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Berlin Game (Harper Books)
Berlin Game (Harper Books)
by Len Deighton
Edition: Paperback

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First book in a great spy saga!, 3 Jan. 2008
First in a series of nine books about the life and career of a SIS spy, Bernard Samson. After spending five years behind a desk in London, Bernie is asked by Brahms Four (a high ranking source in East Berlin), to help him come over to the West. With him, he will bring evidence of a high ranking mole, located within the SIS. Will Bernie manage to succeed in his mission, before the mole succeeds in it's?

Once again, we have another great spy thriller from Len Deighton. His story writing skills weave an enthralling tale of treachery, action, mystery and humour. I enjoyed the way his characters interact with one another. Especially Samson's dry wit and humour!


Mermaid's Ground
Mermaid's Ground
by Alice Marlow
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The widow and the musician, 24 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Mermaid's Ground (Hardcover)
The story begins with Kate - a widow of five years with two young children, living in a Wiltshire village and working as a gardener for a local landowner. He is refurbishing his old manor house and converting his stables into a recording studio. So he hires Jem to project manage the project and refers him to be Kate's lodger. Kate's life isn't entirely contented though - money is tight and unhappy with her lover's casual view of their relationship. So she accepts the offer, hoping it will push her lover's jealously into committing, but she didn't bargin on how attractive Jem will be...

As you've probably guessed by now, that I'm a big fan of Pamela Belle! This is one of two of her modern stories, written under the pen name of Alice Marlow. It's a wonderful easy read, as in her previous historical novels, but still descriptive. Easily could identified the charactors and soon started to care what will happen to them. Pamela's flare for gardening, animals and family life are shown in this story. I didn't want to put it down until I had finished it!


By the Sword Divided
By the Sword Divided
by Mollie Hardwick
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family torn apart by war..., 15 Dec. 2007
This review is from: By the Sword Divided (Paperback)
The book is set during the English Civil War of the 1640's and is told through the eyes of the Lacey and Fletcher families, and their household of servants. United in marriage between Anne Lacey and John Fletcher, but the families are on opposing sides of the conflict. The Laceys for the King and the Fletchers for Parliament. Anne becomes estranged from her family, as she supports her husband. The Laceys actively become involved in the conflict with the help of their household, by fighting in the battles and undertake secret missions.

I enjoyed reading this book and found it a quick to read. Though not very historically descriptived, in which I would have liked. I've given it 4 stars, as I got a bit confused at the beginning by how some scenes changed within paragraphs. I guess because it's a tie-in novel to the tv series, you are limited on how much can be put into a book to cover the whole series. I didn't let this phase me though and I'm glad that I persevere with it. As the story progressed, I became hooked and didn't want to put it down. Unfortunately, I missed watching this series first time round, but I suspect I'll be watching it in the very near future! I would be very interested to see how like or different, the series will be to the book!


Alathea
Alathea
by Pamela Belle
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Woman Ahead Of Her Time!, 12 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Alathea (Hardcover)
The story is set during the Restoration period, with the arrival of King Charles the 2nd to the throne and the return of Simon Heron to Goldhayes. Causing Alathea (daughter of Francis and Thomazine Heron) and her family, to leave Goldhayes to return back to live at Ashcroft. There, she discovers her talent as an artist and then she is sent to live in London, to escape the threatening attentions of her jealous half-brother. Through the following years as her talent blossoms, she experiences both the Plague and the Great Fire. Forsaking marriage for her art, she becomes rich and famous, but will all her dreams come true?

Pamela Belle vividly describes her heroine's path through Restoration England, as she pursues her dreams of becoming a famous female artist during this period - in which very few women had careers at this time. She cleverly interweaves comtempory charactors and events during the time within her story. Describing in detail the chaos of the Great Fire, as if Pamela herself had been there. As you read through the story, you experience romance, humour, sadness and joy, and an unexpected ending.

"Alathea" or "Alethea" is the third novel in the Heron story. However, the next book that Pamela Belle wrote afterwards: "The Lodestar", is the fourth and prequel to the Heron series.


The Chains of Fate
The Chains of Fate
by Pamela Belle
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lover's Quest, 27 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Chains of Fate (Hardcover)
The story begins where the previous book ends. Set during the English Civil War, Thomazine learns that her lover still lives. So she rides north to find him - abandoning her despised husband and her newborn son. Moving through land occupied by enemy soldiers, finding the man she loved and losing him again to his duty to Montrose's cause in Scotland. Time and again, the chains of fate would tear them apart, through siege and battle. Will their love remain strong, until they meet again?

This is the sequel to The Moon in the Water and second in the series of the four books about the Heron family. Pamela Belle triumphantly continues her vivid protrayal of life during the seventeenth century. She cleverly mixes actual events and real life characters from that time period into her story. She describes them so well, that you get a very vivid picture of the time. Pamela Belle continues to remain one of my favourite authors!


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy
by Len Deighton
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold War thriller, 18 Nov. 2007
A Russian scientist defects, believing that in the West, he will more easily realize his dream of contacting planets in outer space. But British Intelligence and the CIA have more worldly plans for him. Spies and counter-spies play the game, leaving a trail of blood, that starts off in the awesome emptiness and remorseless heat of the Sahara to Manhattan, Paris, Dublin and back across Africa.

It's been years since I've read a Deighton novel and I found this one quite an easy read. The story is well written and keeps you guessing until the end, on which side the characters ally with. With a few twists and turns along the way. Deighton doesn't waste his time writing too descriptively. His spies are more 'down to Earth spies' compared with the James Bond ones. The story is a dated one though, making us 'oldies' remember what it was like growing up during the Cold War.


Moon in the Water
Moon in the Water
by Pamela Belle
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moon in the Water, 14 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Moon in the Water (Hardcover)
The main character of the story is Thomazine, an heiress to a fortune. Orphaned at 10 and sent to live with her cousins at Goldhayes, there she meets her headstrong cousin Francis - third son of her Guardian. As she grows into womanhood, so does her love for Francis. Then, the English Civil War breaks out and her cousins go off to fight for the King, only for Francis to be imprisoned later. Thinking him dead, she is forced into a black and loveless wedlock. Only to find out too late her mistake...

This is Pamela Belle's first novel that she wrote. She is very descriptive about the time period and her characters. The story had me enthralled and not knowing how it will end. This is one of my favourite periods in English history and Pamela Belle does it justice. No other author compares to her! I can't wait to begin to read the sequel - The Chains of Fate!


Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
by John Grogan
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Oh Marley!, 6 Nov. 2007
I bought this book, as the story appealed to me of my own 'trying' puppy at the time. I found the story equally full of humour and upsetting as well. At times, it had me in fits of laughter, as well as tears of heart break. You can easily tell as you read through it, that John Grogan wrote it from the heart about Marley!

I recommend this book as a good read. Especially, if you have a 'misbehaving' puppy too. As you quickly identify the problems the author had with Marley, with yours as well.


The Lodestar
The Lodestar
by Pamela Belle
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lodestar, 4 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Lodestar (Hardcover)
This book is the prequel for the first three books, that protray the Heron dynasty. Set during the brief reign of Richard III and the War of the Roses, Christie Heron the founder of Herons, is fired by an all consuming ambition to leave his humble beginnings behind and acquire an estate of his own and more, at the price of his beloved sister's friendship and later, his wife's. He joins the Duke of Gloucester's household and helps him on his path to gaining control of the throne, in the hopes of fullfilling his own ambition. There, he witnesses treason, suffering, rebellion and tragedy, and wonders whether his ambition is his only Lodestar.

Pamela Belle writes a good account of life during the late fifteen century. Although the story may appear to be a little slow to begin with, once you get more into the story, you find yourself caring for the characters and what will happen to them. I found it rather interesting reading a love story from the man's point of view. This story also gives one possible scenario about the fate of the Princes in the Tower - in which I found interesting and plausible.


Treason's Gift
Treason's Gift
by Pamela Belle
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally...The End!, 4 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Treason's Gift (Hardcover)
This is the fourth and final book in the Wintercombe series. The story begins a year later, where the last book finished off and set during the Glorious Revolution (the arrival of William of Orange in England). Alex and Louise have married and are awaiting the arrival of their first child. Then tragedy calls and accusations fly and Alex leaves Wintercombe for Holland. Charles hears of Alex's departure and returns from exile to claim Wintercombe and hopes to win Lousie too. Lousie unable to bear Charles' presence abandons Wintercombe. Meanwhile, Alex makes several dangerous trips back and forth for the Prince of Orange without the knowledge of Lousie - until she discovers it and takes all the risks to meet him once again!

Once again, Pamela Belle continue her own unique writing style, bringing these characters from the seventeenth century to life. Pamela cleverly introduces characters from her first novel into this story. Linking the Herons with the St Barbes!

This is the last of Pamela Bell's stories set during the seventeeth century England. Even though she has since written three fantasy and two contemporary novels, the pull to write historical stories was too great for her. She is now awaiting a publisher to publish a novel set during the Jacobite Rebellion and is currently writing a new historical fiction novel on Alfred the Great.


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