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A. Davies

Reading, UK
  • 31
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 34
  • ratings

Best bit was the beginning

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-07-19

My favourite part of this interview was near the beginning, where Fearne talks about how it feels to write (therapeutic), and to share her stories with the world (terrifying).

She also talks a bit about her books, and about her plans for the future. It sounds like there's more to come!

More plot, less magic

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-07-19

Strange the Dreamer was about adventure, exploring, and whimsy. Lazlo is wonderful because he's so excited and humbled to go everywhere and meet everyone.

Muse of Nightmares is less about exploring, more about plot. We know Weep; we know the people who live in it, and what they can do; and there's a cliffhanger left over from book 1. This is the book where stuff happens.

A lot of people will love that, but I found it a bit of a shame. There's certainly a lot going on, with twists and drama (though I always had the feeling that "yes, I thought that was one of the things that might happen"), and various losses and goodbyes. It just feels like there's more superpowers, less magic.

(Still four stars because it's still sumptuously written - Laini has an amazing gift for descriptions - and gorgeously narrated by Steven West. And because it succeeds in what it is... it just wasn't what I'd come for.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

An entirely civilised chat

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-07-19

I'd expected a chat with Joe Lycett to be funny, because he does funny stuff. But I guess his style is more to do something silly, then write about it. What it feels like is an entirely civilised, unremarkable chat with a thoroughly pleasant person. He sums up his life as "grew up in Birmingham, had an alright life" - and that's pretty much how I'd summarise this interview. If you find yourself sat next to the chap on a train, rest assured he's easy to chat to. But with hindsight I'd have rather spent the time reading his book or watching his YouTube shorts (which are brilliant).

Come for the killing, stay for the people

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-07-19

My Sister is a snack-sized novella following Korede, a nurse who works in Laos and provides for her sister and widowed mother.

The book is easy to read. Most chapters fit on a page or two, and Korede uses compact, matter-of-fact language. Sometimes that compactness produces cutting comments or deadpan humour, but in general it's played straight, reflecting Korede's dutiful and restrained approach to life in general.

The title and opening are sensational, but this isn't a thriller: it's a character study.

If you'd like to get under the skin of a meticulous, dutiful, tired Nigerian woman as she does her level best to carve out a life for herself and her family - despite shallow men, corrupt traffic cops, and her frustratingly carefree sister - you'll find a lot to love.

PS - because of the short chapters, I preferred the printed book to the audiobook, but they're both good. The narrator uses a quiet, unadorned voice which fits well with Korede's character.

I enjoyed the snatches of poetry :)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Wowww: Illuminae Files ending delivers

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-07-19

Obsidio takes all the threads started in the first two books, and ties them together.

Once again the setting is focussed and tense: there's a sense of urgency and stress, which wears on the characters in believable ways. The survivors from the first two books, and a couple of new faces, are taken to the limits; relationships bend and break.

There's action throughout, from fistfights to spaceship battles to traumatic personal moments.

It's occasionally a little too neat. And... it follows a little TOO close to the series template, with another pair of loveable kids in a sticky situation leading to an implausibly-choreographed finale. But if you loved the first two books, you're probably okay with that as the price of entry.

& If you loved the first two books, this is a rollercoaster you'll devour with smiles, grimaces, tears and a lot of satisfaction.

PS - both the Kindle and Audiobook versions are wonderful, and I devoured both evenly. Fulsome thanks to the cast and the production companies.

Holly on writing, books for adults, and feminism

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-19

I loved this interview - Holly is relatable, clear and insightful. Most of the interview focusses on her first book for adults; how that was different to writing for teens; and the importance of feminism in her books and her life.

A couple of lines really stood out and made me think:

1. Writing is one of the most impactful forms of media, because you're literally making the reader hallucinate; and

2. Part of the point of a book is to test the readers' patience, for example by getting them frustrated that the main character hasn't dumped their useless boyfriend yet.

You get the sense that she's thought about how she wants to write in a really creative way, as well as thinking about the messages she wants to get across (especially around feminism and what women should demand out of life). It's great to hear this link it back to her books, where that stuff absolutely shines through.

Full of laughter and delight

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-06-19

Cabin Pressure is a delight. The cast fit together perfectly: Benedict Cumberbatch as the anxious, hapless, not-yet-failed captain; Roger Allam as the older, more talented and far more distinguished co-pilot; Stephanie Cole as the fearsome airline owner, who won't tolerate the foolish men messing it all up; and John Finnemore (the writer) as her bumbling son Arthur, the steward. I could happily listen to them for hours; I have done, and they're hours full of laughter and camaraderie. Heartily recommended.

Packs a lot into 11 minutes

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-06-19

I hadn't expected much from an 11-minute interview, especially when I'd already read Isabel's book (which I recommend). But in fact, Isabel's clarity of thought shines through

There's one point where the interviewer praises Isabel for the thick skin she must need to cope with sexism in parliament, and instead of saying something bland and accepting the point, she makes the wonderful response of "well that's kind, but I think having a thick skin is actually a bad thing" - which she then explains. She's simply that clear on the themes of the book and the messages she wants to get across.

If you're curious - give this a listen. It's a great advert for her book, which she reads with just as much style as she shows in this interview.

Full of laughter and delight

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-06-19

Cabin Pressure is a delight. The cast fit together perfectly: Benedict Cumberbatch as the anxious, hapless, not-yet-failed captain; Roger Allam as the older, more talented and far more distinguished co-pilot; Stephanie Cole as the fearsome airline owner, who won't tolerate the foolish men messing it all up; and John Finnemore (the writer) as her bumbling son Arthur, the steward.

I could happily listen to them for hours; I have done, and they're hours full of laughter and camaraderie. Heartily recommended.

Full of laughter and delight

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-06-19

Cabin Pressure is a delight. The cast fit together perfectly: Benedict Cumberbatch as the anxious, hapless, not-yet-failed captain; Roger Allam as the older, more talented and far more distinguished co-pilot; Stephanie Cole as the fearsome airline owner, who won't tolerate the foolish men messing it all up; and John Finnemore (the writer) as her bumbling son Arthur, the steward.

By the fourth series they've perfected the formula. Yes, there's a bit of a routine at times, but we also see the team rally round each other and show real warmth: everyone gets their moments of glory.

I like Cabin Pressure so much that after listening to all four series, I went back and listened to them all again. This series covers Timbuktu; a calamitous trip to Ireland; the Princess of Lichtenstein; Martin's family; a snowman; and a job interview. They're all hilarious.