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Showing posts from January, 2014

Book Review: Orphans of War

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Orphans of War by Leah Fleming
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not usually a big fan of sagas and I was attracted to this one more for the Yorkshire setting (and author) than anything else. Leah Fleming did a great job of drawing me in with the story of an evacuee facing a new life with relatives far from home. Family is a pervasive theme of the book, with Maddy losing her mother and father but gaining grandparents and a caring aunt, while Gloria is abandoned by her mother and Greg is a true orphan of the war.
The bond that forms between the three youngsters during wartime is threatened by Maddy’s budding post-war romance with a German visitor, and the events that follow have repercussions for the three of them which will change their whole lives. Many of the events centre around the ‘Victory Tree’, the headquarters of their childhood games and later the home of a dark secret.
At times it was a little too easy to guess some of the turns the story would take, but generally this was a…

7 Reasons Frozen Melts Hearts

I wasn’t enthralled by the trailers for Frozen, which mostly seemed to feature an infuriatingly stupid snowman with an irritating voice (if you’re one of the rare people who has missed both film and trailers, think the hyper-enthusiastic donkey in Shrek, minus the accent, and you’ll be on the right track). I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the film if it hadn’t been for two things: a free cinema ticket and a glowing recommendation from a colleague. So I dragged myself off to the cinema, not expecting too much of yet another Disney princess film. And… I loved it!

So what is it about the story that so enthralls? There are probably dozens of things, but here are the ones that spring to mind.
1. A familiar story 
I don’t remember all the details of Hans Christian Anderson’s children’s classic, ‘The Snow Queen’, but I know the essential elements are here: a world turned to winter and ruled over by an icy beauty, a spell which freezes hearts, and two people saved by the redeeming…

Book Review: The Affair

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The Affair by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I fell into the Reacher series part way through as a result of a recommendation, and having read a few recent stories, was confused to find myself picking up a brand new book and slipping far back into Reacher's past. However, I soon found myself loving the way The Affair steps back in time to illuminate Reacher's love-hate relationship with the military, while still delivering all the twists and turns that I expected from a new Jack Reacher novel.

Like Jeffery Deaver (whose books I also love), Lee Child keeps the reader guessing throughout.  What appears a simple enough case soon spirals out to include not one, but three, murders, one of which clearly has a lot more complexity than initially met the eye. Once the story gets going, it's no longer easy to tell who the good guys are. But there are always enough of them to sustain hope, even while Child, through Reacher, demonstrates a deep cynicism about the military system…

Book Review: Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

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Never Judge A Book By Its Cover : The Autobiography by Lisa Riley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since I'm a fairly obsessive Strictly fan, this book was an obvious choice for my Christmas wish list. I picked it up on Boxing Day and finished it the next day, partly because it's a really easy read and partly because Lisa's story is just so engrossing. Never having been a soap fan, I knew nothing about Lisa Riley before Strictly, but I loved watching her in the series and again on tour and in Strictly Confidential.
I'm often bored by the 'early lives of celebrities' but Lisa's passion for the stage comes through from page one and kept me hooked as I read about how performing in her Gran's living room gave way to stage school and then the small screen. Lisa is honest about the highs and lows of being an unlikely celebrity. From her Mum's battle with cancer to the glory days of Strictly's sequined madness, her story is both touching and hilarious, an…