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Mary May (UK)
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A Diary of The Lady: My First Year As Editor
A Diary of The Lady: My First Year As Editor
by Rachel Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 14 July 2016
Keep it in the family. I'm being generous here.


The Dream House
The Dream House
by Rachel Hore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dan is too good to be true and Shelley too chavvy, 9 Jun. 2016
This review is from: The Dream House (Paperback)
This book is unbelievably similar to 'The Lake House', by Kate Morton. I'm not sure who plaigiarised who though.
The book is poorly researched and not rooted in real life. Why would you need someone to phone you with the directions to the local hospital/ Why, once in that hospital, would you use the pay phone rather than your mobile?
There are to many lazy cliches and stereotypical characters:' thoroughly modern Daisy', Does she mean Millie? A young man is described as 'wobbling away' on a bicycle. Did the author search for phrases about bicycle riding and then use this one thoughtlessly? Why do you need to 'set about' the task of Sunday lunch?
To much heavy-handed description; 'kitchen table' or just 'table' would suffice, rather than kitchen/breakfast room table. Where was the editor with his red pencil?
Dan is too good to be true and Shelley too chavvy.
Altogether the plot is too complicated and although the central coincidence is just about believable, the way everything else 'works out' isn't. It is almost as if the author was determined to cram as many sub-plots as possible into this book. Again, what WAS the editor thinking?
I only finished the book because I was on a long train journey without anything else to read. I won't waste my time rading anything else by this author.


Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity
Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity
by Jack Urwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and poignant - Jack has said a host of ..., 2 Jun. 2016
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Informative, well-written and researched, funny and poignant - Jack has said a host of things we have either never thought of saying or were scared to utter.
Read it!
Jack speaks from his soul and has the gift of understanding both sides of the issues, wondering: 'how did we get here?', then trying to answer the question and NEVER, EVER lecturing or being 'holier than thou'.
I'm not going to summarise the contents - you just read it for yourself.
Then talk about it. With everyone.


Recipe for Life: The Autobiography
Recipe for Life: The Autobiography
by Mary Berry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stay in the kitchen, 21 April 2014
Just because someone excels at one thing it doesn't necessarily follow that they are as good at something else or that they are interesting in a general way.

I know I can depend on May Berry's recipes (especially for cakes) to deliver exactly what they promise. I've enjoyed her recent series on TV, especially for all the shortcuts and tips. The woman can cook and also makes cooking extremely appealing to others. So I was pleased to see recipes included in the book and I will probably try them all.

But her writing style is dire. She rambles from one anecdote to the next in a happy-happy-smiley-smiley style which just doesn't ring true. And her advancement from Nothing to Something is more explained by the times she started in, marriage to a reasonably well-off chap and the fact that in those days there wasn't as much competition as there is now, than it is by raw talent.

I don't begrudge her success. Nor do I deny that she has flair and has worked hard. But success often comes through luck and patronage and I wonder how many undiscovered 'Mary Berrys' there are and how much we would have benefitted if they'd had their time in the spotlight.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2015 2:01 PM GMT


The Red House
The Red House
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, 25 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Red House (Paperback)
...and not worth the effort of sorting out who was who and why they did what they did!
The only character I ha any sympathy with was the older boy. See I can't eve remember hus name now! Maybe it was Alex. And as for the ghost theme. What a lazy way to get the word count up.


The Snow Child: The Richard and Judy Bestseller
The Snow Child: The Richard and Judy Bestseller
by Eowyn Ivey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than many, 22 Mar. 2013
This book was chosen by my Book Club and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the flaws. The descriptions of Alaskan landscape were compelling. A vivid contrast to the sort of description which often occurs in a book, were characters are described in minute, cliched detail: hair colour, what they are wearing etc, as if you need to pick them out on an identity parade. No, the descriptions in this book were more subtle and their purpose was to make you feel you were IN the landscape. It worked for me.

I wondered at first about the identity of the child. Later, I wondered if parallels were being drawn between a simply feral child, a person suffering from severe depressions and a magical being, sho simply didn't belong in this world. I guessed once the relationship between Garret and the child started, that it couldn't end well. I liked the way she simply disappeared. Draw your own conclusions.

There were flaws: why did they all accept so easily that she had 'melted' Why weren't the stages of grief examined? Was she just a less than complete human, who could draw others to her because of their need or her beauty, but in the end, she was as insubstantial as a child made of snow?


A Room Swept White: Culver Valley Crime Book 5
A Room Swept White: Culver Valley Crime Book 5
by Sophie Hannah
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where did ya get those names, where did ya get those names...?, 24 Sept. 2012
Let's start with the names: Morgan and Rowan Yardley/Paige Yardley/Maya/Fliss/Binary Star/Benego Strett/Gaynor Mundy/Sarah Jaggard/Wendy Whitehead/Marcella and Nathaniel/Dillon/Laurence Hugo St John Fleet Natrass/Lorna Keast/Joanne Bew/Dorne Llewellyn/Russell Meredew.

Fanciful!

I think the author has a problem with names and gender.
Ray is usually short for Raymond, not Rachel. Charlie is usually male, not female.

I won't object to Sam Kombothekra/Giles Proust/Leckenby/Leah Gould/

How could two children have seizures after a vaccination and while a nurse was present and nothing written in their medical records about it, never mind no follow up advice to the parents or diagnostic tests or treatments?

And the way that Fliss realised what the numbers meant could have been explained, rather than her saying she knew and then rushing out of the room. Mind you, I must congratulate her on her excellent hearing. being in a courtyard with an almost closed window didn't stop her following the conversation in the room, accurately and word-for-word.

I could say this book was juvenile, but that would be an insult to young people.


Phoenix from the Ashes: The boat that rebuilt our lives
Phoenix from the Ashes: The boat that rebuilt our lives
by Justin Ruthven-Tyers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pull the other one!, 24 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Oh dear! I'm about to be 'cast out from the mainstream' of readers by my opinion of this book. It didn't ring true for me at all. In fact, it seemed like a self perpetuating myth. The more 'ordinary' and 'inexperienced' Justin said he was, the more unbelievable was the next thing he wrote. People don't just 'build a house' with no previous experience, unless there s a whole raft (sorry) of helpers. He might never have built a boat before, but he certainly knew how to sail one, so he would have known more about boat design and operation than he let on. There seemed no point to this book. The anecdotes didn't go anywhere or teach him (or us) anything. How handy that friends were film-makers. Just a coincidence.
But page 188 really finished it for me...how could someone have his arm severed by a train and NOT NOTICE? How convenient that it just sliced the limb off so cleanly? And no bleeding. Or shock. Or being knocked off your feet by the impact. In fact, 'Superman' carried on walking and didn't notice until he couldn't open his front door. It's on a par with the adolescent lions playing on Dartmoor and mistaking feral goats for Spanish ibex. Come off it!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 9, 2013 9:05 AM BST


The Shadows in the Street: Simon Serrailler Book 5
The Shadows in the Street: Simon Serrailler Book 5
by Susan Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but..., 24 May 2012
I have read all the previous books in Hill's 'Simon Serrailler' series, but haven't found any as compelling as the first one. This one was a good read, nevertheless; more for it's portrayal of the lives of Serrailler's family and the shennenigans at the Cathedral, than for the 'detective' element. I was disappointed to guess the name of the protaganist quite easily. He was painted blacker and blacker as the book went on and with a very heavy hand. I was also disappointed by several slip-ups in the research. Hill seems to think that a mobile phone won't receive calls when it's low on credit. She also has Taransay producing it's own Malt whisky, which would be Ok if it was true OR if Taransay was a fictional place. But it isn't on both counts and that wrankles. She also has a 'thing' about people putting boiled milk in cafetiere coffee. Yeuk! But that's just my personal preference showing.
I borrowed this from the library and will borrow the next one as I expect it will entertain. But in these harsh economic times, I would not buy this book.


The Return
The Return
by Victoria Hislop
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars From everyone's point of view, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Return (Hardcover)
I learned much about the Spanish Civil War from this book and it has inspired me to find out more. I also got a feeling for Spain: it's beauty and it's culture. I have never spent any time there, but I wish to do that now. But I have to agree with other reviewers that this is a poorly written book. One of the cardinal rules of writing s story is: 'show, don't tell.' Hislop breaks this rule constantly. She even tells us what several people's dying thoughts are. I felt I was being lectured about the story, rather than drawn into it. The first part is written in a very pedestrian style and the characterers are unconvincing stereotypes. If I was a commissioing editor there wouldn't have been anything in the first three chapters to make me think the book had anything new or interesting . to say The ending was all too predictable. I found myself thinking,'how did this ever get published?' but now I realise to whom the author is connected, I am afraid that I know the answer.


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