paulmorriss

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Atonement of Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland

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This murder mystery story is set in ancient Ireland. The investigation of the murder pulls in other plot threads so the mystery widens. It's fairly involving, but not brilliant. One slight annoyance is that we kept on being told the Irish word for lots of different things, which felt a bit unnecessary. Although this book is the first I've read and is several books through the series I didn't feel like I couldn't understand what was going on. The characters are interesting people and there are references to some of the previous stories.Overall though this is a good read.
The Chalice of Blood: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland

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This murder mystery story is set in ancient Ireland. The investigation of the murder pulls in other plot threads so the mystery widens. It's fairly involving, but not brilliant. One slight annoyance is that we kept on being told the Irish word for lots of different things, which felt a bit unnecessary. Although this book is the first I've read and is several books through the series I didn't feel like I couldn't understand what was going on. The characters are interesting people and there are references to some of the previous stories.Overall though this is a good read.
Guardian of the Trust (Merlin's Descendants, #2)

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This is a fantasy book where magic is key. With an imaginary world like this the key to believability is consistency. This story almost manages it, but not quite. I found Merlin, obviously a key character, not believable. The rest, however, works. Magic doesn't solve every problem. Future visions are not guaranteed to come true, so it's not a get out of jail free card.The flow of the story works fairly well, until four fifths of the way through, when several years have to pass by in order to move the plot on. Given that it is all made up (though drawing upon the author's research of the Arthurian legend) I though that there was room to make the story evenly paced. As you'll see from other reviews it contains "adult themes", so not for everyone.
A Tiny Bit Marvellous

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Each chapter is told by one of the members of the family at the heart of this story. The husband has one chapter, so the remaining three have the rest. It's a bit of a shock to the system to have a mind-meld with these three different characters. Once you get over that though, it's a good ride through the events of their life.I thought, "she makes a good author as well as an actress", but of course she's been writing for years. The ending is quite satisfying, so well worth reading through for. I wonder if part of the book is a bit autobiographical - it will be interesting to see how the next one comes out.
Fever Pitch

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Although I love Nick's fiction I'm not really a fan of football, so I abandoned this book after a bit. I tried skipping through to find the biographical bits, and then I realised the book is a biography really.
Surface Detail

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This is one of Ian M Banks' "Culture" novels, so expect a large backdrop in space and exploration of some interesting ideas about the future. It also has several interesting characters. Some of them die early on, but in this part of space and time this doesn't mean that it's the end of the story as far as they are concerned. There are several plot lines involving each of those characters, but they do all converge by the end. Although the plot is expansive things really do depend on the actions of a small number of people. Very enjoyable.
Zero History

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William Gibson is on fine form here. It is written in a slightly obtuse style which isn't so unsettling that you fall behind, but enough to make the ride interesting. There is no simple classification of the characters as heroes and villains - you have to watch as the events unfold and the allegiances sort themselves out.At the end he gives credit to the people who gave him ideas and I was surprised at how many weren't his. I hadn't read the previous books in the series and I didn't feel like I'd missed out, so you can jump in with this book. The setting is the near future so it will quickly become dated so I suggest catching it now while it's fresh.
Juliet, Naked

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This book sets up a great plot, which unfolds in a delicious way. I reread one of the key scenes a couple of times, I enjoyed it so much. You get a fair bit of what's going on in the main characters heads which really adds to the story. It strays onto vaguely similar territory to High Fidelity with an obsessive music fan, but is up to date with what the way the internet enables such fans to connect with each other.The ending is very satisfying without being stupid or trite.
Tritcheon Hash

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This story starts with an unbelievable premise - that in the future men and women live on separate planets (with suitable arrangements being made for ensuring that the human race doesn't die out). However, given that premise, the rest of the book is more straightforward. Tritcheon is an interesting character and goes on a life-changing adventure, involving some of the men who visit the women's planet. The contrast between the two sexes now on two different worlds provides a thought provoking backdrop to the main plot. There are also some wry jokes and an awful pun. So there's quite a lot going on and sometimes the different elements seem a little clumsy, but it's well worth reading.
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