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RachelWalker "RachelW" (England)

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Nightmares And Dreamscapes
Nightmares And Dreamscapes
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short stories, Aug. 16 2002
This is a very, very good collection. It ranges from the macabre to the heartfelt, from the scary to the puzzling.
There is something for everyone here, lovers of non-fiction and baseball will love "Head Down" a great little non-fiction "essay" on Little League. Admittedly, i wasn't very interested in it so skimmed it, but it's an incredibly enjoyable piece of writing, very very well written, and at times touching.
If detective novels are your thing, you'll love "The Doctor's Case" a short story about Holmes and Watson, where it is Watson who cracks the crime, not Holmes.
Then there is the rather strange story, Sorry, Right NUmber, which is not told conventionally, more in the style of a TV script, but it's another very clever story that is very enjoyable.
And you of course then have the typical horror stories, such as Chattery Teeth and The Moving Finger. Then there are more "message" stories, such as My Pretty Pony.
King's variety is remarkable. Every story touches on a different element, but they all have something in common: The fact that they are all immensely enjoyable and well written. Once again, his notes at the end make the book even more special. My personal favourites of this colelction are Chattery Teeth and The House on Maple Street.

Bloodlines: Long And Short Stories
Bloodlines: Long And Short Stories
by Ruth Rendell
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Ok collection, until the final story, Aug. 15 2002
This is an ok collection of short stories, right up until the final novella, "The Strawberry Tree". Until then, most of the stories are enjoyable, all are well written, but some of them don't have much impact. "Clothes" is a bit puzzling, to name just one. However, there are some excellent ones. "In All Honesty", "Lizzie's Lover" and the wonderful "Unnacceptable Levels" which is very short, but the best short story in the collection apart from the final one.
The characters are all well drawn with accurate psychology, and many have rather disturbing and strange traits. The first story, a Wexford, which serves as the title for the collection, is well written and clever, but not quite as entertaining as some other Wexford short stories.
However, now we come to the final story. "The Strawberry Tree" is a short novella of about 90 pages, but it is the best story in the collection, and possibly the best novella i have ever read. It says many things about the human condition, as well as being incredibly touching, well evoked, interesting, clever, very well written, etc. It in itself is worth the price of the entire book. Set in part in Spain, she describes the foreign landscape beautifully, as she does the relationships between the four main children in the story. It is a beautiful story, full of psychological perception. It's intriguing, compelling, emotional, sometimes sad, and has a subtle twist to the tale that it is hard to pre-empt.
First class, but this book by the world's most talented writer. Of this generation or any previous.

Blood Test
Blood Test
by Jonathan Kellerman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second novel test, Aug. 12 2002
This review is from: Blood Test (Mass Market Paperback)
Kellerman takes it, and passes it with ease.
The book is original and ingenious. The solution is very clever and very shocking. He builds a story with characters you care about and events you just can't fathom. He unfolds it gradually, at great pace.
Writing is nothing special as to quiality, but its enjoyable prose and Delaware is a likeable and well drawn characters. Shame not to see Robin again this time round.
Great mystery novel, great solution. Unexpected and shocking, very effective.

Dead Sleep
Dead Sleep
by Greg Iles
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.25
92 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great thriller, original and twisty, Aug. 12 2002
This review is from: Dead Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a very good thriller. I'm new to Iles, and this is a good first taste.
I don't think he has a very individual style...as a prose writer, there is little to really set him apart from many others. You would not think upon picking this book up without seeing the cover "Oh yes, this was definitely written by Iles", like you would with some writers such as Jeffery Deaver and John Connolly. But that isn't really very important...
What is important is the fact that this is an ingenious, bizarre and very incredibly original thriller. In these days when the genre is swamped (forunately, it's swamped almost entirely with excellent authors) it is quite hard to turn out a book which is completely original, and yet writers like Iles manage to do it again and again. This one stands out particularly. Even the lead characters profession is original.
The story has more twists than a rollercoaster, almost none of which you cna preempt. (Especially the last great twist which comes really near the end.) The plot is intriguing, and unlike anything i've read before. It's not quite as enjoyable or thrilling as some i've come across, but it's brilliance makes up for that.
The characters are human and sympathetic, and the relationship between the two leads is handled subtly and well. These are characters we definitely care something about.
One point: at one stage in the book, Iles uses the old "Does not happen half as often in real life as fiction writers would have us believe." lecture, but then immediately goes on to include the thing which he is talking about as part of the solution. Which sort of spoilt the illusion, but whatever.
Last Word: A very original and enjoyable thriller which twists and turns its way to a satisfying conclusion.

The Beach House
The Beach House
by James Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
110 used & new from CDN$ 0.06

3.0 out of 5 stars Fair to middling, Aug. 9 2002
This review is from: The Beach House (Hardcover)
I am a bit undecided on this book. For starters, it tends to be a bit short. The writing is thin and the plot is a bit underdeveloped, as are the characters. they are not really indivdual (apart form the dead man) and if they didnt have names, you could hardly tell the apart. There are the "good" guys and the "bad" guys, all sharing the same traits as being epitomised of both those states of moralism.
However, its exciting and very fast paced. Its original, but stereotypical in its "rich" people are bad, so the poor downtrodden working-classes are quitissentialy good.
Something in the style didnt quite sit right, either. the writing style is as underdeveloped and poor as ever, but it didnt feel like Patterson. I have a feeling that de Jonge had quite a large hand in the writing (if not the plotting) of this book. Speaking of plotting...its exciting yes, but there werent really so many twists as we come to expect, and hardly any of the chapter end in the cliffhanging style we are used to. They just sort of stop, as if to chapter break anywhere would do, as long as the chapters end up short. (And in this novel, the chapters are getting a little TOO short. Too short and they halt development of plot or character.)
The ending was really exciting and totally unexpected, original but completely unbelieveable. Melodramatic and over the top, but still holds the attention of the reader, and still remains enjoyable until the last.
This is not a great Patterson, but for his fans, its probably average. Decidedly so. It's a good Beach read for those who have a couple of hours to fill and dont want too much lit-crit material to concentrate over, and it passes quite quickly.

The Gunslinger
The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
82 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Rather strange, Aug. 9 2002
This is a rather strange book. It's somewhat confusing to begin with. The universe mirrors our own in many ways, but in others is so completely different. Little is explained this early on, so uncertainty and confusion are quite prominent. However, it is a very well written book, and has a good pace. It picks up toward the end, and it holds a wonderful and eerie dream-like quality, making the reading of it seem just as if you were asleep. The ending is better than the beginning, but i think that is probably only just because, as we get more familiar with the world and the characters, it becomes easier to fathom out.
I am quite looking forward to the next novel in the series, if just to get a few explanations, and to see where he is taking Roland the Gunslinger next.

God Is a Bullet
God Is a Bullet
by Boston Teran
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book i will read all summer, Aug. 9 2002
I knew i was onto something special when i picked this up after hearing the reviews. So i saved it up, and took it on holiday with me.
And i whizzed through it like lightning. This is a superb book, among the best i have ever read. the plot is brutal and violent, but not without a certain amount of blunt compassion which glimmers like the hope it also carries, dangerously close to being snubbed out. His prose is beautiful and addictive. It shoots into the veins like a drug and pulses in your head. the landscapes it describes are vivid and utterly compelling. I dont think i have read such dark prose in all my life. It drags you under like an invisible current, and wont let you let go of the story, or it of you.
He is the master of metaphor. He raises this sometimes simple literary device to an art form.
The characters are likeable despite their flaws, and you will them along on their quest, hoping the suceed even against the odds, and against an almost pure evil. They are biting and drawn sharply. And even after we finish the book, we still find out that we don't really know them...
The plot is simple, but moves at brilliant pace and keeps those pages turning (although the prose alone could do that.) like the wind blowing them.
The conclusion is exciting and action packed, it moves with all the seeming choreography of a hollywood movie.
This is a quite brilliant book. The California feral desert wastelands brood and make the book sear. I cannot wait until i get to read his next. This was the debut of one of the best writers working today.

A Good Hanging and Other Stories
A Good Hanging and Other Stories
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Some very good short stories, July 22 2002
This is quite a good short story collection from Ian Rankin. Indeed, it is good not just by his standards, but by most authors.
There are some really very good stories here..."A Good Hanging" "The Gentlemen's Club" and "Concrete Evidence". All of which are very enjoyable. the final story "Monstrous Trumpet" would be included in the above category, but for it's rather unbelieveable solution. The inclusion of the French visiting policeman, though, was a stroke of genius. His presence is incredibly enjoyable.
All of the stories are clever, and all enjoyable. there are several nice twists here and there, and Rebus, of course, to provide for extra entertainment.
"Sunday" is perhaps the most inventive story, certainly the one most "Rebus orientated". "Auld Lang Syne" is a very dull story until the final two or three pages, where it picks up some life. Of "Not Provan" , the same can be said.
"Playback" is a nice lite story to ease you into the collection.
All in all, there are some very good short stories contained herein. I would prefer a novel, but these will do. (Edinburgh is not quite so much a presence. Nor is the character development awfully good.)

The Lesson of Her Death
The Lesson of Her Death
by Jeffery Deaver
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early gem, July 22 2002
I don't know how people get it into their heads that early Deaver books are not as good as his later ones. ALL of his early books are of an incredibly high class, equally as good as his more recent. They are slightly different, in tone perhaps, but the quality remains the same.
This is an idea book...there is so much of interest going on at once. It is the kind of book i adore...the kind with a central core plot, but one with many other subplots (usually to do with simple events in the lives of the characters) all orbiting around that core-plot, but never really touching it. It makes the books rather realistic, and such a feast for the reader. So much is happening, just like real life. (For another brilliant example of this, check out "Cry Wolf" by Tami Hoag, which is one of my favourite books of all time.)
Deaver's writing is very good, and his characters are great. Very human. He gets into everyones head, and shows us inside, so incredibly well that it looks remarkably easy. I have not met an author who actually can get inside his characters heads so well, and make whats in there seem so simple and ration, especially in the heads of his killers.
The plot is good...interesting, exciting, twisting. There are some nice subtle twists, although they are not quite as pronounced or as shocking as in some of his other novels. Indeed, the identity of the killer is discovered in the final 100 ish pages, and there is no real surprise about their identity from then on. (Which, having found out so early, you would expect there to be.)
If anything, this book is perhaps a bit too long. But not much...
This is not Deaver's book, but that doesnt really clarify matters at all. As all of his books are exemplary, and much better than most authors working today. (Hence the fact that it still garners a five star rating.) However, it may not be quite as good as such classics as "A Maiden's Grave" or "The Empty Chair" it is still a hig class, enjoyable read. If you are new to Deaver, this is probably good place to start and ease yourself into the water.

Reaper Man
Reaper Man
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.69
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars the spectacular adventure of Bill Door, July 17 2002
This review is from: Reaper Man (Paperback)
this is certainly among Pratchett's top five books. It's a wonderful work...full of understated humour and philosophical observations which give a slightly different slant to the way we view our own world. The humour is laugh-out-loud funny, and there are some lines you just want to keep in your head forever, remembering with a smile.
Pratchett's writing humour aside, is also quite brilliant. It is eloquent, elegaic, and his descriptions are amazing. Simple things such as a grandfather clock, or a scythe, or even just daylight, are seen in a different way after being put under the microscope of Pratchett.
the plot is brilliant, as are the characters. it rides along at a fair pace, with Death at the head of the cast. (My, and many others', favourite character).
This is an excellent addition to the series, and for fans of Mr Pratchett comes very highly reccomended.

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