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KAT "tatethegr8" (Kettering Northants)

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Sleeping Arrangements :
Sleeping Arrangements :
by Madeleine Wickham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.88

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever concept - but 'Cocktails' is better, 20 Sep 2009
'Sleeping Arrangements' is only the second book I've read under Madelience Wickham, with 'Cocktails for Three' being the first - and while I thoroughly enjoyed this read, I have to say I much prefer 'cocktails'. Not that this book isn't good - its a great read if you want escapism and a good plot line, but I didn't really feel I could relate to the characters like I could in Cocktails. And to be honest, I didn't really grow to like any of the characters in this book, and hardly any of them have any redeeming features. But thats just my own opinion afterall.

Chloe is a wedding dress maker, and can't wait to get away from the mundane and stresses of trying to cram an oversized bride into an undersized dress, while her long-term boyfriend Philip is having trouble at work. With the threat of reduncancy hanging over his head, he needs a break with Chloe and their two sons just as much as she does. Luckily Chloe's weathly friend Gerard has kindly leant them his Spanish Villa for a week - perfect!

Hugh Stratton desperatly needs to spend more time with his family. His glamorous, immaculate but ice-cold wife Amanda is more interested in her designer house than she is in him, and his job as a Busisness Stragist and head of his own company leaves him little time to spend with his two daughters. But luckily his wealthy friend Gerard has loaned him his luxery villa in Spain for a week - bliss!

And so both families turn up at the same Villa on the same day only to find that Gerard has doubled booked. A tense and uneasy week of sharing with strangers beings - but are the families really strangers at all? It turns out that two of them have a secret history that if revealed could shatter both families lives forever. And more to the point, was Gerards seemingly innocent error really an error afterall or have the two families been royally set-up? As tempers fray and the heat soars, will any of them get the well earned break they all deserve or will Gerard intervene and spoil things once and for all?

This a very clever plot line, and has a lot of surprising twists and turns throughout - throw in a tempestuous Australian nanny and a typical teenage boy and you've the basis for a great story. But what I like about this book in particular is the fact that just when you think you've figured out what's going to happen next, you turn the page and find out you are totally wrong. A good book to read if you are a fan of Madeleine Wickham, but I prefer 'Cocktails' by a mile. Still, its definitly worth 4 stars - if only for the very clever concept of the story.

The Assassination Of Marilyn Monroe
The Assassination Of Marilyn Monroe
by Donald H. Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder of a Megastar!, 13 July 2009
I have ready many, many books over the years to do with the life, death and career of Marilyn Monroe, but none has touched or compelled me to read on more than this one - 'The Assassination of Marilyn Monroe' by Donald. H. Wolfe. For me the title says it all, it doesn't beat about the bush it comes straight to the point of the book before you even turn over the front cover! I have personally long since believed that there was more to Marilyn's demise than what the officials decided, and this for me, just proves it beyond all doubt. It is very obvious within the first few chapters that Donald has meticulously researched every aspect and nuance of her death - he hasn't just taken the facts and then shoe-horned them to fit his own theory like other books of this nature.

Donald provides a carefully constructed time-line of Marilyn's final days, who she spoke to, who she saw, what was said and the mood she was in during those fateful final hours. In short nothing - or no-one- gets past Donald. He has spoken to and interviewed many people who had dealings with the star, both before and after her demise and he has trawled through thousands of reports into her death, step by step blowing apart the suicide theory. But as well as talking about her the events surrounding her death, he tells of her traumatic childhood and the love affairs that lead up to her demise; her assosiations with the Hollywood elite like the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, actor Peter Lawson and The Kennedy Brothers - and the existance of a little red diary in Marilyns possession that if exposed could blow the American Government apart!

This story is indeed fascinating, and Donald has done a superb job - however... and this is reason that I (reluctantly) with-held the final star... the book is very long and there are so many different people involved throughout, professionals, friends associates etc. that I found I had to go back and re-read several pages to remember who exactly was who. A who's-who's glossery at the front or back would have finished it off very nicely for me.

But thanks to Donald. H. Wolfe and his superb rhetoric throughout the book, true Marilyn fans like myself have what they always thought would allude them - the truth about the night that the Worlds Brightest star suddenly burned out. May you rest in peace Marilyn - like Elton John says - Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did - or ever will for that matter - but you can now rest easy now knowing that the truth is finally out there.

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.26

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IncRhydible, 22 May 2009
This review is from: Rhydian (Audio CD)
To some people Rhydian Roberts might not be the most visually pleasing of all the X-Factor singers, but I do believe he might well be the most talented.

Although in the initial stages many people thought Rhydian was arrogant and cocky, I didn't believe this for a second and I am glad that he managed to turn peoples opinions around enough to gain second place in the competition (He was robbed) But every pantomime needs a villian, and I believe Rhydian was the scapegoat for X-Factor series 4.
However, thankfully, his vocal talent far over-rode that of any other singer of that series and I still cannot believe he didn't win (I blame the teeny-boppers personally, who vote for looks over vocal talent)

However, Rhydian has proved all his doubters wrong with this superb debut album. As a classical-crossover fan I love this kind of music anyway and it features some of his most memorable performances from the series including the astounding 'Somewhere' which actually bought tears to my eyes when he sang it on the show, plus 'Bridge over Troubled Water' which he sings with so much passion and origionality. I would also have liked to have had his version of 'Phantom of The Opera' and 'You Raise me Up' on this album as they were my favourite performences on the show. However, there is a wide selection and variety in this album, and Rhydian more than does each song justice with his superb voice. The title song on this album is 'The Impossible Dream' which must be quite ironic for Rhydian considering he came up against so much resistance from the public and judges at the beginning of the series that his dream probably did seem impossibe for a lot of the time.

Moreover this album is proof that Rhydian was the rightful winner of Series 4, and I for one wish him all the very best success for the future. I hope the albums keep on coming and I will certainly keep on buying them. Rhydian Roberts certainly is an IncRHYDible Talent!

Beyond Evil
Beyond Evil
by Nathan Yates
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Belief, 21 Mar 2009
This review is from: Beyond Evil (Paperback)
I have already read Holly Wells' Fathers own book on the Soham Murders in 2002, so I decided to read this book to see the tragedy from another point of view. Author Nathan Yates is a tabloid journalist from The Daily Mirror, who like many others in his profession, witnessed the investigation first hand. On several occasions he encountered both Huntley and Carr, and once even interviewed them in their own home.

While this book delves deep into the past of both the murderer and his accomplice and carefully peices together Huntley and Carr's upbringings, their relationships, and Huntley's previous catalogue of violence, it also details the murder, the athermarth and Huntley's meticulous cover-up as if Yates was there, inside the Head of Huntley while he was carrying out his evil plan. Yates documents what Huntley would have been thinking and feeling when he murdered the girls, when he was hiding the bodies and subsequently trying to return to his normal life. All the time I was reading this I couldn't help thinking 'how would Nathan know what was going on inside Huntley's head?'. Huntley has never spoken out about the murders or the reasons why he commited such dispicable crimes, so I doubt than anyone but Huntley himself knows the truth about what really went through his head that day. Yates also persists in detailing just HOW Huntley killed the girls, which is something even the pathologists couldn't be 100% sure of, so how can an ordinary tabloid Hack know exactly what went on in the House of Horrors and how Holly and Jessica died when he wasn't even there?! This only serves to upset you more, and you can't help but relive their last moments in your head, something which upset me greatly when I read it.

This book reads like it should be written by a phychologist, someone qualified to know what Huntley would REALLY have been thinking, maybe someone who spent time anaylsing his state of mind in prison, not a tabloid hack whose job is to document the investigation - not to try to get into Huntley's phyche! I am sure this would have made for a very disturbing and upsetting read for anyone connected to Holly and Jessica on a personal level.

Also there are several glaring inconsitancies in the book, which shows that the author hasn't done his research thoroughly enough. At the beginning of the book, whilst describing the Wells family, Nathan states that Holly's parents were in the habit of attending church regularly. Having read 'Goodbye Dearest Holly' by Kevin Wells himself, I know this to be wrong. Nowhere does Kevin state that his family go to church regularly, and he himself is a self-proclaimed skeptic until he meets the medium Dennis McKenzie whose spookily accurate predictions turn his religious beliefs on their head. Also Nathan also claims that he believes Huntley may have used a drug simular to GHD to subdue the two girls, or may have given them alcohol. Again, having read Kevin's book, I know this is inaccurate as the girls stomach content analysis prooved that they had not been given drugs or alcohol as their stomachs were devoid of any alcohol or drug related substances.

But inaccuracies aside, all the same I did enjoy the book, told from a different perspective, from people who saw the investigation from the outside, and actually spent a fair amount of time with Ian Huntley. One of whom I might add was my own Uncle, a Military Policeman who was called out to search for Holly and Jessica. He encounted Huntley on the night he had committed the murders and later told me that he came across as completely plausable! It just goes to show what a master manipulator Huntley was.

By the end, knowing what I now know, this book only served to make me dispise Huntley even more than I already did, while the jury is still out on Maxine Carr. This book is worth a read if you can keep an open mind and remember that it is written by a journalist whose job is to sensasionalise the facts, and not a hardered phychologist who really did get inside the twisted head of Ian Huntley.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2012 4:25 PM BST

Confessions of  a Shopaholic [DVD]
Confessions of a Shopaholic [DVD]
Dvd ~ Isla Fisher
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.70

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When the going gets tough - the tough go shopping, 9 Mar 2009
I've been waiting for this film to be released since I first heard it was in production - 6 months ago - and it's been a long wait! I've been chomping at the bit to go and see it since I heard it was coming out in February. I've read every book in this series and so I had high hopes for the film. I wasn't dissapointed - much! While the film was very laugh-out-loud funny for most of the time, it only stuck loosly to the theme of the book. For a start, Rebecca lives in London and the film is set in New York. There are also some very funny moments in the book that I wish would have panned out on screen. Also, books one and two are merged, the ending of two providing the finale of this film. But while I preferred the book, the film was very good, and Isla Fisher more than matched up to my image of Becky - actually I thought Isla portrayed a better Becky than the Becky we meet in the book, coming across as more endearing and innocent and you really feel sorry for her in parts.
Hugh Dancy plays Luke Brandon, and while they altered his character a lot, (For a start he's editor of Successful Saving in the film while in the book he's head honcho of his own multi-million pound firm) I think he did a very good job of playing Luke, even if in my imagination Luke Brandon was taller and more clean-cut.

All in all this film is a good watch, and I got totally lost in the plot line. And while a lot of characters have been altered for the screen I still enjoyed it. Maybe it wasn't wise to release a film about a shopoholic when people are drowning in a credit-crunch but it brings a little light relief into otherwise depressing times. All in all, Isla and Hugh did a great job in the lead roles and I would like a few sequals pan out - particularly 'Ties the Knot' and 'Baby'
For anyone going to see this film, I'd say see it first then read the book - for me having done it in the reverse kind of spoiled the film for me as it didn't quite match up to my expectations having read the book first. Nevertheless I will be buying this when it comes out. A feel-good comedy/romance that even the thriftiest person would enjoy.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2009 2:07 PM BST

The Karate Kid 3 [1989] [DVD] [2011]
The Karate Kid 3 [1989] [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ John G. Avildsen|Ralph Macchio|Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita|Sean Kanen
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £3.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Finale, 31 Dec 2008
Having loved both the Karate Kid movies, 1 & 2 I really didn't know what they would do with the third and final installment to keep the fans interest. I learned I should never judge a book by its cover. This film actually pleasently surprised me and I definatly thought the third film was needed just to tie everything up and provide a fitting finale to the journey. The beginning of the film takes the viewer back along the journey from the first movie, where John Kreese, the Sensi of the Cobra Kai Dojo has now lost everything, thanks to Daniel defeating one of his students for the first time ever. Now, embarrassed and broken with his business in ruins and the loss of all his student, bitter Kreese decides he wants revenge of Daniel and Miagi after Miagi humiliated him by duffing him up at the beginning of the second movie. Along with his friend Terry Silver, Kreese hires a Karate champion in the form of Mike Barnes to fight Daniel and take his title.

Having returned from Okinowa (seen in the second movie) Miagi and Daniel have opened up their own Bonsai store and Daniel is ready to put the tournements behind him once and for all. However, after being constantly abused and blackmailed by nasty Mike Barnes, Daniel finally has no choice but to enter the ring and defend his title. Miagi however is dismayed that Daniel has gone against his principles and refuses to train him for the fight. At a loss and completely alone desperate Daniel turns to Terry Silver who has befriended him to train him for the match. However, believing that Terry is there to help him, Daniel is lured into a false sense of security and soon comes face to face with his old adversary Kreese backed up by Barnes and Silver who have set him up. Luckily for Daniel, Miagi is on hand to sort out the situation and kick some Cobra Kai butt. Realising how Daniel has been manipulated in to the situation, Miagi agrees to train him for the final fight. Daniel finally steps into the ring against Mike and lays all his ghosts (and enemies) to rest, finishing the Cobra Kai once and for all, and defeating Barnes to retain his title as the one and only Karate Kid!

This installment finally ties up all the loose ends and you feel that both characters have been explored thoroughly. The only small niggle I have is the continuety issue of Ralph who plays Daniel being much bigger in this film (bearing in mind it was three years between KK 2 & 3 and with Ralph being 28 years old at the time this is not surprising) however, as its supposed to lead straight on from two, Daniel seems to have eaten a lot of Japanese food while he was away! If you like one and two then definitly give this a watch, the film comes full circle and leaves the viewer satisfied in knowing that they've seen the whole story. A classic film to watch and own.

Santa Claus - The Movie [DVD] [1985]
Santa Claus - The Movie [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Dudley Moore
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magical Christmas Movie, 19 Nov 2008
"The Prophesy has come to pass...that there will come to us a Chosen One...and that he, having no child of his own, will love all the children in all the world..." And in these immortal words a Miricle took place and the Legend of Santa Claus was born.

I have watched this film every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, and no matter how many times I watch it, it seems just as magical as the very first time I ever saw it. This is simply a wonderful story that explains the Legend of Christmas in a way which will never fail to entrall generations of children. It tells the story of Santa Claus from his origin; how a humble & kind toymaker with a love for children and a skill in carpentry became the man we now know as Santa Claus. This Movie answers all the questions ever asked about Santa by children, from how his Reindeer fly to how he delivers all the presents in just one night. David Huddleson completely encompasses Santa Claus in every which way, complete with white beard, hair, suit, sack and flying reindeer. And the brilliant Dudley Moore throws in excellent elements of comedy as the impressive Elf Patch. Although there is a storyline to this, concerning Patch and a young street-urchin called Joe whom Santa be-friends, and an evil Entrepeneur trying to steal Xmas away from Santa, it still retains its wonder magic and doesn't stray away from the real story - the legend of Father Christmas.

Even today as a fully grown Adult I still regress to 5 years old when I see this film, and it never fails to capture my imagination. I can honestly say there is no other Christmas movie out there that makes me feel this way. I simply adore this film and I'm sure any child who watches this at Christmas will come away loving it just as much as I do still today.

The Karate Kid [DVD] [2005]
The Karate Kid [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Ralph Macchio
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £3.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kid comes good, 24 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Karate Kid [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) is the new kid in town when he forced to move from his home in New Jersey to Sunny California to accomodate his mothers new job. However, instead of making friends, hapless Daniel only succeeds in making enermies when he angers the star student of the local Cobra Kai Karate Dojo, Johnny, by hooking up with his ex girlfried Ali (Elisabeth Shu). After several beatings at the hands of the gang, poor Daniel is at the end of his tether, until an unlikely hero steps in to save him. Mr. Miagi (Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita) is the the local handyman and a secret martial arts expert, and the two form a wonderful but unlikely friendship which steadily grows throughout the film, despite the huge age difference. The wise and whimsical Japanese master teaches Daniel Karate, but at the same time also teaches him the self respect, confidence and disipline of the sport through philosiphy. Soon Daniel is ready to fight back against the bullies and enters the local Karate Tournament against Johnny and the rest of the Cobra Kai, where despite trying to put him out of commission, Daniel succeeds in beating Johnny, his own demons, and winning the championship.

Although this film is almost 25 years old its still an enduring success, and in my opinion Ralph Macchio and the late Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita make for one of the most successful and popular onscreen partnerships of all time, which is what makes the film such an enduring success even today.

Apart from the brilliant casting and characterisation, the one thing I love about this film is that it doesn't glorify Karate, instead it teaches you the discipline and philosiphy of the sport from its origins. A great film that might be cheesy by todays standards but that has been a big enough success to spawn 2 sequals. Deffo worth a watch at any rate.

The Karate Kid 2 [DVD]
The Karate Kid 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ralph Macchio
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £6.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Glory of Love; The Price of Honour, 22 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Karate Kid 2 [DVD] (DVD)
The Karate Kid II picks up right from where KKI leaves off with young Daniel LaRusso having won the Karate Tournament. Now however, he must leave the championships behind him as his Mentor Mr. Miyagi must return to his homeland in Japan to say goodbye to his dying father. For Daniel it is the trip of a lifetime, the oppertunity to learn more about the philosiphy and honour of the sport and get to know more about the mysterious past of his wise and wimsical mentor. For Miyagi however, his return to the village of Okinowa that he left 45 years ago, it is the oppertunity to rekindle a 45 year old love but also reignites a bitter fued with old friend Sato. Sato was due to have an arranged Marriage to a village girl named Yuki, but Miyagi who was in love with her, dishonered his old friend by declaring his love infront of the entire village before leaving. Now Sato, an embittered and twisted Karate Master wants to fight Miyagi for his honour one last time. However, Daniel finds himself included in the fued when he disrespects Sato's nephew Choozen, who, when he takes Daniels new love interest hostage, challanges Daniel to a fight. Far away from his home, the tournaments, the rules and the referee, Daniel is quick to discover that here the ultimate goal is survival and the Price of Honour is life itself.

Even though by todays standerds this film is cheesier than watsits crisps, its still an 80's classic and enduring success. Ralph Macchio plays Daniel LaRusso to perfection, despite being 24 at the time and playing a teenage boy. Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita is also amazing as the hilarious and wise Mr. Miyagi, a complete legend and comic genious, who dispite being born in America and talking with an American accent plays the part of the Japanese teacher amazingly. God rest his soul. The reason why this film is such an enduring success, I think is to do with the fact that it strips Karate bare and offers the philosophies and life-lessons than can be learned if you take the time. More over it is a film that shows that good eventually prevails over evil and why you should never back down from what you believe in.

Sara Payne: A Mother's Story
Sara Payne: A Mother's Story
by Sara Payne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.88

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mothers Agony, 4 Aug 2008
Even though I've known about this book for a few years I've only just gotten around to buying it and reading it.

The book is written by Sara Payne, mother of murdered 8 year old Sarah Payne whose murder in 2000 became a national talking-point - especially when it was revealed that Roy Whiting, the paedophile responsible for the abduction and murder of Sarah had a history of abusing children, yet was still allowed to roam the streets searching for his next innocent victim.

Throughout the book Sara details their pain-staking search for their daughter, her eventual discovery, the aftermath and their dealings with the media.
While Sara kept a tight lid on her emotions, terrifed that if she released them they would overwhelm her, her husband Mike unleased his grief in a different way, in a torrent of anger and destruction that left their marriage and life in tatters.

Yet through the tragedy Sara stood tall and summoned all her strength to fight for her daughter. Even though a conviction was in place, Sara decided that she needed to do more to ensure her beautiful daughters death was not in vain. She set up 'Sarah's Law' - an initiative that would mean parents would know details of any paedophile or sex offender living in their area. Sara's idea was met with critisism and backlash with violent consiquences, yet she fought against her grief and torment to carry on fighting.

Sara comes across very well in this book, detailing her emotions perfectly, and how her life became unlivable without her daughter. Although Sara Payne has been through more than most women ever will in a lifetime, she's come through the other end with amazing strength and dignity she should be proud of. The book ends with new beginnings for Sara, who although still estranged from Mike, has become a mother again to a new daughter. This book is shocking and sad in equal measure. Just the front cover of Sarah's innocent smiling face is enough to set the tears flowing, but Sarah's book is beutifully witten and full of emotion. Sara layed herself on the line with one motive only - to make all the other children in the world safe from monsters like Whiting, to help mothers protect their children, like she wasn't able to when it mattered, and ultimatly, For Sarah!

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