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Andrew Ives (France)

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Safari Ants, Baggy Pants And Elephants: A Kenyan Odyssey
Safari Ants, Baggy Pants And Elephants: A Kenyan Odyssey
Price: £3.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like having the Masai Mara in your pocket, 6 Jun. 2017
I have read most of Susie's books and enjoyed them all. I consider myself rather knowledgeable about wildlife, yet I still found plenty here that was new to me about the animals and the Masai Mara in particular. The way Susie writes is uncommonly accessible and draws you in as if you were being told about the safari and exploits of a good friend, and the juxtaposition between this visit and Susie's youth in Kenya is skilfully done. As the pages turn, the reader finds they have come to know the various guides and characters, appreciating the good they do in this world in far-off lands. I found the ending particularly moving too. A very worthwhile read. 4.5 out of 5*


Dispatches From the Sofa: The Collected Wisdom of Frank Skinner by Skinner, Frank (2011)
Dispatches From the Sofa: The Collected Wisdom of Frank Skinner by Skinner, Frank (2011)

4.0 out of 5 stars 80% good, 1 July 2015
The majority of this book consists of Frank's columns for the Times around 2009-10 era. They are all well-written, often funny, interesting or thought-provoking.

After these comes a Shakespearean take on Hamlet's Ophelia, which is very well-written, and looks so academic, it's difficult to believe this came from the pen of an oft-rude Brummie comic. Even so, it sits uncomfortably alongside the previous section just because it is so very different, and unlikely to appeal to Frank's main audience.

Lastly, and definitely least, comes the first two chapters of Frank's novel about Thunderman. This is quite long by comparison to the rest and is so painfully unfunny and irritating, that I can't believe he persevered with it beyond a page or two. It seems particularly unwise to end on this, as I had enjoyed this book up to about 80% of the way, but Thunderman left me on a sour note. Trying to remember the best parts of this book which did raise a good few titters, I'd rate this 4/5.


The Modigliani Girl
The Modigliani Girl
Price: £2.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable holiday read for Londoners, Modigliani fans and would-be writers, 25 Jan. 2015
Let me start by saying that anything remotely like Chick Lit isn't my genre of choice. That said, The Modigliani Girl is mostly set in London, just up the road from where I used to live, so I thought I'd give this a try

As it later transpires, the plot weaves through the dreams and pitfalls of trying to become a successful, or even unsuccessful, writer through the wide eyes of neurotic Anna Bright in the months leading up to her wedding. She is writing about Modigliani, hence the title.

Even though the writing life for Anna seems to be an undisciplined whirl of well-to-do social engagements, sunny holidays, falling in and out of love, all washed down with lashings of booze (if only, eh!?), her world was well portrayed, with a refreshingly-intricate plot, briskly paced. The writing was never stodgy and an interesting 200 pages fairly flew by.

An ideal holiday read for Londoners about to bask on a Greek island, Modigliani fans and plenty of other people too. 4/5


Lifesaver
Lifesaver

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neurotic yet compelling, 2 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Lifesaver (Kindle Edition)
Although I'm absolutely not from the target audience, I quite enjoyed Lifesaver. At 416 pages, it's rather long but never seems so, always playing out at a brisk pace with welcome light-hearted moments embellishing what is an emotional storyline.

The plot intrigue builds to a crescendo, in such a gentle way that you suddenly realise and sympathise at just what a pickle the main protagonist is in, making the last few chapters compelling reading for anyone with a heart. Being a roughty-toughty sort of bloke, I don't usually feel too emotional reading any book, but Voss shows a deft and realistic touch for some awkward scenes and conversations.

I look forward to reading more from this author. If this genre ordinarily appeals to you, you will surely find Lifesaver a compelling read. 4/5


The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt Volume 2: To Paris and Prison
The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt Volume 2: To Paris and Prison

4.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly interesting and readable, but I preferred Volume 1, 3 July 2014
As with the preceding volumes, Casanova writes very well, with charm and discretion even when describing less discreet matters. Despite occasional moving scenes, I found the complexity of Venetian bureaucratic intrigues, the vast number of characters and details of moderately banal money dealings, detracted from the thread of the tale, more so than in the previous episodes. Although he clearly states that he values his honour highly, some of his actions, such as stealing the miniature for no discernible reason and firing a pistol in the face of a interfering postilion after apparently running a horse to death to meet breakfast with yet another beautiful woman, cause me to wonder about his decency. All said, this is still an interesting read and I shall continue with Volume 3. I give it a 3.75/5


My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla (Unabridged Start Publishing LLC)
My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla (Unabridged Start Publishing LLC)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (sample only) Very accessible, readable and mildly quaint, 21 May 2014
Very 'properly' written, albeit with a 1900s US twang, this is a very enjoyable read. Hearing the details surrounding Tesla's inventions and upbringing directly from the man himself, is especially interesting. 5/5


Mylène Farmer: The Single File
Mylène Farmer: The Single File
Price: £6.47

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Sample only) About as good as such a book can be, 20 May 2014
Reading this, it quickly becomes apparent that the author's first language isn't English. However, Cabus writes well, with only a few minor slip-ups and unusual word choices here and there. The sample is quite sizeable and I found it very easy and enjoyable to read. With an English proofreader and perhaps a better cover, this rare and comprehensive book about Mylène in English could be a 5*. As it is, I'd say 4.5/5


The World According to Clarkson
The World According to Clarkson
by Jeremy Clarkson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.48

3.0 out of 5 stars A random collection of bad-tempered musings, 5 May 2014
After having read and reviewed the Kindle sample unfavourably - which was a very mean free sample, consisting of only the first and arguably worst three pages of the whole book - I was given this paperback. I've only slightly revised my opinion as many of these Sunday Times articles are barely worth printing in a newspaper, let alone compiling into a book. True, there were a few slight chuckles in places, maybe even a few semi-eye-opening stories such as the one about donkeys needing a passport in UK and I think there was even a mildly profound article which set me thinking somewhere near the end. For the most part though, this is clearly a facile moneyspinner of a book which revisits old territory (such as the Concorde) almost verbatim from Clarkson's other books. JC's super-exaggerated style becomes quite tiresome quite quickly and after a while, this reader just got annoyed by his middle-class woes and was left wondering how he can lead such a life full of such wonderful and interesting experiences, yet write such bad-tempered tosh about them. 6.5/10


An Ideal Husband
An Ideal Husband
Price: £0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite the masterpiece, 20 Dec. 2013
This review is from: An Ideal Husband (Kindle Edition)
Rather dated, a little sexist and at times slightly tiresome with the concentrated and contrary wit from Lord Goring, who is quite clearly based on Wilde himself. That said, the convoluted plot in so short a play is clearly a work of genius, many lines of dialogue shine and the witticisms brought a few smiles to me over a century later. I preferred Earnest and the Canterville Ghost slightly more, but this is still quite a masterpiece. 4.5/10


How To Be A Literary Genius
How To Be A Literary Genius

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly-intricate plot, briskly paced, 1 Nov. 2013
Let me start by saying that anything remotely like Chick Lit isn't my genre of choice. That said, HTBALG is
mostly set in London, just up the road from where I used to live and I quite fancy becoming a literary genius
if the offer is there, so I thought I'd give this a try

As it turns out, this isn't a 'how to' book at all - the title refers to a super-successful 'how to' book in the story - but does instead weave through the dreams and pitfalls of trying to become a successful, or even unsuccessful, writer through the wide eyes of neurotic Anna Bright in the months leading up to her wedding.

Even though the writing life for Anna seemed to be an undisciplined whirl of well-to-do social engagements, sunny holidays, falling in and out of love, all washed down with lashings of booze (if only, eh!?), her world was well portrayed, with a refreshingly-intricate plot, briskly paced. The writing was never stodgy and an interesting 200 pages fairly flew by.

An ideal holiday read for Londoners about to bask on a Greek island, Modigliani fans and plenty of other people too. 3.75/5


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