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Alison Roberts (London)

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I Heart London
I Heart London
by Lindsey Kelk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I heart Angela, 13 July 2012
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This review is from: I Heart London (Paperback)
What can I say?
Another lovely episode in the escapades of Angela and her family and friends.
It's a life that I can see so much of mine in.
I can see the doubts and fears we all pretend not to have.
Angela gets her happy endings which gives us all hope that we too will find the same.

Lindsey's writing style is that of a good friend - you slip straight back into the characters and the tales, find yourself nodding along with the things that are said and done. Part because you have been there or thought it yourself and part because, if you have any sense, you will have read all of the other I heart....books.

Alas, I feel, for now, that this is it for the tales of Angela. I hope that there will be another episode that fast forwards a few years to I Heart Married Life or something like that where Angela tries to be all domesticated with no doubt very interesting results.

In the meantime I look forward to the next writings of Lindsey's.

Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How does she do it?, 13 July 2012
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By that I mean, how does Linda create such amazing characters?

The basis of this book is a dead man and a living woman and their love affair.
And before you roll your eyes and think 'oh one of those', think again, for this is not 'one of those stories.'

Linda creates amazing scenes where you can feel the cold, you can taste the soup. The characters feel like friends that you get to know as the book goes along.

You feel you know where the story is going not once, but twice, and both times, not with dramatic twists and turns but with nice little pathways leading to a different clearing than you expected, Linda manages to keep you enthralled right to the very end.

There are moments in this book that you will feel the need to blink quick quickly, you will feel the goosebumps creep up your arm.

You will finish the book wanting more.

Which I feel is always a good place to leave your reader.

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
by Stephanie Kuehnert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.89

5.0 out of 5 stars I wanna be your Emily Black!, 19 May 2011
I was walking around a book store idly and one book jumped out at me. This is quite often how I end up choosing books and weirdly I have rarely been disappointed.

This one was called `I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone' by Stephanie Kuehnert. I'd never heard of her before but I was a huge Riot Grrrl back in the day and loved Sleater Kinney. This book is named after one of their songs.

The back of the book kept me interested, another good sign, if I can't even get through the blurb on the back then what hope is there.

This book was about a young girl called Emily Black, her Dad plays guitar and she knew her Mom was heavily into music, but that's about all she knew about her Mom, as her Mom took off when she was very young never to be heard from again.

Emily struggles with life like many of us do in our teenage years, she's finding things she likes and grasping on to things she probably shouldn't. Her Father cares for her and is doing the best he can but even years after his wife left he is still haunted by her, longing for her.

Emily forms a band and tries to act tough and indifferent to the effects her Mother leaving had on her.

She eventually has to admit that she is living her entire life based on trying to be her, or at least find her.

The characters are intensely believable. The description of the scene shows an author who lived it and hasn't just dreamed it up. I felt like I knew Emily and felt for her as I journeyed with her on her emotional rollercoaster of a life. I laughed, I cringed and I felt for this girl, just like I would a friend.

Stephanie writes about the trials of a young girl trying to find herself and find her place in a predominantly male world of music with sensitivity and humour. She touches on real issues and turns this into a great coming of age rock n roll read.

Buy It.

Price: £1.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars House of Silence needs to be shouted about!, 29 April 2011
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This review is from: HOUSE OF SILENCE (Kindle Edition)
Within a few pages of reading this new Linda Gillard book I knew I was going to be sucked in. I am 5' 10", I work in a costume house and wear flat shoes.......of course I was going to find some form of connection with this book (you'll see what I mean if you read it, which of course you will, won't you!) Anyway, there is so much more than finding a self important connection like that. Linda always writes in a style that sucks you in. You don't even have to try to imagine being there, to see the views and the moments she describes, you just are there. If the frosty ground crackles underfoot, you hear it, you can feel the sensation. If a room is described as cold, you feel it. You can smell the aroma's as they come off the page. It's like being with people you know, that by the end of the book you will feel the loss of a friend as you close the book, eager for their to be a second in the series just so you can say hello to them again and see how they are doing. And that's quite a statement for someone who is very suspicious with anything that has `2' in the title.

The book glides through a tale of a family caught up in a web of entangled dreams/lies/hopes they all had or believed they had. A stranger walks in and breaks the web. I can't really say more than that about the story without starting to give a little too much away.

Linda has built up a believable family, with believable lives and yet again when you finish reading the book you spend a moment thinking about the future of each person as though you once knew them, people that have sprung into your mind making you reminisce. I am not sure how she does this, she doesn't overwhelm you with detail but does enough that you can smell the breakfast cooking or almost feel the cold bite of the snowy weather as they open the door of the house to walk outside.

I've also never heard about the Blankets of Love organisation, so it's something else I've learnt from reading one of Linda's books. Without fail her books always open my mind up to something else, or some new way of thinking or new perspective on something.

Another gold star for Linda.

The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing
by Judy Waite
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whose dream do you follow?, 19 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Next Big Thing (Paperback)
A young boy called Elliot is discovered singing and playing guitar outside one day. The record company decides he is going to become the next big thing. It's naturally not quite how he expected it to be. They record company wants to make this boy a product and think and practically breathe for him. The record company exec put in charge of Elliot probably failed in his own career so is hell bent on controlling Elliot....even stopping him from seeing the new girl in his life, or at least trying to.

It's a simple but pleasurably read and there are some good points made about thinking for yourself. You do start to care about the characters and the twist at the end gave me chills!

Now & Then
Now & Then
by Jacqueline Sheehan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.32

4.0 out of 5 stars A magical tale!, 11 Dec 2010
This review is from: Now & Then (Paperback)
The front of this books depicts a dog with a young ladies arms around it. It looks like it is going to be a light hearted read, possibly a romance.

There is romance, and there is a young lady and there is a dog but there is so much more between this pages, more than I could have ever guessed.

A young lady, Anna, is on her way back from a long flight abroad when she finds out her brother has been rushed to hospital in a coma. Whilst at the hospital she then finds out her nephew has been taken into custody. She has to travel off to pick up the troubled nephew.

Anna takes her nephew back to live with her, but that first night something happens and they are both transported back to 1844 but to two very different lives there, both filled with love and loss and struggles but in very different ways.

Jacqueline again uses her spirituality and open mindedness to create a riveting story that might be a little far fetched but how do we really know!

It's a delightful read, the language easy making it easy to read and you will find yourself quickly absorbed into the plot.

So Much to Tell You
So Much to Tell You
by John Marsden
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 11 Dec 2010
This review is from: So Much to Tell You (Paperback)
What a wonderful book. I almost forgot that it was written by a man. It's about a young girl that is at an all girls boarding school.

She isn't feeling like she fits in and is keeping herself to herself, the big difference to just a shy child is this girl refuses to speak, or has lost the ability to speak after a tragic accident has disfigured her face.

The description in the book is beautiful. It's a young person's read but I would argue that any age group would find something in this book that would appeal to them.

John Marsden has managed to get into the head of a young girl growing up so well. The way she expresses herself without the use of words is very intriguing, and how, even though she is traumatised and unable to speak she is still effecting people and managing to forge some friendships.

This world is very dominated by looks and appearance so it's nice to see that this eventually gets whipped away and people give her a chance. It's not until the very end of the book that you fully understand what is going on.

A book for all to read, man, woman or child.

By the Time You Read This
By the Time You Read This
by Lola Jaye
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.22

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting!, 11 Dec 2010
This is a very easy book to read. I don't like the term `throw away' book that I have heard be used for such reads. It seems dismissive and almost negative. But just like I have a varied music taste to meet different moods and emotions, I feel the same about the literature that I read. Sometimes I want really deep and meaningful and sometimes I want fluffy fun.

This book leans more into the fluffy fun side of things but it's written from the point of view of a child who is having to grow up without her father. A father that knew he was dying and had the time to write a manual for her to read on her birthday each year. This helped her keep her father alive and to almost feel like he was still there to offer her advice. It's interesting to be written from a Father rather than the more obvious mother angle. All the things that the main character Lois goes through is very typical to real life. Although her fathers ability to guess this from the grave is rather far fetched, I'd argue that is the beauty of fiction though, it is all about imagination so a little artistic license is ok in my eyes.

The advice is sound, to a point where you will find your self smiling and nodding in agreement with some of it, and almost wishing you had your own manual at other times.

This book won't change your world but it's a very pleasant way to while away some time and you will find the odd gem in here that really lifts your spirits.

A Lifetime Burning
A Lifetime Burning
by Linda Gillard
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An author that continues to grow and amaze....., 30 Oct 2010
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This review is from: A Lifetime Burning (Paperback)
When you realise what this book is about you should cringe and shudder and most probably put the book down. But that would be a mistake.

The main topic is one that most of us would never dream to talk about, especially so openly. The main topic is about Incest.

There are a whole handful of characters in this book, all centred around the one family. And in some ways the whole family is centred around one family member called Rory. He is an amazing pianist. He also has a twin called Flora. And they love each other. Nothing unusual there I grant you but I think it would be more accurate to say they are in love with each other. And this is where you think it would get weird. And it does. The topics covered are very disturbing, but Linda's writing brings such a realness to all her characters and everything that goes on that you can't help but be intrigued. Not in a sick way but just the whole story unfolds and you find that you need to know just what is going to happen to this family.

The book is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. I didn't have the luxury of reading this book from start to finish in one day but I had to read it over time - dipping in and out - and anyone that can keep me still really feeling the characters when I have to do that, well I know their writing is of another level.

The families acceptance of what is going on is what I think helps to slightly dilute the weirdness and disturbed angle of the subject matter, but don't think for one minute that by acceptance I mean that family is ok with what is going on.

Running throughout this book is a very heavy reliance on music. There is a beautiful phrase used `If this play was being broadcast in Russian you wouldn't have the option of interpretation. The meaning would stop at the actor's mouth. But I could play you music in Russian and you'd understand it as well as a Russian! Well, you wouldn't,' he said scornfully, `but you see- they only work if you speak the language. But music works in any language because it doesn't have a language. It's faster, more direct. Like mainlining.'

This has been my theory for years that music takes over where words fail.

The music is just one theme of the book though, you have a vicar struggling with his sexuality, children born into the incestuous family, the trials of an every day life, struggles with money, family's all here, wrapped up in very disturbing themes but so beautifully written about I would defy anyone not to be moved to some level whilst reading this book.

There is even a comment in the book about how easy it would be to accidentally commit incest, that really got me thinking about the ways of the world and some of the troubles that could lie ahead. But you'll have to read the book to work out what I am talking about there.

Lost & Found
Lost & Found
by Jacqueline Sheehan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars We've all been lost and longed to be found at some point in our life., 29 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Lost & Found (Paperback)
I've read many books that involve our loving canine friend. Up until now they have been true stories or at least heavily based on true stories.

I took a gamble and read Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan. Not such a huge gamble as it was about doglets but it was a novel, a made up story.

And I loved it.

I read the book over a weekend, barely putting it down until I had finished. I was gambolling to the end, almost needing to know how the story went but also wanting to savour it - one of those lovely books I have spoken about before.

There is a time in everyone's life that I think they become aware of their own mortality and then they become aware of those around them. Dying has never scared me - but being left behind whilst others around me die does. And in this story Roxanne Pellegrino finds out about this the hard way when her beloved husband suddenly dies right out of the blue. Roxanne is left reeling - she's trying to come to terms with how to continue in life whilst also feeling very guilty for not being able to save her husband.

Roxanne tries to shut herself off from the world but it doesn't really work. She's moved away for a year long break from her old life and ends up meeting some wonderful quirky characters and a dog called Lloyd. Or rather they find each other. Both hurt and hurting. And together they help to fix each other. Quite literally as Lloyd is found with an arrow sticking out of him. Roxanne is led to an Archery instructor - which tangles up a story of a girl who has appeared to have killed herself and her mad ex boyfriend.

The story unravels at a pace that keeps you hooked from start to finish, you feel the characters, you become part of the story and cling on to the hope of a happy ending....this is another book that is going back on my book shelf to be read again!

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