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Mrs. K. A. P. Wright
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Cover Her Face (Audiogo)
Cover Her Face (Audiogo)
by P. D. James
Edition: Audio CD

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great stocking filler, 5 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must have read this first in the Sixties sometime. It was published in 1962, I think. I remember enjoying it and not much else. Listening to this reading by Roy Marsden, it seems to come from a much earlier age - maids in caps, unmarried mothers confined to houses for delinquent girls to be trained and corrected. It has become a period piece, but that is not to say that it is dated. The writing is fresh and sharp and the plot is tightly wound.

Roy Marsden, who played detective Adam Dalgleish in the television series, reads it very well - he is the natural authoritative voice for Dalgleish - but is also able to give a reality to the other characters.

I have been listening to it in my car on the drive to work, but it would also be excellent bedtime listening. A great stocking filler!


The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London
The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London
by Hannah Greig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at the social history of the 18th Century and the Regency, 5 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Eighteenth Century and the Regency are very popular with readers - from those who read Fielding, Burney and Jane Austen to those who love the romances of Georgette Heyer, Jane Aiken Hodge and co. Because the language they write in is easily accessible we think we understand their world, but do we? What is the Ton? What do clocks have to do with stockings? And why would you be thrown out of Almacks (who or what was Almacks?) if you wore breeches?

The answer to these and many other questions are in this book. It is the social history of the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries that was thought too trivial to be taught in school, but is, in fact, the most interesting. Unlike many history books, it is not long winded or difficult read. It is an excellent book that will enrich your understanding of the period.


Rosetta Stone Italian Complete Course (PC/Mac)
Rosetta Stone Italian Complete Course (PC/Mac)
Price: 297.51

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An expensive experiment that needs a lot of commitment, 17 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Costing 376.23, you have to be a serious student if you buy this language course. Equally you have to be a serious student if you want to follow it successfully. It uses the immersion method of teaching so there is no English to help you, but it is fairly straightforward. However, you have to keep at it. Ideally you should aim at working two to three hours a day, every day, or you will not retain what you have learnt. For most people this won't be a feasible option, but I think at the very least it is necessary to study every day.

After a two weeks' trial I cannot confirm its claim to take you from total beginner to conversational proficiency, but it is very thorough and even if you don't reach conversational proficiency, I think you will gain a good understanding of Italian.

I am only giving it four stars because it is a very expensive punt in the dark - great if it suits your way of learning and you have the time and commitment to keep with it - otherwise a very pricey mistake.


Alistair McGowan Reads The Jungle Book (Famous Fiction)
Alistair McGowan Reads The Jungle Book (Famous Fiction)
by Rudyard Kipling
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect bedtime stories, 2 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a delightful reading by Alistair MacGowan of the Mowgli stories from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. If you only know the stories from the Disney version, these are less cute and there are no songs. What you have instead is perfect bed time stories for children aged three to seven read by a master.


The Tilted World
The Tilted World
by Tom Franklin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.55

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and absorbing a story of Prohibition and the Great Flood, 2 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Tilted World (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a magnificent book set along the banks of the Mississippi during the great floods of 1927. It is the last days of Prohibition and while the Revenue officers are still interested in tracking down illegal stills, the bootleggers are looking to the future and how to make money when alcohol ceases to be illegal.

The main characters are:
* Dixie Clay, married to Jesse, a bootlegger and generally nasty piece of work, who reminded me a bit of Pinkie in Brighton Rock. Dixie is still grieving the loss of her baby.
* Ingersoll, a revenue officer, ex-soldier and orphan. He works with Ham, who was his officer in the war.
The story is told mostly from their points of view.

Ingersoll and Ham have been sent, incognito, to the town of Hobnob on the banks of the Mississippi to try to discover what has happened to two officers who have disappeared. In parallel to this Dixie Clay, has her suspicions about the fate of the two officers as she last saw them in the company of her husband and she suspects that he has killed them. Is this reason enough for her to kill him? Entering a store, Ingersoll and Ham discover a blood bath. The storekeeper has been attacked by robbers whom he has shot, but not before they have fatally injured him. The only being left alive is the robbers' six month old baby. Having reported the crime, Ingersoll undertakes to take the baby to the orphanage in the neighbouring town.

Meanwhile, it rains.

As well as having a very strong story, peopled with equally strong, well rounded characters, this book has an extraordinary sense of place. You are aware of the Mississippi, the creeks, the fragility of the levées and the rain sodden landscape at all times and the relentless rain and dark skies reinforce this.

I really enjoyed this book. It has many of the same characteristics of Cold Mountain and Snow Falling on Cedars. If you have enjoyed them, you will enjoy this.


My Husband Next Door
My Husband Next Door
by Catherine Alliott
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant and absorbing read, 29 Oct 2013
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first book by Catherine Alliott that I have read for some time. I really enjoyed her early books, then was disappointed by a couple, so I stopped reading her. I was pleasantly surprised by My Husband Next Door. It is a big book showing various relationships in trouble: Ella and Sebastian, her parents Sylvia and Angus, her would be lover Ludo and Eliza. Their problems are all variations on a theme but the ways the problems are dealt with are more original than in most books of this type. Then there are the problems that the parents are having with their children and vice versa.

The story is told in the first person by Ella who seems at first to be a very sympathetic, if rather ineffectual character. The author keeps us nicely on edge, trying to guess how reliable a narrator Ella is. How much of the mess is her own fault and how much is she a victim?

Some of the characters seem familiar, Sylvia in particular, but they all grow and develop away from the stereotype and one cares about what happens to them.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant and absorbing read.


A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization
A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization
by J. C. McKeown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Christmas present - interesting, original and will not offend., 26 Oct 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a book to dip in and out of. It is full of interesting stories and bits of information from Ancient Greece. Some of these are merely amusing, some are revelations.

It is an excellent book to keep by the bed if you are prone to waking up in the middle of the night - short passages to read that will not entice you to spend the rest of the night finishing it.

It would make an excellent Christmas present for those difficult people who either have everything or whose taste you don't really know. It is interesting, original and will not offend.


Russell Tovey Reads Black Beauty (Famous Fiction)
Russell Tovey Reads Black Beauty (Famous Fiction)
by Anna Sewell
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 5.99

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: 9.95

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: 9.09

4 of 5 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.


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