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SJ SMART "Smartie" (London)
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Pirate Latitudes
Pirate Latitudes
by Michael Crichton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good pirate story, 16 May 2010
This review is from: Pirate Latitudes (Paperback)
Michael Crichton's latest and last book is an interesting and exciting read. He has ventured into Historical fiction before this but most of his readers know him for his sci-fi of Jurassic Park and Sphere or adventure stories like Congo or modern thrillers like Rising Sun.

Pritate Latitudes doesnt really compare to something like Rising Sun or Jurassic park but I do think its his best Historical adventure work beating Eaters of the Dead and maybe the First Great Train Robbery, definitely Timeline which started brillianltly and then turned into forgettable nonsense.

SPOLIER ALERT - The characters are interesting and detailed as is the setting. I liked the pace and was pleased to discover that the robbery attack is the not the climax of the story as happens so often in other stories, that things move on and the writer wasnt obsessed with some super villain either.

I definitly enjoyed it and would recommend it to other readers. I expect it will be filmed soon.


Clever Girl
Clever Girl
by Tania Glyde
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving and so real!, 7 May 2010
This review is from: Clever Girl (Paperback)
An interesting and moving read of a talented, thoughtful main female character, beginning in the later 1970s early 1980s as a teenager and moving through a lot of sexual troubles and problems in to her adult life.

I couldn't put it down and it has left me feeling very sorry for Sarah the main character who is a "clever girl" but doesnt deserve any of the troubles she has to endure. A very moving book


TimeRiders (Book 1)
TimeRiders (Book 1)
by Alex Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Time Cops!, 17 April 2010
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This review is from: TimeRiders (Book 1) (Paperback)
A really great piece of childrens fiction but well worth reading by people of any age. A small team of specialists (all of whom would have died in their own time if they hadnt been recruited by the mysterious Foster who appears moments before their immient death and offers them a choice of working for his agency but with no promises they will enjoy it. The team includes a steward from the Titanic and they race around time stopping people affecting it and they end up fighting Nazis in the past and cannibals in a post-nuclear future. If you remember the average film Time Cops that came out in the early 1990s, its a similar concept but much much better.

Time Riders is very imaginative and interesting, and the beginning of a series I believe published by Puffin.

I have only recently discovered Alex Scarrow's books and I am working my way through his works and enjoying all of them. I would particularly recommend Last Light, a very powerful and moving thriller which seemed all too likely to happen.


After the Party
After the Party
by Lisa Jewell
Edition: Paperback

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong and powerfully moving story, 14 April 2010
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This review is from: After the Party (Paperback)
Another great book from Lisa Jewell, a very moving, well written and emotive story as some of the beloved characters from the classic bestseller Ralph's Party struggle 12 years on with the realities of family life. Ralph and Jem now have two children, a house, cat and careers but not everything is happy with these two great characters.

I "stormed" through it today to find out what happens to Jem and Ralph at the end of the story. On the way we meet some of the other characters and some new ones too, along with a lot of obstacles and challenges for them. I would really recommend to anyone who loved Ralph's Party firstly and those who like a great story with great characters, a lot of pace and a lot of style!

5/5 Stars
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2015 9:39 AM GMT


Alamein: The turning point of World War Two. Blood, guts and glory, a novel of men at war
Alamein: The turning point of World War Two. Blood, guts and glory, a novel of men at war
by Iain Gale
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his others, 13 April 2010
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I pre ordered this book way back in December on the strength of his earlier books but I was a little disappointed with this one.

Iain Gales new book is well researched and detailed but I found it a bit flat and dull, which is odd since he wrote a brilliant book about the Battle of Waterloo (Four Days in June.) Alamein covers a huge battle lasting 10 days involving thousands of tanks, guns, planes and men from all over the world in particular; Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, South Africans, British, French as well as the Germans and Italians.

Maybe the author tried too hard to cover everything because the action is shown through a large series of characters and therefore jumped around a lot and I lost track of what was going on frequently (and I am a history teacher) and finished this book feeling I still didnt know much more or anything new. about the Battle of El Alamein in 1942.

His POV is not clear to me either, is he saying Montgomery was a good General who was successful at Alamein or just lucky because Rommel was ill and badly supported?

On the plus side it does cover all the sides fairly balanced, it is easily accessible and readable but I wouldnt say exciting. For a good read about the war in the Western Desert I would recommend Steven Pressfields novel; Killing Rommel.


World War II: A New History
World War II: A New History
by Evan Mawdsley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 21 Mar. 2010
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This is a very good history of World War 2. It is relatively slim compared with other works such as Andrew Roberts recent book and Martin Gilbert both of whom cover a lot of ground in a lot of detail.

Mawdsley's however does not have the same level of detail but he does cover every aspect of the war often accompanied by some very good maps, pictures, photos or text boxes.

Its a very readable, engaging analysis of World War 2 and I am sure the majority of people interested in this conflict will find this an interesting read.


The Gulf War
The Gulf War
by Edgar O'Ballance
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting history of the Iran-Iraq war, 21 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: The Gulf War (Hardcover)
This is an interesting and readable history of the original Gulf War, the war between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s. Its a very detailed study covering all the main campaigns and politics and the peace deals.

However this edition was finished before the war ended in 1988, and of course before the Gulf Wars of 1990 and 2003. It is interesting though reading this background to many of the tensions in the Middle East today.

Edgar O Ballance was a very prolific author/historian in the 1960-1980s writing many books about North Africa and the Middle East. I would particularly recommend his book on the Yom Kippur War of 1973, No Victor, No Vanquished, a very good history book on that particular Arab Israeli war.


An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Uniforms of the 19th Century: A Stunning Expert Guide to the Uniforms of the Crimean War, the War of German ... Civil War, the Boer War and the Balkan Wars
An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Uniforms of the 19th Century: A Stunning Expert Guide to the Uniforms of the Crimean War, the War of German ... Civil War, the Boer War and the Balkan Wars
by Digby Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book - worth the wait., 8 Mar. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like the other reviewers I ordered it last year - February 2009 and received it March 2010, but worth the wait.

I am very interested in military history and in particular the Napoleonic wars which is how i discovered the previous volumes first on the Napoleonic wars and the next on the American Revolution.

This one is more ambitious - to cover all the main conflicts of the 19th Century and it does this well. In particular there are some excellent sections on the The Crimean war, The American Civil War and the wars in South Africa.

It also includes sections on the Indian Mutiny, the Sudan, the Boxer Rebellion, the Spanish American war (but i think just the American side, I cannot remember seeing anything of the Spanish troops) and the French in Mexico. So quite comprehensive and for a non-specialist like me a great introduction to the men and uniforms of all these conflicts. What I can predict will be the main moan from the specialists is that it only covers some of these conflicts very briefly, a taster if you will, for example it has 2 pictures for the Native Americans in the North American Indian wars. i tihnk if you are interested in a general history/ overview of the various conflicts of the 19th century and want somewhere to start you have the perfect guide here.

The Contents are -

The Crimean War
- The Thin Red line
- Daily life in the Crimea
- British Commanders and staff
- British Infantry
- British Cavalry: Heavy brigade
- British Cavalry: Light brigade
- British Royal Artillery and Engineers
- Russian General Officers
- Russian Infantry
- Russian Cavalry
- Russian Artillery
- French Infantry
- Chasseurs D'Afrique, French Artillery and Engineers
- Sardinian Troops
- Ottoman Troops

Wars of German and Italian Unification

- Prusso-Danish Wars and Austro_Prussian Alliance
- The Austro-Prussian Wars of 1866
- Austro-Hungarian Troops
- Troops of the German States
- The French Army
- The Wars of Italian Unification

The American Civil War: Armies of the Union

- Rallying around the flag
- General Officers and staff
- Pre-War Miltia
- The Regular Army
- The Volunteer Infantry
- Ethnic Regiments
- African-American regiments
- Artillery
- Cavalry
- Naval Forces
- The Marine Corps
- Union Flags and colours

The American Civil War: Armies of the Confederacy

- Band of Brothers
- Commanders and staff
- Pre-war militia
- State Troops
- Regular Army
- Zouaves
- Infantry
- Cavalry
- Artillery
- Supporting Arms
- Naval Forces
- The Marine Corps
- Confederate Flags and colours

The Boer Wars(surely this is a mistake and should be South Afican wars??)

- The British in South Africa
- First Boer War: British Troops
- First Boer War: Boers
- Zulu War: British Infantry
- Zulu war: British Cavalry
- Zulu war: British Artillery, Engineers and Naval troops
- Zulu war: British Auxilary troops
- Zulu war: Zulu warriors
- Zulu war: Boers
- Second Boer War: British troops
- Second Boer War: Boers
- Troops of the Empire

Wars in the Colonial Empires

- Colonial Expansion
- The Indian Mutiny: British troops
- The Indian Mutiny: Rebel sepoys
- Egypt and Sudan: British troops
- Egypt and Sudan: Mahdi troops
- The Boxer Rebellion: Allied troops
- The Boxer Rebellion: Chinese forces
- The French in Mexico
- The Spanish-American war
- North American Indian wars
- Colonial troops

So you can see a lot of ground!!!!!


Red Inferno 1945
Red Inferno 1945
by Robert Conroy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.29

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it but..., 1 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Red Inferno 1945 (Paperback)
This is another great alternative history story from Robert Conroy, and like the previous two its set in World War 2. This time however its in Europe.

SPOILER ALERT!! Stalin launches a massive attack on a US corps that was advancing towards Berlin and then crosses the Elbe and moves westward towards the Rhine, the US Army and Air Corps desperately fight a hard rearguard action and make the Soviets pay dearly for every inch of Germany they take. The Soviets and their leadership are painted as utter ruthless brutes (which for Stalin is totally accurate) and the Soviet forces murder rape, plunder and torture their way through Europe.

However their is quite a few dull scenes where the German characters and American characters talk and endlessly discuss the war, their romances, the future, etc which i guess happens in wartime but I would rather be reading about the battles that are happening, so please Mr Conroy can you edit down/out some of these scenes, they dont seem to add anything for me to the story and I would much rather read more about Patton and of course the British forces.

Interestingly the Allies make a peace deal with Germany (But Hitler is dead at this point and Berlin taken by the Soviets) and some Allied units are working with German ones and using German equipment like the ME262 Jet fighter and the Tiger and Panther tank.

However the one annoying aspect is that the rest of the Allies are virtually ignored. Churchill is in a couple of scenes but he is just in the room and doesnt say anything in these scenes, Trueman, Marshall or Eisenhower hold centre stage. Monty is mentioned as are the British Army but we dont get to hear much about them except how useless Monty was, which was possibly true. De Gaulle has one scene and again the French are mentioned, mostly as left wing rioters! Canada is often mentioned but not its forces. In the end the British and French are seen as minor points in an American story, how the Americans won the war, again.

I can see that Conroy has set the story in American, Russian and German units so the others arnt mentioned but its just a shame that the British, French, Canadian, Polish, Dutch, Belgian, Italian, Czech and other Allied units didnt get in to the story. So I liked it and I am sure the majority of readers who like his work and this genre will too, but just wish the British, Canadians, Poles, French, etc could have had a bigger part!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2011 11:13 AM BST


Phoenix Squadron
Phoenix Squadron
by Rowland White
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its okay but not much actually happens, 16 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Phoenix Squadron (Hardcover)
Its an okay history/thriller. A big interesting build up and background to the confrontation between Guatamala and Britain over Belize and a lot of info on the Fleet Air Arm and the carrier HMS Ark Royal but the actual event of the jets arriving over Belize to successfully deter the Guatamalan army is a bit of an anti-climax and over quickly, nothing really happens except the reader grows increasingly frustrated at stupid decisions and defence cuts in the past which cause endless problems.

Vulcan 607 was a better book.


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