Profile for Book Beaver > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Book Beaver
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,981
Helpful Votes: 650

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Book Beaver (England)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Garden of Evil (A Jim Rook Horror Novel)
Garden of Evil (A Jim Rook Horror Novel)
by Graham Masterton
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fluent but Flawed, 28 Feb. 2013
This is the eighth and possibly the final story of the remedial and psychic teacher Jim Rook. As with all Masterton stories it is an easy read and entertaining. The author researches his subject area far more thoroughly than most writers of the horror genre.
However, the exaggerated horrific incidents and the "with one leap the hero was free" ending makes this story an unsatisfying experience. One feels that Graham Masterton has a really significant story waiting to emerge such as the Odd Thomas tales by Dean Koontz or The Stand by Stephen King but despite over one hundred exciting yarns, he seems content to write annually three 220 page tales, rather than one defining and seminal masterpiece.


The Elves and The Shoemaker 1897
The Elves and The Shoemaker 1897
by Alan Peat
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Artistry, 27 Feb. 2013
This is recommended for those readers who prefer the pictures to lead them along, rather than the text. It is a new slant on an old folk or fairy(elves) tale. John Harrold will always be remembered for his work for over a quarter of a century illustrating the Rupert Bear stories in the Daily Express and for his glorious work on the Rupert Annual - he drew the covers from the 1978 Annual to the 2008 Annual inclusive.
The frames are so lifelike that the characters could almost step out of the panels and the movement and emotion displayed by them is exquisite.


Merlin Complete BBC Series 5 [DVD]
Merlin Complete BBC Series 5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Morgan
Price: £12.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Land of Myth and a Time of Magic, 25 Jan. 2013
This final series brings to a stunning culmination and conclusion the epic series of Merlin which was well-written, extremely well-acted and has the life-blood of a gamut of emotions running through every episode - humour, treachery, love, loyalty, jealousy and above all, friendship.
The link between Merlin and Arthur - in today's jargon a 'bromance' - is transfused with good humour and witty banter. The characters all have their key moments in the final series and my only substantial regret about the entire run of five series is that Lancelot was despatched too swiftly and the eternal triangle between him, Arthur and Guinevere (Gwen) never came to fruition. However, this series of 65 episodes was like the Smallville form of Superman and succeeded tremendously. Many will feel that the final couple of episodes appeared rushed and there are contrasting stories about whether a sixth series was ever contemplated and, if so, at what time it was decided to bring everything to a conclusion at the end of the fifth series. Additionally, the rumours of a film to end the saga appeared before the fifth series commenced and still circulate.
The most moving moments are when Merlin finally reveals his magical powers to a stunned and disbelieving Arthur and Merlin's attempts to save the Once and Future King.
Gaius, acted so well by Richard Wilson, plays a confidant and mentor of Merlin throughout the entire five series and appears at the end to be about to offer his services as a wise councillor to Queen Guinevere.
In the final episode there appears to be evidence of some hasty editing as at one time Sir Percival is galloping towards The Isle of Avalon to assist Merlin and Arthur and the next moment he is at Camelot - it has been siggested that he arrived too late and this segment was omitted and it is towards him that Merlin is actually looking when Arthur's fate is realised.
The final scene in the Somerset Levels in a modern-day England (the former Albion) is unexpected but offers hope, not only that Arthur might live on in a new series one day (as Dallas did) but also that if the Coalition fails then a Saviour may appear from the area near Glastonbury Tor, where Jesus himself, is rumoured to have travelled as a young man with his patron, Joseph of Arimathea.
A wonderful series which will be much missed.


Fringe: The Complete Season 1-5 [Blu-ray] [2013] [2008] [Region Free]
Fringe: The Complete Season 1-5 [Blu-ray] [2013] [2008] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Anna Torv
Offered by RUGELEY GAMES
Price: £41.99

19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fringe, 25 Jan. 2013
This will be the ultimate box-set. Having watched all 100 episodes of the mind-bending and occasionally brain-removing series it has to be better than a Friends or Lost box-set! The theories and ideas are immense with parallel universes and the comparisons to X-Files are surely only lazy comments by people who have never watched both series.
Fringe is more of an ensemble production than X-Files and they are very distinct from each other. John Noble, best remembered as Denethor in The Lord of The Rings is immense as Walter Bishop who finally remembers the name of his assistant, carer and minder Astrid in the final episode.
The mysterious Observers and the interplay between the principal characters who also include Olivia, played so well by Anna Torv, (although she featured less in the final series) and Peter Bishop, played by Joshua Jackson, is realistic, within the confines of the situation, heart-moving and above all, most enjoyable.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 15, 2013 12:48 PM BST


Farm Boy
Farm Boy
by Michael Morpurgo
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book but Slight Sequel, 22 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Farm Boy (Paperback)
This is a most attractive book and to enjoy it to maximum effect, it is essential that the reader purchases the version that is illustrated by Michael Foreman as it is absolutely superb. Although this book is best known as being the sequel to the phenomenally successful War Horse it was a long wait as it took fifteen years (1982-1997) before it appeared. The book is a gentle and moving account of life after the Great War in the area around Iddesleigh in Devon where the author lives.
However the illustrated version is more Foreman than Morpurgo as the artist has created another masterpiece but this time he is only responsible for the illustrations in the style of his wonderful books War Boy, War Game and After The War Was Over. This is a book that should be on all primary school reading lists and although readers hoping for a book that is similar to War Horse may be disappointed as this the story of a Farm Horse and not one that "gives a marvellous horse's eye view of the 1914-18 holocaust" which was written by a critic in the TES. However, there is a moving passage in Farm Boy when Grandpa's father dies which is almost certainly based on the real life death of Sean Rafferty, a poet who lived near Michael Morpurgo, and so art imitated life and the farming seasons continue and the last years of an equine survivor of WW1 are related in the author's inimitable moving, engrossing and sparse style.


Sam's Duck (Picture Lions)
Sam's Duck (Picture Lions)
by Michael Morpurgo
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appealing Duck Tale, 21 Jan. 2013
This story is a tale that would fit comfortably into the range of Animal Stories by Ladybird Books which appeared in the 1950's. It is written by Michael Morpurgo who is best known for writing War Horse and for co-founding Farms for City Children. It is at one of the three farms that are run by this educational charity, Nethercott, that this story is mainly set.
It tells of an urban boy, Sam, who comes on a week's residential visit with his class and teacher to Nethercott in Devon where he learns to muck out sheds, collect eggs, watch cows being milked, clear fields of stones and let out ducks, geese and hens.
It was a culture shock for a lad from a tower block and when he is at a livestock market in Hatherleigh he decides to buy a duck and save it from a farmer's dinner plate. He keeps it hidden from his teacher and smuggles it back home to give as a present to his grandfather. As a flat is not a sensible place to keep it, the duck is re-located to St James' Park where it could be fed and visited every day.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Keith Bowen but is fairly slight and many may prefer the emotional Schools Broadcast from the early 1990's which featured Frank Windsor as Sam's grandfather. This version, like the Ladybird Books, relies a great deal on the illustrations whereas the broadcast version is more substantial and conveys more humour and pathos.


Michael Morpurgo: War Child to War Horse
Michael Morpurgo: War Child to War Horse
by Maggie Fergusson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Biography, 20 Jan. 2013
This book is a superb collaboration between biographer and the subject or biographee. Since the amazing success of War Horse on stage and screen and after about thirty years on paper, Morpugo has become an extremely well-known name when even a decade ago his name was not well-known in school libraries. However, holding the post of Children's Laureate and the success of War Horse which naturally led to admirers of this work searching Morpurgo's back-catalogue and looking out for new additions to his ever-increasing bibliography and as in 2008 alone eight new books appeared, he is certainly extremely active.
The biography may be unique in that Maggie Ferguson relates Morpurgo's life through seven chapters and he has responded with seven stories. These stories are worth the price of the book alone and although the writing is at times sparse the words flow off the page like a Devon river in full flood and refresh the reader with their meaning and message.
Morpurgo has never suffered financially and was Captain of King's School, Canterbury, married Clare, the daughter of Sir Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Books and the book mentions his 'silver spoon'. In addition, fortune has favoured him in often meeting people such as Ted Hughes at the right time and he has formed firm friendships with some significant and successful people which have helped when he and Clare founded Farms for City Children.
Although the biography is detailed and gives many personal anecdotes and insights the charity that Morpurgo co-founded probably requires more information about its foundation, more logistics about how hands-on the biographee actually was, its wonderful success for urban youngsters and about the eventual hand-over as the Morpurgos relinquished control.
Morpurgo's personality does not appear as smooth as his writing and his relationship with his children, in particular his sons who chose not to be involved in this book, is not explored sufficiently. His daughter, Ros, is one of a very large number of contributors that Fergusson has contacted and spoken to, including a 97 year old lady who has known him from birth.
This book is an astonishing tour-de-force but the lack of information about his own children - his own childhood, parents and step-father from whom his surname comes, is covered in excellent detail, and insufficient knowledge about the charity for which the Morpurgos were awarded MBE's in 1999 prevents this book from becoming one of the classic biographies of all time.


War Game: Village Green to No-Man's-Land - the story of the First World War Christmas Day truce of 1914
War Game: Village Green to No-Man's-Land - the story of the First World War Christmas Day truce of 1914
by Michael Foreman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Memorable, 19 Jan. 2013
This book is as unforgettable and haunting as the final scene of the last episode of 'Blackadder Goes Forth'. Michael Foreman proves that he is as gifted an author as he is an artist in this compelling and gripping tale which is based on the WW1 experiences of his four uncles who died aged from 18 to 24 with the final fatality dying on Christmas Day 1918 from his wounds, only a few weeks after the war had ended.
The story tells of the early excitement, confidence and anticipation as the two sets of brothers enlist. The theme of football runs through the entire book and the fabled Christmas Day Truce of 1914 which culminated in a football match between the two opposing armies is the stuff of legend and the centrepiece or stuffing of this fine book.
The grim conditions on The Front in the trenches are not omitted and the final pages when Will, who the book concentrates on, succumbs to his injuries as he looks at the sun and sees a ball in Heaven are unbearingly sad and incredibly moving.


Muck and Magic: A Collection of Farm Stories
Muck and Magic: A Collection of Farm Stories
by Michael Morpurgo
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundraiser for Farms for City Children, 19 Jan. 2013
This anthology which includes a foreword by The Princess Royal contains eleven specially written stories on the theme of the countryside, and farming in particular.
The author contributors include such luminaries as Ted Hughes, Dick King-Smith, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Morpurgo - the latter was also the editor, and co-founder along with his wife Clare, of the charity Farms for City Children.
The artists who illustrated this book included Elizabeth Frink,John Lawrence,Michael Foreman and Quentin Blake who illustrated the cover.
The stories cover a range of moods and a couple of choice items from this farming selection box are the menacing 'Scared' by Anthony Horowitz (scarecrows will never seem the same again!)and 'Muck and Magic' by Michael Morpurgo which is a moving tale of sculpture, riding and loss. The first tale is like a dark fudge that draws one in and is reluctant to ease free from the partaker's teeth and the second yarn is like a hard nougat covered in soft enticing chocolate which allows the eater to experience a range of emotions.


All Around the Year
All Around the Year
by Michael Morpurgo
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Record of Twelve Months on Parsonage Farm, 17 Jan. 2013
This review is from: All Around the Year (Hardcover)
The majority of readers of the work of Michael Morpurgo will not have read, or even heard of, this gem that was published in 1979. Even when it appeared over three decades ago it seemed to chronicle an age that had almost disappeared; this was in part due to the superb black and white photographs by James Revilious but mainly due to the thoughtful, reflective and caring writing by Morpurgo which describes a corner of rural England - in deepest Devon, a few miles north of Dartmoor - and wonderfully supplemented by a poem for each month by Ted Hughes who lived close to Morpurgo and was later to support his idea about the creation of a Children's Laureate - an idea that Hughes would not live to see come to fruition but a post that Morpurgo filled himself from 2003 to 2005.
All Around the Year is a diary, record and chronicle of the farming year and when this reviewer was a teacher and spent a week near Parsonage Farm with a group of children on an educational visit as part of the Morpurgo's charity, Farms For City Children, there was a copy of this book in the lounge, much fingered and thumbed by countless readers, and it gave an accurate and moving account of what they would particpate in for a week but the two Devonian brothers that they would work alongside, did 24/7 - a phrase that had not even appeared in the international zeitgeist when this book appeared.
This book cannot be recommended enough and has been compared to work by Samuel Pepys and Laurie Lee - it is rarely cosy and comforting but is real and raw and Hughes' poems are entirely apposite for such a book but the accounts of the farming year are so accurate and seep into the reader's very being (like the frost does on an early milking morning) and appears to be almost mined from Devon soil. It is surely worth republishing as a record of the past, even though it with various modern innovations is still continuing in the present.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20