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Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton)
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

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The Water Witch: A Novel (Fairwick Trilogy)
The Water Witch: A Novel (Fairwick Trilogy)
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 12.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly Lacking, Dec 17 2015
I remember reading the first of the Fairwick Chronicles, Incubus, and being enchanted by its subtlety and the beautiful descriptive passages which Carol Goodman specialises in, as she slowly and gently introduces the supernatural elements of her story. I suppose the first mystery here is why well respected author, Goodman has chosen to publish as Juliet Dark - it is published under her own name in the UK rather than a pseudonym which rather gives the game away!

Water Witch, however, is not subtle as regards the supernatural which hits the reader fair and square on page 1, and continues frantically and largely unabated throughout the book. In fact it is so full on from the word go that I would strongly advise that the prospective reader does read Incubus first so that they are not bewildered at being immediately cast into a world peopled by the various strange entities conjured up by the author. We meet all sort of unlikely new ones this time round including undines, which are creatures with fish like characteristics, the sinister nephilim and even zombie beavers!

The plot concern a conspiracy to close the last portal between Earth and Faerie which would trap supernatural creatures on one side or other of the divide. Callie, as Gatekeeper, has a unique role to play and is soon involved in various life threatening scrapes as the story hurtles towards its climax. If this all sounds rather silly, well it was. Carol Goodman seems to have forgotten all the tried and tested techniques which have made her such an accomplished author. I certainly hope she rediscovers them sometime soon!

Pokergeist
Pokergeist
Price: CDN$ 1.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Little Tale, Dec 16 2015
This review is from: Pokergeist (Kindle Edition)
The cleverly named Pokergeist is the latest offering from prolific author, Michael Phillip Cash, whose output is both prodigious and very varied in subject matter. This is a self contained tale, which is tightly written, and sticks closely to the main plot excluding any of the superfluous verbiage which many authors feel obliged to add to pad out their pages.

I have read most, if not all of this author's books and to my mind this is one of the best. Champion poker player, Clutch Henderson, who has passed on, is seeking his own form of redemption. He alights on Telly Martin, a complete numpty at poker and in general a fully paid up loser, though in fairness this is not wholly of his own making. Clutch wants to work through Telly to achieve his objective and the rather unconventional relationship between to two makes for a story which varies between very funny and quite sad.

I thought the twist near the end was neat, and overall although relatively short, this is a story which will thoroughly entertain most readers.

The Silent Girl (with bonus short story Freaks): A Rizzoli & Isles Novel
The Silent Girl (with bonus short story Freaks): A Rizzoli & Isles Novel
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Nest For Quite A While, Dec 16 2015
Tess Gerritsen has said that this story draws more on her own personal experience and background than any other she has written. It certainly shows, and this is the most absorbing Gerritsen I have read since The Surgeon. I imagine that once she had the plot outline clear in her mind this story really flowed from her pen. It certainly reads that way.

And quite a plot it is too. The starting point is a murder/suicide in Chinatown nineteen years ago that was neatly tied up by the police at the time. However it becomes clear that not everyone feels that the truth was uncovered or is prepared to let the past rest in peace. There are plenty of twists and turns as both Rizzoli and the reader exercise their deductive skills in trying to get a grip on what really happened.

This is not a short book, but it's one that I read through very quickly. It's an absorbing tale and if you like Gerritsen's style then The Silent Girl will not disappoint.

Monsterland
Monsterland
Price: CDN$ 4.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Theme Park With A Difference, Dec 16 2015
This review is from: Monsterland (Kindle Edition)
Monsterland is the latest offering from Michael Phillip Cash who seems to have the knack of being able to produce an impressive number of highly original novels. Like most of his books, this is a relatively short story, almost a novella, and many readers will finish it quickly as I did, both because of its comparative brevity, and also because it's a story which quickly grabs the imagination.

A magnate, Vincent Conrad, has managed to acquire real live Zombies, Werewolves and Vampires and is opening a worldwide series of Monsterland theme parks. The public will have the chance to visit these parks after dark to see these creatures in their natural environment. What could possibly go wrong? Some of the characters have misgivings as will the reader from the first page.

This is a well told tale. It's rather a cliche to describe it as a page turner, but that is precisely what it is. The conclusion is neat and cleverly executed and I certainly did not see it coming!

Derek Takes Action
Derek Takes Action
by Mac Black
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from CDN$ 14.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Saving The Best Until Last, Dec 16 2015
This review is from: Derek Takes Action (Paperback)
This is the fifth Derek and I have read and enjoyed each of them in turn. We first met Derek as a young lad with his chums playing on the site which Biskos, a major supermarket company, has designs on. Showing signs of his future crusading spirit he takes up cudgels against the behemoth supermarket chain in an admirable but doomed battle. Later volumes see Derek all growed up, in a career and then married to the lovely Sally. However, he never loses the charm and naivety of that little lad playing on the vacant lot.

In this, the last of the series, Derek manages to get himself into all sorts of new scrapes and embarrassment as he fights against the high speed rail link which is planned and which will impact on his home town of Slatterford. He has lost none of his naivety, particularly when dealing with the opposite sex or his seemingly unerring skill in making Sally suspicious of his dealings with young ladies who cross his path. All the old crowd from the previous books are there, together with some interesting new characters including the devious Crystal Glasse and the dubiously named Chesney Wilfordon.

To my mind the author kept the best to last here my wife read and enjoyed Derek Takes Action as a standalone book. However, I do think it works better if you have read at least some of the rest of the series and understand Derek and his rather strange relations before you start. There is a strong, clear and well thought out plot here which, coupled with Derek's charm and child like naivety make this well worth a five star rating.

Downton Abbey: Season 6
Downton Abbey: Season 6
DVD ~ Hugh Bonneville
Offered by BroadPeak Inc.
Price: CDN$ 37.99
22 used & new from CDN$ 14.43

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Finale, Nov. 11 2015
This review is from: Downton Abbey: Season 6 (DVD)
The year long wait for the new Downton series always seems like an age, especially this year as we knew that it would be the last ever series. It seems perverse that such a successful series has had to end, however, as the incomparable Maggie Smith said, if you work it out I should be about 110 years old by now! A slight exaggeration, but you can see where she is coming from since Downton has run from about the time of the Titanic disaster in 1912 all the way to 1925.

The TV series has now finished in the UK and for those of you waiting for the North American showing or DVD, it was an absolute cracker and if you enjoyed the first five series of Downton, you are not going to be disappointed with the final series. As would be expected, there was a certain amount of tying up of loose ends, but not to an excessive extent. However we still have the Christmas Special show to air at the end of next month so everyone is waiting in suspense for the final conclusion. Incidentally if you are impatient to see the last series, although the UK issue is released this month, that will not contain the 2015 Christmas Special whereas the later North American release will.

It is difficult to single out the outstanding performances in series 6 as all the regular players had significant roles. It was good to see Tom back, and others such as Mrs Patmore, The Bates, Barrow, and Daisy below stairs and, of course, all the Crawley family are in the thick of things. Maggie Smith, as the Dowager is very much in evidence and her priceless sarcasm includes many a memorable line. Overall, without dropping in any spoilers, there was romance, tragedy, blackmail, suspense, joy and sorrow. In other words exactly what you would expect from Downton!

The Power Of Real Estate Investing: 7 Steps To Make Money And Create A Lifetime Of Wealth: Money, Investing, Entrepreneur, Self-Help, Millionaire
The Power Of Real Estate Investing: 7 Steps To Make Money And Create A Lifetime Of Wealth: Money, Investing, Entrepreneur, Self-Help, Millionaire
Price: CDN$ 7.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Self Help and Real Estate, Oct. 28 2015
Kemi has written an interesting book which draws to a large extent on her personal experience and the success which she achieved from a low base and which she describes in the book. Overall I would say that this is an amalgam of a self help book and a more specifically targeted book about profiting from property. It's a self help book in that much of what she has written, particularly in the earlier part of the narrative, will be of relevance to many people, whether or not they are interested in property.

I think the book is well named as I share Kemi's belief in that a sensibly managed interest in real estate is probably the most certain and probably the easiest way for an individual to accumulate significant personal wealth without it being necessary to start off with very much. Hence from my point of view she was preaching to the converted! It is a fact that in the UK, where I live, house prices have doubled every 9.5 years since the Second World War. Sure, there have been ups and downs but the biggest setback has been no more than 15%. Whilst past performance is no guarantee of future success, the current shortage of housing and a rising population suggest that this trend will continue.

Kemi details the whole range of ways in which the individual can profit from real estate. These range from fairly simple buy and let or fixer upper type strategies to more sophisticated techniques such as a multi let strategy, joint ventures and gains generated by planning permissions. At each stage there is a whole host of practical help and tips to enable you to make a success of your business.

Overall I like this book a lot and I can imagine that it will inspire quite a few readers to get stuck into real estate and hopefully get the right advice and make a success of it.

Warrior Patient: How to Beat Deadly Diseases With Laughter, Good Doctors, Love and Guts.
Warrior Patient: How to Beat Deadly Diseases With Laughter, Good Doctors, Love and Guts.
Price: CDN$ 5.19

5.0 out of 5 stars A Resounding Well Done To The Author!, Sept. 9 2015
Warrior Patient is Temple Williams' own story about his lengthy encounter with the medical system from which he emerged, not exactly unscathed, but in much better shape than he must have feared at times. He makes no excuse for telling the story in somewhat gruesome detail and it is delivered with wry humour which makes it quite a fascinating read. One is left with the feeling that there but for the grace of God go I, since what Temple relates could happen to any of us as the medical treatment regime almost takes on a life of its own.

At each stage Temple extracts his Warrior Patient Rule, to give the reader the benefit of his distilled experience. There is something of a tendency to trust the medical professionals you are dealing with, but it certainly pays to be aware of what is going on around you. Temple himself had the misfortune to have the attention of a specialist who attended the 10,623rd best medical school in the world - yes, really! One of the excellent tips is trust your doctor, but do check his background which would occur to few of us. However, as Temple states, doctors who go to good medical schools will be better than doctors who go to poor medical schools. No exceptions!

There are many excellent tips contained in these pages, and this is one book which has gone on my book shelf for future reference should I have the misfortune to have a major medical situation in the future. A resounding well done to the author!

Into The Fire
Into The Fire
Price: CDN$ 9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Romp, Aug. 6 2015
This review is from: Into The Fire (Kindle Edition)
Arson attacks have come to the modern city of Orleans. A female police Inspector is on a quest to solve the mystery of who or what is L'armee du Prophetess Jaish Al Islam who have claimed responsibility for all the attacks

Soon she is being depicted by the media (egged on by her husband's political family) as the Saviour of Orleans and being compared with Orleans' most famous daughter, Joan of Arc. The Maid of Orleans' intervention in the Hundred Years War saved France from the insurgent English and succeeded in getting the French Dauphin crowned King at Rheims' Cathedral, the traditional coronation site for French kings.

But the title of the new "Maid" is not only being claimed for Luc Bressard's Political party but also by Christelle Vivier's Front National. The action switches to the fifteenth century and the real Maid of Orleans and the events leading up to her burning at the hands of the English and the Burdundians. There is a real romance theme here too with Joan and her Devotees.

This is a great novel. It gave me many hours of enjoyment. I loved the way the story switched between today and the fifteenth century . The alternative view of Joan of Arc was very interesting and entirely credible. The characters are very well crafted and are very volatile and the author makes you care what happens to each and everyone of them.

A great romp and a wonderful read. If you like Historical Genre, you will love this novel. I eagerly await this author's next.

Witches Protection Program
Witches Protection Program
Price: CDN$ 4.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun, if Unsubtle Romp, Aug. 6 2015
Michael Phillip Cash has already proved himself to be a versatile author, having written nine books in a relatively short space of time. This one represents yet another departure for the author as we learn about a shady and little known, 232 year old department of the Government called the Witches Protection Program.

Wes Rockville, having been a less than notable success at more conventional policing, is drafted by his father into WPP and soon finds himself in a world of powerful magic, scheming witches and dastardly, world threatening plots which he could hardly have imagined. Things become rather frenetic towards the end as Wes plays a key role as events unfold.

This is a book where the reader needs to suspend disbelief and go with the flow. It's an enjoyable romp, although, if anything, I felt that there was a little too much action towards the end which was nothing if not unsubtle. However, it's a relatively short and fun read and I am sure there is more mileage in this theme if the author cares to exploit it. However, on his previous record he will surprise us with something completely different next time round!

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