suggest that you add it straight to the TBR pile, if you haven't already.


The Last Treasure Hunt
The Last Treasure Hunt
by Jane Alexander
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sting, long before the tail, 29 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Last Treasure Hunt (Paperback)
There's a huge twist in this cracking novel, not far from the beginning. You think you know what sort of book you're getting into, when BOOM! – it's suddenly not what you were expecting. It's fun being wrong-footed by a twist, but there's more to this novel than a few surprises. There's plenty of comment on our shallow, celebrity obsessed society – or is that the dodgy media? Or is it just our hero/anti-hero?

An accessible read with a great storyline that keeps you turning the pages, this book will also get you thinking. Not so hard that you couldn't read it on the beach, just that you'll remember it long after your holiday is over.

Recommended!


A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard)
A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard)
by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic detail, 3 Mar. 2015
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I can see how easily this becomes addictive reading. It's good. Really gripping. But why? Is there a sort of Big Brother thing going on here? I'll be reading further volumes because I've enjoyed it and want to know how K O's life develops. And yet I feel as though it's almost more like a blend of therapy and nostalgia than literature.
Recommended, anyway!


A First Book of Nature
A First Book of Nature
by Nicola Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Nature's finest, 3 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: A First Book of Nature (Paperback)
I'm one of the many fans of this lovely book. I've bought several copies for friends with kids of the appropriate ages (quite a broad age group, too). But I secretly like flipping through it myself!


Paris Kiss
Paris Kiss
Price: £0.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For art and love, 3 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Paris Kiss (Kindle Edition)
A very satisfying re-imagining of the young lives of sculptors Jessie Lipscomb and Camille Claudel, who forged a strong bond in the studio of Rodin as they started out on their quest to become artists in their own right. No easy task in the 19th C, despite their prodigious talent and skills, but they had plenty of fun trying, living in the heady atmosphere of Paris, with its risqué haunts and colourful characters. All is well until Camille becomes Rodin's lover – a state of affairs that will be her eventual undoing.

It's not just the story itself but the relationships, choices and dilemmas that are compelling in this novel. You could be forgiven for wondering how much has really changed, in some ways. Women's friendships coming under threat from the jealousies of love affairs, and their work taken less seriously than that of their male colleagues.

A lovely book, and especially a good one for holiday reading.


The Four Marys: A Quartet of Contemporary Folk Tales
The Four Marys: A Quartet of Contemporary Folk Tales
Price: £4.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Myth, music, magic, 17 Jan. 2015
These novellas are haunting and passionate, credible but magical, moving from the joyful to the dark side, sometimes in a single blow. From the retelling of a long-standing selkie legend to a surprising story linking a modern woman with the ladies-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, whose story she is researching – these are engaging stories, well told. Motherhood comes through as a connecting theme, but it's seen from very different perspectives through the eyes of our four Marys (Mariana, Mhairi, Mara, Mercedes).


The Woods
The Woods
Price: £3.66

3.0 out of 5 stars At his best, he's fast and furious and full of twists ..., 17 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Woods (Kindle Edition)
I probably need a bit of a break from reading Coben. At his best, he's fast and furious and full of twists and turns. But as I was reading this, it felt a bit formulaic, a bit samey, and I certainly don't think it's his best.

It's all relative, though. He IS a good plotter and he knows the mechanics of how to build the tension and keep surprising his readers. The only trouble is, once you've read a few, you start getting pretty good at guessing what the twist in the tail is going to be.


A Book of Death and Fish
A Book of Death and Fish
Price: £4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's as if I've known him all along, 17 Jan. 2015
This may be a long book, but its pages go by all too quickly. When you've turned the last one, despite the many words, you're left with the feeling that so much has been conveyed in what was not said, as much as what was explicit.

We read the details in moments, stories, impressions, the whole adding up to a feeling that we've got to know Peter as if he's family, or else a long-standing close friend, and we miss him when it's all over. We grieve with him when he loses family and friends, and we're happy for his good times – and ultimately we'll be grieving for him, too. We hang out with him sometimes when nothing in particular is happening, just like we do in life: maybe that's part of why it all feels so authentic. The subject at any given moment may be boats or fish or recipes or some detail of a history lesson at school or a remembered island iincident (like the Iolaire disaster – still in living memory for some of the characters). It may be granny's courting days or Peter's father's weaving or banter in the coastguard station or some incident in the war or just in the school playground. The tides and currents and the elements, the ever-present seas rocking and rolling at the end of the road or underneath the boat. We can almost smell the salt in the air.

Despite the language being unusual, I soon got into it and found it became familiar, though it jumped about from being song-like and poetic to plain and down-to-earth; rhythmic and flowing sometimes, or else sort of bumpy. Maybe some of the words are made up, or maybe not, but the meanings are clear enough.

If you want to read a book that will give you a flavour of Lewis and island life and landscapes (and seascapes), or one that will take you back to the second half of the 20th century in familiar details, look no further. It's all here. It's addictive, too. I feel like I found a new friend, not just read a book. Great writing.


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