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Reviews Written by
Ailsa M. Hollinshead (Edinburgh UK)
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Bayer Design Cosy Doll Pram (Blue)
Bayer Design Cosy Doll Pram (Blue)

5.0 out of 5 stars Present for 2 year old, 5 Nov. 2013
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I should start this by saying I've not seen the pram but according to my granddaughter's parents, it's great and she loves it. I wasn't wild about buying a little girl a pram but at least it's blue and not nauseatingly pink and overly girly. I was actually persuaded by another reviewer who had bought it for her son so thought that maybe the big brother would play with it too - if she let him near it!


Surface Detail (Culture Novels)
Surface Detail (Culture Novels)
by Iain M. Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly boring, 5 Nov. 2013
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I chose this book for our book club thinking it sounded like the kind of sci-fi I like, and there appeared to be a strong woman at the centre. Talk about disappointed. It's the kind of sci-fi that put me off reading sci-fi for years having read one that was all robots and machinery. Page after boring page of descriptions of machinery. The woman was so disappointing. The central premise of the book sounds fascinating but after 240 pages I couldn't take any more. If the whole story had been severely edited and condensed into about 300 pages, it may have grabbed me but life is just too short to put up with this. Having said that (and nobody at book club liked it - it received our only collective 0/20) I do know people who love his culture novels so give it a go - you may just like it.


Red Road [DVD] [2006]
Red Road [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Kate Dickie
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.82

5.0 out of 5 stars It's grim in Glasgow!, 5 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Red Road [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
It's a pretty disturbing story set in one of Glasgow's less attractive areas but it's really well acted and the story grips you. It's not the fastest paced film ever but it's worth sticking with. It also raises some interesting questions about the role of CCTV in our daily lives not to mention the consequences of our stupid actions.


Victim [DVD]
Victim [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dirk Bogarde
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story of 'establishment' and illegal homosexuality, 5 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Victim [DVD] (DVD)
It's an incredibly well acted film and if you don't know much about attitudes to homosexuality when it was still illegal, it's a real eye opener. It's a very moving story too.


Promised Lands
Promised Lands
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 26 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Promised Lands (Kindle Edition)
I chose this book because I had recently read The Testament of Jessie Lamb. I had loved it so wanted to read more of Rogers' work. I read it on my phone which I will never do again because it took me months to finish. I will say no more than there are times it seemed frustrating but if I had read it over a few days, I'd have understood sooner. It's excellent.


Foreign Bodies
Foreign Bodies
by Cynthia Ozick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Life is too short, 2 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Foreign Bodies (Paperback)
This was a book club choice that apparently came with excellent reviews. I've not read Henry James' The Ambassadors, which it is apparently related to in some way so can't comment about that aspect. The positives are that each sentence was well crafted so that was good. In fact, there aren't positives - there is only 'positive' singular. I only managed 127 pages because they were such unremittingly, nasty and stupid people that I couldn't care less. There's nothing else to say. Clearly some people think it's fantastic but I can't see why and funnily enough, nobody else at book club liked it. Those who finished it felt they deserved a reward for the effort!


The Unit
The Unit
by Ninni Holmqvist
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and heartrending, 2 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: The Unit (Paperback)
I chose this for our book club because I used to read a lot of feminist science fiction and the only author we'd read who falls into that category was Margaret Atwood. I wanted to see if I still liked that genre, and share it with the group. We haven't discussed it yet but I absolutely loved it. It is beautifully written and it's an absolute page turner. It is one of the most disturbing books I have read in a very long time and towards the end, I just couldn't stop crying. All of the characters are likeable and believable but The Unit where they are all living is downright creepy. On the surface it seems like a really nice place to be (if you ignore why you're there) but the way Holmqvist writes made me feel as if I was in there and that made me feel deeply claustrophobic. The socio-political issues that are constantly raised make for very uncomfortable reflection - one could very easily imagine how a society concerned about socio-economic survival would think that somewhere like The Unit was a good idea. The emotional issues that arise out the Unit's existence are also completely believable and it was lovely to see the relationships develop but at the same time, that was what was so disturbing. So, yes, I'm definitely still a fan of feminist sci-fi and I can't recommend this highly enough.


Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
by Christie Watson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read with fascinating cultural insights, 2 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Tiny Sunbirds Far Away (Paperback)
This was a book club choice. I'd heard Christie Watson being interviewed on Woman's Hour but wasn't too convinced I wanted to read the book. However, I was very wrong. Using a young girl who is Nigerian but uprooted from an urban environment to a rural environment is a very clever way for an outsider to convey the strangeness of village life. The deeply patriarchal attitudes made me really angry at times but there was so much more that overcame this. It's a very fascinating (and well written) tale of youngsters struggling in a new family situation with a backdrop of oil politics alongside some very complex attitudes towards female genital mutilation and women's empowerment. I should say, it's not just a woman's book - the brother's story is riveting. Heartily recommend it and the only reason it's not got 5 stars is because I reserve that score for truly excellent books.


Last Train from Liguria
Last Train from Liguria
by Christine Dwyer Hickey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becomes a real page turner, 8 Dec. 2011
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Another book club selection that turned out to be really positive. I have to confess that by about 100 pages, I was getting a bit irritated with the central character and thought I may have to give up. However, I set it aside for a week, picked it up and couldn't put it down. Without giving anything away, by the time I got to the end I realised that my irritation was due to the clever writing that made you feel as if you'd been living Bella's life. She's closed up and hard to fathom initially but as the main story unfolds so does Bella's internal story. I also liked the parallel story set in 1990s Dublin that forms part of the unfolding story of Bella. I also liked the fact that not everything is neatly tied up! Well worth a read.


Room
Room
by Emma Donoghue
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seriously overrated, 22 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Room (Hardcover)
Unlike other reviewers, I found the second half of the book much more interesting. I skim read chunks of the first half because Jack was so tedious and, as others have said, his language was inconsistent and totally unbelievable. When I got to the point where I thought "oh, it's a Frietzel (?) story", it became a bit more interesting because at least it made sense of the room. The escape was gripping and I read that section very carefully. I was much more interested in how people responded to them when they got out and had really hoped that there'd be some information at the end providing links or at least mention of, research that had been done into how people cope and are meant to be treated after such awful experiences. Plenty of adults manage to write books that capture children's voices but this one certainly didn't as far as I was concerned. Having said that, it generated lots of discussion at our book club so I'd recommend it on that basis alone. However, it has confirmed for me that I need to avoid anything that purports to be written by a child or a dog (refers to a review of another book I've read!).


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