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Victoria Twead "Chickens, Mules & Two Old Fools" (Spain)

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Rubies of the Viper
Rubies of the Viper
by Martha Marks
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of twists, 23 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Rubies of the Viper (Paperback)
I'd like to thank the author for transporting me to Ancient Rome and Syria for a few days. She has a gift for creating atmosphere, which, combined with her research and attention to detail, made for a gripping read. After finishing the book, the characters lingered in my head, which is always a sign of a good story, well-told. I highly recommend `Rubies' to anybody who enjoys a tale that is well-structured, well-researched and full of suspense.


Tales from the Coop: The joy of ex-battery hens
Tales from the Coop: The joy of ex-battery hens
by Sophie Mccoy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing true stories and great fun!, 16 Oct. 2012
Being a huge chicken fan myself, I was honoured to be asked to contribute to this book. I didn't know what to expect, as I wondered how stories about rehoming ex-batts could possibly make entertaining reading. But it is! Not only is it entertaining, but it is utterly charming, often very funny and always heart-warming. Sophie McCoy has put together some amazing true stories from contributors, poems and even recipes for hen treats to celebrate 'henniversaries'. Battery hens have led a tough life, so it is wonderful to read not just about the rescues themselves, but the stories of ex-batts in their new forever homes.


Walking the Canary Islands
Walking the Canary Islands
Price: £3.28

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beaches, barrancos and blisters, 2 Oct. 2012
For a book that was written by a self-confessed grumpy old man, this was an astonishingly refreshing read, and I really enjoyed it. Not only did I learn a good deal about the different islands, but it gave a real insight into the heart, mind and life of the author. I'm sure Alan would be the first to admit that he isn't a natural writer (my red pen was itching), nevertheless, this book has genuine charm. And although Elle, the lady in the background, never actually appears, her character shines clearly through and softens Alan's rougher edges.

And there is humour; this line made me smile... "Being on the seventh floor I locked the balcony door before going to bed and hid the key from myself, as I occasionally sleepwalk."

Don't expect a glittery guide to holiday sunspots, because you may be disappointed. No, this is an honest, big-hairy-warts-and-all look at the Canary Isles, through the eyes of an opinionated, but compassionate man. I soon gathered Alan's no athlete, so, to walk the length of all seven of the Canary Isles for charity is admirable. Well done!


Laptop Entrepreneur, How to Make a Living Anywhere in the World
Laptop Entrepreneur, How to Make a Living Anywhere in the World
by Nick Snelling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful, 31 Dec. 2011
`The Laptop Entrepreneur' is an excellent book that clearly and simply explains how to make money on-line. It is ideal for anyone who wants to use the Internet to make money, either in developing their own income or to really effectively market their existing business or products and services. Written by a professional writer and web marketing expert, `Laptop' peels away the mystery of how the Internet works and shows, in seven sections, how to operate on-line. This is done without any confusing techie. language and is ideal for anyone starting out. It lays a firm foundation of knowledge and is crammed with invaluable resources and case studies. It is a must-read for anyone wanting independence - even if they are not, at the moment(!), in the least techie or knowledgeable about the Internet!


Off Leash
Off Leash

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming and fun, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Off Leash (Kindle Edition)
Romance is not normally my choice of literature, but this really was a fun read. It is a well-written, charming little tale that skips along with plenty of colour and smiles. I liked the characters and setting very much, and enjoyed the inclusion of the goats, dogs and cats. I highly recommend this little story for an afternoon's read. I have no hesitation in awarding it 5 stars. :)


The Shadow of the Wind: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books 1
The Shadow of the Wind: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books 1
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and entertaining, 24 July 2010
The author deserves praise for an entertaining work that is set in Barcelona, Spain, in the 1950's.

The story is centred on a young boy, Daniel, who is searching for information about the author of an arcane (and valuable) book and who is believed dead. He is assisted by an assortment of colourful characters and in particular, Fermin de Torres, whose ingenuity and enterprise seldom fail to leave a smile on the reader's lips. A diabolical policeman, a childhood friend of the mysterious author, hounds Daniel and Fermin.

The characters are all convincing despite their often-outlandish behaviour. But it is Daniel who is most vividly portrayed. To accurately outline the nature of youth, one must think like him and his behaviour must follow naturally. This the author successfully achieves and consequently the reader vicariously `enjoys' Daniel's dangerous confrontations. A gripping tale and a good read.


The Poisonwood Bible
The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, 24 July 2010
This review is from: The Poisonwood Bible (Paperback)
This was a pleasant surprise. An unusual tale set in the Congo circa 1960 and told from the viewpoint of female members of the Price family. The father is a lunatic Baptist missionary who is hell-bent on converting the heathen indigenous people to Christianity. The story spans three decades and includes the Congo's transition from greedy Belgium's colonial control into the free state of Zaire.

Ms Kingsolver's remarkable tale had me believing this was written from personal experience. One is able to smell the red earth beneath the characters' feet and live through their many, often painful, experiences and not be blamed for thinking the work is biographical. That it is not, is a credit to the author who took thirty years - in order to ensure its maturity - to write the book. (My book took a mere year!) A most entertaining and instructive read.


Slaughter House Five
Slaughter House Five
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 24 July 2010
I always intended to read this book because I first saw the film of the same title, which I very much enjoyed. Rarely is a film better than the book it depicts but in this case I think there is little between the two. Vonnegut himself agrees that the film was a faithful reproduction.

The book, though, is a winner. Undoubtedly traumatized by his experience of the bombing of Dresden (130,000 killed), Vonnegut successfully attempts to provide `an other world' explanation for the senseless destruction of a beautiful city.

The central character, Billy Pilgrim, a chaplain's assistant, is taken prisoner of war by the Germans and incarcerated in Slaughterhouse Five (hence the title) at Dresden. Aliens from Tralfamador kidnap Billy and the story flicks back and forth between the future (including his life on the alien planet) and the past. The concept and scope are excellent and the book deserves credit as an imaginative and thought-provoking work.


Barchester Towers (Oxford World's Classics)
Barchester Towers (Oxford World's Classics)
by Anthony Trollope
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 15 July 2010
I had this book on my shelf and left it unread for many years before deciding to give it a whirl. I cannot explain why except that I am lazy and when I pick up a book to read, knowing it is a classic, and deserves close study, I am reluctant to do so because it means work. One's pleasures require the minimum of effort for the maximum of gain. Such shortsighted stupidity deserves to be punished and I duly was: I prohibited myself the pleasure of reading a great comic masterpiece.

From the first page to the last, I laughed and laughed. And laughed. Bishop Prudie and his wife the she-bishop, united with Mr. Slope, present us with an infinite source of mirth. The description of Archdeacon Grantley and Mr. Harding paying their initial respects to the new Bishop is sublime. The tea party (given by the Bishop) in the Palace, when the Signora is carried in over the heads of the guests and placed on the sofa carefully preserved for her by Mr. Slope, is another jewel in the crown.

A small word of warning. Barchester Towers follows on from Trollope's `The Warden' and it is recommended (but not essential) that one first read this before moving onto Barchester Towers. Personally, I read The Warden after Barchester Towers and found the former in no way comparable with the latter (it is, nonetheless, a great read too). Barchester Towers, however, is just wonderful and highly recommended.
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The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 15 July 2010
This review is from: The Grapes of Wrath (Paperback)
I confess that initially I did not like Steinbeck's work. I had read some of his novellas and found them uninteresting. True, I was much younger then, and it was because I had nothing else to read that I recently (and reluctantly) picked up Grapes of Wrath. The first twenty pages (or so) did little to change my original opinion. And then...I felt the beginnings of warmth. No bonfire, just the gentle heat from embers smoldering in a campfire. The pages turned and the fire steadily grew until it was a conflagration, so fierce as to scald my intellect. Finally an inferno that left me gasping for breath. What a brilliant book.

The Joad's, farmers, unable to maintain their mortgage payments, are forced to relinquish the farm as a result of inclement weather. It is the time of the Great Depression and to find work, they make their way to California but discover that they are unwelcome there. Termed `Okies', migrants from Oklahoma but applied equally to anyone outside California seeking work, they are hounded from site to site until eventually they are provided with secure government accommodation. Despite this they move on but continue to be harassed. Their problems remain unresolved.

At this point the book ends. But the drama generated by the ending is worthy of ranking alongside any of that of the greatest of dramatists. It is the ending that transforms this book from what may be considered ordinary into one that is extraordinary. Steinbeck, perhaps inadvertently, wielded a truncheon over the heads of Californians and Government alike. No wonder people were angry with him. "What are they angry about?" Steinbeck is quoted as saying, "It's just a book." But what a book!


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