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review 2017-05-28 13:57
Highly original polished cyber thriller
Playing with Death - Doug Headline,Simon Scarrow,Linda Francis Lee

This is an edgy, pacy, futuristic and oh so very polished cyber thriller. At its centre is the author's idea of what life could be like beyond "Second Life" (virtual world for the sad and lonely geeks!) The skin suit:  a totally immersive online experience from software giants Wadesoft....."where the person wearing the suit can be made to feel the physical sensations of whatever software simulation the program is running...." Once the user enhances his body by wearing the skin he can enter the Streamplex where all his needs and wants can be realized in a virtual environment.

 

FBI agent Rose Blake has failed in her mission to capture and incarcerate  Shane Koenig, a killer who performs the most heinous deaths on this victims before uploading the video to his KKillKam site which is viewed by those who troll the shadowy side of the internet...the darknet. She has no time to dwell on past mistakes and must now use all her energy to investigate a suspected arson. However when a body is discovered Rose will commence a journey that will see her become engrossed in a world of online fantasy and video games, a world without rules or regulation and a world where she will encounter unexpected help in the form of project DIVA (an intelligence that can think for itself and make decisions) amidst "an orgy of virtual massacre and destruction."

 

Having not read Simon Scarrow's historical novels ( a mistake I plan to rectify) I was intrigued by his latest offering an almost futuristic crime thriller which goes beyond the virtual world giving a glimpse of what might be possible and how those possibilities create a frightening but not unreasonable scenario. I felt a  certain warmth towards agent Blake her love for her son Robbie and her worry about husband Jeff who held lustful thoughts for the lovely Pandora and when not reciprocated purchases his own skin suit, enters Streamplex there hoping to realize his dark inner self. This novel is filled with intelligent, perceptive thought and analysis, a compassionate hero and a deadly foe who will stop at nothing to damage and destroy. Will Shane Koenig by finally stopped? Will Rose successfully navigate the virtual world of Streamplex? Will Jeff be saved from his overworked labido? All will become clear in an exciting and very fulfilling conclusion that leaves open the possibility of further novels in the series. Thanks to netgalley for this gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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review 2017-05-02 02:39
Review: Quieter Than Killing (D. I. Marnie Rome #4) by Sarah Hilary
Quieter Than Killing - Sarah Hilary

Published by: Headline (9 March 2017) 

 

ISBN: 978-1472241108

 

Source:  Publisher provided proof copy

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto the streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

Review:

Another case for Marnie typically means everything else takes a back seat until I've finished it, a few days at the most. For one reason or another, it's taken me a few weeks to finish this one. I found it quite hard to get into the story at the start, it didn't seem to 'grab' me as instantly as the first three in the series had. Then again, I was also struggling physically, so managing to read for any decent amount of time most nights was proving very difficult too. Maybe this was why I had found it such hard going?

 

I loved that we got to find out more about Marnie's and, in particular, Noah's home lives in this book. Finding out a little more each time as well as following along with a new case is brilliant. I really enjoy finding out what makes them tick as people too, and its great to see them in a setting other than work.

 

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, something I'm not sure I managed very effectively all of the time. There are a couple that it would be great to see again in another book some time, including DCS Ferguson. We also see Stephen Keele again here, he is truly vile and makes my skin crawl! Sarah has written him so well! I defy anyone to do anything but despise him!

 

A chilling, gritty case of the kind you rarely hear reported makes for hard reading. Sarah has a unique way of writing so that you feel empathy with the perpetrators too. How does she do that?! That is some talent! Once I got into my stride,I couldn't put this book down. Now, I'm impatient for #5! Thanks to Headline for the proof in return for my unbiased review.

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review 2017-04-08 03:42
Review: Tastes Like Fear (D. I. Marnie Rome #3) by Sarah Hilary
Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital,Sarah Hilary,Imogen Church

Published by: Headline (28 July 2016)

 

ISBN : 978-1472226433

 

Source: Publisher 

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

The fragile young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to return to the man who understands her and offers her warmth, comfort, a home. He gives her gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

 

He's the head of her new family.

 

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

 

Review:

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome feels like a friend I've not seen seen for a while; she's one of my favourite female detective characters and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into another case alongside her. 

 

The way the book starts is quite shocking and immediately awakens your senses. Just like Marnie and her team, you're left wondering who the girl is and what her story is, where she came from and where she has gone.  I was hooked from that first page.

 

We then see how things are in Harm's house. All is fine as long as everything is carried out according to his strictly ordered routine. I found this so darkly disturbing, it really gave me the creeps and made my skin crawl! Sarah Hilary seems to be so good at describing the environment and actions that have that effect. 

 

As Marnie's team do a bit more digging after speaking to witnesses, it seems no one is quite what they seem! The list of suspects grows, with more twists and a couple of genuine jaw dropping moments that I didn't see coming. It's scarily good!

 

Sarah's writing flawlessly flows from one chilling scene to the next, surpassing all but the very best of her contemporaries. 

 

Thanks to Headline for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

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text 2017-01-05 18:54
I must be totally unethical because I don't really see the problem here.

APHeadline :  Florida librarians create fake patron to keep books

 

"To keep infrequently used library books on shelves, two Florida librarians created a fictitious person to take out tomes, and now the county has since requested a system-wide audit of its libraries

The Orlando Sentinel reports Chuck Finley checked out 2,361 books at the East Lake County Library in a nine-month period.

His selections ranged from “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck to a children’s book called “Why Do My Ears Pop?” by Ann Fullick.

The goal behind the creation of Finley was to insure that certain books stayed in the library. Books that aren’t used for a long period can be discarded and removed from the library system.

After allegations by an unidentified person in November, an investigation by the Lake County clerk of courts inspector general’s office concluded that Finley was a fake, and the county requested the audit."

 

so, what do you think?  Did they do a bad thing?

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text 2016-08-03 01:29
The Pine Cliffs Reveals Aloe Blacc To Headline At Algarve's Premier Summer Event by Bacall Associates Travel Singapore

Regarded as THE summer event on the Algarve, Pine Cliffs annual gala promises guests a memorable evening of world-class entertainment and exquisite cuisine, and is perfectly timed to celebrate the hotel’s recent emergence from a multi-million pound transformation of its rooms and facilities, alongside the addition of the new contemporary Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites. Performing songs such as his platinum-selling break-though I Need a Dollar and the international smash hit Wake Me Up, the appearance of Californian-native Blacc reaffirms Pine Cliffs reputation as the Algarve’s premier resort, further cementing the destination’s appeal to sophisticated, discerning travellers.

 

Pine Cliffs is offering a special two-night Summer Gala Platinum Package from €1490 per room staying at Pine Cliffs Hotel in a Deluxe Resort View room (or from €1690 per suite staying at Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites). Available for stays between 5-7 August or 6-8 August, this package is based on two sharing, includes breakfast and two *Platinum Package tickets to the gala event. Email pinecliffs.reservations@luxurycollection.com or call +351 289 500 102. Visit summergala.pinecliffs.com to find out more and download an exclusive message about the event from Aloe Blacc here.

 

Pine Cliffs Beach Club Now Open for Alfresco Fun in Canary Wharf, London

 

For those searching for a taste of the Algarve closer to home this summer can also swing by the Pine Cliffs Beach Club in Canary Wharf’s Montgomery Square. Open each weekday from 11am to 11pm, the chic pop-up bar, run in partnership with award-winning travel specialist Quintessentially Travel, will transport work-weary Londoners to the sun-kissed Portuguese shores.

 

In the true spirit of The Luxury Collection, Pine Cliffs Beach Club brings a taste of the Algarve to London providing global explorers with authentic experiences that reflect the local spirit, lifestyle and design. The al-fresco Pine Cliffs Beach Club will offer a wide selection of chilled drinks including fine Portuguese wines, Pine Cliffs Resort’s signature white port cocktails, Moet Ice and Sagres beer. Throughout the summer, customers will also have the chance to win a holiday for two at the luxurious resort, including return flights and accommodation.

 

Regarded as one of Europe’s leading lifestyle destinations, Pine Cliffs enjoys a spectacular, unrivalled location on the Algarve coastline. Set across 72 hectares, the resort offers a wide range of luxurious accommodation options for couples, groups and families. There are exceptional leisure and sports facilities, with 11 different restaurants and bars, including the poolside seafood restaurant O Pescador; Beach Club on the golden shore of Praia Falésia; Piri Piri Steak House; and Zest, a new outlet offering guests an array of health-conscious drinks, snacks and dishes. In addition, the hotel features six swimming pools, Porto Pirata kids club, an Annabel Croft Tennis Academy, a nine-hole golf course with panoramic views, complemented by a world-class wellness and fitness offering comprising the new Serenity The Art of Well Being destination spa and Pine Cliffs Goes Active gym and health club, as well as numerous shops and boutiques.

 

Pine Cliffs Beach Club is located in Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JJ. Open throughout the summer until September, from 11am to 11pm Monday to Friday.

The Pine Cliffs Summer Gala Platinum Package is available for a two night stay between 5-7 August or 6-8 August. Price is per room, based on two sharing and includes:

 

Bed and Breakfast accommodation at either Pine Cliffs Hotel from €1490 staying in a Deluxe Resort View room or Pine Cliffs Ocean Suite staying in a Resort View suite from €1690.

 

Two Summer Gala tickets, including welcome cocktail, gift, open bar at Yakuza and a buffet dinner.

 

Room upgrade, subject to availability; 10% off standard rate for any extra nights; 20% discount on golf.

 

A Diamond package is also offered from €1890 for Pine Cliffs Hotel accommodation or from €2090 for Ocean Suites accommodation respectively. This includes all of the above, though replaces the gala buffet dinner with a sit-down plated waiter service dinner.

 

All packages are available subject to availability.

Email pine cliffs.reservations@luxurycollection.com or call +351 289 500 102. Visit summergala.pinecliffs.com to find out more.

 

About Pine Cliffs Resort

 

Pine Cliffs Resort is owned by United Investment Portugal (UIP), part of the IFA Hotels & Resorts consortium based in Dubai. The Pine Cliffs Hotel, the Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites and the Pine Cliffs Residence properties within the Pine Cliffs Resort are managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, under The Luxury Collection brand.

 

One of Europe’s leading integrated luxury and family resorts, Pine Cliffs Resort has won numerous accolades since opening in 1992, including the Portugal’s Leading Family Resort award six times in the World Travel Awards and appearing twice on Condé Nast Traveller’s ‘Gold List’.

 

Pine Cliffs Resort offers extensive investment opportunities via its holiday ownership options and selection of luxury freehold properties, three of which include a guaranteed annual rental return of 5% net within the first 5 years: Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites, Pine Cliffs Suites & Pine Cliffs Residence.

 

The resort also offers extensive leisure facilities including a nine-hole golf course and the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy; 11 diverse restaurants and bars; the Porto Pirata Children’s Village; Serenity The Art of Well Being destination spa and Pine Cliffs Goes Active gym and health club; and numerous shops and boutiques. For more information on Pine Cliffs Resort, visit www.pinecliffs.com

 

About The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts

 

The Luxury Collection® brand is comprised of world-renowned hotels and resorts offering unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories. For the global explorer, The Luxury Collection offers a gateway to the world’s most exciting and desirable destinations. Each hotel and resort is a unique and cherished expression of its location; a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures. Originated in 1906 under the CIGA® brand as a collection of Europe’s most celebrated and iconic properties, today The Luxury Collection brand is a glittering ensemble, recently surpassing 100 of the world’s finest hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries. All of these hotels, many of them centuries old, are internationally recognized as being among the world’s finest. For more information and new openings, visit theluxurycollection.com or follow Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

 

About Quintessentially Travel Established in 2010, Quintessentially Travel is the award-winning travel division of Quintessentially, the world’s leading members-only Lifestyle Management and Concierge Club.

 

As a standalone provider of tailor-made travel, their worldwide service is available to all; Quintessentially membership is not a pre-requisite, but a wild case of wanderlust is.

Quintessentially Travel enjoys unparalleled access to the finest experiences imaginable, anywhere in the world. Their unsurpassed travel portfolio enables them to cater to all personal requirements, arranging every single element of the trip; from meet and greets, flights, private charters, transfers, experiences, hotel and villa bookings, to yacht bookings, event access and private guided tours.

 

Whatever the occasion, be it a family holiday, the ultimate honeymoon, a solo adventure of a lifetime or unique corporate experiences, Quintessentially Travel offer everything in the world of luxury travel, for every moment in life.

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