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Reviews Written by
Louise Stanley (Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom)

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Farewell, Angelina
Farewell, Angelina
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Farewell, Angelina (MP3 Download)
One of my favourite albums. I first heard it thirty years ago but the songs haven't dated at all.


27 Fiction Writing Blunders - And How Not To Make Them!
27 Fiction Writing Blunders - And How Not To Make Them!
Price: £2.77

3.0 out of 5 stars ... that could be put into this and it feels like a series of blog posts rather than a book, 27 Nov. 2015
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Not hugely substantial for a writing manual - there is a lot more detail that could be put into this and it feels like a series of blog posts rather than a book. Still, it is useful as a primer before moving onto other books with a lot more content included in them.


Red Seas Under Red Skies: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Book Two (Gentleman Bastards 2)
Red Seas Under Red Skies: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Book Two (Gentleman Bastards 2)
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Lies of Locke ..., 27 Nov. 2015
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I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Lies of Locke Lamora. Lynch has taken the richly-detailed worldbuilding and has filled this book with it, but I found myself losing interest after long stretches of the protagonists doing very little other than messing about. The best parts about Locke Lamora were the fast-paced action, and Lynch has sacrificed too much of that in a rush to portray a carnival of greed and stupidity. It was a shame because Lynch can write very well when he wants to - but he let himself get carried away in this book rather than staying focused on a coherent plot.


Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
Price: £6.02

5.0 out of 5 stars A great book. Goes into a lot of depth and ..., 27 Nov. 2015
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A great book. Goes into a lot of depth and penetrates what makes literature tick from a writer's perspective. It's a joy to read in its own right - Prose's own writing is thoughtful and elegant.


The Bride Wore Brains: A Horror/Comedy Zombie Apocalypse Story
The Bride Wore Brains: A Horror/Comedy Zombie Apocalypse Story
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 27 Nov. 2015
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Enjoyable and engaging read, and a really imaginative idea.


Cancer Ward
Cancer Ward
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books and always a great read, 27 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Cancer Ward (Kindle Edition)
One of my favourite books and always a great read. Intriguing characters and a story full of hope and chutzpah in trying circumstances. A must-read for anyone into Russian literature.


Bad Humors
Bad Humors
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Sense of Humour, 27 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Bad Humors (Kindle Edition)
Aaron Wright has written a highly sympathetic and engaging story here - the prose is clear and lucid while painting character in bold, vivid strokes. The magic system was well-structured, coherently based in real-life folklore and was consistently applied, and the action was realistic and detailed. Donald was a well-rounded human being and the book avoided the temptation to be a jumble of cheesy pop-culture memes. Wright knows how to balance engrossing fantasy-Lovecraft story-telling with beautiful prose and I look forward to his next book.

A short but fab book - well worth the read.


The Book of Lokk: Death's Keep (Volume 1)
The Book of Lokk: Death's Keep (Volume 1)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great little novel from Sommer Nectarhoff - it opens at ..., 27 Oct. 2015
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This is a great little novel from Sommer Nectarhoff - it opens at some pace and is really in keeping with the grimdark movement elsewhere in modern fantasy. It also reminds me a little bit of The Left Hand of God - the same creepy temple reformatory setting, the same young protagonist to send a shiver down your spine. Highly recommended.


Century of Sand
Century of Sand
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Sand in your hair, 10 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Century of Sand (Kindle Edition)
Christopher Ruz has created an interesting and well-imagined world. His characters come to life as real people, and you can feel their physical and emotional pain through the words Ruz chooses to convey the desert setting and the torture inflicted on the characters. There were some moments where the reader is sucked right into the situation and can feel the desert sand in their hair and on their tongue. Ruz has obviously spent a lot of time researching desert life and clothing, as well as constructing a Meritran language which is believable. His ability to observe the interaction of people who speak only fragments of each other's language is rare in fantasy writing.

The only thing I need to mention as a failing of the story is that I never quite got to grips with the deeper events of the story. I understood Richard and Ana's day-to-day existence and the actions they took within the plot, but I didn't find it easy to grasp the overarching plot of the story. I cared about them as people, but didn't quite feel I understood their motivations and metaplot. More information on Richard's background would have made it slightly easier to follow. Worldbuilding can bog down the plot, but the book could have done with a few more explicit scenes on Richard's background and particularly on explaining the relationship between the country from Richard comes and Meritran.

That said, this is always a hard balance to achieve. Ruz' exquisite language and action-packed plot largely trumps this problem, and I am very much looking forward to reading the next books in the series, when I hope I will get to understand more about his world beyond the immediate action of the plot. The book comes highly recommended.


The Hummingbird Familiar
The Hummingbird Familiar
Price: £2.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The Sprite Fantastic, 8 Jan. 2014
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Christine Jackson has created a charming, lovely story with a rich diversity of characters and some tender moments. When apprenticed to a grumpy shaman, Maya meets her familiar, the impish hummingbird Sprite, who reminds me very much of ET, Short Circuit or WALL-E in the way Ms Jackson characterises him. I always heard his constant squeals of "Innnnnnnteresting!" in the voice of a cute movie alien or funny robot. This is perhaps the first time in a while where I've felt that an author really brings a character to life.

What I loved about this book in particular is that it is suffused with a genuinely North American atmosphere. Much traditional fantasy written by western authors is set in very Euro-centric worlds; however, Ms Jackson has created a setting where she has taken the folklore of her own immediate surroundings and built on it. This is to be commended and encouraged. The charming cover art may have an influence on this opinion, but there's elements of Avatar: The Last Airbender to the world and the setting. She does for children's fantasy literature what Raymond Feist did for adults with the world of Kelewan - create something unique and distinct from Tolkien's well-trodden paths.

The final climax is well-written, dramatic, and leaves the path clear for more adventures with Maya and her friends. It's clear that there's no easy answer or easy fix to the problem thrown up by the antagonist Shadow. There was also a very profound statement about religious belief, which for me precisely encapsulated my thoughts on religion. (Basically the spirits/Divine can only do so much to actively protect humanity; the Divine can't intervene all the time. It's up to us to learn for ourselves how to live with respect and care for other people.)

The only thing I ask for more of in any sequel is to learn about the bandits. I think Ms Jackson could have given us slightly more background to why they ended up as outcasts, and almost, what is so bad about them. However, given the story is from Maya's childish point-of-view ('the bandits are bad because people say they're bad'), it gives her latitude to think about this for the next book rather than fixing anything about the setting far too soon.

Ms Jackson shows real courage and grace in writing something which isn't violent or bleak, but has enough peril and shadows to create a realistic conflict. This is a hard balance to find, and I await the next book in the series eagerly.


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