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Rose Maroc (London UK)

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Sex, Lies & Book Publishing: What Every Author Needs to Know: How To Get Published
Sex, Lies & Book Publishing: What Every Author Needs to Know: How To Get Published

5.0 out of 5 stars Candid and genuinely informative, 9 Nov. 2013
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By far one of the best sources of information I have come across on how to get an agent and the steps which follow. Written in a witty and entertaining style with a real 'insider' feel, it's great at demystifying the publishing world and has some useful advice on how to make your submission stand out.


Jasmine Skies
Jasmine Skies
by Sita Brahmachari
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating read and full of meaning for all ages, 24 April 2012
This review is from: Jasmine Skies (Paperback)
Sita Brahmachari possesses each of the skills a good writer needs: she creates and develops characters who feel like real people, she does an exceptional job of taking you to a different place, in this case, India, and tells a really engaging story which has so many layers that I really think this book has huge appeal for both the YA market and the adult market. As mother to a teenager, I recognised the truths and frustrations in the relationships between the girls and their mums, but what impressed me most is how reading this book took me back to my own adolescence and the excitement, discovery and highs and lows we all go through as we start to see the world through adult eyes. Mira is so relatable and the things she feels ring so true. Like Artichoke Hearts, this novel takes on big themes such as identity, memory and regret in a really moving and thought-provoking way that doesn't talk down to teenage readers. The depiction of both India's richness and especially its poverty reminded me vividly of when I went there at the age of 21. I felt that visit changed me and the way I thought about the world, and I think reading Jasmine Skies could have the same effect for those who read it.


An Unfamiliar Murder
An Unfamiliar Murder

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evidence of real plotting skill, 20 Feb. 2012
Tense, fast-paced and strong on characterization - an involving portrayal of how someone's life can be turned upside down by events that seem totally arbitrary, at first...


Jubilee
Jubilee
by Shelley Harris
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures a moment perfectly, 29 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Jubilee (Hardcover)
It normally takes me about a week to read a novel, but Jubilee is so compelling that I got through it in just two days, returning to it when I should have been doing other things.... Being the same age as the author, it was very interesting to revisit that time, which she evokes with great vividness. For anyone who grew up in Britain and remembers the Jubilee day and the late 70s, this will be a real trip down memory lane, but I think it will hold equal fascination for people overseas. The characters are very rounded and real, and in Satish Shelley Harris has created a complex and fallible protagonist whose apparent success in life conceals a darkness he struggles to control. I was totally gripped by the narrative and at times, worried sick. It is very well written, and with the timing of its release coinciding with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, a book that will have many reflecting on how Britain has changed since 1977, and not always for the better.


The Loyal Servant: A Very British Political Thriller (Angela Tate Investigations Book 1)
The Loyal Servant: A Very British Political Thriller (Angela Tate Investigations Book 1)
Price: £1.99

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As convincing as it is compelling, 26 Nov. 2011
Finally ! An indie-published book that can absolutely hold its own alongside traditionally published thrillers by established authors. The Loyal Servant is deftly plotted, tightly paced and above all, very well written which is often not true of novels with an exciting story. For a political thriller, this book had a surprisingly warm and often very amusing side which made it very readable. Eva Hudson knows the murky corridors of Westminster and it shows in her ability to twist and turn the story like a chicane. Her ability to weave items of office furniture and equipment into the plot in an interesting way is quite possibly a first. At times my heart was beating double time at the risks Caroline Barber has to take to uncover the truth about Martin Fox's death.

Caroline and her backdrop of family disasters are very relatable; boozy cynical hack Angela Tate is a fabulous creation. As a team, their combination of zeal and recklessness, co-operation and antagonism is a treat to read. The dialogue in this thriller is extremely entertaining. It sounds the way real people speak.

Perhaps best of all, in a time seemingly dominated by 'high-concept' psychological thrillers, there is nothing in this book that couldn't happen in real life. Watch the news. You know it's true.


Florence and Giles
Florence and Giles
by John Harding
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivatingly creepy, 8 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Florence and Giles (Paperback)
I absolutely loved this book and wished it had been longer. John Harding succeeds in creating a whole world which I not only believed in, I felt I was inside it. The voice of Florence took a bit of getting used to but for me it was the making of the book and it had the effect of reminding me that she is only a 12 year old child despite facing so many threats and fears. It was endearing, poignant and at times extremely amusing. The storytelling is beyond gripping. In parts I was absolutely terrified and could hardly bear to read on. There are some breathtaking twists but they work.

Now the nights are drawing in and especially if we get snow, I can't think of a better recommendation for a winter's fireside read.


What I Did
What I Did
by Christopher Wakling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative and Engaging, 12 Oct. 2011
This review is from: What I Did (Paperback)
What I Did is written in the voice of Billy, a six year old boy whose Dad, Jim, smacks him when he runs across a busy road. The scene is witnessed by an observer who, when Jim spectacularly fails to mollify her, informs social services. The novel catalogues the family's ordeal as one awful misunderstanding after another makes the situation worse and threatens their future together.

In Billy, the writer has created a uniquely engaging but at times daringly irritating voice. Billy is an intense and unusual child who would get on anyone's nerves. He interprets everything in a totally literal way and the book is full of his misheard words and phrases, many of which are very funny. The gap between Billy's understanding of what is happening and the reader's is one of the ways in which the author builds extraordinary momentum and tension. There are no chapter breaks, pulling the reader in and giving a vivid sense that in a nightmarish situation like this, there really is no respite. It's gripping stuff.

Despite everything, Billy and his Dad are close and given that we only have Billy's account to go on, I think the writer achieves a remarkably affecting portrayal of Jim, a father who loves his child but struggles with the day-to-day frustrations of being the main provider of childcare and working from home, ironically, in the communications business. Like all real parents, he is flawed and conflicted, and because of that, believable. His refusal to co-operate with the investigation had me howling out loud more than once. How can he not see he's making it worse? But as the story develops, what starts out as stubbornness increasingly reveals itself as understandable desperation and I found the last part of the book poignant.

Whatever you think of this book and its characters, you'll feel it strongly. For me, that's the mark of a good read.


The Pregnant Widow
The Pregnant Widow
by Martin Amis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intensely irritating but not enough to give up, 29 Aug. 2011
This review is from: The Pregnant Widow (Paperback)
A lot of the reviews here have been penned by readers who are clearly much better acquainted with Martin Amis's work than I can claim to be, but I do know that the previous novels I've read by him were a lot more enjoyable and funny than I found this one. The gushing quotes both inside and on the outside of the book cover made me wonder if I was reading the right book. The protagonist was irritating, not a bad thing in itself, but I couldn't work up enough interest to care which girl he ended up bedding. A lot of the writing was self-consciously clever and distracting and the structure was all over the place. The obsession with characters' physical attributes (Scheherazade's tits, Gloria's arse, Adriano's lack of height) was very boring. I started to enjoy it after about 150 pages, which is a lot longer than I'd give most authors, but with writers like Amis there is always the creeping fear that if you don't appreciate it, you must not be intellectual enough. In terms of story (not that there was much story), it was in some respects rather like a 1970s version of The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst but the comparison ends there. The latter is one of my favourite books, this most definitely isn't. Struggled to the end halfway through my holiday and frankly felt like I deserved a medal for doing so.


Things We Didn't See Coming
Things We Didn't See Coming
by Steven Amsterdam
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your usual post apocalyse vision, 5 Aug. 2011
I must start by saying that dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels are not my thing. Not usually anyway. I was motivated to read this by the endorsement by author Evie Wyld whose debut novel I also loved. Things We Didn't See Coming is very cleverly set in an imaginary future that is not too outlandish or distant in time - there are no aliens or robots walking the earth. What really made this book for me was the sense of retained humanity of the nameless narrator and those both close to him (although 'close' isn't really the word) and those whose paths he crosses - politicians, grandparents, teenagers all behave in a way that is recognisable and makes them seem real despite the extraordinary circumstances they face.

It is of course a frightening vision but what surprised me the most was how very funny this book is. The narrator, who can turn his scruples on and off at will, is a very engaging storyteller and I didn't find it hard to follow him through the different episodes which are separated in time by periods of years. Last night I was lucky enough to hear Steven Amsterdam read from the second chapter and he got a lot of laughs. He also happens to be a very nice guy and very modest. It had to be dragged out of him that this novel has replaced 1984 on the Australian school curriculum, which is quite an achievement.


The Bradshaw Variations
The Bradshaw Variations
by Rachel Cusk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing book, 7 Jun. 2011
I have read several of Rachel Cusk's novels and I greatly admire her writing skill but for me the balance is all wrong in this book. There is a lot of beautiful imagery, but mostly in the service of the characters' endless circular musings on the dissatisfactions of their lives. When you are distracted by the writing itself because it is too clever, it is harder to find the characters believable and I really didn't in this book. I agree with other reviewers that we are shown the point of view of too many different Bradshaws rather than ever getting to know the 'main' ones, Thomas and Tonie enough to understand or care about them. The end result is like half a novel and leaves the feeling that the missing half would have made all the difference.

The main reason I didn't enjoy this book was that it depressed me. There was barely a spark of joy or hope from start to finish. Everyone was so miserable and the couples so unsuited that it was hard to understand why they got together in the first place. This was particularly true of Thomas and Tonie. Or did she only want to take him from someone else ? There was a relentless sense of ennui and I ended up feeling thoroughly irritated with all of them.

Still, to look on the bright side, it made me glad that life is not as grim as it's painted here.


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