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Josie (United Kingdom)

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The Generation Game
The Generation Game
by Sophie Duffy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm so glad I judged a book by its cover, 5 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Generation Game (Paperback)
I chose this book based on its name and cover, and I'm so glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it in a week commuting to and from work, at one point I considered staying on the bus until a later stop just so I could keep reading. I have just spent my Saturday afternoon reading in order to finish it, something I never spend my Saturdays doing!

I love the repeated sentiments throughout this book, the references to Helena, to Lucas, particuarly as a speck of stardust. Each time I read it I felt the emotion come alive from Philippa. I loved that the author described Philippa's early days so vividly, the way she handled the upset of her mother leaving, the close family created despite it all with all those people in her life. I loved the name Wink, the Generation Game experience, the trip to London for the Royal Wedding. I couldn't help but picture Bob Sugar in my head as Rob Brydon's Uncle Bryn from Gavin and Stacey. Wink I imagined as the elderly female from the Royle Family (a programme I have never watched therefore I don't know who she is).

This book deals with such a wide range of situations and emotions. Very enjoyable and very touching. I would certainly recommend it.


The First Wife
The First Wife
by Emily Barr
Edition: Paperback

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too "chick lit" for my liking, 8 Sep 2011
This review is from: The First Wife (Paperback)
If you haven't read The First Wife yet, divert your eyes!

The book started well and I really took to the character of Lily. Like all of Barr's female leads it quickly becomes evident that she has had a far from perfect upbringing which impacts on her current life. Lily's awe and naivety of the world is well written, and I was captivated by her first impressions of normal life. I enjoyed the aspect of her life where she lived with Julia and her family and found her relationship with Mia very sweet. I often forgot how young both characters were, particularly Lily.

Once we were introduced to Jack who lived in New Zealand I was instantly trying to guess the connection he would have to Lily, given her parents were last known to live there. Once we heard he was en route to Barcelona I imagined that Sarah would be "the one" he was looking for, however, of course this was not the case.

The storyline between Lily and Harry I found interesting enough, yet not captivating. I don't feel there were enough signs of the real Harry for the reader to pick up on. I'm still not sure exactly what Fergus said to Lily in London which stirred her to think Sarah was still alive. I'm even more confused as to why this set off the events which followed.

I adore Emily Barr books, and particularly enjoy the travel descriptions she conveys. However, in this book, once Lily gets to Barcelona the descriptions are not to the standard of Barr's other novels. It came across as if Barr is giving the reader directions around Barcelona, as if she is trying to prove to the reader that she did indeed go to Barcelona specifically to research this book. The images conveyed are all of train stops, streets, hotel names. The descriptions don't flow as naturally as Backpack, or even The Perfect Lie. I didn't find it enjoyable to read, and didn't think it was a true reflection of the work Barr is capable of at all.

I found the ending a bit of an anti-climax, and a bit over the top. I had guessed it early on when Jack made references to the "Monsters" however didn't want it to be true as it seemed too obvious a conclusion.

On the whole I was hooked whilst reading the book, however I didn't enjoy it as much as Barr's other novels. With the introduction of a celebrity couple, and lacklustre travel descriptions I fear Emily has lost the talent which makes her books stand out. The First Wife was more chick lit than any of her other novels and I hope this isn't the direction that Barr is now going towards.


The Perfect Lie
The Perfect Lie
by Emily Barr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another addictive offering from Emily Barr, 5 July 2011
This review is from: The Perfect Lie (Paperback)
A review to read after the book!

I really enjoy Emily Barr novels. I'm not sure how I would describe them - thriller travel tales with an element of chick lit about them is the best I can come up with.

The Perfect Lie soon had me hooked. We know Lucy is running from someone, it takes a while until we realise who. For some time I did wonder if it was her brother, however it soon became evident it was indeed her husband Benjamin. Other reviews talk about some areas not being explained, the most pivotal question I have is why did Benjamin want to marry her?? Particularly as by that point Marianne was 16 and surely starting to be less appealing to a paedophile?!? The conclusion I came to is that the marriage simply suited the plot where Lucy would feel unable to move on in her life with Seth whilst she is still married as Marianne.

I liked that the book was split into 3 main characters, each written in the first person, which was unusual for EB. I liked finding out what was happening in different parts of the plot and didn't find it confusing at all, rather I would look forward to picking up that characters story where it had left off.

I did feel that once Lucy got to Venice that the pace slowed down a little too much. It was excellent writing for setting the scene of Venice, however at the same time I just wanted the anticipated drama to unfold. I have to wonder whether EB lost interest in it half way through and finished it half heartedly. The climax wasn't as griping or satisfying as her other novels which was disappointing. I also didn't connect with Lucy's reasons for running away from her life in Cornwall, which stopped me from fully accepting the character.

Overall I did enjoy it, but its not in the same class as Backpack and Cuban Heels.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 30, 2012 1:20 PM BST


Out of my Depth
Out of my Depth
by Emily Barr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great EB novel, 28 Jun 2011
This review is from: Out of my Depth (Paperback)
I first discovered Emily Barr when I got Backpack free with a magazine many years ago. I loved that book, and EB's following novels however after Atlantic Shift I got a bit bored. A friend recently returned Cuban Heels to me after a 2 year loan which prompted me to read it again solely because I found myself on the bus without a Metro. After that my EB obsession was reborn!

I have just read Out of My Depth in the space of 4 days, I couldn't put it down. The characters are excellent and believable, although I feel more attention could be given to Tamsin as she was the only one I feel I didn't get to know very well. Initially you don't know why she is the member of the group everyone is wary of, wondering if she herself had been responsible for the friends drifting apart.

The book opens up well, setting the scene both in present time and back when the girls were at school. The sub-plot of the Barrons however is a bit odd, I thought it would end a lot more dramatically than it did, which makes me wonder really what was the point? That could have tied into the story to create a twist somehow which would have fitted in perfectly with EB's style.

The ending was a bit too soon. What happened next?!? An extra chapter of 6 months on would have been good. What about Susie's offer for Izzy to move to France? Is that withdrawn now she seems to have softened to Roman? Most dissapointing ending from an Emily Barr novel, but still a good gripping read that I would recomend.


Atlantic Shift
Atlantic Shift
by Emily Barr
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as great as the others :(, 31 July 2004
This review is from: Atlantic Shift (Hardcover)
I don't know what it was about Atlantic Shift, but it didn't manage to captivate me as much as Barr's other novels did. I couldn't get as involved with the characters, and unlike with Baggage, Cuban Heels and the brilliant Backpack I found myself less and less interested in what was going to happen next. Nevertheless, Barr's excellence with regard to description and detail was still there to make Atlantic Shift a pleasant enough read.


Walkabout (Puffin Books)
Walkabout (Puffin Books)
by James Vance Marshall
Edition: Paperback

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, but brilliant!, 7 Aug 2002
I read a review for Bill Brysons Down Under that wasn't very complimentary and advised readers to try Walkabout for a taste of Australian life instead. The title attracted me and after tracking the book down I have read it in 2 days. I loved the way you feel part of the action, as the descrpitions are so detailed. The Aboriginal way of life is explained, and I had no idea about it before. Well, not to the extent that they can die solely because they become convinced its their fate. Its a very interesting book, as you can clearly see the culture clashes, and the predjudice that was held against black people by the likes of Mary at the time. My only complaint is that I want to know what happens next! 125 pages was not enough!


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