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Dream a Little Dream (Choc Lit) (Middledip series Book 3)
Dream a Little Dream (Choc Lit) (Middledip series Book 3)
Price: £2.29

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to Middledip, 2 Nov 2012
A welcome addition to Moorcroft's Middledip set series of novels, this focuses on Liza Reece, a holistic therapist at The Stables. Blighted by her reaction to a marriage proposal, which in turn led to more serious repercussions, Liza leads a buttoned-up, work orientated life. Enter Dominic Christy, ex-air traffic controller, who is dashing and obnoxious, clearly smitten with her and suffering from narcolepsy - they fit well together but, as always, the path to true love never runs smoothly. There are a lot of things to praise with this novel, from the expert characterisation (we know very little about Edward, who runs The Stables, but Sue paints us a vivid picture with one or two sentence and it never leaves us), the locations and the use of narcolepsy, where its clear she's done a lot of research, but it never appears stiff or educational. Liza is a typical Moorcroft heroine, tough but with a tender side and she's the sister of Cleo (from "All That Mullarkey" and still one of my all-time favourite female characters ever), revelling in her role as Auntie (Cleo now has a young son and it's nice to get a snapshot of her life, later on from her own novel) and we want her to do well and move on from the traumas of her life. With a nice jealous/vicious angle from a secondary character, this is never less than readable, moves at a good pace and is full of life. Very much recommended.


The Very Best [Deluxe Edition]
The Very Best [Deluxe Edition]
Price: £19.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection, 22 Oct 2012
A great collection, from a terrific, world-beating band with tracks from their whole Hutchence-era career. Showing, once again, how tight a band they were and how great their sound was, this is well worth a buy from anyone with even a passing interest in all things INXS. The one downside for me was that a) the documentary was too short and b) where were Kirk and Garry? Great stuff, highly recommended.


The Egos Have Landed: Rise and Fall of Palace Pictures
The Egos Have Landed: Rise and Fall of Palace Pictures
by Angus Finney
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening, 22 Oct 2012
This is a sweeping overview/memoir of Palace Pictures, the upstart English production house that shook things up in the 80s and early 90s, taking in the story of its co-chairmen Nik Powell and Stephen Woolley at the same time. Well written, with interviews from just about everyone involved in the Palace story, this runs at a good pace and has a nice mixture of showbusiness nitty gritty (Powell seems to have spent all his time chasing money) and gossip, whilst also painting a vivid picture of a changing film industry. Although it's nicely detailed, it does appear to completely ignore some Palace films (some get a name-check but that's all) but that aside, this is a good read and makes you wish that Palace had stayed around for a while longer (especially when you look at the list of their film credits). Highly recommended.


Darcie's Dilemma (Choc Lit)
Darcie's Dilemma (Choc Lit)
Price: £0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Sue Moorcroft, 22 Oct 2012
Darcie Killengrey is a glass craftswoman, trying to juggle her life and the responsibility of being legal guardian to her brother, Ross, following the tragic death of their parents. When Jake Belfast, her best friends brother, childhood pal and parted-on-bad-terms one-night stand, comes back into her life, she thinks things couldn't get more difficult until Ross becomes involved with a girl and a situation that looks like it could be dangerous. This is Sue Moorcroft on top of her game, firing on all cylinders and creating a novella that grips you from the start and drags you right through the end without giving you too much of a chance to take a breather. Darcie and Ross are beautifully sketched characters and the reader instantly understands and empathises with their relationship and the to-and-fro with Jake undercuts the family situation superbly. Throw in some great supporting characters (including one who completely conned this reader), a keen sense of location, a nice bit of raunch and you have yet another winner. Highly recommended.


Beyond Here Lies Nothing (The Concrete Grove Trilogy)
Beyond Here Lies Nothing (The Concrete Grove Trilogy)
by Gary McMahon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.43

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book, 22 Oct 2012
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The third part of the Concrete Grove trilogy, this extremely accomplished piece of work has four main strands - Marc Price is writing a book about the Northumberland Poltergeist phenomenon in the 70s; Abby Hansen, a physical and emotional wreck whose daughter Tessa was one of the `Gone Away Girls' (young girls kidnapped by persons unknown and still missing); Craig Royle, a copper who is struggling to keep himself together, haunted as he is by the `Gone Away Girls' and Erik Best, a gangland thug who is a colleague of Marty, from `Silent Voices' (and Tessa's father). To explain more of the plot would be to the detriment of the reading (though I should mention the scarecrows, which is a scary image brilliantly used) but it's as strong and uncomfortable as its two sister volumes, whilst at the same time upping the mythology of The Grove. With some powerhouse writing and a huge sense of scale, McMahon brings the trilogy to an almost apocalyptic finale, never once losing track of the fact that however explosive everything else is, the book runs on the strength of its characters. Here, as ever, he displays a fine touch, investing even minor characters with quirks and personality that make what happens to them all the more interesting. Nicely tying up threads from the previous two books (it was good to see Tom Stains again), this is horror with ambition, not afraid to tackle the human condition whilst placing it in mythological, almost fantastical realms at times and makes me want to see the next McMahon book on the shelves right now! A stunning read, very highly recommended.


PEEL BACK THE SKY
PEEL BACK THE SKY
by Stephen Bacon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great debut collection, 11 Sep 2012
This review is from: PEEL BACK THE SKY (Paperback)
In this, his debut collection, Steve Bacon presents twenty short stories - five original - and still leaves the reader wanting more. Embracing a wide variety of styles and time-periods, he appears equally at ease with bleak tales of familial dysfunction as he is with supernatural interventions. His prose is consistently elegant and deliberate, with each line perfectly constructed to tell the tale with a deceptive simplicity. Of all the stories, I could pull out several and suggest they be included in annual round-ups (especially "The Trauma Statement", the Twilight Zone-ish "Catch Me If I Fall" and "Daddy Giggles"), but my overall favourite has to be "Last Summer" (originally published in the "Where The Heart Is" anthology), an elegant, sad, nostalgic piece with a real kick. I would also highlight "Girl Afraid", an excerpt from the diary of a 9 year old girl, which is beautifully written with a strong sense of melancholy. This collection shows Bacon is clearly a writer to watch for the future and I look forward to seeing what he produces next.


George Lucas: A Biography
George Lucas: A Biography
by John Baxter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.07

2.0 out of 5 stars Not so much written as compiled, 27 Aug 2012
George Lucas wrote and directed "THX-1138" and "American Graffiti" before changing the cinema - and pop culture - landscape with the "Star Wars" saga. There are plenty of books about how all the pieces fell into place and this is a jump-on-the-bandwagon version, written by a man who clearly doesn't like Lucas and appears never to have either met or spoken with him. I like biographies and always wondered what the term "cut-and-paste" meant in relation to the cheaper end of the market, but now - having read this 1999 effort - I understand completely. Whilst Baxter is credited as the writer, apart from a few linking pieces (where his tendency to over-write lets him down), it appears that all he did was compile a lot of other writers' hard work. A quick look at the Notes section reveals that he only conducted interviews with half a dozen people (the key ones being John Milius, Gary Kurtz and Lawrence Kasdan and none of them, at the time of publishing, had worked with Lucas for over 15 years) and had no contact with Lucas, Lucasfilm, any of his staff or even Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, who he quotes frequently. Worse, big sections are taken almost verbatim from Dale Pollock's "Skywalking" which is not only a much better book but was written with the full co-operation of Lucas (though he later disowned it), his friends and colleagues and the Lucasfilm archives. As for the picture section - well, the fact that one page is taken up with a still of Bill Norton, who directed "More American Graffiti" and there are none of Lucas as a child tells you all you need to know. I read this on holiday, which is why I stuck with it plus - I'll be honest - I love the story of how "Star Wars" came together, but I can't see myself ever wanting to read another book compiled by Baxter. If you do want to read a well researched and well written biography of George Lucas, then track down "Skywalking", whilst Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is also worth a look (and quoted extensively here too). Absolutely not recommended (and it gets the 2nd star for subject matter alone).


One Summer in Malta
One Summer in Malta
Price: £1.19

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Sue, 10 Aug 2012
Tina Danzey is an artist, the guardian to her three-year-old nephew Jack following the death of his parents and just getting over a break-up with her boyfriend Lee. She goes to Malta for the summer, to stay at the home of her friend Roslyn, whose family run craft workshops and whilst there meets up again with Brad, Roslyn's brother. Situations in the past mean that Brad, also Lee's friend, views her with some suspicion and when Claire, Jack's other auntie, turns up out of the blue it looks as though Tina's summer isn't going to be quite so bright after all. A standalone ebook, originally a serial for The People's Friend, this highlights Sue doing what she does best - pulling together a diverse and well drawn set of characters, inserting them into a believable and fully realised location and seeing what happens. As I've mentioned before, I prefer Sue's novels to her serials (for a variety of reasons: I think she works brilliantly at novel length and they are, in her own words, a bit "hotter") but that shouldn't detract from the quality evident here. The story runs at a great pace, fully engaging the reader and you find yourself quickly rooting for the characters (and she does write children well), whilst luxuriating in the evocative descriptions of a sun-kissed Malta. A great read, ideal for the summer, I highly recommend this.


Special Effects Superman: The Miniature Effects of Derek Meddings
Special Effects Superman: The Miniature Effects of Derek Meddings
by Martin Shubrook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.79

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better, 4 July 2012
As a life-long fan of Derek Meddings (I loved Gerry Anderson things when I was a kid, then went straight into Bond), I was thrilled to find this in the Cinema Store and couldn't wait to get into it. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. Only briefly looking at the Anderson years, this picks certain films from Meddings filmography (making some odd choices) and following the briefest of synposis', shows some behind the scenes photographs. Strangely, they aren't as exclusive as I'd hoped (and some are the same image, from different angles) and I've seen better ones of the Bond foreground miniatures on other websites. Worse, the text is very poor - badly written, with a lot of typoes and I'm sure some of the facts listed aren't actually correct. A real missed opportunity - a man so important to the British special effects industry deserves more of a memorial than this. (note - point added for the images)


Last Days
Last Days
by Adam L. G. Nevill
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping horror, 2 July 2012
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This review is from: Last Days (Paperback)
Kyle Freeman is an almost-bankrupt independent documentary film-maker. When he's hired by Max Solomon, distributor of self-help DVDs, to make a film about a notoriuous cult - The Temple Of The Last Days - he quickly agrees. Max has set up the schedule, is paying well and offering full creative freedom and to Kyle and his sidekick Dan, this sounds like the perfect job - until they start filming and things start to go very, very wrong. The fourth novel from Adam Nevill, this is an absolute powerhouse of a book that grips from the first page and almost refuses to let go at the last. Taking tropes and ideas that I love - indie film-makers, documentaries, the 70s milieu, the past wreaking havoc on the present - Nevill takes his basic idea and ramps up the suspense from the first set-piece (a house in London where the image of something is captured in an abandoned video camera) right through to the climax, which recalled - for me -shades of Damnation Game-era Clive Barker. Using a meticulously created history, from Irvine Levine's book "Last Days", through to the (absolutely terrifying) Blood Friends and the awful Unholy Swine, this is never less than gripping reading and managed to keep even this jaded reader on the edge of his seat. This is a fantastic novel - I'd suggest it's a modern masterwork of the genre - and I can't recommend this highly enough. If you love horror, if you love beautifully crafted novels where tension and suspense are steadily ratcheted up until you're racing through the pages, then this is the book for you.


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