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Jelly Baby
Jelly Baby
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Family Changes, 20 Jun 2014
This review is from: Jelly Baby (Paperback)
When changes in the family impact on relationships and personal choices it becomes uncomfortable for all concerned. Loyalties to Dad and a commitment to his happiness are sometimes hard to bear when your own precious values are challenged to breaking point. As 'Jelly Baby' attempts compromise, big sister Em stands more strongly on her principles and decisions have to be made. As a step-Mum moves in, Jean Ure explores the very real adjustments that have to be made for the family to live together. This is a story that demonstrates how each of us find ways of coping cope outside our comfort zone with some unexpected and surprising consequences.


The Kissing Game
The Kissing Game
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Story, 1 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Kissing Game (Paperback)
The real art of storytelling is to take the reader on a journey of discovery in a realistic and imaginative way. `The Kissing Game' does exactly that. Whilst it may seem to be primarily a light hearted fun story, it also has another dimension. It is a journey that every child takes and the author manages to recreate that very special experience in an insightful and sensitive way. Feelings and relationships are explored with both sensitivity and fun with characters who remain consistent and believable throughout. Sometimes serious topics are best tackled via humour which is what the author has achieved in this book. I particularly like the fact that it is written from a male perspective. It conveys the power of the first kiss and that very important moment when friendships change from same gender to opposite gender. Karen Donnelly's creative illustrations beautifully complement this delightful story.


The Stars Look Down [DVD]
The Stars Look Down [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Redgrave

4.0 out of 5 stars Abridged too far!, 28 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Stars Look Down [DVD] (DVD)
Although this film attempts to tell Cronin's dramatic tale of working class life it was so heavily abridged that it failed to convey the real dynamic of such a powerful story. The film script focussed primarily on the characters of David and Jenny Fenwick and although the story was accurately set in a mining community it omitted the tensions of the other relationships especially of the pit owner Richard Barras and his son Arthur. In the book this is an important relationship because father and son have extreme and contrasting values not just in relation to the business of running a pit but also in relation to war, fighting for your country and conscription. Joe Gowlan is demoted to a less conspicuous role in the film making it more difficult to expose his unprincipled but successful attempts to get to the top at any price. Stanley and Laura Millington who are an essential part of Joe's story are also consigned to incidental players and as a result the power of Cronin's story is diminished. In fairness, the film is well shot and despite some questionable regional accents, the key players all do a good job. But the underlying message is diluted so much that the plight of the working classes and the failure of the Socialist endeavours to achieve change is lost to a large extent. Perhaps that is the inevitable result of trying to achieve commercial success and at the same time appeal to a mass audience with limited storytime available. My strong advice is read the book. It is still a compelling story today and Cronin's brilliant characterisations and complex storyline makes it a book of both considerable social and human value.


Just Peachy
Just Peachy
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Captivating Story!, 4 Jun 2013
This review is from: Just Peachy (Paperback)
This latest book from Jean Ure will have enormous appeal amongst her teenage audience. It is the story of Peaches who in a family of high achievers feels somewhat marginalised and without direction.

With sister `Charlie' and brother `Coop' being so talented and with Dad having a high profile broadcasting career Peaches seems to live up to her family nickname of being `Just Peachy'.

When she chooses to go to a different school she is pleased that her anonymity will prevent her from having to live in the shadow of her more successful sister and brother and enable her to be herself.

Through her friendship with Millie she begins to gain confidence and discover her true potential and despite her initial reservations about boys, two new acquaintances have quite an impact on her young life.

A story of friendship, family and discovery written with insight, inspiration and humour from an author who understands young people and knows how to tell a truly captivating story.


Song for Marion [DVD] [2012]
Song for Marion [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Gemma Arterton
Price: £5.00

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many different levels!, 22 May 2013
This review is from: Song for Marion [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
`Song for Marion' is more than a story of getting older, relationships and facing loss. At a much deeper level it is the exploration of the barriers we sometimes put up to prevent others seeing us as we really are. And very often the person behind the barriers is much nicer than the more troubled person who is conveyed from the front.

In the role of Arthur, Terence Stamp gives new meaning to the term grumpy old man. He is grumpy at so many different levels. Grumpy because he struggles with the inhibitions of enjoying himself; grumpy because he is poor at expressing feelings and maintaining relationships and grumpy because he knows that he is shortly to be abandoned and alone.

The film tells the story of people doing exceptional things: Elizabeth devoting time and energy to doing something worthwhile in the community; Marion determined to fight death and stay positive as long as possible; older people using their energy to enjoy themselves and entertain others and Arthur beginning to understand that family and relationships with others are far more important than he had realised.

It is essentially a message of discovery, realising that we all inhibit ourselves and in so doing prevent others seeing the real person inside. Arthur and Marion clearly have love for each other and they know each other well. Marion knows that if someone or something can break through Arthur's protective barrier, his life after her death and his relationship with his son and granddaughter will be the better for it. So, she contrives to get him involved with the community choir `OAPZ' - Z for street cred!

Despite his strong reluctance he recognises in Elizabeth and the choir, something that is painfully missing in him: the ability to just be himself. `Song for Marion' is a story of love and loss and discovery. For those who dismiss it as sentimental, they miss the point. It doesn't reflect the all too common gloomy side of life in Britain today: drugs, debt, violence and unemployment. It reflects a deeper understanding of human relationships and the way in which each of us can have an important impact on each other if we allow ourselves to be real and to be seen.

A truly excellent film. Wonderfully written and a wonderful cast with faultless performances by all.


All Them Cornfields and Ballet in the Evening
All Them Cornfields and Ballet in the Evening
by John Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the thick of it!, 9 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For anyone with even the remotest interest in Russian history this book is an absolute must. It is written by an English journalist who lived in that country and knew it well. It therefore provides a unique insight to his life as a member of the foreign press but also as a man who lived there with his family. It is also where his children went to school. He describes life in Soviet Russia in a wonderfully graphic way. Because he possesses such a skilled way with words, the pictures that he paints of the Russian way of life are incredibly visual and alive. John Miller was no mere observer. He was quite literally in the thick of it. He met and knew some of the English spies including Burgess, Philby and Maclean and he provides a quite revealing insight to their exiled lives in the Soviet Union. He knew most of the political leaders in Soviet life especially Khrushchev and he also knew both Stalin's daughter Svetlana and also Stalin's grandson. He makes mention of Andropov, Chernenko, Brezhnev and Beria but also less prominent Russians who played a part but who often died mysteriously or from excesses of alcohol. He talks of Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov and Gorbachev's arrival and departure. But perhaps the real strength of the book is his acute attention to detail and his engaging sense of humour. When he describes the lifestyle, the people, the buildings and the character of the place, he enables the reader to be there with him observing alongside. When he describes a freezing winter's day in Moscow it is so eloquent that you find yourself shivering as you read.

The word unique is often inappropriately used but this really is a unique insight because he had a largely unfettered opportunity to observe life in the former Soviet Union in a way that others did not. He understands Russian people and he was there at a time when he was able to witness a changing Soviet Russia up close. Despite his abhorrent disapproval of much of what happened in the Soviet Union he somehow seems to have retained a sense of affection for Russia as a country. It was where he lived during his early married life and it is where his children grew up and it appears to have had a quite significant and enduring impact on his life. I highly recommend this book to you. It is a fascinating read.


BarkStopper® Ultrasonic and audible bark deterrent device for indoor and outdoor use.
BarkStopper® Ultrasonic and audible bark deterrent device for indoor and outdoor use.
Offered by UK Innovations GP Ltd
Price: £17.95

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It does what it says on the box!, 21 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This item was delivered very promptly and does seem to do what it says on the box!

It is extremely compact and although we have only had it a short while, it does seem to have the desired affect and stop dogs barking.

I would recommend it.


Lemonade Sky
Lemonade Sky
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruby takes control, 14 Jun 2012
This review is from: Lemonade Sky (Paperback)
The children in `Lemonade Sky' are to be admired for their determination and strength of character especially Ruby the oldest girl who takes control and serves as an example to the others. Ruby manages to maintain values of honesty and integrity throughout whilst facing some very difficult dilemmas as the children have to cope alone for a period without their Mum. Jean Ure handles this situation sensitively, remaining rightly impartial in spite of the circumstances. The characterisations are strong, especially Mrs Bagley upstairs and Cal, Mum's former boyfriend who becomes a welcome visitor. This book may challenge young people to consider how they might respond if they had to face similar dilemmas. Ruby's relationship with her school friend Nina reveals both trust and compassion which helps reinforce the importance and value of true friendship. Each of the children have their own distinct personalities and they face their problems according to their particular age and nature. The children are integral to the book as the story is told almost entirely through each of them. This is a story that reflects reality and the very real dilemmas that families have to face in modern Britain.


Freaks Out! (Frankie Foster, Book 3)
Freaks Out! (Frankie Foster, Book 3)
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal clear in the end!, 25 Mar 2012
Frankie is always keen to help and in this story she doesn't give up until the problem is finally solved! Ever determined she leaves no stone unturned. With her friends Jem and Skye they work together to try to find the hidden location of something very important. Frankie likes to help people. It is what she wants to do when she leaves school but with so many wrong turnings and misdirection this time she is not sure that she will succeed. Frankie and her friends look for inspiration in many different ways but in the end, the solution is much more obvious than they had ever realised. Jean Ure tells the tale with just the right level of suspense. The story unfolds in such a way that the reader becomes involved in the process and as always it is both funny and absorbing.


Papa Said
Papa Said
Offered by kevin26821
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and individual performances, 15 Jan 2012
This review is from: Papa Said (Audio CD)
Stan Greig was right, Rachael Pennell is a great discovery in the world of jazz. She has a very distinctive style and I particularly enjoyed 'I Got A Right To Sing the Blues' and 'Honeysuckle Rose'. There are stylish performances on several of the tracks on this album and Rachael is superbly supported by the Stan Greig Sextet, not least Stan on piano. It is an excellent group of musicians - Ian Bateman and Alan Barnes always provide top class performnaces and the Sextet work extremely well together. Rachael puts her own individual interpretation on these jazz classics and they are now amongst my favourites. If you enjoy this CD, try also Rachael's latest album 'Bare and Blue'. You will not be disappointed.


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