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Helter Skelter

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Knife Edge (DI Harland Book 2)
Knife Edge (DI Harland Book 2)
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing sequel to the brilliant Eye Contact, 25 April 2014
I absolutely loved Eye Contact (the first novel), it was clever, original, tightly written and very creepy. The premise was original and the characters well-drawn. I had been waiting excitedly for the sequel but have to say that I am very disappointed with Knife Edge.

I agree with another reviewer that continuing the story into a second novel was a mistake and didn't work. The interaction between the three main characters got more and more contrived (without giving away anything) and there seemed to be a large amount of overly-descriptive padding for several pages at a time which did not really add anything to the story. There were also several examples of repetitive cliches which really began to irritate: characters kept 'padding' from room to room, everyone seemed to be 'pushing their hands through their hair' every five minutes and 'rubbing their hands across their faces wearily'. And Naysmith did so much 'scowling' that it became distracting.

If you can't let Naysmith rest from the first novel then it is an ok read. There are flashes that echo the first novel, but not enough for me unfortunately and the ending wasn't the best. Perhaps the bar had been set so high with the first novel that it was always going to be a struggle to match my expectation.

I see that there will be another Harland novel and I will read it just to see if it is back to the exceptionally high standard of Eye Contact. I hope it is as it is quite clear from the first book that the author can deliver a brilliant story.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2015 11:56 PM BST


The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club
The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club
Price: £3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read but needs better editing!, 16 Mar. 2014
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I enjoyed this book. I found the writer had a unique style and voice which came through well and although it was not the most polished of stories in parts, he managed to thread in enough dark humour and back-stories to allow the story to move along at a quick pace.

His descriptions of South America and Paris in particular were vivid and entertaining and his characters all had enough detail to bring them to life with credibility. Yes, some of the plot points were rather implausible - how likely is it that so many people in such a small neighbourhood would be willing to take out contracts on each other (and with the same 'Organization'? What are the chances of characters bumping into each other again in such a small Savannah neighbourhood when their initial previous contact had been on another continent the day before? But although these situations were unlikely, they did not exasperate me as I found them amusing rather than contrived and I could suspend disbelief as it all fitted in with the tone of the story.

However, it does need someone to sort out the editing (as some others have stated). There are various typos and grammatical errors and unnecessary repetition of phrases and even whole sections which gives the book a slightly amateurish feel in parts which is a shame. In one section, a French character (Francois) is alternately referred to as Francois or Francoise over and over until it becomes really annoying.

Sort these small issues out and you've got an interesting and quirky read. I look forward to more from this author as he develops his style further!


What Alice Forgot
What Alice Forgot
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read..., 1 Mar. 2014
This review is from: What Alice Forgot (Kindle Edition)
I've really enjoyed every Liane Moriarty book that I've read (this one is my third). Moriarty has an excellent writing style which just carries you along, you don't want to stop turning those pages to see what happens next.

The premise of this story (amnesia) could have been cheesy and clunky if not done well, but fortunately it is done well. Yes, there are a couple of plot points that others have mentioned: would family members have left her on her own with children she doesn't even recognise? Wouldn't Alice's loved ones have taken her for further medical treatment? Why didn't Alice pin somebody down and make them tell her the story behind the elusive Gina?

However, the rest of the story is so well characterised that these seem minor points. It is fascinating to follow Alice on her journey to find out who she really is. Is she really more the shy, ditsy, relaxed expectant mother she was at 29 or the uptight, super-organised, committee-chairing matriarch on the verge of her forties?

I really love the author's dialogue, particularly between couples. It's so realistic and humorous. Alice's world and social circle just leap off the page.

I whizzed through this book and was sorry to finish it. Recommended.


Life After Life
Life After Life
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly written and thought-provoking book, 22 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Life After Life (Kindle Edition)
I've read all of Kate Atkinson's books and so was excited to read this latest as I am an admirer of her work (my previous favourite of hers being Behind the Scenes at the Museum).

I absolutely loved it. Other reviews outline the premise better than I could, but the main gist of it is that Ursula can relive her life repeatedly (I looked on them as different 'strands' of her life) and the impact of seemingly small and unimportant decisions can be huge. Who has never wondered what would have happened if we'd chosen to do things differently at certain points of our lives?

The author's characterisation gives this complex premise the depth it needs to keep you hooked on the story: each character is clearly defined and credible and it is fascinating to see how they react and develop as different scenarios unfold. I note from some of the other reviews that some found the book repetitive. Just to be clear, the same incidents are not retold and rehashed over and over again in the same way, which would certainly be tedious. Where scenarios are referred to in more than one 'strand' of Ursula's life they are told from a different perspective or with a different outcome or decision made to move the story along. There are incidents which seem harder for Ursula to navigate through (the Spanish influenza for instance) but I never found the revisitation of these scenarios to be annoying as they all added to the story and I found myself rooting for her to make the necessary changes to avoid disaster. I also quite enjoyed piecing together where different 'strands' overlapped and intersected: the author tightly weaves the stories around each other without losing momentum. The descriptions of London in the Blitz were particularly vivid and compelling.

I really didn't like putting this book down and I have been thinking about it on and off since I finished it. I read it last week and am already planning upon reading it again soon. It is original and beautifully written and well worth reading - but don't expect a quick read you can skim through, it really needs to be a book that you immerse yourself in.


The Courage Tree
The Courage Tree
Price: £4.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really disappointing - was I reading the same book??, 13 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Courage Tree (Kindle Edition)
I bought this as a daily deal due to the (mainly) positive reviews and even though it was only 99p I really wish I hadn't wasted the money! I try to be positive about other people's work as much as possible but there isn't much at all I can recommend about this book.

The characters are unbelievable, unsympathetic and irritating. The author does have a certain flow to her writing, but it was impossible for me to get past the poor characterisation and the shockingly contrived story lines which were so poor they actually had me groaning out loud and rolling my eyes. For example, a faded film star who is so famous that she is only known by her first name hiding in a forest in the middle of nowhere who just coincidentally happens to bump into another main character whilst arranging a prison break out? What are the chances of that??

I got so fed up and bored with this book that I very nearly gave up half way through (and I hate to give up on books). But re-reading the more positive reviews on Amazon persuaded me to carry on to see what the amazing twist was that everyone was talking about. So I quickly scanned through the final half of the book missing out huge chunks. A ridiculously contrived 'revelation' about another character in an attempt to add a twist doesn't hit the mark, just comes across as desperate plot wrangling to me. In retrospect, I completely agree with the reviews with the fewest stars and am just surprised that this book has so many positive reviews.

Any comparisons with Jodi Picoult are very far from the mark and completely misleading. I won't be reading anything else by this author.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2014 10:35 AM GMT


The Lords of Midnight
The Lords of Midnight
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant game, give it a try, 27 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Lords of Midnight (App)
An absolutely addictive game. I used to play this on the Spectrum many years ago and it is still as engrossing. The graphics don't look dated and the functionality on the Kindle Fire is fine and the game is easy to navigate.

There are a couple of options for game play - complete the quicker ice crown quest or go for the longer battle strategy game and see how many Lords you can recruit. But beware - I downloaded this at Christmas and have been playing it ever since, it is so easy to lose track of time and discover that a few hours have flown by...


The Wife's Tale
The Wife's Tale
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really absorbing read, 2 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Wife's Tale (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely loved this book. I wasn't sure that I would from the blurb and the first few pages, but I was soon sucked into the tale of Mary's life. The writing is remarkable in that it is so well done you it is no effort at all to be taken through some tough issues including obesity, drug addiction, terminal illness... It is a very uplifting book and I found myself thinking about it for some time after finishing it. I read The Girls some time ago but did not find it quite as absorbing as this tale.

Yes, I can see why some people found Mary to be frustrating, but I found her to be sympathetically written and one of life's true gentle souls. Her emergence as her own person as she steps out of the shadow of her husband and marriage is fascinating and I couldn't put the book down towards the end. I enjoyed it so much that I have already lined up Rush Home Road to read next. Definitely recommended.


Orchard Toys Scaredy Cat
Orchard Toys Scaredy Cat
Price: £6.45

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orchard Toys Scaredy Cat - good fun!, 11 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Orchard Toys Scaredy Cat (Toy)
I recently bought this for my child and although I wasn't quite sure how good it would be from the product description it's been great to play and has quickly become one of my child's favourite games. It can get quite raucous with people shouting 'oh no, a cat!' and 'ooh, the scarecrow' and gets more exciting the faster you can play. It really helps with counting - 'how many birds do you have now?' - and also with losing and dealing with that. My child doesn't mind handing all his birds back when he finds a cat as he finds it funny. Definitely worth a purchase.


Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs
Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs
Price: £7.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun game, 11 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs (Toy)
I bought the Crazy Chefs game for my child this Christmas and it is really good fun. The cards are durable and colourful and the concept is straightforward with a bit more to it than other games to keep your little one interested. We all love playing it and it has made him aware of ingredients and how meals are made. It has also proved useful in persuading him to eat things featured - "these are noodles, just like in your Crazy Chefs game"! Brilliant.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great t-shirt!, 8 Jan. 2011
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I love the Toonstars t-shirts, they are cute and quirky and something a bit different. The quality of the cotton is really good - soft and substantial - and the recipient of this t-shirt was very pleased with it. Recommended!


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