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LeeAnn Day "" (England)

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Sold (New Voices)
Sold (New Voices)
by Patricia McCormick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL AND POIGNANT, 24 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Sold (New Voices) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Patricia McCormack worked as an investigative reporter before becoming a freelance writer and her expertise in research enables her to tell a realistic tale with depth and clarity of character and places. During research for this novel Patricia interviewed women in the red light districts of Nepal and India, girls rescued from the sex trade and their rescuers. This book was written in their honour.

This is a very different book than most young teenagers would come across and I feel it is one that should be given to them to enrich their lives. I believe it is very important that children read books which give them more than a reflection of life in their own environments. Light reading is great for relaxation but children need and deserve books that inform and provoke deeper thought.

This book is for 14+ and this age is old enough to understand the challenges that life presents to them in the wide world. We should not shelter them from the hard reality of lives less fortunate, in doing so we rob them of the abundance of the human spirit. Books like this one help children to formulate opinions and causes of their own, and find their role in how each of us, in some small way, might make the world a better place.

This novel is a hard read at times as it is impossible not to feel the great fear and pain of the heroine, brightened only by tiny simple joys we take for granted. Most children in the west would never have encountered anything like this before and the emotions that this book will bring forth are a growing lesson for them.

It shows that the author has carefully researched and studied her subject matter. This is an expertly balanced harrowing tale of real things that can and do happen to children of the same age, or even younger than the recommended reading age for this book.

Highly recommended.

Riding Icarus
Riding Icarus
by Lily Hyde
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling departure from the usual fairytale genre, 3 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Riding Icarus (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This charming debut childrens novel by Lily Hyde is refreshingly different from the usual fairytale formula as the story is set in a poor village in Kiev. Lily's fascination with Russian fairytales and her travels around Eastern Europe studying the stories and the people has brought a sparkling depth and reality to the magic of her story telling.

The heroes include the flying trolley bus named Icarus, a cossack and a wise and kindly old witch. Masha, the heroine of the book has to overcome her wicked Uncle and the terrors of the woods on magical midsummer eve to be re-united with her Mother and her Grandmother. There is an added bonus of the moral that wealth does not guarantee happiness but love and friendship, belief in oneself - and an old trolley bus can!

I enjoyed reading this and tried it out on two children aged 9 and 10 who also thought it was a good read.

Sergeant Cecil: The Official Story
Sergeant Cecil: The Official Story
by Steve Dennis
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanfare for the Common Man, 28 Jun. 2007
Horses in general and racehorses in particular have inspired many poets, musicians and painters to capture their spirit. I don't know what inspired Aaron Copeland's American classic Fanfare for the Common Man but it always reminds me of the glorious October day at Newmarket Racecourse when a horse named Sergeant Cecil completed a unique handicap treble. He became the first horse to win the Northumberland Plate, Ebor and Cesarewitch. Only three before him had attempted the feat and all had left their dream unfulfilled on the Newmarket turf.

So many racehorses give their lives to racing for our pleasure and are forgotten. Happily Sergeant Cecil will not be one of those. His achievements deserve to be remembered in a book - and this is a good one. It is well written and illustrated with many photos.

Cecil is the classic example of one from the `wrong side of the tracks' who came good. Not fashionably bred, inexpensively bought, trained in Devon not Newmarket by a small trainer and owned by a man who named him after his Father. The family of the first Sergeant Cecil were so poor at the time of his death they could not afford a headstone for his grave. Many years later his son had the vision to name this horse in remembrance of him. It is a very fitting name, we often speak of racehorses as warriors and this is one old soldier who went to battle with the aid of his talented trainer Rod Millman and his loyal comrade jockey Alan Munro, and claimed his place in history.

I feel privilged to have been there at Newmarket the day he lit up the course and the stands. The runners in The Cesarewitch race over a distance of 2 miles 2 furlongs (3,621 metres), beginning in the county of Cambridgeshire and finishing in Suffolk. But the journey of Sergeant Cecil and his connections which brought him to that winning post on that day had been much longer than that.

Unbelievably he went one better than making handicap history, he followed up with a Group 1 win at the age of 7 when most flat horses have been long retired. The oft quoted phrase, `he owes us nothing' really does apply to this horse. Whatever he may do in the future he has touched the lives of many people and will leave a bright legacy for himself and his namesake. His fans have given him a tribute website now - [...]

This book is proof that fairytales can still come true, a great read if you are a racing fan - and even if you are not.
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Ouija Board: A Mare in a Million
Ouija Board: A Mare in a Million
by Lord Derby
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is nothing like a Dame!, 4 Jun. 2007
Beautifully bred, wonderfully named, Ouija Board was the best of the best, a classy, glamorous jet setting aristocrat with a lethal turn of foot. This was one dame who was not afraid of getting her hooves dirty. A royal Femme Fatale.

The time in which she raced was a golden era for fillies and mares. Fans of the fairer sex had been thrilled by Russian Rhythm, Soviet Song, Attraction and Islington. You thought it could not get better than the sunlit day Ouija Board put the historical black and white colours of owner Lord Derby back in the hallowed Winner's Enclosure at Epsom in the Oaks, the Classic first won by his forebear 225 years earlier. But Ouija Board took the game ever higher.

Her connections dubbed her `Mother' and their joy in her was plain for all to see. Like all great racehorses she became public property and the more Lord Derby shared her with us the more we loved her. It is not often a jockey gets booed on a racecourse in England but following Christophe Soumillon's appallingly misjudged ride on her in the Eclipse boos rang out when they returned. Connections knew it was not for her and paraded her after the race so that fans could see her again.

Tears were shed at her victories, and at her farewell open day at the stable when she was retired to the paddock.

Lord Derby tells her story from the beginning enhanced by plenty of photos and mementoes. He writes from the heart in a friendly style, with great affection for the mare we loved and all of those who played a part in her creation. This is as close to a family scrapbook as you can get.

Henry Birtles poet and friend of Lord Derby has written a beautiful poem about her called, `Epsom Reclaimed' which is told in full in the book. It would be worth buying for this alone, but the book is full of wonderful memories. Like her, it is a joy. Get it, share it, give it!

"And if one day in future years, as darkness claims the sun,
You stand alone on Epsom Downs and dream of victories won,
You might just hear her challenging for one last great success,
Battling bravely for the line with Meld and Sun Princess."
- Henry Birtles -

Typically of connections who were so generous to the public with their prized possession all profits from the sale of this book are being donated to Racing Welfare, an extremely worthy cause.


The Spirit of Cheltenham
The Spirit of Cheltenham
by Julian West
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Almost like being there, 3 May 2007
This book is the next best thing to having been there, and the best thing to buy to remember a visit. Beautifully written and presented with outstanding photographs by official course photographer Bernard Parkin.

A small book full of big emotions.

At one of the race meetings there they sold out of this book, and it is the perfect remembrance of the experience of having been to Cheltenham. I got mine as a Christmas present. If you are a national hunt racing fan get this book.

Emotional Healing For Cats
Emotional Healing For Cats
by Stefan Ball
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A helping hand for our feline friends, 27 April 2007
Stefan Ball and Judy Howard are Trustees at Mount Vernon home of Dr Bach and his Bach Flower Remedies. They teach there and have both written books on how to use and understand the remedies. This book is a little different as instead of humans it concentrates on the character of cats, our sometimes mysterious companions. For more in depth knowledge of the remedies you should read Judy's Step by Step, or Stefan's Teach Yourself books, but this book stands alone if you just want to use them on your cats.

I am a Bach Practitioner, cat lover and owner and this book helped me to understand the nature of felines and apply the remedies to my own cats and those I encounter in my volunteer work with animal rescue centres. I have done feline behavior courses but I still found this book useful because it is an easy reference handbook, simple, cost effective and yet in depth about how the remedies work on cats, how to select them and when to use them. We often think, 'if only our pets could talk' - and this book shows us how to read their signals and understand what they are trying to tell us.

I am in no doubt at all that the remedies work on people and now that I know more about feline needs I am also getting amazing results with them. As anyone who has ever been owned by one will know cats are very sensitive intuitive beings and the Bach Remedies work on their emotions to keep them calm and happy when things change in their environment or when they have an illness.

Since reading this book I often refer back to it to help friends whose cats have a problem, and I have given this as a present to cat owners. My first copy is now so battered from being frequently thumbed through and loaned out that I may be buying a second copy soon!

This book would be useful to cat lovers everywhere who want to be able to communicate better with their cat and give them a helping hand when needed.
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Annie Leibovitz: Photographs Portfolio 1970-1990
Annie Leibovitz: Photographs Portfolio 1970-1990
by Annie Leibovitz
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Windows of the soul, 25 April 2007
I wanted to write a review about this book because each time I open it I am surprised anew by what is revealed. Even in photographs I have looked at a zillion times of people who I have known well. You can never tire of this book.

When I got to this page to write the review I read what Donald Mitchell has written and agreed with every line. He has captured what Annie shows in her photos into words. I do not think that I can do better justice to her work than he has so I recommend that you read his review and buy this book.

What I will say for those of you who may not be familiar with her photographgs is that as a child I wanted more than anything for her to snap me and my friends. This has got to be the ultimate endorsement for her talent. Celebrities willingly sacrifice themselves to her to have her work her magic and free their spirits, and yet little girls growing up in the back streets of California wanted to be immortalised by her as well.

A true master.

Stardust: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1999
Stardust: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1999
by Lise Kaiser
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious imagery, appropriately named, 25 April 2007
This book is one of my all time favourites. A beautiful collection of photos by a top notch photographer who still does not get the acknowledgement she deserves because so much of her work involves celebrities.

The title is great and evocative of her soft but honest touch that lays the soul bare.

Annie is the Rembrandt of the lens.

Rock Faces: The World's Top Rock 'n' Roll Photographers and Their Greatest Images
Rock Faces: The World's Top Rock 'n' Roll Photographers and Their Greatest Images
by Oliver Craske
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great keepsake, 25 April 2007
Anyone who enjoys fashion, the rock scene and photographic portraits will want this book.

It is so beautifully produced and well laid out that it is impossible to pick your favourite photo. Each time you look at them will change your mind.

It covers not just one era of rock and roll like so many others, but skims through the ages giving us the best from each.

The only thing that is missing is Annie Leibowitz but then she has her own books and this one is every bit as good.

Animals In War
Animals In War
by Jilly Cooper OBE
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving tribute, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Animals In War (Paperback)
Jilly Cooper is so well known for her racy fiction that some may have been surprised to see her tackle such a serious subject. But her love for her own dogs and cats is often written about. In one instance she famously said of a good looking woman that she had the face of a lurcher. Only a dog lover could understand that this was a compliment!

Jilly tells the sad and heroic tale of these heroes who had no choice and how they rose to the occasion one and all.

Animals in war gave their lives to their human comrades and the cause. I defy you to read this and not wonder at their spirit and generosity.

This is a sad read but also a moving tribute. Read it and give a home to a rescued cat, dog or horse today!

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