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Bookworm (Kent, England)

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Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier
Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier
by Terry Darlington
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.05

5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read!, 6 Oct 2012
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I bought this book as soon as it came out, but did not have the opportunity to read it straight away. It sat on my shelf, a "come hither" look upon its dust jacket, seducing me to find the time. Some authors (the good ones) grab you in this way; you look forward to their books, and when you open the covers you feel like you are putting on a favourite, comfy jumper. I settled snugly down with my glass of red, and treated myself to a couple of chapters at a time; I didn't want it to be over too fast!

This is the perfect kind of escapism. Terry and Monica take on all the hard work for you, and you just go along for the ride, just like their two endearing whippets. Terry's writing has some idiosyncrasies, but they are charming. His poetic nature comes through quite strongly and although I may be wrong, it reminds me a little, in style and sentence structure, of other Welsh writer, Richard Llewellyn, and that of adopted Welshman, Alexander Cordell.

Thank you, Terry! I've enjoyed my travels with you very much. If there is to be no future book in the offing, I'll just have to take the trips down to Carcassone and the Indian River all over again!


Room
Room
by Emma Donoghue
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Top Marks!, 28 May 2011
This review is from: Room (Paperback)
I wasn't looking forward to this at all when it was suggested for my Book Club, but how wrong was I?!! You will be gripped from the word "go" and feel very sorry when the book finishes (always my benchmark). An incredible story.


For Your Entertainment
For Your Entertainment
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, Fantastic!, 5 Dec 2009
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This review is from: For Your Entertainment (Audio CD)
Adam Lambert is the single most exciting thing to happen in music this century. He could sing the phone book and I would love it. What a vocal range this young man has!

He has it all.

TALENT - listen to him on You Tube if you are in doubt about whether to buy this CD (I recommend you start with "Ring of Fire" although it's not on this album it will give you an idea of what he can do) He sings so effortlessly.
LOOKS - far too pretty to be a boy, he's gorgeous! A slight look of Elvis from some angles - check out the Google images.
PERSONALITY - he's charming, sincere and fun when interviewed and has a real twinkle in his eyes!

This, his first album, does not have a bad track on it in my opinion. I love it, my kids love it and even my Mum can't get over his voice! This is a really eclectic mix of songs, so even if you don't adore every track, there are bound to be some you will like.


Band Of Brothers
Band Of Brothers
Price: £7.92

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 14 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Band Of Brothers (Audio CD)
A wonderful mix of songs again on this their second album. Interesting and arresting arrangements as always, and superb vocals. For a relatively small male voice choir, the sound they create is extraordinary, and it makes me incredibly proud to be Welsh. Loved the Pearl Fishers in particular, and Band of Brothers had me in tears.

Just a suggestion, next time, can we have a little booklet of lyrics please? My young sons love to sing along, and it would be really useful!


Toby and the Secrets of the Tree
Toby and the Secrets of the Tree
by Timothée De Fombelle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.52

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big story set in a miniature world, 13 Oct 2009
This is the second, and concluding, book in Timothee de Fombelle's fantastic adventures of Toby, a tiny hero who lives in "The Tree". As with the first book, this tiny world faces a range of issues we too are faced with in real life: Environmental worries, racial tension, misinformation, cover-ups, bullying, to name but a few. We left book one,Toby Alone with Toby in exile, still unsure of his parent's fate, and still facing great challenges, and I am pleased to say that this book sees the resolution of all of these, as well as some revelations as to Toby's true origins, whilst very satisfyingly tying up all the loose ends. I think for children this is particularly important - they need to know what happens to the characters they have come to care about.

This saga will appeal to 9 - 13 year olds the most, I think (although I enjoyed it very much too!). It did cross my mind that this could easily have been one, JKR style mammoth storybook, but on reflection I think the publishers have got it right. One very large book might have been intimidating, a series of lots of little ones (a la Lemony Snicket) would position it towards much younger children, so, on reflection, I think two "Toby" books to complete the story is perfect for its target market.

One thing I would say is that in both books I found it difficult to get my head around visualising the scale of these miniature people in their setting. My spatial imagination skills are obviously deficient!! In the end I just stopped trying, and enjoyed the story without focussing too much on scale. Yes, it is a criticism, but just like Toby, it's miniscule!


The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)
The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)
by Patrick Ness
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Hold on to your seats!, 10 Sep 2009
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I have never shouted "Oh NO!!" (and out loud, mind you!)so many times whilst reading a book. Do not read this on the train or you might embarass yourself! This series is just superb. You are on a roller-coaster of constantly questioning who "The Good Guys" are - nothing is ever clear cut for the characters, and their loyalties (both to their causes and to each other) are regularly put to the test. The tension and atmosphere created by the wonderful writing is enhanced by the ingenious graphic use of different fonts and font sizes, and the use of staccato line editing has you rushing frantically to the end of those pages. Whoever decided to use such a clever format should be applauded for the effect it creates. Patrick Ness is a very clever man - almost every chapter finishes on a revelation and a gasp (from the reader!) Simply stunning!

How long did you say I have to wait for the next one?!? The New Year? Oh NO!!!!


Ghost Hunter: Bk. 6 (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness)
Ghost Hunter: Bk. 6 (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness)
by Michelle Paver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.35

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Torak's farewell, 23 Aug 2009
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Michelle Paver brings the "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness" series to a dramatic conclusion with this final story. Your emotions will be taken on a roller-coaster - heartbreak, fear, relief, happiness, .... I was moved to tears of sadness and joy. I'm exhausted! This is an exciting episode in Torak's rites of passage, as he faces his final challenge - to free his world once and for all of the dreaded Soul Eaters.

There is a theme of loss running through this book (loss of innocence, security, loved ones, hope) so if your children are very young, or quite emotional, they might get upset, particularly in the first half of the story. To balance this, however, Michelle Paver brings to the story a great sense of inclusion and cameraderie, and a hopeful reassurance that friends can sometimes be found in unlikely places.

As usual, the detail and visual imagery she creates is fabulous and it is so real, you can almost smell the world she describes - like the scent of the cold, night air on someone who comes in from outside in the winter.

I am going to miss Torak, Renn, and the rest, but I will miss Wolf, with his simple touching language and fierce loyalty the most. Thankyou Miss Paver, and I am looking forward to reading your next books with my children.


The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)
by Patrick Ness
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 12 Aug 2009
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I would heartily agree with the other rave reviews for this book. A fantastic story, an incredible page-turner, and not just a great "teen" read, but one of the best books I have read this year. What an imagination Mr Ness has (and how I wish I could have written this). I am going to insist that my 14 year old son reads it, and I really hope he tells all his friends to do so, too. I can't wait for the next in the series!

A word of warning though - don't pick this book up if you have an upcoming appointment to keep, or if you need to get an early night. I completely lost track of time reading it, so engrossed was I in the story. Having turned in around 10:30 one night so as to do a spot of reading before going to sleep, I was up until 2:30 in the morning, unable to put it down.

A fabulous new sci-fi saga has begun. Loved it, loved it, loved it!


The Rose Of Sebastopol
The Rose Of Sebastopol
by Katharine McMahon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 16 July 2009
This review is from: The Rose Of Sebastopol (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, and was looking forward to this unusual setting, but like some other reviewers I'm afraid I couldn't connect with any of these characters. Just when I thought the story was going to "pick-up" it went flat again. Won't be rushing to read any more of this author's books - sorry.


The Cellist of Sarajevo
The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the sqeamish, 6 July 2009
This is a harrowing story of a few characters all trying to survive in Sarajevo whilst it was under seige back in the 1990's. It is poignant in the extreme and I defy anyone not to identify with at least one of the stories. It is however, very graphic in its description of bomb and sniper victims and their injuries, so if you don't like gory stuff, be warned. What the story really brought home to me was the message that civilisation itself is very fragile. I felt like the author ws saying "Look, this was a modern European city,in recent times, peopled with folks just like you and me, and look what happened, and how quickly". He makes the very sobering comment that civilisation is not something we have, it is something we have to constantly work to maintain.

Like another reviewer here, I think it feels wrong to say I enjoyed it - the events described are recent and still raw for many people living in the area, and for those who went to help - but I am glad I read it.


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