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Michael Allen "Grumpy Old Bookman" (Dorset, England)

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The Case of the 'Hail Mary' Celeste: The Case Files of Jack Wenlock, Railway Detective
The Case of the 'Hail Mary' Celeste: The Case Files of Jack Wenlock, Railway Detective
by Malcolm Pryce
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Will justice prevail?, 13 May 2015
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Anyone who is familiar with Malcolm Pryce's previous work will need no encouragement to read this. New readers, on the other hand, might find it a bit strange.

Thoughts: you are more likely to enjoy this if you are: male, 70 plus and can remember the war; used to be a trainspotter (the old-fashioned kind); were brought up to believe in the Empire; still think of other people as being good chaps or rotters; grew up in an orphanage, borstal, or minor public school; and all like that.

Our hero is a railway detective and the railways are about to be nationalised (we are in December 1947). A pretty girl walks into his office. And from then on we are in fairly traditional private-eye territory. But this is crime/fantasy/humour/romance/and a lot more.

If there was any justice in the book world this would be a contender for the Booker, CWA dagger, various fantasy awards, and that Wodehouse prize they give for comic literature. But since, as we all know, there isn't any justice then it probably won't.


Book 1 The Detective: The Adventures of Patricia & Annabelle: Fabulous Four Foil Fiends! (The Adventures of Patricia and Annabelle)
Book 1 The Detective: The Adventures of Patricia & Annabelle: Fabulous Four Foil Fiends! (The Adventures of Patricia and Annabelle)
Price: £2.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Trying to get your children to read?, 20 Mar. 2015
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If you are a parent, or a grandparent, you will know that it isn’t always easy to get children to read. But when they do find something that they like – either when it’s read to them, or when they read it for themselves – they tend to gobble it down and look for more.

Well, here’s a book which might arouse your children’s interest. And if it does, you will be pleased to know that it’s the first in a series of four. The suggested readership age range is 7 to 12, and my guess is that children of about 10 plus will do best with it if they are reading it themselves. Younger children would probably appreciate having it read to them.

The setting is English, and today’s grandparents will find it reminiscent of Enid Blyton, in that the basic thrust of the story is young children solving crimes. However, it is a kind of updated Blyton, with an adult approach. There are seriously nasty villains, the real threat of violence, and occasional references to the realities of modern life such as child sex offenders. The author is not afraid to introduce religious issues either: the 10-year-old narrator is not only familiar with C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, but also with his account of his spiritual conversion.

Fortunately the book is a relatively long one by children’s standards, and therefore the ‘Look Inside’ facility provides ample material on which to make your own assessment of its suitability.


Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health
Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health
Price: £12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars you will enjoy and appreciate the additional insights provided by this book, 15 Aug. 2014
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If you are already well read in the history of diet/nutrition, you will enjoy and appreciate the additional insights provided by this book. If you are beginner, this is not the book for you. In the Kindle version, the occasional charts and graphs are well nigh useless, as usual.


Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
by Ellen Datlow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

4.0 out of 5 stars I am old enough to have known some Victorians, 14 Aug. 2014
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Literate, imaginative, thoughtful, evocative of the time. All in all pretty classy stuff. But you have to come to it with a feeling for the period.


Format YOUR Print Book with Createspace
Format YOUR Print Book with Createspace
by Tim C. Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars indispensable, 24 May 2014
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I bought this book twice. First in Kindle, and then, when I realised I would need to read it carefully and refer to it frequently, I bought the paperback. (I have done this before, with other non-fiction books.) There is no index, but I can search the text on the Kindle version (via Kindle for Mac), and can scribble notes on the margins of the paperback.

Worth every penny. The first few formats were very hard, but once you get the hang of it it is much easier.


The Red Road (Alex Morrow Book 4)
The Red Road (Alex Morrow Book 4)
Price: £5.22

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping stuff, 19 May 2014
The last line of this hard-nosed crime novel made me laugh out loud, which doesn't happen often.

I read this in the course of one evening, but rather agree with the reviewer who said that it was hard to remember all the names. It isn't written and structured the way I would have done it, but then Ms Mina is famous and I'm not, so she must be doing something right.

As my mother used to say, they don't write them fast enough for me. On the whole it's an excellent piece of work.


Holy Orders: Quirke Mysteries Book 6
Holy Orders: Quirke Mysteries Book 6
Price: £4.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best yet, 27 July 2013
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I have now read all the Quirke novels, though not always in the right order, and have found them consistently interesting and moving.


Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique
Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique
by Michael Gelb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction/reminder, 23 Jan. 2013
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If you're new to the Alexander technique, this is a good introduction. And if, like me, you want to be reminded of principles you might have forgotten, this is equally good.


Building Your Book for Kindle for Mac
Building Your Book for Kindle for Mac

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth paying for -- but it's free!, 14 July 2012
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This book would be well worth paying for, but at the time of writing it's free and I would expect Kindle to keep it so.

I have spent months trying to figure out a way to have my ebooks display correctly on various ereaders, and have pages of notes. Even so, this guide to the Kindle solved a lot of problems for me. Make sure you get the right edition -- this one is for Mac users who have Word 2011 for Mac.

Example of one small but very helpful piece of guidance: when you convert your Word file to html, make sure you click the radio button beside the words: Save only display information into HTML.

Also the advice on previewing is immensely helpful.

You will find that, despite your very best efforts, Amazon still has some funny little ways which will surprise and either infuriate or amuse you, depending on temperament. But for the time being, this is the best advice you can get.


Google Blogger for Dummies
Google Blogger for Dummies
by Susan Gunelius
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money, 16 July 2011
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It seems to me that the one-star review for this book is unduly harsh. The book is certainly not a rip-off.

Some years ago I ran a fairly successful blog of my own, using Blogger as the host; eventually I had to give it up because of shortage of time. I was recently asked to advise a friend on how to start a new one, so I bought this book to refresh my memory.

In my judgement this is a most helpful and easy-to-follow guide, covering all the main points and providing a step-by-step procedure for many of the necessary steps. The only drawback is that the currently available edition is now a couple of years old, and Blogger, like everything else online, is continually under development. So some of the on-screeen windows have changed in their titles and tabs, compared with those illustrated in the book. In one or two cases, more detailed information would also be useful, e.g. how to register the blog with Technorati, a procedure which is, frankly, a pain in the arse.

Otherwise, well worth the price.


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