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Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK)
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The Days of Anna Madrigal
The Days of Anna Madrigal
by Armistead Maupin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm so sad it's over, 26 Oct. 2014
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This is, according to Armistead Maupin, the last of the novels that make up the Tales of the City series. I was delighted when he started writing them again after a long break. Now I'm sad all over again. I do not want this to be the last of the books, but the ending pretty much ties up all the loose ends from all the previous books and makes me think that this time there won't be a last minute come back to cheer me up.

You need to have read all the previous books in the series to make any sense of this one, so there is absolutely no point in me rehashing any of the plot here. If you're intrigued go ahead and start with the first book. You won't be disappointed. They remain some of the finest books I've ever read.

I very much enjoyed exploring Anna's past in this book, although I'd have liked to have spent a little more time with Mouse and Brian. When all the characters are so loveable it's hard not to feel cheated out of their company.


Wild Boy
Wild Boy
by Rob Lloyd Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best children's reads of 2014, 26 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Wild Boy (Paperback)
My daughter got given this book when she started high school recently. She brought it on holiday with us and asked me to read it while were were on a long car journey. After the first chapter the entire family were hooked and we polished it off in a week. We love Wild Boy. The book is tense and exciting and full of gruesome, brilliant episodes that have your readers begging to read just a bit more. The character of Wild Boy was fantastic and we loved his pairing with the feisty Clarissa. We loved every single bit of this book.

A brief warning if you're thinking of buying this book for a school. The book is pretty graphic in terms of violence and has some rather disturbing scenes in anatomy schools, work houses etc. It does not shy away from brutality, and there are several uses of swear words in the book. As a primary school librarian I would not be allowed to stock it in my school library, as swearing is not acceptable in the books we stock. You must use your discretion. I thought it was brilliant, and if you're looking for a book to entice reluctant boy readers in particular, this would be dynamite.


The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Caldecott Medal Book)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Caldecott Medal Book)
by Brian Selznick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting graphic novel for those who love a visual delight, 26 Oct. 2014
I admit it took me literally years to get around to reading this. I was seduced by the beauty of the book. Then I found I kept putting it down and forgetting to finish it. Even watching the film didn't help much.

The moral of this story for me is to remember that I don't really warm to graphic novels. This isn't entirely a graphic novel, but large parts of it are in graphic novel form, and they were the bits where I put the book down and wandered off for six months.

For those who love graphic novels, and gorgeous illustrations, this is the book for you. This book is all about the visual. The story itself is about discovering a love of the visual arts in its broadest form and the narrative is pretty thin, mostly there to support what you see rather than what you read.

It could be an amazing way to get a reluctant reader into the novel form, and I recommend it for those purposes.


When Marnie Was There (Essential Modern Classics)
When Marnie Was There (Essential Modern Classics)
Price: £3.88

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully dreamy tale of loss and friendship, 26 Oct. 2014
A friend recommended this book to me several years ago. I hunted it down, only to find it was out of print. Last week I found a copy of the new, re-released paperback tie in to go along with the film by Studio Ghibli in a bookshop. Amazon are currently saying that the paperback version is not released until April 2015 however, which is why my review is for the Kindle version, which is available now. This is a wonderful, sad and slow ghost story which is more about friendship and loss than eeriness and things that go bump in the night. It reminded me a little of Tom's Midnight Garden, which is what it is compared to, but also with Charlotte Sometimes and A Stitch in Time, both of which I read as a child. I loved this dreamy, thoughtful book.


Knightley and Son
Knightley and Son
by Rohan Gavin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Sherlock Holmes style mystery for children, 25 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Knightley and Son (Paperback)
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I liked this book very much. It was a little slow in places, but I think that was down to the fact that this is obviously the first book of a series, and the author had to balance the story with setting up the wider plot arc and relationships for the books to follow. As an adult there are times when you have to suspend disbelief in what is effectively a police procedural for children, but for a child the gaps where the author has to allow things to happen in ways they wouldn't in real life just wouldn't be so noticeable, or indeed noticeable at all. The characters are interesting, the plot has some excellent funny moments to relieve the tension - Clive and the test drive of his car being my particular favourite - and the story flows nicely. I look forward to reading more by this author.


Saints of the Shadow Bible (Inspector Rebus 19)
Saints of the Shadow Bible (Inspector Rebus 19)
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars What a treat, 18 Oct. 2014
I am always delighted when Ian Rankin treats us to a new Rebus story and this is no exception. I particularly liked the way he brought together his newest character Malcolm Fox, with Rebus and Siobhan Clarke. I really hope this is the start of a relationship that will go on into the future. Saints of the Shadow Bible has all the classic Rebus ingredients, twisting plot lines, red herrings, the faint whiff of corruption and Rebus gloriously treading the line between the greatest cop of all time and the greatest villain of all time. Wonderful.


Cakes in Space
Cakes in Space
by Philip Reeve
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.44

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to love about spoon stealing aliens?, 18 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Cakes in Space (Hardcover)
Cakes in Space is another excellent collaboration by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, their first being Oliver and the Seawigs. This shares many of the aspects that made Oliver and the Seawigs such a delight to read. There are fabulous, full page illustrations by McIntyre which riot across the pages and really bring the story to life. There is Reeve's excellent sense of what will make a story exciting and funny, and the story itself is really, really strong. Astra is a great character, and I loved the spoon stealing aliens so much I laughed out loud.


Bink and Gollie
Bink and Gollie
by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A delight from beginning to end, 15 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Bink and Gollie (Paperback)
This book is a joy to read. A little Calvin & Hobbes, a little Eloise, and a whole lot of charm. The three stories in this book are in a kind of juvenile graphic novel format, with detailed, cartoon like drawings, and minimal speech. The speech patterns however, are fairly sophisticated and actually suitable for a much older reader than the cover perhaps conveys. I'd recommend it for confident readers aged seven to ten, or to read to younger readers as part of story time. I loved the characters of Bink and Gollie. The book was charming and funny and delightful.


The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus Book 4)
The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus Book 4)
by Rick Riordan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Absolutely enthralling stuff, 14 Oct. 2014
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I haven't a word to say against these books. They are spectacularly thrilling, never miss their mark, and always enchant my children. This is no exception. I have read them all nine books in the two series so far, and we have just finished in time for The Blood of Olympus to fall on the door mat. We are sad this book is finished, and utterly delighted the new book is here. We cannot wait. This book was utterly splendid in every way.


Friends, Food, Family: Recipes and Secrets from LibertyLondonGirl
Friends, Food, Family: Recipes and Secrets from LibertyLondonGirl
by Sasha Wilkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.19

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am delighted with this book, 14 Oct. 2014
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I am loving this book. Not only is it one of those cookery books full of stories, and snippets of information that mean you can read it as a narrative, and a lovely thing to dip in and out of (much the same reason I love Nigel Slater's books), but it is full of delicious, yet simple recipes that you can use every day, but which offer some great alternatives to your regular repertoire.

So far we have made the chick pea puree, which is a garlicky delight and takes about three minutes to make. We have also made the Huevos Rancheros and eaten its component parts (fresh salsa, home made guacamole with a kick, and cumin fried black beans), both as part of the dish and separately in other things, because they are so versatile. We have also made the palmier biscuits, which were dead easy to whip up, and made use of the puff pastry my son put in the kitchen drawer instead of the freezer.

I would say that we cook Huevos Rancheros fairly frequently, but this recipe is slightly different from the way we usually do it, which is why I tried it. The family agreed hands down this was the best version they have tasted.

Tonight we are having the baked chicken breasts and the pea and asparagus risotto, before making some cookies for my husband to take to work tomorrow. We are all looking forward to dinner.

The recipes are simple and easy to follow. Sasha is very relaxed about the recipes, indicating where you can switch ingredients to suit tastes, which is something I have to do a lot of in our house anyway, and I like the freedom of being able to tweak a bit, and being encouraged by the author to do it.

The book is nicely set out and arranged into useful sections. The production quality, as I would expect with a Quadrille publication is high, and the pictures are appealing, and not too arty, so you can actually see what you're working towards if you've never made a dish before.

I have a feeling this book will get used and used in our house as a pratical, every day cookery book that keeps on offering up deliciously simple meals that work without fail.


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