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Gizmo (UK)

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Her Fearful Symmetry
Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great first two thirds, but a really silly final third, 15 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Her Fearful Symmetry (Paperback)
There are enough other reviewers here who have summarised the plot and/or given away some or all of the twists. So I won't repeat. But I will echo and support those who a) enjoyed 'The Time Travellers' Wife' and hoped to equally enjoy 'Her Fearful Symmetry', but b) felt staggeringly let down by the crazy plot (even with a suspension of belief), unnecessary twists and lack of characterisation (except for Martin - who, strangely, didn't really fit in this novel anyway).

The plot was convoluted, but that wasn't the problem, I don't mind being challenged to keep up. But Valentina's decision two-thirds in, which drives the final third of the book, is - apart from being beyond stupid - barely thought out by the characters, ill-considered or explained, and there is little discussion among the characters about the moral implications on themselves of doing this - which, surely, there would be?! That aside, the 'twist' of Elspeth and Edie's secret I guessed in the first two chapters (and it did nothing to help the story, and was not elaborated on by the characters after it's revelation - so why was it there?), and the twist on the final page was so frustrating as all it did was belittle the entire book.

As other reviewers have said, Robert is presented as a character is mourning for his love - but this is not evident. Nor is his grief or pleasure evident in response to the actions of Elspeth and Valentina. None of the characters seemed rounded - except Martin who, I again agree with others, is the most compelling of all the characters here: what a pity he only had a supporting role.

It's an easy read and a compelling one - if only to discover just how silly it can be. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, and certainly not to those who really enjoyed 'The Time Traveller's Wife', as they will feel so disappointed. Here's hoping Audrey's third book is a return to her original form.


Robin Ince's Bad Book Club: One man's quest to uncover the books that taste forgot
Robin Ince's Bad Book Club: One man's quest to uncover the books that taste forgot
by Robin Ince
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud, inspired light reading, 6 Dec. 2010
Quite a few of the reviewers here are a bit harsh on Robin Ince. While I'll admit a few sections of the book are a bit patchy (eg, bad science), quite a lot of it had me laughing out loud - which is a rare feat from a book.

I bought it on a whim after hearing Robin do a stand-up routine about it, which had me in stitches, and sped through it in a few days afterwards. Some bits were skim-able, but on the whole it was enjoyably light, fluffy reading, in a Danny Wallace vein.

Would love to read not only Terry Major-Ball's book now, but also the obligatory "Secrets of Picking up Sexy Girls". Surely it must come back into print after all this publicity? Surely...


The Best Of The Human League
The Best Of The Human League
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £2.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All the hits are mising!, 6 Dec. 2010
A Human League compilation that doesn't include 'Don't You Want Me' but instead has a song called 'Don't You Know I Want You'. Hmm. Something's not right here.

Get a proper, authorised compilation of this great band instead.


The Real Me is Thin
The Real Me is Thin
by Arabella Weir
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and pointless, 8 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Real Me is Thin (Hardcover)
Having enjoyed "Does My Bum Look Big In This" many years ago, I thought this might be just as fun. But no. It's tedious, boring and pointless. Largely Arabella tries to come to terms with her issues with her mother and her issues with her size - but I found the whole thing was spoiled by the fact her photo is so clearly air-brushed on the front and back covers, which detracts from any message you might find in it. Felt very let down that she spoilt her pro-size message by being airbrushed (to the point that on the back cover, her feet look strangely plastic!). A very boring book. And not at all funny, whatever David Tennant says on the cover.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2010 4:22 PM GMT


My Appetite for Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns 'N' Roses
My Appetite for Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns 'N' Roses
by Steven Adler
Edition: Hardcover

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A riotous page-turner, 6 Aug. 2010
Unlike the previous commenter, I've actually a) got hold of a copy of the book and b) read it before typing my review.

I'll admit I'm not a particular fan of GNR, but I am a big fan of rock biogs and I loved the Motley Crue book 'The Dirt' without liking them, so I had big hopes for Adler. And I wasn't disappointed.

Unsurprisingly, he has a bit of help stringing sentences together from journalist Lawrence Spagnola - from the early chapters, you get the feeling Adler didn't spend too much time at school, learning the basics of sentence construction or grammatical inflections. But none of that matters - it's a page-turning, toe-clenching, stomach-churningly good yawn.

There's probably a fair bit of this book that should be taken with a pinch of salt. I mean, considering how long ago it all was, and how much drugs this guy took, it's unlikely he can actually remember half of this stuff, never mind with the amount of detail... so I suspect his co-writer did a lot of digging around through cuttings and interviews, and some of it was guess work. Still, that doesn't detract from the fun.

It's not as good as "The Dirt", but it's still a darn fun rock'n'roll tale.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2013 4:30 PM BST


The Wonder
The Wonder
by Diana Evans
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, picturesque, page-turning..., 3 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Wonder (Paperback)
I raced through this wondrous book on a flight (normally a space so difficult to concentrate in), and was captivated by it. I had enjoyed Diana Evans' previous book so had high hopes fro this one, and it was even better.

There seems no need to repeat the plot, as that is covered above, but my impression of 'The Wonder' is that Diana has recreated the streets of Portobello with perfection, and I could picture everything and smell everything, just as she described it. The characters are so full of life and I really sympathised with them - even if I didn't agree morally with what one or two of them did.

The ending was not what I had expected, and it was all so well paced throughout. Excellent. Highly recommended.


Tabloid Girl
Tabloid Girl
by Sharon Marshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing fluff for a Saturday morning, 20 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Tabloid Girl (Paperback)
Well, this book does what it says on the tin. As other reviews have said, 'Tabloid Girl' won't leave Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens quaking in their graves, but it will give you a laugh. I was given a copy by a friend (as I used to work for a tabloid magazine), and sped read it on a lazy Saturday morning in bed. It is written very simply, but then I never expected anything else, but it also surprisingly unputdownable... hence reading it in one sitting, and even finishing it in the bath after I forced myself to get up!! The cover is off-putting as it plays down the intelligence of Marshall, but that's probably not her fault. They do say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but if I saw 'Tabloid Girl' in a shop with this cover, I'd not even pick it up. That aside, it's a fun read. As a former journalist, I identified with much of what she said, but I also wondered what any aspiring young journos would make of it. Be interesting to find out.


Making Trouble: Life and Politics
Making Trouble: Life and Politics
by Lynne Segal
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and exciting, 23 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this after hearing Lynne Segal give a lecture about the role of memory in literature, for which she (reasonably enough, since this book had just come out), used her own experiences as examples. She was so inspiring, I bought this book the next day and started reading immediately. I really couldn't put it down and devoured it over a weekend.

Lynne's anecdotes of being an empowered, active and achieving feminist in the 1970s and 1980s was exciting and thought-provoking, and really made me feel I could go out and achieve something, too.

Her writing, it goes without saying, is lucid and enticing, and great fun to read. She is informative and educational without being preachy. This is a wonderful insight into the mind of one of the truly influential second wave feminists.


Remarkable Creatures
Remarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, captivating, thought provoking, 4 May 2010
This review is from: Remarkable Creatures (Paperback)
As a fan of 'Falling Angels' and (to a lesser extent) 'The Girl With The Pearl Earring', I was interested to see what Tracy Chevalier would do with 'Remarkable Creatures' - but unconvinced that a novel about fossil collecting would grab my interest.

How wrong I was!

On the night I started this book, I stayed up until 3am as I was unable to stop reading, by which time I had sped through half of the book. I only forced myself to stop reading as otherwise I would have been too tired for work the next day. By the following evening, the book was polished off - and that was allowing for two 8 hour working days!

Assuming you know the plot outline from the summary and other reviews, I will focus on the two elements that struck me the most. First - the sad and prejudiced way in which men of the time refused to believe women were capable fo scientific discovery, despite the irrefutable evidence to the contrary. And second - the ignorant way the vicar dismisses Elizabeth as blasphemous because she suggests maybe God created a creature (the dinosaurs) that he later saw fit to make extinct. The fear being, for the Christians, that maybe one day God will see fit to make humans extinct.

Read with relish.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Annie Barrows
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated and twee, but readable, 4 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having heard much about this quirkily-monnkiered book, and having had some recommendations from people I trust, I gave it a go (despite being too embarassed to tell anyone the twee name of the book I was reading).

It's a quick read, it's easy and it's unchallenging. But it's also unbelievably sickly, cliched and twee. The concept of writing the narrative as a string of letters is fine - except that none of the letter writers had individual voices, and it read like one person ahd written all the letters (which, of course, they had).

The plot 'twists' were inevitable (the 'romance', Elizabeth's fate), and the sub-plots were predictable (orphaned child with unconventional upbringing).

What was really galling was how we were every so often dragged out of the hot-water-bottle world of Guernsey by sudden reminders about the stark realities of life on the island under the occupation (which, as other reviewers here have said, may not even be accurate).

I wouldn't recommend it.


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