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Profile for Mrs. J. A. Collins > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Mrs. J. A. Collins (Hertfordshire)
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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
by Helen Simonson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 4 Mar. 2011
Such a lovely, charming novel and a fantastic debut. I really enjoyed it, but it lost one star for me because I thought that it dragged a little bit in the middle section - I found myself putting it aside for several days, which isn't what would happen when I'm really absorbed in a book.


Jump!
Jump!
by Jilly Cooper
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time to hang up the riding hat?, 20 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Jump! (Hardcover)
I am a long-time Jilly Cooper fan and - the terrible Wicked and the dull Pandora aside - I have loved her books. I'm half-way through Jump at the moment and it is a great improvement on the other two books I've mentioned, but my overwhelming impression is that this might be a book too far.

It has all the hallmarks of a classic Cooper novel - lots of people and animals with silly names, gorgeous locations, lovely descriptions, etc - but it's just not quite right. Nearly all of the characters seem a bit hurried and indistinct: even at this stage I'm struggling to distinguish between the male characters in particular. It's as though there is just too much going on, whereas a novel with fewer characters, better-described, would have been much better. Compare this one to Rivals, for example, and I think you'd see what I mean

And I really don't like Etta. If she's so sweet and wonderful, then why have her children grown up to be so vile? Surely she must have had some influence on them. The way that she allows them to bully and control her is beyond parody, so I'm really hoping that there's going to be an eleventh hour 'Etta grows a spine' moment in the book.

Complaints about content aside, one thing that this book sorely lacked was a good and disciplined editor. Some of the writing is really terrible, my favourite example being the sentence "Sheep-coloured hills were covered in sheep". And there are too many careless errors: for example, early in the book reference is made to an annual football match between Marius's yard and Rupert's yard, but later in the book it has become an annual rounders game. This might, of course, be in addition to the football match, but I suspect that it is more likely to be a mistake. The whole book is a bit like that - slightly slapdash, as if it's been written by a wonderful author who, unfortunately, might not be up to producing this kind of vast novel any long.

And the ongoing attitude that anybody environmentally responsible is a 'Green' nutter is really old-fashioned, dating Cooper more than almost anything else in the book.


Going in Circles (Pocket Readers Guide)
Going in Circles (Pocket Readers Guide)
by Pamela Ribon
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted and thought provoking, 29 Jun. 2010
I really enjoyed this novel: it captured the drama of a break-up very well and I greatly enjoyed the style of writing and the skill that Ribon demonstrated. And roller derby sounds completely bonkers - I'd like to watch it, but there's no way I will be trying it!


The Crafty Minx
The Crafty Minx
by Kelly Doust
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book and great craft ideas, 10 May 2010
This review is from: The Crafty Minx (Paperback)
This is a lovely book - I saw it while back home on holiday in New Zealand and couldn't fit it in my bag, so I ordered it on Amazon when I returned to the UK and was so excited when it finally arrived! The projects are straightforward and the style of the book itself is fab: well written, and beautifully illustrated. I'm going to buy another copy for a craft-loving friend.

The Crafty Minx blog is also fantastic and well worth visiting.


When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie)
When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie)
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 16 July 2009
I loved this book - it was well written and the characters were sympathetic and engaging. Reggie is my new favourite heroine - she was fab.

I do hope that this isn't the last we see of Jackson and Louise.


How to Push a Perambulator
How to Push a Perambulator
by Allison Vale
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very droll!, 12 Mar. 2009
This book was very funny. It's subtitled '50 lessons in the Lost Art of Being a Mother', and it's a completely bonkers collection of advisory essays for parents, drawing on the wisdom of a past age (with tongue firmly in cheek, obviously). Topics covered include 'How to Suffer and Survive the Exquisite Torture of Childbirth', 'How to Manage Your Daughter's Menstrual Flux', and 'How to Raise Your Daughter to Enjoy a Robust Comstitution and yet Excel at Needlepoint'. All the important lessons, in other words.


Playing Away
Playing Away
by Adele Parks
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I expected, 12 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Playing Away (Paperback)
I got this book free with a magazine and didn't hold out great hopes for it - it looked like a fluffy bit of chick lit from the cover. I was very pleasantly surprised by it! It wasn't great - for one thing, it was written in the present tense, which I absolutely hate - but it presented a story about a seriously unappealing character and made her sound believable.

The plot's pretty simple: Connie gets tempted by a sexy man early on in her marriage and, mistaking lust for something more meaningful and just about ruining her life in the process. It's basically about people taking a good thing for granted and assuming that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And it really doesn't sugar coat adultery in any way - it never sounds glamorous or romantic. Connie comes across as a very confused woman who is made to look a complete fool. As a warning against the dangers of adultery it is probably very effective - buy it for any married friends that you think might be tempted to stray!


Got You Back
Got You Back
by Jane Fallon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than your average chick lit, 12 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Got You Back (Paperback)
I'm surprised to read some of the negative reviews of this book. It was the first book of Fallon's that I've read, and I enjoyed it - I thought that the characters were realistically complicated, and I really liked the way in which the plot wasn't tied up in a bow and neatly finished off at the end. Life doesn't work like that, and I like books that recognise this fact! It may be that some other reviewers read chick lit because they want a happy ending all the time, and I can see that books like that can be nice, escapist reading, but I appreciated the way in which this book broke that mould.


Cherry Cake & Ginger Beer: A golden treasury of classic treats
Cherry Cake & Ginger Beer: A golden treasury of classic treats
by Jane Brocket
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous., 16 Jan. 2009
I adored this book. I was an obsessive reader as a child and always loved the descriptions of food - and even when I get the chance now, I'll reread a childhood classic! This book has made me really look forward to having a child of my own, both so I can introduce them to all the wonderful children's literature (and rediscover it myself), and so I can enrich their experiences even more by making some of the food in this book.


Perfect Puppy: Take Britain's Number One Puppy Care Book With You!
Perfect Puppy: Take Britain's Number One Puppy Care Book With You!
by Gwen Bailey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need for a happy puppy, 7 Nov. 2008
This is a great book for a new puppy owner. We bought it when we bought our puppy and followed its advice closely, particularly with regard to toilet training and general 'good manners' - issues like dealing with pack position, territory, food, toys, etc. We were kind but strict early on, just as the book recommends, and made sure that our puppy was put to bed in the same place, not allowed the run of the house, and not allowed on the furniture!

18 months later, we have a lovely dog - well-mannered, fun to be around, but happy and secure. And we let her on the sofa now because she's too cute to resist!

I thoroughly recommend this book!


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