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The Secret Shopper's Revenge
The Secret Shopper's Revenge
by Kate Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.66

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, a shopping delight, 22 Jan 2009
My sister bought me this book for Christmas and I started reading it on New Year's eve.

I loved this book. Kate Harrison hooks you into the story from the first page and the three main characters are people you grow to care about very much, and I loved the fact that I could relate to Emily's personality. I think all the readers will find that they too can relate to one of the three heroines.

The story centres around Emily, a mother who longs to bring a bit of excitement into her dull life. Sandie, a single woman who works in retail and is very organised and yet due to something that happens beyond her control has to change her life around and Grazia, an elegant widow who on the surface seems to have a life free from worries but looks can be deceptive.

These three are the secret shopping angels, who together are given assignments by the mysterious Charlie, some of which are heavent sent, some are just hell.

I found I couldn't put this book down, I was longing to find out exactly what happened to each of the ladies as the story unfolded and I found this book to be extremely touching and amusing although not laugh out loud funny and really well written.

I bought a copy of the book for my sister and we ended up reading the book at the same time, enjoying talking together about all the different things that happened in the book.

I would definitely recommend this book and have given it 5 stars, however I have to say and my sister agreed with me that the ending of the book was rather rushed, as if the publisher had told the author to finish the book at that stage so the last chapter of the book was the weakest I felt and although this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book, I would have loved the book to have been a bit longer so that we could have found out what happened to two of the characters as the final chapter centred around only one of the characters which was a bit of a shame.

However, that aside, I am longing now to read more of Kate Harrison as I think she could be my new favourite author of the year. A wonderful book that I know other readers will enjoy.


Me and Mr. Darcy
Me and Mr. Darcy
by Alexandra Potter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, fun and delightfully romantic, 10 Jan 2009
This review is from: Me and Mr. Darcy (Paperback)
Having loved Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter, I was really looking forward to reading this book too and I wasn't disappointed. Emily Albright is a true romantic and a manager of a small bookshop in New York and rather than go on a New Year break with her friend and work colleague to Mexico, Emily decides to go on a Jane Austen book tour of England. After finding that she is one of the youngest people on the tour, Emily loves her holiday and her holiday gets even better when she meets her ideal man, Mr Darcy who she finds is everything she thought he would be.

I loved this book, and couldn't put it down. Alexandra has a way of describing her characters perfectly, so much so that you empathise totally with her heroines and care about the other characters in the book too. It was wonderful to read more about Jane Austen too and learn more about the historical houses and places featured in Pride and Predujice. I loved the way there were so many comparisons with P & P and the situations Emily found herself in on the tour.

This is a fantastic book for everyone who loves a romantic novel, especially Jane Austen stories, chicklit and are fans of Mr Darcy. Read and enjoy - its a real gem.

My next mission is to read some more of Alexandra's books and I can honestly say that she is now one of my favourite authors.


Remember Me?
Remember Me?
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another good book from Sophie, 10 Jan 2009
This review is from: Remember Me? (Hardcover)
Having read all of Sophie's books, I was really looking forward to this one and like her others it was unputdownable. The story centres around Lexi who wakes up from a coma after having had an accident to find out that she has severe amnesia and cannot remember anything about her life from the past 3 years.

Slowly but surely her family and her husband try their best to help Lexi remember and get her life back together, but is everything as perfect as it seems or will Lexi find out a few things about her character that she doesn't really like.

I did enjoy this book very much but I couldn't help wishing by the end that there had been a twist to the tale to make it slightly more interesting. The characters as always in Sophie's books are very likeable but I did find it all a little predictable by the end and so ended up slightly disappointed which is the reason I give the book 4 stars and not 5.

It also wasn't as laugh out loud funny as the Shopaholic books, Undomesticated Goddess and Can You Keep A Secret and it also seemed a bit rushed at the end as though the publishers had told Sophie to end the story quickly so it did kind of leave you feeling as though you had enjoyed reading it but was not quite as good as some of Sophie's other books.

The idea is a great one and I do recommend it to all chick lit fans and fans of Sophie Kinsella but I still kind of wish there had been a sting in the tale just to give it a little more substance. Still a great book though.


Mamma Mia! The Movie [DVD] [2008]
Mamma Mia! The Movie [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 3.83

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the stage musical, 9 Dec 2008
I viewed this movie at the cinema and have to say I was very disappointed with it. Meryl Streep was over the top with her singing. Pierce Brosnan just looked good. For me the best actors and singers were the sublime Julie Walters and Colin Firth.

Of course the ABBA songs were brilliant in the movie, they were the true stars but to really appreciate Mamma Mia, go see the stage show, stand up at the end and feel totally entertained by interacting with the actors/actresses on stage. It was also shocking that 3 of the songs from the stage musical were dropped from the movie, ie One of Us, Under Attack and Knowing me Knowing you. Whilst the strange choice of When all is said and done was added instead.

Glad I saw the film but to appreciate the true sound of ABBA, buy the albums and see the show. I feel a different actress as Donna may have helped me to enjoy it more.

I know others will disagree with me but this is a personal opinion. Best highlights for me were seeing Bjorn and Benny in their cameo roles.


Out of the Blue
Out of the Blue
by Belinda Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.85

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read but the first half is very slow, 9 Dec 2008
This review is from: Out of the Blue (Paperback)
I have championed Belinda Jones's books for years, I have always loved her style of writing, the humour, the descriptions of the fantastic places she bases her books in but have to say that I have found her last book, The Love Accademy disappointing and this one Out of the Blue even more so. I fear Belinda has lost the plot a bit with her writing lately and maybe deserves a little rest so that she can get back to the glory days of I love Capri and The Paradise Room to name but two of her other fab books.

Anyway, this book centres around Selena Harper who normally works on a cruise ship but is taking a break and after meeting up with her colleague Alekko at the airport is offered the chance to help him with his brother's business in Greece. Selena is reluctant to go at first as she is very mistrustful of men and as Alekko has a reputation of being a womaniser she is not sure that she wants to spend a week with him even if the location sounds idyllic.

Anyway, she does go and of course is swept away by beautiful Greece.

I have to say that I wasn't very keen on the character of Selena to start with, but liked her more as the book went on.

The book was terribly slow to begin with in fact I nearly gave up with it altogether at one stage and I know a friend of mine reading it at the same time found the same even though she is a big fan of Belinda's too. However, I stuck with it and enjoyed it more from the middle onwards. Belinda is very good with her descriptions of Greece and it was interesting that she added in some Greek mythology.

I would say to Belinda fans that they should read this book as it is a good read but just don't expect to be blown away by it.


Dungeons And Dragons [DVD] [2001]
Dungeons And Dragons [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Justin Whalin
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: 3.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 30 Nov 2008
Don't believe any of the other reviewers, I thought this film was fantastic. Great CGI, very funny, emotional. Brilliant. Watch and enjoy. Much, much better than Eargon which was a very poor imitation of LOTR.


Dream On
Dream On
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational album - You won't be disappointed, 14 Feb 2008
This review is from: Dream On (Audio CD)
I have supported Craig Chalmers ever since he first appeared on the Any Dream Will Do programme as I felt he had the looks and talent to become a musical theatre star and even though he didn't win the competition, I knew that Bill Kenwright's faith in championing Craig would be justified and he would go onto greater things.

Craig has had one of his dreams come true since taking on the role of Joseph in Bill Kenwright's touring production since August 2007 and has been wowing audiences in theatres all over the UK and Ireland and now he has been given the opportunity of moving his career in a slightly different direction by being part of this marvellous cd.

All of the other Joseph's who also didn't go onto win have had their dreams fulfilled too and are all doing well on other projects and four of them join Craig here on this wonderful album full of brilliant songs. From the opening melodic sounds of Any Dream Will Do and Close any door to the anthemic Dream On which lyrically tells the story in song version of these talented young men's journeys. This album will delight fans of the Any Dream Will Do Programme but will also appeal to anyone who enjoys classic pop songs sung with clarity, fantastic vocals and most of all with an awful lot of heart. Do buy this album, you will not be disappointed.

I list below my own personal opinion of each of the songs on the CD.

1. Any Dream Will Do/Close every Door - Craig's vocals have matured even more since ADWD and I love his versions of both of these songs. What an opener to the album. Any Dream will do suits Craig's voice and he sings it so well but Close every door is in another league. What a fantastic rendition, one of the best, if not the best I have heard. Soft, emotional and the song just soars. Fantastic. The other Joseph's harmonies are great too.

2. No Matter What - I know this song is cheesy, was sung originally by Boyzone and then it was covered and arranged as a rock ballard by Meatloaf (which is a great version by the way) but I adore this arrangement sung by Craig and the boys. A superb vocal with wonderful harmonies. This song has special memories for me anyway and I just love it.

3. Sorrow - 60's style track, sung brilliantly by Craig and Seamus. A great sing-along, Can imagine dancing round the lounge to this and at the concert on the 17th too!!

4. Run to me - Wow, a Bee Gee's classic that starts gently with Craig's gorgeous dulcet tones and then made even more sublime with the beautiful harmonies of the other boys. A definite tear jerker this one.

5. Longer - A beautiful ballard that suits Craig's voice perfectly. Lovely to hear him singing in a slightly lower register than usual too. His vocal range is marvellous. It's a gentle song that makes you think of Spring and sunny days. Jondeep's soft vocals add to the sensitivity of the track and blends superbly with Craig's vocals, but it is very much Craig's song and he gives it everything it needs without it ever going over the top - Fabulous.

6. All I have to do is Dream - Love this version of a classic song and of course it's sung by two of my favourites, Craig and Lewis. Craig's slightly more gentle voice works wonderfully with Lewis's deeper tones. One to sway along to definitely.

7. I made it through the rain - The song that knocked Craig out of the semi final of ADWD so its always going to be a sad song for me, however having said that, this is a great song and all the boys have their part to play on this Barry Manilow classic. Its gentle yet strong in places and the words are very meaningful. Love Chris B and Chris C's vocals especially on this one.

8. My girl - Craig and Chris C must have had great fun recording this number because it really shows in their delivery of the song, it's vibrant, confident and as both of them have such terrific voices, incredibly bubbly and lively. Love it.

9. Can't help falling in love - This song has been covered so many times and not all versions have been good but Craig sings this track from the heart and it's as smooth as silk and as luscious as melting chocolate. A beautiful song that brings tears to the eyes.

10. There goes my first love - This has to be another one of my favourites on the album. It is such a glorious song anyway, so catchy and all the guys give it so much energy and punch. Can't wait to see it live. (Hope there's a dance routine!!!)

11. This is the moment - What can I say, its what most of us Craigettes have been waiting for. A recording of Craig singing "that song". Nothing can quite compare to watching Craig singing this on ADWD but this studio version comes very, very close and its adorable. A true musical song that starts off slowly, soft and gently and gradually builds to a glorious end. A wonderful, rendition and dare I say it, yet another tearjerker. This song shows how far Craig has come with his vocals and performance and really shows what a great musical theatre artist he has become.

12. Dream On - The title track. Again all the boys have their individual lyrics to sing and although at first I wasn't quite sure of this track, having listened to it several times now, I love it. The lyrics sum up Craig and the other Joseph's musical journeys perfectly and its a classic, lovely song, which is well sung as well as being extremely memorable, you do find yourself singing it long after the CD has finished and it is sure to do fantastically well if released as a single.

This is definitely a CD you can keep playing without ever getting tired or bored with it.

I also want to wish the boys well for their concert on the 17th February at the Palladium. Well done boys and good luck.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2009 3:50 PM GMT


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2007]
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.01

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, spellbinding, marvellous, 1 Jan 2008
Wow, wow, wow are the first few words you can use to describe Harry Potter & The order of the Phoenix. I couldn't wait to see this film as it had to be a big improvement on the book, which lets face it was the most tedious out of the rest of the fantastic other novels. I wasn't disappointed at all, the special effects were wonderful, the storyline was brilliantly dark and the whole thing was a feast for the eyes.

Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge was an inspired choice, delightfully sweet when she wants to be with her pink outfits and cat plates on the wall of her office, loved the scene where one of the cats goes through the cat flap on the plate - fabulous but of course she has a horrible evil side that upsets everyone at the school including the other teachers.

I also loved the scene where the Weasley twins set off fireworks during the examinations, this was absolutely marvellous and extremely funny.

All in all a great adaption of the book that will keep adults and children enthralled throughout. This Harry Potter film is much darker than the others but is all the better for it, because the central characters are more developed and new characters such as the young lady who played Luna Lovegood add yet another level to these films. I have to commend the actress who played Luna, she was so true to the book, eccentric, vulnerable but fearless as well. I think Emma Watson who plays Hermione could learn a lot from this young lady as sometimes her acting skills leave a little to be desired. Rupert Grint who plays Ron is fantastic though and plays the character just right.

Do buy this film, it is in my opinion the best one out of the series so far.


Be Careful What You Wish for
Be Careful What You Wish for
by Alexandra Potter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive, touching and very romantic, 31 Dec 2007
I had never read an Alexandra Potter book before this one and to be honest I only bought it because it had been recommended to me due to my love of other chick-lit such as Sophie Kinsella and Belinda Jones.

That said, I got into the book straight away, its the story of Heather Hamilton who buys some lucky heather one rainy day in London just to escape a gypsy woman and then finds that everything she starts to wish for, such as getting a seat on the tube, finding the perfect man and the sun always shining all come true. Is it just coincidence or does the lucky heather really work? Or does having everything you wish for make you truly happy.

Heather has to work all this out for herself in the end and this book does not disappoint. It has great characters that you really care about, it's extremely funny, it's sad and touching in places and it flows along so well that once you start it, you just want to carry on reading it until it's finished. Except when you get to the end, you don't actually want the book to end.

A great, great book, I definitely want to read more of Alexandra's novels and hope they can live up to this one. A real find. I would recommend it to anyone.


The Love Academy
The Love Academy
by Belinda Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.06

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Italian treat, but not as good as previous books, 4 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Love Academy (Paperback)
I read this latest book from Belinda Jones in great anticipation having enjoyed all her other books and especially her second novel which was also based in Italy and was called I Love Capri and has to be one of my favourite books of all time from Belinda.

The book centres around Kirsty Bailey who goes to Venice to run an undercover story on the mysterious Love Accademy. Kirsty leaves her boyfriend Joe behind and enters the accademy to see whether she too can find a little romance in her life as her relationship with Joe was becoming too staid and not exciting enough. On her journey at the accademy, she meets other characters who are also there to see if they too can find romance.

Belinda's book is another beautiful travelogue taking us from London to Venice and then onto Lake Como and Florence and Italy is obviously somewhere she feels passionate about as she writes lovingly about the food, people and scenery. However, I could not give this book the 5 stars I usually commend to Belinda as I just didn't feel it flowed as well as some of her other books and the idea of the heroine discussing love and romance on every single page did make the book a bit boring at times, I felt the book had quite a few peaks and troughs with it picking up more when Kirsty goes to Lake Como and then onto Florence.

A very nice touch which I am not sure if other readers noticed was the wedding at Lake Como which involved the characters from her book I love Capri and this seemed a lovely way to move on their story which at the end of that book was left very much as an unanswered question.

I would recommend this book as I think Belinda is a very good author and I am looking forward to her next book which I understand from her website will be set in Greece now but I did think that she could have made it a little more exciting in places.


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