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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2013
This book is almost like a collection of short stories that are linked from one to the next by a certain character. It is imaginative, original and captivating... It made me read on! The author has used her wealth of knowledge to create a range of characters and personalities that could symbolise "the sign of the times."

At times, I felt the characters were too stereotypical and I did wonder if people are actually like that (I obviously lead a sheltered life). But, I loved her use of languages, and cultures, to define certain aspects of the characters' nationality.

In the end, the plot lines fit together to form the masterpiece puzzle, and for me, it was ended on a very satisfactory note.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, and would recommend of you enjoy books with a range of characters, and movies such as "Love Actually."
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on 11 November 2012
This was a really busy book from start to finish. I enjoyed the introductions and the different perspectives of all the characters and their situations, liking how they linked together. Although the characters were well developed, because of the amount of them (which is obviously crucial for the star sign idea to work), I found myself forgetting where some of them sat in the book which made me back track a few times and lose my flow. Because of this I rated Sign of the Times 4/5.

This is a good debut from Susan Buchanan. With a book like this you are bound to meet characters you like and some that you will loath, and so this should hold something for everyone. On finishing I actually thought it could sit really well as a film?

I wish the author all the best with her future work. Thank you.
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on 30 August 2012
I absolutely loved this book, it was wrote around the signs of the zodiac each character having there sign explained beffore the chapter begun.
Each part concisted if several short stories which could be easily read, connecting all if them at the very end.
My only critism would be , if it took you awhile to read, you would may be forget the characters at the start. Over all a very good read!!
Roll on the follow up!!!!
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on 7 May 2013
I enjoyed this book, especially how the characters were portrayed in such a clever way - believable and likeable too.

It's difficult to say too much because I don't give spoilers, but it was a good read, well-written.
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on 19 March 2013
Great storyline. Couldn't put the book down. At the end of each "Sign" I wanted more so really glad the stories were finished off in the end! Very much looking forward to the sequel.
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on 23 January 2014
I picked this book because I really enjoyed 'A Christmas Spirit' and was keen on reading more by Susan Buchanan.

The story is based on the twelve signs of the zodiac with twelve characters to match those signs. All the characters are linked to each other in some way and we see this developing as the story progresses.We also get different viewpoints of the same events by different characters who are directly related to each other and this I really enjoyed. As we move from from one star sign and character to another we come across some cliffhangers at the end of each star sign story eg. when Lucy crashes the car etc which left me wanting to know what happened and not wanting to move on to the next sign but being forced to :). Once I moved onto the next character and star sign I found myself forgetting about say Lucy and getting totally absorbed by the new star sign and character. This continues throughout the book and its only at the end that everyone comes together at Holly's book launch and we find out what has actually been happening in everyone's lives since we left them earlier in the book. I loved all the characters in particular Holly, Lucy and Carl.

I had no idea that 'Sign of the Times' was Susan's first book until now. For a first book, this is ambitious and most certainly would have been a challenging book to write. Therefore its all credit to her that she has successfully managed to write a cleverly crafted and absorbing story with some incredible characters. The story is rich and colourful in content and the book has been very well researched. Each set of related characters could easily have had a whole book to themselves for instance Holly, Tom and Dario as one book and Lucy, Robbie and Carl as another book and Ben, Jennifer and Maggie in the third etc

The conclusion was quite fitting and I can see that it would be possible to write a sequel to this book with Holly continuing her journey into Andalucia and some of the characters from this book reappearing. What do you think Susan any chance of this?

This was a fantastic book. I have never seen anything like this attempted before so it was pretty unique and refreshing!
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on 25 September 2012
Ok unusual book. Original ideas, interesting characters but the ending was poor, I felt I'd wasted my time reading this one.
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on 7 October 2012
For her debut novel, Susan Buchanan took on a brave and ambitious task to weave so many different characters together across a several countries. Using the signs of the zodiac to underpin the structure would probably work well for a reader who believes in astrology - the sort of person who regularly says things like "Oh, you're so Capricon!" in the middle of a conversation. But the subtleties of this device went over my head as I never read horoscopes and don't believe for a moment that when you were born affects the kind of person you are. I realise this may have put me at a disadvantage - but I was willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of a good read!

I enjoyed this book and its many stories. Several nights, I stayed up reading later than I intended, just because I was so drawn into the storyline of whichever person was in the spotlight at that point in the book.

For a newly-published writer, Susan did lots of things very well. She juggled and wove together an extensive cast of very different people, portrayed in detail. She explained their motivations and idiosyncracies vividly. It's the type of book that makes you think again before judging strangers in the street, wondering about their back stories.

It was also good to read a story set (mostly) in Scotland in modern times. Married to a Scot, I know it pretty well and enjoyed the geographical references. (That was one reason I bought the book.) It was good also to see immigrants woven into the story in a very positive way.

I became fond of a lot of the characters and I especially liked the surprises in some of the sub-plots - but I won't go into those here for fear of spoiling it for you.

Another thing I liked was the cover design, which may seem an odd thing to mention, but it's always good to see a self-published novel with a cover that would look at home alongside commercial bestsellers on the shelves of bookshops. I thought this cover was attractive, strong, intriguing and set the tone well for the content.

I can understand why those who have given it lower ratings were irritated by grammatical errors, typos and the odd unfortunate phrase, but I think they should cut the author a little slack here. If the book had received the professional proof-reading and sub-editing service enjoyed by mainstream authors, at their publishers' expense, these would have been eliminated. Even Roald Dahl was a terrible speller, you know, and relied on his publishers' services to knock his manuscripts into readable form. I hope their criticisms don't deter Susan's ambition - and I hope that having sold so many copies, she'll now be able to buy in these luxuries before publication of her next book. She certainly deserves them.

If Susan Buchanan ever writes any books or stories targetting with a smaller cast and canvas, I'd be especially interested to read them, as I think with more time and effort to bestow on each individual, her work would be even better.
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on 25 March 2012
Sign of the Times
Downloaded this to my Kindle last week and have to say that I wasn't disappointed with it. Since becoming a Kindle owner I have read many books that I would never have considered before. The characters in this book were very believable and the fact that it was based in the West Coast of Scotland made it even dearer to my heart. Loved each of the characters in the book and found that I couldn't stop reading it to find out more about them. Loved the way they all came together at the end. Good work Susan Buchanan and hope you find time to give us more.
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on 25 August 2013
Another I have given up on. There were too many stupid punctuation errors annoying me. I only made it 7% in and I'd got cheesed off. I should have been tipped off in the table of contents as one of the starsigns was written around the wrong way to all other chapter headings which to me was pretty careless.
I kept going back to this passage too that made no sense to me. "She'd met Tom when she was looking for a new flat and had ended up moving into one not far from the town centre. It had been a real wrench to move, as she had great neighbours, but she was hardly ever there. She missed Jennifer and of course, proximity to town"......it seemed to totally contradict itself and I was utterly baffled by it yet kept going back to it to re-read it and still it made no sense !!
Another confusing sentence that didn't need to be but for a randomly added semicolon was-..."she heard several voices speaking; in what she was certain was Arabic"....again I kept re-reading then realised the punctuation there wasn't needed !!
There were lost speechmarks, commas randomly added, missed apostrophes and all in the 7% I read !! It didn't bode well and I don't have the patience to persevere.
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