Profile for Mrs. K. A. P. Wright > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mrs. K. A. P. ...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 556
Helpful Votes: 1856

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mrs. K. A. P. Wright
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
pixel
Russell Tovey Reads Black Beauty (Famous Fiction)
Russell Tovey Reads Black Beauty (Famous Fiction)
by Anna Sewell
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect school run material, 24 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an appealing reading of an old favourite.

Black Beauty, the narrator, is a horse and this is the story of his life from his birth on an idyllic farm in the country to his retirement. Although starting well, with kind owners, his luck changes and he has to face the cruelty of Victorian London. As well as being exciting and full of incident, this is a very moral tale and shows the wisdom of treating both animals and people well.

It should not be confused with the television series of the same name which claims to be a continuation of the book. They have little in common. This is stronger meat and there are some very sad episodes in it, but they do not diminish its appeal. It is an optimistic book and its publication helped bring better conditions for cab horses in London. Perfect school run material.


The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies 3)
The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies 3)
by Pittacus Lore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Part 3 of a sci - fi - good - versus - evil - teen drama, 23 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the third in the Lorien series and if you haven't read the first two, it will not make much sense.

Lorien is a planet, rich, lush and fertile and peopled by a civilisation far in advance of ours. It has been invaded and all but destroyed by the brutish Mogadorians, who have used up all the resources of their own planet. Just before the end a rocket is sent towards earth carrying nine Garde children and their guardians. These children will grow to maturity hidden on earth until they develop their powers (Legacies) and grow strong enough to return to Lorien to defeat the Mogs. A special charm binds them - they can only be killed in order. If a Garde dies a scar forms round the ankles of the rest. At the start of this book, three have been killed but the rest are coming into their legacies and are trying to group together.

This is very much an action led series. We are given some details of Lorien and the Loric way of life, but the Mogadorians are characterless thugs. The only one who is given any individuality is Setràkus Ra, their leader and that is only as a monstrous source of evil. The Garde are individuals, but we have met them many times before in any American teen drama, so there are no real surprises.

In short, this is a sci-fi, good versus evil teen drama. It is exciting and fast paced and good enough for me to have wished it to have been better. I should imagine that it is aimed at mid to late teens, but older sci-fi fans will probably also enjoy it.


Gifted and Talented
Gifted and Talented
by Wendy Holden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and mostly light-hearted, 14 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Gifted and Talented (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this book.

It's a sort of feminine Tom Sharpe light (as opposed to dark, not a comment on its worth) with faint echoes of Porterhouse Blue, set in a university town full of beautiful and ancient colleges. The action, however, mostly takes place at Branston College, a 1960s concrete monstrosity. With the exception of Olly, a post-graduate who can't find a job to finance him while he writes his novel, the main characters are all newcomers in various states of angst and or despair: Isabel, a brilliant but poor scholar, ripe for exploitation by the rich and lazy; Diana, divorced, betrayed and impoverished by her fraudster husband, now living with her daughter on a rough council estate while she tries to make a living as the Branston College gardener; Richard, the new Master, a neurologist from America, still grieving for his dead wife. These characters are all very engaging and sensitively drawn. The minor characters are drawn with a broader more comic brush: hearts of gold Debs and Shanna-Mae, rich bitch Amber, evil Jasper, ghastly Sara and the rather sweet ineffectual academics, the Stringers.

The storylines weave around each other until they all pull together and tragedy is averted. (Given the cover, I don't think that is too much of a spoiler.)

A quick, amusing and pleasant read.


Snackistan: Street Food, Comfort Food, Meze: Informal Eating in the Middle East & Beyond
Snackistan: Street Food, Comfort Food, Meze: Informal Eating in the Middle East & Beyond
by Sally Butcher
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spend the winter in Snackistan and have a glorious time!, 13 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a cold wet weekend in the Marches and just before I go off to get my flu jab, a parcel arrives. It is Snackistan, its cover a glorious eastern geometric pattern in shades of red, blue and cream. My mood lifts immediately. I take it with me to look at while I queue at the doctor's and thereby change the course of my day. Instead of going straight home, I'm off to the supermarket to buy ingredients - and yes most of the ingredients you need to cook the recipes in this book are available in a supermarket in the wilds of the Welsh Marches - because I am going to spend this vile wet weekend cooking Middle Eastern street food.

This is, I think, Sally Butcher's third book. Certainly it's the third book of hers that I have bought, and they all share her sense of fun and enormous knowledge of Middle Eastern and especially Persian food. She has the gift of enriching your knowledge by means of a good story, so the information she gives you slips down as easily as her food.

The recipes are great. They are organised helpfully and the index is excellent. Instructions are clear and easy to follow, but she also shows you how you can use her recipes as a stepping off point for ideas of your own. Techniques are not just explained, the reasons why they are necessary are also given. The illustrations are both beautiful and helpful.

Is a book teaching you how to make snacks really what the busy cook needs? Well, that depends on how you define the word snack. If a snack to you is a biscuit or a packet of crisps, then you need this book to broaden your horizons (though there are excellent recipes for crisp-like snacks here which will make you shudder at the thought of 'salt 'n vinegar' for ever more). If the word snack immediately conjures up some unhealthy, fat-saturated death inducing dollop of cholesterol, then the recipes here will show you that snacks can be both healthy and gorgeous. It also shows you that if you add salad you can make a meal; if you group dishes together you can have a feast.

Most of these recipes are best cooked fresh, but lots can be prepared ahead of time, so that if you have a heavy work schedule during the week, you can have everything ready to cook, waiting in the fridge when you come home.

So far, I have tried Greek style fried fish with vinegar sauce, Kebab - e -Koobideh, Fancy Houmous, Turkish Courgette Fritters, Chicken Liver with Pomegranate Sauce and various roasted nut mixtures. All have worked really well. There is a chapter on sweet things that I am desperately trying to resist, full of honey and nuts and marzipan that I would find almost impossible to eat in moderation.

So, to sum up, what is the food of Snackistan? The cover tells us 'street fare' 'comfort food' 'meze' - 'informal eating in the Middle East and beyond' and sums it up exactly. This is one book you can judge by its cover.


Sense & Sensibility
Sense & Sensibility
by Joanna Trollope
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.49

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly adequate rewrite of Austen, but why bother?, 3 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Sense & Sensibility (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Given that Joanna Trollope is a highly skilled writer and the plot and characters are by Jane Austen, this book can't fail to please. Joanna Trollope has transposed the action to the present day and it is more or less successful, although some of the social conventions required by the plot don't sit completely happily in today's setting.

I know the original very well and I was half expecting to be irritated or annoyed by any lapses but I wasn't. I think new readers will get more pleasure out of it than I did, because although it was very pleasant, I kept wondering what the purpose of the exercise was. Considering it was written two hundred years ago, the original is very accessible and, forgive me, Ms Trollope, better.

I understand that all Austen's books are being rewritten by contemporary authors - Val McDermid is doing Northanger Abbey, I believe. I would far rather these writers tackled more challenging authors like Sir Walter Scott, Fielding and Fanny Burney and brought them to a wider audience, because they are the neglected ones, not Jane Austen.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2013 12:48 PM BST


The Collini Case
The Collini Case
by Ferdinand von Schirach
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak writing trivialises an important subject, 29 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Collini Case (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll admit it straight away, I did not enjoy this book. On the face of it, it's a courtroom drama of the open and shut variety where a young and inexperienced lawyer has to defend a client who is, beyond doubt, guilty. The story then would go on to show the mitigating circumstances which allow the defendant to bound free from court with not a stain on his character.

**Spoiler alert**
In fact, what is on trial is the German legal system which has passed laws which, in effect, have allowed many potential war criminals to get away without being prosecuted for their activities in the war. To attempt to expose this is laudable. Such betrayals of justice should be exposed, but this is not the way to do it.

According to the blurb, Ferdinand Von Schirach is a bestselling author, but he has not been skilled enough to turn his diatribe against the German legal system into a novel. The characters are cardboard cut outs who are mouthpieces for what he wants to say. The legal background, which may be factually accurate, does not ring true. Atmosphere is added by gratuitously vile descriptions of violence (not of the war crimes, which would have been justified, but other non-related happenings) and rather perfunctory and unlikely sex, which, as far as I was concerned built yet another barrier between me and the action.

There is a place for polemical novels which expose injustice and wrong doing, but the writer has to be incredibly skilful to pull it off and I think a subject as important as this deserves more exposure than one hundred and sixty-four pages of indifferent crime novel can give it. This book, contrary to its author's intention has served to trivialise its subject matter rather than bring it a wider public knowledge.


Glaciers
Glaciers
by Alexis M. Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Slight but worth reading, 29 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Glaciers (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very slight novella about a day in the life of Isabel, a librarian in Portland, Oregon. It is told in a series of vignettes and flashbacks and is, in fact, a lot better than I thought it was going to be when I saw the author's very idiosyncratic use of punctuation, a device, I suspect, to give the book poetic credentials - totally unnecessary because as a longish short story,though somewhat arch, it works well.


City of Devils
City of Devils
by Diana Bretherick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea, 29 Sept. 2013
This review is from: City of Devils (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This the first fiction book Diana Bretherton, a former barrister has written and it is a fictionalised account of a real person, the nineteenth century criminologist, Cesare Lombroso. Lombroso, obviously a hero of hers, is no doubt a fascinating character. In this book, as it says in the blurb, she has cast him as Sherlock Holmes. Her Doctor Watson is James Murray, a young doctor from Edinburgh with a guilty secret. Together with the help of various other characters they try to track down the perpetrator of a number of ghastly murders.

There is the basis of a good plot here, so what has gone wrong?

Firstly, it is far too wordy. Every location and every character is given a detailed description that is both unnecessary and slows the action down. Secondly, the dialogue is unconvincing. If the speaker isn't identified, it is sometimes quite difficult to tell who is speaking even though she has established, in her descriptions, the widely differing personalities of her characters. This is another problem. The characters do not, on the whole, let their personalities reveal themselves by their actions. We are told what they do and why they do it. Immediately this puts a barrier between them and us and makes it harder to engage with them.

So, for me it doesn't work, but it won the 2012 Good Housekeeping New Novel competition, so other people have obviously enjoyed it. My advice would be to wait until it goes to Kindle, then download a sample. The style is established early on so you will soon find out if it is for you.


The Bone Season
The Bone Season
by Samantha Shannon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.94

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting and terrifying start to a new series . . ., 7 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Bone Season (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book has emerged amidst a storm of publicity. It is either the new Harry Potter or the work of the best new writer this century, or, because there are always those who like to snipe, a bit of a damp squib. Of course, it is none of these things.

Let's deal with the snipers first. It is,in fact, a fantastic read.

I suppose the comparisons to Harry Potter come because it concerns the supernatural (but not magic) and is the first volume of a proposed series of seven. Other than that, I cannot see any resemblance between the two. Although, dark things do happen in Harry Potter, it is essentially a cosy, recognisable sort of story where, with a couple of notable exceptions, people (and wizards) are who they say they are, and the divisions between good and evil, nice and nasty, goodies and baddies are more or less clear cut. Added to which J K Rowling's prose style is homely and reassuring.

In The Bone Season very little is clear cut. It is the year 2059, but the world is not as we know it. It is dangerous, uncomfortable and uncertain. It is a dictatorship where only the normal is acceptable. If you have any gifts - clairvoyance, mind-reading etc - you are a traitor and if caught are executed. Our heroine, Paige, is gifted, although we do not know how until some way into the book. She has decided not to try and conceal her gift, but has gone underground and joined the Seven Dials criminal gang, led by Jaxon.

Inevitably she is caught, but she is not executed. After imprisonment in the Tower, she is shipped off to Oxford which has been a forbidden city for the last two hundred years. What she finds there and how she deals with it, is the basis of the main part of the story. Without going into too much detail, she is a prisoner in a society where human life is cheap. Her captors work on the divide and rule principle so she does not know whom to trust. Extreme violence is the only form of discipline.

It is exciting and fast paced and rushes you along to the end where you reach a pausing place which cannot be a proper conclusion because there are six more books to come. That is my chief concern about this series - will she be able to sustain the excellence and pace of this book through another six volumes? I hope so, but it will be a mighty achievement if she does.

Finally, is Samantha Shannon the best new writer this century? Who can say? Does it matter? She is very young, twenty-one, I believe, and has produced a book of huge imagination which she has controlled beautifully. Her writing style is simple and direct and she manages the flow of the story so that the reader's interest and excitement is constantly maintained.

I thoroughly recommend this book and hope that the next six maintain the same high standard.


Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine)
Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine)
by Leiths School of Food and Wine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, beautifully produced and very reasonably priced, 6 Sept. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is always possible to criticise this sort of book negatively because it is attempting an impossible task. So, let's just look at the positive points and there are many.

It is divided into chapters on the usual topics: vegetables, stocks and sauces, meat etc. Within the chapters the most appropriate skills and methods are discussed and demonstrated, followed by recipes that use the skills in many different ways, so that you find you are learning how to make dishes from very varied cuisines.

Techniques and methods are described in detail, often with pictures which are relevant and easy to decipher. The meat section is especially good with excellent pictures showing how to prepare and carve different cuts. I now feel I could prepare a rack of lamb confidently in both the English and the French way! The reasons why certain methods work are also given. For example: to make a cake should one cream the butter and sugar, melt the fat and mix everything in or rub the fat into the flour? It all depends on what sort of cake you are making and what you want the result to be - and all this is explained. Something many cookbooks forget to do.

How to use this book? If I were a novice cook I would start at the beginning and go onto the end learning and practising the skills. Is there a place for it in the kitchen of a more experienced cook? Yes, it is an excellent reference book. However, I think it could be more than that. I am a self-taught cook of many years experience so what I am going to do is choose an ingredient or skill and explore it. Unlike many books of this sort, the recipes are interesting enough to make such an exercise enjoyable. I think that it will extend and enrich my cookery skills and push me into trying things which are out of my comfort zone.

My overall verdict is that this the best of this sort of cook book that I have seen. It is comprehensive, beautifully produced and very reasonably priced.


Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30