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Spenner (London, UK)

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The Fever
The Fever
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good as ever, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: The Fever (Kindle Edition)
The Fever is a typically Megan Abbott novel about teenage girls navigating a hostile world. As one after another falls victim to a strange illness, the school and town are alive with rumours. Family betrayals, love, friendship and warring loyalties weave a complicated plot that resolves beautifully. Although teenage girls are the subject matter, this is definitely a book that speaks to adult readers, but especially those who remember the uncertainty and confusion of being a teen. The Fever is probably the most accessible of Megan Abbott's recent novels. Dare Me is one of my all-time favourites but this is a worthy successor.

When I say it is a typically Megan Abbott novel, I should point out that she's the only person who can write like this - if you haven't discovered her, you are in for a treat.


Precious Thing
Precious Thing
Price: 4.49

3.0 out of 5 stars A Twist Too Far, 25 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Precious Thing (Kindle Edition)
I loved a lot of the descriptive writing in this novel but I didn't like the author's decision to address the novel to another character ('you walked into the room') which became very tedious. I found the main character unappealing, and her relationships with the other characters were unconvincing. My main problem was with the plot. The major twists were obvious from a long way off, and there was one frankly unnecessary twist that I found hard to believe. I would read another book by this author as this definitely had its good points and I'd like to see how she develops as a writer.


I Murdered My Library (Kindle Single)
I Murdered My Library (Kindle Single)
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, melancholy prose that is perfectly judged, 14 Jun 2014
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This short essay is well worth downloading; I hope it will be published in print one day as I feel it would appeal to lots of readers who don't want anything to do with ebooks! It is brief (which explains why it's suited to the e-format) but it is wonderfully moving. Many of her thoughts about her books were instantly recognisable to me, but there were also some ideas in it that made me stop and think, as the best prose should. Linda Grant is a very fine writer and her insight into this subject makes this a compelling, thought-provoking essay.


Bossypants
Bossypants
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, funny, entertaining., 14 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Bossypants (Kindle Edition)
This collection of autobiographical essays is hugely entertaining and thought-provoking. I've been aware of Tina Fey for a long time but I haven't ever really seen her on TV, possibly because she's not a mainstream star in the UK. You don't need to know much about her, or her career, to find this book appealing. She has a keen eye for hypocrisy and a tremendous line in self-deprecating humour. I loved it. It's light-hearted but it packs a surprising punch all the same. I would, however, recommend buying the book as opposed to downloading it. I read it on my (not very advanced) Kindle and found it frustrating as there were pictures and script pages I just couldn't see properly.


The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet)
The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful start to a new series, 2 Nov 2012
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I think Maggie Stiefvater is head and shoulders the best YA writer out there so I was expecting a lot from THE RAVEN BOYS. It took me a few days to process what I thought about it after I read it, but as I literally cannot stop thinking about it, it seems she's done it again. Without going into details about the plot, this is very much the first part of the story about Blue, and the hints she drops about where the plot may go in future books make me tense with impatience to read them! If I have a complaint it's that this feels like the first 400 pages of a 1,200 page book rather than a stand-alone book - this is very much a set-up rather than a novel in its own right. But Lord, it's good. Maggie writes so beautifully, so poetically, and yet with such humour. Her characters are unforgettable, and her pacing makes this impossible to put down. No one has a better touch with a love story, either. Gansey is different from any hero she's created before, and yet recognisably a Stiefvater boy, with his single-minded near-genius and his unexpected vulnerability.

I possibly wouldn't recommend this book for a first encounter with Maggie Stiefvater's writing because I think SHIVER is more immediately compelling, but overall I think this will be her best series yet, and I can't wait for the next installment.


Going Too Far
Going Too Far
by Jennifer Echols
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable but unbelievably good, 25 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Going Too Far (Paperback)
This book is one I keep coming back to - I must have read it five or six times. Every time I read it, two things happen: I fall in love with Meg and John After all over again, and I wish someone had made Echols change the most incredible, strained elements of the plot. For example, [EXTREMELY MILD SPOILER AHEAD] Meg (although she is a bit drunk and high at the time) somehow mistakes John for a forty-year-old police officer with a wife and kids, although he is a year older than her and she actually knew him in school. Also, they live in a small town but neither of them seems to be aware of the other's history at all. It makes for a very entertaining read, and genuinely moving in places (I cry) but you do have to suspend your disbelief something chronic. Meg is so smart though - a real antidote to the very bland heroines who have been prevalent in YA for too long. And John After is something else.

If you're wondering whether to buy this or something else, buy this, basically.


We'll Always Have Summer
We'll Always Have Summer
by Jenny Han
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The right ending; the wrong way to get there, 25 Oct 2012
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It was always going to be hard for Jenny Han to write a really brilliant ending to this trilogy. In THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY she created the most wonderful love triangle - two brothers who were so different, and Belly, the touching, slightly awkward heroine who was brave when she needed to be. Resolving it has made for some unfortunate character development that, as other reviews mention, doesn't seem fair to the characters I loved in the first book. There is literally no reason for Belly to choose one of the brothers over the other; she would have to be insane to pick one of them and mad to turn the other down. For me, having the choice made so simple was a problem because it made the story drag while you waited for the situation to be resolved. I do think though that if they had stayed as they are in the first book, it would have been impossible for Belly to pick one without making herself very unpopular with readers.

In this book, Belly is very passive, to the point of being dim, and seems to have lost all self-knowledge as she's got older. Jeremiah is irritating and so (in a different way) is Conrad, as Han reworks what happened in IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU to make sense in the light of what's happening in this book. While I like her writing immensely, I think her heart wasn't in this book. I felt she was bored with the characters and struggled to make a thin story reach the extent she was aiming for. The world of Cousins is so vivid and atmospheric, but revisiting it this time we hear very little about it, or about summer, and a lot about stationery. The last scene resolves everything, but it's an impression more than a scene - a moment in time that is truly lovely, but not enough.

If you've read the other two books, do read this; if you haven't, don't start here as this is not her strongest work. There were parts of this book that I adored, and others that I didn't, but I think Han's talent is unquestionable and I still want to read whatever she writes next.


Mog's Kittens board book
Mog's Kittens board book
by Judith Kerr
Edition: Board book
Price: 3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best storyline, 30 Jan 2011
The inspiration seems to have run dry a bit with this one - it must be hard to do a satisfying story with re-used artwork in 16 pages, but this is not a winner in my view. Nicky misses having Mog sleep on his bed, as she's got to take care of her kittens. This might have been used to help a child deal with getting a sibling, but let's just say that Nicky's solution is a bit drastic... and it's not very well explained, either. I can't think that most toddlers would understand what's going on, and if they did, it's a little bit psychotic anyway. Three stars because the illustrations are cute and I like the format - perfect for small hands and apparently unbendable, unlike most of the board books my son has maimed.


Mayhem
Mayhem
Offered by mmglobal3
Price: 22.45

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely catchy, brilliantly spirited music, 30 Jan 2011
This review is from: Mayhem (Audio CD)
Imelda May has a fantastic voice and her band do her proud here. There are some all-time classics on this album, songs that you will be humming for days after listening to them. The sound is a little raw in places but that makes it all the more truthful; she's singing her heart out on lots of these tracks. Some will grow on you, some are instantly appealing, some are downright silly but a lot of fun. 'Inside Out' would make a perfect first dance for a wedding. As a fantastic live band, it's always going to be hard for them to get the same effect on a recording, but if you haven't heard them live - and maybe even if you have! - I think this would knock your socks off.


Gund 21.5cm Crashing Hammer Soft Toy for One and Above (Makes Crashing Sound)
Gund 21.5cm Crashing Hammer Soft Toy for One and Above (Makes Crashing Sound)

4.0 out of 5 stars Cute but maybe too realistic sound!, 18 Oct 2010
My son got this for his first birthday. He loves crawling around with it in one hand, and it's the perfect size for a baby to hold. The crashing noise is a very realistic breaking-glass sound that slightly confuses him when he sets it off by accident, and I don't think he realises that the hammer is making the noise... It makes a change from tinny music or a squeak, but it's still a slightly odd sound chip to have chosen. Cute, fun toy nonetheless - but I wish it came with a buggy clip as it's easy to lose it.


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