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Reviews Written by
J. Scott-mandeville "jackie veronica" (UK)
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Duets
Duets
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, lovely Barbra, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Duets (Audio CD)
Another wonderful Barbra album to add to a Streisand collection. Although some of these are on other albums, many were released as singles (such as 'Enough is Enough' with Donna Summer, and 'Tell Him' with Celine Dion) and it is great to have them gathered together on one album. Superb album for the car, a must for all Barbra fans.


LEGO Star Wars 9496: Desert Skiff
LEGO Star Wars 9496: Desert Skiff
Offered by PERFECT ENTERPRISE DIST
Price: £59.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for a 6 year old, 19 Nov. 2013
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As a present for our six year old grandson's birthday, this could not have been better. An ideal addition to his Lego Star Wars collection, it is just the right price and quality. Delighted that these toys are available on Amazon.


The Distant Hours
The Distant Hours
Price: £4.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Gothic tale for the 21st century, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Distant Hours (Kindle Edition)
Kate Morton pulls out the stops in this novel, delving into the Gothic tradition with a castle and a madwoman in the attic. Her heroine obviously references the source of inspiration for the tale, carrying 'Jane Eyre' in her tote bag. But there is more: the trials and terrors of wartime evacuation, mother-and-daughter issues, a blighted love story, nods to contemporary themes of homosexuality and OCD obsessions. Morton weaves her tangled tapestry of characters and tales dropping clues all the way through so the reader is usually ahead of the protagonist heroine narrator, but then Morton will twist the tale a bit more to leave you guessing. As an experiment in modern Gothic storytelling 'The Distant Hours' works well and descriptions of the castle's dark corridors, things that go bump in the night, the strange trio of sisters for whom time has stopped still, all create fine Gothic chills and thrills.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, intelligent with lots of literary references, especially to old Gothic tales (such as 'The Castle of Otranto' and Jane Austen's satire on the Gothic, 'Northanger Abbey'), and well-researched for period detail. It's a page-turner as the story unfolds dashing back and forth between the war-time 1940s and the 1990s. Kate Morton is good at this and never loses the thread of her flashbacks and flash-forwards. With unexpected pathos and some perceptive nuances of character and sensibility, this is a 'good read' and I can recommend it.


I Could Go On Singing [DVD]
I Could Go On Singing [DVD]
Dvd ~ Judy Garland
Price: £9.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of a Diva, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: I Could Go On Singing [DVD] (DVD)
Judy Garland could be playing herself in this, her last movie, the story of a declining singing star whose life is rather a mess but who can still wow her audiences with her sheer talent and drive, and ability to rise to the stage occasion.

Dirk Bogarde is suave, bitter, and cynical, qualities which he plays superbly, and Judy, well, she's just Judy Garland, wonderful. She tears your heart strings and you feel her pain all the way through. And we also get at least 4 of her marvellous numbers sung at the Palladium (where she in fact played one of her last British concerts to a sell-out audience).

For every Judy Garland lover, this is not to be missed.


Desiree [DVD]
Desiree [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marlon Brando
Price: £9.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic oldie, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Desiree [DVD] (DVD)
Although 'Desiree' is now dated in style and technicolour, and the acting by Marlon Brando as Napoleon is rather stiff, Jean Simmons brings the whole story to life with her irresistible charm and enthusiasm in the eponymous lead role. I bought the film because I loved the original novel by Anne-Marie Selinko about Napoleon's first love, Desiree Clary, and I love Jean Simmons. I was not disappointed. There were some unexpected pleasures such as Elizabeth Sellars as Desiree's sister Julie, and Michael Rennie was dashing and attractive as General Bernadotte. This is a real romance and Desiree really did become Queen of Sweden (despite her early dislike of the cold north) and establish the Norwegian royal dynasty. A fascinating piece of history and despite some obvious flaws in stilted dialogue and some of the acting, I enjoyed it thoroughly. A good matinee with chocolates, especially for the older generation. It reminded me of its contemporary, 'War and Peace' and Jean Simmons was every bit as good in 'Desiree' as Audrey Hepburn in 'War and Peace' - in fact I would say she was better!


Zen 2014 Calendar
Zen 2014 Calendar
by Trends International LLC
Edition: Calendar

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for stressed sons, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Zen 2014 Calendar (Calendar)
I bought this calendar for a Christmas tree present for my son as he leads a very stressed life in work and play. I loved the illustrations and texts and think he will also find it an ideal morning relaxant on his kitchen wall. I might even buy one for myself!


The Secret Keeper
The Secret Keeper
Price: £1.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Up to Kate Morton's usual standard, 8 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Secret Keeper (Kindle Edition)
I enjoy Kate Morton's novels as the stories are developed well, the flashbacks are always intriguing and keep the reader on tenterhooks. This novel was comparable with 'The Forgotten Garden', and although Morton's techniques are predictable they are no less pleasurable and I look forward to each new book of hers as light and entertaining reading amongst my more heavier library.

Kate Morton is good on detail and 'The Secret Keeper' has some very good moments, especially the war-time scenes and the careful attention to accuracies of description whether of costume, places, or realistic situations. I was waiting for the twist the tale would take at the end and I think Kate Morton is clever at dropping clues throughout the novel so her reader can piece together the story along with her central character, Laurel. Altogether a good read.


Verdi: Il Corsaro
Verdi: Il Corsaro
Price: £10.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cast, great opera, 1 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Verdi: Il Corsaro (Audio CD)
This delectable CD is a scrumptious experience from start to finish, the cream of Montserrat Caballe's dramatic voice and the tingling tones of Jose Carreras's magical tenor offering a wonderful feast of music and a superb opera. Comparisons to a fine meal are not odious, this is a truly great musical experience and I am delighted to have discovered it. Lovely to listen to over and over again.


The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cappuccino novel, 1 Nov. 2013
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Although Deborah Rodriguez wrote this novel based on her own experience, I don't think she is quite a good enough writer to convey the depth of the tragedy that is Afghanistan today. The story was contrived, with as many politically correct plot inclusions as she could get into it. Romance a la Mills and Boon remained prominent, both European/American and Afghan, and western values prevailed, despite obvious efforts to create a balanced outlook. Most of the characters were two-dimensional, cardboard cut-outs rather than fully rounded personalities, with a possible exception of Bashir, Sunny's coffee shop manager.

For light reading on holiday this novel might suit readers not looking for a serious attempt to reflect the turmoil in Kabul, but a romantic story in an unusual location. But Kabul is not romantic and I don't think Ms Rodriguez does anyone any favours with her superficial exoticising of a world trouble-spot. If I want to read a novel set in Afghanistan I prefer the horse's mouth as in such writers as Khaled Hosseini. 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' is cappuccino froth compared to the dark, strong coffee of the Afghan authors writing more truly felt books about Kabul experience.


Two For Sorrow (Josephine Tey Book 3)
Two For Sorrow (Josephine Tey Book 3)
Price: £3.79

4.0 out of 5 stars A good, light read, 17 Oct. 2013
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I am reading the Nicola Upson books out of a long-term loyalty to Josephine Tey, whose novels I enjoyed so much as a teenager and re-read as an adult. I am finding these reincarnations of Josephine Tey enjoyable, if a little contrived, but the books stand alone as light crime investigations and though Archie Penrose, the detective in Upson's books supposedly on whom Tey based her own detective, Alan Grant, is not a patch on Grant, the double fictions are cleverly played out and I find myself fascinated by Upson's ability to create fictional characters out of a web of imagined versions of people who really existed. It is quite a feat and though I feel the stories don't always work perfectly, the crimes are ingenious and interesting and the setting of the world of theatre holds its own drama. Upson keeps the reader involved and the novels can be enjoyed whether one is familiar with Tey and her work or not.


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