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Ruth - 2015

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This sounds like a good read, so it's gone on the wishlist. I love a psychological thriller. :boogie: Nice review, too. :smile:

 

 

It's gone on my list too.  Sounds good.

 

 

Going on my wishlist, too! Thanks Ruth :D

 

 

That and The White Woman on the Green Bicycle are going on my wishlist! Thanks, Ruth! :D

 

 

Going on my list too! I have a feeling I saw it mentioned on a FB page for a book club I follow, and I *think* its reader had commented on it being the best thriller they've read this year. I *think*.

 

I love a good psychological thriller, so I might get to this one sooner rather than later! :lol:

 

 

Hope you all enjoy it - my advice is not to try and guess the twist :-)

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The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

 

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This book has been compared several times to Gillian Glynn’s psychological thriller Gone Girl, and I can certainly see why – and if you liked Gone Girl, then I’d recommend this to you as well. The story is told from the point of view of three narrators, of varying reliability. The first – and main – narrator is Rachel, a young woman who is still grieving over the breakdown of her marriage and finds her only solace in alcohol. Every day she rides a train into Witney and stares into the gardens of the houses along the track. She is particularly interested in the couple who inhabit one of the houses – a couple she names Jason and Jess, and for whom she invents her own back story.

 

The second narrator is ‘Jess’ – or rather, Megan, as she is actually called. She is married to Scott, but is restless and uncertain about what she wants out of her life and her marriage.

 

Anna, the current wife of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom, is the third narrator. She and Tom live with the baby daughter in the same road as Megan and Scott, and are increasingly frustrated over Rachel’s constant harassment of them.

 

However, when Rachel sees something shocking from the train, and one of the characters disappears, the lives of all three women and their families converge – and suddenly Rachel is no longer just an observer, but is right at the centre of the mystery.

 

Did I enjoy this book? I guess I did, considering that I read it in two sittings and genuinely did not want to put it down. However, that is not the same as saying that I think it was a masterpiece, or a perfect book. I did guess what had happened fairly early on, but there were still plenty of red herrings and surprises to keep it interesting. The author certainly has a talent for writing very ‘readable’ characters (despite the fact that not one of them was particularly likeable, except for a couple of minor characters) and situations, and it did race along at a fair rate of knots. However, I would say that while it is a great book while you’re actually reading it, it is not one that will stick in the mind for long once it’s finished. However, for fans of the genre, it’s definitely worth taking a look.

Edited by Ruth

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Nice review. I get what you mean about not wanting to put it down, yet it not being a masterpiece. I thought it was very readable, but when I finished it and thought about it, saw it had many flaws. I didn't guess the ending, but I'm never good at things like that. :lol:

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I'm in the middle of reading that particular book so I'm going to wait until I've finished it to read your review :D 

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Hey Ruth, I have a question... I'm currently reading Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann. Some months ago I was browsing through the new books section on the library's website and recognized the word Tinseltown and thought someone on here had possibly read it and reviewed it... I placed a reservation and I'm now reading the book. Anyhow, when I did a search of the title on here, there were no matches. It must've been some other book... I was wondering, if you've read a similar sort of book, because I have this feeling you reviewed a book about Hollywood and/or child actors and how they were sometimes drugged to keep quiet on the set while they weren't working..? I'm really enjoying reading about Hollywood and I think I'd be interested in reading the book you possibly reviewed a few years ago, on the topic? 

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The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

 

0857522310.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.j

 

This book has been compared several times to Gillian Glynn’s psychological thriller Gone Girl, and I can certainly see why – and if you liked Gone Girl, then I’d recommend this to you as well. The story is told from the point of view of three narrators, of varying reliability. The first – and main – narrator is Rachel, a young woman who is still grieving over the breakdown of her marriage and finds her only solace in alcohol. Every day she rides a train into Witney and stares into the gardens of the houses along the track. She is particularly interested in the couple who inhabit one of the houses – a couple she names Jason and Jess, and for whom she invents her own back story.

 

The second narrator is ‘Jess’ – or rather, Megan, as she is actually called. She is married to Scott, but is restless and uncertain about what she wants out of her life and her marriage.

 

Anna, the current wife of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom, is the third narrator. She and Tom live with the baby daughter in the same road as Megan and Scott, and are increasingly frustrated over Rachel’s constant harassment of them.

 

However, when Rachel sees something shocking from the train, and one of the characters disappears, the lives of all three women and their families converge – and suddenly Rachel is no longer just an observer, but is right at the centre of the mystery.

 

Did I enjoy this book? I guess I did, considering that I read it in two sittings and genuinely did not want to put it down. However, that is not the same as saying that I think it was a masterpiece, or a perfect book. I did guess what had happened fairly early on, but there were still plenty of red herrings and surprises to keep it interesting. The author certainly has a talent for writing very ‘readable’ characters (despite the fact that not one of them was particularly likeable, except for a couple of minor characters) and situations, and it did race along at a fair rate of knots. However, I would say that while it is a great book while you’re actually reading it, it is not one that will stick in the mind for long once it’s finished. However, for fans of the genre, it’s definitely worth taking a look.

My feelings also although I couldn't put it in words like you did so well.

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My feelings also although I couldn't put it in words like you did so well.

A fascinating review, and one that has convinced me not to go ahead with it: I disliked Gone Girl with an intensity I find rare about books I don't get on with, but was thinking about this as several people said that it was sufficiently dissimilar. However, there are too many points you highlight which suggest that this is a book I really would not get on with. So thank you, a useful, informative and, indeed, interesting review!

Edited by willoyd

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Borrowed Time by Paul Monette

 

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This heartbreaking book is the true story of author Paul Monette’s final two years with his partner Roger Horwitz, who died of AIDS in 1986. Monette chronicles their discovery of the disease and the subsequent downward spiral which Roger’s health took, in a time where ignorance about AIDS was rife, and many people just didn’t want to know about it, thinking that it was a problem only for the gay community.

 

Roger’s symptoms and health problems are described fairly explicitly and the anguish of the author comes through on every page, as he describes seeing his soul mate struck down by a cruel and vicious illness. His anger at the lack of government interest in the disease is also palpable – and understandable.

 

But through it all, through every symptom, every ray of hope, every crushing disappointment, is the love. Paul and Roger were a couple so obviously, so completely in love, so together that Roger says, “…we’re the same person!” Yet there is no shying away from the problems they have been through – the brief affair which Paul had earlier in their relationship, and which he feels guilty about because he believes that that was the cause of Roger getting the HIV virus.

 

Monette talks about seeing friends struck down with “the plague” and describes the situation as a war. And it does feel like they were fighting a war – against AIDS, against ignorance, against indifference. He is aware that he himself has the HIV virus (Monette died of complications from AIDS in 1995).

 

The first line of the book says, “I don’t know if I will live to finish this.” I’m glad that he did. It’s honest and passionate, and a beautiful read. Keep a handkerchief handy if you are planning on reading it – you will cry, but it’s worth it.

 

 

Highly, highly recommended.

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Wow, that sounds like an emotional and heartbreaking story. Great review!

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Hey Ruth, I have a question... I'm currently reading Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann. Some months ago I was browsing through the new books section on the library's website and recognized the word Tinseltown and thought someone on here had possibly read it and reviewed it... I placed a reservation and I'm now reading the book. Anyhow, when I did a search of the title on here, there were no matches. It must've been some other book... I was wondering, if you've read a similar sort of book, because I have this feeling you reviewed a book about Hollywood and/or child actors and how they were sometimes drugged to keep quiet on the set while they weren't working..? I'm really enjoying reading about Hollywood and I think I'd be interested in reading the book you possibly reviewed a few years ago, on the topic? 

 

Frankie, I'm so sorry I didn't respond earlier - I have only just seen your post. I'll have a look back through the books I've read, because I have read several about Hollywood's 'golden years' and I'm sure one of them covered that subject (can't remember the name, but I will once I see it!)

 

A fascinating review, and one that has convinced me not to go ahead with it: I disliked Gone Girl with an intensity I find rare about books I don't get on with, but was thinking about this as several people said that it was sufficiently dissimilar. However, there are too many points you highlight which suggest that this is a book I really would not get on with. So thank you, a useful, informative and, indeed, interesting review!

 

Glad to help :) Given your feelings about Gone Girl, I think you would probably not enjoy this.

 

Wow, that sounds like an emotional and heartbreaking story. Great review!

 

Thanks Athena, it is a lovely but heartbreaking book.

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Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee (MAJOR spoilers)

 

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Just in case the post heading doesn’t make it clear – this post WILL contain spoilers! Probably none that you haven’t already seen in the media coverage and excitement over the release of this book, but spoilers nonetheless. The reason is that I don’t think I am really able to review Go Set A Watchman without revealing spoilers. So you have been warned…!

 

This book was written prior to Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird (hereafter referred to as TKAM), but the publishers apparently urged her to go back and write a story from Scout Finch’s point of view, which resulted in TKAM. It hardly needs pointing out that that book became a modern classic, a set text, beloved by almost everyone who read it. It also created in Atticus Finch, a true literary hero – a man who stood up for his principles and for what was right, despite huge and sometimes violent opposition.

 

Go Set a Watchman also concentrates mainly on Scout’s point of view, but Scout is now 26, living in New York and known by her proper name, Jean Louise. When she comes back to Maycomb to visit her family, she is shocked to realise that Atticus is not the hero she had previously considered him to be, and that in fact he supports segregation between black and white people. Her horror as she sees her much loved and respected father at a council meeting about how to keep black people out of white people’s business is shared by the reader. How can he do this to us? This shining example of all that is good and right is actually a racist???

 

The hurt is compounded when she discovers that the only reason he agrees to defend a black man accused of manslaughter is to stop the NAACP defending him and demanding black people on juries and wanting other rights to which Atticus and most citizens of Maycomb do not believe they should be entitled.

 

So for many reasons, this book was not entirely comfortable reading. The writing itself is not as polished and does not flow as easily as TKAM, but it IS very readable, and for the most part, despite the subject, I did enjoy it. However, the last part of the book (and once again there are going to be major spoilers here) when Jean Louise confronts her father and he explains his reasons for behaving the way he does – basically, he says that he is still a good guy but for the sake of all that is good and holy, those black people cannot be allowed the same rights as white people – is uneasy to stomach, especially when Jean Louise ends up coming around and sees his beliefs from his point of view.

 

All in, I would say that I am glad I read this, and would recommend it to fans of TKAM.

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Frankie, I'm so sorry I didn't respond earlier - I have only just seen your post. I'll have a look back through the books I've read, because I have read several about Hollywood's 'golden years' and I'm sure one of them covered that subject (can't remember the name, but I will once I see it!)

 

Don't worry, I figured that you probably hadn't seen the post! :)  I went to visit your book blog outside the forum to see if I could find it myself, but no title rang any bells. There certainly wasn't any books by the name of 'A Hollywoodian book about child actors being drugged to behave during breaks on set' :blush: 

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Don't worry, I figured that you probably hadn't seen the post! :)  I went to visit your book blog outside the forum to see if I could find it myself, but no title rang any bells. There certainly wasn't any books by the name of 'A Hollywoodian book about child actors being drugged to behave during breaks on set' :blush:

 

I've had a good look, and the only one I can think of was My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt. She talked about Judy being abused in that way during her childhood making films. However that book is definitely far more about the author than about Judy Garland (I didn't like it :( )

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Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored, by John Lydon

 

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Anyone who is old enough to remember the mid-late 70s knows who John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten is. Famous – or infamous – for being the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, and then forming Public Image Ltd, Lydon is now almost as well known for his TV appearances on shows like I’m A Celebrity….Get Me Out of Here, Shark Attack, Goes Ape, and even Question Time. Not to mention those Country Life butter advertisements!

As the title suggests, this is indeed his life uncensored and in his own words. (The Anger is an Energy line comes from the PiL song Rise, which is one of my favourite songs.) So much in his own words in fact, that this book feels more like it has been dictated – I think this works, because when I am reading someone’s autobiography I like to feel that I can hear their own voice reciting it, and in this instance I certainly could.

Lydon tells the story of his life pretty much chronologically, although there are intermittent chapters where he gives his thoughts on other aspects of life. It all rattles along entertainingly though, and he is certainly not averse to naming names and giving opinions about people he has met, good or bad. He’s almost shockingly frank regarding his feelings about certain persons (Malcolm McLaren does not come out of it well, and neither does ex-PiL bandmate Keith Levene.) However, his pacifist leanings and his generosity towards others may surprise those who only know him as the angry young punk who fronted the Sex Pistols, swore on live TV and sang songs about anarchy.

I can’t say I agree with everything he says, but I do have a certain respect for him after reading this book, because at least HE agrees with everything he says – he is not in the business of false diplomacy or modesty. I enjoyed reading about his relationship with his long-term partner Nora, to who he is clearly devoted.

 

Overall, I would say this is an enjoyable and entertaining ride through one man’s life – it did feel like a bit of editing in the middle  of the book might have helped, but essentially, while you might say a lot of things about John Lydon, one thing you can’t say is that he is ever boring. If you have any interest in the Sex Pistols, PiL, or the music industry in general, I would recommend this book.

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I've had a good look, and the only one I can think of was My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt. She talked about Judy being abused in that way during her childhood making films. However that book is definitely far more about the author than about Judy Garland (I didn't like it :( )

 

I went to read your review of the book and it didn't sound familiar at all. I then read the subsequent comments, and realized that it was one of the comments I've been thinking about, and unfortunately the comment isn't connected to the actual book you'd read!  :doh:   It was this chaliepud's comment that's stayed with me, and somehow I'd come to think that you'd read a book about what chalie said  :doh:   Boyt's book sounds really aggrevating :blush::o 

 

Thank you so much for going through the trouble, though!  :flowers2:  I really appreciate it, because it's been on my mind every now and then and it's been bugging me! 

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My Everything, by Katie Marsh

 

 

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Hannah has decided that today is the day she is going to leave her husband Tom; their once happy marriage has disintegrated to such a point that she feels they can no longer work things out, and she is looking forward to following her dream of teaching in Tanzania. But today is also the day that Tom has a stroke and Hannah feels that she cannot leave. A sense of duty compels her to remain and try and help her husband through his recovery, but as they face the future together, Tom is determined to try and fix their marriage and make Hannah fall in love with him again.

 

This book is told in both the present day, starting with Hannah’s discovery of her husband on their bedroom floor, clearly in serious pain, and in flashbacks which show how Hannah and Tom’s relationship started and developed and subsequently went wrong. I really enjoyed both storylines, and really enjoyed watching how these characters found and lost each other in the confusion of starting new jobs, moving into a new house and dealing with all the other problems that life can bring.

 

I thought both Hannah and Tom were pretty sympathetic characters – although Tom has clearly not been treating Hannah well prior to the start of the story, we the reader only ‘meet’ him at the time of his stroke, and the flashback chapters do serve to illustrate his point of view, so he is not quite the awful person that he could have been if the story were only told from Hannah’s point of view. The first part of the story actually made me cry as I tried to imagine the terror and uncertainty that both Tom and Hannah would feel as he had a stroke at the young age of 32, and realised that life might never be the same.

 

The writing flowed well, and I gobbled up huge chunks of the story at a time – I had to stop myself from peeking forward a few pages at times, which is always the sign of a good book.

 

My only slight criticism would be I wasn’t overkeen on some of the other characters. I liked Tom’s friend Nick, but his sister Julie and Hannah’s friend Steph were irritating (and Steph felt at times like a bit of a cliche). However, I feel churlish even really pointing this out, because overall this was a moving and absorbing read, which I would highly recommend. This is Katie Marsh’s debut novel, and I look forward to reading future books by her.

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Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, by Mary Gibson

 

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Mary Gibson’s debut novel takes place between 1911 – 1919, and revolves around Nellie Clarke, one of the ‘custard tarts’ who works at Pearce Duff biscuit factory in East London. It begins with her meeting the charismatic Eliza James, who encourages female factory workers to strike for better wages and living conditions, and follows Nellie through the first world war, as she sees the young men in her neighbourhood go off to fight for their country.

As Nellie is just sixteen at the start of the book, the story sees her grow up and have to work hard to keep her family safe and together. She faces numerous challenges, both romantic and financial, and has to make the transition from child to adult very quickly.

I think the book was well written, and it certainly seems that the author has done a lot of research about the era. There were quite a few twists and turns, and while some parts were predictable, there were some surprises along the way too. Having said that, it didn’t ever completely engage me, although I think that is more down to my personal taste – I’m not really a big fan of cosy historical sagas, which I would categorise this as, despite the fact that it demonstrates the hardship of Nellie’s life, and the effect of the war upon her and her friends.

Nellie though was a likeable central character, as was Sam Gilbie, a young man who played a very central role in the story, and even if it was not really my kind of book, I still found myself reading large chunks of it at a time.

If this is the kind of genre that you enjoy, then I would certainly recommend this book, but on a personal level, while I enjoyed it in part, I am not sure that I would try another book of this type for a while.

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Brando's Smile: His Life, Thought and Work, by Susan Mizruchi

 

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This biography of Marlon Brando is somewhat unusual in that it concentrates mainly on his professional life and personal philosophy, rather than delving into details of his personal life. After describing Brando’s childhood (with a loving but alcoholic mother, and an overly strict father), Mizruchi goes on to talk about his career in acting, and discusses many of his most famous film roles. She describes his attraction to a role, his preparation for it, and how he went on to become a character, as well as other details about the making of each film. In each case, Mizruchi draws comparisons between the character or storyline of the film and connects it back to events in Brando’s own life.

 

For that reason, this book is not the one to read if you are looking for Hollywood gossip or salacious details about Brando’s many relationships and often difficult personal life. Indeed, while his career is detailed in relatively chronological order, you would struggle to learn anything else about his life that is not already a matter of public record. For example, Mizruchi mentions his marriages, but does not give any details about the relationships or why they didn’t ultimately work out. However, I found that somewhat refreshing, as instead, I learned far more about Brando’s beliefs, his humanitarianism and his parts in civil rights campaigns, which he clearly felt passionately about.

 

Mizruchi had unprecedented access to Brando’s own personal book collection, which numbered around 4000, and which – as we are frequently reminded – he annotated heavily. She uses such annotations, as well as his varied choice of reading material to draw conclusions about the man himself. The sheer vastness and variety of the collection does support her view of him as an intelligent and curious man, who found enjoyment in learning.

 

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. As mentioned before, I did not learn an awful lot about Brando’s personal life, but I certainly learned more about what was important to him, his views on acting and his determination to leave the world a better place than he found it. At times, it is a little sycophantic – there’s no doubt that Mizruchi is a devoted Brando fan – but it is a respectful, interesting and clearly very well researched biography.

 

I would recommend to fans of Marlon Brando, or fans of the film making process.

Edited by Ruth

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The Third Wife, by Lisa Jewell

 

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Adrian Wolfe seems to have the perfect life. Although he has two ex-wives with whom he has five children altogether, everybody gets along well, and even all go on holiday gather with Adrian and his third wife Maya.

 

But when Maya steps in front of a bus and dies, after an evening spent getting uncharacteristically drunk, Adrian’s world falls apart. A mysterious woman named Jane appears to be stalking him, his children all seem to be going through personal crises, and then he makes a discovery which causes him to question whether Maya’s death was really the accident he had thought it was, or whether she might have done it deliberately. As the story moves between present day and flashbacks, secrets are revealed, and the veneer of the perfect extended family starts to crack.

 

I really enjoyed this book, and read it in two sittings. I thought the storyline seemed believable, even the unconventional relationship between the family. The characters were also very well drawn, and although I didn’t particularly like some of them (Adrian himself seemed charming but ultimately irresponsible, always leaving one woman when someone better came along, but somehow managing to keep relations harmonious), they were certainly easy to find interest in.

 

The mystery part of the novel – without revealing spoilers all I can say about it is that it revolved around whether Maya killed herself deliberately or not, and what might have driven her to consider it – also added an element of tension, which kept me turning the pages. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, and it’s always pleasant when that happens.

 

The story segues perfectly from a family drama to a psychological thriller and back again, and it was one of the few books which I didn’t want to put down and kept thinking about going back to to read some more.

 

Very highly recommended.

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Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

 

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This collection of letters from Nina Stibbe to her sister Victoria spans five years (1982 – 1987), and begins when 20 year old Nina moves from Leicestershire to London to become the live-in nanny to Sam and Will, the two young sons of editor/journalist Mary-Kay Wilmers.

 

Reading like a cross between Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones (as the letters do form a diary of sorts), this book is extremely funny (frequently) and frank. I particularly loved how almost every letter contained snippets of information between Nina, Mary-Kay, Sam, Will and other people (including, frequently, Alan Bennett who was not only a neighbour, but also a very regular visitor to the house).

 

I did start to make notes of some of the funniest parts, to quote in this review, but when I realised that there were parts I wanted to quote on every couple of pages, I had to stop otherwise I would have been making notes as much as I was reading the book.

 

As well as liking Nina very much, I also loved Mary-Kay, Sam and Will, who were all clearly intelligent and quick thinking. Nina was – by her own admission – not brilliant at cooking or cleaning, but clearly the family felt that she fitted in with them perfectly, so much so that even after she stopped being nanny to the boys and left to pursue a Literature degree, she subsequently moved back in to live with them.

 

It’s true that the letters contain a lot of the minutiae of family life, and often not much at all happens, and some reviews have been critical of this, but for me part of the attraction of the book was precisely that, and the fact that Nina could make such humdrum events so amusing.

 

I would highly recommend this book, and already know that I will be buying some copies of it for Christmas presents.

Edited by Ruth

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The Sisterhood, by Emily Barr

 

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I’ve read novels by Emily Barr in the past and always enjoyed them. However, it had been a few years since I’d tried one, so when I picked The Sisterhood off my shelf (where it had been languishing for SEVEN years!) I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it – after all, tastes change and I know that mine have. My fear was unfounded however – after a slow start due to my own time constraints, I rattled through this book and found it hard to put down. Without giving too much away, the premise is as follows:

 

London: Liz Greene’s relationship has just fallen apart in a horrible and irrevocable manner. Depressed and lonely she has a one night stand and becomes pregnant.

 

Bordeaux: Helen Labenne and her brother Tom have just discovered that their mother had a child years before they were born. Bored with her privileged lifestyle, Helen decides to go to London to track down her sister Elizabeth Greene…

 

The book may start off in almost a chick-lit style, but it becomes apparent early on (and should already be apparent to anyone who has read Emily Barr before) that this is a much darker story, with sinister undertones and plenty of tension. It’s clear from the beginning that Helen has some issues, and an unconventional way of looking at things, but as she begins to insinuate herself more and more into Liz’s life, it gets twistier and creepier. Unfortunately I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers, and spoilers can really ruin a book like this. However, I can say that the book is told from both Helen and Liz’s points of view – they take alternating chapters – and later, Helen’s mother Mary also narrates some ‘flashback’ chapters.

 

As the story builds to its climax, there are some huge twists – including one which I definitely saw coming, and one which I most definitely did not!

 

Overall, a very enjoyable read and one I would recommend to fans of psychological thrillers. My only niggling complaint is that the prologue does kind of give something away unnecessarily, but other than that I liked this book a lot.

Edited by Ruth

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I haven't read this book, but I have a few other books by the author: Blackout (I liked this), Backpack, Plan B and Stranded (the last three all unread). I'm glad you enjoyed this book, and this author :). I haven't seen her mentioned before on the forum (while I've been here). Great review :)!

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The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex, by Mark Kermode

 

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After reading two of Mark Kermode's books (and thoroughly enjoying both of them), I was really looking forward to reading this one - where Kermode discusses (or rants) about the state of cinema today, or at least the state of Hollywood blockbusters today. I wasn't disappointed - when it comes to film criticism or film discussion, Mark Kermode is pretty much my go-to author. He's funny, honest, self-deprecating, and makes a lot of valid points.

In various chapters, Kermode talks about how blockbusters basically cannot fail to make a profit, no matter how bad they are, and crucially, no matter how bad their reviews are. He uses the much maligned film Pearl Harbor as an example - as much as it was trashed by critics and the public alike, it still turned a profit. Basically if a film has a big name star, and appears in cinemas even if only for a short time, it will make money - if not on the big screen, then certainly on DVD. So, if blockbusters can't really fail no matter how bad they are, then why not make a really good one?

In other chapters, Kermode discusses 3D, which has been trialled and trashed several times before, but which keeps rearing it's ugly head (thanks for that James Cameron), and even questions what use film critics actually are to the industry. The most entertaining chapter for me was where he discussed the recent trend for Hollywood to remake foreign language films - often drastically changing characters, setting and indeed storylines - and why the often vastly inferior remakes still do better in cinemas than the original 'source' movies.

Anyone who has listened to Mark Kermode will be able to hear his voice in their head while reading this book - he is an intelligent and passionate narrator, and makes his points eloquently, and with a lot of humour. He is clearly in love with his subject, despite all his complaints about the current state of cinema, and this makes for an engaging, entertaining rant, all in the style of a conversation which you could imagine having in a pub while downing a few pints.

In essence - if you like Mark Kermode's radio show, or have enjoyed his previous books, or indeed just enjoy reading about cinema or Hollywood in general, then I would definitely recommend this book.

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