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J. Pinnock "Jessica" (Bristol, England)

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One Day
One Day
by David Nicholls
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ***Not as convincing as I'd hoped***, 8 Nov. 2009
This review is from: One Day (Hardcover)
I read Starter for Ten a few years ago and adored it. I attempted to read the Understudy and couldn't get past page 30. Having read the great reviews for One Day I thought that finally David Nicholls had something on a par with Starter for Ten. So I read. And I read. And I read. I read all the way to the end, and right up until the chapter charting the year 2005, I was still trying desperately to like the character of Dexter Mayhew.

I found Dexter such an unlikable character throughout the novel that I half wondered what it was that Emma saw in the arrogant little bugger. Clearly Nicholls has great writing skills as I despised the character, whether it was intended or not. But every year for Dexter was pretty much the same: drink, drugs, sex with various women. The novel is about 400 pages long, so Dexter did annoy me a lot. However Dexter is redeemed slightly towards the end of the novel. Clearly all characters will have flaws but it seems like Dexter has almost no good characteristics.

In terms of style with each chapter representing one day every year for 20 years, the novel is quite good at trimming 20 years worth of fat from a story. But there were many instances when I really wanted some more of the detail that come with a more conventional style of writing.

All in all I would rate this book as being 3 star material because it's better than The Understudy but not as good as Starter for Ten.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2010 7:55 PM BST

Atonement [DVD] [2007]
Atonement [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £2.69

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film I will always cherish as a firm cemented favourite., 14 Jan. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atonement [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
First of all, I believe this film is absolutely spectacular. From beginning to end, this film does not disappoint me. If you want love, you have it. If you want tragedy, you have it. If you want the realities of war, you have it. Having read the book, it's the most perfect an adaptation can get.

The story is both sad and uplifting. Yes, yes I'm aware of what happens in the end, but I'm sticking by my "uplifting" comment because I believe that great love really does last a life time. The passion that is as clear and pure as the passion between Robbie and Cecelia is something everyone deserves and it is in abundance in Atonement. Atonement offers a wonderful twist in the tale for those who have not read the book, and for those that have, the twist is delivered with such dignity and moving sentiment.

The characters make this film, along with the highly appropriate music. From Cecelia's angst and frustration to Robbie's embarrassed and cheeky laugh. The characters deliver real personal interaction. Even young Briony in her quest to deliver the "truth" and her consolment of Lola after the incident. I especially found the Briony played by Ramola Garai to be exactly as I'd imagined her character: isolated and almost withdrawn from real life. The music is the most perfect accompaniment to the film. The director made wise choices at points in the film, not to include any music at all which made those scenes even more poignant (eg. the library scene). I really enjoyed the way the sound of the typewriter was incorporated into the music, I thought that was a very clever way of connection the visual with the music.

I think this film has the most perfect dialogue because it doesn't say too much. It doesn't lay everything out on a plate for you, the film makes you guess, assume, desperate to know - for me that's perfect. I think a lot of what the characters feel is found in what they don't say, leaving the door open for interpretation and projection.

Poor reviewer who described anyone who liked this film as "sheep", I would like to point out that this film will NOT be liked by everyone because everyone has different tastes and to disrespect the people who do like and love the film is lunacy. Whether or not my life is easy has no bearing on the film itself - getting personal will not make people decide to hate the film just because you do.

The film definately has a five star rating from me.

Smarter Student's Study Guide: Skills and Strategies for Success at University
Smarter Student's Study Guide: Skills and Strategies for Success at University
by Dr Kathleen McMillan
Edition: Paperback

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you a smarter student!, 24 Aug. 2007
I really struggled through the first four or five months at university. I really had no concept of how to handle all of the pressure from university, let alone manage to attend all of it. This book was recommended to me by a friend and I haven't looked back since. I started using it straight away and in one module where I thought I would fail, I actually achieved a good grade.

This book is there for people just to dip in when they need a bit of help or guidence or you can read it cover to cover and become the ultimate fighting student (fighting on the academic battlefield of course)! It covers how to survive Fresher's Week - trust me when I say it's absolutely essential - I wish I'd had the book when I went to my Fresher's Week. But it covers a lot of ground in helping to understand your strengths when it comes to studying, where you might fall down and what you excel in. This book helps you make the most of your strengths and helps you to adjust your habits and practices on your weaknesses.

More than that, this book is written in such a way that you don't feel like an author is trying to hold your hand through university. It makes you feel like you've made all of the decisions and that you have supported yourself, perhaps with just a little guidence. It lets you stand on your own two feet.

I think this book is written for people who DON'T like skills guides with drawings and illustrations to photocopy. This book tells it like it is and expects you to do the best for yourself. I would recommend this book to everyone starting university for the first time, I would also recommend it to people who are at university and want to improve.

I've been through so many study guides and so many different formats but this book is the best there is.

A Hopeless Romantic
A Hopeless Romantic
by Harriet Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

18 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cliché After Cliché..., 24 Aug. 2007
This review is from: A Hopeless Romantic (Paperback)
Before you dismiss me as someone who hates "chick-lit" because I've only rated this as one star, let me tell you that I very much enjoy chick lit and it usually cheers me up when life is just a little boring.

This book looked like the answer to my prayers as I selected it from the shelf. It was sparkly, quite thick in pages and radiated positivity from every letter. I read the synopsis on the back and it sounded like a good read. As I paid for the book, I silently congratulated myself on a very good purchase. However, I found myself forcing myself to plow on with a book that seemed to insult my intelligence at each chapter. This book should be called, "A Hopeless Writer".

The plot in this book goes along the lines of, girl constantly falling in love with the wrong man... who suddenly falls in love with SOMEONE ELSE'S wrong man... she is convinced that the man will leave his girlfriend for her...then (surprise, surprise) the girlfriend becomes pregnant... our "heroine" is dumped whilst the man "makes a go of it for the sake of the baby"... girl is devastated... nearly loses job and friends etc but then a pidgeon flies through her window to drag her out of depression and send her on a family trip that will, I'm sure, change her life and she'll meet Mr Right. Needless to say I was not impressed by this.

I understand that chick lit often goes a long way to make us feel better when our love lives go awry or when life seems like a barrage of boring Tuesdays, but I ask you, where is the freshness of approach. As I was reading, even the writer felt bored to me, like she hadn't quite put her heart into making us believe. I also felt like our "heroine" was being made to sound like an intelligent, sassy woman when in fact, she is just stupid and deluded. So much of the novel is cliché that it makes me think that the author hasn't really tried.

I really wanted to like this novel, but I just felt so disappointed with all of it.

On Beauty
On Beauty
by Zadie Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to see through muddy waters, 24 Aug. 2007
This review is from: On Beauty (Paperback)
This book was given to me as birthday present, which I requested. And whilst I enjoyed the book on the whole, I kept thinking that the plot and the characters were almost distracted by something profound that Smith was trying to get out.

I enjoyed the relationship troubles of Howard Belsey but I just kept thinking that Smith was attempting to make a statement about it, only I couldn't figure out what it was. I thought that it might have been a view on black people in academic society and the difficulties they face because of their race, or different perceptions. But I'm just not convinced.

The plot was rather slow and laboured I found. There is so little that actually happens. The narrative takes you along as though there will be an explosion of actions, explanations, grand gestures etc - but there isn't. It's quite deflating in many parts of the novel and quite disappointing. Much of the action relies on odd scraps of information about what happened before the setting of the novel, which makes things difficult.

However, where Smith redeems herself is within the characterisation. They are BRILLIANT. I particularly fell in love with Levy. I thought that his youth and vibrancy really made the novel enjoyable. Levy is the son of Howard and Kiki and at the moment he is embracing the African American heritage of rap music and culture. He lightens up proceedings completely. As does his mother Kiki. She reminds me of a warm, soulful and loving woman to whom one could unload a lifetime of troubles and she would listen, dispite the fact that she has problems of her own. I became a bit furious with Jerome and his naivity, but perhaps that's just a sign of Smith's ability to create good characters.

All in all I found the book was slow plot-wise but the characters were wonderful and they entertained me more than the plot. I still can't think if Smith's lack of plot was for a specific statement she wanted to make. Perhaps I won't ever find out.

Miss Potter [DVD] [2006]
Miss Potter [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Renee Zellweger
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.35

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Just some sillyness...", 6 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Miss Potter [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I watched this film this morning and I feel uplifted and positive. Miss Potter is the most enchanting film I have seen for a long time. This film seemed to bring back wonderful thoughts and memories I haven't felt for a very long time. Thoughts of the games we played, the magic just flitting around the flowers and small animals, just in my little backyard. It reminded me of the endless shimmering magical possibilities that were so apparent as a child.

My mother gave me the collection of Beatrix Potter's little books and I was enchanted then. This film makes me smile, especially because of all of the little animations. I think this film marks for me, a return to the the captivating literature of the past and the power of creative imagination - particularly that of children.

This film is so wonderful, the acting is brilliant, as it should be with such famous people as Zellweiger and McGregor and Watson. However, the music is the perfect accompany to the film. The story is lovely and tragic and definately worth five stars!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) [Adult Edition]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) [Adult Edition]
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.49

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE LAST DRINK OF THE GOBLET, 27 July 2007
I hardly feel qualified to write a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, its having been reviewed by the biggest name in the New York Times. But I think that there is a certain something of being a "nobody reviewer" - honest and personal.

Ms Rowling has kept us waiting with breath that is baited for six whole novels, and now the time has come to answer questions, to finish and to say, "Goodnight Witches and Wizards". I think it can be said that this book is the perfect finale that there ever could have been. Rowling has ensured that we care about the characters, we are completely drawn into their world and that we share their ambitions and fears. This is the best preparation for a book of this kind.

As Harry prepares to set off in search of the secret horcruxes that will help to bring down Lord Voldemort, there is a quiet and growing feeling of fear, surrounding everything, giving the book a very tense feeling. More so than any of the other novels. People are going missing, dying, turning to the dark side etc. However, Harry, Ron and Hermione keep focused on their task, demonstrating a very different set of friends, those on the verge of adulthood.

Again I could not wait to find out the ending, like most people I would imagine, but I had to take my time over Harry's visit to Godric's Hollow, the home of his parents. I though this was an incredibly soft moment and very fragile. My only complaint is that I wish Rowling had made more of this quaint and old little village and the home of Harry's parents.

Dispite this, the book is wonderful. It is as though a storm is coming, and it's threatening presence is at your back all through the reading of the book, rattling the wind chimes every now and again.

Goodnight Mr Potter. I will miss you, but I'm sure that I will be able to find you again and watch you grow up in the seven books that have come to dominate our world.

The Lollipop Shoes (US title is The Girl With No Shadow)
The Lollipop Shoes (US title is The Girl With No Shadow)
by Joanne Harris
Edition: Hardcover

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so much as the sumptuous magical feat as a parlour magic trick, 27 July 2007
Having been a Harris reader now since the fantasmogorical Chocolat, I have come to expect a kind of magic from her writing. Whilst I enjoyed The Lollypop Shoes, it did not have the same effect as Chocolat, Coastliners, Blackberry Wine and the hugely successful Gentlemen and Players.

I was incredibly pleased to learn that Joanne Harris would be returning to the wonderful character, Vianne Rocher, although now hidden by the pseudonymn Yanne. At the end of Chocolat, I though that there was a lot more to be gleaned from Vianne. However, Harris does not use The Lollypop Shoes to elaborate or go much deeper with the character. However I must say that the interesting questions about Vianne's mother and the traditional vs conventional ideas about family makes for quiet comfort on this point. Vianne has run from ghosts who follow on the wind to Paris. Setting up a very small chocolaterie, she lives the life of a borrowed persona until Zozie de l'Alba blows in to liven up events. The story follows the changes and Harris is eagar to show that the glamourous Zozie is not as benign as she seems to Vianne's little family.

The prose is very well written, there is never any issue with this. Although it lacked a little of the usual magic of being able to envelop you completely, it was very good. However the plot is engaging right up until the very end where it falters slightly. Harris is famous for her ability to wind the plot coil so tightly that you are begging for an answer, an outcome, even a phone call, but The Lollypop Shoes left me with a feeling of the slightly disappointed bereft feeling. I thought that the book ended on a slight anti-climax whereas it could have ended with fireworks. I think that this is perhaps what has goaded me to give only three stars. Maybe it's just my opinion but I don't like to be left feeling deflated after a Harris novel. Perhaps I would feel more buoyant if I hadn't read a Harris novel before...

I particularly enjoyed the flamboyant and surprising character of Zozie de l'Alba. I found her transformations and her ideas about life and magic oddly refreshing, if a little sadistic. I also found little Rosette a very engaging little person, who, like Anouk, I would love to see more of in the future.

All in all, I thought it was a well written novel, however it lacked a little of the Harris magic I so adore. But it was enough to keep me happy until the next novel. My hat's off to you, Ms Harris!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2009 3:40 PM GMT

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film will change your life, 23 Feb. 2007
I must tell the truth, I LOVED THIS FILM!

It is such an inspirational story and incredibly moving. I have watched this film a few times at the cinema and each time it just keeps on getting better.

Will Smith plays an exceptional role as Chris Gardiner, just trying to get along in life and trying to survive. After a chance meeting with a man in a nice car, Chris decides he wants something better for his family. The film charts Chris and his son as he deals with trying to survive on an internship that pays no money and looks after his son.

I'm a sucker for a true story and this one made me cry so much, especially the part where Chris and his son have to spend the night on the floor of the toilets in a subway.

This film is inspirational because it shows that you can survive against the odds, and you can stand out when others might doubt you. But most of all, it shows just how much you can go through for your children. I just hope that people appreciate this film for the wonderfully inspirational film it is.

Will Smith definately has my vote for an Oscar!

Holy Fools
Holy Fools
by Joanne Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative!! Beautifully written!, 13 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Holy Fools (Paperback)
Joanne Harris has become one of my favourite writters, if not my favourite. My favourite book was written by her! The way she can move and flip between setting and character in her books is truly amazing, so much depth.
This book is belongs in this category, Harris has managed to write a spectacular book that has evolved from the others she has written. I think it has been written in such away that it's impossible not to relate to the character of Juliette. Juliette has been impeccably sculpted and the amazing imagery is enough to make this one of my favourite books!

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