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Reviews Written by
Essex Mark (Chelmsford, UK)

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Catweazle
Catweazle
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful fantasy book for children, 1 May 2016
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This review is from: Catweazle (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely adored this book about an 11th century magician transported to the twentieth century. It is a wonderfully amusing look at how an alien would cope with (e.g.) planes, cars & telephones. Highly entertaining !


High-Rise
High-Rise
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb & disturbing, 15 April 2016
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This review is from: High-Rise (Kindle Edition)
This is an incredible book about the breakdown of the natural human order with a high rise tower block. Beautifully written and convincing, it is very alarming how quickly chaos takes over in these 60s concrete monoliths. A wonderful book - must go and see the film now...


Room: Picador Classic
Room: Picador Classic

3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves. Spoiler alert !, 10 Dec. 2015
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I actually enjoyed the first half of this book better than the second half which seems totally illogical when you consider that the second half is when the trapped child is first exposed to the wider world at age 5. I think the problem was that in exploring these new situations, the child questions everything which, as anyone who has had kids can testify, can get very wearing.
Not only this, but it also turned into a series of we did this then we did that statements. So I'm afraid I got a bit bored and frustrated by the end of the book. A bit of a shame as I thought the premise of the book was extremely interesting.


Cider With Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy Book 1)
Cider With Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing, 1 Dec. 2015
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Like many people, I was required to read this book at school. Not having much interest at the time in reading, I didn't bother. I'm eventually catching up with all those books I should have read 30 years later, and I have, indeed, discovered some wonderful books.

This one, however, disappointed me. I just didn't like Lee's rather whimsical and ponderous writing style. Never mind - plenty of other books on my school reading lists...


Blacklands
Blacklands
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, gripping thriller, 14 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Blacklands (Kindle Edition)
Having just finished the lame The Girl on the Train, I wanted to read a decent book, and I wasn't disappointed. This is an excellent, tense, gripping and intelligently written novel. I absolutely loved it.

It just remains a mystery to me how The Girl on the Train has received a higher overall review rating than this infinitely superior book...


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Vaguely intriguing but poorly written, 6 Nov. 2015
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The plot of this book is about the lives of three women & how they intertwine. It's not a particularly original subject, but what really lets the book down is the simple writing style - little elegance or description.

I know this is a bestseller, which simply reinforces my opinion that you should never confuse popularity with quality when it comes to literature. After all, look at the execrable Da Vinci Code...


Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar
Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar
by David Millar
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, compelling read, 12 Oct. 2011
I have to confess that I'd been a little sniffy about David Millar since his doping scandal. Plus, I don't think he interviews very well on the TV - a slightly odd character. But this book is a complete revelation. The book goes into huge detail about his early life and what led to his downfall. For someone like me who loves cycling, it is just fascinating to read all about one horrible day in the Tour in 2010 when he nearly gave up - something that would be covered in seconds on the TV, but is recounted in amazing and fascinating detail in this book.

I used to feel that David Millar should have been made an example of, and banned for life - I absolutely don't believe that now. I know it's easy to say, but he's not like a stupid Ricco or a denier like Landis and Virenque - he confessed when he was arrested and rebuilt himself painfully.

This is a no-holds barred account of his downfall and his rise back to a fulfilling life, and is simply a superb read for any cycling fan. Well done, Dave !


The Chrysalids
The Chrysalids
by John Wyndham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and gripping drama, 14 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
Like a great many people, I believe, the only John Wyndham book I had read was the superb `Day of the Triffids'. Knowing that Wyndham would probably be classified as a sci-fi writer, I was expecting that `The Chrysalids' would be a story about aliens landing on the earth ! Wrong. The story is about the human race post some unmentioned (one supposes) nuclear war leaving `normal' people and genetic mutations. The two races are kept separate from each other and meet only in battle. The normal people are taught from an early age that only they are made in God's true likeness, and they have to have a certificate to prove their normality. Any abnormalities are banished to the `fringes'. The story centres on a young man called David who, as we learn, is telepathic, who communicates telepathically with some others in his neighbourhood and his younger sister, Petra. They have to keep this very secret as, although not a physical disparity, they would still be considered to be mutants and banished to the fringes. Eventually their secret does get out and David and some others have to flee and fight for their lives...

Despite not being what I expected, the book is a revelation - it is many years since I read the `Triffids' and I had forgotten what a superb writer Wyndham is. He knows how to write a gripping story, and the story is effused with a real sense of danger and drama. I loved it - his style is, I feel, quite similar to that of John Christopher (he wrote the Tripods trilogy), although Christopher was generally a little obsessed with the type of story in which some disaster has wiped out most of humanity and he then concentrates on how the few people left manage to survive - a rather similar concept, in fact, to `The Day of the Triffids' !

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, and I can't wait to read more of his works - perhaps `The Kraken Wakes' next...


Eating Out [DVD]
Eating Out [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rebekah Kochan
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £5.38

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bubble gum fun, 22 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Eating Out [DVD] (DVD)
I really liked this film - one of the main reasons I liked it was that it doesn't take itself too seriously. The acting's OK, but it's just light-hearted fun, and at least it has a nice happy ending as well.

The other big plus of the film is that all the men in it are very hot with a capital H ! There is certainly one scene in the middle of the film when Kaleb is on the phone that is incredibly sexy.

Don't watch this film if you are expecting a high-brow film examining gay life, but do watch it if you want to spend an hour and a half watching some good looking guys and girls playing around and enjoying themselves.


Cocaine Nights
Cocaine Nights
by J. G. Ballard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.83

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flags a little towards the end..., 2 July 2007
This review is from: Cocaine Nights (Paperback)
I finished this book today - this is my first J.G.Ballard novel. He is clearly a brilliant writer - his use of language and descriptions are first class.

I did generally enjoy the book, but felt that it flagged a little towards the end when I was getting a bit bored of it. As other reviewers have said, it is basically a "whodunnit" that is drawn out too long. The main character, Charles Prentice, gets drawn into a world of crime by the local wide boy, Bobby Crawford. However, the seduction of Charles by Bobby seems a little jarring and didn't quite flow in the narrative of the book.

Come the end of the book, because I was getting bored of it, I felt strangely unsatisfied, and yet the first half of the book was scintillating.

Ballard appears to be a prolific writer so hopefully I can find a better book of his to read that I'm sure I would enjoy more.


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