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Reviews Written by
Jennie Pollock (UK)

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The Girl at the End of the Road
The Girl at the End of the Road
by K. A. Hitchins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Real characters in the real world, 2 May 2016
This book may have a 'guy loses everything and has to reassess his priorities, and a pretty girl makes him see things in a new way' kind of plot, but it's much richer than that. It's not easy and neat. There are other threads to the story, a bigger cast of characters, all of whom have their own lives and stories going on, and are not just props for Vincent's development. It felt as though he was living in a real world, and in that sense it wasn't easy to predict the ending. In fact, there wasn't really a neat ending. There was a point of resolution, but you knew the characters' lives would continue after you had closed the book.

If I could give half-stars I'd give this 4.5, as although I enjoyed it, I haven't come away with that urge to press it into the hands of strangers begging them to read it, that five stars implies. It was well-written, well-constructed, an unusual and interesting story, and I can't quite put my finger on what is holding me back, so I've rounded up instead of down.


Resurrection Year
Resurrection Year
by Sheridan Voysey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A sad but beautiful story, beautifully written., 22 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Resurrection Year (Paperback)
"Books like this usually end with a miracle." So said one of the potential publishers of Sheridan Voysey's 'Resurrection Year'. But not everybody's story ends like that.

While stories of God's incredible miracles in giving babies to those for whom it was medically impossible are important and hugely faith-building, stories like this are equally vital.

'Resurrection Year' is a book about the courage of a couple daring to dream again, of Sheridan daring to give up his flourishing career in order to let his wife pursue a new dream, of them both leaving behind all they had ever known and starting a new life on the other side of the world.

It's a book about choosing to continue to trust God and walk with him even when the way ahead is not clear. It's an honest book, and therefore a painful one in places, and in its honesty it doesn't really give any answers, because there aren't really any.

As Tolstoy noted in the opening line of Anna Karenina, "...each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Each person's valley is unique. The troubles I go through will never be the same as yours, and so the answers we find, the quiet whispers and the newly opened doors we receive from God will never be the same either. But just as it builds faith to hear the miracle stories, it also builds faith - of the persevering kind, not the triumphalistic kind - to hear the stories of God's faithfulness through the storms.

'Resurrection Year' is a sad but beautiful story, beautifully written.


I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A pitch-perfect autobiography that doesn't disappoint, 20 Jan. 2016
A beautifully paced, perfectly pitched telling of the incredible story of an outstanding young woman. This very helpful insiders' view on the disintegration of a nation would almost have been sufficient even without the looming of the Taliban attack which launched Malala onto the global stage.

Clearly an extraordinary girl, Malala also comes across as very ordinary. She was often top of her class, but had to work hard to get there. She was well-liked at school, but had the normal jealousies and fallings out with her best friend. She clearly has great courage and boldness, but also acknowledges how much that was shaped by her father and how her childish sense of justice was nurtured and encouraged by him.

One reads auto/biographies in the hopes of somehow getting under the skin of the subject and feeling one has got to know him or her, and to understand what has formed and informed his or her life. Too often one comes away feeling disappointed, feeling that one knows more about the subject, but is no closer to knowing him or her. Not with this book. A beautiful invitation into a life. Very well done, Malala (and Christina Lamb).


Edith Cavell: Faith Before the Firing Squad
Edith Cavell: Faith Before the Firing Squad
by Catherine Butcher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.70

4.0 out of 5 stars An unassuming nurse who turned out to be a war hero., 17 Dec. 2015
The trouble with people who don't know they're going to be famous is that when they're children they don't think to write copious letters or keep reflective and revealing diaries. Or if they do, no one bothers to keep them. This makes the biographer's job very tricky when all of a sudden an unassuming nurse turns out to be a war hero, sheltering wounded soldiers and smuggling them out of enemy territory.

The first half of Catherine Butcher's book is, accordingly, forced into a great deal of speculation and guess-work about Edith Cavell's early life. There is much quotation of Scripture, the catechism and the Book of Common Prayer, with emphasis on the themes of death and the hope of eternal life. I must confess that I skipped over many of these quotations, hungry for scraps of actual evidence for what made Edith tick.

Once the book reached 1914, however, and Edith moved to Brussels, the pace picked up considerably, and the story rattled along, helped by Edith's many letters home to her mother, as well as the recollections of people who knew her.

The book left me with questions - what happened to the nursing school she set up? How did her goddaughter fare? And what about her other charge? What came of her siblings? And who arranged for her to have a statue outside the National Portrait Gallery?

The book is well-written and a good, solid introduction to the life of a courageous woman. Catherine has done a good job with what seems to have been sparse source material, but I'm left wanting to know more.


Walking on Sunshine
Walking on Sunshine
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A feel-good fun-fest, with added tomatoes, 26 Oct. 2015
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OK, so it's cheesy, but hey, it's lots of fun and I've watched it multiple times already. A feel-good fun-fest. The tomato festival scene is a particular joy.


Begin Again [DVD] [2014]
Begin Again [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music and great chemistry, 26 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Begin Again [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
A film to watch over and over again. I love the music, love the quirky story and love the chemistry between Keira Knightely and Mark Ruffalo. A story about New York, music, friendship and authenticity. Shame about the excessive bad language, though.


Finding Myself in Britain: Our Search for Faith, Home & True Identity
Finding Myself in Britain: Our Search for Faith, Home & True Identity
by Amy Boucher Pye
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to lose yourself in - and find your true self, 26 Oct. 2015
'Finding Myself in Britain' is in part a memoir of Amy Boucher Pye’s transition from single career woman living in Washington DC to vicar’s wife, living in a series of poorly-plumbed vicarages in England. In places it reads a bit like Bill Bryson, as she reflects on her observations of us Brits and our strange customs and social mores.

More than just a memoir, though, 'Finding Myself in Britain' is partly a devotional walk through the Christian calendar, beginning in the autumn as that, almost more than January, is often a time of new beginnings. It is also the season when she met the greasy-haired English ordinand in a ‘sweater vest’ who was to become her husband.

As Amy learned the traditions of both her new country and her new church family, she found herself learning, in a whole new way, what Jesus meant when he said “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”.

A great read for anyone who loves England, loves America, loves understanding themselves and others better, or has ever felt that sense of being a fish out of water. Highly recommended.


Which Lie Did I Tell?
Which Lie Did I Tell?
by William Goldman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading on great writing, 5 May 2015
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This review is from: Which Lie Did I Tell? (Paperback)
If you're interested in the craft of writing, especially screenwriting, this book is an absolute gem. Definitely up there with Stephen King's 'On Writing' (and surpasses it, in my opinion, for sheer interestingness about the art, the craft and the journey). It's like a director's commentary on a DVD, only in far greater detail, and is packed with tips, pointers and wonderful anecdotes from Goldman's rich and varied career. A real gem.


The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1
The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1
by Graeme Simsion
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 12 April 2015
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"I'll just read to the end of the chapter." It was the refrain of my childhood - curled up in bed, barely able to keep my eyes open, but unable to close my book either.

That sensation happens far too rarely these days, so I was overjoyed to hear myself thinking it in this book, and even more so when I found myself two pages into the next chapter without having noticed the turn of the pages.

I totally loved it. Loved the narrator's voice - so original and believable - and loved his journey, and it took all my will power to put it down.

Very glad my book club chose it.


Anker® Bluetooth Ultra-Slim (4mm) Aluminum Keyboard for iOS, Windows and Android 3.0 and above OS with Built-in lithium battery
Anker® Bluetooth Ultra-Slim (4mm) Aluminum Keyboard for iOS, Windows and Android 3.0 and above OS with Built-in lithium battery
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fits the bill., 5 April 2015
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Great little keyboard - does exactly what I need it to.


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