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review 2017-09-14 13:26
It might be more to your tastes than mine...
Worlds Within Worlds - Tahlia Newland

This is another example of fantastic writing from Tahlia, the prose was spot on, crisp and taught where it needed to be, and soft and flowing as needed too. 

The characters were an interesting mix, starting with slightly quirkly Prunella (Ella) Smith, who Tahlia assures readers is not her (although between you and me, I couldn't help but see Tahlia's face when I brought up Ella's face in my mind). My favourites by a long shot were Merlin the cat and James. James is the sole reason this book gets shelved on my 'a-lil-sexy' shelf.

This story consists of several threads and weaves them together to form a strong, eloquent book. However, the overall message certainly sat in the spiritual realm, which is where it loses me and my interest. I can't say I get the buddhist belief system and this was far too engrained in the story for my liking. 

I did enjoy Kelee's story that threaded throughout the tale, including the communication between Kelee and Ella. This was compounded by the fact that I have read some of Tahlia's Diamond Peak series; I was glad to get some background information on some of the characters I'd already met. 

Where this story came into its own was the interestingly complex look at badly behaving authors and their war on honest reviewers. Having been on the receiving end of some minor indie author angst for my own honest reviews, I found the whole story a bit too explosive. This being said, I have heard of some pretty crazy reactions from people for constructive, yet negative reviews, so Tahlia's fictional account isn't completely outside the realm of possible. 

I can't say this was my favourite of Tahlia's books, but it was an enjoyable, interesting mix that kept the pages turning. If you're interested in metaphysical and magical-realism books, give this one a try, it might be more to your tastes than mine.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-09-14 11:48
An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.
Fractured Angel - Ken Williams,Rania Meng,Quentin Whitfield

Fractured angel is a fictionalised, but realistic look at homelessness and the mental illness that goes hand in hand for a lot of the homeless.

It is obvious that Ken has spent many years working with the mentally ill and homeless of Santa Barbara to be able to produce the rough, raw and gut-wrenching characters that pop up throughout Fractured Angel.

The various homeless, alcoholics, drug addicted and mentally ill characters were full of real, human characteristics and felt very real to read. This was probably the highlight of the book, the way the reader is given a glimpse of these people as real people, and not just a number or one of the faceless masses shuffling around the streets.

I quite liked the main male character, Kerry, that I'm sure was a fictionalised version of Ken, he too felt real. A war-torn, tired and battered veteran.

I didn't much like the female lead, Lynne. Her naivety was a little too much, and her emotional baggage a little too heavy to feel real. That's not to say she didn't have redeeming scenes, but she just didn't gel for me.

This book does not glorify or colour what it's like to be a homeless person in the US, it simply allows for the reader to see past all the preconceived notions one might have about them and allows for a connection to be formed.

An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.

The book could do with another pass over by an editor, there were a few small issues throughout, that I didn't take note of, that would help tighten the overall professional feel of the book. 

One thing I did note:

6% - ...Lynne rushed passed (past) the assemblage...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-08-22 20:47
Mildly amusing book.
Brit-Think, Ameri-Think: A Transatlantic Survival Guide - Jane Walmsley

Picked this book up on a whim since it was a bargain book. I've seen this book around and thought it would be a "cute" and different read but it's probably only for a very niche group of people. Supposedly author Walmsley wrote a whimsical, irreverent guide to the differences between how people in the US think and how British people think.

 

Everything from language to customs to pop culture are all covered. There are moments that are quite amusing and worth a giggle but it's mostly not incredibly funny or interesting. As other reviews note the book is out of date (or at least my version is) but I'd imagine that if you or someone you know has spent a good deal of time in either country you might recognize some of the bits here.

 

Might be a good book for a couple who is in a trans-Atlantic relationship or someone who is studying abroad, staying long term in one of the countries, etc. But it's not compelling and it wouldn't be on the top of my list as a good pick for a gift. Library if you're interested but I wouldn't make a huge effort to read it either.

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text 2017-08-20 09:07
Reading progress update: I've read 74%.
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot - Richard Wiseman

Slowly getting there. There are some interesting facts and as the paragraphs are short it is really good for reading at break times.

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text 2017-07-27 23:15
Reading progress update: I've read 57%.
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot - Richard Wiseman

Interesting but nothing here so far that has changed my life. The author quotes an awful lot of American studies but I can't help thinking that American psychology differs from English psychology somewhat. Not hugely but enough to change the outcome of some of the experiments in the book, surely? There must be a wealth of data about British experiments so why use American data most of the time? 

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