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Patmel (Hampshire, UK)

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Chilled to the Bone (Gunnhildur Mystery)
Chilled to the Bone (Gunnhildur Mystery)
by Quentin Bates
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for all fans of Nordic Noir, 21 April 2013
Despite the banking meltdown and the chaos caused by the smoking volcano, day-to-day life for the ordinary Icelander goes on much the same as normal with the usual assortment of murders, prostitution and bondage, blackmail and intimidation. Well, they have to keep themselves busy during the long, dark winter don't they!

This is the third book in the series featuring Officer Gunnhilda and is another cracking read. Written by an Englishman who lived in Iceland for ten years, it has the added bonus that nothing has been lost in translation (good title for a book!) as can sometimes happen, while still capturing the real atmosphere of the country.

I particularly liked "Chilled to the Bone" as, although it is primarily a murder and crime novel, there is lots about Gunnhilda's family and domestic life, the life of the law breakers and criminals and why they act the way they do, some almost out of necessity and some because they seem to like it!

Can't wait for the next in the series as I am dying to find out Gunnhilda's family problems pan out.


Frozen Assets (Sergeant Gunnhildur Novel)
Frozen Assets (Sergeant Gunnhildur Novel)
by Quentin Bates
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.88

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "FROZEN ASSETS" IS A RETITLED EDITION OF "FROZEN OUT"!!!, 17 Jun. 2012
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I bought the first and second Gunnhildur mysteries (Frozen Out and Cold Comfort) and enjoyed them both and was looking forward to the third. I was rather annoyed on buying Frozen Assets to find it was just a new and retitled edition of "Frozen Out". Waiting for my refund!!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2016 4:19 PM GMT


Baking with Passion (Baker & Spice)
Baking with Passion (Baker & Spice)
by Dan Lepard
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after "Short and Sweet", 6 Jun. 2012
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I received "Short and Sweet" by Dan Lepard as a Christmas gift and absolutely loved it - I have tried loads of the recipes (all successful!) and am always browsing through it - so couldn't wait to get "Baking with Passion".

Although, at first glance, it looked a very well presented book I was sorely disappointed. Only one or maybe at a stretch two recipes that I would actually try. I thought it was a little on the pretentious side eg using bottled water when water was called for in a recipe, maybe OK for the serious (and dare I say, pedantic) baker - but not for those of us catering for normal, hungry families who want to fit in a bit (or a lot) of baking between other chores.

For me, it was a complete waste of money while "Short and Sweet" is worth its weight in gold.


The Dinner Club
The Dinner Club
by Saskia Noort
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but lightweight, 10 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: The Dinner Club (Paperback)
I had been meaning to buy this novel for ages; to be honest, I was hoping the price would come down as I thought £8.99 was a bit steep - and after reading it, I thought it was definitely over-priced! Having said that, it was an enjoyable read.

I would describe it as a "chick-lit thriller" as I don't really think it would appeal to most men or avid fans of real crime fiction. It is basically Karen's story, the main character and narrator, a "yuppy" mother of two who has recently moved with her family from Amsterdam to a village in the Dutch countryside seeking a better quality of life. After the initial loneliness, Karen and her family make friends with four like-minded couples and their families - The Dinner Club. Underneath this friendship there are undercurrents of jealousy, lust and dislike for each other culminating in the murder of one of them. Very little is given over to the police investigation and procedures, it is mainly Karen's take on the investigation. By the time the murderer is named and shamed, the friends have all fallen out.

My main disappointment was that there was nothing particularly Dutch about the story except a couple of references to Karen jumping on or off her bicycle! - it could have been set anywhere.

Certainly not in the same class as Mankell, Indridasson or Larsson, but an easy read suited to a Friday night in after a busy week at work.


Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast (Radio 4 Book of the Week)
Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast (Radio 4 Book of the Week)
by Charlie Connelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia is Alive and Well!!!, 24 Feb. 2010
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Everyone over a certain age will remember those immortal words "Attention all Shipping". I can still recall listening to the Shipping Forecast when I was a child and my mother and I wondering where these cold, wet and windy places were. Now I know. I pictured the fishermen in their yellow oilskins, steaming cups of tea in their hands, waiting for news of the weather in 'their' areas.

This book is a joy and an excellent read for the armchair traveller. I read it in a couple of sittings and will read it again. I liked Charlie's writing style and found it warm and humourous. He wrote as though he was really enjoying the journey - even the couple of times when he experienced chronic seasickness! He met some fascinating people and, although he doesn't pretend he did all the research himself, he came up with lots of interesting facts, stories and anecdotes. I was sorry when his journey came to an end.

My only criticism? I want to know even more about North and South Utsire, Fitzroy, Lundy and all the other areas.

As long as the BBC continues broadcasting the Shipping Forecast, we can be fairly certain that all is well with the world!


Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future That Disappeared
Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future That Disappeared
by Andrew Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweden and no mention of Abba!!!!, 3 Feb. 2010
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Fishing in Utopia is the bitter-sweet memoir of the time the author spent living, working and most importantly, fishing in Sweden.

He first lived in Sweden, in Stockholm, for a couple of years in his childhood and returned as a young man to be with his Swedish girlfriend. He and Anita later married and had one son but the marriage ended and he returned alone to England. During his time in Sweden, he was able to follow what appears to be the greatest love of his life - fishing, and from the book it is clear that he believes fishing there is like nowhere else on earth.

The book gives a detailed insight into the psyche of the Swedes and of Sweden itself. Naturally, he still has a close affinity with the country and as he now considers himself to be an outsider, he can see how the country has changed since he first lived there - and not always for the better.

I loved the book and read it in two sittings and finished it wanting more. I must be getting old and sentimental - I found it tugged at the heartstrings and spent the next few days brooding over it.

A great read.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2014 11:17 AM GMT


Echoes From The Dead
Echoes From The Dead
by Johan Theorin
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those Swedes have done it again!!!, 5 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Echoes From The Dead (Paperback)
Just when you thought the Swedes could not possibly have another winning crime writer, along comes another.

This is Johan Theorin's first novel, the first in a series of four. They just cannot get any better.

Julia's little boy disappears without trace on the island of Oland during a visit to her family who live there. Twenty years later a toddler's shoe is posted to Julia's elderly father who is now living in an old peoples' home on the island. Since the disappearance of Jens, Julia has distanced herself from most things which remind her of her son, including her father. I can't say too much about the story without spoiling it for new readers, but I can say that once I started to read this book I didn't want to put it down. A real gripping plot with a kick in the teeth at the end.

The main characters are so well rounded and believable, I felt as though I actually knew them. In particular, I could almost feel the pain and despair that Julia still felt after twenty years, and hoped that she would at least be reunited with her father who comes through as a kindly, caring old man.

The rugged beauty of Oland is described so perfectly. A couple of times, I felt I had to put another jumper on!

When the book ends, and without giving too much away, Julia does find "closure", I was left wondering what she did next; did she stay on Oland, did she find happiness etc.

All in all, a great book. I thoroughly recommend it.


Making Vintage Bags: 20 Original Sewing Patterns for Vintage Bags and Purses
Making Vintage Bags: 20 Original Sewing Patterns for Vintage Bags and Purses
by Emma Brennan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bag a Great Book, 9 July 2009
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After spending £28 a metre on fabric to make an outfit to wear to a wedding, I was quite annoyed that I had quite a bit left over - but not enough to make anything else; that is until I spotted this book. Luckily it was in stock and arrived very quickly. It did not disappoint.

There is a very good selection of styles made out of a wide range of materials for all occasions. The instructions are clear, precise and easy to follow with lots of illustrations and photos. The patterns do need to be enlarged from A4 to A3 but that is no great problem. Anyone with a basic knowledge of sewing can make a great looking bag in a couple of evenings.

I rummaged around my sewing supplies and found that I had all the materials I needed (except a zip) to make the bag shown on the front cover.

I loved this book and instead of sending flowers to a niece who has just had a major op, I sent her a copy. She loved it as well.


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