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Susie (London, UK)

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My Last Duchess
My Last Duchess
by Daisy Goodwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written fluff, 19 July 2011
This review is from: My Last Duchess (Paperback)
The unoriginal plot of this novel was ironically the best thing about it. Despite its predictability, the twists of the story could have been engaging and the characters multi-faceted if the author had cared to work harder at her creative prose. Instead, we have a female character befriending the heroine whose dark past is alluded to by various characters as "she's a mean one". The hero constantly looks "expressionless". The dramatic moments are written in exactly the same tone as descriptions of the heroine's dress. No character is differentiated by tone of speech. Instead of weaving foreshadowing or further information into the prose, it is "she felt", "he felt". Emotions are spelled out rather than illustrated....except on one notable occasion where we are told that the hero had such a bad temper that he liked to tear a sheet of paper into as small fragments as he could.

A sixth form attempt at a novel, it should have been left in a drawer for 5 years then reattempted. The comparisons with Wharton and James are laughable.


Brother Max 1st Stage Weaning Pots (6 x 40 ml)
Brother Max 1st Stage Weaning Pots (6 x 40 ml)
Offered by SAFETOTS
Price: 4.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty - but over-designed, 9 July 2011
Lovely looking pots, but I found cheaper ones easier to use (am I allowed to mention John Lewis here?) This was because:

a) They didn't join together all that well
b) I couldn't open them when frozen - bent several spoons trying
c) One exploded in the microwave
d) The lids stayed back as promised, but so did the lids on the cheaper ones.

We have other Brother Max products that we really like - the red bowls, the ear thermometer. We also bought the large size in these pots. They are fine - but the extra design features don't add much and weren't really worth the extra price to us.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2012 5:07 PM BST


How to Knit
How to Knit
by Hamlyn
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and useful resource, 29 Dec 2009
This review is from: How to Knit (Paperback)
I bought this book to teach myself knitting a year ago and have not stopped knitting since!

I have completed four (one of them three times - the baby hat has proved invaluable during a recent baby-boom!) of the patterns in the book, but also find it excellent as a resource to use in conjunction with other patterns, and constantly refer to it. The techniques are described clearly and the patterns allow you to practice them. I bought the Debbie Bliss How To Knit for my Mum but she finds my book a lot clearer and more useful.


The Girl of His Dreams: (Brunetti 17)
The Girl of His Dreams: (Brunetti 17)
by Donna Leon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's as good as the others!, 30 Nov 2009
I'm a fan of the lovely Guido and have read almost all the previous books (I think I have missed one!) When I am looking at a new Brunetti novel all I really want to know is, is it as good as the others? In this case, yes, it is.

Good solid Brunetti fare, drinking at lunchtime while on duty, copious home cooked meals and family life. An interesting case that highlights Venetian society's flaws and Elletra using her impressive skills to break the law from inside the Questura. What more could you want?


Salem Falls
Salem Falls
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice read., 13 Oct 2006
This review is from: Salem Falls (Paperback)
I read this after thoroughly enjoying My Sister's Keeper. Salem Falls isn't as interesting as My Sister's Keeper, but it still gives characters the reader can engage with, a good plot, and a lovely evocation of a small town, with small-town concers. It has echoes of both Millar's The Crucible (evoking a witch hunt of a much more modern variety), and the novels of Anita Shreve with their gentle New England settings. Picoult again gives a story where the various points of view are irreconcilable but (partly at least) understandable. The novel doesn't hit as hard as My Sister's Keeper, but it is a satisfying read, well-written, and neatly crafted.


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
by Marina Lewycka
Edition: Paperback

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely novel, 3 Aug 2006
Funny, sweet, atmospheric, sad, heartbreaking, comic, tragic, historic, unusual, readable, unexpectedly deep. Expect to learn more than you thought you needed to about agricultrual practices in Eastern Europe in the guise of a family crisis - sex, power, love, grief, laughter and tractors.


Abandonment (NHB Modern Plays)
Abandonment (NHB Modern Plays)
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.76

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit weak, 11 July 2006
I ordered this play with high hopes having heard good things about Atkinson as an author and liking the premise of the play. Personally I felt the dialogue was a little stilted and unreal, the characters didn't seem fully rounded and even the plot seemed a little dul despite the duplication of themes of abandonment between the centuries and interesting comparisons between characters doing similar things in different situations across the century. Wanted so much to like it - just didn't.


March: A Love Story in a Time of War
March: A Love Story in a Time of War
by Geraldine Brooks
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 28 April 2006
It has been years since I read Little Women, but more recently I have visited Louisa May's home town of Concord. I picked this novel with scepticism as "sequels" or spinoffs rarely live up to the original piece.

I was totally absorbed by the book. Frequently I found myself unable to decide whether this was fiction or fact. The writing is excellent, the characters well drawn, and the novel written in first person (mostly from the view of March, occasionally with the voice of Marmee) which made it all the more immediate. I will be recommending this novel all over the place and buying more of Brooke's work.

As the review says, this is the tale of the father of the Little Women, and flicks between his present position as chaplain in the American Civil War and his past when he first visited the southern states as a pedlar in his youth. He is a staunch abolitionist with fixed views, but the book challenges these views in terms of his idealism versus practicalities of the age, and also explores where personal courage lies. But over and above these lofty ideals, this book is vividly written and a wonderful reading experience - which is what great fiction should be. A novel worthy of being placed alongside Little Women.

ps. Please don't be put off by the 'recommended by Richard and Judy' epithet!


About Acting (Performance Books)
About Acting (Performance Books)
by Peter Barkworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.04

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My acting crutch, 15 July 2004
I bought this book after taking up amateur dramatics following a ten year break. I read and re-read it whenever I have a new part or find myself hitting a creative dead-end. It is a compendium of interesting tidbits - interviews with well-known actors about how they prepare for parts and who they find inspirational, techniques for getting over difficulties, rehearsal etiquette, and most importantly for me, how acting is a process of thought and intellect. Some people look as if they just do it easily - this book reassures me they have to go through the same struggles as I do to bring my characters to life. It is well written, being a personal view by the author who spent some time teaching drama, and can be read for interest or as reference material. My copy is extremely well-thumbed, dog-eared, and has page corners turned down to favourite parts!


1000 Places to See Before You Die
1000 Places to See Before You Die
by Patricia Schultz
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coffee-Table Fun, 28 April 2004
This book lives on my coffee table, and everyone who sees it is immediately drawn to it. We start by looking up places we've been, thenplaces we're going to soon, then places we've always wanted to go to. Itsparks off endless conversations and shared wish-lists. Comprehensiveenough, with an American bias (it is compiled by an American, and the USgets a large chunk of the book), there is a small blurb on each placelisted which is often tantalisingly brief.


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