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Essex Girl "essexsim"

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I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But: The Truth About Fame, Fortune and My Life in Music
I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But: The Truth About Fame, Fortune and My Life in Music
by Simon Cowell
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average autobiography, 21 July 2004
I did learn a lot about Simon Cowell in this book. His background was quite privileged, but he worked his way up in an assortment of jobs until he got his break as an A & R man. Career wise he has done a lot more than people have credited him for (although some acts he is responsible for were not very credible...!). He takes us through the early days of Pop Idol and pulls no punches when he states, quite clearly, acts he think will make it and those that don't. Unfortunately the book was written towards the end of Pop Idol 2, so we already know which of his predictions have come true! Another thing that lets this book down for me is the last two chapters, which are all advice for wannabe pop stars on how to handle auditions and fame. This is largely irrelevant for me and, I expect for, a large number of people who maybe interested in Cowell's work and/or just enjoy a good autobiography. Sadly, this won't be one of the best you have read.

by Marian Keyes
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The chick-lit queen!, 21 July 2004
This review is from: Angels (Paperback)
This is a chick-lit (or modern romantic fiction if you prefer!) at its very best. Marian Keyes' books have always gripped me and I have always enjoyed her characters.
The premise of Angels is about a woman going to Los Angeles to see a friend after the breakdown of her marriage to try and move on. Unlike some novels set around a separation, you are not dragged into a depression with the heroine, and Keyes strikes the balance of letting you understand the characters without making them into caricatures.
As has been mentioned in other reviews, Maggie, our main character is a sister in a family featured in two other novels. You will not lose anything by reading this first, instead of Watermelon or Rachel's Holiday (although I recommend you do read them because they are good!).
All in all, Keyes has written another excellent 'chick-lit' novel, she may be sticking to a formula but it is one that works.

Isobel's Wedding
Isobel's Wedding
by Sheila O'Flanagan
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Chick Lit, 21 July 2004
This review is from: Isobel's Wedding (Paperback)
If you are a fan of romantic fiction then I think you will enjoy this book. If you prefer your chick-lit characters to have a bit more 'Oomph' then maybe you should try a different book....
This was my first time reading any of O'Flanagan's books. I certainly will give them another go, though I prefer my heroines to be a bit sparkier and slightly less pathetic!
As you no doubt have discovered, the book centres on Isobel after her wedding has been cancelled at the last minute. There is a lot of mooching about before she finally gets her act into gear and we can enjoy her experiences. Unfortunately she turns out to be a not particularly likeable person.
Although overall I enjoyed this book, and was interested to see how things worked out for her (or otherwise), there are better books in this genre.

Siemens SL55 - Red - SIM Free
Siemens SL55 - Red - SIM Free

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Little Phone, 25 Jun. 2004
I loved the slick slider of this phone, which is why I decided on it. It is very compact, light and feels quite flimsy. However I have dropped it several times and it has survived so is obviously more resilient than it looks! There are several games on there including mobile tennis, a good address book with birthday reminder function, alarm clock, calendar, dictating machine, currency converter and stopwatch etc etc.
The included ring tones are mainly types of music rather then a specific piece (although there are a few of those such as the obligatory Beethoven's 5th!. I find the alert tones for texts quite quiet so have to use ring tones, which is quite annoying.
The keypad is small of course; so larger thumbs could have a problem.
You can buy an optional camera for this phone; it does not come with an internal one. There is no supplied car kit as the phone can be set up for voice activation (you can but a separate car holder for it). I find the voice activation quite handy, although not conducive to a private conversation. When you dial/receive a call there are several buttons that need to be pressed to start hands for hands-free dialling which seems a pointless to me, the idea is that I don't need to reach for the phone and look at the face, surely?
Apart from that, I love this little phone (and it is little, too small for most phone holders in handbags) because it is cute, stylish and has everything I need.

by Emily Barr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Holiday Read, 20 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Baggage (Paperback)
As someone who has backpacked in Australia herself a few years back (OK, 10 years ago) I was looking forward to reading this book. I am very glad I did. The characters have faults and are not perfect, for anyone fed up with the perfect chick lit heroine then this is refreshing. The story is told from two perspectives, firstly, that of a woman in Australia and secondly, from a London journalist called Larry. When Larry's girlfriend, Sophie, goes to Australia for a few months and bumps into the woman she believes to be her dead school friend, Daisy, she tells Larry, who suggests they return to look for her properly, but has his own career agenda. The story is well written and keeps you hooked, but there are two minor niggles. At the end of the book I didn't like what happened to Larry's character. I don't want to give anything away, but something about him changed, shall we say, and I didn't see why this had to happen. Secondly, we never heard what happened to Daisy and her family at the end of the book, it was too open. Again, I don't want to give anything away as I would recommend this book, but there could have been more of a hint as too how it all finishes. I would like to add that I don't think you need to have visited the Australian Outback to enjoy this book, which is a bit of a thriller; it just helps in your visualisation of the setting.

Brick Lane
Brick Lane
by Monica Ali
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacked Direction, 13 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Brick Lane (Paperback)
Having read the reviews and heard of all the awards that this had won, I was expecting to enjoy this book a lot more than I did. The story is about how a young woman, Nazneen, from Bangladesh who has an arranged marriage with an older Bangladeshi man who lives in London. The first half of the book and the last few chapters are interesting, but it was a hard slog getting through the middle. I enjoyed reading about the Bangladeshi community in London, but very little was made of this, bar the conflicts that faced a few of Nazneen's friends in the Tower Hamlets estate that they lived in.
I sometimes wondered what sort of book Ali was writing, whether she was writing of Nazneen's struggles, her friends' struggles or the general struggles of Muslims in London (particularly post-September 11th). This was not clear to me, therefore I feel I can only give the book three stars, and no more.

by Frank McCourt
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Tis a long read, 23 Mar. 2004
This review is from: 'Tis (Paperback)
This book picks up exactly where Angela's Ashes left off - on the boat to America. Having enjoyed McCourt's first memoir, I was looking forward to this follow up. At first I preferred it - It was less harrowing! There were still mentions of Ireland to jog your memory if you had not read the prequel for a while, and it was full of tales of how he settled into New York, girls he met and his time in the army.
After a while the story started to wane. There was little or no mention of Ireland and the family after Frank went for a visit, and his family came over to the US for a visit. There were plenty of teacher's tales, but I felt he was almost padding the book out until he got to a suitable ending (which he did). I feel he was very vague with references to how his family got on after a while also. You know they got on with their own lives, but you don’t know if they were happy or successful.
The style of writing is as Angela's Ashes, no speech marks are used, just indentations. For the most part it is an easy read, those it does get a bit repetitive in parts. I still enjoyed this book, and fans of Angela's Ashes would also enjoy it, just don't expect more of the same.

Can You Keep a Secret?
Can You Keep a Secret?
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, fun read., 10 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Can You Keep a Secret? (Paperback)
As a fan of Kinsella's Shopaholic series, I was delighted to find that this book was easily as good as any of those. You warm to her characters and accept their flaws and enjoy being taken along for the ride. It is no literary classic, but it is still a good, fun, easy read for the beach or train. You will race through it in a matter of days, as it is very entertaining.
This book maybe pure chick-lit, but it is unashamedly so, and one of the best of its genre.

Peyton Place
Peyton Place
by Grace Metalious
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Journey, 10 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Peyton Place (Paperback)
Most will probably be aware about how scandalous this book was in the fifties. It is tame in comparison now, even the swear words don't register. The story is told in three parts, each separated by a few years and we see some young students at the local school and their families and we watch how their lives unfold over time as they grow up and how their families change. It has its fair amount of tragedy, you can understand the shock that some subjects generated when the book was published.
I found Metalious' style of writing very easy to read, there is a wealth of characters, and it is very much an ensemble piece. It is an easy book to get sucked in to and I would recommend it to anyone who likes variety to their novels, that do not follow one theme or genre.

The Kindness of Strangers : The Autobiography
The Kindness of Strangers : The Autobiography
by Kate Adie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Written with humour and compassion, 22 Feb. 2004
Kate Adie is, of course, very well known in the UK for always being in the thick of the action. Here she tells us what it is like behind the scenes, what she saw but could not adequately report (had to report facts, not emotions). Adie takes us through war zones, earthquake ruins, royal tours and massacres. She is human and recounts events that have moved her whilst regaling us with stories of journalistic incompetence (hers and others). It is reassuring to know she is fallible and is not afraid to tell us about her mistakes. The major events are not always covered chronologically which can be confusing and there is very little reference to a personal life, which is intriguing. She may have preferred not to reveal such details but you are left wondering how did she maintain relationships whilst stuck in the desert or dodging sniper fire? You know she is adopted and discovered her biological mother, but you get no details. She only mentions briefly her childhood and her student days, before she moves onto life in local radio.
The first and last chapters of the book are very odd. In the first she comes across as quite arrogant and the last (a postscript) she appears to want to teach us about how broadcasting and reporting have changed in recent years.
This should not to detract from the rest of the book, which is first class. Describing how her and her crew were befriended by locals in unusual circumstances, such as the family that were homeless after the Armenian earthquake offering them half their meagre supper without a second thought, which prompted the title of this book. Her human, compassionate interpretation can be very moving, yet uplifting, but does not detract from the events themselves. Anecdotes about journalists falling into trenches, going to the toilet in the desert with 2000 men and shoe shopping in Beirut keep us amused also.
I would highly recommend this book to biography fans as well as those with an interest in current affairs.

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