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ED Farr (UK)
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The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things
by John Connolly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Forget every fairytale you have ever read, 20 Aug 2013
How nice was Snow White, and just who was the Woodcutter? David loses his mother as a young child just before the war. Gradually he adjusts to life with his father. When his world is shattered, his Dad remarries, moves house with David and his new wife and then, inevitably, a new baby turns up. David is left feeling bewildered, omitted from family life and becomes reclusive in his room full of books.

I love the concept of this book that his books talk to each other, that different books on the different shelves all have different things to say and all comment to him at various points in his life. Especially when he is being told off by his father.

This is the first John Connolly book I have read, and i was recommended to read it by a friend in the same way that I am recommending it to you. It crosses the boundaries of general fiction, horror and fantasy and really does have you turning pages to find out what happens next.

Suitable for teenage and adult readers alike and plenty to discuss if it was chosen as a book club read.

Another one for your summer reading list!


Dear Lupin...: Letters to a Wayward Son
Dear Lupin...: Letters to a Wayward Son
by Roger Mortimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very gentle book, 20 Aug 2013
Charlie is renamed Lupin by his father Roger in deference to Lupin Pooter in George and Weedon Grossmiths Diary of a Nobody. Charlie describes himself as a "middle class spiv". He floats from job to job and country to country, never really holding particular activity down for any particular length of time. The letters from father to son are moving, funny, reflective and, for me in some cases a bit too close to home. All readers can probably relate to parents complaining about the cost of the telephone bill and fussing about their childs future.

Suitable for anyone from the lone reader to a reading group and suitable for most levels of reader.


The Crossfire Series Box Set
The Crossfire Series Box Set
by Sylvia Day
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Love not punishment, 20 Aug 2013
Having read select other "graphic" novels I was apprehensive about picking this one up. How wrong was I, i loved it. It was thought provoking, caring and genuine. The characters seem to genuinely love eachother and go through the rough and tumbles of their relationship like the rest of us.

Would recommend all three to most readers and am looking forward to following installments.


Women at the Ready: The Remarkable Story of the Women's Voluntary Services on the Home Front
Women at the Ready: The Remarkable Story of the Women's Voluntary Services on the Home Front
by Robert and Patricia Malcolmson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Where were the women when the men went to serve?, 17 July 2013
There is an awful lot of information in the public domain about the Home Guard and the ARP Wardens during World War 2 but there is very little known about the Womens Voluntary Service. We all know that it was "women" who kept the home fires burning while the men went off to serve, but what did that actually entail. The nearest story we have at the moment is Victoria Wood's Housewife, 49.

Women at the Ready sets out specifically to tell the previously unknown history of the wartime WVS using unseen records, footage and memorabilia. The stories told in the book are normal women who stood up to fight for their country in a once in a lifetime chance to change their lives.

The WVS started in 1938 as the war was turning a corner, by 1941 a million women had dedicated their lives to running "community kitchens" and organising mass evacuations from the cities into the villages and towns. I was fascinated how much I didnt know what happened in Bedfordshire, which is where I now live. Sadly, i'm probably not the only one.

There is so much to this book it is hard to narrow down any specific points, it is clear to read by everyone, it would appeal very well to book clubs as a change of genre.

(first reviewed for newbooks magazine)


Stephen Fry in His Own Words
Stephen Fry in His Own Words
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £7.14

1.0 out of 5 stars Buy the book!, 2 July 2013
Let's start the review as we mean to go on. Stephen Fry is a legend, a national hero. You hear his voice and know instantly who he is without needing to be told. He has done comedy sketches, acted in theatre and costume dramas, he's a novelist in his own right and penned his own autobiography. But, even with all that taken into account, he has released this audio book.

If you are interested in the life and times of Stephen Fry, you will, by now have read his autobiography, you will have read interviews online and in print as well as watching his remarkable interview with the inimitable Michael Parkinson.

This audio book, very interesting as it is, is simply a compilation of old television and radio interviews, it contains no new material and in many parts repeats itself and covers the same information. In a number of sections the interviewer has been edited out of the recording and it becomes disjointed and makes no sense at all. However, for me, the real bugbear is the quality of the recording for the Michael Parkinson interview, it just makes me cringe.

I can't believe Stephen Fry or his agent has allowed this audio book to be released and, to be honest, save your money. If you like Stephen Fry and want to know more about him, buy his autobiography and if you want to hear his voice buy a Harry Potter CD.


Mouse and the Cossacks
Mouse and the Cossacks
by Paul Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "My ears are fine, it's my voice that doesnt work" P16, 2 July 2013
This review is from: Mouse and the Cossacks (Paperback)
When you buy an old property you are lead into a new world of secrets, mysteries, wonders and curiosities. This is exactly where "Mouse" de Bruin finds herself when she moves into an old dilapadated farmhouse with her mum.

"My ears are fine. It's just my voice that doesn't work" (Pge 16) is a fair summary of Mouse's existence. She keeps her trusty filofax with her and has it divided into 4 sections. Things I can't do/Things I shouldn't do/Things I don't know and Things I got wrong. Throughout her life as she thinks of things, they get categorised in the sections.

This is a heart-rending story bringing together a story of trauma, lonliness, betrayal and loss. It isn's Paul Wilsons first novel, it is preceeded by at least 4 others, 1 of which is an award winner. The words entwine around the reader, leaving questions, shock and a need to turn the page. It is the first novel by Paul Wilson that I have read and it has certainly prompted me to look to other books he has written.

There is so much too this book, it will sui a personal read, a holiday read and would be a great book for discussions in a book group. If it is your turn to chose the club read or just fancy something a bit different, add this to your list quick!


The Sense of an Ending
The Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.86

3.0 out of 5 stars Read in 2 hours, 28 May 2013
This review is from: The Sense of an Ending (Paperback)
Pacts are made when you are a teenager, life is never going to change we'll always ben in touch and friends forever. Life is never quite like that and this book sums that up very well. Tony is now retired and been through a marriage and a divorce, but life is treating him reasonably well and time is ticking over. That is until a letter from a solicitor turns up and turns his life upside down.

This is quite a short book but remarkably well written, there are a number of different characters in the book, but they merge in nicely and it is easy to tell who is who when you are reading. The only thing, for me that lets the book down is (oddly) the ending, which kind of ends in a bit of a muddle. Still now, a couple of weeks after reading it i'm not entirely sure what happened and who did what too and with whom.

I'd still recommend it as a good read though, if only while you are at the departure gate!


The Spinning Heart
The Spinning Heart
Price: £3.59

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...not sure, 28 May 2013
This book was really interesting and a very dramatic insight into Ireland after the economic crash, but for me, there was too many characters who didnt really intertwine as well as I would want to and the story jumped about a bit too much meaning that a number of times I read, and re-read the same passages to find out what i'd missed - and in some instances I still didnt know.

Probably not a book i'd pack up for your summer holidays and based on this although very clear and reasonably well written, chances are I wouldn't actively go looking for other novels by the same author.


Masque of the Red Death
Masque of the Red Death
Price: £3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars dark, intriguing, dangerous to it's core, 28 May 2013
A deadly plague is sweeping the country killing everything in its path. Araby's father has invented a mask that prevents the wearer from inhaling the toxins from the plague that will kill you, but this is where the "nice" part of the story ends.

The story is haunting, deadly, and touching in a way other books aren't. The countrys leader Prince Prospero, has failed to protect his citizens from illness, is determined to keep control of the city even though he has two major rivals. The first is spreading rumours and discontent amongst the poorest members of society. The second is Elliott a young man with personal reasons for going against his leader and has been patiently waiting before he makes his move.

Her brother died as a child and unable to let go of her guilt Araby now spends her time searching for any form of release in the "Debauchery Club" shwith her friend April. However, when April goes missing Araby finds herself caught in a web of lies and power struggles and it is only when she releases how easy it would be for her life to end that she finally understands how much she wants to live.

This book is moving, dark and a stunning debut novel by Bethany Griffin making me look forward to her next installment.

(reviewed for Newbooks magazine May 2013)


Midnight in St Petersburg
Midnight in St Petersburg
Price: £4.31

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, moving and unputdownable, 28 May 2013
Set in St. Petersburg (Petrograd) during the Russian Revolution, after seeing her parents deported to a concentration camp, Inna Feldman flees her own existence in Kiev and takes refuge with a distant cousin in the capital.

Life is fast moving, frightening and engrossing with additional hints of romance and flamboyance - this books captrues it all. Inna a talented, shy violinist is offered two very different lifestyles, one dangerous and one safe and secure. The novel, based on a true story, is so well written it keeps you hanging on until the end to find out what actually happens.

Split into three individual sections (Sept - Dec 1911, 1916-1917, 1918-1919) this book will have you on the edge of your seat. It is one of the few that I couldnt put down and will give you plenty to think and talk about and I always found time to squeeze in just one more chapter.

(First reviewed for Newbooks magazine April 2013)


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