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Elka "Elka" (London)

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by Lauren Groff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.54

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When utopia fails, 11 April 2012
This review is from: Arcadia (Hardcover)
A book of three parts, Arcadia begins the story of a hippie commune and it's beginnings, hiatus and fall.
The original members led by Handy, a charismatic musician, are donated Arcadia a decaying mansion and attempt to create a utopian society and we follow their highs and lows. The story follows Bit, the first baby of the commune, and his alternative childhood and coming of age as he watches his seemingly idyllic life disintergrate as disillusionment sets in and the commune is ultimately a victim of it's own success.

Years on and part 2, Bit is an adult and along with all the Arcadia survivors and children attempting to adjust to life outside, many unsurprisingly rebelling against the models they grew up with.
Part 3 jumps ahead yet more years to 2018 and with the original members now aging and a deadly flu-type virus spreading globally.

The story of Arcadia's structure, society and characters was fascinating and I wanted more; more idealistic/political disagreements, more break ups, more economic and power struggles. It's a shame that the book jumps so far ahead in the second part as the impact of what happens to these original characters when they are forced back out into the modern world is slightly lost in the time jump.

The Monsters of Templeton was my favourite book of 2010 and whilst Arcadia for me is not in the same league it is yet again very different and distinctive.
A moving story of another world with yet again extra-ordinary characters and memorable women in particular.

I read this on my Kindle, e-book from NetGalley.

New Kindle Purple SD Folio Case Cover Pouch , All - New Latest Generation 2011 Release Amazon Kindle 6" inch Wi-Fi, from G-HUB
New Kindle Purple SD Folio Case Cover Pouch , All - New Latest Generation 2011 Release Amazon Kindle 6" inch Wi-Fi, from G-HUB
Offered by G-Hub
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect! I recommend it unreservedly., 11 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Got my Kindle 3 before Xmas and wanted a way to carry it in public/my bag without damaging it. So many of these items are way too expensive but I found this one very reasonably priced.

I can't fault it! Great purple colour, although it isn't a blue purple so perhaps slightly too feminine for a man. It looks very modern and clips closed easily with a magnet clasp.
I can access all the buttons whilst it is inside and so read whilst it is in there. It is easily popped into and taken out of the holder, the elastics at the top are strong and hold it extremely securely and it is lightly padded so would protect it if dropped.
It doesn't added much to the weight of the Kindle and isn't chunky either.
I've now been using it and carrying it around for almost 6 months and it still looks like new. Completely unmarked.

Don't waste your money on one of the over-priced ones, this one is unbeatable.
I couldn't be happier.

Amelia Rules! Volume 2: What Makes You Happy: What Makes You Happy v. 2
Amelia Rules! Volume 2: What Makes You Happy: What Makes You Happy v. 2
by Jimmy Gownley
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Amelia Rules in my house!, 10 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My daughter (9) got the first one of these from the local library and couldn't stop raving about it. So much so that she parted with her pocket money (a rare event!) and bought herself this - the second book.
Just as good in her opinion and we are only waiting for the third to reduce a bit in price before we get that too.

It is a book set out in comic strip style and very funny and readable. Shame it isn't that easy to get in the UK.

No Title Available

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fit? Maybe. Comfy? For sure., 10 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought a pair of these 18 months ago on the recommendation of a friend at the time I also joined a gym. I do walk a lot and thought well if it worked at all then it would be a plus.

Seriously not sure about the claims and 'work-out' benefits of these types of shoes vs any other but they are very comfortable. I wore mine to death over the 18 months and when I broke my toe a while back they were the only shoes I could still wear whilst my foot recovered.

Having worn mine out completely I have just ordered my second pair from here. They come with black laces and a spare set of white laces were included. I'm a 5-5.5 wide fit normally but a regular 5 fits me perfectly and they do soften and stretch a bit too when worn a while.

Once I've walked them in I'm sure it'll be like I've nothing on my feet again. In fact I'm tempted to get one of the other colours too now...hmm
One of the best shoes I've ever worn and they look good too but not a substitute for exercise.

The Lifeboat
The Lifeboat
by Charlotte Rogan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.71

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the strong survive, 24 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Lifeboat (Hardcover)
A fantastic premise for a novel, having read and loved Life of Pi, this became my 'must-have' book as soon as I had heard about it.
Set in 1914 just before the outbreak of war and pre-emancipation, it is a fascinating insight into how polite society quickly breaks down when it becomes survival of the fittest.
Should individual lives be sacrificed to save the majority?

Grace is a 22 year old newly-wed, just widowed, a woman whose family have hit hard times and who is determined to chose her own destiny and not become a lowly Governess like her sister. When her honeymoon is ended by the sinking of the ship, Grace finds herself on a lifeboat with 39 others, predominantly women.
We follow one story with life on the boat as it becomes clear that rescue is not imminent and alternatively leap forward to where Grace and 2 others are about to face trial for murder.

There are power struggles, secrets, misdirection, sacrifice and ultimately murder. This is a tense novel, made increasingly so as the members realise that the boat is overloaded and that some may need to make way if the rest are to survive. Does the end justify the means?
Grace is an unreliable narrator and as we learn more of her we discover she has hidden depths and is not perhaps the innocent bride we had at first taken her for, for me this makes the novel far more interesting. There are some unanswered questions, what was it with the small box? What happened to Blake's boat? Did Grace's husband bribe Hardie? And perhaps just in my imagination, but is there a question mark over Grace and MaryAnn?

So if you enjoy novels where you are left with perhaps as many questions as answers and everything is not wrapped up with a tidy bow, then this is the book for you. Definately a book to make you think about the bigger issues and ultimately - can any of us really ever know what we would be willing to do? A gripping read.

Thanks to NetGalley for sending this to me.

Blue Monday
Blue Monday
by Nicci French
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing., 2 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Blue Monday (Hardcover)
Afraid Nicci French's latest offering missed the mark for me a little.
I have previously enjoyed many of their earlier books but this one felt quite disjointed.
It was difficult , at times, to figure out which character we were with.
Apparently this may be the first of a series with these characters but whilst I liked them well enough and their backgrounds have been set in this book they did seem quite stereotypical.
Frieda Klein, a psychotherapist , has a disturbed patient who is fantasizing about having a son. When a similar boy goes missing shortly after she starts to investigate and connections are then made with a similar mystery from 20 years previously.
As mysteries go it lacked the suspense, tension and the surprise element for me.
The action at the end happens off page and is described to us and I'm afraid I did guess the twists before they came out.
Not an altogether bad read, I did feel that I wanted to read till the end and see how it would all be tied up. Not ready to give up on them yet and I'm sure I'll be reading their next one.

Thanks to NetGalley for sending this to me.

Wonderdry Tea Towels - Red. 95% cotton 5% polyester. Quantity: 10.
Wonderdry Tea Towels - Red. 95% cotton 5% polyester. Quantity: 10.
Offered by Textiles Direct
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good product and value, 29 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent product for the price. Ten surprisingly large tea towels, good thickness and absorbancy.
Am very happy with them, think they'll last a good while.
Also as they are patterned, the tea stains that eventually occur - don't show up and spoil the look of them as fast as my previous ones.

When Nights Were Cold: A literary mystery
When Nights Were Cold: A literary mystery
by Susanna Jones
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mountains to climb., 29 Feb. 2012
Nothing like reading about Arctic explorations and snowbound mountains from the comfort of your own centrally heated living room :)

Grace Farringdon is a young woman fighting against her destiny pre-determined by society and her gender. Rather than marry well or stay at home and care for her parents, Grace is obsessed by the exploits of Scott and Shackleton and is determined to study at university and become an Arctic explorer. Grace fights against these limits to live her dream and along with 3 friends from university starts the Arctic Exploration Society and begin to take on increasingly difficult climbing challenges.

Looking back on her life on the anniversary of a climbing tragedy, we learn how much she was able to achieve by sheer determination against all the odds in pre-emancipation England and what went so horribly wrong on their climbs. Why she is the only living survivor of her group?

This is a very well written tale of female oppression, rivalry and secrets and with very strong believable characters, if not always likeable.
Fantastically atmospheric when describing the ill-fated mountain climbs and drawing parallels with the intense claustrophobia felt by females trapped by society and duty.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have others by Susanna Jones, and recommend it.

by C S Einfeld
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure escapism., 19 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Neverdark (Paperback)
Review written by Natalie aged 9:

Absolutely brilliant! One of the best books I've ever read! I found the part when Lord Darkwater started talking to the flower pot hilarious and I loved all the adventure. My favourite character was Sparky the firefly. I loved the cartoony illustrations that popped up during the book too. A fantastic modern fairytale for both boys and girls with lots of humour and adventure!
This is now my favourite book EVER!:-)

My daughter read this over 2 days and could hardly put it down. She has been showing us all the pictures in it, which definately added to her enjoyment. Not to mention following me around the house and reading out her favourite parts to me - always the sign of a great book!
It's exactly the type of book she loves to read - a fun fantasy adventure that's unpredictable and unusual.
We'd both recommend it unreservedly.

Guantanamo Boy
Guantanamo Boy
by Anna Perera
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Innocence lost., 14 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Guantanamo Boy (Paperback)
An unexpected subject for a teen read but an important one.
Khalid an unexceptional and naive teen is mad about; football, computer games, girls and hanging out with mates. Born to liberal hardworking Pakistani muslim parents he rarely even experiences conflicts between his lifestyle and religion.

This all changes when he visits Pakistan for a family holiday and finds himself kidnapped, imprisoned without charge and then sent to Guantanamo as a suspected terrorist.
The torture and horrors of Guantanamo are played down - this book is aimed at a teen market but the humilation, desolation and loneliness felt by Khalid cannot fail to shock and outrage the reader.

Once accused can you ever prove your innocence? It reminded me of the witch trials when just having the finger pointed at you was enough to condemn you.
There is a real sense of confusion and injustice throughout the book. Khalid and the reader spend much of the story wondering how it could happen and how without charge or communication with the outside world there can ever be justice.

It is a harrowing story that cannot fail to touch the reader and open their eyes. Khalid is an average adolescent inexplicably caught up in the atmosphere created by war, fear and revenge.
Ultimately it is not all doom and gloom though, there is hope and Khalid is a 'hero' who struggles against madness to survive, understand and inspire.

Thanks to NetGalley for sending this to me.

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