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Spencer Newman (England)

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The Possession of Mr Cave
The Possession of Mr Cave
by Matt Haig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, 3 May 2011
I can completely understand the other reviewer when he mentions this being an uncomfortable read and not sure what rating to give it, but I have decided to go for a five.

It can be uncomfortable at times, but it should be. A subject like this shouldn't be easy. However, although it is very dark, Matt Haig has made parts witty, although, the story being so dark, there were probably times that I missed some of the wit.

It is amazingly addictive and I just found myself wanted to continue reading just a bit more before I turned the lights out. I felt for Mr Cave and his daughter and can understand the fears he had for her. As must every father of a young daughter. Matt Haig, even in his young age seems to have captured the mind of a middle-aged father (that is losing his mind) and that of a teenage girl brilliantly. The characters really came alive for me and I was only disappointed that the book had to come to an end.

I have read Matt Haig's first novel Last Family in England and loved that too, so I can't wait to read his other books now. I can't believe I didn't see this book in all the bookshop windows. This is not a book to be missed.

by Billy Cowie
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Unique idea for story, 30 April 2011
This review is from: Passenger (Hardcover)
The idea for Passenger was brilliant. When I heard about the book I wanted to read it. It is something different and it is simply written. However, I did not feel any connection with the characters or care for them. Towards the end I started to have some empathy for Milan, but it was right near the end of the book that I felt anything. The story doesn't have much going on, but it is only a short book, so that doesn't seem to be a big issue. It is still worth reading for its unique story line.

The Medici Curse
The Medici Curse
by Matt Chamings
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining historical fiction., 24 April 2011
This review is from: The Medici Curse (Paperback)
I came across this novel while searching for non-fiction books on the Medici. Even though this novel is teenage fiction, and I'm in my early 30's, I thought it sounded interesting and decided to give it a go anyway.

I am pleased I did. It is a very enjoyable read and will hopefully encourage young readers to look at paintings a little different in future - thinking about the story behind them, and the period in which they were painted.

The chapters in this book alternate between Renaissance Florance and modern-day. Young Maria is drawn to an unremarkable painting in a antique shop and her father buys it, discovering a picture underneath. She then wants to find out the story about this picture and why it was covered over.

The story set in Renaissance Florance has a theme similar to that of Romeo and Juliet and even features Leonardo da Vinci and Verrocchio.

Very entertaining historical fiction.

by Alan Glynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic idea!, 21 April 2011
This review is from: Limitless (Paperback)
As soon as I heard about the film, I wanted to read the book first. First published as "The Dark Fields" Limitless is a like a modern day Faust/Doctor Faustus, where the drug replaces the devil.

Ever since hearing about the folktale of a guy that sold his soul to the devil in return for unlimited knowledge, I had hoped for a modern day retelling and the premise of this book seemed to be what I was looking for. Although written by an Irish author, the book is very American and the financial market plays a very big part which the author goes into some detail about.

The story is about Eddie Spinola who is a copywriter for a small publishers and is trying to write his own book. He is given an experimental drug to try by his ex-brother-in-law, called MDT-48 which allows him to use 100% of his brain power instead of use 20% like most people. He learns a language in a day, finishes his book in four days and starts to see patterns in the stock market. Everything is going great until he starts feeling dizzy and having black-outs...

I really enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing the film.

The Calling of the Grave
The Calling of the Grave
by Simon Beckett
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simon Beckett is superb!, 27 Feb. 2011
I've waited what seems like ages for this book and now I've got to wait again until the next Simon Beckett book is published. I'm amazed that Beckett's name isn't a bigger household name and that he seems to be more appreciated in Germany than here. I've hardly seen this hardback on the bookshelves, even in the big chain bookstores and the only advertising I have seen is a poster at one train station. Either his publishers prefer to push his paperback sales or they don't have much faith in this book. Simon Beckett has written other novels in the past which I haven't read and that all seem to be out of print, but his David Hunter crime novels are the best crime novels I've read and are among my favourite books.

The Calling of the Grave is the fourth book in the David Hunter series. It is set not long after the events of the previous two novels, although the beginning of the book takes us back eight years to reveal a little more about Hunter's past and to lead us into the story that this novel is about.

Jerome Monk is a brutal rapist and murderer and when he escapes from prison, forensic anthropologist Dr Hunter is forced to revisit some painful events from his past.

The other David Hunter novels are...

The Chemistry Of Death (2006)
Written In Bone (2007)
Whispers of the Dead (2009)

(Dates in brackets indicate when first published. The paperback editions were about a year later)

All of these novels have been bestsellers and are a must read whether you are usually a crime fan or not. Beckett's research and detail make his novels, so engrossing and so real. The atmosphere that he creates really draws you in and makes you feel as if you are there.

This book I feel I've enjoyed more than the last, although some of the writing style that Beckett used in past novels was missing in this one. I enjoyed the way he wrote about one thing, but at first made you think he was talking about something else. The following example was taken from Whispers of the Dead, taking about the first time...
"After that, it had been all fumble and confusion, the quick penetration followed by a rush of fluid. It was over too soon, finished before it had really begun. You'd stood over her, panting, the excitement already starting to turn to something grey and flat." This was taking about a first kill. The penetration of the knife, the rush of blood. This is a great play with words and something I felt was missing from The Calling, but the story and the atmosphere of the place he creates and the characters he uses, makes his books stand out to me from all the others. Buy this book! (And the others if you haven't already!)

The Reader
The Reader
by Carol Brown Janeway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I had expected, 17 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Reader (Paperback)
I am not sure why I wanted to read this book. I first heard about it when the film was released and at the time the film nor the book interested me. However, it seemed to pop up in conversations about books, or I'd see it displayed in the bookshop windows and decided I'd give it ago. I'm glad I did.

The story is told by Michael Berg as he recounts his affair with an older woman when he was just 15 years of age. The story then moves on in the second part of the book when he sees her again for the first time in a long while - when she is on trial for her part in a war crime.

The book flows so smoothly and is easy to read although the subject can be a little uncomfortable. The narrator gets you asking yourself questions about how you would feel in his situation.

The length of the book is prefect for the story. Sometimes I find myself thinking that some books are a tad too long, or even too short or maybe the end was too rushed or abrupt, but this seemed to play out the story very neatly. A great read.

Offered by Media Vortex
Price: £5.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unknown classic, 12 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Earthbound (Audio CD)
I brought this CD in 1997 when it was first released and I still play it now. It is one of the few albums that I can listen to all the way through and not want to skip one or two of the weak album tracks. Each song on this CD is great and as a whole this album is a classic. It truly amazes me that Conner Reeves did not become a huge act in this country and that no other album followed. This album deserved to be a number one hit. A classic album that so many people do not know about.
Conner Reeves has a fantastic soulful voice that is so unique, the kind of voice that you recognize even if you have never heard the song before.
My Father's Son, Earthbound, Working Man and Ordinary People are my favourite songs from the album.

The Air I Breathe [DVD]
The Air I Breathe [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Bacon
Price: £4.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a watch, 12 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Air I Breathe [DVD] (DVD)
I loved the idea of this film and how it has been executed, four individual stories (happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love) all connected in some way. In fact it all fits together very neatly. However, the stories themselves seemed a little weak and perhaps slightly too dark. It is still a good film and I'm glad that I have watched it, but I had high hopes that it would be nearly as good as Crash.

Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and inspiring, 12 Feb. 2011
Some people may argue that the information in this book is obvious, but this book makes you think about things that you may not have bothered thinking about before. Some of the information I thought was far from obvious. It is interesting and inspiring. At times I wondered why he was telling the stories he was (he spends a few pages talking about plane crashes) but they were informative all the same and then towards the end of the chapter it was made clear how the stories fitted in with the context of the book.
I'm come away from this book feeling inspired and that I've learnt something. That is why I've given this book a four star.
I will be looking at purchasing other books by Gladwell.

Seasons Of My Soul
Seasons Of My Soul
Price: £3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and silky voice, 21 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Seasons Of My Soul (Audio CD)
When I first heard Aretha played on the radio, I thought it was probably Norah Jones. It was so different to what I was used to hearing on the radio. When I found out it was Rumer and this was her debut album, I got myself a copy. I've only had chance to listen to it all the way through a couple of times, but really like it. I love Slow and Aretha. Am I forgiven is growing on me more each time I hear it.
Rumer has such a soft and silky voice, it is the kind of CD you will listen to in the evening, or whilst having dinner. This isn't one for the car! It is far too mellow and relaxing for that.

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