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Josa Young "Josa Young" (London, England)

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Alys, Always
Alys, Always
by Harriet Lane
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bridget Jones' evil twin..., 27 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Alys, Always (Hardcover)
As soon as the first clues are dropped like black pebbles into a narrative that sparkles with glorious descriptions, I was gripped. Frances, the unreliable narrator, evokes an ambiguous, self-aware Bridget Jones: including her ghastly parents' limited suburban life; only we were not expected to laugh at it, but cringe along with Frances herself. Unlike Jones, Frances is actually gifted and effective in various ways, just needing a 'lucky' break to take the step up she craves. Alys, Always evokes a traditional romantic novel - the 'innocent' seemingly plain and innocuous heroine transformed and swept off her feet by the worldly, powerful, older man... except Frances is too controlling to be 'swept' anywhere. The effect is unsettling but entertaining. Proof positive that you don't have to like the characters to enjoy a clever novel. Highly recommended.


The Children of Lovers: A memoir of William Golding by his daughter
The Children of Lovers: A memoir of William Golding by his daughter
by Judy Golding
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Golding's daughter speaks, 3 Jun. 2012
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Sad, fascinating and revealing, this is a daughter's account of William Golding. She does not hold back on the less attractive aspects of her father's character, but there is so much here that is also about love. Better to be the child of someone who actively pursues a fascinating life path, even though there is wreckage (literally in this case - the book opens with the wreck of Golding's boat) than to live with someone who does nothing to inspire. Read this in conjunction with John Carey's biography for a rounded picture of the man who wrote a great deal more than Lord of the Flies. For me, The Spire and Pincher Martin are equal if not superior. A compelling character study.


How The Queen Can Make You Happy
How The Queen Can Make You Happy
by Mary Killen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A light bulb moment on every page, 3 Jun. 2012
Spectator agony aunt and all-round wit Mary Killen has excelled herself this time. Using the Queen's astonishing longevity, health, consistency of action and varied life experience as a guide, she has produced the happiness psychology book for those who don't read that kind of thing. From sitting up straight being essential for digestive health to compartmentalising to stop feelings overwhelming you and altering the appropriateness of your behaviour, it's all here. Do buy it and read it and follow its guidance - you will feel much better afterwards. It is also delightfully written, rich with interesting facts (including scientific), succinct - which means you can swallow this dose of joy in one sitting - and without a single instance of waffle. Our Queen sets us all a good example, just as she should - but would never dream of pointing this out herself. Now Killen has done it for her.


How To Be a Woman
How To Be a Woman
by Caitlin Moran
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My daughter cried, 7 May 2012
This review is from: How To Be a Woman (Paperback)
Because my daughter cried at a bus stop in the pouring rain, at the bit about Moran's first really frightful birth, and thought of me and texted me and thanked me for having her, I read it too. And I am glad I did because I found so much to relate to - particularly 'brain in a jar' - literally having no clue how to be a woman, all information from a very wide range of reading matter, from the Beano to Charles Dickens via early Barabara Cartland (the SM ones), Fanny Hill and the unsoftened Grimm, and all without stabilisers or filters of any kind (10 years of single sex boarding school). So GLAD (there you are! CAPS!) that someone else says this stuff. My daughter has no problems with being a feminist (she has converted many from 'meh' to 'me too' just by quietly explaining), and with me being a feminist, and with my particular brand 'everyone needs to grow up' - I have sons too, and they need the same thing - being all part of the human race (not some weird offshoot, for display purposes only). Anyway, thank you Moran, for articulating it all. Strident, that's me.


Geoffrey Keyes V.C. Of The Rommel Raid
Geoffrey Keyes V.C. Of The Rommel Raid
by Elizabeth Keyes; Illustrator-End Page Maps Well Illustrated With B/W Photographs
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The death of my uncle, 2 Mar. 2012
My aunt wrote this book as a tribute to my uncle, who was killed raiding Rommel's headquarters in 1941. He was already a Lt colonel at 23, and a thoroughly good and decent young man. He wanted to be an architect, and was already a decent artist, but a military career was the family tradition and so he complied. I am not looking at the original manuscript and notes for this book, thinking of working on the story myself with the benefit of further research. He won a VC for this action, posthumously, and his family never ever got over his death. The repercussions lasted all his brother, my father's life. I miss him, even though I never knew him. It is no good regretting things, but I can only imagine how different and better the family would have been if he had lived.


The Very Picture of You
The Very Picture of You
by Isabel Wolff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle canter through misunderstandings to true love, 11 Oct. 2011
I found this book very soothing. It takes place in the safe purlieus of Chelsea, where portrait painter Ella has her studio. The details of how a portrait is painted are revealing, the endless looking which would be impertinent in any other context. Love is thwarted and then blossoms, joy eventually abounds and the right people end up together in a thoroughly Shakespearean manner. Recommend it, well written and interesting.


The Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet
by Dr Pierre Dukan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply put, it works...., 6 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Dukan Diet (Paperback)
I have had to lose weight on purpose about four or five times in my life, after three pregnancies, and after a period or two of taking my eye off the ball. I have the kind of constitution and the sedentary job which makes 'eye off the ball' a recipe for weight gain. My story is like a history of popular diets and new approaches: in 1990 it was the High Fibre Diet, in 1994, Weight Watchers. In 2003, eDiets low fat. In 2011, Dukan. Of them all, I like Dukan best by far because of the lack of weighing and measuring, and the possibility of eating something that fills you up, when you are hungry. I had suspected for some time that protein works really well at keeping hunger pangs at bay for long periods, but did not fancy Atkins due to the fatty element. If you have weight to lose, read the book, follow the instructions right to the very end, including stabilising instructions, and you should achieve the desired result. Coupled with the near miraculous properties of oat bran, a kind of sweetener called Splenda, and a very positive and determined attitude, I have lost 21lbs since the end of June, and intend to fit into my favourite clothes for as long as I possibly can. Good luck to all of you, really, it works! However, you will put all the weight back on very quickly if you go back to how you ate when you gained weight. This cannot be stressed strongly enough - if you were plump before it was because you ate too much (with some medical exceptions, and Dr Dukan is very good on these). So eating as you did when you became plump, will make you plump again. Lots of good forums out there to help you on your way, and masses of interesting innovative recipes.


Seven Days One Summer
Seven Days One Summer
by Kate Morris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively peaceful - painful feelings underneath, 2 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Seven Days One Summer (Paperback)
The literary device of gathering a group of characters together, and then watching them while they do or don't do, things to each other, is well established. Often someone dies. Others are either at fault, or did it on purpose. In this book, which appears deceptively to be a simple tale about a group of people on holiday, there are undercurrents that many of us will recognise. In particular of how even well-intentioned people let things slide a bit in terms of responsibility generally, and for children when sun, swimming and booze are involved. The characters are more complex than is usual in this kind of social 'comedy'- not stereotypes. Morris is very good on tired middle-aged relationships, how sick we get of each other, and how tempting the grass on the other side of the hedge looks - and how people play mildly flirtatious games on holiday 'if...' games. But she is always subtle, never rushing her character into bed and into trouble. Her prose style has a simplicity that is also deceptive, enjoyable, rather unusual with a kind of spice to it. All in the historical present tense, which Morris handles deftly - not easy - so you feel you are there, walking beside these people in the Tuscan landscape. So, things do happen, people feel authentically, then they go home. A good read, particularly if you are taking a later summer holiday.


Freeing Grace
Freeing Grace
by Charity Norman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but serious subject, 13 July 2011
This review is from: Freeing Grace (Paperback)
This tale of babies and mothers struck a strong chord with me. Having written in the past about concurrent adoption, where the adoptive parents get a baby, but only while and if the social services can sort out the parents' problems. If this is done, then the baby or child is returned to the parents - leaving the adoptive parents bereft (they are of course specially trained for this eventuality - but how can you train for love and its loss?). Freeing Grace depicts the agony of this - to be given a longed for baby, but then having it taken away again. The characters were interesting, mostly complex and understandable. There was a great unreliable narrator in Jake - the Kiwi man-boy swept up in a complex family situation that he doesn't really understand.

As a read, it was a galloping one. I couldn't put it down and stayed up far too late with it. It reminded me most of early Joanna Trollope - lots of detail, interest, characterisation and plot with excellent, sometimes beautiful, writing. Basically I loved it and think Norman has a great career ahead of her in the women's fiction market.


The Rise and Shine Saturday Show
The Rise and Shine Saturday Show
by Emma Lee-Potter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Just right for star struck tweens, 4 Jun. 2011
The format of this book is entirely and satisfyingly conventional. Who will win the talent contest? It is written with enormous charm and skill, and I highly recommend it. My teen son devoured it (he is a bit of a performer himself and related to the characters). Emma has written about how she took the plunge and published this book herself - having previously been published novelist for adults. Cannot really understand why this wasn't picked up - sure there are lots more where this came from. Stocking filler, class birthday present for children 9 - 13? Stock up!


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