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review 2016-05-31 19:01
Better Get To Livin' - Sally Kilpatrick

Better Get To Livin' by Sally Kilpatrick
Have read some of the author's works and have enjoyed the books. This one starts out with Presley and she's run out of a house with barely anything on as the paprazzi photos her.
Her agent tells her to lay low so she heads to her mothers in TN for the Christmas holiday seeason before she will head back to Hollywood to resume her career.  Alternating chapters from Declan who runs the local funeral home and his busy life attending to those in need.
Then the tornado hits and everything is turned upside down in all their lives. The ghosts are around more and she sees and talks to them to lead them on their way.
She finds work to do but it's not what she really wants to do...her mother is very ill, on oxygen and no place to go...there was only one choice to make...Declan has decisions to make also about the growth of his business, or does he want her in his life????
Other life and death emergencies occur and she is able to find out who her real father is=a bit late but better late than never. She knows she has the audition coming up but what to do after that-return to her family life or work for the movies? Like how all the mysteries are solved, didn't see it coming-who had killed them all!
I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review
 

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review 2014-07-04 03:43
The Virgin Soldiers
The Virgin Soldiers - Leslie Thomas

Synopsis

 

they don't stay virgins for long!


Review

 

time to strip down...

 

for the British soldiers stationed in late 40s-early 50s Malaya at the Panglin Base on Singapore Island, there is one element that impacts them all: the intense, pervasive heat. clothing becomes unnecessary for these soldiers, a burden, and so those clothes are quickly discarded throughout the day and night. the soldiers are stripped down in other ways as well: young, inexperienced in matters of love and death, their personalities only barely formed, virgins in their lack of experience in war, in the understanding of life itself. there is a sameness to these recruits, a shared lack that gives them a sort of anonymity. trade one out for the other and you'd barely notice a difference. the writing and the story itself are likewise stripped down. this is not a novel of gorgeous prose or of adventure after adventure. The Virgin Soldiers is about life on a sleepy base, one where the war against communist guerillas barely encroaches. it is a book about small moments, ways to amuse yourself when bored and stuck in one place. and so Thomas describes his story's anecdotes with a certain nonchalance, a lack of poetry, using only the occasional splash of vivid imagery to brighten the pages. it made the reading experience an easy and swift one, but a rather forgettable one as well.

 

time to fuck...

 

with soldiers who have so much time on their hands and so little to do, in their teens and early 20s, one obsession connects them all: their dicks. the book is frank and highly sexual, but it is not a sexy book. nonchalance balances frankness and so the end result is sexual behavior treated with a lack of heat and drama. whether they are contemplating their various erections in the barracks or getting it on with various Asian whores in a nearby city, reckless passion is rarely present; instead there is a constant and very prosaic horniness, an itch that always needs to be scratched. one of the things I appreciated about this book is Thomas' decision to include the perspective of Phillipa, the 20-year old daughter of a particularly repugnant Sergeant-Major. she dominates the thoughts of many soldiers, including the appealing protagonist Brigg and the admirable Sergeant Driscoll; her vaguely contemptuous disinterest that barely hides a deep well of seething anger in turn dominates the narrative whenever she appears. a fascinating character. I also liked the lack of homophobia in the offhand description of a pair of soldiers in love with each other, and I particularly respected the lack of sexism in the depiction of the whores that Brigg and his buddies return to repeatedly. the author's honesty and lack of issues, his refusal to be judgmental when presenting sexual relations and sexuality in general is really admirable.

 

time to die...

 

the base on Singapore Island may be a quiet one, its soldiers bored out of their skulls, but death still comes to call in The Virgin Soldiers. the horrible and tragic death of one of the female characters comes out of nowhere; its suddenness and the careless way it is described to Brigg was like a punch in the gut for both Brigg and me. likewise with the accidental death of a soldier who steps on a mine: a beautiful morning on the beach, young men swimming and playing football, a terrible explosion, body parts everywhere - and then a memory that won't go away for Briggs, or me. those are isolated incidences in the overall story, but death comes in a major way near the end of novel. a bandit attack on a train transporting civilians and soldiers returning from vacation is completely hair-raising. Thomas' decision not to alter the breezy nonchalance of his story nor to escalate his stripped-down prose into something more dramatic made this sequence particularly striking. the mayhem and confusion, the body parts, the moments of cowardice and heroism... all are reported in same casual way in which Thomas describes a bullfrog race a few pages earlier. a commendable show of restraint. and although it was not a particularly memorable experience overall, I would say that the novel is still quite commendable as well. no complaints from this corner.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-09-11 14:20
Black Vein Prophecy - Paul Mason,Steven Williams

I just noticed that one of the authors of this book (and a couple of other Fighting Fantasy gamebooks) is actually a BBC journalist who has also written books on the Global Financial Crisis. Oh wouldn't it be good to be in a position like that where one can write fantasy gamebooks and also write serious topical works. I wonder if any of the Wizards of the Coast authors can actually claim to be able to do that, because all of the big names over the Atlantic seem to end up writing only gaming materials. For instance I have not seen any works from Nigel Findlay about the rise of the corporatocracy, nor anything by Ed Greenwood regarding the culture of Medieval France. Still, what can more can you expect.

Anyway, I sort of wondered about this particular book because at first it seemed to be poorly but together and confusing, until I discovered that I had jumped to the wrong paragraph. When I went through it again, I realised that it was actually much better that I first thought, though I noticed from when I first glanced at it that it had potential. Basically you begin the book with no knowledge of anything, and things are slowly revealed to you as you make your way through, right down to your childhood experiences. It is also an incredibly hard, and deadly, book, though fortunately a solution can be found here:

 

http://fightingfantasy.emp.yuku.com/topic/15044574#.UjBVYs5Dt0w

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basically you are one of two sons of an evil king that had previously been defeated and cast out of the land. However you and your brother were spirited away and hidden on an island. Your brother has since been released, and then you awaken and must first of all find out who you how, and that information comes slowly. Your brother has raised an army and is fighting against the other king, who happens to be a child with no idea of what is going on. However, there is also a catch. You simply cannot kill your brother, because you still have the blood of your father in you, which means that if you defeat him, you lose, because you simply become another evil king.

This book is pretty hard, though it runs like numerous of the other later books where a wrong decision means you jump a large portion of the adventure and miss out on some important things. On the other hand, you might go one way when you should have gone the other, which means you miss out on important items. However, they do say that these books generally cannot be completed the first time round. There is one gripe, as somebody pointed out, and that is that an essential item to win the game requires you to fail a luck test, which is really annoying.

The interesting thing about this particular gamebook is that it jumps straight into the adventure. There is no background (which would defeat the purpose as you are supposed to know nothing) and you do not even roll your stats at the beginning, rather you roll the stats when you get to a specific point (and the rules have changed slightly as well, for instance you only add four to your initial skill as opposed to the usual six). Further, as you go through various encounters you discover that you have magical abilities, and thus learn spells (four in total, and you need all to complete the adventure). Another interesting trick that is used is by giving you objects that have no purpose whatsoever than to simply say you have been somewhere. For instance you pick up a broken arrow after seeing the remains of a defeated army, and when you are asked if you have the broken arrow, you then tell somebody about the defeated army.

There are a lot of interesting new techniques used in this particular game book which actually makes it a cut above many of the others that I have read. Okay, I ended up using the cheat, but that had more to do with me wanting to get through it so I could write this commentary than anything else. Unfortunately, now that I know how to finish it (and there really is only one true way) that has stuck with me. Oh well.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/717679168
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review 2013-08-24 00:00
Livin' On The Edge
Livin' On The Edge - DeeDee Brock This is the author’s debut novel. Reading the blurb and finding out it was about rockers, I was instantly hooked.

I believe this story is about second chances, self discovery and living your life to fullest. I am very much looking forward to the second book in this series.

You can read the rest of Lynn's review at The Novel Approach
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