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Boot-Boy (Gloucestershire)
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Oceans Apart
Oceans Apart
by L B Baxter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nemo For Grown-Ups…,, 10 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Oceans Apart (Paperback)
To be honest I’m not quite sure what to make of this story – part 'Matrix', part 'Nemo', part 'The Beach' – but I did enjoy it, and I was heartened by it. This philosophic fable/parable of the torn-tail fish, Jura, growing up and learning how to live and survive in the real world is, ultimately, an uplifting one, but most of all it is an exquisite feat of imagination.


Mrs. Hemingway
Mrs. Hemingway
by Naomi Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Elegant..., 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Mrs. Hemingway (Paperback)
It wasn't until the final chapter, featuring Hemingway's last wife, Mary, that this story really began to grip. It was probably my fault - the book bought at Heathrow, begun on the flight, picked up now and again during the half-term holiday. It was only on my return, sitting alone by the fire, that Naomi Wood's non-fiction 'novel' about the four wives of Ernest Hemingway began to properly engross me. It's a lovely idea, this female slant - one of the twentieth-century's greatest writers seen and brought to vivid life through the eyes of his four wives - and though I did find the flashback style a little confusing at times (more than once I had to retrace my steps), there are many startling insights here, many fine and elegant turns of phrase, and several moving passages as Wood's story reaches its tragic conclusion... That she is a fine and gifted writer is not in question here, but Wood is not a poet, and there's the problem. Because she doesn't quite match in texture and depth and feeling poet Paula McLain's mesmerising "The Paris Wife", a 'fictional' memoir of Hadley Richardson, the first 'Mrs Hemingway'. Had it not been for McLain (whom I read first) I would, without hesitation, have given this book four stars. And maybe five stars if I'd read the whole thing by the log fire...


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable..., 15 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A story of soaring imagination that left me breathless. A story of love and war and loss, and, ultimately, life. The unforgettable story of Marie-Laure and Werner, Daniel and Etienne, Jutta and Madame Manec, and so many others brought magically and marvellously to life. I will miss you all...


Flash Boys
Flash Boys
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullseye..., 11 April 2014
This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Right on target. Another stunning indictment of Wall Street's wicked ways, written by a man who knows how to make the most abstruse and arcane financial matters immediately comprehensible to readers outside the industry. There's a clarity here, and strong storytelling narrative, that make this book very hard to put down. It's difficult to understand how we could ever trust banks and bankers again, yet among the thieves and rascals who crowd these pages it's encouraging to learn that there are some honourable men and women on the street of shame who really do want to change the system for the better. The very best of luck to them. They'll need it...


For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories
For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories
by Ian Fleming
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars Beguiling..., 13 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my fourth audio Bond in the 007 Reloaded Collection and it's another winner. Five delightfully beguiling short stories this time, read with smooth and persuasive authority by Samuel West. It's hard to choose a favourite but The Hildebrand Rarity stands out; baddie Milton Crest, beautifully rendered by West, really is a loathsome piece of work and deserves all he gets. Six CDs, complete and unabridged. Running time: a little over 6 hours .


Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang
Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang
by Jamie Reid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Ride..., 26 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In this rivetting, hard-to-put-down account of a celebrated horse-doping conspiracy that brought British horse racing to its knees in the late 1950s and early '60s, Jamie Reid does for the sport of kings what Michael Lewis has done so eloquently and effectively for the world of finance (Liar's Poker, The Big Short). What both these authors do so well is catch the mood of the times, and bring to stunning and exuberant life the complex insider worlds of gamblers, rogues and villains whether they're operating on the trading floors of Wall Street or in the royal enclosures at Epsom and Ascot. Marshalling a huge cast of characters, from the rarefied salons of the Jockey Club to the smokey bars and gambling dens of the lower orders, Reid vividly recreates the shadowy world of racetrack racketeering in post-war Britain, and provides a narrative that grips and fascinates whether you're a seasoned race-goer or, like me, the 'quid each way' punter on Grand National day. Like Lewis, Reid is a deft hand at the telling thumbnail sketch, and expert at conjuring up a lost world of loud checks, cheeky chappies and bowler-hatted blimps, his racy tale of bent bookie Bill Roper, his glamourous Swiss mistress and gang of ne'er-do-well dopers a captivating cocktail of Ealing caper, underworld noir, and Establishment snobbery. But for all the gloss and glamour, the close calls and high jinks, there is no denying that Roper's activities not only constituted a very serious financial fraud that raked in millions of pounds in a very short period of time, but also served to undermine the reputation of British racing around the world. It also put at grave risk the health and prospects not only of the racehorses that were drugged but the lives of the jockeys who rode them. Having said all that, I have to admit a rather grudging fondness for the roguish Mr Roper, and in the final poignant pages - in court, in prison, and after serving out his sentence - I found myself rather rooting for the fellow. He might have been a cad and a bounder, but deep down I believe he was a caring cad and bounder.


The Fire Witness
The Fire Witness
by Lars Kepler
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorching, 4 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A word of warning. Don't begin this book unless you've got plenty of time to spare because once started this is a very difficult story to put down. Centred around two horrible murders in a Swedish children's home, the plot is gripping, compelling and, with short chapters averaging no more than two pages, there's a 'pedal to the metal' acceleration that never once lets up, the narrative racing along at a breathless, breakneck pace. The action starts on page one and finishes five hundred pages later with a terrifying and deeply unsettling encounter that surely augurs an equally gripping sequel. Exhausting but utterly exhilarating. Scorching stuff.


Life After Life
Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trying..., 10 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Life After Life (Hardcover)
I tried - I really tried - but I could not find the determination to finish. By page 157 I was unable to summon any interest in the goings on at Fox Corner. Judging by her army of five-star fans, Miss Atkinson is a hugely popular and celebrated writer, but this reader was left cold. The characters flitted across the page with no real substance, the repetitions were a confusing conceit, and any sense of narrative pace failed, for me, to materialise. Wrong book, wrong reader!


XMI Xmini Uno Portable Mini Speaker for iPhone/iPad/iPod/MP3 Player/Laptop - Gun Metal Grey
XMI Xmini Uno Portable Mini Speaker for iPhone/iPad/iPod/MP3 Player/Laptop - Gun Metal Grey
Price: £17.04

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Boom Ball than Boom Box..., 8 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A fantastic little machine... simply astonishing how something so small provides better sound than most household sound systems. XMI really mean what they say about 'sound beyond size': the clarity is incredible - you can hear every instrument - and the delivery unbelievably crisp. The Xmini has a built-in battery and comes with a handy USB charging cable to avoid fiddling about with rechargeable batteries. Although I have yet to hear what the sound is like when using the 'buddy-jack' feature - allowing you to connect with another Xmini - I can only imagine that the quality and output will be jaw-dropping.


The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.)
The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.)
by John Baxter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mouthwatering..., 5 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
John Baxter sounds like the perfect dinner guest - witty, erudite, and entertaining. He also sounds like the kind of man who'd stay on to help with the washing-up. An Australian ex-pat, living in Paris and married to a French woman, Baxter has a wide-ranging knowledge of, and interest in, all things culinary. In other words, he knows his onions. Or in this case his onion soup. Not to mention his madeleines and macaroons, bouillabaisse and boeuf bourgignon, truffles, tripe, and steak tartare. After a grand but ultimately disappointing dinner in a celebrated Paris restaurant where the tiny and pretentious Nouvelle Cuisine portions left him underwhelmed, Baxter sets out to rediscover the real cuisine of France, travelling the length and breadth of the country to search out and savour classic, traditional dishes - their history, their ingredients, their preparation, and their taste - in order to create The Perfect Meal. Larded with whimsy and charm aplenty, Baxter's book is a delight from start to finish, every course, every chapter, a mouthwatering dissertation on all things French and edible.


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