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Reviews Written by
BM "bookmummy" (London, UK)

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Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure
Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure
by Lynne Reid Banks
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant, 10 Jan. 2010
We discovered the Harry books first via a talking book at the library. The whole family was hooked after our first journey listening to it. Both my 5 and 6 year old enjoy having them read to them at bedtime. The stories are exciting and every chapter has a cliffhanger ending which has them clamouring for more. The centipedish language is fun to read and fun to try out (it has no vowels). Lynne Reid-Banks creates the perfect balance between being educational (I know far more about poisonous centipedes than I ever did before!) whilst never being patronising.


The Indoor Pirates On Treasure Island (Laugh Your Socks Off)
The Indoor Pirates On Treasure Island (Laugh Your Socks Off)
by Jeremy Strong
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book for boys...., 10 Jan. 2010
My (just) 5 year old son was bought this for Christmas. It's the first "chapter" book we have read together and he has thoroughly enjoyed it. It has made him laugh out loud; the writing is very amusing and clever. The book states that is for 7+ and I do think he will enjoy this story for some time to come; some of the jokes will become more apparent to him as he grows older. The premise of the story is that there is a household of pirates who dislike water; they go on a camping trip and discover that there is some treasure buried on an island. How are they going to get there when they don't like water? Highly recommended from our house!


Datamax Pink
Datamax Pink

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy, 10 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Datamax Pink (Toy)
We bought this for my daughter when she was 6.5 this Christmas. She had wanted a DS but we are resisting at the moment and a couple of her friends had Datamaxes and their parents recommended it. It's basically a large handheld computer game with a stylus and a touch screen. There are several categories including literacy activities (eg hangman or odd word out), numeracy (eg sudoku), games (such as pairs) etc. She found it very easy to pick up and has played on it lots, on journeys and at home. I can foresee some of the activities becoming a bit dull fairly soon (there are a limited number of words on the hangman for example) but there are other activities which are too hard for her yet (such as some of the sums) so there is plenty of scope for the next couple of years at least. I would highly recommend this and she loves it too. I just wish we'd bought another for her 5 year old brother because he is always begging to have a go!


Alentejo Blue
Alentejo Blue
by Monica Ali
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring...., 29 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Alentejo Blue (Paperback)
I was desperate to finish this book simply because I wanted the misery to end. I found it incredibly dull; it wasn't well-written and was a collection of short stories about people who had no characterisation and where no plot was even attempted. I didn't like "Brick Lane" much but this is a million times worse. Really not worth reading....


The Other Hand
The Other Hand
by Chris Cleave
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 29 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Other Hand (Paperback)
I find it hard to believe some of the negative reviews on here but then I came to this book cold with no knowledge of the apparent hype it has received. I thought this book was amazingly well written - simple and effective language. I thought the subject matter was challenging and phenomenally harrowing and utterly believable. I cannot recommend this highly enough. It ought to be read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 27, 2009 6:32 PM BST


The White Tiger
The White Tiger
by Aravind Adiga
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This was an excellent read, 28 Jun. 2009
This review is from: The White Tiger (Paperback)
I bought this book on the basis of its having won the Booker prize (though in recent years I haven't always found that to be such a good method of judging whether I am likely to enjoy them) but was then dubious when I read some of the negative reviews on here. I needn't have been; I thought this book was a fantastic read. I found it gritty, subsersive and abrasive without being gratuitously unpleasant; certainly it makes India seem a place without much hope but maybe that has a basis in reality?

I thought it was truly believable and I felt the individual characters were well-drawn. Balram is a very credible figure and holds the plot together very well; one finds oneself drawn into his world and starting to see things from his perspective. This has been criticised for not being "literary" enough and it is true that this is a fast-paced novel without ambitious flights of prose. Nonetheless I found it an engrossing and hugely enjoyable read and I know it is a book I will be drawn back to in the future. I would highly recommend it.


Music & Silence
Music & Silence
by Rose Tremain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear., 22 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Music & Silence (Paperback)
Having read the other reviews on here I wonder whether I actually read the same book. I was given this book as a present by a friend whose taste is normally similar to mine. Not on this occasion. I found this (very long) book incredibly dull. There was only one character I cared about in the least (little Marcus); I found everyone else remarkably one-dimensional. The historical aspects seemed surprisingly lacking in veracity and, in any case, I really didn't care. I had loads of things I had planned to say about this but I find that actually I am too bored by this book to spend any longer on it. I have to read "The Road Home" by Rose Tremain soon and I am not looking forward to it...


The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 8 Jun. 2009
I'm another reader who picked this up assuming it was a novel, albeit one based on historical fact. When I realised that it was, in fact, non-fiction I continued to read it because I read a lot of non-fiction although I haven't read much of the true crime genre. So... I like non-fiction. I like crime books.

I did not like this book.

I have to agree with the other reviewers who said that this felt like a well-researched treatise. I'm sure it would have passed as a PhD dissertation on the role of new detectives in Victorian England. Some of the facts were fascinating; the basic story was interesting; I found some of the forays into Victorian literature compelling but as a whole it simply didn't work. It wasn't what it purported to be. Some of it must surely be blamed on the editors; at least 40% of this book could have been edited better - and most of that 40% edited out altogether. It did feel as though Ms Summerscale was desperate to get every fact that she'd learned shoehorned into the pages of this book.

I do not understand how she won her prize because it actually isn't particularly well-written. The same episodes are gone over and over again - not even from different perspectives. I kept reading and persevered to the end just in case it improved but it really didn't. Having said that I did enjoy the last chapter more than the others, possibly because the protagonists voice (the last chapter is mostly that) was so much more compelling than Ms Summerscale's.


The Spare Room
The Spare Room
by Helen Garner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth readng, 3 Jun. 2009
This review is from: The Spare Room (Paperback)
I am very glad I read this book. I read it in one sitting (it's short but it is also beautifully easy to read) and I would most definitely recommend it. I think Helen Garner's writing is beautiful and evocative. However there were things about the book which grated with me and stopped me from loving it aswell as things that I thought were amazingly well described.
Helen's friend Nicola,who is dying of cancer but refusing to accept the fact, asks to come and stay with Helen for 3 weeks whilst she seeks alternative (and she hopes curative) treatments. Helen's thoughts whilst she watches the processes Nicola goes through are, I think, very true to life and I like the way that Helen Garner doesn't shy away from aking Helen think the thoughts that really people feel they "shouldn't feel". I did think though that Helen's struggle to manage the physical aspects of Nicola's stay was a bit unrealistic. I also found some of the characters rather one-dimensional (though not Helen or Nicola or the granddaughter).
It is a good book, possibly in some aspects even a great book, but I was unfortunately left a little unsatisfied....


Rummikub For Kids Game
Rummikub For Kids Game

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I think I must be missing something..., 1 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Rummikub For Kids Game (Toy)
We normally love playing board games as a family but this one has left us all cold. Maybe we are reading the instructions wrongly but there seems to be very little excitment or real gamesmanship. As far as I can work out one is meant to try and collect stars by building up sets of 3 pieces on the board - but making the sets seems ridiculously easy and my children (4 and 6) got fed up very quickly. If anyone has found this fun then please leave a review explaining where we're going wrong!!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2010 12:44 PM GMT


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