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review 2020-04-30 12:38
First Person
First Person: A novel - Richard Flanagan

by Richard Flanagan

 

Penniless Tasmanian writer Kif Kehlmann is hired to ghost write a memoir for a corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl, in six weeks. His research to write the autobiography takes a frustrating form when his subject is reluctant to answer questions that might only further incriminate him when he's already facing prison.

 

The need for money keeps Kif on board, even when his better judgement tells him to walk away. The story is told in first person, in a style reminiscent of old detective noir, yet portraying a man who was anything but in control of his own destiny.

 

The story takes a while to get to the meat, but slowly Kif starts getting inside the mentality of a professional con man who doesn't really want the actual details of his life story displayed so much as a comfortable fiction that will serve his purposes.

 

As the struggle to glean details goes on, Kif starts to question everything he thinks he knows about his world, even who he is, why he got married, how he feels about having children and why he calls himself a novelist when he's never managed to finish a novel. Worse, Heidl begins to tell the truth.

 

This is a real psychological mind bender that falls into place gradually, the details of what physically happens secondary to the play on perceptions. I found it interesting, but depressing.

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text 2020-04-27 07:04
How to set up Verizon hotspot on a computer?

Verizon is one of the most popular telecommunication company which manufactures wireless product and services to its users. It is situated in New York and the United States. It offers reliable and fastest network in the world. We all know there are some steps to set up the Verizon hotspot on the computer. If you have a query, you can contact Verizon live person.  They will help you. It is a bit a difficult task but you can do it with the following steps.

Find below steps for how to set up Verizon hotspot on computer:-

You can easily set up the Verizon hotspot on the computer. You need to follow a few steps one by one.

  • First of all, you need to go to the official website of Verizon wireless.
  • To set up Verizon hotspot, you use USB mode; there should be a driver installed on your computer.
  • Now, you need to access the admin interface.
  • Click on settings.
  • Choose USB mode from the advanced tab
  • Then save the changes.
  • Finally, connect the device to the computer using USB mode.

We have three ways by which you can contact Verizon live person. Verizon Wireless has provided you this service in case you have any queries.

  • Using phone number: You can call on helpline number or toll-free number of the Verizon to ask your queries. It is free of cost.

  • Online chat: This feature is also available in Verizon wireless. You can clear your doubts by simply chatting and they will provide you the necessary solutions.

  • Using email service: This service is available on the online portal of the Verizon wireless. You can mail them your problem and resolve your queries.

These are some simple steps to set up the Verizon hotspot. There are many ways by which we can do it. If you need help, you can contact Verizon customer service live person. They are available in our service. You can go and clear all your queries on the help desk.

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review 2020-04-24 11:43
A spider web that traps readers and doesn’t let go
Odd Numbers - JJ Marsh

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, check here), and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel.

JJ Marsh is an author I’ve read great reviews about and has been on my list for a while, so I took the chance when I saw an ARC for her next book had become available. I can’t compare it to the rest of her works, but based on this novel, which is a new genre for her, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending her books, and I look forward to catching up on some of her previous novels.

I think the description above provides plenty of hints as to the plot, and this is one of those novels where the way the story is told and the fine details are fundamental, so I’ll try to avoid over explaining things or giving too many hints (I want to avoid spoilers at all cost). This is a story built around six friends (three women and three men) who meet at university, while they are studying to become international translators, and grow to be quite close. They come from different countries (mostly Europe, although one comes from the US, and one is from Indian origin), have very different personalities and backgrounds, and it’s likely that their friendship would have fizzled and died if not for a tragic event that takes place while they are away celebrating New Year (and the new millennium) in December 1999. After that, they meet every two years, and the event that binds them together weighs heavily on them all, having a very different impact in each one of them. Things come to a head on the 20th anniversary of that fateful New Year’s celebration and readers are privileged witnesses of another night to remember. This novel reminded me of a book I read and reviewed recently, The Hunting Party, but also of films like The Celebration (Festen), where there is a build-up of tension, strained relationships, plenty of secrets and lies, and a surprise or two. Although I think many readers will smell a rat from early on in the novel, even if they get it right (and let’s say things are left open to interpretation), the beauty of this novel is in the way it is built, the variety of points of view, and the psychological insights it offers into a catalogue of characters that are not miles away from people most of us know. Considering this is the author’s first incursion into the psychological drama genre, I take my hat off to her.

There are a variety of themes that come up in the novel, some more important to the action than others, for instance the nature of friendship, the way different people experience grief, the guilt of the survivor, how we change and evolve over time and how our relationships change with us, love, death, careers, priorities, family, charity missions, and, of course, lies.

As for the characters, I won’t go into too much detail about them, because the author does a great job of building them up through the novel, and readers should discover them as they read. Marsh chooses one of the female characters, Gael, as the main narrator, and she starts the story ‘now’ (in 2020). The whole novel is written in the first person, but not all from the same point of view. Although I’ve said that Gael is the main narrator, and she has more chapters than the rest, we also get to hear the voices of the other characters, who take us back into some of the reunions the friends have had over the years, and that allows readers to compare and contrast Gael’s version of the rest of her friends with their own words and insights. Readers can compose a mental picture and fit in the pieces of the puzzle, making their own minds up and deciding if they agree or not with Gael’s perceptions. It also makes for a more rounded reading experience, as we get to know each character more intimately, and perhaps to empathise, if not sympathise, with all of them. I liked Gael from the start: she is articulate, a journalist, and a bit of a free spirit, but she always tries to understand and accommodate others as well, and she is more of the observer and the outsider in the story, for reasons that will become evident to the readers from early on. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the friends are like an ersatz family, with individual roles they always fall back on when they are together (the nurturing mother, the responsible and dependable father, the youngest and spoilt sister, the rushed and sporty brother, the sister whom everybody confides in [Gael]), and this reminded me of Eric Berne’s Games People Play. All the characters are articulate and savvy enough to be aware of this and play it for keeps as well.

The book flows well, and the language used is appropriate to each one of the individual characters, fitting with their personalities and quirks without calling too much attention to itself. It helps move the story along, and manages to build up the tension, even when there isn’t a lot of action in the usual sense. There are mysterious events taking place (some that will have readers wondering if the characters are imagining them or not), clues that sometimes don’t seem to amount to much, hints, and some memorable scenes. But all those elements are woven subtly into the narrative creating a spider web that traps the readers and the more they read, the more they become entangled in the strands of the story and the characters, until it becomes almost impossible to put the book down.

There is a closure of sorts, although the ending is ambiguous and most of the surprises and big reveals have come before then. I liked the fact that there is much left to the imagination of each reader, but I know such things are down to personal taste.

This is a great psychological drama, with engaging characters (some more likeable than others), fascinating relationship dynamics, and a mystery at its heart. It’s a gripping read, perfect to keep our minds engaged and to have us pondering the ins and outs of friendships, relationships, and which actions would push us beyond the limits of forgiveness. A gem.

The last 7% of the e-book contains the first-chapter of the author’s work-in-progress, in case you wonder about its length.  

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review 2020-04-16 14:52
a fun but BUSY read
By Fairy Means or Foul: A Starfig Investigations Novel - Meghan Maslow
Independent reviewer for Gay Romance Reviews, I was gifted my copy of this book. So, cute! Really a rather amusing read, not laugh out loud funny, but one of those that kept me chuckling at random points long the way. Twig is half dragon, half fairy and cannot shift. Quinn is traded (yes, traded) with Twig as payment for services to find the unicorn's horn. Quinn thought he was a wizard, but failed the last test to find a familiar, and was bought by said unicorn as a slave. Twig and Quinn must work together to find the horn, but also to find themselves. I liked this, a lot. It is busy though! Lots going on, lots of side characters, and lots and lots of action! I got a bit concerned when zombies were mentioned! Usually I steer clear of book that mention the Z word in the blurb and I must have missed it in this one, but the zombies here are only on page long enough to be . . destroyed . . by someone(spoilers, don't ya know!), so I didn't have to worry about them too much. I liked all the twists that were thrown at Twig and Quinn. The shifting, or not as the case may be for Twig. The wizard thing for Quinn. What I didn't like was how FAST the book moved. There was no let up, once Quinn and Twig were off after the horn, not one! It was one thing after another and another and they had no time to process what happened at each encounter before moving on to the next. I also didn't like we didn't get to hear from Quinn. Yes I knw that might have given some things away way before they were literally thrown at us, but still. I wanted to know about what the unicorn had done to Quinn, it is hinted at, and then . . left. So while you can put the pieces together, I still wanted to hear it from Quinn, you know?? A fun read, just far too fast moving, and I wanted a page or three to catch up! 4 good solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2020-04-16 14:21
very engaging!
The Secret Brokers - Alexandrea Weis
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. For the most, I did enjoy this. Couple of things let it down, for ME, and I'll enplain shortly. Dallas is called up by an acqaintance, is best to describe him, to cash in on a favour owned. Someone needs protecting, and the acquaintance needs something from this someone to keep her safe. There follows a lot of double crossing, back stabbing and general underhandedness you would expect from an organised crime boss, and an organisation that walks under the radar of most things. From what I can gather, this is actually a spin off from another series, The Nicci Beauvior series and Dallas plays a huge part in the 2nd and 3rd book in that series. Some reviewers of THIS have said you should read THOSE books to get the full picture of what Dallas went through, and how he came to where he is now. Personally, I don't think it's really necessary. There is enough recapped and retold here, for you to get the picture, or for ME anyway, to get enough of the picture to fill in the gaps and for this story to flow. I was a little concerned at first that this would be a bit too complicated for my addled brain (April 2020, you get my drift?) to cope with, but it's good. There is a good, intriguing plot to follow, but it's not ever so complex that you have to concentrate too hard on, you know? It's ENOUGH to make you think, to excerise the grey matter, and just enough to keep you engaged til the end. What let it down for ME were two things. Only Dallas has a say. I would like to have heard from Gwen, the someone who Dallas is called to keep safe. I get maybe some of the plotline would be given away, yes, but still I wanted to hear from her, and (job aside) what she thought of Dallas and what leads her to make the offer she does. And Dallas himself was very . . standoffish? . .maybe not quite the right word, but I struggled to connect with Dallas, made more difficult because only his voice is heard. Had Gwen had a say, I could have coped better, or maybe connected earlier, with Dallas. I LOVED Cleveland and Stokes, two of Dallas' operatives. Their banter has, I'm sure, far deeper roots and far further reaching branches, than is currently showing. A very engaging 4 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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