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Reviews Written by
juliet R "Juli" (London,UK)

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Watch Me
Watch Me
by Anjelica Huston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Watching.....and Reading, 15 April 2016
This review is from: Watch Me (Paperback)
I have just finished reading this book and it felt like I was leaving a good friend when I read the final sentence.
Anjelica Huston's story of her time in Hollywood,her turbulent relationship with Jack Nicholson and later happier marriage to sculptor Bob Graham,had me hooked from the start.

Beautifully written,this story shows a very strong woman beset by much adversity throughout her life.Her immediate family have supported her throughout,however,and they seem very close.Many characters in this book feel like I have known them personally.

There is also a strong thread of spirituality running through this story,even though Anjelica herself says she does not pray,she does not come over as being cynical or ungodly in any way.

Thoroughly recommended.One of my favourite reads this year.


The Girl in the Photograph
The Girl in the Photograph
by Kate Riordan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written Book, 22 Jan. 2016
I am nearly at the end of this lovely book.It is a refreshing,haunting and atmospheric read.Very much reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca,but not as disturbing.I loved Ms Riordan's prose and her depictions of Gloucs countryside are very accurate.The female characters,Alice and Elizabeth,exist in a dual timeframe.Elizabeth in particular is the more suffering of the two,with a women-hating husband who confines her to an asylum after the birth of her two children, for a short while.It's important to remember that this story is a woman's read. I dislike the phrase "chick lit"- it's a throwaway description of a more polite genre of writing.

Recommended.


John
John
by Cynthia Lennon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, 31 Dec. 2015
This review is from: John (Paperback)
I finished reading this book only last week,but the story has stayed with me very powerfully.Cynthia Lennon(who died in April this year) has written one of the great accounts of her time with John Lennon, and most movingly of the Beatles success in their early days.

Ms Lennon should have had alot more recognition for this book....it is a story of triumph,personal tragedy,laughter,modern history,and unshakeable honesty.

Ms Lennon sounded like a very clever,lovely lady,who showed great strength and tenacity throughout her life with the Beatle whose songs changed the world.

Very highly recommended.


Before I Met You
Before I Met You
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Story Worth Telling, 28 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Before I Met You (Kindle Edition)
This is my first read by Lisa Jewell,and it won't be my last.The story of Betty Dean and her mission to find the mysterious Clara Pickle named in her grandmother's will is an absorbing one,The characters are well-drawn and believable,the writing is sensitive,and the humour of the book is well-sustained.This is a book I sometimes read snippets of in the early hours of the morning,if I can't sleep.

A delightful read and highly recommended.


Contradictions
Contradictions
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An Album To Drown In, 27 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Contradictions (Audio CD)
In a recent interview with the North East of England's free NARC music magazine,Paul Smith admitted that he had no formal classical music training and was entirely self-taught on guitar and vocals. A successful mini-tour of the UK and Europe in August and September 2015 ensures that Paul Smith and his band The Intimations are going to be a force to be reckoned with on the independent music circuit in 2015 and beyond.

Paul Smith is,first and foremost, a wordsmith and poet, and this quality tends to get lost in translation when appreciating his work.

Spiky and to the point,"Contradictions",Paul Smith's second solo offering(his first, "Margins",was released in Autumn 2010),has thirteen tracks,with guest appearances by Field Music's Peter Brewis and Prefab Sprout's Wendy Smith,on guitar and vocals respectively.

Produced by Andrew Hodson(Warm Digits)and also featuring very talented bass guitarist Claire Adams,this highly personal album has proved once again that Paul Smith is one of the most underrated singer/songwriters of today.

Opening track Break Me Down (first single) is catchy and has nods to Hank Marvin in the opening guitar line.Written about an imaginary girl dressed in red,glimpsed at Kings X station,this song is quite commercial,yet lightweight to listen to.The accompanying video to the single,with pastel-coloured graphics by Gemma Yin Taylor,shows Paul Smith plus electric guitar,and is charming and refreshing.

"Mezzanine Floor"(my personal favourite)is the second track,and is definitely an immediate grower.Second single material with its great lyrics and tune,this song has Paul pondering on whether to cement a relationship,while listening to his partner showering.A very good song.

Fill In The Blanks,I must admit,needed more work on it.Despite excellent sound engineering,this song is a bit ponderous.

The guitar intro on The Deep End sounds like that of Maximo Park's cover of Shiver.A watery thread runs through this song and it has a lovely strong melody.

Other tracks on the album include The Golden Glint,Coney Island(On the 4th July),Quick,People On Sunday(glorious and very emotional),and I Should Never Know(in homage to Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music).Also Before The Perspiration Falls and Fluid Identity.

Contradictions is a shimmering gem of an album,if your taste runs to the poetic and the romantic.
Don't discard it after just one listen.This album is a delight.

Recommended.


Another View
Another View
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars This Book Showed Promise, 11 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Another View (Kindle Edition)
This was my first read by Rosamunde Pilcher and at first I found the story dull and the characters the same.Only Emma Litton's character showed promise,and,as the daughter of an artist myself,I could relate to her.

I was about to give up on the story at halfway through,when the narrative suddenly burst into life.I persevered with it and finished the book.

Not perhaps Ms Pilcher's best work,but the book whetted my appetite for further reading by her.

Give this book a try.


Three Brides for Three Brothers
Three Brides for Three Brothers
by Elizabeth Waite
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Book, 22 Jun. 2015
I am currently reading this absorbing and beautifully-written story.No violence,no gratuitous sex,no misery...a perfect tale of human relationships from Elizabeth Waite.This is the first book by her that I have read and it won't be the last.

Recommended reading


How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Price: £5.50

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Welcome This Album Is, 21 Jun. 2015
Florence(also known as Flo) and The Machine have been a fave of mine since their inception.This new album,the first since Flo's personal trauma in 2011,has exceeded all expectations.Standout track What Kind Of Man more than delivers,with its urgent trumpet backing and desperately emotional vocals from Flo....Other tracks do not disappoint.

A newer,more confident Flo is emerging slowly from the previous persona,like a butterfly from a chrysalis.She has shown that she is also a very powerful stage persona,as her performance as headliner at Glastonbury this year has proved.I have been playing this album on repeat since I bought it,as the depth to her songs needs to be revisited aurally time and time again.The songs here are by turns poignant,heartrending,joyous,thought-provoking,chaotically dramatic and not to be ignored."Delilah"is a real woman's song,delivered by Flo in a thundering vocal torrent.

Highly recommended listening.


Too Much Information
Too Much Information
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry In Motion, 5 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Too Much Information (Audio CD)
Maximo Park's fifth album Too Much Information is now out on release.Originally an EP,it was decided by the band that their songs were good enough to use on a full length album. The album is a riveting piece of work and is warmly welcomed by the band's fans old,new and embryonic.

"Give,Get,Take",the first track,is a sensuous teasing song made all the more intriguing by the words "I'd forgive you anything -you are a direct inspiration,"as,in the CD's credit,leadman Paul Smith's entry "Love to Becca-you are a direct inspiration",has the listener wondering if there's a romantic connection between Becca and the love interest in "Give,Get,Take".

But I digress. Too Much Information has a poppy,upbeat feel to most of the songs,but is rescued from too much mainstream information by tracks such as the subterranean"Brain Cells" and the Jonathan Richmanesque"My Bloody Mind".

Well-produced by the band themselves and engineered by David Brewis(Field Music),Duncan Lloyd and Lukas Wooller from Maximo Park,this album is a rich mix of words and music which holds the listener's ear immediately.

It's a newish direction for the band,but thankfully that old mysterious magic that they still retain secretes itself through this album's music.

The best and most "connected" track is,in my opinion,"Leave This Island".The tune is exceptional,the instrumental backing is tight and unflawed,and the steady drumbeat (Tom English)shows how Maximo Park,at their best,can be on top of their game.
A chart success?I'm really hoping so,with this song.

"Drinking Martinis"is rather a lovely song-a sad tale of romantic loss...and "Midnight On The Hill" is another poetically-worded track with a strong backbeat."Her Name Was Audre"is a rocking tribute to black poetess Audre Lorde,perhaps not a literary figure known by everybody,but nonetheless worth singing about.

The last track "Where We're Going" has singer Paul Smith in very good voice;it's a ballad-style song with beautiful backing vocals from MP's Duncan Lloyd.

The bonus CD of cover songs is also worth hearing.I particularly liked "Northern Sky" and "I'll Be Here In The Morning",by Nick Drake and Townes Van Zandt respectively.Both very beautiful,poignant songs.

TMI is an album which appears superficial on first hearing,but in fact has many layers to it. In some ways,it's a little more heavy-going than MP's previous four albums,but that's not to criticize.Suffice it to say that MP's followers will recognize it as another triumph for the band and for their fans.

Recommended.


Summer With Love: The Spanish Consultant / The Greek Children's Doctor / The English Doctor's Baby
Summer With Love: The Spanish Consultant / The Greek Children's Doctor / The English Doctor's Baby
by Sarah Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read, 4 Feb. 2014
I have just discovered this author by chance and really enjoyed Summer,With Love.Expecting the usual corny romance,I was pleasantly surprised by the writer's easy style and luminous characters.

A lovely escape for those readers in need of a little R and R.


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