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H. Lacroix (France)
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Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women
Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women
by Jenny Hartley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately it tries your patience..., 25 April 2012
There is merit in writing about an unknown aspect of Dickens's life. After all he is such a celebrated author that to find something that hasn't been dealt with at length must be quite a feat indeed. And there are aspects of the stories of these women that cannot fail to move but all in all there isn't that much to write about so the pages are filled with a lot of repetitions and speculations.(One such example is the useless speculation on what might have happened to the case book) I found myself unable to memorize any of the facts or the names since we jump from one character to the next, from one year to the next. I found the narrative rather disjointed and was more than once annoyed by the telling of anecdotes that have very little in common with Urania cottage and seem to have been added as padding. Not a great read!


Birdsong [DVD]
Birdsong [DVD]
Dvd ~ Eddie Redmayne
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £11.99

18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redmaine does have charisma!, 27 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Birdsong [DVD] (DVD)
I totally disagree with this other reviewer who was quite harsh on 'Birdsong'. I haven't read the book, I'm not a great fan of Faulks and I usually hate stuff that deals with wars. So I thought I would in all likelihood dislike it and yet, the film worked its magic. I ended up loving that first part. I enjoyed everything or very nearly, the slow but intense way the seduction between those two protagonists develops, the lazy shots of those sultry summer days contrasting sharply with life in the trenches. I don't think I had ever seen Redmaine before and thought he looked so young, so boyish that he would fail to deliver but he didn't. The attraction between the two is more than believable, the looks subtly exchanged and the beautiful photography reminded me of some excellent scenes in the Go Between for example. The hour and a half just flew by and I ended up enchanted. Of course I don't know if the second part will be as good but I can but hope. My only criticism is that some of the dialogue between the soldiers is really difficult to understand, mumble, mumble, mumble. I wish they enunciated properly!It is perfectly possible to have a strong regional accent but be audible at the same time.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2012 6:49 AM GMT


The Missing
The Missing
by Jane Casey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It started well before it became very silly., 21 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Missing (Paperback)
I must admit it gives me no pleasure to write a negative review about this book as I rather liked it to start with. But as other reviewers have noted it finally turned into a farce and lost all the appeal it had had for lovers of good crime fiction. The first thing that springs to mind is that the heroine soon grows excessively irritating. She is such a pushover! Then there's the policemen who, I'm sure, behave in a way that can't be true to life. First one of them sleeps with the heroine, then they divulge pretty everything she wants to know about the case. Hardly ordinary behaviour I imagine! Their reason for it? Probably because she is part of it since she was the one who discovered the body of the missing 12 year old that she actually taught. Isn't it lovely to imagine that a little girl disappears, the school is told and that same evening, her teacher goes jogging and finds the body? Why complicate things anyway? Make it simple, make it implausible, in one word make it ludicrous! But my absolute favourite part is the ending... I'll try not to reveal too much. What I loved about it was the sheer nerve it must have taken to finish the book this way and then offer it for publication. I must now assume that no one read it before agreeing to publish. Or publishers have such a dim view of their readership that they imagined no one would either notice or care. Sarah (the heroine) finds herself quite by chance with the criminal and his let's say 'entourage'. His 'entourage' after days of keeping their mouths shut suddenly spill the beans into Sarah's eager ear. Then everybody has to be killed of course as THEY WOULD TELL! What does the murderer choose to continue his killing spree? A crossbow!!! Yes indeed, a crossbow!!! How did he come to have one? Because someone had one and lent it to him! Plausibility nil, farce 10. Then when Sarah is made aware of the story does she call the police straight away? No, she doesn't. She first tells the policewoman who happens to be with her. And when that police officer wants to call it is then TOO LATE. The crossbow will soon come into action. One shot and the policewoman gets it between the shoulderblades, she's out. Another shot (but with a lot of silly dialogue before) and 'the entourage' gets it in the eye. Why the eye? I suppose because it's more gory. Doesn't matter that it's a book and we can't see, it has to be a great shot in the eye! Then Sarah, all flustered inside mind you, but appearing to be calm ouwardly, tries to talk him out of killing her and manages to grab a pair of scissors 'dial M for murder' which she firmly plants into the killer's neck, causing massive blood flow...She is safe, he is soon dead... But the farce hasn't quite reached its natural conclusion. The policewoman isn't actually dead and you know what? With the rod still between her shoulders and in what I assume must be considerable pain, she blames Sarah for killing the murderer and saving her own life. As she says '... even if he did deserve it.... it wasn't up to you... to decide' I must admit I was in stitches by then... It's actually rare that a bad book becomes enjoyable because it becomes proportionately ludicrous and therefore hilarious. This one proved to be so! Now it has been endorsed by Sophie Hannah, no surprise there, she herself writes so badly that she could like it. But the fact that Reginald Hill seems to have written praise about it ' The missing aims high and doesn't miss...' truly saddens me. To think that the author of the superb 'On Beulah height' should approve of it, I find it hard to believe!!!


The Good Wife - Seasons 1 and 2 [DVD]
The Good Wife - Seasons 1 and 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julianna Margulies
Price: £20.00

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like it says in the title, seriously good!, 14 Jan. 2012
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I am no fan of American series generally. This is not about being snobbish, it is simply that so many of them are so disappointing that you lose faith in finding something worth watching and give up on any new one after watching the first episode and grinding your teeth at the banality of the acting, dialogue, plots... This is so different I am still amazed that they managed to spin something that good. I watched, quite by chance, an episode on TV that must have been at the beginning of the second series (at that time I hadn't a clue what is was about as I had watched none of the first series). The episode managed to hook me in about 30 seconds I guess. It is true that I have a weakness for legal dramas but all the same, this is something else. So I watched that episode, which was followed on the same night by another one, that I enjoyed just as much, then when they announced a third one I thought to myself "oh no, you've got work tomorrow, you can't stay up that late" but I did!!I certainly wasn't going to miss anything! Since then I've watched the rest of the second series and have bought this to get to grips with the beginning. I have often been unable to ration myself and have often watched four episodes one after the other. The whole package is amazing, acting, plots, dialogue, the mixture of professional and personal stories, everything is perfectly balanced and I don't see how it could be bettered. A fantastic series and unforgettable characters among which I must single out Kalinda, played by British actress Archie Panjaby. She has gone a long way since East is East and she is just wonderful. (as is Alan Cummings, incredibly convincing as Eli Gold)


Snowdrops
Snowdrops
by A. D. Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 14 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Snowdrops (Paperback)
I was surprised to read on the book jacket that it had been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize as the writing, although adequate, is by no means unusual or extraordinary. But the story is compelling. I read it in two days. There are no surprises at the end, what finally happens, everybody will have guessed by the time they reach the second half of the book but this in no way detracts from the book's worth. It's not about guessing or rather, failing to guess who done it, it's about diving into another world that is not that far away but that I found both totally alien in its ruthlessness and at the same time fascinating. It certainly won't take you long to finish this one, it is addictive!


Trespassing
Trespassing
by Uzma Aslam Khan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars You'll learn a lot about Pakistan, 14 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Trespassing (Paperback)
'Trespassing' has been my best read these last few months. I had been somewhat unlucky with the books I picked lately. When I started to read this one I knew my luck had changed. It is one of those reads where the writer manages to transport you in the country where the story is set. The heat, the scents, the feelings... everything is contained on the page and the information the book gives, about mulberry trees and silkworms for example is so well interwoven in the telling of the story that it never feels awkward. The silkworms, the weaving, become characters in the tale, just like Dia, Daanish and their relatives and friends. Very often tender, sometimes cruel, it is a book I definitely recommend.


Sherlock - Series 2 [DVD]
Sherlock - Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: £6.77

5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it!, 2 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Sherlock - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I am not sure that the story made much sense but I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed that first episode of this new series. It has been too long since I read the story ' a scandal in Bohemia' for me to see all the parallels drawn between the two but I did see a few. I think that as long as the actors perform as well as they do, Sherlock will remain enjoyable and highly watchable even if very implausible. It was a good idea to give more screen time to characters such as Mrs Hudson and to allow them to participate more in the drama. Lara Pulver made an impeccable and highly fascinating Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes's seduction was rendered totally believable. I only wish actresses were allowed to eat because honestly, when 'the woman' is trying to find the proper clothes to wear for her first meeting with Sherlock and chooses to appear in the nude, as decency wouldn't permit our seeing the whole of her exposed, we have the priviledge of seeing the upper part of her torso (minus the breasts, wouldn't be proper) and all I saw myself was ribcage. She is so thin I could have counted her ribs! A pity that such an elegant actress who wore her clothes and make up so magnificently, a little like Ava Gardner in the fifties, should be much more attractive when clothed!


The Blind Assassin
The Blind Assassin
by Margaret Atwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A second reading doesn't disappoint, 2 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Blind Assassin (Paperback)
It has been a few years since I read 'the Blind Assassin' for the first time and I was really looking forward to reading it again. What was nice was that I was rediscovering the plot as I had forgotten a good deal of it. What I found a little strange was that what I remembered most was what I hadn't really enjoyed, by that I mean the science fiction part.The story I had really cared for, that of the two sisters, was the part whose intricacies and subleties surprised me most on reading it again. But first or second time around the book is just as good, the characters stand out on the page. Margaret Atwood really knows how to write and spin a well-crafted and inventive plot. She allows you to enter a world of her own making and to stay there as a guest for a while.


The Winter House
The Winter House
by Nicci Gerrard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Had it been written by a teenager I would have understood..., 23 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Winter House (Paperback)
... but by a grown woman??? I have forced myself to read but have been unable to make good progress as it is one of the most boring books I have ever had the displeasure of buying and reading. Now that I have reached page 270 I have finally taken a wise decision. I have decided not to impose further torture on myself, to discard it and forget about it as quickly as possible. And believe me I will forget about it even quicker than I imagine. I feel embarrassed for the author. It is as if, having established a list of all the things not to be done in a novel, she had then decided to include each and every single one of them. I have read very few Mills and Boons, in fact the only ones I ever read were read during particularly wet holidays when nearly all outdoors plans had to be cancelled and I had brought very few books with me and Mills and Boons were all that was on offer at the place where I was staying. Well you may not believe me but one or two of those were better books than the Winter house. To me that says it all!! The plot is so clumsy and immature I really thought an 18-year-old had written it. There is nothing but cliché after cliché!!! He loves me but I don't love him , he's just a friend, I love his friend but I can't let myself love him because how will he be able to bear it? My best friend is in love with the boy who loves me but he doesn't love her in return.On the night when I finally decide to take the plunge and have sex with the boy I am in love with, there is a big storm (foreshadowing the storm raging in every one's bosom) but I won't meet my lover because the boy who loves me is crying his heart out and I will go and comfort him. And the one I love will find us together and assume he has been betrayed. When we finally make it a few months aferwards we are rudely interrupted by the boy who loves me who then feels betrayed and has a fight with the boy I love. And as grown men and woman we meet when he's dying of cancer to tell our lovely story. We are really spared nothing!!! Please, please, have people lend you the book if you really insist on reading it!!!


From The Dead (Tom Thorne Novels)
From The Dead (Tom Thorne Novels)
by Mark Billingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2.0 out of 5 stars The weakest by far, 23 Nov. 2011
I don't know what happened to the author but this time he certainly didn't deliver. It happens to everybody once in a while I suppose. The plot is as clumsy as can be. The story with Anna Carpenter is so predictable and so unbelievable that I actually was embarrassed reading stuff of such low quality. As for the Spanish tourist brochure at the end... Let's just say that this one is best forgotten... and let's hope that better is to come.


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