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D. Pearce "djarmhp" (rainham, kent)
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Midwinterblood
Midwinterblood
by Marcus Sedgwick
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 7 Oct 2011
This review is from: Midwinterblood (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I read this to my daughter at bedtime over a period of about 5 weeks and was surprised with how quickly she engaged with this novel. The story of Erik and Merle and their seven lives is a novel that plays with the usual order of narrative by reversing it. Little coincidences, explanations, clues and new questions are spread throughout the book. Although we meet the two protagonists as lovers (?) in the first section, the following sections have them as mother and child, artist and muse and twins among other relationships. Marcus Sedgwick explores the many different types of love in a way that is truthful and accessible to young readers. When you first start reading this book you may find it difficult to follow, but please persevere. What you will discover is an elegaic and thought provoking book that works on many different levels. Congratulations to Marcus Sedgwick for not treating his audience with any patronising assumptions of what they can understand. He has written a book that says, 'I will give you clues but I won't give you all the answers and I won't even ask all the questions.' That is as refreshing as it is unusual and this book could become a phenomenon.


Last Days of Meaning
Last Days of Meaning

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the presence of genius., 2 Oct 2011
This review is from: Last Days of Meaning (Audio CD)
It is almost impossible to overstate how talented Nitin Sawhney is, and it is almost impossible to exaggerate the sheer brilliance of this, his ninth album. The Last Days of Meaning is a tour de force. A concept album that could actually give the idea a good name, the 12 tracks of sublime beauty are interspersed with monologues from the eponymous Donald Meaning, played with flair by John Hurt. My favourite track is Tender World with the superb lines;
You lived from dream to dream/ Sacrificed the way between/ Put your fragile life on hold.
It is a lyric indicative of the true insight into the human condition that Sawhney has displayed throughout his career. This could very well be his best ever album, but then he will no doubt produce something just as brilliant next time around. Do yourself a favour and check out the most important artist in Britain today.


The Breakfast Club: 1: The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club: 1: The Breakfast Club
by Kate Costelloe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great new series, 20 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having read the Sleepover Club series of books to my two daughters over the last few years, we have been looking for a successor to those excellent stories. Finally, we seem to have found it.
The central characters are 14, live in Notting Hill and are fashion conscious, but their issues at school and home are very familiar to all the target readers.Billie is the narrator for this story that is built around two main strands; the Breakfast Club's search for a new coffee shop to meet at every Saturday morning after the closure of their previous venue, and Billie's determination to become a professional singer despite her mother's opposition. By the end of the story, both strands are very well wrapped up, but the reader is left wanting to know more about the other three girls in the club.
I can see this series being the natural follow on for readers who have grown up with the Sleepover girls given the relative ages of the central characters. My girls are already pestering me to get the next book in the series which is always a good sign. If you like witty, well written stories then search this one out.


Crabtree and Evelyn Iris Bath and Shower Gel 250 ml
Crabtree and Evelyn Iris Bath and Shower Gel 250 ml
Price: £13.35

5.0 out of 5 stars A touch of luxury, 13 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As you would expect from Crabtree and Evelyn, this is a superb product. The shower gel leaves your skin smooth and soft and the scent isn't too overpowering. The price would make it an occasional treat for most people rather than an everyday shower gel. However, if you have a lady in your life to buy a present for at Christmas this would be a perfect gift for any age.


Death in August (Inspector Bordelli)
Death in August (Inspector Bordelli)
by Marco Vichi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.66

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation?, 13 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this book for my wife, who ordinarily loves detective novels, expecting glowing reviews. Unfortunately, she just couldn't get on with the story and gave up about a third of the way through. She said that the story was way too slow and she felt that it was never going to get started. Also, the central character, Inspector Bordelli, did not appeal in the same way as a Wexford or a Morse. When I put the title for this review, the translation I was referring to was the translation between cultures. I am not sure whether the age of the book makes a difference, but maybe Italian readers have a different view of what detective novels should contain.


Driver Genius 10 (PC)
Driver Genius 10 (PC)
Offered by SC-WHOLESALE
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A useful tool for memory poor computers, 13 Sep 2011
This review is from: Driver Genius 10 (PC) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I first saw this product I held out great hopes for it. I had a computer that was starting to struggle, but little idea of what to do about it. A driver updating package seemed to be just what I needed. In many ways it fulfilled my hopes. Easy to set up, I was looking for updates within 10 minutes of loading the disc, it is just what an average non techie needs.

The only problem I had was with the lack of specific information about each update. It only tells you that you have an out of date driver so you pretty much have to download everything. That probably makes it perfect for technophobes who hate having to choose, but I just prefer the extra details. However, at least one of the drivers must have been important as the laptop started running noticeably quicker after the download. In short, if your computer is running slow this could really help your dwindling reserves of patience!


Liesl and Po
Liesl and Po
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless tale, 30 Aug 2011
This review is from: Liesl and Po (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an achingly beautiful book with an incredibly hard and personal story behind it. Lauren Oliver, quite possibly the most talented YA writer of her generation, lost a very close friend and wrote Liesl and Po as a kind of catharsis. She did not write the book for future publication which could well be its strength. It is as honest as any book I have read in many years and seems to be written for any reader, not just a person who likes young adult fiction. It is a book that anyone who has suffered loss could take comfort in.

Anyone who has lost a close friend will recognise the world inhabited by Liesl who is imprisoned in her room in a world from which the sun disappeared some years previously. She finds hope and comfort from Po the ghost and his ghostly pet Bundle. The story of Will, a young boy who has become obsessed with Liesl as she looks out of her attic window, initially runs parallel to Liesl's then crosses into its path.

The plot and characters, whilst interesting and enjoyable, play second fiddle to a book that is all about atmosphere. As with A Christmas Carol. my favourite book, it is the language that wraps you in its spell and draws you into an atmosphere of fear, melancholy, understanding and finally renewed hope. I feel certain that this book will be around as long as there are ways of reading great stories and I just hope that it finds the widest possible audience. It is quite simply a work of heartbreaking genius that I felt privileged to share with my daughters.


Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery
Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery
by Keren David
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A total winner, 19 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Keren David's new book is an absolutely brilliant read, fast paced, frequently laugh out loud funny but above all thought provoking. The central character Lia is a 16 year old girl who wins £8million on the lottery. The book follows her ups and downs as she tries to get used to her new found fortune. The tone is very clever, avoiding the poor little rich girl cliches and the dreams come true cliches very skilfully. The most impressive aspect of the book is the meticulous research that has gone in to producing a really balanced portrayal of a young person with sudden riches. The weekend that Lia spends with other rich youngsters is amusing and thought provoking in equal measure.
I loved the decision that Keren David made to show the jealousy and hatred engendered by the win especially through Facebook and other social media. Some of the reactions were quite uncomfortable to read but added to the realism of the book. In a way, the relationship between Lia and the mysterious Raf is unnecessary, albeit good to read. To some extent the emotional pressures of that relationship seem to be totally overshadowed by the pressures of the money. I can see why the book concentrates on their growing understanding, but I found the lottery based problems and opportunities more engaging.
I can't recommend this book highly enough and I see a film or TV series in the near future.


London Calling (Inspector Carlyle 1)
London Calling (Inspector Carlyle 1)
by James Craig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some real potential, 2 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is one of the more difficult books I have had to review since joining Amazon Vine. Elements of this book are extremely good while other elements are fairly poor. In order to give this a better balance I will deal with the latter first.
The villainous brothers at the heart of the cover-up never progressed past the status of pantomime. You half expected them to have extravagant moustaches to twirl in order to complete the picture. They were evil because that was what the book needed. There was little attempt to make them 3 dimensional characters with complicated rationales for their actions.
Chapter 4 was a full on contender for the Bad Sex award, so badly written was it! I was astonished that anything that poor could sit alongside some of the other writing in the book.
The biggest positive was the character of Inspector Carlyle who has real potential as the centre of a series of novels. He is quirky, engaging and just edgy enough to give him real problems.
Apart from the villains with their aforementioned faults, the strength of this book was the clever drawing of the supporting characters. It always helps if you can buy in to the world of a detective and his suspects and victims.
To sum up, I loved the central character, but future books really need to sharpen up the villains.


32 Programmes
32 Programmes
by Dave Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic social and personal history, 24 Jun 2011
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have read a number of 70s/80s themed memoirs over the last few years, and, in all honesty, I have not picked any of them up again. They tend to be ironic for the sake of it and to have little in the way of narrative thread. Dave Roberts' latest book is totally different. The conceit is dazzling in its simplicity. The chapters all revolve around one programme picked up from a football match. Around the programme, Roberts effortlessly weaves in social history that is occasionally jaw dropping - deciding whether to spend his 70p on a West Ham Cup match or a David Bowie concert!!! - and often extremely amusing. He doesn't shy away from the nasty side of football, giving full vent to his disgust at the racial abuse suffered by West Brom's players in a match at the end of the 70s.
This is quite simply superb, whether you read it little and often or devour it at one sitting as I did. The writing is excellent throughout, and the last chapter genuinely moving. If you are fed up with faux ironic 70s memoirs please try this book and rediscover what a proper writer can do with an otherwise increasingly hackneyed subject.


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