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Nick Fitzherbert (UK)
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Love You Dead (Roy Grace)
Love You Dead (Roy Grace)
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Roy Grace novel to date, 29 May 2016
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This is the best of Peter James's Roy Grace novels. There is a nice balance between Grace and his hideous adversaries and a treat for existing fans in that all the usual characters are there - making reappearances in some cases and stepping up into more prominent roles elsewhere.

A clue to what makes it so good lies right at the end of the book, towards the end of the Acknowledgments section. Peter has a new wife - who appears to be not just a spouse but very much a 'partner in crime'!


Imagine
Imagine
Price: £1.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, scary rock 'n roll adventure from the most authentic source you will find, 3 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: Imagine (Kindle Edition)
Having hugely enjoyed Lesley-Ann Jones’s perspective view of the inner-workings of the rock world for so many years, I wanted to be first in the queue to read and review how she brings it all together in a novel. But Brian May, Leo Sayer, Rick Wakeman and a whole host of other very famous names seem to have beaten me to it!

The novel cleverly weaves real people and situations into fiction – not an easy task for any writer and especially challenging in the rock world where real life really can be so much stranger than fiction could ever get away with. Lesley-Ann Jones, however, clears such hurdles with ease. Her passion for music and the music biz shines through in a way that can only come from having actually been there. What is remarkable is that she achieves this without in any way overwhelming the narrative.

In other words, you can enjoy this book as a murder mystery even if rock music doesn’t happen to be your thing. If it is, you will find every bit of the detail to be absolutely spot on, with none of the usual frustration of clumsy clichés, dodgy timelines and straight factual errors.

It all gets of to a very compelling start, with the apparently all-too-familiar scenario of John Lennon’s death, but reimagined here with a whole new, chilling perspective. As the body count grows, every character is meticulously drawn, often with their own specific language tics, and the story shifts around locations that we all know, or think we know, through rock ’n roll legend. All the while, the central character - who clearly borrows much Lesley-Ann Jones herself – becomes increasingly intriguing as she juggles her professional and private personas.

While, thanks to some very clever and witty wordplay, the story is often quite funny, it nevertheless leaves the reader in no doubt that there is plenty of darkness beneath the glitz that most of us get to see. Because we know the provenance we also get nagging feelings as to where the line between truth and fiction really lies. Happily, Lesley-Ann Jones leaves the door open for more to come.

Meanwhile, some of my Christmas present problems have just been very effectively solved.


Business Express: How to be a decisive Leader: Improve your decisionmaking & problem solving skills
Business Express: How to be a decisive Leader: Improve your decisionmaking & problem solving skills
Price: £4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars We need more books like this, 19 Nov. 2015
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Richard Hall and Pearson have nailed the problem with so many business books, which is a bit like the problem that is soon going to be the undoing of the new ‘golden age of TV’. A writer pitches to a TV company about a something a bit gruesome set somewhere in Scandinavia and the TV company says: “Yes we like it, we’ll take 24 episodes, with an option on a further 24 next year”. The fact that that the optimum length would actually be about six episodes is rapidly forgotten.

Many business books are not really fit for purpose. There is often good, valuable information within them, but it is buried within too much stuff that is effectively filler. And they are aimed at people with very little time on their hands. I seem to remember Edward de Bono once almost admitting that he could achieve the aim of this books in far fewer pages but the publishers protested they could never sell such a slim volume.

Maybe Pearson can do it because it’s on Kindle so the thickness cannot really be noticed or even properly assessed. The fact is, though that it works. I read it over a couple of days in snatched moments on my iPhone. The bite-sized presentation and focus on what you really need to know works extremely well. Hall doesn’t shy away from what is often straightforward common sense and I like the way he puts so much emphasis on simple but too-often-forgotten skills such as listening and empathy. His wry sense of humour is nicely balanced with some hard-hitting examples.

Best of all for me was that it made me think back over my career to key decision-making moments and almost without exception the reasons for the successes and failures matched up with the wisdom dispensed in this book.


How To Solve Problems and Make Brilliant Decisions
How To Solve Problems and Make Brilliant Decisions
by Richard Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars So many reasons to appreciate Richard Hall's best book to date, 15 Jan. 2015
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I echo all the previous comments about Hall's writing style and deep knowledge - even his footnotes far exceed expectations with a variety of additional bon mots. I would add that he has done an awful lot of reading on our behalf and serves up a terrific compendium of the best in current thinking and even concludes with his reading list. It is the combination of this and his own finely-honed wisdom that makes this his best book yet. Still buzzing in my mind are the 'we are prisoners of the familiar' theme; exploding the myth that you need to be young to be creative (I had almost caved in to that one); and 'Tips to stamp out creativity - for good!'.


The Cape Crusaders: Driving a Dennis fire engine from the tip of Europe to the bottom of Africa
The Cape Crusaders: Driving a Dennis fire engine from the tip of Europe to the bottom of Africa
Price: £6.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, insightful - and fun, 16 Aug. 2014
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How many of us can truly claim to have been on adventure? You will certainly wish you had after reading this really heartwarming account of seven young friends who got further than just talking about it - they actually did it!

It's full of all the exploits you might expect and many more besides, including arrests in Zimbabwe, border control bribes, Pygmy tribespeople and a variety of accidents, diseases and emergency medical attention. Puns and schoolboy humour abound, but somehow it's all the more interesting and insightful due to being related some 25 years later. An inspiration to us all.


Want You Dead (Roy Grace)
Want You Dead (Roy Grace)
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet, 7 Jun. 2014
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Without a doubt the best Roy Grace novel to date. All the familiar characters are there - one or two featuring unexpectedly! - and a particularly nasty character keeps the plot rattling along thanks to his expertise with magic, illusion and escapology.


The Caterpillar Factory: Kick Start Your Career in the PR Business
The Caterpillar Factory: Kick Start Your Career in the PR Business
by Vyvyan Kinross
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really useful advice about the operational side of PR consulting, 16 April 2013
At a time when you could be forgiven for imagining that PR had become almost solely about maintaining social media profiles, this book provides a much needed dose of reality - and does so very effectively indeed.

It is not simply another book about PR practice, though it does provide some very useful overviews and checklists. What it's really about is the nuts and bolts of operating as a PR consultant - and that is going to prove a real gold mine for all sorts of readers. I was fortunate enough to learn principles such as budgeting, time recording, programme planning etc on the job, but I well remember having my ear bent on numerous occasions by talented friends who had set up as PR consultants having been in areas such as trade press or show business and finding all of that a complete mystery.

Kinross's experience in and passion for PR comes across on every page and through a series of really meaningful and practical exercises. I also like the way he keeps up to date with latest developments, while also weaving in some fascinating detail on leading figures from PR's history. Finally, because I happen to be a member of The Magic Circle, he won me over with his repeated use of the phrase 'the trick is....'. Thinking about it though, that phrase really sums up the whole essence of this highly recommended book.


The Art of Influencing and Selling (Guru in a Bottle)
The Art of Influencing and Selling (Guru in a Bottle)
by Ardi Kolah
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A successful intertwining of core business skills and softer, less tangible psychological techniques, 22 Nov. 2012
There is an awful lot packed into The Art of Influencing and Selling, which sets out to re-define selling in this digital age and dispels quite a few myths and anachronisms along the way. Ardi Kolah does this drawing on a wide variety of experts, both familiar - as he says, there is still much to be learned from Dale Carnegie, current such as Mary Portas and Amazon, and surprising - Grateful Dead turn out to be much more than a bunch of hairy rockers!

As well as taking you step by step through the essential processes, it works on a number of different levels. First, it contains very useful and comprehensive overviews of topics such as social networking sites. Second, it is invaluable as a `cheat sheet' for certain subjects where you really should be up to speed, but may have fallen behind. Third, it directs you to the right sources for associated topics where you might need more detailed information.

What the book achieves above all, however, is successfully intertwining core business skills with the softer, less tangible psychological techniques that are becoming increasingly important to business success.


Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan
Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan
by Lesley-Ann Jones
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute and a fascinating insight, 18 Nov. 2012
Lesley-Ann Jones has done it again! Her Freddie Mercury book was a fascinating insight into the whole music scene of the 70s and 80s as well as a terrific biography. I was expecting rather less with this book - after all, many of the leading characters have passed away, and my musical tastes took a bit of a side-step when it came to the glam rock era. What a surprise, therefore, to be absolutely hooked from the opening chapter onwards.

It all starts rather earlier than you might think because Bolan actually had a rather long, drawn out rise to fame. Along the way we get to know all about the so called Tin Pan Alley and the amazing characters who hung out there. It's all highly incestuous and like the most complicated Pete Frame Rock Family Tree you could imagine. As with the Mercury book, it's the attention to detail that sets Lesley-Ann Jones apart in her field. If others took so much trouble to check out conflicting stories and correct longstanding myths, they would probably have the reader fast-forwarding through the pages. With Lesley-Ann Jones, the detail serves to bring the characters alive and draw you further into the scenarios. That said, she can be wonderfully succinct when required - her half-page summary of the economic climate in the 70s that led to punk rock and, ultimately, Thatcher, is the best I have ever read.

It's a fitting tribute to a star who should have received more acclaim another terrific insight into a musical era that continues to fascinate.


The North Downs Way
The North Downs Way
by Belinda Knox
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's reawakened me to the beauty of the countryside I which I grew up, 20 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The North Downs Way (Hardcover)
This is a truly stunning collection of photographs that are all the more effective for the very informative text that accompanies them. It has brought back many memories and reawakened me to the beauty of the countryside that surrounded me when I was growing up. A few Christmas present conundrums are definitely sorted with this terrific book.


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