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Carmen (England)

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Silent Scream: Volume 1 (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series)
Silent Scream: Volume 1 (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series)
by Angela Marsons
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.27

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit dull, 3 July 2015
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I couldn't understand why this had so many reviews as it's only recently published - until I came on here and read that people will, seemingly, buy anything for 99p! (I paid proper money for part of a tree.)

I have given up after 250 pages - it was ok for a while, but there are a lot of characters to get your brain around, the main one, DI Kim Stone, being completely unlikeable and stereotypical maverick. The spelling of Black Country dialogue wasn't true for me (you is pronounced 'yow' not 'yo,' which is more like an American greeting in my opinion.)

The only thing I did like was the banter between DI Stone and the pathologist who despised each other greatly. It made me chuckle. But all in all I lost interest. Don't think I'll bother with this author again.


The Immigrants
The Immigrants
by Howard Fast
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.15

4.0 out of 5 stars A good turn of the century saga, 22 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The Immigrants (Paperback)
I first read this way back when and remembered enjoying it enormously. I needed a break from crime and haven't found any good generation-sweeping family sagas since Pillars of the Earth. I spotted this on Amazon and thought I'd give it a re-read to see how it had fared over time.

Well, not bad at all. Good descriptions of the Lavettes landing at Ellis Island, working across America and finally settling in San Francisco. Then the hardship after the 1906 earthquake, Dan Lavette (son of the immigrant couple) building his empire - all that felt quite real. I did get a bit bored about half way through and won't be searching out the next in the series any time soon as there were probably too many characters for me to care enormously about many of them.

But a decent saga - if you liked Rich Man Poor Man and Kane and Abel then this would be pretty much up your street.


Bread Box Frisco orange
Bread Box Frisco orange
Offered by stardiscount24
Price: £31.56

2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying purchase, 13 Jun. 2015
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I don't often review 'things' on here (as opposed to books) but this has to be the most annoying thing in the history of annoying things.

Firstly, it's nice and big and the colour is true. It fits a large loaf, together with other packets - eg. bagels, easily. The reason I chose it was for its domed lid so it would fit all shapes and sizes of loaf. And within that domed lid lies the problem and I so wish there had been reviews before I'd bought this! (I am doing you a favour! Pay attention!) Due to the dome-ness of the domed lid (which is more 'domey' than appears in the picture) you have to position this at least 3 and a half INCHES (yes, I've measured!) away from the wall or else you can't open the lid far enough for it to stay up. Thus it is in the middle of my kitchen counter. All on its own. Looking lonely. It's driving me nuts every time I walk into the kitchen. Today our plan is to reshuffle everything to see if there's a corner we can use for it not to be so totally out there.

So why didn't I send it back? The selling company, although it doesn't sound like it, is based in Germany. There is no returns label so I'm presuming that I would have to pay the cost of postage to Germany. The receipt that's come with it is in ............ well.......German. I can make out enough to understand that I can email them. But quite honestly it's just too much hassle and expense. You have been warned!


The Slaughter Man
The Slaughter Man
by Tony Parsons
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok follow-up, 4 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The Slaughter Man (Hardcover)
I have read most of Tony Parsons' books and was delighted when he moved into crime as it's my favourite genre. I thought the Murder Bag, his first in the Max Wolfe series was, if not 5*, promising enough to buy the hardback of this, the second in the series.

Well, I'm not sure it quite lived up to the promise. I found a lot of the writing to be a little patronising - if you are a crime fan you don't need explanations after every single police procedure or acronym. Also, where was the girlfriend from the last book? Not even mentioned (even though I didn't like her much!)

Although I am happy to suspend belief somewhat, I did find that a whole team (of 4) going in TWICE to a dangerous situation without back-up to be slightly over the top. Also, Max was at the gym whacking a punchbag the day after he was stabbed in the stomach. The day after that his wound opened whilst sitting at a kitchen table. It made it difficult to understand how bad his injuries were.

I will read the next one, but won't shell out for the hardback as, whilst I like Max, the team are a bit beige for me. The one thing I do like that has been part of both books is the visits to the Black Museum of murderers and weapons - a lot of true facts being woven into the story, which is quite fascinating.


Disclaimer
Disclaimer
by Renée Knight
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 out of 10, 24 May 2015
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This review is from: Disclaimer (Hardcover)
At last! A hyped book that delivers! I'm not sure why - the characters aren't particularly likeable - but the story is original and moves forward at a pace that kept me hooked.

For those like me, who hated it, I'm not sure why it's compared with Girl on a Train - it's nothing like it! This has a story that actually goes somewhere, is well written and has a great twist I certainly didn't see coming. A really good, suspenseful page-turner. Hopefully the editors can decide whether Jonathan's ex-girlfriend is called Sarah or Sasha by the time the paperback comes out! Oops!

Thoroughly recommended - I'm sure it will make a good film in the future too.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2015 6:08 PM BST


The Winter Foundlings (Alice Quentin)
The Winter Foundlings (Alice Quentin)
by Kate Rhodes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric page-turner., 18 May 2015
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I've been reading the Alice Quentin books in order and this is the third time out of three that I have given 4 stars. I really enjoyed this - it's something of a page-turner and Alice's personal life continues traipsing onwards, along with her family and friends - something I really like in a series.

I'm slightly disappointed that this series hasn't become 5* for me - I really thought it had the potential. But there were a couple of things stopping it. In the first book, Crossbones Yard, it was easy to guess whodunnit due to the small number of characters in the frame. With The Winter Foundlings, however, the opposite was the case - everyone who had a pulse was presented to the reader as a potential culprit. When the denouement came there was absolutely no reason whatsoever that it was who it was. Could have been any of them.

Also, Alice wasn't in her normal London stomping ground, but in Northwood......or at least that was what I thought for the first 100 or so pages! It was very confusing. I thought that she was in a hospital called The Laurels in Northwood (which is in Middlesex, nearly into Hertfordshire, on the Metropolitan line out towards Watford.) It turned out that the secure hospital she was working at was called Northwood and the wing she was in was called The Laurels......knowing Northwood (the real place) I didn't realise the setting was actually in a fictional village until Alice travelled though Berkshire on her way to London! This had me reading back through the book, confused. This probably wouldn't bother anyone not familiar with north-west London's suburbs however!

Niggles apart, it was a good read. Kate Rhodes seems to like using extreme weather conditions in her books - I certainly got a sense of the freezing weather and the horrid ordeal for the kidnapped girls. I liked the introduction of a senior psychologist, determined to undermine Alice at every step and I liked the progression of her friends and family - though I'm not sure I'm liking where her love life may be heading...will have to wait and see.

Looking forward to the next one - Dr Alice has got under my skin!


Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)
Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)
by Mark Billingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorne in the Country somehow works!, 3 May 2015
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I am a massive Billingham/Tom Thorne fan and actually wasn't looking forward to this 13th one quite as much as usual. I had been knocking stars off my review in my head before it even landed on my doormat on publication day. Why? Well, this is the third Thorne book in a row not set in his usual stomping ground of north London. I'm starting to forget what the murder team looks like and I don't particularly like Helen Weeks, Tom's latest girlfriend/colleague,......oops.....did I say that out loud?

So did I miss-hit the star button on top of this review? Well, no. I didn't. What I completely forgot whilst feeling short-changed about all of the above is this: Mark Billingham can write. He churns out only one book a year and I'd forgotten just why he is my favourite crime writer. I've written so many reviews recently complaining about too many commas, too many similes, appalling spelling and grammar, having to go back through a book due to not remembering who So-and-So is....etc. etc. I was beginning to think something was wrong with me.

However, you pick up a Billingham and you forget all about the actual mechanics of writing and enjoy a brilliantly plotted story written with flow, compassion and mucho black humour. Yes, it did get better once Hendricks, Thorne's pathologist best mate, pitched up half way through and no, I can't say I've particularly taken to Helen, even though I now know much more about her. And I missed Dave Holland and the rest of the team. But it didn't matter. This was a great crime novel and, for the first time and possibly due to slightly fewer characters than normal, I guessed the killer on their very first entrance, refusing to be swayed by the red herrings later left along the path. However, I doubt that anyone new to Billingham would manage that as they probably wouldn't know where to look for clues. It's always there, hidden in a couple of sentences that don't particularly make sense, that you skate over in your rush to get on with the story. There's no rushing when I'm reading Billingham though. I read him how some people watch Downton Abbey - every tiny bit is to be savoured because, whether important to the plot or not it is, quite simply, the writing equivalent of a hot knife through butter. Oh. And I love Hendricks. There was great progression with his characterisation in this one.

So I humbly apologise to Mr Billingham for my private doubts before reading this book. To Thorne fans out there who are wondering if it's worth it - Yes It Most Definitely Is! To new readers: I would say you could happily read this one without having read the others. To Mark: I did love this but please pretty please could we have one with the whole team in London soon please please please?


The One Plus One
The One Plus One
by Jojo Moyes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Moving., 23 April 2015
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This review is from: The One Plus One (Paperback)
I loved Me Before You but found some of Jojo Moyes' other books not up to that standard, so put off reading this. That was a mistake as it is an absolute treat - whilst not as totally gut-wrenching as Me Before You, it's still up there as a well plotted, sensitive and moving story. So many people will be able to relate to at least one of the characters - it's very current and up to date with non-nuclear family set-ups today.

The main part of the story takes place over a short period of time - much of it with 4 people and a large dog within the confines of a car - and Moyes writes with humour and ease. A really enjoyable read.


The Girl in the Red Coat
The Girl in the Red Coat
by Kate Hamer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting debut., 23 April 2015
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This started off intriguingly and I liked the way it was written in the two voices of mother and daughter who become separated at a book fair and lose each other for.......well.....that would be telling! However, the two voices weren't different enough - if I picked the book up in the middle of a chapter it took me a few moments to work out who was speaking. Also, it was like the writer had been on a course - the writing was so flowery it was annoying - almost like she'd been taught: Why Use One Simile When 25 Will Do? It really interrupted the flow.

I also found the geography of where Carmel was difficult to visualise for the first half of the book. It was cold. It was hot. This was pretty much all we were told. (We did know which continent she was on.) Like another reviewer I was baffled as to why all the clues Carmel had left along the way as to her whereabouts weren't picked up on. What was the point of them then?

The ending was abrupt and only told via one of the narrators. I would have liked to hear both.

But an interesting debut and I did like the story. I will certainly look out for Mis Hamer's next book.


No Other Darkness (DI Marnie Rome 2)
No Other Darkness (DI Marnie Rome 2)
by Sarah Hilary
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning second book!, 23 April 2015
I loved Sarah Hilary's debut novel, Someone Else's Skin, and was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to bag myself an early proof copy of No Other Darkness, for which I must thank Elizabeth Masters at Headline Books and the author. I have been waiting to review this since I read it at Christmas!

It was riveting! The returning main characters' personal lives intermingling with an unusual plot; that plot then, itself, becoming even more intertwined with sub plots that had me googling and wondering where on earth Sarah thinks of all this stuff! There were twists and turns aplenty - there I was smugly congratulating myself on having guessed one early on when.... Bam! Another one hit me when I wasn't even looking!

Marnie and Noah are great, likeable characters. Marnie's tragic back story is constantly linked to all she does and Noah looks like he may be slowly being set up for some personal issues to touch a future novel. (Well, that's my guess and I'm sticking with it until proven wrong!)

The story starts off with the bodies of 2 little boys but goes where you least expect it and where I'm not even going to hint at, for fear of spoilers. But the themes in this, just like in Some Else's Skin, are not for the faint-hearted. However, what Sarah does so well is to intersperse the heavy stuff with wonderful, personable characters who we root for big-time. I think she's still playing around with the team surrounding Marnie and Noah - Carling's back and there's a new addition in the shape (quite literally!) of Debbie. I really like it when an author leaves room for the team to grow and become loveable (or not!) to us.

Something I love about Miss Hilary's writing is how well defined her characters are and how well the story seems to flow. And I actually made this book last 3 days, even though I could have read it in 3 sittings!

I'm not sure where the next book in the series will take Marnie, Noah et al, but Sarah Hilary seems to have cornered the market in taking a theme, putting it in the Tardis, taking off and landing miles outside the box. Clever stuff. Read it!


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