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Reviews Written by
J. Scott-mandeville "jackie veronica" (UK)
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Desiree [DVD]
Desiree [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marlon Brando
Price: £7.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic oldie, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Desiree [DVD] (DVD)
Although 'Desiree' is now dated in style and technicolour, and the acting by Marlon Brando as Napoleon is rather stiff, Jean Simmons brings the whole story to life with her irresistible charm and enthusiasm in the eponymous lead role. I bought the film because I loved the original novel by Anne-Marie Selinko about Napoleon's first love, Desiree Clary, and I love Jean Simmons. I was not disappointed. There were some unexpected pleasures such as Elizabeth Sellars as Desiree's sister Julie, and Michael Rennie was dashing and attractive as General Bernadotte. This is a real romance and Desiree really did become Queen of Sweden (despite her early dislike of the cold north) and establish the Norwegian royal dynasty. A fascinating piece of history and despite some obvious flaws in stilted dialogue and some of the acting, I enjoyed it thoroughly. A good matinee with chocolates, especially for the older generation. It reminded me of its contemporary, 'War and Peace' and Jean Simmons was every bit as good in 'Desiree' as Audrey Hepburn in 'War and Peace' - in fact I would say she was better!


Zen 2014 Calendar
Zen 2014 Calendar
by Trends International LLC
Edition: Calendar

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for stressed sons, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Zen 2014 Calendar (Calendar)
I bought this calendar for a Christmas tree present for my son as he leads a very stressed life in work and play. I loved the illustrations and texts and think he will also find it an ideal morning relaxant on his kitchen wall. I might even buy one for myself!


The Secret Keeper: Sophie Allport limited edition
The Secret Keeper: Sophie Allport limited edition
Price: £3.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Up to Kate Morton's usual standard, 8 Nov. 2013
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I enjoy Kate Morton's novels as the stories are developed well, the flashbacks are always intriguing and keep the reader on tenterhooks. This novel was comparable with 'The Forgotten Garden', and although Morton's techniques are predictable they are no less pleasurable and I look forward to each new book of hers as light and entertaining reading amongst my more heavier library.

Kate Morton is good on detail and 'The Secret Keeper' has some very good moments, especially the war-time scenes and the careful attention to accuracies of description whether of costume, places, or realistic situations. I was waiting for the twist the tale would take at the end and I think Kate Morton is clever at dropping clues throughout the novel so her reader can piece together the story along with her central character, Laurel. Altogether a good read.


Verdi: Il Corsaro
Verdi: Il Corsaro
Price: £9.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cast, great opera, 1 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Verdi: Il Corsaro (Audio CD)
This delectable CD is a scrumptious experience from start to finish, the cream of Montserrat Caballe's dramatic voice and the tingling tones of Jose Carreras's magical tenor offering a wonderful feast of music and a superb opera. Comparisons to a fine meal are not odious, this is a truly great musical experience and I am delighted to have discovered it. Lovely to listen to over and over again.


The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cappuccino novel, 1 Nov. 2013
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Although Deborah Rodriguez wrote this novel based on her own experience, I don't think she is quite a good enough writer to convey the depth of the tragedy that is Afghanistan today. The story was contrived, with as many politically correct plot inclusions as she could get into it. Romance a la Mills and Boon remained prominent, both European/American and Afghan, and western values prevailed, despite obvious efforts to create a balanced outlook. Most of the characters were two-dimensional, cardboard cut-outs rather than fully rounded personalities, with a possible exception of Bashir, Sunny's coffee shop manager.

For light reading on holiday this novel might suit readers not looking for a serious attempt to reflect the turmoil in Kabul, but a romantic story in an unusual location. But Kabul is not romantic and I don't think Ms Rodriguez does anyone any favours with her superficial exoticising of a world trouble-spot. If I want to read a novel set in Afghanistan I prefer the horse's mouth as in such writers as Khaled Hosseini. 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' is cappuccino froth compared to the dark, strong coffee of the Afghan authors writing more truly felt books about Kabul experience.


Two For Sorrow (Josephine Tey Book 3)
Two For Sorrow (Josephine Tey Book 3)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good, light read, 17 Oct. 2013
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I am reading the Nicola Upson books out of a long-term loyalty to Josephine Tey, whose novels I enjoyed so much as a teenager and re-read as an adult. I am finding these reincarnations of Josephine Tey enjoyable, if a little contrived, but the books stand alone as light crime investigations and though Archie Penrose, the detective in Upson's books supposedly on whom Tey based her own detective, Alan Grant, is not a patch on Grant, the double fictions are cleverly played out and I find myself fascinated by Upson's ability to create fictional characters out of a web of imagined versions of people who really existed. It is quite a feat and though I feel the stories don't always work perfectly, the crimes are ingenious and interesting and the setting of the world of theatre holds its own drama. Upson keeps the reader involved and the novels can be enjoyed whether one is familiar with Tey and her work or not.


Kindle - Happy Reading - E-mail Amazon.co.uk Gift Voucher
Kindle - Happy Reading - E-mail Amazon.co.uk Gift Voucher
Price: £30.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Always welcome, 17 Oct. 2013
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A Kindle gift certificate is always welcome, to add books to one's Kindle collection, and much appreciated by the receiver from the giver.


Seagate Expansion 500GB USB 3.0 Portable 2.5 inch External Hard Drive for PC, Xbox One & Xbox 360
Seagate Expansion 500GB USB 3.0 Portable 2.5 inch External Hard Drive for PC, Xbox One & Xbox 360

4.0 out of 5 stars An adequate hard drive, fit for purpose, 17 Oct. 2013
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This hard drive is just what we needed to save all our documents, photographs, and accounts from our computer to ensure they are not lost in any horrid event of computer crash. A good buy.


The Great Composers: The Lives and Music of the Great Classical Composers - Book and CD
The Great Composers: The Lives and Music of the Great Classical Composers - Book and CD
by J. Karl Nicholas
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A great summary of the great composers, 17 Oct. 2013
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I bought this book for my mother who is elderly and wanted an accessible reminder of all her favourite composers. This exactly fits the bill, easy to read and absorb, but not over simplistic. Plenty of humour and lively narrative, bringing the composers to life, but maintaining the intention of the book to inform. The lives and works of all the great composers are here and snippets and anecdotes enliven the descriptions to intrigue and amuse the reader. My mother is delighted with the book and she is not easily pleased, so I feel confident in recommending the book to anyone wanting a comprehensive overview of composers' lives and works in one compact volume.


Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great story in the Mary Russell series, 17 Oct. 2013
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I do so enjoy Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes stories. Well written, thoughtfully planned, informed and with acute attention to detail, assuming intelligence on the part of the reader commensurate with the intelligence of the protagonist characters, Garment of Shadows continues in the exciting vein of the previous novels which take Mary and her mentor husband, the retired Sherlock Holmes, through labyrinths of intrigue and mystery. Delightfully re-invented by Ms King, Sherlock is every bit as quirky and cantankerous as his Conan Doyle predecessor, and I admire Laurie R. King's audacity and ability to maintain the suspense and interest in Mary Russell and her complex adventures over a long series of stories. The period details are excellently drawn, the political circumstances accurately reflect their times, and the characters never lose their veracity. These are grown-up adventure stories in the long tradition of Rider Haggard and John Buchan. Congratulations to Ms King on another wonderful book.


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