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Thea Karass

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The Siege
The Siege
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Siege (Kindle Edition)
Will linger, very powerful.
I didn't know I was so ignorant of history.


Jazz: Henri Matisse
Jazz: Henri Matisse
by Henri Matisse
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Jazz: Henri Matisse (Hardcover)
A beautiful book to treasure.


Kung Fu Rabbit [DVD]
Kung Fu Rabbit [DVD]
Dvd ~  Tom Arnold, Rebecca Black  Jon Heder
Price: £4.96

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 24 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Kung Fu Rabbit [DVD] (DVD)
Very disappointing.


KEEN Venice Ladies Sandal, Brindle, UK6.5
KEEN Venice Ladies Sandal, Brindle, UK6.5

5.0 out of 5 stars Pair in reserve, 24 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Keen Venice 5210 (Shoes)
I love these shoes. All day, every day.
Winter will get in the way.


Levels of Life
Levels of Life
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite writing, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: Levels of Life (Hardcover)
Having read this on my Kindle, I have just ordered in hardback - to read again, and keep for the long term.

A treatise on love and pain, it is elegant and shocking.

The construction is brilliant - history, metaphor, present.

What a writer, what a man.


The Quickening
The Quickening
Price: £3.59

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Julie, 21 April 2013
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This review is from: The Quickening (Kindle Edition)
I'm a dedicated fan, and will be forever grateful for 'Living with Teenagers', while Laura Blundy is one of my all-time favourite novels. I will read whatever Julie publishes.

I know this story was a departure for her, an experiment with a different form.

But for me, it should have stayed as just that - an unpublished experimental manuscript, to be recycled into something good at a future date.

This story was wooden, the details left sloppy (no-one can get married in a couple of days) and neither the characters nor their perambulation through the scenes were remotely credible, or interesting.

Ok, there's an unexpected twist - but by that time I was indifferent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2013 9:22 AM BST


Life After Life
Life After Life
Price: £3.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stand out stuff, 21 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Life After Life (Kindle Edition)
From a ready-stuffed Kindle, primed for an enforced period of convalescence, this work stood up head and shoulders above the rest.

It provided a good couple of days' worth of old fashioned thought-provoking engagement and enjoyment, as well as a lasting sense of having attempted to say something important - about life, and curiously - about the experience of reading. For me, its concept and treatment succeeded on many levels,

It made me reflect on our 'fast food' tendencies as readers - we love to consume, we love things to be complicated but to work out in the end, we love the quotidian detail but aren't averse to a bit of grand passion along the way, peering in to warm our hands at a moving story, then grieving momentarily when a gripping tale comes to an end. We generally fill the gap pretty fast.

What this book manages to do, is to get us to slow down and 'fine dine.'

Without having read any of the reviews or explanations of what Kate Atkinson was trying to do or say - I came to the novel unprepared, and was duly pulled up short. This was not going to be an 'easy' read - apparent linear action and endings were only momentary stops along the way, subject to constant revisions in different timeframes and alternative outcomes, without apology for any readerly investment or upset. I stopped noting the dates and years as the action lurched backwards and forwards in time. Instead, I gave in to the unfolding of a character - Ursula Todd - whose life included so many possibilities, which we were treated to in sum. In some ways she doesn't come to much, in others she is a hero - but it is her tentativeness and feelings of confused deja vu about life that connect the reader to her as something recognisably true.

Having now read the reviews, and Kate Atkinson's own insight into the book, I'm glad I read it 'blind.'

I didn't relate to the book as a series of attempts at life, with second and third chances of 'trying to get it right'. I saw it as anything but linear.

For me, the story lines were elegantly just that - external, ultimately inconsequential as we slowly catch on and see them for what they are - constructs, secondary to the person and its binding desire to live.

Amazing thought, from the comfort of my couch - playing a leading role in multiple stories unfolding at the same time.


But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You
But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You
by Sue Hepworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.31

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hits the mark, 12 Jun 2011
This story takes the reader on a satisfying and enjoyable journey.

The humour and lighthearted style camouflage the growing seriousness of the situation, in which a long-term, loving relationship comes under threat because of conflicting dreams: Sol wants to live in Northumberland, Fran wants to take up the advice job she has been offered in Derbyshire.

An apparently straightforward conflict is complicated by contrasting psychologies, which are richly brought to life.

Fran is an extrovert who is drawn to people, but she becomes both distracted and exhausted by their needs. While she loves Sol, she also needs validation from the outside world - the advice job appears to offer just that opportunity.

Sol doesn't understand - he is internally driven, whether by enthusiasms or personal sticking points - and seems set on escaping interaction with the world.
His original take on life is very demanding, but leads to some glorious one-liners ('your nose is rather reminiscent of the twisted spire in Chesterfield....I like the twisted spire. And don't forget, it's a tourist attraction.')

This man will surely become a new kind of hero in male leads....certainly my husband, when he leaned over my shoulder to take a look, nodded in agreement with the last line in the book.

The lasting impression created by this heart-warming story is one of recognition - that life-changing situations arise all too suddenly, and that understanding how another person works is an eternal puzzle with hard-won insights. Honesty and courageous action eventually distill what matters most - bringing this story to its rightful conclusion.

Sue Hepworth has made a valuable contribution to 'mature' fiction. She demonstrates that strong emotions reduce us all to novice status, regardless of our age.


Plotting for Beginners: A Novel for New Beginnings
Plotting for Beginners: A Novel for New Beginnings
by Sue Hepworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.30

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grown up comedy, 16 May 2006
This novel is a playful take on the motivations and quirks of getting older, whilst having all the insecurities and passions of being young at heart. Sally Howe is driven to use her year of apparent separation from Walden obsessed husband Gus to achieve her goal of getting her novel published. With plenty of self-mocking twists to her 'writerly plait', she turns to friend Kate for online moral support, and keeps an amusing journal of the year's ups and downs.

The strength of the novel is in the warm, humorous characterisation of Sally - her strong presence gives life to the absent though fascinatingly eccentric Gus, and the stylised Kate who is only encountered through email.

Other characters seem to float across Sally's life, wanting something or other from her, while she is single-mindedly trying to drive forward as a writer - against the backdrop of being a menopausal novice in the game. She also unwittingly attracts more male attention than she can handle, which provides light relief to the two main questions of whether she'll get published, and is her marriage over.

'Plotting for Beginners'is a highly entertaining study of insecurity and intelligence - and a good joke that the authors have actually succeeded in getting their novel published, whereas Sally has a more circuitous path to recognition. It's also a rare tribute to long term relationships and how the important things just get more so.

Uplifting read, highly recommended.


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