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H. Lacroix (France)

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The Secret by the Lake
The Secret by the Lake
by Louise Douglas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid....., 8 Aug. 2016
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This review is from: The Secret by the Lake (Paperback)
After the excellent "Black House" from Peter May reading this proved impossible. There was no in depth characterisation,no attention to detail, no style and put simply not the slightest bit of literary talent. I have been extremely careless in selecting what I was going to read recently and have trusted 5 star reviews when I should have been more critical and should have paid attention to the one star ones. The cover too should have rung alarm bells. This smacked of romantic fiction of the worst kind. I didn't finish the book as I couldn't care less what would happen to Amy, her "friend' Julia or Vivi and had not the slightest curiosity towards what had happened to Caroline. I have seldom found myself so unengaged when starting on a new book


The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy
The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy
by Peter May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished!, 6 Aug. 2016
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When one has finished a perfectly mediocre book it's a profound relief to find the next one a pleasure to read. " The Black House" scores points on many levels and Peter May is an accomplished storyteller. I expected to read a classic murder mystery but this novel is much more than that. In fact the murder investigation plays second fiddle and is merely there to enable the author to delve into his hero's past. It's a tale full of quiet melancholy as Finn's reminiscences force him to see the child he was and the way fate delivered blows which made him the adult he is. I found the author adept at recreating both the happiness and angst of childhood and the inevitable nostalgia they give rise to, once the character has become a grown-up and has to think back on all the defining moments of his life when he took a path that it might have been better to avoid. The landscape is masterfully depicted and the characters utterly believable. A tale that is both moving and cruel and that won't leave you indifferent.


The Londoners (The Londoners Trilogy)
The Londoners (The Londoners Trilogy)
by Margaret Pemberton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deeply irritating, 31 July 2016
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I ordered this book because it had many excellent reviews. I knew from what I had read that it wouldn't be a literary masterpiece but I hoped it would be good quality fiction and I was very disappointed when I realised Margaret Pemberton's prose was as unsubtle as Barbara Cartland's. There's no character insight, no in depth psychology. The book is peopled by protagonists with flat personalities who talk and act in unrealistic ways. The dialogue is sometimes so stilted as to give the impression that the author got her facts about WWII from a leaflet and then put the words in her characters' mouths without trying to make them personal and heart-felt. One such example is the way Leon speaks about his war experience. " Out of a ship's company of more than 1,200 only 43 of us survived. 47 airmen were lost as well, includind the crews of eight Gladiators and ten Hurricanes who had flown on board rather than abandon their aircraft in Norway". It's just like reading a history textbook. The author also repeats sentences or parts of sentences several times over and one such instance is when describing Mavis's hairstyle :"...and over her forehead in sausage-thick curls". The worst I think is the implausible way in which her characters speak and act and the sloppy way Ms Pemberton deals with life -defining moments. One such is when Kate goes to see Toby, determined to let him make love to her. She is supposed to be a shy girl for whom it can't have been easy to take such a step and yet she is supposed to say" And I want to go to bed with you." I was then painfully reminded of Helen Dunmore's rather beautiful "Zennor in Darkness" and the way this gifted author brings about a similar scene between her two young heroes describing thoughtfully and masterfully a very touching first love scene. The contrast between the two couldn't have been starker. But it was going to become even more absurd when Kate gives birth to her first born child. I was neither surprised nor shocked that Leon would have to act as midwife.In fact it was totally predictable as trying to go for the unexpected doesn't seem to be the author's strong point but when moments after giving birth the young mother is supposed to have sexual thoughts concerning Leon I couldn't believe what I was reading. I doubt women who have just exhausted themselves pushing a baby out of their wombs have sex on their minds. This was the point of no return for me. I don't doubt that this review will meet with criticism from adoring fans of the author but I can sincerely say that I have no wish to upset them, I merely want to steer away from Ms Pemberton's novels, readers whose taste in books is akin to mine.


Cemetery Lake
Cemetery Lake
by Paul Cleave
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Contains spoilers, 29 July 2016
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This review is from: Cemetery Lake (Paperback)
I'm a lot less enthousiastic about this novel than the other reviewers but then it takes all sorts. I found the beginning overlong and laboured and although I wasn't going to give up I thought it would take me a while to finish this book. I was then thinking I would probably give it only two stars. Later on the pace quickened and it became much more interesting, which is why I give it three. But on the whole I have reservations. The character psychology is very well-written with convincing insights into what makes people tick but I found a lot of the dialogue between Tate and his former colleagues to be repetitive and very cliché and the plot, when all is revealed, to be implausible. Why on earth would that character not take precautions to stop fathering unwanted children after it's happened to him once? Much more reasonable than having to resort to blackmail to offer financial support to their mothers afterwards!! And something that I failed to comprehend but I might have been inattentive while reading that bit was why Henry Martins's coffin had to be dug up in the first place? The plot was really too far fetched for me!


THE GLASS GUARDIAN
THE GLASS GUARDIAN
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This review contains spoilers.... if there's anything to spoil...., 19 July 2016
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The few negative reviews say it all 'The Glass guardian' is a daft story but funnily enough it didn't annoy me too much, at least at the start, and that is probably because it wasn't trying to be clever and the beginning was at least bearable. But then it did grow irritating and especially because of Ruth, the main character. Others noticed how she constantly changes her mind about things and it does get tedious. What's more the dialogue, which had never been brilliant, truth be told, but was at least average took a turn for the worst and became totally silly. It's not that there is a ghost in the story or that Ruth and Hector fall in love that makes the story daft. If you think of 'The Ghost and Mrs Muir', a film I love, those two elements are the backbone of the story and in the film they work fine. I'm sure that in this novel it could have worked as well if Ruth and the ghost hadn't been related and if they hadn't had sex. What on earth possessed the writer to go for that option? It makes everything totally ludicrous and on top of that Hector being her great uncle, and a great uncle isn't far removed from a grandfather, it makes it incestuous. Very strange choices, which apparently don't seem to bother many readers. That surprised me very much as well! I'm afraid that as far as I'm concerned, whichever way you look at it, it is an ill-executed and trite piece of work that nonetheless managed to find many extremely lenient readers.


Secrets of the Sea House
Secrets of the Sea House
by Elisabeth Gifford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent read...., 17 July 2016
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I've just read very negative reviews concerning this book I've just finished. I understand those reviewers' point of view. If you're an islander and know a lot about these distant isles there's good reason to be incensed by careless errors made by the author concerning the people, the dialect, the topography... In my case though, I've never been further than the Isle of Skye and I'm no expert on anything concerning the area so my review concerns only the story as it is. And I enjoyed it! I must say I thought the historical part set in 1860 was a lot better than the rest. I found the character of Moira interesting and her attachment to her young minister touching. I must admit the character of Ruth, narrator of the 1996 part of the book, was sometimes annoying and her relationship with her boyfriend Michael, his brother Jamie and Jamie's girlfriend Leaf often smacked of careless writing. For all I know the author might have worked very hard on those parts but it didn't feel like it. And yet the characters of Ferguson , the young cleric, and his maid Moira, were much better drawn, which explains why, on the whole, I had a good time reading this.


Housebound [DVD]
Housebound [DVD]
Dvd ~ Morgana O'Reilly
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £5.67

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great......, 13 July 2016
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This review is from: Housebound [DVD] (DVD)
I hate horror films. I don't see the point of watching psychos murdering people in the most inventive , degenerate and cruel ways and I hate being frightened. Creepy scenes make me jump out of my skin and rather than have to face that when I watch something scary, which happens extremely rarely, I keep my eyes nearly shut so as to see as little as possible of what is happening and this is extremely uncomfortable viewing. One might then wonder why I gave this a go. It was simply because it was recommended to me by a friend who told me it wasn't that scary and was furthermore really funny. I was tempted, gave it a go and loved it. It's not a perfect film, some parts are a bit long but on the whole it's a well-crafted and very humourous little piece. The actress who played Kylie did a very good job and I adored the character of her mother! A superb creation of a well-intentioned- though - driving- people - nuts kind of mother! Making it very funny though was the masterstroke and the reason why I have already watched it four times! Ah the cheese grater!!! One of the gloriously funny moments in this little gem of a film.


Wake
Wake
by Anna Hope
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended...., 13 July 2016
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'Wake' is a perfectly good novel, well-told, nicely plotted with three interesting female characters. If I remember correctly it is the author's first novel and I must say it is impressive that Anna Hope should have written such a vivid , compulsive read right from the start. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and must congratulate the author on something that is not easily done, managing to recreate on the page a world long gone in a convincing manner.


The Silver Dark Sea
The Silver Dark Sea
by Susan Fletcher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More than just OK!, 18 Jun. 2016
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This review is from: The Silver Dark Sea (Paperback)
I started reading and found the pace of the story extremely slow and the fact that each inhabitant was recounting how they heard the news of the discovery of the fishman slightly annoying because it became extremely repetitious. The style reminded me so much of 'Witch light' that I checked the author again (I hadn't paid any attention to the writer's name when I picked up the next book I wanted to read) and realised that they were one and the same. Then, as had happened with 'Witch Light' before, I became engorssed in the story and the tale started to work for me. I found the ending extremely moving and on the whole 'The Silver Dark Sea ' was a good reading experience provided one is patient enough to give it a go. I have one criticism though. I find too many of her characters too good to be true. It's not necessarily that I like to read about nasty people but they exist and in quite large numbers too and I wish her novels dealt more with people as they really are rather than as we would like them to be.


The Shut Eye
The Shut Eye
by Belinda Bauer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This one I found disconcerting..., 22 May 2016
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This review is from: The Shut Eye (Paperback)
It's the first Belinda Bauer novel I didn't really enjoy. It's a little difficult for me to understand why it was so. I have read four of her novels already and have always been hooked right from the first chapter. It certainly wasn't the case here! I really didn't warm to any of the characters and I found the ending totally implausible. Well, sometimes it doesn't work for you and there's no knowing why as Belinda Bauer is undeniably a gifted writer.


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