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lilysmum "lilysmum65" (uk)
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Katy Perry Neon Music Maxi Poster Print - 56x86 cm
Katy Perry Neon Music Maxi Poster Print - 56x86 cm

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality product, 2 Sep 2012
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This is a great poster and my daughter really loves it. It's very big and the quality is excellent. It came in a card tube which protected it from being damaged in the post. Recommended for KP fans!


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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite small but perfectly formed!, 2 Sep 2012
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My mum is a big David Walliams fan so I bought her this poster for her birthday and she has it on the wall opposite her bed. Bless her. She loves it. In fact, I think she thinks David is related to us. She often asks me how he is, so I usually say he's a bit tired from all that swimming ;)

It is quite a small poster, but the paper quality is very good.


Groovy Hearts Beaded Bookmark
Groovy Hearts Beaded Bookmark
by Peter Pauper Press
Edition: Stationery

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little bookmark, 2 Sep 2012
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This bookmark would make a good additional present if you are buying a book for someone and want a little something additional. I was pleased with the quality - it's value for money.


The Gun Seller
The Gun Seller
by Hugh Laurie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it, 2 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Gun Seller (Paperback)
Quite a good holiday read, this novel is about an army bloke who gets hired by a rich business man to kill him, but he really wants his help; it's a test of his reactions. The government are developing a new weapon and want to use this helicopter. My criticism of this book is that it could have been funnier, but it was an entertaining read.


NW
NW
by Zadie Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.99

33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Zadie Smith, but not my last!, 2 Sep 2012
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This review is from: NW (Hardcover)
I haven't read White Teeth or The Autograph Man, but when I read the first chapters of NW in the Guardian, I was gripped and had to buy it to find out what happens next. In the first couple of chapters Leah hears a knock on her front door as she is lying on a hammock in the oppressive heat in her rented flat's back garden. The woman at the door is someone Leah remembers going to school with; however, their lives have turned out quite differently. Leah is kind to the woman, Shar, but later comes to regret her act of generosity.

Leah is married to a guy called Michel, who wants them to start a family. A lot of the early chapters explore Leah's feelings of disappointment with how her life has turned out. She and Michel are friends with a barrister (the only one from their school to have been successful with her career) and a banker, and there are some beautifully observed passages about the dinner parties that Leah goes to with them.

The book is told from multiple narrators' points of view and later sections are narrated by Felix, Nathan, (who is linked to early events) and Natalie, the barrister. I enjoyed Natalie's section the best, though the final page of Felix's story is absolutely superbly written, I thought. Natalie's section is told in the form of little vignettes from her life. I found this absorbing - it was a bit like thinking back through a collection of memories.

The use of typesetting reminded me of Laurence Stern's Tristram Shandy at times - for example, on page 24 the words take the shape of an apple tree, and on page 49 the words represent bundles of leaflets being pushed through Shar's letter box.

There are a couple of things that puzzle me. One is that Leah uses an "old credit card" to hide a purchase from her husband, and at another point she has something that she has "taken" from a friend's bathroom. I do think I would notice if a friend took things from my bathroom!

However, overall this is the best novel about London life that I have read. It seems to me to embody the jumble of lives and fortunes that go to make up London and there are some reflections about life (mostly from Leah's perspective) that really made me stop and think. Apart from that, I think the writing is just sparkling. I know this book has been described as "patchy" in places, but I didn't see that as a problem, rather, it seemed to reflect the hubbub of life, and there's a bit of a sense of "stream of consciousness" as you are reading. As Leah observes at the dinner party, "Everyone comes together for a moment to complain about the evils of technology, what a disaster, especially for teenagers, yet most people have their phones laid next to their dinner plates. Pass the buttered carrots."

I am not sure that I tied up all the loose ends of the novel the way the writer intended, but it was a satisfying ending.

I am looking forward to reading Zadie Smith's other novels.


Kamchatka
Kamchatka
by Marcelo Figueras
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Kamchatka will never sound the same, 2 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Kamchatka (Paperback)
This book reads like a memoir but is in fact a novel about life for a little boy in 1970s Argentina. His dad is a lawyer and he defends people who have spoken out against the regime. Of course, his dad's colleague is soon taken away and never seen again, and this precipitates the family going into hiding in a quinta, or safe house, in the country.

As the children are driven to the safe house by their mother, they complain loud and long about the things they have left behind - a Goofy cuddly toy and a game of Risk. The reader can see that the mother has no choice, but the children berate her for not allowing them to return home to collect their clothes and toys. It is this shifting perspective from the narrator as a child to a grown man that makes the novel so poignant and so piquant.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about life under political regimes.


The Song of Achilles
The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut novel, 2 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Song of Achilles (Paperback)
I read this book because I saw it had won the Orange Prize and because I remember studying the Iliad and the Aeniad at university. I was intrigued by the blurb which hinted at the love story of Achilles and Patroclus, who is a fairly minor character in the original poem.

Patroclus is a bit of a weak and weedy youth who makes a serious error when he pushes a boy who is trying to take his dice off him. The attacker falls and cracks his head on a rock and dies. Patroclus is horrified; he did not intend for him to die. He is sent away as a foster child and this is where he meets Achilles. The love story begins in a very subtle way and it is very well written. Patroclus is spell bound by Achilles and though Miller's writing style is spare and simple, it is also very powerful. Language is used sparingly and beautifully.

I was engrossed in the story of Patroclus' love for Achilles and my attention did wander a little when the battles began in the second half of the novel. Though the battle scenes are equally well written, they just didn't hold my interest in the same way as the start of the novel. Without giving away the ending, I was a little disappointed by how Miller dealt with the last few pages of the story.

In a similar way to Wolf Hall, this is a book that makes a very old story sound fresh and new. It's a love story and an adventure story told in a vibrant way.


Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History with a very modern twist, 2 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Wolf Hall (Paperback)
I have read and enjoyed several of Mantel's other books and this summer I thought I had sufficient time to tackle Wolf Hall. The novel tells the story of Cromwell and how he came to fame and fortune. It begins when the boy is nine and ends when Anne Boleyn is married to Henry VIII. It's told in the third person but we see everything from Cromwell's point of view so it's really more like a first person narrative. Speech is mixed with thought and this gives the story a really fresh feel and sense of immediacy. Mantel really convinces you that it is all happening for the first time, as it were, and that you are not reading a historical novel. I think she does this through the use of Cromwell's perspective (which is not what we are used to from reading history books) and the use of tiny details that make you feel you are part of each scene, watching with Cromwell.

I have some mixed feelings about this book. I found the use of "He, Cromwell..." a bit clumsy at times and it felt intrusively distracting from the story. On the other hand Mantel's writing style is breath takingly audacious at times. The descriptions of beheadings and torture brought to life men's suffering in a toe curlingly realistic way.

The way Mantel explores the world of politics and the monarchy had so many echoes with the present day. Lots to get your teeth into, and a book that has to be savoured and read slowly, I think.


The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England
The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England
by Ian Mortimer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different sort of history book, 4 July 2012
This is a really interesting read which you can dip in and out of, or read from cover to cover, as you please. I tended to dip in and out to the bits that caught my attention. Imagine that you are planning a holiday to Elizabethan England - what do you need to know? How will you travel, what will you eat, what manners and customs do you need to be aware of, which are the best places to visit? This book answers all these questions in a really reader friendly way and I loved it. I have always devoured books about Shakespeare in a search to find out what life was really like in those days, and I think this book comes the closest to actually taking me there in my mind's eye.

I particularly liked the chapter about bear baiting and the one about the priest holes. There is a passage written by a priest who hid and survived, and that sent a tingle down my spine.


Times Tables
Times Tables
by Mark Meadows
Edition: Audio CD

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "a bit boring", 29 Feb 2012
This review is from: Times Tables (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my daughter's summation of this CD of times tables set to music. She says the voices are too high and sing song. Well, I suppose she has a point about it being boring. I was thinking of playing it in the car to her as a captive audience til she knows her tables properly. She has little confidence in herself as a learner and I think that CDs like this can help build confidence, if children like them. Maybe a slightly younger child (my daughter is 10) would like this better.


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