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vivsy (rural hertfordshire)

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The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Achingly funny, 30 Sep 2007
I totally embarrassed myself on a flight back from Turkey doubled up with laughter and tears rolling down my cheeks. It made me feel SO much better about coming home, so I can recommend it as a great pick me up. But apart from that, it is the story of his childhood, growing up in America in the fifties, a time of great hope and prosperity when Doctors recommended smoking as a way of relieving stress and women's underwear was industrial strength. There's some interesting facts and figures about those times, and some funny ( and some appalling)newspaper articles but in the main it's just his ordinary upbringing told with a turn of phrase that has me in fits. I would pay money just to read his shopping lists if he would ever care to publish them.


Melody A.M.
Melody A.M.
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 4.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 11 Aug 2007
This review is from: Melody A.M. (Audio CD)
This is electronic instrumental chill out music at its best. I bought it on a whim and I wasn't disappointed-the whole album is very easy on the ear and perfect music for the last hour or so of a party when you are all feeling nicely mellow.


One Good Turn: (Jackson Brodie)
One Good Turn: (Jackson Brodie)
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Good Turn Deserves Another Read, 2 Aug 2007
Kate Atkinson's first book, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was one of the best books I have ever read. I never thought she'd write anything as good as that, but this book comes a close second for me. It's a murder mystery, but not in the conventional sense so if you're expecting fast paced plot and serious detection then I think you may be disappointed. There is more focus on human emotions and relationships AND it is laugh out loud funny in places unlike most crime fiction.

I loved the fact that it is set in a real, recognisable city (Edinburgh) with cleverly drawn characters. It has the usual Atkinson labyrinthe-like storylines with all the various sub-plots knitting together at the end. The way the story is written is so engaging that I devoured every bit of the book and was never tempted to skip read to find out how it all works out.However I am going to read it again knowing the ending this time.


The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2
The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2
by Susan Hill
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very unsatisfying, 17 July 2007
I read the previous Simon Serailler novel 'The Various Haunts of Men' and thought it was a good enough read, although felt a little cheated as I guessed whodunnit. I found this sequel a real let down. It isn't even a thinly plotted whodunnit as there are so many loose ends never tied up leaving you at the end (and I battled on hoping something might emerge) with lots of unanswered questions.

It started off quite well but very quickly I realised that the characters and plot weren't going anywhere. The main character, the detective Simon Serailler, is supposedly the strong silent type but has no depth and is a mere shadow behind his annoying sister who takes centre stage for no good reason. The other characters are contrived and stereotypical to the point of being laughable (weird single men/council estate families with loud tv's/posh doctors' farmhouses) who don't add anything to the storyline.

As other reviewers have said, if you want a really good page turning, thrilling detective novel then there are so many excellent ones out there by Rendell, Rankin, PD James etc that you needn't waste your time on this one. I know that not all crime is resolved in real life but that's no reason to follow suit in a novel.


How to Shop with Mary, Queen of Shops
How to Shop with Mary, Queen of Shops
by Mary Portas
Edition: Hardcover

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really Disappointing, 1 July 2007
I really like Mary Portas and enjoyed her tv series, so when I saw her book in the shop I bought it thinking I was in for a treat. It's an attractive book with some good photos of covetable merchandise but I was really disappointed with the content. The tv series showed her helping boutiques raise their game but this accompanying book doesn't seem to know if its aimed at retailers or shoppers. It's a bit of both but not enough of either in my opinion. It's as if someone at the BBC decided they felt they should do a book but thought making it a self help book for retailers wouldn't attract as many readers so extended it to the shopping public.

I can't say I learned anything much about being a canny shopper. It just seemed superficial and constatntly states the obvious with information about various things like when the sales are on (january's a popular time for these), what to do if you receive shoddy service (complain to the manager or write a letter) and wear flat shoes when shopping. It mentions visiting warehouse sales for designer bargains but no information on how to find them.

Much of the book is description. It provides lots of statistics about shopping habits such as the percentage of women who are wearing the wrong bra size which I've heard many times before, but no real advice on how to shop for underwear other than get yourself measured. Some other figures are quoted, such as the age profile of internet shoppers which strangely is in the middle of a section about storecards and their pitfalls. The whole book skips around, without any particular journey so you don't know what is going to come along next or why.

If you're a boutique owner who has just come over from a remote island then there may be lots of useful advice in here to tempt buyers to part with their cash but for the rest of us I don't think it's let us very much into the secret world of fashion retail.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2008 10:36 AM BST


The Shops
The Shops
by India Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Fantastic Book, 14 Jan 2007
This review is from: The Shops (Paperback)
I was surprised at how much I loved this book. I don't like 'chick-lit' so have never read any of India Knight's books before, but I saw this and thought I'd give it a go as I love shopping. What a book! It's PACKED full of advice, not all of it I agree with necessarily such as extolling the virtues of cheap bathroom suites, and there is the inevitable endorsment of certain retailers, such as Argos.But it is so engagingly well written and so hilarious that I didn't mind. Anyway it is interesting to read someone else's perspective on shopping and what they think is value for money. There's oodles of advice on where to shop for great presents for everyone as well as lots of beauty tips, although not much on clothes (you've got Trinny and Susannah for that) all interwoven around a kind of personal memoir which I found highly entertaining. Brilliant fun!


Trinny & Susannah: The Survival Guide - A Woman's Secret Weapon for Getting Through the Year
Trinny & Susannah: The Survival Guide - A Woman's Secret Weapon for Getting Through the Year
by Trinny Woodall
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just About Clothes, 14 Jan 2007
I didn't realise until I got this book that it's got much more than style advice. It covers all the events you might have to deal with throughout the year such as finding the right Christmas presents for people, packing for summer holidays, fending off colds, good places to go for mini breaks and so on. They also give lots of other advice, such as first aid, what to when your relationship gets in a rut and how to realise your dreams. It is interspersed with clothes and shopping hints and gives useful advice, much of it common sense but still good to have it there. They even tell you what/what not to wear to your own dinner party, so easily forgotten in the midst of kitchen frenzy. It's also got a very handy guide to the web with lots of sites to try out for more or less everything. It does seem to be mainly aimed at the busy working mum with young kids but I think there's lots there for everyone. If this kind of book appeals to you, then try 'The Shops' by India Knight which is another 'must read' if you love shopping for anything and everything.


Return of the Timewaster Letters
Return of the Timewaster Letters
by Robin Cooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.97

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 3 Nov 2006
Like the previous reviewer, I bought this when I was feeling a bit down and made a miraculous recovery. I have NEVER laughed so much when reading a book and I do laugh regularly while reading. Some of the letters are funnier than others, particularly when he keeps on getting replies from people before they realise he's a spoof. Everyone I've lent it to/read bits out to/bought it for has loved it as much as I have. A great stocking-filler present.


The Line of Beauty [DVD]
The Line of Beauty [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dan Stevens
Price: 6.10

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Adaptation of the Book, 21 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Line of Beauty [DVD] (DVD)
I really enjoyed the book, so was very keen to see the dvd. It didn't disappoint. All the characters were true to the book, especially Tim Mc Innery's pompous millionaire Tory MP Gerald Fedden.

The early part of the story is hopeful, with young gay graduate Nick Guest moving into the house and the world of the Feddens, becoming part of the family and also becoming part of the gay scene.

The latter stages follow Nick through an unsettled love life and the parallel emergence of his antics and that of Gerald cause the bubble to burst.

The only crazy bit was the party scene at the Feddens when Nick persuades Margaret Thatcher to dance with her much to the delight of the crowds. Trying to suspend my disbelief that this delicate looking actress was really the lady herself was a bit difficult!


Gerrard: My Autobiography
Gerrard: My Autobiography
by Steven Gerrard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.06

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read, 10 Sep 2006
This is not the usual turgid stuff pumped out by famous footballers. Steven Gerrard comes across as someone who is genuinely passionate about the beautiful game and in this book describes in some detail the highs and lows that go with it. An easy and captivating read, this book is a must-have for any football fan and if you weren't a fan of his before, you will be when you've finished reading it.


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