Post archive

⇒ Post history

Book review: Three titles by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been having a tidy-up and has re-discovered some long-lost titles that she decided to read again. Here are her thoughts on the three books.

"Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne is an orphan who is mistakenly placed with the Cuthburt family to live on Prince Edward Island. Never really belonging to anywhere or anyone she quickly falls in love with Avonlea and the two people she is to live with Matthew and Marilla. After much consideration Matthew and Marilla decide to keep Anne instead of sending for the boy they had wanted to help them run the Green Gables farm. Settling into her new home, Anne quickly becomes bosom friends with Young Diana who lives nearby. She soon settles into her new life, going to school and trying to please Matthew and Marilla, Anne always seems to find herself getting into lots of little accidents due to her quick temper. From smashing her slate over Gilbert’s head and refusing never to talk to him again, intoxicating Diana during afternoon tea and dying her red hair green after being promised it would turn a ‘raven black’. Overall an enjoyable read, Anne’s imaginations and accidents make it very hard to put down.

After watching my very old video version of this film, I hunted down the book version as I wanted to see how the book rated against the film. Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot more then the film. Many chapters from the book were not included in the film, which made the book even more enjoyable as some chapters were complete surprises. You soon begin to love the relationships that come about between the characters, Anne’s friendship to Diana, Marilla thawing out to realise how much she loves Anne and Anne and Gilbert’s ever changing relationship from enemies to eventually friendship. The description that the author also uses to describe Avonlea itself and the surrounding countryside helps you as the reader to imagine the places where Anne walks throughout her many journeys. From the ‘lake of shining water’ and the ‘haunted wood’ everything is described so well that you can easily picture them in your mind. After speeding through it, I couldn’t wait to start the next book in the series. For all ages, it’s an easily enjoyable read.

"Anne of Avonlea" by Lucy Maud Montgomery

After giving up going to college to stay with Marilla to save Green Gables, you see Anne’s first steps of becoming a teacher by becoming the teacher of Avonlea School. Anne soon comes to realise that all her childhood friends including herself have grown up from the young children of the first book. She is soon kept busy with her teaching and the surprise of Marilla adopting two young twins. While the young girl is perfectly behaved, Anne and Marilla now have an energetic young boy on their hands who gets into some worse accidents then Anne did in her younger years. With some scenes from the sequel Anne of Green Gables film and many new ones, you get to see Anne step from young girl to school teacher.

Although I recognised some of the scenes taken from this books to make up the second Anne of green gables film, many I didn’t know. The famous scenes of Anne chasing her cow out of her neighbours field and selling it on the spot before realising later she has actually sold her neighbours cow and Anne’s childhood friend Diana getting engaged were both enjoyable to read. Also the chapters that described Anne becoming the teacher of Avonlea were nice to read as you see how her character develops from the young girl in the first book to her first steps as a young school teacher.
However there were some parts from this book that I didn’t really enjoy. Some of the characters that were introduced I found really annoying. The twins that Marilla adopt are both annoying in their own ways. Dora is a little girl who has no real part to play and is a rather boring character. Her twin Davy being the complete opposite of her is a very excitable, energetic boy that keeps getting into trouble. However again, I found his character tedious to read about sometimes because every time I thought his character was improving he would do something naughty and be back to square one.

ISBN: 978-0-099-58265-6

"Anne of the Island" by Lucy Maud Montgomery

At the end of the second book, we discover that Anne is going to go to college to continue her education further. This is where the third book starts us off with Anne leaving her beloved Green Gables behind to attend Richmond College. Going with her are some of her childhood friends and Anne soon finds herself boarding with some of them. Deciding that their boarding house isn’t what they had hoped for, Anne and a few of her childhood friends plus Phil, a new friend made from Richmond decide to rent Patty’s Place, a lovely little house, where Anne has plenty of scope for her imagination. As well as the academic side, you see Anne’s love life pick up in this one. Gilbert Blythe proposes to Anne but she has to decline him as well as a few other proposals from other gentlemen. She soon finds the man she has always dreamed of marrying, a tall, handsome gentleman, which matches her description of an ideal man. However, she realises after a time how much she regrets her decision to decline Gilbert’s offer of marriage. After many misunderstandings the book finally ends with Gilbert proposing once more to Anne and her accepting.

I enjoyed this book a lot then the second on the basis alone that a lot more actually happened in this book. You get to see Anne’s struggle with her studies and her achievements all the way through college. The fact that many of her friend’s characters stories have continued from the first book was nice, as you see an insight into many of their lives and how college affects them. I also liked the complicated relationship between Anne and Gilbert. The many misunderstandings between them has started from the first book, continued during the second and finally finished with an engagement in this book, was a perfect ending between them for me. The description of Anne’s environments which was in the first book but lacking in the second, was continued again in this book. Her descriptions of Patty’s place and the little parks, which Anne walks through, made it easy for the reader to imagine while reading. Overall, I enjoyed this book more then the second and wanted to know the next step in Anne and Gilbert’s relationship.

How to choose what you read next.......

In what appears to us to be an increasingly looney world, we often wonder what it is that makes people read particular books. With non-fiction, it all seems reasonably straight-forward. We generally buys titles where the subject matter relates to our interests or broadens our understanding of things. With fiction, things are possibly a bit more abstract. However, this lady has a whole new way of deciding what to read!! So, in future, don't bother about whether or not you might like to read a particular title for its content or by recommendation, only read books by women......really?!

Or, here's another take on book reading decision-making. Ours not to reason why.....if you have an interesting way of deciding what you read next, let us know on the forum.

Charity book sellers

Charities in the UK and the way they have played such a large part in the demise of the independent secondhand bookshop is a constant source of irritation to us. Only last night we were, yet again, reminded of the ridiculous way charities are allowed to unfairly compete in the used book marketplace. This time it was Macmillan Cancer Care showing off the tens of thousands of donated books they have in storage awaiting sale on the internet. Great, isn't it? Free stock, subsidised retail premises and lovely tax breaks all round (no wonder they can afford to pay their chief executives so much). Here's a suggestion for the large charities - why not go into food retail and see what the reaction of the supermarkets is!!! Anyway, it seems that not even charities can always make book shops pay (though this is in America).
OK, rant over!

Happy New Year - 2014 would like to wish all of our customers, readers and contributors a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. We hope you continue to enjoy hunting for your next great book!!

Book review: "The White Queen" by Philippa Gregory

After a bit of a reviewing break, Becky Cleaver has been busy reading again. History is one of our favourite subjects here at Ulovebooks so, we are always interested when Becky has been busy delving into past times. As usual it is also interesting to compare the written word with TV or film versions of the book. What did Becky make of this latest offering?

"The White Queen" by Philippa Gregory

After watching part of the BBC version of the white queen, I decided to read the book to see if I would enjoy it more then the TV programme.

Elizabeth Woodville is a war widow, stripped of her lands and her boy’s inheritance. After briefly meeting the new king of York, Edward 4th, Elizabeth charms him into marrying her. She raises herself to status of Queen of England. Many are angry by this match, others say she is a witch and magic helped make this match. Either way she is now Queen. But these are unsettled times for England. York and Lancaster are tearing the country apart in the battle for rightful king. The reign of Edward and Elizabeth will include many battles, some won and some lost but she is willing to fight for everything she has gained. When her husband dies, she has to act quickly to get her son and rightful heir to the throne. But with her brother in law wanting the throne and with a powerful army supporting him, Elizabeth must look to her enemies to make her plans become reality.

I liked that this book is based from history. You know as the reader that the hard times and the major battles actually happened, they aren’t just fictional ideas. However, there were parts of this book that I found a little disappointing. Some parts of the book seemed to repeat itself over and over, some of the things that the characters did which weren’t that interesting to read about were constantly appearing in many chapters. I disliked how some of the character were portrayed as so weak, the king I felt was a main example of this, he never did anything amazing and also forgave his traitors who then rebelled against him again, it got a bit boring after a while. I understand this may have happened, but to read; it just got a bit boring and repetitive.
I was overall a little disappointed with this book as I was with the BBC version of the same story. I was expected something a bit more exciting and interesting !

First published in Great Britain in 2009, this edition published by Simon Schuster in 2013.

Book review: The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

Becky Cleaver's busy schedule has meant less time for reading recently but, she has just sent us a review for this volume so, we are keen to share it with you.

“The Guilty One” by Lisa Ballantyne

Sebastian Croll is 11 years old. He has been arrested for the murder of an 8-year-old boy, his supposed friend. Sebastian is insistent that he is innocent of this crime.
Daniel Hunter is Sebastian’s lawyer. He believes that Sebastian is telling the truth and is willing to do anything to persuade the jury of his innocence.
The further into the case you get, you realise how similar both of these characters are. Both Daniel and Sebastian have had very difficult childhoods. Daniel has a drug-addicted mother, when he was younger he got taken from her, put into care and later adopted. Sebastian’s father beats up his mother and some of these attacks Sebastian has witnessed. It is these attacks which are now being used against him in court, for he is known to most people as a ‘violent bully’. Only Daniel seems to be able to relate and understand Sebastian but is he able to find enough evidence to persuade the court that Sebastian is not guilty?

This book was given to me as a gift so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I really enjoyed this book and there are many good points about it.
Firstly, I liked how much detail the author uses to describe Daniel’s childhood. You can really emotionally attach yourself to his character, you feel sorry for everything that he has had to go through. I like how you witness the changes in his character the further into the book you go. The changing relationship between him and Minnie and how he changed from an angry child into a responsible and trusting teenager.
I also liked how this book flipped between Daniels past and the court case set in the present. It made the book much more interesting to read. You only get to discover more of Daniels past further into the book. A few things that are mentioned in the first few chapters are only explained fully near the end of the book. This encourages you as the reader to keep going with this book to find out what happened in more detail. The court case itself makes up about a third of the book however this was also very gripping to read, the constant interviewing of witnesses, the evidence scrutinised, the arguing between the lawyers all added to the suspense of the outcome and made you feel like you were there in the courtroom witnessing the case. Overall, I can’t really say there are any faults to this book, it was a very gripping book and I would certainly recommend you read it.

First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Piatkus – paperback

Book review: "A Court Affair" by Emily Purdy

After a Christmas break, our resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been back turning the pages again! This time, she has gone back to historical novels. Here is what she thought of her latest choice:

“A Court Affair” by Emily Purdy

Amy Robsart is married young to the handsome Robert Dudley. She dreams of a long happy life and marriage. However, she gets neither of these dreams. Her life is cut short by cancer and she only experiences married life for a few years. These years are miserable for her, banished in the country while her husband is kept away at London’s court in the company of the queen. The start of the book shows the reign of Tudor queen Mary and Elizabeth being locked in the tower for conspiring against the queen. After Mary’s death, it is Elizabeth’s chance on the throne. Forced by many wanting her to marry and secure England’s future, she turns to her childhood friend Robert Dudley for comfort. But their relationship brings with it many rumours, which threaten the Queen’s throne. Robert is willing to do anything, to even divorce his wife if there is a chance he could become England’s new king.

After reading a book written by this author about the relationships of King Henry 8th, I was excited to know that Emily Purdy had written a book about his children. There were a few things that I did enjoy about this book. I liked that the chapters were broken and told from both Amy’s and Elizabeth’s views. You got an idea of the differences between their lives but also how affected they both were by Robert’s character. I also liked the flashbacks in Amy’s chapters, skipping between the past and future gave you a better insight into her character and how much she changed. However, at times I found the storyline a little repetitive in some of Amy’s chapters when she is losing her husband. She is constantly trying to impress him and he is always embarrassing and ignoring her. Some of her chapters were sometimes a little boring to read. I was also expecting Elizabeth’s character to be stronger. As she is always described as the last real Tudor queen and how strong a character she was meant to be, I didn’t feel this about her while reading this book. At times she came across as weak and pitiful for a queen. Overall, although a bit repetitive, there were some stronger storylines like Robert Dudley’s quest for king that made this book an ok read.

ISBN: 978-1-84756-344-6
First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Harper Collins publishers.

Book review: The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner

Well, for her new review, resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver could not have chosen a more different subject than the last one! From vampire slaying and post-apocalyptic nightmares to relationships and IVF!! Variety is, indeed, the spice of life for Becky.

“The Two Week Wait” by Sarah Rayner

Cath’s only dream is to start a family. After fighting and beating cancer, she wants to make this dream a reality. However, the treatment for killing off her cancer has made her infertile and it is impossible that she will ever become pregnant naturally. Cath and her husband decide IVF treatment is their best option.
Lou’s only dream is having a baby with partner, Sofia. However, Sofia is happy with life as it is and sees having a child as too big a step for her. After Lou learns she has only limited time before the chances of her becoming pregnant are impossible, she decides on going it alone with IVF treatment.
Lou and Cath both sign up for the same treatment and unknowingly, help each other out. After both parties receive news that both sets of eggs have fertilized, Lou and Cath must now endure the two-week wait to see whether or not they are pregnant. Will either or both parties be successful?

Knowing only the basics about IVF treatment, I found it was interesting to read the procedure that both women went through. It was described in detail, not so much as to bore the reader but, instead, enough to understand the process and keep you interested.
From the start of the book, Sarah Rayner wants you to feel emotionally drawn into it. You feel in some circumstances you can relate to the characters themselves with their everyday problems. From the first few pages, I was hoping that Lou and Cath were both successful in their treatment. As the book progresses, you experience the same feelings that the main character is feeling. The ending is both happy and sad though, shows the realistic side to IVF. Not all couples will be successful as a result of it. My favourite character has to be Cath. She is portrayed as such a strong and determined character, who fought and beat cancer and who desperately wants a child. However, I also liked seeing an insight into her sensitive side but, I felt really sorry for her at times too. The ending again shows she is an amazing character, realising her true potential and accepting that she may never have a child, was very moving to read. This book will make you feel many emotions when reading it, happiness, sadness, loss, acceptance, friendship and most of all shows the strengths in the many different kinds of relationships people have. I would definitely recommend this book.

ISBN: 978-0-330-54410-8
First published in Picador in 2012 in paperback

Book review: "The Twelve" by Justin Cronin

We know that our resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been waiting for time for the sequel to Cronin's "The Passage" (as have we!!). "The Passage" was a really good read for lots of reasons. "The Twelve" was released recently and Becky got her hands on it quickly! So, what did she think?

“The Twelve” by Justin Cronin

The Hunt for the remaining virals is on! With the death of Babcock at the end of “The Passage”, the characters vow to hunt down the remaining twelve and kill them off.
The first part of this book goes into great detail of year zero and the after effects. You follow the lives of some of the survivors, most importantly the life of Lila, who was the wife of Wolgast (a character from the Passage). Events that were only mentioned briefly in the Passage are described in more detail during this book. In the second half of the book, you jump forward into the future and read about familiar characters Peter, Alicia, Sara, Hollis, Michael and Amy. Once again, linked with the army, these characters are hunting down the remaining virals. However, time is running out and sacrifices are going to have to be made…

Although there were some good chapters, overall I was a bit disappointed with this book. After rereading “The Passage” just before this book was released, I was hoping for another great read. Unfortunately, the twelve for me wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.
The one positive was the detail of just after the twelve escaped and year zero. Although it is briefly mentioned in “The Passage”, at the beginning of this book, it goes into a lot more detail of how people were affected and how the virals really took control.
However, there were many points with the book that made it disappointing for me. Firstly, many of the characters from the first book only appeared about halfway through the book. Also, many new characters were introduced which at times, made it confusing but also at times I felt there were too many individual stories to have to follow. I was also very disappointed with the actual deaths of the twelve virals. In the Passage, the virals seemed more powerful and were more feared by all the characters compared to this book where they seem weaker as a whole. The death scene in the arena where most of the virals were killed was disappointing for me. For all-powerful virals, they were very easily killed!!
Although there were some good parts to this book, overall it wasn’t as good as “The Passage”.

First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Orion books
ISBN: 978-0-7528-9786-8

Book review: "Before the Storm" by Judith Lennox

There's nothing like a bit of a break - particularly when you get the opportunity to do some reading. Resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been off enjoying herself with her friends very recently. As usual, she managed to find time to take in a book or two and it sounds like it had some local colour as well.

“Before the Storm” by Judith Lennox

Richard is a carefree bachelor with a good job, a good life and no intention to settle down. When his car breaks down in Lynmouth, North Devon, he doesn’t realise his life is going to change. For it is while he is out walking around Lynmouth harbour, that he meets Isabel Zeale. Even though they are from different levels in society, Richard is captivated by Isabel and becomes determined to marry her. “Before the Storm” tells the story of the marriage of Richard and Isabel and the life they share together. The second half of the book focuses more on the lives of their children Philip, Theo and Sara. Richard wishes for his sons to carry on the family business and for Sara to get married and is surprised when none of them follow his plans as each of them make their own way in the world.

There were some good and bad points for this book. One of the things I liked were the contrasts made throughout this entire book. The ideas of the levels in society are constantly stressed. Many times the argument that lower and upper classes shouldn’t be allowed to mix was used against all the characters. There is also the contrast between Isabel’s two homes, the hustle and noise of London compared to the peace and quiet found in Cornwall. I also liked that some of the places within the book are places to near to where I live and I have visited some of the places mentioned in Cornwall. My favourite thing about this book was the unexpected. You didn’t know what was going to happen and with the many twists in the characters stories, it made this an excellent book to read. However, there were a few bad points. Richard’s character was a little boring for me, he starts out full of confidence and the further into the book he gets, the weaker the character he becomes - to the point where I wasn’t really interested in reading about him anymore. I also found the ending a little disappointing. After the whole book being filled with drama and suspense, although it was the ending I was expecting, it just felt very rushed like the author didn’t know how to finish off the two main characters stories.

ISBN: 978-0-7553-3134-5
First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Headline Review

Book review: "The Shakepeare Secret" by J. L. Carrell

Becky's book reviews have been turning up thick and fast recently. Apparently, she's off on holiday again at the moment so, no doubt, she will return having read even more interesting volumes!! Where does she get all the spare time from, I ask myself. Her latest offering is a thriller - but, was she thrilled by it or not?

“The Shakespeare Secret” by J.L.Carrell.

 ‘If you open it, you must follow where it leads’. Kate Stanley is told these words after being given a gift, a gift she must keep safe. Later, the woman who gave Kate the present is found dead in a burnt out theatre. A series of murders occur, many suffering the same death as many of Shakespeare’s leading characters within his plays. The gift that Kate has been given will unearth secrets dated back to Shakespeare himself. Kate’s life is in danger, as she has become the serial killer’s next target. With the help of a few trusted friends, Kate follows the clues to unlock the secret and hopes that by doing this she will discover the identity of the serial killer before its too late

 I was disappointed with this book. The start for me was good, lots of things happened quickly to keep you interested and I thought this book had been a good choice to read. However, the further into the book I got, I found it a bit boring and the end totally unbelievable. I found some of the storylines very predictable and therefore unexciting, the ending between Kate and Ben was obvious as soon as the two characters started to get to know each other. The flashbacks back into Shakespeare’s time were sometimes confusing and introduced too many characters to remember who they were the next time a flashbacked happened. For me, the main character Kate was disappointing to read about, her character was very gullible, one minute she trusts one person, the next she trusts her enemy before going back to trusting the first character, a bit repetitive and therefore boring to read after a while. I would compare “The Shakespeare Secret” to books that I have enjoyed reading like “The Da Vinci Code”, two characters following clues to solve a puzzle and finding answers. This book was very poor compared to “The Da Vinci Code” and was disappointed and glad to finish it!

 ISBN: 978-0-7515-4035-2

First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Sphere

Book review: "Dances with Wolves" by Michael Blake

Continuing the "reading whilst you have time off", Becky Cleaver has had even more time for her favourite hobby of late. Maybe she's getting too much time off? (Joke, Becky!!). Anyway, here is a re-visiting of a previous best-seller. Again, the book has been made into an extremely popular film version starring Kevin Costner. So, how did Becky get on with the published version?

"Dances with Wolves" by Michael Blake

The film version of "Dances with Wolves" is one that I always enjoy watching. However, I never knew that it was based on a book and so was very happy to find a copy of dances with wolves while away on holiday.

John J Dunbar’s wish is to see the frontier before its gone. His wish is granted with his posting to Fort Sedgewick, the furthest post on the frontier. However, when he arrives, he finds the fort abandoned. After many weeks past, he starts having encounters with his neighbours, neighbours being Comanche Indians. After many meetings, he is finally accepted as one of the tribe where he experiences their everyday lives from hunting buffalo and fighting to battles against their enemies.
I liked how you get such a detailed description of the lives of the Comanche, how things that we take for granted today, like food, shelter and protection take up most of their time and were the things most important to them. I also liked the sense of honour and devotion characters like Wind in his Hair showed, they were willing to sacrifice anything to protect the ones they loved. You get a sense of waiting throughout this whole book. At the start, John is waiting for the army to return to Fort Sedgewick, after Cisco is stolen he is waiting for further contact with the Indians, waiting for buffalo to come back to hunt and then finally waiting to see if he will be rescued after being captured by the army near the end.
He learns the language of the Comanche and come the end, marries one of Indian woman and becomes a full member of the tribe. With the thought of living full time with the tribe, he returns to the abandoned Fort Sedgewick to collect his belongings, but finds the fort full of soldiers. Becoming the soldier’s prisoner, John soon gives up hope. However, you witness the Comanche’s strength and resolve to free their friend and all return safely back to their winter camp, which is where the book ends.
As the reader you witness an amazing change in John’s character from structured and organized solider to become someone he never thought he could be.
Loved the film but enjoyed the book even more.

This edition published in 1991 by BCA

Book review: "The Millenium Trilogy" by Stieg Larsson

Well, Becky Cleaver has been having some time off work recently and has, therefore, had plenty of time to catch up with her reading. This time she has had a go at the smash hit "Millennium Trilogy" that so many people around the globe have read and loved. Now in it's second film incarnation as well, what did Becky think of the books?

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Mikael Blomkvist’s career as a publicist is ruined. Deciding he needs a break, he accepts a job from Henrik Vanger, head of a vast company ‘Vanger Cooperation’. Mikael’s task is very important to Henrik – to find out if someone within the Vanger family is a murderer. In 1966, Harriet, his granddaughter disappeared. Although a vast search was done, no sign of Harriet was ever found. Henrik is tormented by the unknown, was she murdered? Could she still be alive somewhere? Will he ever find out what happened to her? Michael’s job is to discover the truth. However, not everyone within the Vanger family is happy with a stranger poking into their past. Mikael decides he will never complete this task alone.
Lisbeth Salander is a security specialist and an outsider in society. A talented hacker, she can gain access to any out of bounds information and is therefore perfect to gain access into the pasts of the Vanger family. Together, Lisbeth and Mikael delve back into 1966 to unlock the secret of Harriet’s disappearance.

This book was lent to me to read while I was away on holiday. The five hours it took to get there were spent reading this book; I found it impossible to stop reading. The fast paced story with its many twists and flashbacks to the past make this an amazing book. After finishing this one, I couldn’t wait to start the next one.
My favourite character had to be Lisbeth Salander. At the start, you don’t find out much about her character and yet the further into the book you get, the more sides to her character you experience. To start with she comes across, as an outsider, somebody that nobody cares about and you feel sorry for her when her ‘guardian’ abuses her. It’s fun to read how she gets her revenge on him. Lastly, it’s nice to see her developing a relationship with Mikael; by the end he has become someone she trusts.

ISBN: 978-1-84724-545-8
Published in Great Britain in 2008

"The Girl who played with Fire"

A young journalist and his partner have started an investigation into sex trafficking within Sweden. After finding many people responsible for this crime, they report their findings to journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The couple are later found murdered in their flat. When the inspector in charge of the investigation finds the murder weapon near the crime scene, he believes he has a straightforward case on his hands. For the murder weapons revealed the prints of the suspected killer, Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is now wanted for murder. Hunted by police, she realises she has very few people on her side. Only the faithful Mikael believes she is innocent from the very start. But, is there any way that Mikael and Lisbeth can clear her name before the police finally catch up with her?

During “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, Lisbeth is main character compared to the first book where you only got a small insight into her life. Her character is very complex from the very start with many sides, which you discover the further into the book you get. She still has to be my favourite character because she is such a mystery, you never know what to expect when it comes to her.
However, I didn’t enjoy this book so much compared to the first one. I know that this book was very much based on the police investigation into finding Lisbeth and to find out about the murders but with over 300 pages covering the investigation and with so many more characters being introduced, I just didn’t enjoy this one as much.
However, the ending for me has to be the best part of this book. It was very dramatic and full of action. You witness the violent side of Lisbeth and many of the unanswered questions during this book are answered in the last few chapters. The ending made this book better and when it came to the last few pages, I couldn’t wait to finish it to start the next one.

ISBN: 978-1-906694-18-0
Published in Great Britain in 2009

"The Girl who kicked the Hornets Nest"

This book starts with both Lisbeth Salander and her father in hospital after the confrontation at the end of the second book. After recovering from major surgery, Lisbeth has the problem of being charged with assault against her father. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist is once again on Lisbeth’s side and is fighting desperately for her not to have to go to prison. In looking for evidence to use in her case, he discovers the truth about Lisbeth’s father. This book is split into two; the first half is mainly on Lisbeth’s recovery in hospital. The second half is about the days leading up to her trial and the trial itself. All her life, Lisbeth has been classed as a ward of the government, someone who is unable to look after herself and someone who needs a guardian to look after her. When the court date arrives, Lisbeth is fighting not only against the charges which her father brought up but also for her freedom to look after her own life from now on. But will she be classed innocent and given her freedom, or will she be classed as insane and institutionalised for her own ‘safety’?

As with the other two books, Lisbeth is once again my favourite character. Again, you see the many sides to her character, how vulnerable she is while in hospital and how far she would actually go to protect herself when released. The court case I found very interesting to read about, not only the preparation for the trail, but the trial itself. You don’t know what to expect before you read it. The relationship between Lisbeth and Blomkvist is finally settled in this book, which is a nice way to finish. The interesting thing about their relationship is how much it changes over the three books. It starts with suspicion from both parties to a trusting working relationship, in the second book this changes to contempt on Lisbeth’s part and confusion on Mikael’s part, in the final book there is finally mutual acceptance and a level of respect for each other.

ISBN: 978-1-84816-343-9
First published in Great Britain in 2009

I can only say how glad I am that these books were recommended to me. Although each book had some good and bad points, overall I really enjoyed reading them and would definitely recommend them.

Book review: "Picture Perfect" by Jodi Picoult

Some years ago, one of the members of Ulovebooks staff went on holiday abroad and managed to read 22 books in a fortnight!!! That is some going and we think our reviewer, Becky Cleaver, is going to have a go at this record.....she's only away for a week in June but, 11 has to be the target. Hope she can remember them all to write reviews!!!! Anyway, here is her latest offering:

"Picture Perfect" by Jodi Picoult

Imagine waking up in a graveyard with no memory to who you are or how you got there. With the help of a police officer who finds her, Cassie is identified as the wife of Alex Rivers, a famous actor. Slowly, she has to come to rely on her husband to help her unlock her past. As time starts to pass, Cassie starts having flashbacks about her past, how she met her husband and how after only a few years of marriage, how he started to abuse her. She realises that although her life is portrayed as picture perfect, that is far from the truth. When her memory completely returns, Cassie has a choice to make, to stay with her husband or take a chance to get a better life for herself…

The story of the abusing husband is interesting, as it makes you as the reader wonder why Cassie would stay in their relationship and put up with it for so long. However, as the story develops, you as the reader experience many sides to Alex, which helps you to understand why she does stay. Another part to the book, which I found interesting, were the different Indian legends that were included at the starts of some of the chapters. It gave a good link to the beliefs of the people on the reservation where Cassie goes and stays, whether they are fact or fictional, they are interesting to read. The foreign places described in the scenes where the two characters meet are done in such detail, you feel your there enjoying the scenery with them. The one thing, which I found disappointing with the book, would have to be the lack of a clear definite ending. Although there is a hint that she will go and stay with Will, because it is only a hint, you almost feel like the story isn’t completely finished. It leaves you wondering whether she did actually go to him or not. This was disappointing for me because throughout the book, Cassie had come to face many struggles and you see how she overcame them so when I got to the end of the book, I found it a little lacking.

ISBN: 978-0-340-89796-6
Hodder paperback edition published in 2010

Book review: "Room with a View" by E. M. Forster

Well, our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver has hit the pages again. Her busy schedule clearly still allows for some reading time and we are grateful to her, as ever, for sharing her reading experiences.

"A Room with a View" by E.M.Forster

Many people argue that when comparing a book to a film, the book is always the better choice. I had only ever seen the film version of A Room with a View which I really enjoyed, so decided to get hold of the book to see whether the statement was true, would the book be better then the film?

Lucy Honeychurch is travelling in Italy with her cousin where she meets some of the most extraordinary people. Someone she is curious about is George Emerson, a quiet man with an unusual view of the world. While sharing an intimate moment with George, Lucy’s cousin discovers them together and whisks her away from temptation. After months of travelling, Lucy returns home, engaged to sensible Cecil Vyse, the intimate moment with George put to the back of her mind. But when George and his father rent a house in her village, the feelings towards him increase. Is Cecil really the right choice for her or can she accept herself, that she has feelings for George before it’s too late?
I wasn’t disappointed, this book was so hard to put down, I read it in under a day and therefore agree that books are normally better then film versions. There are so many parts to the book that aren’t included in the film; you get a better insight into all the characters. Mostly you get to see many sides of Lucy which you don’t get to see in the film. You feel more of the emotions that the character experiences while also getting a better understanding of her relationship with her brother/mother. In the film, you get a very simple view of her fiancé Cecil, while in the book, you experience many moments shared between him and Lucy and you see how much he really does care for her. What I liked most about this book was the vast amount of description used when Lucy is travelling in Italy. Some of the places within Florence are described in such a way that as your reading it, you the reader can easily imagine the places Lucy is visiting.

For anyone who has seen the film, you should definitely give the book version a go!!

ISBN: 978-0-241-95148-4
First published in 1908, this Penguin edition published in 2011

Book review: "Message in a Bottle" by Nicholas Sparks

Our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has much less time on her hands nowadays what with the pressures of work and her increasingly busy social life!! However, she managed to find some time to read another book by one of her favourite authors, Nicholas Sparks. Read on to find out what she thought of it. We understand that Becky is beginning "War and Peace" - a rather major undertaking and we'll be interested to find out how she gets on.

“Message in a Bottle” by Nicholas Sparks   

After I watched the film version of “Message in a Bottle”, as I enjoyed it, I decided to read the book.

Whilst out jogging Theresa comes across a bottle in the sand. Inside is a message starting ‘Dear Catherine’. The enclosed letter, describing lost love, starts off a chain of events that will change not only her life but also many of the lives of those close to her. Intrigued to know who the author of these messages is, she uses the clues in the letters to trace the author. On meeting Garrett (the author), he turns out to be not what Theresa is expecting. After only a few days, she finds herself falling in love with this stranger. But when Garrett discovers the real reason why Theresa came to find him, the question is, can he forgive her enough to put his past behind him and share a future with her…

It took me only a day to read this book but after a few chapters, I realised the book was nothing like the film, which disappointed me slightly. I have read many books by this author and normally enjoy them however, with this book I really just couldn’t get into it. Although the story itself is enjoyable to read, at times I found it almost predictable and a little unrealistic. After Theresa had experienced so many failed relationships, it was obvious that Garrett was going to be this perfect bloke who she would immediately like and later fall in love with and that’s exactly what happens. However, one good thing about this book would have to be the ending. By watching the film version, I knew what kind of ending to expect however the book version was very more dramatic. Also, the emotional chapter between Theresa and Garrett’s dad after he died was very emotional to read.

ISBN: 978-0-7515-4063-5
Paperback edition published in May 2006 by Time Warner Books

Book review: "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

Our resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver has been hitting the printed pages again. She's found some time in her busy schedule to send us her latest read and we thank her for that. Always much appreciated, Becky. So, what did she think of the book?

“Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

This book can only be described as an emotional read; its characters make an impact on you the reader, after only a few chapters. Lou Clark has the perfect job, the perfect boyfriend and for her, the perfect live. When she unexpectedly loses her job, she must come to terms with a career change. After many disappointing trips to the job centre, her only option is to take a job as a career. The man she cares for is Will, a man once full of ambitions and dreams, after being in a motorcycle accident, now finds himself permanently disabled. “Me Before You” tells the story of how Lou breaks through the depression surrounding Will’s changed life and how an unexpected friendship blossoms between them. Will shows Lou her true potential and some of the good things life has to offer while Lou shows Will that even he can still find enjoyment in his new life.

Although Lou is the main character in this book, so most of the chapters give us an insight into her everyday problems, I liked the fact that a few of the chapters were dedicated to some of the other characters too. Will’s chapter gave you an insight to how many people may feel in his circumstances, the chapter about Will’s mother was really moving, the feeling of despair was obvious throughout it. I found it a very moving, the ending for me was unexpected and was very sad to read. I also like the fact that you can easily see how the characters and their relationships develop, the bitter friendship Will and Lou have at the beginning, its nice to see that change to a point where they actually need and depend on each other nearer the end. Although I have read a few books by this author, this one has to be my favourite; the story is unlike anything I have read before.

ISBN: 978-0-718-15783-8
First published in 2012 by Penguin books.

Book review: "Savage Blood" by Alex Chance

Our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been quite quiet for some time now. However, she has come up trumps again with a new offering. Obviously, she has been doing more interesting things with her time (although, what could be more interesting than reading, we wonder?). Whatever the cause, we are grateful for Becky's new contribution and looking forward to more. We hope you enjoy her latest review just as much.

"Savage Blood" by Alex Chance

"Pray you don’t reach paradise" - Savage Island. An island where anyone unlucky to land on it never returns back to the mainland alive. A small tribe of cannibals, willing to kill anyone who steps foot on their land, inhabits it. Three strangers lives are going to be changed when they get to experience the island for themselves.

Dr Charlie Cortex treats a patient with a strange disease. Unable to save her, he later learns he may be infected with the same disease as his patient. He has to discover the source. Delving into his patients past, he discovers she spent time on the mysterious savage island and thinks maybe there he will find the cure…
Kelly Maelzel is blackmailed into helping with a mysterious project located on Savage Island. Someone wants to open up Savage Island to the world and needs Kelly’s help to control the natives…
Dr. Reeta Kapoor’s brother has gone off to Savage Island to stop the plans to colonize the natives; Reeta decides to go after him before he gets himself hurt…

The start of this book is gripping, the detailed descriptions of Savage Island and the natives themselves only adds to the mystery that surrounds them and makes you want to read more. The three individual stories are also interesting but it gets better when they merge at the end. However, the one problem I have with the three stories is the large amount of characters, at times I found there were too many characters to keep track of. I would therefore recommend you read this book in one go because if you leave too long a gap between reads, you can easily forgot which characters are linked to which other character’s story. Apart from that one negative, it is a really good read; it contains everything a good book needs, believable characters, a good story fueled by plenty of drama, suspense and mystery that will keep you interested.

ISBN: 978-0-434-01936-6

Happy New Year to all our customers ! would like to wish all their customers and friends a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

We hope you all had a wonderful festive period.

If the media are to be believed, it seems that e-book readers were high up on people's Christmas present lists this year. It is an interesting phenomenon in many respects and opinions are very divided amongst people we speak to as to whether or not e-books are good, bad or indifferent. What is for sure is that they are changing the book market for good at a frightening speed. We would love to hear your views on the whole e-book subject so, why not post your comments on our forum?

Here at, things remain calm and unaffected by the e-book storm. We like “real” books and will continue to sell them to those who also like them!

Book review: "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks

Winter is definitely with us in the good old United Kingdom. Temperatures are dropping, the skies are grey and overall, probably the best hobby currently is curling up in front of the fire and reading your book!! Resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been taking this advice and has come up with another review (thank you, Becky). This time, she has returned to one of her favourite authors, Nicholas Sparks. So, did she like his latest offering?

"Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks

Erin hates her life. She is stuck in a marriage to a man she no longer loves and he is someone who has slowly taken control over her whole life. After many months of saving what little money she is allowed, she takes a massive risk and runs away from her life. She ends up in Southport  where, to start with, she makes a point of avoiding making any relationships with the locals; she is scared and believes her husband will find her. As the weeks begin to pass by, Erin (who has now renamed herself Katie) gradually lowers her barriers towards other people. She starts getting friendly with Alex, a widower who runs the local shop. As Katie begins to fall in love with Alex, no matter how hard she tries, she can’t let go of her fears from her past. Then, when her husband finds her, life becomes extremely complicated.

I am a really big fan of Nicholas Sparks’s books. After finishing "Safe Haven" I have decided that it has to be one of my favourites. You can really connect with the main character of this book and experience her many emotions - from her pain to her happiness. At the beginning you feel really sorry for her but by the end, you want her relationship with Alex to work. I liked the fact that for the reader, the story didn't only focus on Erin's story. Some of the chapters also gave you an insight into her husband Kevin and how Erin’s disappearance had affected his life. Although this book can be labelled a romance, there is plenty of suspense and action, making this a very good book and one that I would recommend to anyone with a free afternoon. You wont be disappointed.

ISBN: 978-0-7515-4299-8
Paperback edition published in 2011 by Sphere

Book review: "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens

Its "back to the classics" for Becky Cleaver. We do like her regular choice of quality, classic books. Whilst it's always nice to explore new reading territory, it is just as good to get back to the classics (well, that's our opinion). So, what did she think of her latest piece of literature?

"Bleak House" by Charles Dickens

Esther Summerson has little knowledge of her parents. Brought up as an orphan, her life is changed when a stranger called John Jarndyce becomes her guardian. She moves into his house where she soon becomes Mr Jarndyce’s housekeeper. Also within the house are 2 wards in chancery, Ada and Richard, the three soon become close friends. Bleak House is a complex story with many unexpected twists and turns, which is what makes the book so good to read. The narrator of Bleak House is Esther. You get an insight into her life, the friends she makes, the love she feels for the doctor Mr Woodcourt and the intense feelings of Mr Guppy towards Esther. Esther is Mr Guppy’s whole world and he nicknames her ‘his angel’. You also get an insight into the life of sir Leicester Dedlock, Lady Dedlock and their lawyer Mr Tulkinghorn. Lady Dedlock has a well-kept secret from her past, which Mr Tulkinghorn is keen to discover. Later on in the book, we as readers discover the secret behind Esther’s birth and how her life is connected to that of Lady Dedlock.

Bleak House's complex story keeps you interested as a reader throughout its many pages; it is a very long book. However it’s many twists and turns with many different characters being introduced keeps you completely engrossed. Dickens introduces the many different levels of society, comparing the lives of Lady Dedlock and Joe the poor crossing boy when they meet halfway through the book. Dickens also introduces numerous emotions that you as the reader experience. You enjoy the relationship that develops between Ada and Esther, the further into the book you get; you see how much they come to rely on each other. You feel sorry for Joe, Dickens portrays his suffering throughout most of the book and you are really moved when the boy becomes ill and later on dies. This has to be one of my favourite books by Charles Dickens; the intricate story with its many characters makes the book very hard to put down and altogether makes Bleak House a really very good read.

Book review: "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" by John Boyne

Never let it be said that Becky Cleaver, Ulovebooks resident reviewer, doesn't vary her reading material. Her book experiences cover so many genres and time periods - obviously, she just simply loves reading! Well done Becky, keep up the good work. Her latest review covers a best-seller that has also been made into a very successful film:

"The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" by John Boyne

Bruno knows that his father is a very important man with a very important job. When his father is assigned to a new job, Bruno and his family have to relocate out of Berlin into the countryside. Whilst exploring one day, Bruno discovers a fence and a small person. The small person is a Jew called Shmuel. Over the weeks, a friendship develops between them. Bruno is curious about where Shmuel lives and is also interested in Shmuel’s clothing. Everybody inside the fence has a number, and Bruno believes Shmuel is part of a communal game. When Shmuel’s father goes missing, Bruno decides to go under the wire fence that has always kept them apart for so long, to help his friend.

The book touches shows the horrors of the holocaust and shows the awful conditions that the Jews had to face due to the Nazi’s during WW2 from a different perspective than normal. Although it is only a small book, it tells a very moving story with a very sad ending. The friendship between Bruno and Shmuel was enjoyable to read about in that, even in the worst possible times, the meeting of two people who should be enemies has the outcome of an innocent childhood friendship forming. I would recommend this book to read, it will make you feel many emotions the further into the book you get, happiness at Bruno and Shmuel’s friendship, anger towards the nazi’s and sympathy towards Shmuel’s suffering. A story that once read is not easy to forgotten.

ISBN: 978-0-552-77380-5
Black swan edition published in 2007

Book review: "The Passage" by Justin Cronin

Well, Ulovebooks resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver has been busy reading again....this time, a recommendation from us. Its a book we really enjoyed - somewhat in the vein of Stephen King's "The Stand" and of a similar size. We thought it was a cracking good post-apocalyptic read but, what did Becky make of it ?

"The Passage" by Justin Cronin

This large book (over 900 pages) is clearly split into two parts. The first part of the book is based in 2017 and tells you the story of six-year-old Amy. Amy is chosen for an experiment to try out a virus that could benefit human kind. FBI Agent Brad Wolgast has to transport Amy to the base where she will take part in the experiment; he is against it from the beginning, based on the fact that she is only a child. When the experiment goes wrong, Amy becomes very important, as she is the only one who will be able to stop what is coming.

The second half of the story jumps 90 years into the future. A small colony of survivors cling to survival against the ‘Virals’, virals being people who no longer have a soul and are willing to kill any living thing. The defences used against the virals are slowly failing and the people are losing hope. The appearance of a small child called Amy is seen as a miracle. Many people have problems trusting her due to the fact that she has survived alone for so long against the deadly virals. A small group of colonists start the long journey to take Amy home as they believe she is the key to ending the Viral problem forever.

Firstly when reading this book, the character of the Virals is never really explained. Although we know how the virals are formed, we learn little about what they actually are or how they are affected ie. Whether or not they still have any human instincts left after being changed by the Virus. This is the only bad thing I could find about the book. The passage has a very gripping and eventful story with many twists and unexpected events that will keep you engrossed till the last page. Although "The Passage" is a very long book, it contains plenty enough of a story to keep you reading. The book has everything. Themes of hardship and the desperate struggle for survival. The inportance of friendship and family are stressed many times within the book and there is plenty of action and fights between human and virals. Altogether, this book is amazing. Don’t be put off by the size of it, you will not be disappointed and will more than likely find it very hard to put down once you have started. I personally can't wait for the next book to be published.

ISBN: 978-0-7528-8330-4
Published by Orion in 2011

Book review: "Atonement" by Ian McEwan

Well, Becky Cleaver, the resident Ulovebooks reviewer, really does like to read books that have been turned into films. It is becoming quite a habit! Here's her latest read:

"Atonement" by Ian McEwan

Imagine witnessing something as a child, which you don’t really understand. Atonement tells the story of Briony who, one day, not only witnesses a commotion between her sister Cecelia and their gardener Robbie by the family fountain but later catches them together in the library. By the end of that night, all three lives will be changed forever based on Briony’s actions.

In the second half of the book, WW2 has hit Britain. Robbie, given the choice to stay in prison or defend his country, is sent to France where he witnesses the horror of war. We follow his desperate struggle to get to the coast, where the rumour is that there are boats waiting to transport the soldiers home. Cecelia, since that unforgettable night, has severed all contact with her family and we learn that she has trained as a nurse. And Briony? She has always regretted her decision to frame Robbie. We follow her story as she trains to be a nurse and witness the problems that nurses had to deal with. When Briony confronts Robbie and Cecelia at their flat, we see how sorry Briony is. But is it too late to make amends for the mistakes she made so many years ago…?

After this book was recommended to me, I thought I would enjoy it. I had already seen the film version but like always, I wanted to see if the book was better than the film. There were some good and bad bits to this book and also a surprise. Firstly, the surprise being the ending of the book. It was totally different from the film ending and wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Although I enjoyed the book ending, I actually preferred the way the film ended. The good points about this book were that you got a lot more detailed insight into the relationship between Robbie and Cecelia compared to the film. I also liked how the book was split into different character sections, so you got to read the whole character’s story in one go, which made them easier to follow. The one bad thing about the book was within Robbie’s chapters. Although it was interesting to read how his life had changed since he left prison, after a while his constant struggle to get to the coast became a little bit repetitive. I also found at times that there was too much detail in some chapters, which put me off slightly as sometimes it felt like the amount of description included wasn’t really necessary.

ISBN: 978-0099429791
Publisher: Vintage; New edition (2 May 2002)

Book review: "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown

The latest book review from Becky Cleaver goes back into bestseller territory. This time she has chosen "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown - a smash hit both in book and film form. So, what did she make of it?

“The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown

When Robert Langdon is called to Paris for an emergency, the last thing he expects is to end up prime suspect for the murder of the curator of the Louvre museum. Beside the dead body is a set of clues that will send Langdon down the path to discovering one of history’s most well known mysteries, the secret location of the Holy Grail itself. Sophie Neveu, the granddaughter of the murdered curator, aids Langdon. Between them and the Holy Grail, are many riddles and clues that have to be answered or the location of the grail may be lost forever. Not everyone wants the location of the grail to be revealed, however, as it’s finding would contradict teachings made by the church. Langdon and Sophie begin a desperate race against time to discover the final resting place of the Holy Grail.

Like with many of books I have read, after finishing the book, I decided that it was a lot better than the film, mainly because it was so much more detailed. Dan Brown has written it in such a way that the many interweaving story-lines of the characters are all easy to follow and enjoy. The suspense created after one code is unlocked and the next clue has yet to be cracked made the book interesting to read. The one downside to this book was that although it made it seem like Robert was essential to solving the clues to the Holy Grail, the amount of near-death experiences the two main characters faced was a bit over the top at times.
Overall, the book is a good read with its many clues and puzzles that will keep you guessing and wanting to read more to find out if they do locate the Holy Grail however at times, I found the book a little bit fanciful.

ISBN: 978-0-552-15401-7
Corgi edition published in 2004

Book review: "Stones of Fire" by C. M. Palov resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been away on holiday. That did not, of course, stop her from reading. Apparently, she bought the subject of her latest review whilst she was away. So, did it add something to her holiday? Read on to find out!

“Stones of Fire” by C.M. Palov.

“Find the Ark of the Covenant or Die, let the Hunt begin.” This was a book that from the cover advertising alone sounded amazing, however after I had finished reading the book, it left me very disappointed!

800 years ago, a crusader came across a gold box, which he transported back to England and hid from the world. The only way of finding the Box’s hiding place would be by unlocking the secrets written within 16 cryptic lines.
In the present day, Edie Miller has just witnessed a gruesome murder and the theft of the Stones of Fire, an ancient breastplate that would protect you from the powerful force contained within the Ark of the Covenant. Edie’s life is now in terrible danger. Only with the help of Caedmon Aisquith, does Edie have any chance of staying alive while also trying to solve the riddle of the 16 cryptic lines to try and discover the location of the Ark of the Covenant before its too late. The safety of the world depends on Edie finding the box first. Let the Hunt begin…

At times, the story itself seemed ridiculous and totally unrealistic. The fact that two people can survive so many attempts to kill them by professional ex-soldiers didn’t seem possible. When reading this book, it seemed similar to the Da Vinci Code with its many codes/clues to follow and with the main characters always in dangerous situations, however this book could never be as good as the Da Vinci Code. Lastly, the ending was poor and again, seems very unrealistic. Overall, this wasn’t as good a book as I expected and a few times I almost gave up on it, only continuing because I thought it might improve. Unfortunately it didn’t!

ISBN: 978-0-141-04123-0
Published in 2009 by Penguin Books

Book review: "Under The Dome" by Stephen King. Review No II.

Not that long ago, we reviewed "Under the Dome" by Stephen King - a book we thoroughly enjoyed. At the time, we thought we might pass the book on to resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver as we thought she might enjoy it as well. So, we did. Becky has just finished this considerable tome and here's what she thought of it:

"Under the Dome" by Stephen King

The town Chester Mill, Maine is changed forever when one day a dome seals them off from the outside world. No one trapped inside knows where the dome originates from and the people located outside are unable to break through it. Within 24 hours, things within the dome start to fall apart. After a few days, the police try to keep the peace with many new young recruits, which causes even more trouble in the town. Panic and riots soon come about and people start choosing sides. One side contains the town’s police; the other a small group of town’s people believing the local authority is just making things worse. This small group of people decide between themselves to try and find the cause of the Dome before society within the Dome breaks down completely.
"Under the Dome" is the first Stephen King I have ever read and it did not disappoint. There were many times when reading this book where I was sad to have to put it down. Stephen King uses a large number of characters and you get an insight into all their lives and also get to see how the Dome is affecting them individually. The book also includes many cliffhangers, which makes the book even more addictive to read. The only thing I would recommend with this book is try and read it over a few days and don’t leave it weeks before you carry on reading it. I would say this only because, as there are so many characters with their own individual stories, if you do leave too long a gap between readings, it can be hard to remember all of the different characters.

First published in Great Britain in 2009 by Hodder and Stoughton, paperback edition published in 2010.
ISBN: 978-0-340-99258-6

Book review: Genghis Khan Trilogy by Conn Iggulden.

Well, it seems that our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has moved on from single books!! Her latest review is her second trilogy in a row. Does she have too much time on her hands? Hopefully, she will continue in the same we do like reading her reviews! Here is her latest offering:

"Wolf of the Plains" by Conn Iggulden

"Wolf of the Plains" tells the life of the man who will become Genghis Khan. Temujin is the second eldest son to the Khan of the Wolf tribe. When his father dies in an ambush, Temujin and his family are banished from the tribe in the middle of winter. With his mother, 4 brothers and baby sister, the start of their banishment is hard. With no shelter and little food to hunt, Temujin and his brothers must pull together to make sure their family survives the harsh winter. Temujin wants revenge on the Wolf tribe and its new leader. On the plains, where his family are now forced to live, there are many small and isolated tribes with many different customs and leaders. In the "Wolf of the Plains", Temujin unites many of these isolated tribes to form a new nation. It is in this struggle to become powerful that Temujin becomes Genghis Khan. This first book really sets the story for the books to follow. The vivid descriptions of not only the camps of the tribes but also in the battles made the book such a good read and after finishing the first one, I couldn’t wait to start the next one.

"Lords of the Bow" by Conn Iggulden

Genghis Khan has managed to unite the tribes of the plains. They have now turned their attention to the Chinese Kingdom in the East. Genghis once again engages himself and his warriors in many battles, though now many of his successful tactics in war have to be changed as the defences of the Chinese are much more advanced to the defences Genghis had to face in the "Wolf of the Plains". The descriptions of these battles are just as good as the first book and when reading them, the amount of description makes the battles very easy to imagine. Many of the main characters continued to have major parts within this book but I also liked the fact that this book wasn’t solely based on Genghis and his developments, you got to see more of Genghis brother’s personalities and see how their characters develop when set against the new challenges they have to face. Like the first, this book did not disappoint.

"Bones of the Hills" by Conn Iggulden

With the successful campaigns against the Chinese empire completed, "Bones of the Hills" presents Genghis with his biggest challenge yet. The Indian empire in the west has started an uprising against Genghis, killing his ambassadors and challenging any emissaries sent. Genghis and his army must now travel to the West to face their biggest challenge in battle; it will either lead to Genghis’ biggest victory or will end in the Khan’s defeat. As well as this threat, Genghis also faces trouble within the tribes. His eldest sons have now grown to become generals within his army. I think this is what I enjoyed about this book, the first books focused more on the battles and victories that Genghis won while this book also focused on his family. The two eldest sons both want to inherit the role of Khan after Genghis is gone, it is the hardest choice that Genghis will have to make as he believes both may lead to the downfall of everything he has worked to achieve. Like the first two books, I really enjoyed reading this book and found it very hard to put down. This trilogy of books will definitely not leave you disappointed.

Wolf of the Plains ISBN: 978-0-00-720174-7, Published 2007

Lord of the Bow ISBN: 978-0-00-7201761, Published 2008
Bones of the Hills ISBN: 978-0-00-720178-5, Published 2008

New travel publication: Same Same, but Different by Sally Wootton

 Here at, we genuinely love to help people who self-publish and those who are just starting out on a literary career. So when we discovered that a friend of ours, Sally Wootton, had taken the "we've all got at least one book inside us" saying literally, we were only too delighted to be able to pass on the good news to the wider reading public. We at Ulovebooks aren't overly adventurous mainly for financial reasons (sob, poor book sellers!!). Our holidays normally revolve around the Mediterranean where a cheap and cheerful package holiday will give just about enough "R & R" to let us face the next 12 months!! Having read some of Sally's tales of adventure we don't think our holidays would suit her too well. Though, one does get the feeling that she probably sometimes needs a holiday to get over her holiday if you see what we mean.

Sally's book begins like this: ‘Mum, can I go to Greenland?’ I was just seventeen years old when I first got the travelling bug. I was at school, in the first year of my A-levels and had no real idea what I wanted to do with my life. I’d never been further than the South of France on holiday with my parents and that was quite exotic considering the years of caravaning on the Isle of Wight and Cornwall. Then one day as I sat looking out onto the rest of the school and listening to another boring assembly, something caught my attention. The British Schools Exploring Society was running expeditions to remote locations of the world and inviting young people aged sixteen to twenty-three to join. It would be for seven weeks in the summer holidays, you raised the money yourself through sponsorship and hard work and got to travel and see the world. I felt that little spark of excitement in the pit of my stomach, started imagining all the fantastic opportunities, already started planning how I could raise the cash and for the first time in my life I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to travel." And travel she did!

"Same same, but different" is a wonderfully personal account of Sally's travels. As she says "This book isn’t intended as a travel guide, or novel, but is a way of sharing my amazing travel experiences in Greenland, Australia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Colombia with others – those who have travelled and those who have yet to. But also to inspire those who’ve ever heard themselves say, ‘I’d love to travel’, but never thought they’d be able to, to realise that it is possible, if you really want it enough." Now that is inspirational!!

If you need something a little bit different to read and need a bit of inspiration, "Same same, but different" is definitely for you. You can currently purchase the book from and we may offer it for sale on in the near future. To quote Sally again "There is a beautiful world out there...what are you waiting for?"

Book review: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

Well, its our firm favourite here at so, we were really pleased when our resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, finally decided to "take the plunge" and give the series a go. Our apologies to Becky as she sent this review a week or so ago and we just haven't had time to upload it before now.......Sorry, Becky! We enjoyed "The Lord of the Rings" enough to have read it at least 3 times but, what did Becky make of it all? (and, yes, she has seen the film version)...............

"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R.Tolkien

The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, wasn’t expecting to find a ring granting him long life and the power to disappear
when on one of his many adventures. Many years after finding the ring, reluctantly on the advice of his friend Gandalf the Grey, he leaves the ring to his nephew Frodo before setting out on his next journey.
"The Fellowship of the Ring" starts with Frodo getting Bilbo’s ring. Unknown to him, is that the ring is the ring of lord Sauron, forged hundreds of years ago, a ring that would bring them all into darkness. Unable to keep the ring in the shire, Frodo is forced to take the ring to the elves, a dangerous adventure for little hobbits. Making it to Rivendale, it is here that the fellowship of the ring is created. Man, dwarf, hobbit and elf all swear to protect Frodo on his quest to Mordor, to destroy the one ring. Throughout this book, Frodo and his companions are faced with many challenges from once trusted allies and Sauron’s armies. The end of "The Fellowship of the Ring" shows the fellowship broken, Frodo and Sam have continued onto Mordor alone. This book is always going to be my favourite; it sets the scene for what is to come in the other books. I also think its my favourite because from the first pages, you are introduced and drawn into the magical world of hobbits. Out of all the characters from all the books, I believe that hobbits will always be my favourite. They may be small but they are brave and stand up to many bigger enemies for what is most important to them.

"The Two Towers" starts with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chasing Uruk-hai, which have taken Merry and Pipen. Along the way they met the riders of Rohan and the White rider (Gandalf the grey who has been reborn after being lost in the first book). In this book we see the battle of Helm’s deep and the fight of the resistance against the armies of Saruman. The second half of this book is the tale of Frodo and Sam’s quest. Here the character of Gollum/ Smeagol is introduced as their guide through the dead marshes and up the secret stairs into Mordor itself. Again Frodo is faced with many difficult options - one of them being should he trust Gollum who would do anything to regain the one ring? What I liked about this book was that it was split into the 2 different stories of Frodo and Aragorn instead of interlinking them, which made it easier to read.

"The Return of the King" tells us that Aragorn, the ranger from the north is actually the rightful king of Gondor. In this last book, the main companions must now deal with the armies of Mordor. The battle of middle earth has begun. Here Aragorn must fulfil the allegiance with the men of the mountains, sworn to protect the king of Gondor and with the help of Gandalf prevent the city of Gondor from falling to Sauron. For Frodo and Sam, they are in the last part of their journey; they have to cross the land of Shadow to reach Mount Doom. With the ring finally destroyed, Sauron defeated and the armies of Mordor dead, peace is restored to Middle earth and the fellowship of the ring is broken completely as the companions break company to return to their homes. Like the second book, I liked the fact that the book was again split into the 2 different stories of Frodo and Aragorn.

Before starting these books, I had only ever seen the films of the Lord of the Rings. Although I think that the films are very good, I now can say that the books are so much better. Many scenes and characters within the books are not included within the films, which is why if you enjoy watching the films, you should definitely give these books a go.

Published as a Collins modern classic in 2001
The fellowship of the ring ISBN: 0-00-712970-x
The two towers ISBN: 0-00-712971-8
The return of the king ISBN: 0-00-712972-6

We couldn't agree with you more, Becky!! For anyone who has seen the films and liked them but hasn't read the books, give them a go. We are sure you will enjoy them.

Books are dead..........long live books !!!

So, books are dead are they ? Here at, books are very much alive and will continue to be ! It seem that the net is full of predictions of doom for the published book and we're glad that at least one person has seen the importance of maintaining a record of the written word that isn't in digital format. It isn't all plain sailing for the "E-Book", either. Apparently spam is clogging up Amazon's Kindle store - Oh, dear...who would have believed that might happen??
Another fascinating "innovation" on the E-Book theme is the apparent ability for authors to "digitally sign" their E-Books. Really ? How does that work ? What exactly is the value of this feature ? We can't see any - apart from its "value" as yet another gimmick.
Do you get the feeling that we view E-Books and their associated gadgets as a complete triumph of marketing over good taste and common sense ? You would be correct !! That's not to say we won't be selling E-Books in the future but, we are currently considering starting the "Campaign for Real Books" (CARBS). Anyone wish to join as fellow founder members ?

Book review: A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer

Ulovebooks' resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has again been raiding the book shelves of her relatives in search of her latest read ! Clearly the college work is abating and she's got a bit more time on her hands. Good for her relaxation levels and great for us as she has more time to review her literary conquests. Keep up the good work, Becky !

"A Prisoner of Birth" by Jeffrey Archer

Danny Cartwright is jailed for 22 years after false testimony was given against him. Separated from his fiancé, he is sent to jail for killing his best friend Bernie. In fact, Bernie was stabbed to death by Spencer Craig who, backed by his friends, manages to get Danny sent to prison by giving false evidence against him. While in prison, Danny educates himself - motivated by his cellmates. After 2 years of being locked up, Danny is as determined as ever to exact revenge against Spencer and his friends. When Nick, one of Danny’s cellmates is found dead just weeks before being released, Danny assumes Nick's identity. With similar looks and accent, he is the first prisoner to escape the highest security jail in the land. The very first thing Danny wants to do is to make the men who put him in jail suffer for the years that he lost out on and seek revenge on Bernie’s behalf for his unnecessary death.

The thing I liked most when reading this book was the amount of detail that Jeffery Archer went into when describing Danny’s prison life, you get a real insight to what it would be like. The court-room scenes are exactly the same. The way they are so easily written, when you're reading them you can easily imagine yourself in the dock. The ending for me was totally unexpected, Spencer and his friends seemed firm on their decision to lie so, for one of them to change their minds at the end was totally unexpected but a nice way to finish the book. As it was recommended to me, I was unsure, but it was a book that I found very hard to put down once I had started it, I would recommend it to anyone interested in a good read, you won’t find it a disappointment.

ISBN: 978-0-330-46406-2
Published in 2008 by Pan Books

Book review: "Under The Dome" by Stephen King

“Under The Dome” by Stephen King

Every now and again, I get the “need” to read a Stephen King book. I don't particularly know why. Maybe it is something akin to getting food cravings! When it comes to some well written escapism, I honestly feel that King takes some beating. As often happens, I was given “Under The Dome” as a present and had left it to one side in order that I could read it when I had time and when the mood took me. At 880 pages in paperback form, “Under The Dome” is one of King's larger projects and having read and enjoyed “The Stand” many years ago (which is a similar length), I was keen to read it.

“Under The Dome” was quite simply a “page turner”. In his normal style, King had me reading way past my bed time as I entered small-town Maine yet again. Strong characters, rather “different” plot, suspense, gore and some romance - “Under The Dome” had it all. I love the way King experiments with ordinary characters in extra-ordinary situations and “Under The Dome” did not disappoint. In many ways it is a “mature” book for King but, it is no less exciting for that. If you want pure escapism and a book that will insist that you read it at every available opportunity, “Under The Dome” is for you.

I think I may pass the book on to Becky Cleaver so that she can offer her opinion as well!

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN: 978 0 340 99258 6

Book review: "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Our latest book review by our veteran reviewer, Becky Cleaver, looks at a volume that was given away as part of "World Book Night" earlier in the year. We thought that it may be the sort of read that fired up Becky's imagination. So, were we right? Here's what she thought:

"Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Florentino Arizo is in love with Fermina Daza. Since their first meeting when he delivered a telegraph to her father, Fermina and Florentino constantly send letters to each other. When her father finds out about their secret relationship, he separates the young lovers. Many months pass and when Fermina is allowed home, she is a changed woman. She no longer cares for Florentino and ends their relationship. Heartbroken and alone, Florentino dedicates himself to his work and after many years becomes head of his uncle’s company. He never forgets the love he felt for Fermina who has since married Juvenal Urbino, a respected doctor. Many years pass and although they are brought together for many occasions, Fermina still believes she made the right choice. 50 years pass by and in a tragic accident Fermina loses her husband. Florentino believes fate has offered him another chance. Once again he offers Fermina his undying love from 50 years before. At first, still as stubborn as ever, Fermina is unable to accept such affection but over time realises that her life is no longer worthwhile unless Florentino is a part of it. Both are over 80 when they finally come together, they cherish what little time they have left together.

Overall, I didn’t think that this book was a good read. There were bits of the book that kept me interested but more than once I felt like giving up on it. The most interesting parts were the moments shared between Florentino and Fermina and how, after 50 years, they continue where they left off. They show that love has no age limit. The dedication and devotion felt by Florentino is amazing and constantly felt by the reader, he is loyal to her even when he discovers she has moved on. You have to feel a bit sorry for him, he spends his whole life pining for someone, his future is never certain and so he only lives for the day when he can be with her again.
However, I felt at times that this book was very repetitive and quite boring to read. Doomed to never have Fermina, Florentino starts many relationships with other women to try and comfort him. However, no matter how many relationships he starts, he loves none but her. So to end one relationship because she isn’t Fermina, it is then a bit boring to read about him continuing with other women in the same pointless relationships, you know they aren’t going to work out. Also, the ending is very sudden and for me didn’t end the story. It is a bit of a cliff-hanger - you want to know if their relationship continued and what became of them, did they actually remain together?

Love in the time of Cholera was an "ok" read if you are interested in reading about a tragic love story with a happy ending but for me, it isn’t a book that I would want to read again.

Published by Penguin books in 2007
ISBN: 978-0-0324-9

Book review: "Alone in Berlin" by Hans Fallada

I thought it was about time one of the Ulovebooks staff wrote another review - we do read books, after all!!

I received a copy of “Alone in Berlin” by Hans Fallada from a relative last Christmas and just haven't had time to read it until recently. Whilst I am not really sure what I was expecting from the book (as I haven't read anything by Fallada before), I have to say that this was an extremely powerful read.
The story is based on a real case and tells the story of a married couple who undertake their own form of resistance against the Nazi regime in wartime Berlin. Against a back-drop of awful tension and constantly subject to suspicion by everybody, the Otto and Anna Quangel embark on a campaign of dropping postcards with anti-Nazi slogans in random places. These “small acts of defiance” they hope will encourage others to undertake similar measures in an attempt to bring down the regime. The book follows their progress and that of the investigation of their activities by Gestapo Inspector Escherich.
The book is certainly not a “feel good” read but, for those like me who are interested in the history of Nazi Germany and particularly in what it must have been like to live through those times, I can't help but feel that the book is about as accurate as it gets. The portrayal of the stifled atmosphere of fear and paranoia (most of which was quite justified) is impressive. The constant threat of betrayal by workmates, neighbours, and even family and friends is truly terrifying – particularly when one realizes that the result of such betrayal would have meant detention in a concentration camp or execution.
The author, Hans Fallada, lived through the Nazi regime and experienced his own suffering as a result. He died in 1947. The edition I read was published by Penguin Classics and contains some interesting biographical information on the author as well as a brief overview of the case upon which the book is based. I would certainly recommend “Alone in Berlin” as a really good read.....but, don't expect it to be a particularly happy one!!

Publisher: Penguin Classics.
ISBN: 978-0-141-18938-3

Review by "AB".

Book review: "The Confession" by John Grisham

Today, we welcome another review by Becky Cleaver. Its great to hear from her and just as great to hear that she is still reading (when she has time!). We believe that Becky has been raiding her father's book shelves again. In which case, she must have been reading a thriller, we feel. Here are her thoughts on it:

The Confession by John Grisham

In 1998, a local schoolgirl Nicole Pike is abducted, her body can’t be found. Police arrest Donte Drumm for the abduction; a local football star that many believed was having a relationship with Nicole. After hours of questioning, Donte Drumm confesses to her murder. He is charged and sent to death row. Many believe that he is guilty however Donte Drumm is an innocent man. The real murderer is Travis Boycotte. In 1998, he was the person who abducted Nicole, murdered her and hid her in a place where no one would ever find her.

Nine years pass and Donte Drumm has only four days left until his execution. Travis has had to live with his secret for nine years while he watched an innocent man get sent to prison in his place. Travis has a choice to make. He is already suffering from an inoperable brain tumour and so has little time to live. Travis is now willing to come forward and confess to the murder of Nicole, but with only four days to go, time is running out...

Firstly, I found this book very hard to put down. It’s an unusual storyline but one that will not disappoint you. You get a constant feeling of time running out as Donte’s execution creeps closer and it feels like Travis won’t succeed in time. I liked the fact that the book wasn’t told from just Travis’s point of view, one minute you are reading his story, then it easily switches to the stories of Donte’s lawyer, Donte, Nicole’s mother – you get an insight into all of their lives and how the execution is affected all their lives. An excellent read, you won’t be disappointed.

ISBN: 978-1-8460-5715-1
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Century

Book review: "P.S. I Love You" by Cecelia Ahern

Sometime book reviewer, "H" has been busy again. This time, she's been reading the book of a favourite film. Always a slightly dangerous hobby ! One never quite knows which version one is going to like our experience, it is often the book that is better than the film (but, not always). So, what did she think of this one...

“P.S. I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern

The film version of “P.S. I Love You”, starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank, is one of my very favourite 'chick flicks'. So, I could hardly wait to get stuck into the book.

Holly and Gerry are Irish childhood sweethearts. When Gerry passes away suddenly, as a result of a brain tumour, Holly is devastated. She cannot face the outside world and retreats into her “shell”,avoiding everyone including her family and friends. One day, Holly collects a package from her mother, it contains ten letters that Gerry wrote to her before his death. His accompanying guide requires her to read one a month. Each letter contains instructions of something that she should do. These are things the normally subdued Holly would never have done if Gerry were alive, including singing at a karaoke night. But, Holly abides by her beloved husbands wishes. As a result, Holly meets new people and finds a job. She also parties with friends and goes on holiday with 'the girls'. Holly also ends up meeting another man. All this in spite of the fact that her conscience struggles with a new romance.

Holly wants to stay true to her husband, but his message is clear - live an independent life and be happy - with his blessing.

If you are going to read this book, read it before you watch the film as I was slightly disappointed – I enjoyed the film more !

Book review: Devices and Desires by P. D. James

If classic detective novels are your thing, then P. D. James novels must be on your reading list. "H" has kindly sent us this book review after having read "Devices and Desires" yet again (apparently, its a favourite!!).

“Devices and Desires” by P. D. James

Commander Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard inherits a Mill from an Aunt in Larksoken, a remote headland on the Norfolk coast. Dalgleish, a published poet, has recently finished his latest book. Dalgliesh is a solitary man and welcomes the opportunity to visit the Mill and sort out his inheritance. Dalgliesh is, of course, unaware that there is a serial killer at large - known locally as 'The Whistler'. The killer targets women at night on the lonely coast and the entire community is living in fear.

DI Rickard's, a former colleague, is aware of Dalgliesh's visit to the area and asks him for advice and guidance on the case. Not wanting to interfere with the case, he acts as a interested onlooker. Dalgliesh finds it difficult, though, to isolate himself from the affairs of the locals and then finds a body - that of Hillary Robarts, acting administrator at the local power station. Hillary is unpopular throughout the book, most of the characters having strong reasons to dislike her. Hillary's murderer, it transpires, cannot be 'The Whistler'. It has to be a copy cat killer.

There are numerous characters in this book but all of them are introduced by James in a clear way, and each is very well defined. There are many twists and turns to the plot and the book will keep you reading well past your have been warned !!!

Don't forget, YOU can contribute too......

We would like to take the opportunity to remind all our readers and customers that YOU too can contribute to the site ! always welcomes input from site visitors in the form of feedback, book reviews, discussion and comment. Use the website contact form, the site forum or our e-mail address ( and have your say.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Book review: "Ben Hur" by Lew Wallace

Our intrepid young book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has returned to the classics....and what a classic!! Something of a monster of a book that was translated into a major movie starring Charlton Heston, Becky has ploughed her way through "Ben Hur". A book that we have never read ourselves, we wonder what she made of it !?! Find out here:

"Ben Hur" by Lew Wallace

I had only ever watched the film of Ben Hur so had no idea how good this book would be. After finishing it, even though I enjoyed the film, I believe the book is so much better. I would therefore recommend to anyone who has watched the film and enjoyed it, to give the book a go, you will be rewarded with a remarkably detailed story interlinking the story of Ben Hur with the story of Christ.

The book begins by telling us of the journey of the three wise men present at the birth of Jesus. Their stories of following the star from the East to finally being able to worship the Messiah. Throughout the following chapters, you then get snippets told of Jesus as he grows up and the kind of miracles he starts to perform.

Ben Hur, a Jewish Prince who in just one day, loses his family, his home and his life, condemned by Messala, a Roman who was once Ben Hur’s childhood friend. Banished for life to work in the galleys he is rewarded for his hard work after three years by a Roman general. When their boat is overturned in battle, Ben Hur saves the General's life who rewards Ben Hur by adopting him as his only son and heir. Ben Hur’s his only thought now is of getting revenge on his old friend Messala. When both are entered for a chariot race, Ben Hur wins triumphant at Messala’s ruination. Returning to Jerusalem to find his family, he returns to his family home to discover nobody knows what happened to his mother and sister. Three years earlier, they had been arrested and put in prison for life sentence. Whilst in prison, they had become infected with leprosy and were later banished from the city. Ben Hur’s only hope now is to help the man the people called the Messiah, a man with God’s powers. Ben Hur had already witnessed some of the miracles the messiah performed. When two lepers are found by the side of the road, the Messiah cures them helped by their faith in God. The two lepers are Ben Hur’s lost family members and are restored to him healthy and happy to be alive. The story ends when Ben Hur and Jesus’s stories collide again for the last time in Christ’s crucifixion. Ben Hur sees Christ nailed to the cross and witnesses his last moments on Earth.

Ben Hur is a remarkable book, one that I am glad that I have had a chance to read. The interweaving stories of Ben Hur and Jesus make this one of the best books I have ever read. The sense of determination of one man, seeking revenge on old enemies whilst supporting the work of the saviour in the hope of one day finding his family, makes Ben Hur’s story unforgettable. I would recommend this book for all ages, a timeless classic of a story that once read, is not easily forgotten. 

First published in 1880. This copy published in 1998 by the Reader’s Digest Associated Limited.

Book review: "The Story of my Father" by Sue Miller

Today, we are pleased to publish a review by someone new to book reviewing. It is always a bit daunting when doing this sort of thing for the first time so, thank you to "H" who wishes to remain anonymous for reasons that will become obvious!! Thank you for taking the time to write.

"The Story of my Father" by Sue Miller

 Sue Miller, a talented author, usually of fiction, tells the story of her beloved fathers Alzheimer's disease. From the first day he ended up in a police cell, confused and lost - to the end, her fathers inevitable death. Miller writes about how she and her family (her fathers primary carers) had to watch him deteriorate.  She tells how she helped him renovate his house during his illness, which turned into a complete disaster.  He never lived there due to his deterioration. She and her family finally decide to institutionalise her father.  She set out to find a place for him to come and go as he pleased.  This proved to be a mistake, when he went to the symphony and decided to leave before it finished.  This was the first of many nights she and her husband spent searching the streets of Boston for her demented father. He moved to another level of care, then another, soon becoming unable to do anything for himself.

Miller writes in a way that explains how, apart from a few exceptions, how people treated him in a dehumanising way, such as speaking about him as if he wasn't in the room or within listening range. Millers father was a former Minister and his previous behaviour is discussed long before his diagnosis.  Miller explains her father had been a patient man with a quiet demeanour - she viewed her father as a kind, non judgemental man. However, she wonders if the etiology of these traits were the beginning of the disease.

Miller wrote this book to explain Alzheimer's and what its like for a family member to deal with the disease, and sadly inevitable death. You read, how caring for her father, visiting him almost every day until the end, even though he no longer recognised her takes its toll on Miller and her family. The author is one of the very few people, in my experience, who coped very well with the illness.  Many patients are not visited for years, as their family and friends  pre-Alzheimer's are unable to accept or cope with the disease.

This book was of particular relevance to me as I work in with those who suffer from Alzheimer's Disease. When my patients have visitors, no matter how advanced the disease, I can see an inner peace, if not a slight sign of recognition. I imagine in some ways it is like working with anybody with a terminal illness.You laugh, you sing, you dance, you cry, you bond, you love, but if there is a difference, it is that you also have to accept the violence and the total lack of your patients understanding of basic human needs and functions.

I can have the most wonderful conversation with a patient and seconds later I am a total stranger to them, looked at with distrust and distaste, becoming the object of their often violent outbursts. When my patients arrive, they usually come with very little possessions, usually a few items of clothing, maybe a few unnamed old photographs.  Sometimes, if they're lucky, they even have their own personal wash bag! Oddly though, they very often have a small mirror (I've still not quite figured out why.....yet). All I know about my patients when they are admitted normally comes from Medical Records, Social Workers or Police reports.....if they are lucky enough to have any friends or family left, i sometimes get a brief history of their lives. I, and all of my colleagues work tirelessly to understand and recognise each individuals needs, but we don't know the person Pre Alzheimer's.  This is a further step in their lives, a step into the unknown, the dark depressing world of a very cruel illness.

Whilst "enjoy" might not be the right description of my feelings whilst reading "The Story of my Father", I have recommended the book as a must read to my colleagues as part of their ongoing training. It is also an extremely interesting book for anyone who has a relative suffering from the condition.

Book review: "When will there be good news" by Kate Atkinson

Our book-worm reviewer, Becky Cleaver has been reading different material again.....and she does get through a book a quite a pace!! We thought we were avid readers but, Becky beats us hands down. So, thank you, Becky for your enthusiastic appreciation of books and for your dedicated review writing. Here's what Becky thought of her latest read:

“When Will There be Good News” by Kate Atkinson.

When Joanna is six years old, she witnesses her mother, sister and brother being murdered. Thirty years pass and she has finally come to terms with her past, moved on and started a family of her own. However, the man responsible for her family’s murder has just been released from prison. Reggie is sixteen and is the nanny of Joanna’s baby. Reggie doesn’t know about Joanna’s past but soon becomes worried when Joanna disappears without a trace with her baby. Yet it seems that Reggie is the only one truly worried about what might have happened to her. “When will there be good news” tells the story of Reggie, facing up to the ghosts of her past and facing up to the future, trying to find the two people she cares about most.

When reading this book, you get a constant feeling of the unexpected with its many twists in the story. That make it very hard to predict what would occur in the next chapter. I also liked that each chapter is told from another character’s view whether it be Joanna, Reggie or the chief inspector in charge of Joanna’s missing person report. You get an insight into the different backgrounds these people come from. My favourite character is Reggie, she is someone who you immediately feel sorry for when reading about her. She hasn’t had the best of lives but she is trying to make the best of what she has. I also like the way that she interacts with Joanna, it’s the perfect mother-daughter relationship that Reggie deserved but seems was never allowed before in her early life. The only problem with this book is because each chapter talks about a different character, many characters overall are introduced within this book. With each character having their own story, which sometimes overlaps with other character’s stories, the book is at times confusing to read. I found that I was sometimes mistaking one character for another. A good book overall, but can be quite confusing at times.

ISBN: 978-0-552-77245-7
First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Doubleday

FREE BOOKS from - Local readers only unfortunately!

One of the rather peculiar features of dealing in books is the volume of unsaleable volumes one ends up with. Whilst book dealers with retail premises can obviously have a "50p shelf" or a box for giving away books that are surplus to requirements, dealing online means disposing of surplus titles can be a bit of a problem !
In the past, we have tried giving books to charity shops but, in our experience, they seem to have some quite strange and arbitrary policies relating to the type of stock they will take. This has meant that we have often not been able to give them to the shops we have approached - weird but true !
Simply throwing books out or taking them to the tip goes completely against the grain - presumably this is something in a book lover's genes ?
So, time and again, we have puzzled over what to do with these unfortunate tomes that are really too good to pulp but, not worth the time, effort and postal costs to list on the internet.
Well, we think we may have come up with a local solution. Having come across the rather interesting Bookcrossing website, we are now "setting free" our surplus books at Clarke's Farm Shop, Willand. Yes, that's right, you can pick up FREE books along with your fruit and veg !!
So, if you would like some free reading material (though we cannot guarantee what is on offer at any particular time), pop in to Clarke's. If yu want to rate the book afterwards or you would like to track its "travels", just use the unique reference number on Bookcrossing.
Happy reading !!!

Book review: "Prisoners of Santo Tomas" by Celia Lucas

We are under the impression that our book reviewer Becky Cleaver has probably enjoyed her latest read - she certainly read it quickly!! A recommendation by us, it was a bit different to her recent reading material so, we couldn't be sure what the reaction would be. Here's her verdict:

"Prisoners of Santo Tomas" by Celia Lucas

People nowadays know just how badly the Japanese treated their prisoners of war during World War 2. This book reinforces this knowledge. It tells the true and detailed story of Isla Corfield and her daughter Gill, prisoners of war who were forced to spend four years within the Santo Tomas camp. It is here that Isla begins to keep a diary, to remember her time and memories within camp but what would have cost Isla her life if the book were ever found.

Through the diary, you get an insight into the hardships Isla, her daughter and her friends must have faced. With rationed food, no medicine or money, you can’t even begin to imagine how hard life must have been for them. In 1944, Isla and her friends are offered new hope in the form of Los Banos, a camp where conditions are meant to be ten times better than those of Santo Tomas. However, conditions there are worse and it is here that you see the desperation of Isla, trying to keep herself and Gill from starving to death. When reading this book, you realise the everyday little things that we take for granted now like food, medicine, even soap, how desperate they were then for these things. As you progress through this account, you feel pity and sorrow for all those innocent people who must have suffered at the hands of the Japanese. This is truly an amazing story of how one woman tried to save those she cared about from going mad from lack of food, protecting the small amount of possessions they collect over the years and the hope that one day they would be released and the war would be over. An emotionally moving yet fascinating read that grip you until the end

ISBN: 0 85052 166 1
First published in Great Britain in 1975

Book review: "Lost Innocence" by Susan Lewis

Our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been quite busy since the New Year so, hasn't been reading as much as she normally does. We understand that such annoyances as college course work and earning money have had to take priority. So, after a short break, here is Becky's first review of 2011. We will, of course, look forward to more throughout the year.

"Lost Innocence" by Susan Lewis

Alicia Carlyle has everything, a loving husband, two children and an expanding business in London. Yet everything changes when Alicia discovers that Craig has been having an affair with her brother’s wife Sabrina. Hoping to put the past behind them, Alicia and Craig soon begin to move on. When everything seems back on track, Alicia’s heart breaks again as Craig dies suddenly. No longer being able to support her family in London, Alicia and her children must move to Alicia’s hometown Holly Wood, to start a new life. The only problem, Holly Wood is the town in which her brother and Sabrina live. Once again, the two families are locked together with the memories of the past always overhanging them.

For me, there were some good and bad points about this book. Starting with the positive, I liked the fact that this book isn’t written from just the main character’s point of view, you get an insight into all the characters present feelings and emotions. I also liked the continual flashbacks into the past looking at how the characters developed after the affair. Lastly, I enjoyed the fact that Susan Lewis gets you so involved with the character's stories because the story is believable. She takes everyday problems and showings how everyone can be deeply affected by them. However, I did find that there were some problems with this book. Firstly, I found that parts of the story were rather drawn out and at times I found myself losing interest in the book. Also, I found the story was a bit predictable and boring, Sabrina’s and Alicia’s relationship was the main problem, after a few meetings which always ended in disaster, their repetitive ongoing battle got a bit boring to read about after a while.

ISBN: 978-0-099-52566-0
First published in Great Britain in 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!

We would like to take the opportunity to wish all our customers, visitors, family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New year. Thank you all for your continued and valued support. We look forward to providing you with excellent products and service throughout 2011.

Book review: "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In her most recent book review, Becky Cleaver returns to one of her more familiar themes in terms of reading - relationships and the meaning of life. Not that it's a problem - we're sure everyone is searching for the meaning of life!!

"Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

After surviving a messy divorce and ending a rebound relationship, Elizabeth’s can’t feel any worse. She is determined to improve her life, mend her broken heart and recover from the past two years. So begins her journey to rediscover herself. Starting in Italy, she is in the pursuit of finding pleasure, through making friends, learning a new language and plenty of Italian food. In India, she is in pursuit of devotion, purifying herself through prayer. Lastly, in Indonesia she finds the true meaning of balance to her life and it is here, she learns she is ready to love again.

The fact that this book is a true story based on the author’s own experience of divorce and how she deals with it makes this book an incredible read. How far one woman is prepared to go in search of happiness? I enjoyed the fact that this book dealt with many realistic issues: divorce, relationships, creating friendships and love but also self discovery, things that everyone has to go through at some time in their life. There are three sections within the book, one section each dedicated to Italy, India or Indonesia, making each country distinct and unique in Elizabeth’s journey. However I found that India and Indonesia were more enjoyable to read than Italy. Only because, in my opinion, Italy were based more on the countries and the sights, while India and Indonesia, were based more on Elizabeth and her journey to achieving true happiness. A book containing everything a good read should contain, sorrow, pain, honesty, humour, love, happiness. This book will take you on an emotional journey, by the end, you feel as though you have personally joined Elizabeth on this incredible journey for happiness.

ISBN: 978-1-4088-0936-5.

Paperback edition published in Great Britain by Bloomsbury publishing in 2010.

Book review: "Not Just A Berkshire Farmer" by Bert Houghton.

Our resident book reviewer, Becky Cleaver recently asked us to provide some "fresh" reading material for her. Apparently, she had exhausted her Dad's supply of thrillers and was looking for something a bit "different". Obviously we obliged but, what did she make of our autobiographical suggestion? Read on to find out......

"Not just a Berkshire Farmer" by Bert Houghton

Don’t get put off reading this book by just taking in the title, it is a book that contains so much more than just farming. This book tells the life of Bert Houghton, trying to make it as a farmer, the only thing he had always wanted to be after growing up under his successful father, also a farmer, Bert wanted to carry on this family tradition. This book covers Bert’s childhood years to old age, describing how he learnt unbeaten ways of farming from his father. Bert's story also includes his time spent fighting in WW2 in the home guard to service with the Royal Air Force, to then come home and deal with the struggles of starting his own farm, getting married and starting a family. Bert continually highlights the fact of how far farming has developed from the early 1920’s when the only thing available for power was shire horses as well as how modernised farming has become today. Lastly, the book describes many farming experiences from cattle markets to hay making and rick building, but each of these experiences are described in such a simple way so that even someone who hasn’t a clue about farming can understand them. A book describing the real life problems and triumphs of one man, trying against everything, to follow his dreams of becoming a successful farmer. Give this book a go; you won’t be disappointed by it.

ISBN: 0 9514193 0 7

Published in 1998.

Book review: "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd

Our reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been busy as always. But, not too busy to take in another good book. That is, we hope its was a good book!! We got the distinct impression that Becky didn't much like the last book she read. So, what did she think of this one?

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd

In terms of recent books, this has been one of my favourite to read. It tells the story of 14-year-old Lily Owens, who will always carry with her the fact that she accidentally killed her mother 10 years before. Lily has very few memories of her mother and so has become completely dependant on T.Ray Owens, her unloving father. The theme of racism is continually connected with Lily’s story, firstly when she must release her coloured carer Rosaleen from prison. Unable to survive any longer with her father, Lily decides she will follow the one clue her mother left her, a small picture of a black Madonna, to discover more about her. What she discovers are 3 sisters, May, June and August Boatwright. Again the theme of racism is introduced as some believe Lily is lowering her standards in accepting the charity of a bed, food and a job, offered by these 3 coloured sisters. It is here that Lily learns the truth about her mother but also finds love and acceptance, something she has never really known before, from the 3 sisters.

This book tackles many problems - racism, child abuse, mental health issues and emotions, yet they don’t take over the story. Instead, they make it better as most of the problems raised can be classed as everyday problems. I think maybe at times the story may have been a little too perfect. Bad things only occur outside the little world Lily has created at the Boatwright’s house. However this is the only thing I could find wrong with this book. It was an enjoyable book to read. The story is both emotional and moving with some historical context. Overall, a very good book.

ISBN: 978-0-7472-6683-9

Published 3rd March 2003 by Headline Review

Book review: "The Mountain Cat Murders" by Rex Stout

In amongst her studying our reviewe,r Becky Cleaver, has found time to get stuck into some good old detective fiction. So, what did she make of one of the Rex Stout "classics" ?

"The Mountain Cat Murders" by Rex Stout

Delia Brand and her sister have never been very lucky, within two years they have lost both parents, their father murdered, their mother a suicide. Now Delia has been framed for the murder of her father’s business partner Dan Jackson, killed with her gun and ammunition bought only that morning. To clear her name, Delia has to discover the clues left from after her father’s unexplained death to solve the murder of Dan Jackson. Though Delia may not like what she finds, for the person who is responsible for everything is someone very close to her

There are some good but also bad points about this book. The good point being the deeply felt emotions portrayed by the characters, the loyalty between the two sisters, the love between Delia and Ty, her lawyer. Also the fact that it interlinked Delia’s past and present and the way she, as a character, had to deal with the unknown facts behind her parents deaths, made it slightly more interesting to read. However, I think that there are some bad points to the book as well. Apart from the few main characters, the amount of extra inspectors and police characters dealing with the murder, at times confused me when trying to remember who was who. Secondly, I felt that some of the chapters themselves were either too drawn out, I lost interest in some of them but also that parts of them where not even that relevant to the story. Lastly the ending, although not predictable, wasn’t that good for me . Throughout the book, you get the feeling everything will be revealed in the last few pages and this feeling of suspense is building in every chapter, bu then disappears in the last few chapters leading to a boring ending. For me, it’s the kind of book where you feel as your reading it, it may improve and so you continue with it. Unfortunately, as it turns out, it doesn’t get that much better by the end.

ISBN: 0-553-25879-6
Bantam reissue edition - 1993

Book review: "Pacific Vortex" by Clive Cussler

Our reviewer, Becky Cleaver seems to have been raiding someone else's bookshelf again !! Her latest review certainly isn't "chic-lit", modern or classic. Still, she seems to have quite enjoyed it......

"Pacific Vortex" by Clive Cussler

‘Do not search for us, it can only end in vain’.
This is the last diary entry of the captain of the Starbuck, a nuclear submarine being tested in the Pacific Ocean. Only problem is that the Starbuck has vanished, leaving no distress signals, no survivors, no wreckage. A total mystery. When Dirk Pitt finds the diary with this message and the last co-ordinates of its set course Dirk sets out to find out the truth of the disappearance.
What Pitt doesn’t realise is the more that he is drawn into this mystery, the more danger he puts himself in. Using the co-ordinates left by the captain, Pitt soon stumbles across a bank of dense mist as far as the eye can see. The mist covers the dark secret of the pacific, a graveyard of all kinds of ships, new and old, all sunk for no apparent reason. Yet, the reason soon becomes clear to Pitt, when his ship is boarded by the mystery that makes up the Pacific Vortex.

To find out that this was the first book that Clive Cussler wrote about Dirk Pitt interested me enough in wanting to read it, I have enjoyed many of Dirk Pitt’s adventures but wanted to know how he started off. This book is far from disappointing. It is packed full of action, including many scenes that will have Pitt fighting for his life yet he always finds time to play the hero. Dirk Pitt is a character who will always surprise me, an everyday person who enjoys his job, someone who is fiercely loyal to those who work around him but most importantly, someone who always seems to make it out of the most impossible situations alive. The only let down with this book would have to be the last few chapters, they didn’t seem as gripping as the rest of the book to me, yet overall, definately a book to read.

ISBN: 978-0-7515-0503-0
First published in Great Britain by Sphere Books 1983.

Book review: "The Waitress" by Melissa Nathan

In spite of a heavy study schedule and work commitments our book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has come up with some new reading material. Her latest review follows:

"The Waitress" by Melissa Nathan

Katie Simmonds doesn’t know what she wants out of life. Does she want to be a teacher? A psychologist? An actress? In reality she is a waitress, something she doesn’t really enjoy but, it pays the rent. With a boss from hell and the same old customers every day, Katie feels she is getting nowhere in life.
At a friend’s engagement party she thinks she meets the man of her dreams, yet, that is before she gets to know him. Luckily for her, it was a one off meeting. That is, until her boss decides he is going to sell up, to the last man on earth Katie wishes to see again. Now, not only is she stuck seeing Dan every day, he is also her boss. Day 1, the disagreements begin and Katie knows her life can’t get much worse.

Reading the book, you definitely relate to many of the problems in life that Katie must face; an overwhelming family, friends who are loving and always there for you but also the everyday problems of work, relationships and disappointments. Although, from the very beginning, the ending is very predictable (the girl gets the man of her dreams), this book will keep you guessing and hoping for that outcome until the very end which was something I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the fact that there are many sub-stories involving Katie’s friends and her boss so you get an insight into the lives of the people most important to Katie. Overall, an amazing and comedy filled read, a book that will have you laughing at all the little disasters Katie encounters before finally getting the ending she deserves. Comparing it to other Melissa Nathan’s books, this is by far my favourite. You won’t be disappointed.

ISBN: 0-09-942798-2
Published by Arrow in 2004

Book and Magazine Collector to cease publication? has just heard that "Book and Magazine Collector" is to cease publication with the next issue published on November 18th. Although, we have been unable to confirm this as yet, the information comes from a reliable source.
No doubt this news will disappoint a lot of people - including ourselves. Published by Warner Group Publications, the magazine has provided a steady stream of fascinating articles, coverage of book auctions, lively letters and much more for many years.
If the news is indeed correct, the loss of this magazine will be widely felt by book collectors and dealers alike.

Book Collector Magazine

Book review: A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly.

In spite of a busy schedule, our book reviewer Becky Cleaver has still managed to find time for some reading for pleasure. Her latest review features a favourite author of hers.

"A Gathering Light" by Jennifer Donnelly

Mattie Gokey has never had an easy life. With her mother dying when she is still young, Mattie promises her that she will never abandon her sisters and father and takes on the responsibility of looking after her family. Yet Mattie has a dream, she wishes to go to New York and make something of herself as a writer. Sadly, her dream can never become reality. She must learn the bitter disappointment of being let down in life, for she knows she can’t break her promise to her mother. Things change, however, when a young woman is found to have drowned in the local lake. Mattie learns through the dead woman’s letters, of the hard life she led and that the woman’s life isn’t that different from her own. Now Mattie has an important decision to make, one involving her past, her present and most importantly, her future.

This book was the Carnegie Medal winner for 2003 and it is rightly deserved. A Gathering Light is a moving and very emotional read while also containing historical truth. By including the true story of Grace Brown’s murder and constantly comparing it to the life of Mattie Gokey made the book an even more interesting book to read. When reading A Gathering Light, my favourite character is Mattie. Being raised from a poor family, she has such big dreams for herself and yet she is willing to put them aside, to compromise her future, to keep the promise to her dead mother of looking after her younger sisters and overworked father. Throughout the whole book, you get to know the true meaning of promises being made and broken, heartache, dreams and first love but most importantly, being loyal to yourself and to those closest to you. A book that I ended up enjoying greatly and did not want to end. A definite recommended read.

ISBN: 0-7475-7063-9
First published in Great Britain in 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. This edition published in 2004.

A Gathering Light

Book review: "Fortune's Rocks" by Anita Shreve

Whilst time is still at a real premium for our book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, she has still found a small amount of spare time to devote to her favourite hobby. Here are her thoughts on the latest novel:

"Fortune’s Rocks" by Anita Shreve

Olympia Biddeford is fifteen when her father brings her to Fortune’s Rocks for the summer. It is in this summer that she will grow up and fall in love. For when the famous writer John Haskell comes to stay with his family, none of them predict the consequences. Olympia and John fall in love and yet society would see this as crazy as she is not old enough to know love, while John is already married with children. Yet through the summer, a passionate affair begins between them and when it becomes known to both families, the after-effects are devastating for everyone.

Starting out, I thought this would be a book that I would really enjoy however in the last few chapters my opinion changed. Although many moments in the book kept me interested, the intense story that had been building at the start of the book had sort of disappeared by the end. Olympia and John’s love for one another is the kind of love all couples want, yet theirs will result in all sorts of problems, age and society being the main two, while they are still willing to fight for their love. However, after the scandal of their relationship had been told, I felt there wasn’t much left to the book. The fight for Olympia’s child (which took up a large chunk of the book), winning the court case and then freely give back the child to its adoptive parents. Although, in the book, Olympia thought it was the right thing to do for me it just was pointless to go into the affair in such depth if that was the outcome. The one good thing about the book is that, when reading it, the portrayed emotions that are always present give a real insight into Olympia and I enjoyed seeing her develop in herself and her feelings change from those of a child into those of a responsible adult.

ISBN: 0-349-11276-2
First published in 2000 Abacus, this edition published in 2001

Book review: "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding.

In spite of an increased college workload, our resident young book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, manages to read a few pages on her bus journey each day. A true book lover !! The subject matter this time is a relatively recent best seller which has already spawned several sequels and a major film. Here's what Becky thought about it:

"Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding

Stop smoking. Form functional relationship. Lose weight. Improve career. These are the new years resolutions of Bridget Jones. Bridget has never been lucky in life, but she believes this year will be different. She believes she will stick to her new years resolutions and get her life back on track. But when she is cheated on by her boyfriend and resigns from her job, her life couldn’t get much worse until she finds out her parents have, for a time, split up. With only her friends for comfort, Bridget knows this year is going to be tough. Will she ever find a man who she can spend the rest of her life with, can she finally give up smoking. Can she stick to her new years resolutions or will this year be the same as all the others?

To any woman who has ever had problems in relationships, their jobs or their family, I would recommend you read this book! It portrays perfectly, the struggles of a single yet optimistic woman, who only wants to improve her life. From the first page, this book will have you hooked; you will be unable to put it down. Throughout the book, I found I was unable to stop myself laughing at all the disasters that Bridget experiences and yet I also sympathised with her. She is only trying to improve her life but goes about it all the wrong way. Because of the fact that it is written in a way that each new day is a new diary entry you get a real feeling for Bridget’s day-to-day struggles. As I had only ever seen the film version, I wasn’t sure whether the book would be any good, I was wrong, Although the film is funny, the book is so much better which is why I would recommend you give it a go. Experience Bridget Jones’s highs and lows, and be glad for her when she finally finds her perfect man.

ISBN: 0-330-33277-5
This edition published 1997 by Picador

Bridget Jones Book

Book review: Last Man Down by Richard Picciotto.

Well, our reviewer Becky Cleaver has decided to dip her toes into the ocean of non-fiction. Maybe bored with romance? Maybe tired of the Classics? We're not sure quite what the reason is but, more importantly, what did she think of it?

"Last Man Down" by Richard Picciotto

9/11 is something that will never be forgotten. Emergency services trying to save as many people as possible with no thought to their own safety or even their lives.
Richard was one of the fire fighters on duty when the first tower was hit. He was put to work in the North Tower, to reach floor 26 where 60 civilians were trapped. Whilst trying to complete the rescue, a sound like ‘ a thousand runaway trains, the thunder of a rock slide, or even thousands of wild beasts’, a sound that was hard to describe but what felt like was coming right towards them, filling all of them with fear. The ‘Sound’ was the South Tower collapsing and when this information becomes known to the fire fighters, they realise that the North Tower could collapse as well.

Richard knew he had to get his fire-fighters out of there and so he ordered another evacuation to all emergency services from the North tower. However, his fears became reality when the North Tower collapsed above them, killing hundreds and trapping many people. When reading this book you get a real insight into just how bad the situation really was. Richard realises now, how close he came to dying that day. When reading this book your heart goes out to all the families who lost someone that day.

What I think I enjoyed most about this book was the fact that is was written by someone who was there, in the heart of it so you got a first hand account of every emotion and thought that was felt and every action that was carried out. This book is dedicated to the 343 fire fighters that were willing to risk their lives to save others and who unfortunately never made it out alive. An exceptional read.

This edition published in 2002 by BCA

Non Fiction Book

Book review: "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen

After a brief romantic interlude, it was "back to the classics" for our book reviewer, Becky Cleaver. Just returned from the wilds of Wales, here's what Becky thought of her latest book choice.

"Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen

When their father dies, the Dashwoods are forced to move from their home to a small cottage in Devonshire. Elinor’s heart is set on Mr Edward Ferrars, while the charming Mr Willoughby soon captivates Marianne’s heart, even though he is totally unsuitable for her. Yet both sister’s learn the true meaning of losing their loved ones, for they live within a society where status in society makes the rules of love. Will Elinor get her deserved happy ending? Does Marianne truly love Willoughby, or does her heart belong to Colonel Brandon, a friend made in Devonshire, who has loved her since their first meeting?

To me, Jane Austen has to be one of the better classical writers. She creates happiness, heartache, revenge and passion for all her characters, which at some stage, they have to experience. Sense and Sensibility includes all these emotions but also you get a strong feeling of family devotion and loyalty mainly between the two eldest sisters. Something I enjoy with Austen’s books is that no matter how much her characters suffer throughout her book, come the end, they always get what they rightly deserve, which is normally a happy ending to those who have suffered most. Although, I felt that the book had a bit of a slow start, once more of the main characters had been introduced, the book greatly improved.

ISBN: 978-0-141-43966-2
Published in Penguin Classics 1995

Classic Book

Book review: "The Rescue" by Nicholas Sparks

Here is Becky Cleaver's latest book choice reviewed for you:

"The Rescue" by Nicholas Sparks

Taylor Mcaden, a fire fighter from North Carolina is someone who is willing to risk everything he has to save people. Yet Taylor himself also needs to be saved, he is unable to fall in love and be truly happy.
In 1999, one of the worst storms ever-recorded hits North Carolina. When out on the job, he finds a car that has skidded off the road during the storm and inside is Denise Hilton, travelling with her four-year-old son, Kyle. Denise is removed from the car to find that her son is missing. Taylor manages to find Kyle and through this small step, it sets him on the path to happiness. Can Denise truly rescue Taylor from his past and help him to learn to love?

The only bad thing I would have to say about this book is, like a lot of Nicholas Sparks’s books, the ending is very predictable. It was easy to guess how things would turn out but I was still pleased to find that the book contained the ending I wanted. It’s always nice to have a happy ending after so much heartache felt by the main characters. However, there are also many good things about this book, which make it an exceptional read. Firstly, the relationship between Kyle and Taylor. Taylor’s patience and dedication are highlighted when dealing with Kyle and together they form their own relationship. Also, Denise and Taylor’s relationship develops steadily and she teaches Taylor the lesson of love. Nicholas Sparks’ message being the many problems that people face throughout life can only be solved when people work together.

ISBN: 978-0-7515-3890-8
This paperback edition published in 2006 by Time Warner Books

The Rescue Book

Book review: "The Last Song" by Nicholas Sparks

Becky Cleaver, our resident book reviewer, is currently on holiday somewhere in the UK. We don't think she is taking a holiday from reading, though. In fact, we would hazard a guess that she is reading more than ever. However, she has seemingly taken a break from reading "classics" and gone for something a bit more contemporary this time.

"The Last Song" by Nicholas Sparks

After spending three years not talking to her dad, the last thing Ronnie wants to do is to spend her whole summer with him and her 10-year-old brother, Jonah. When Ronnie arrives, she is angry and isolated and knows she does not belong here. Ronnie’s father is desperate to make amends with her before it is too late and to spend one last memorable summer with his kids.
As Ronnie becomes more settled into her dad’s way of life, their relationship slowly starts to heal. Ronnie learns to forgive her father and she also learns to fall in love. She realises at the end that being apart from the people she loves isn’t always a bad thing, as only when they are apart does she discover how much she loves and needs them.

This book tells the remarkable story of a broken family who only discover when they are brought together, how much they really do need each other. It is a story of first love, second chances and mainly, learning to forgive one another. My favourite character has to be the father Steve, he is so patient with his daughter and desperately wants their relationship to improve before it is too late. The ending was especially emotional and moving to read but was also totally unexpected. Nicholas Sparks highlights in this book, how important and precious life really is but also how important families are. A very much recommended read, it will not disappoint.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4326-1
First published in Great Britain in 2009 by Sphere, republished in 2010.

The Last Song Book

Book review: "The Tudor Wife" by Emily Purdy

Our latest book review courtesy Becky Cleaver is a fact-based historical novel. Rather a different path to take in term of her recent reading material but interesting subject matter non-the-less. We do like Becky's range of reading - it always keeps us guessing as to what will appear on our reviews next !!

"The Tudor Wife" by Emily Purdy

King Henry VIII is well known for having six wives. This book tells the story of the first five, from the quiet but loving Catherine of Aragon to the young and carefree Catherine Howard. Lady Jane Parker, a lady in waiting to Catherine, tells the story. Jane’s heart is set on marrying George Boleyn and she is overjoyed when her dream comes true, only to be disappointed in her marriage when she meets Anne Boleyn, her new sister in law. She watches Anne’s rise to power to become the second queen of England and the jealousy felt towards her begins to grow. When Anne fails to deliver a living male heir, Jane Parker helps in removing Anne from power. Afterwards, Jane watches Henry take three more wives and she must now live forever in regret for what she has done.

The emotions of the characters, Jealousy, Love, Trust and Betrayal felt so real throughout this book, it made the characters come alive in your imagination. Including not only the lives of the most important of Henry’s wives but also the historical detail made the book even more enjoyable to read. It gives you a good insight into the lives people led from the king down to the ladies in waiting. It also explains how people expected so much from each other and if they failed to complete a task they had been set, they would be rejected from their own family.

ISBN: 978-1-84756-194-7
Published by Avon, London, this paperback edition published in 2010.

The Tudor Wife Book

Book review: "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens.

Well, our reviewer, Becky Cleaver, appears to be "hooked on classics" !!! Her latest read has been a consistent favourite since it was first published, has been the subject of numerous adatations, been turned into plays, musicals and films. So, what did Becky make of this true classic?

"Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens.

Oliver Twist is an Orphan who, escaping the workhouse in which he grew up, finds himself in London with no money and nowhere to live. He finds a friend in the Artful Dodger and in Fagin, an old criminal who leads a group of young pickpockets. Now with a job and a place to stay, Oliver’s life seems to be improving with his new friends although the threat of Bill Sikes is enough to make Oliver despair. Out on a pickpocket job, his life is changed for the better when he encounters an upper class gentleman who looks after him when Oliver falls ill. But just when things in Oliver’s life seem changed forever, his past of living with criminals comes back to haunt him and spoils any chance of a happy future.

Dickens uses many ways to keep the reader constantly interested in the book. Firstly, the vast use of description, not only relating to the places that Oliver visits but also when describing the characters themselves, makes the story almost come alive. As you read, you can easily picture yourself amongst the characters and their lives in London. Secondly, the chapters are not always telling Oliver’s. They vary - and also include a look into the lives of Bill Sikes, Nancy, and Fagin and in contrast to them, some upper class people of society, Rose and Mr Brownlow. When reading Dickens, you get to see in depth, the difference in living standards and livelihoods between the two opposing ends of society.

I enjoyed reading this classic because although the story of Oliver Twist is a long one, there were many unexpected complications that kept me interested. It is also a very moving read. Oliver never seems to have much luck in his life. However, I also felt that some of the chapters were, at times, slightly drawn-out and also some were very similar. For example when Oliver gets taken in by Mr Brownlow and then later by Rose, I felt that some of these chapters contained very much the same content which wasn’t as interesting to read. 

ISBN: 978-0-00-735088-9.
Collins Classics, this edition published in 2010.

Oliver Twist Book

Book review: "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott

With each new generation, the "classics" of fiction are re-discovered and either enjoyed or not, as the case may be !! Our young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has just been reading one of the "classics". A new area of literary delight for her, we thought she should give it a go.......and we really hope she wasn't disappointed. Having suggested a couple of authors for her to "have a go at", Becky decided she would give "Little Women" a try. So, what did she think of it?

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are the four March sisters whose life stories are told within this book. The sisters are Meg, the eldest, dreams of finding a loving husband and of having a family of her own. Jo, the wild child, whose greatest dream is to become a writer (and only achieves this by setting off into the world and experiencing things she hadn’t anticipated, enjoying the change from home). Beth, the quiet child who enjoys the peaceful life found at home with their loving mother and who also enjoys her music. And Amy, the youngest, a talented artist who discovers herself when she is taken abroad by their Great Aunt. Holding the family together is their loving mother, who helps her children through the many problems of life uncovered as the sisters grow from children into young women.

I discovered when reading “Little Women” that it can only be described as a timeless classic. It is a book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, though I think it probably appeals more to women as it is based on their way of looking at life. One of the things I liked most is the sense of determination that is evident in the four girls. They are all willing to grow up and succeed in life but when faced with problems, they don’t turn from them but are willing to learn from their mistakes and their problems and try and make themselves better people. The other thing I liked when reading it, was the sense of appreciation the women felt towards their family members, each of them are grateful for the little they have because they know they are loved by their family and that is enough for them. I would recommend you read this book in one go because as the sister’s stories develop, you become committed to the story. You truly want to know whether or not the sisters achieve their dreams. A top read.

ISBN: 0-19-283434-7
First issued as World’s Classics paperback 1994

Little Women Book

Book review: "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been busy reading new material during her holiday break. Hopefully, she liked it rather better than the last book she read !!!

"The Memory Keeper’s Daughter" by Kim Edwards.

Everyone has secrets. David’s secret will lead to devastating consequences if ever it is revealed. When Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s twins, his life afterwards is forever changed. His daughter is born with Down’s syndrome. Believing he is doing the best thing, his wife is told that their daughter died and a good friend raises their daughter.
Norah, his wife, is distraught about her lost child. Although she has her son to comfort her, she is unable to let go of “what could have been” if their daughter had lived. The loss slowly causes a rift in David’s family as neither can be truly comforted and over time they grow apart. Their marriage becomes broken beyond repair.
Alongside David’s story is that of his daughter. How she grows up and how she is accepted into the world.
Everyone has secrets. But they can’t be kept forever. David’s secret is about to be told and affect everyone involved……

The main message that becomes clear throughout this book is the potential consequences of secrets and how by keeping them from certain people, even if you think it is best, this does not always produce the best option. David is my favourite character - he is willing to sacrifice his daughter to minimise the amount of grief felt by the family and is forever trying to protect them. He protects Norah from the grief and loss she feels over losing a child and his remaining son Paul from the problems of growing up. Although he always believes he is doing what is best, he is slowly losing control and only magnifies the misery. Something I liked about this book is that because it is set in the 1960’s, you get a sense of how people with Down’s syndrome were treated then, compared with today. Overall, the book can only be described as a captivating read. It not only keeps you guessing but, draws you into the story. It draws you into the complicated lives of two families and truly describes the suffering that occurs when secrets are kept from loved ones. 

ISBN: 978-0-141-03014-2
First published in Great Britain by Penguin books in 2007

The Memory Keeper''s Daughter Book

Book review: "The Dream House" by Rachel Hore.

Well, it is a welcome return to reading books and writing reviews for our resident reviewer, Becky Cleaver. Enjoying her holidays at the moment, she has been investigating some new fiction. What did she think of her latest literary adventure? Read on.....

"The Dream House" by Rachel Hore.

Kate is happily married with two children. Living in London, with a job she enjoys, she still feels like something is missing for her. Kate decides she wants the family to move to the country to raise the two children. When they all move down to Suffolk to stay temporarily with Simon’s mother, she believes her idea of a dream house in the country is finally coming true.

Months pass and, although no dream house has been found, Kate is finally settling into a more laid back and peaceful life. But what starts out as perfect is soon put under pressure. Simon is still working in London and seems unable to give up his work there and fully commit to the countryside and when she finds out he is having an affair, their marriage hits rock bottom. Agnes, an elderly neighbour, is there to comfort Kate and she soon comes to realise that the troubles of Agnes’s past echo the troubles in her own life. There is also a realisation that following your dreams can lead to unwanted consequences.

For me, there were good and bad points about this book. The good points were that it was a very emotional read. You see the struggle of one woman trying to find a better life for herself and her family. The many problems that Kate endures from marriage to divorce and from happiness to bitterness are all very recognisable in our everyday lives. Lastly, the fact that you get an insight into Agnes’s past which you soon come to realise is similar to Kate’s in many ways. However, for me there were a few problems with the book as well. Firstly this book is 466 pages long and yet when I finished it, I felt like there was not enough of a story to it. Although you had flashbacks of Agnes’s life and you have Kate and her family’s story, not enough happened to leave me fully satisfied. Finally, although there were a few twists that were totally unexpected, about halfway through the book, the ending was getting easier and easier to predict.

ISBN: 1-4165-1099-0
First published in Great Britain by Pocket Books UK, 2006

The Dream House Book

Book review: "Knots and Crosses" by Ian Rankin

Well, since the Vampires "flew the nest", we've been waiting to see what sort of book might appeal to our reviewer, Becky Cleaver next. Romance was the subject of the last outing but now, it seems, Becky is back to Crime Fiction and the first in the of the "Rebus" series by Ian Rankin. Do we "detect" a new trend in Becky's reading choice? Here's what she thought:

"Knots and Crosses" by Ian Rankin.

Knots and Crosses introduces Detective Sergeant John Rebus. Before joining the police in Edinburgh, John’s past is very much a mystery. Although him being in the Army is common knowledge, the reason he left remains a well-kept secret.
Edinburgh is believed by its residents to be a safe city with little violence. So when three girls are abducted and later found dead, people look to the police to solve the crime. Rebus is one of the police officers involved in hunting the killer but, with no clues and no suspects, the outcome is looking hopeless. When the case becomes personal and Rebus’s daughter is abducted, John realises he is going to have to step back into his past to solve the future. To help him are four anonymous letters, each containing a critical statement and either a knotted thread or a matchstick cross as clues.

One thing Ian Rankin makes clear in this book is something that I liked because, simply, it’s true. That is that your past actions create the person you are and that these previous actions or events affect you future life. The mystery of Rebus’s past is one of the main themes in this book and this was partly what kept me interested because I wanted to know what had been so terrible for him. The constant feeling of dread and frustration, not only as more girls disappear but as the case goes on unsolved keeps you glued to the page. As the case becomes more complex you do get drawn into it and feel like you need to know the final outcome and the identity of the murderer. The only downside is that, although the book contains three different stories (all interlinked), when you consider the size of the book, I didn’t think there was enough to keep you fully interested. So if you are into crime and punishment books, give this book a go, if not, maybe this isn’t the best book to read.

ISBN: 0-75287-718-6
Published in paperback in 1998 by Orion Books Ltd.

Book review: "The Watchman's Daughter" by Alexandra Connor

Apparently, Becky Cleaver's latest read is definately "one for the ladies". Becky assures us that she is reading books at a rate of knots at the moment so, we are anticipating that the reviews will be coming through with even more frequency for the next couple of months. Great news if you need some inspiration for a holiday read!!

"The Watchman’s Daughter" by Alexandra Connor

Kate Shaw’s life has never been easy. Although she lives in one of Preston’s poorest streets, she feels lucky to have such a loving family, from her disabled brother to her loving parents. It is only as Kate starts to grow up that she sees the cracks in her perfect life.
Her father, the nightwatchman for the Albert Edward docks, is a struggling alcoholic and on more than one occasion, Kate must do his shift for him without being discovered to save her father from being sacked. Her uncle is embroiled in a long-lasting feud with Robin Wells, a cruel cheating businessman who will stop at nothing to ruin the Shaw’s as a family. When Kate falls in love with Andrew, an upper class man who many believe is too good for Kate, she believes her unsettled life will be replaced for a happy one. With plans to marry, it is only too soon before tragedy strikes and Kate becomes separated from the man she loves and must now find a way to get back to him.

I loved this book. I have read a few of Alexandra Connor’s books, but this one has to be one of the best. It shows the determination of one person, who is so set on saving her family, the patience with her brother, the love for her family and Andrew and pity for her father. And that is why Kate is my favourite character. She is willing to sacrifice everything, her future and her reputation to save her much-loved family. Another key aspect in this book are the different levels in society and how the upper and lower classes rarely seem to mix as one seems to believe they are better than the others. That is until Kate and Andrew fall in love. The plot has many unexpected twists that will keep you guessing until the very end. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy complicated love stories. It will probably appeal mainly to women as the main character is female and it relates more to the problems women face in life. I think it may put off some male readers. Passion, secrets, heartbreak and sacrifice, 4 words that summarise this book, which I found was a fantastic read.

ISBN: 978-0-7553-2376-0
First published in paperback in 2008 by HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP.

The Watchman''s Daughter Book

Book review: "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks

Well, the vampires have flown away for the moment and book worm, Becky Cleaver, is on to "pastures new". This time, its a welcome return to Romance......we're sure she is a complete romantic! Her passion for books is equally strong, though, and she is reading at a rate that we can barely keep up with!! Here's what she thought of the latest book:

"Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks

In the two weeks that John and Savannah share, they fall in love. Savannah is a Christian from a horse ranch from Lenoir. John is from Wilmington, a schoolboy rebel who tries to better himself by entering the army. When Savannah comes to Wilmington on a volunteer project, John learns the true meaning of love.

When John has to return to Army duty, he believes his relationship with Savannah will hold strong and in 2 years, they will be able to get married and spend the rest of their lived together. What neither of them expected was the 9/11 attacks, which causes John to stay in the army for at least another 4 years. The separation puts a strain on their relationship and over time, it starts to fall about. Only when Savannah writes to him saying she has met someone else does John realise how much she means to him. But, he has left it too late.

This has got to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. When I started reading this book, I found it very hard to put down. It truly moves you as you read more and more. There are so many different emotions portrayed by the characters and they really draw you in and keep you gripped until the last page. You realise how hopeless the relationship between the characters is, you see the struggles that John has not just with the army but also with his dad and how Savannah changes him, as a character. “Torn apart by fate, bound together by love.” – That is one of the first statements that you read on the cover of the book and it is the perfect summary. To really appreciate this book, I would recommend reading it in one go.

Give this book a try as once you have read it, I don’t think you will forget it.

ISBN: 978-0-7515-4188-5
First published in Great Britain in 2006 by Sphere, reprinted again in 2010.

Dear John Book

Book review: "Burned" by P.C. and Kristen Cast

Well, it looks as though the vampire books are coming to an end (for the moment!). Our reviewer, Becky Cleaver, seems to have had mixed feelings about the series and we hope she hasn't developed a taste for blood as a result of reading these books!! So, what did she think of this episode?

"Burned" by P.C and Kristen Cast

After being defeated by Kalona in "Tempted", Zoey’s soul was shattered into the "otherworld", a place between the living and the dead. The longer Zoey remains separated from her soul, the less of a chance there is in restoring her back into her body.
Her newly pledged warrior, Stark, must now cross into the Otherworld and restore Zoey’s soul. But to achieve this, Zoey must let go of her memories of Heath, her now dead human boyfriend, which is something she is unwilling to do.
Stevie Rae has now taken Zoey’s place as high priestess back in the living world and never realised how many problems come attached to the job. She has decided to keep her enemies even closer to her than her friends, by bonding with the Raven Mocker who she saved in the last book. When there is a chance that her fledglings will find out, serious complications arise.

Throughout the rest of the series, it has been quite clear that Zoey is the main character as it is telling the story of how her life has changed. However, in this book, each of the other main characters (Stark, Stevie Rae, Zoey, Aphrodite) are of equal importantance. Each one has their own individual story that gets woven into the main storyline. This book highlights that it is the decisions and the choices made by the group as a whole, that allows them to succeed. Again, like the others, it contains a large amount of action and emotions felt by the characters. One of the good things about this book was the fact that it now gave you a chance to read from the point of the ‘bad guy’, Kalona, as well as all the ‘good guys’. I still have to slightly agree with previous comments I have made about these books - that the idea of good always triumphing over evil, is kind of getting a little bit repetitive and boring. As there are going to be at least 4 other books to this series, I don’t know how much further this story can be developed.

ISBN: 978-0-905654-81-9
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by ATOM.

Burned Book
We may be wrong but, we think its probably time for Becky to move on from "blood-sucking" fiction!!!!

Book review: "Tempted" by P.C. and Kristen Cast

The insatiable appetite of our reviewer, Becky Cleaver, for the vampire series "House of Night" continues!! Here's what she had to say about the latest instalment:

"Tempted" by P.C and Kristen Cast

The last thing Zoey needs is her best friend, Stevie Rae keeping secrets from her. Stevie Rae believes she is doing the best thing when it comes to the red fledglings like her but when some decide that they don’t want turn away from Darkness; it has serious repurcussions for Stevie Rae and those connected to her. Stevie Rae has also saved a raven mocker, the son of Kalona and someone who is a direct enemy to all vampires and who is now in her debt for saving his life.
Zoey has her own problems, too. Although she banished Kalona and Neferet from Tulsa, they have gone to Italy to seek council with the Vampire High Council, while Aphrodite has a vision of a fiery hell if Kalona succeeds in winning the council onto his side. Zoey must now face her biggest challenge so far; fly to Italy and use her past connections with Kalona to try and stop him forever.

The ending of this book really moved me, as it wasn’t the normal happy ending that is present in the other books. The one thing about these books that I enjoy is that the ending normally leaves you with so many unsolved problems and questions that you feel like you have to read the next one to find out the answers. Tempted includes many unanswered questions and one major problem which I am sure is going to be the main theme for the next book. Tempted is different from the other book so far, as it not on gives you a perspective on Zoey but also offers you Stevie Rae’s, Stark's and bad guy Rephaim's. I enjoyed this as it gave you many people’s views on the same issues.

ISBN: 978-1-905654-58-1
First published in Great Britain in 2009 by ATOM

Tempted Book

Book review: "Hunted" by P.C. and Kristen Cast

Well, the Vampire "fest" continues. Our reviewer, Becky Cleaver has been busy catching up with the rest of the "House of Night" series and her reviews will be published here over the next few days. Apparently, the appeal of the vampire genre is lessening so, after this series of reviews, we anticipate some very different reading material.

"Hunted" by P.C and Kristen Cast

Zoey’s week couldn’t get any worse. The evil fallen angel Kalona and high priestess Neferet are out to fight a war against humanity. First they take over the House of Night and then Kalona turns his attention to going after Zoey, which only angers Neferet further as she believes Kalona is hers. Kalona believes Zoey is a reincarnation of a maiden he once loved but in the end trapped him for over a thousand years,
Naturally, Zoey is once again suffering from guy trouble. A chance for her to make up with old boyfriend Erik seems like a good idea at the time, until Stark, a fledgling vampire who died in her arms is reincarnated for Neferet’s uses. Only Zoey can make him see the truth behind Neferet and save him from the Darkness, while also trying to save the world.

In this book Zoey not only just escapes death but also has to face her greatest fears with only her faith in her friends and her Goddess to guide her. You truly get an insight into the meaning of friendship and how Zoey and her friend’s relationships are ultimately put to the test. As with most books, truth and goodness triumph over deceit and darkness. I think the only thing that I would have to say is starting to annoy me with this series, is the amount of guys that are interested in Zoey. It just seems that in every book, she needs to have at least three guys chasing her! For the first few books, it was ok but now it is kind of predictable and repetitive. However, they did manage to end this book better than some of the others, although Zoey’s enemies are still around, for now they are temporarily defeated and the world is safe.

First published in Great Britain in 2009 by ATOM
ISBN: 978-1-907410-15-4

Hunted Book

Book review: "Untamed" by P.C. and Kristen Cast.

Well, it certainly hasn't been a case of "once bitten, twice shy" for our reviewer, Becky Cleaver. Vampire books are definately her cup of tea!! Here, Becky reviews the fourth book in the "House of Night" series. So, was it better than the last book?

"Untamed" by P.C and Kristen Cast

A week ago, Zoey had a group of loyal friends and 3 boyfriends. Now, she has lost everyone. Once her enemy, Aphrodite is showing signs of becoming Zoey’s only friend through this troublesome time. It seems that only Aphrodite and best friend Stevie Rae, who died and was then reborn, are the only 2 people that still believe in Zoey and therefore remain loyal to her.
But now is not the time for Zoey to make herself isolated. 2 visions of her death come to light and if one of them comes true, there could be serious consequences. Zoey is the only one able to lead her friends in fighting the ultimate evil that is about to the released. This evil comes in the form of a fallen angel out for revenge, named Kalona and who has become the latest ally to Neferet (Zoey’s mentor and high priestess at the House of Night and so therefore thought by many as a good person). Friendships are about to be put the test, as the battle of good verses evil is about to begin.

The story and plot reall start to darken in this book and things become more mysterious. Zoey as a character develops a lot through the book. At the beginning she is alone and you realise how vulnerable she is to the evil all around her and then you feel sorry for her as she tries to mend her broken friendships and still face everyday problems. The fact that the evil is only released at the very end of the book keeps you interested. I found I really wanted to know how Zoey was going to deal with yet another problem. Another good aspect of this book is that it ends with so many unanswered questions; you feel that you have to go on and read the following book to find out the answers. I believe that this book is a real improvement on the previous one and that once you have read it, you will definately want to read more.

First published in Great Britain in 2009 by Atom.
ISBN: 978-1-907410-14-7

Untamed Book

Book review: "Chosen" by P.C. and Kristen Cast.

Our latest review covers the third in the "House of Night" series. So far our reviewer, Becky Cleaver, seems to be enjoying her foray into the "dark side". You could say she has been bitten by the vampire bug! Ha. ha. So, what did Becky think of the latest instalment?

"Chosen" By P.C. and Kristen Cast

Things are not going well for Zoey. Not only must she lie about her best friend being dead but also her first birthday celebrated at the House of Night is one that she would prefer not to remember. She also still has the problem with her three boyfriends, as she is still unable to decide which one is best for her.
As it happens her best friend Stevie Rae isn’t dead. After her body rejected the change to becoming a vampire, her soul died with her. Yet her body was saved and now Stevie Rae has been brought back as an undead and disturbed vampire/creature who is struggling to hold on to whatever little humanity she has left. Only Zoey can save her, but to do this she must regain the trust of her friends, which is easier said than done.

After reading the first two books, I was expecting something more than what "Chosen" has to offer. Again, like the other books, it is an original take on how vampires could live. This book contains a much darker story than the other two, with more than one death taking place and more mystery as it seems that only Zoey can truly see the problems linked with the House of Night. Although it answered some of the questions from the end of the last book, for me it didn’t contain enough of a story to keep me interested, compared to the other books. One of the good things about this book though, would have to be the ending, it shows you how isolated Zoey has become and what she must now do to try and win her friends back.

First published by Atom in Great Britain in 2009.
ISBN: 978-0-907410-13-0

Chosen Book

Book review: "Betrayed" by P.C. and Kristen Cast.

Becky Cleaver has been visiting the "House of Night" series for the second time. We're not sure why books about vampires are so popular at the moment (although they have never entirely dropped out of fashion) but we are interested to see what Becky thought of the second book in the series. A review of the third volume in the series will be posted in the next couple of days too.

"Betrayed" by P.C. and Kristen Cast

Zoey has now been at the House of Night for a month, she has a loyal group of friends and she is finally coming to terms with the powers that her Goddess has granted her. Her biggest problem now would be her 3 boyfriends, all offering her different attributes.
When human teenagers start to go missing, not only are they people that Zoey knew from her previous life but also when the bodies are discovered all evidence of murder point to a vampire attack. Zoey experiences ’Feelings’ regarding each disappearance. She knows that the bodies are going to be discovered but her feelings tell her that the person will be dead. When her feelings become true, Zoey know that she has to put a stop to whatever is killing these people. With her powers to help her, she believes she can finally end this. Only when she discovers the identity of the murderer, does she believe that she may have been wrong and that she has placed herself in serious danger.

Again, like "Marked", this book is captivating and really draws you in to the story. The emotions felt within "Marked" are deepened, as friendships and loyalties are put to the test and a complex love triangle begins. "Betrayed" contains a complicated story with many twists that will keep you entertained until the last pages. Although, "Betrayed" doesn’t end on a cliffhanger like the first book, it leaves you with many unanswered questions about the future of Zoey and her group of friends that will leave you wanting to read more. Another excellent read.

ISBN: 978-1-907410-12-3
First published in Great Britain in 2009 by Atom

Betrayal Book

Book review: "Marked" by P.C. and Kristen Cast

It's back to the blood-sucking vampires for our reviewer, Becky Cleaver. We have no doubt that reading the "House of Night" series is far more entertaining than swotting for exams!! What did Becky think of the first book in the series?

"Marked" by P.C and Kristen Cast

The House of Night is known for one thing, taking in marked children and teaching them to become full-grown adults. When 16-year-old Zoey gets marked she has a choice, she can accept that her old life must now be replaced with a life at the House of Night, or she can reject the change and her body will slowly die. She accepts her best option; she must now leave her friends and her family and start her new life.
Zoey finds settling into a new school easy, with a new group of friends to help her; she starts to enjoy her new life. But things aren’t what they seem within the school and it seems that the Goddess that Zoey now has to worship has special plans for her. But there is a problem, if she fails, she may die.

The House of Night wasn’t what I was expecting. When I started the book, I wasn’t sure whether or not I would enjoy it. But in my opinion, you have to give this book a chance. After the first couple of chapters, the story starts to really develop and becomes captivating. The descriptions not only of the vampires, but also the school and the rituals that take place are such that they kept me wanting to read me. The emotions felt by Zoey, from feeling betrayed by her mum to finally feeling acceptance for what she is makes you feel sorry for this character and makes you feel like you want her to succeed. For me, I think this book would make a excellent read for younger adults and teenagers, the characters involved are teenagers themselves so teenage readers may be able to relate better to some of the problems that Zoey has to face to finally become excepted.

First published in Great Britain in 2009 by Atom
ISBN: 978-0-7088-6625-2

Marked Book

Book review: "A Time Like no Other" by Audrey Howard.

Our intrepid bookworm, Becky Cleaver has found some time in between revising for exams to produce another review. This time, she has returned to the historical romance genre to gain inspiration. So, how was her latest read?

"A Time Like No Other" by Audrey Howard

Lally Fraser is only 20 years old when she becomes a widow. With two sons to support and large debts from her husband, she finds herself struggling. When an old friend of her husband, Roly Sinclair, a Yorkshire mill owner offers her the attention she has been deprived of, she gratefully turns to him for comfort. But when Roly leaves for America on business, she discovers she is pregnant and with no one else to turn to, she goes to Roly’s older brother Harry, who has always been secretly in love with her. Harry marries she to save her reputation and hopes that in the future she will come to love him as he loves her. When Harry becomes injured, Lally must do everything she can to protect her husband’s mills. But when Roly returns from America and discovers the truth about his child, the life that Lally has come to love is threatened once more by the scandal that Roly is willing to share with the world.

This story had so many unexpected twists to the plot that this alone kept me gripped to the very end. It is a story of so many contrasting feelings of hope and betrayal, love and hate. The best character for me had to be Lally. She has lost so much at the start of the book, but further in you realise how loyal she is to her husband and that she is full of determination not to be beaten by her brother in law. A book I would recommend you make time to read in one go as you may feel, like me, that once you start you are unable to stop!

ISBN: 978-1-444-70075-6
First published in Great Britain in 2007

A Time Like No Other Book

Some summer reading suggestions......

Top Bestsellers of 2010

With summer just around the corner, many peoples thoughts are turning towards their holiday reading material. If you have a passion for reading, are facing a long flight or (especially in light of the sporadic volcanic ash interruptions) possible long delays, or if you just want something to chill out and read on the beach, then you will want to know the Top Bestsellers of 2010.

Crime Fiction

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets` Nest", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played with Fire"

Perhaps this would not normally be any particular readers first choice of category, but it is hard to ignore Stieg Larsson`s trilogy of crime novels that have taken the literary world by storm. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets` Nest", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played with Fire" are fast paced books which focus on the character of Lisbeth Salander, a sociopathic computer hacker and investigator. The series has been hailed as the `most original` ever and the heroine is "likable and realistic". The only regret people seem to have had when reading these books, is finishing them, as sadly the author has passed away.

Diet and Food Books

"The Dukan Diet"

French women are effortlessly elegant and enviously skinny and this books tells you how you can be too. Regarded as the hub that started the `protein Thursdays` Thursday craze in France, (whereby on Thursdays you eat virtually nothing bar meat) this diet book will talk you through a 4-step programme to fight fat. The book is easy to read and written in an informal tone. The book has become an international best seller and has even been hailed by some as the possible solution to the world obesity crisis.

Jamie Does...

Jamie Oliver is back with a book that accompanies his current TV series. Journey with Jamie through six different countries, celebrating their local cuisine Oliver style! Branch out in the kitchen and try dishes with a Moroccan, Greek or Swedish twist, all illustrated with beautiful photographs.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

"Breaking Dawn" (Twilight Saga)

Largely regarded as teen fiction, this sexy vampire book has hooked a whole load of adult fans along the way. Following a highly success movie adaptation the Twilight Saga franchise is growing from strength to strength. Written by Stephenie Meyer, delve into the world of tortured lovers Bella and Edward, daubed the `Romeo & Juliet` of `Vampires and Werewolves`.


If you love books but want to read them on the go, then get yourself one of these handy laptops and get reading! Popular e-books come in all shapes, sizes and categories (but thankfully will all adjust to your screen size!). Choose form popular titles such as Burn The Fat - A Complete Fat Burning System Based on The Secret Techniques of The World`s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models, or learn Fat Loss Secrets with Dr Suzanne Gudakunst. Explore your Personal Path to Pregnancy, learn Make Women Laugh or read The Earthbound Series – there really is something for everyone.

Book review: "No Time For Goodbye" by Linwood Barclay

Well, it looks as though our ace young book reviewer, Becky Cleaver is having to temporarily suspend reading books purely for pleasure. Coursework and revision are taking an increasing toll and something has to give!! We wish Becky all the very best with her forthcoming exams. We are quite sure she will get out of them what she wants to.
Becky has sent us a final review. This time it is a book that we have reviewed before on So, what did she think of it? Find out now:

"No Time For Goodbye" by Linwood Barclay.

After having an argument with your parents the night before, to discover the next morning that your whole family has disappeared without a trace, is enough to confuse anyone yet this is exactly what happens to Cynthia. So what happened to them, are they still alive? If so, why haven’t they got in touch?

Cynthia has had to live with these unanswered questions since that unforgettable night and she now wants some answers. After some prank calls, she begins to give up hope until an anonymous letter shows up at her house, telling her that her family forgives her. Cynthia is desperate to know the truth about why her family choose to abandon her, yet as her marriage is put under strain and people connected with her past are conveniently murdered, before any well kept secrets can be revealed, Cynthia starts to wonder whether stirring up the past was really the best decision.

One of things I liked most about this book was the fact that apart from the first chapter, which is told from Cynthia’s point of view, the rest of the book is told by Terry, her husband, which was good because it gives you someone else’s emotions and a different perspective on things. Linwood Barclay achieves the genuine conveyance of real feelings of desperation and in, Cynthia’s case, moments of insanity. He makes you feel sorry for her because of her past and in my case it made me want to complete the book. A complex story, complete with an unexpected ending that will keep you gripped to the last page.

ISBN: 978-0-7528-9368-6
Published in 2008 by Orion Books Ltd.

No Time For Goodbye Book

Another new book by a Devon author...

It seems the inhabitants of Devon are a literary lot! We have been in touch with Peter Chapman, another Devon based author about his book "The 65th".
If you like your books to be a bit "different", this unusual volume appears to be hard to categorise. Set in the "near future", the action takes place in "The Badlands", a lawless rural backwater on the coast of North Devon. We haven't had a chance to read the book yet but, we like the sound of it!!

If you would like to find out more ahead of our review (it will hopefully follow in the near future), you can read the first few pages and buy a copy online on the author's website. Should you read it before us, please let us know what you think of it (or submit a review).

The 65th Book

Book Review: Fortune's Child by Lee Austin

Just a couple of "blog posts" ago, we mentioned the debut novel by Devon author, Lee Austin, called "Fortune's Child". Lee was good enough to provide with a review copy and our super-keen reviewer, Becky Cleaver has already read it. Whilst Becky initially didn't seem overly keen on the fact that it was a science fiction novel, ultimately, she seemed to really enjoy it.
You can order "Fortune's Child" from now - see our "Paperback Fiction" page.
Anyway, here are Becky's thoughts:

"Fortune’s Child" by Lee Austin

“Fortune’s Child” tells the story of a group of friends, and as the story develops it shows the true meaning of friendship and how people rely on each other through the good and the bad. One of the things I liked most about this book was the fact that it is based in Devon. When reading it, I was easily able to relate to the places mentioned.

Lucas Fortune is abandoned as a child to Peregrine house, a children’s home run by Mrs Fisher. He doesn’t know anything about his past, his parents or why he was left here. When Lucas and his friends all start to experience the same bizarre dream, they realise that their lives are going to be affected in some way. When each of them starts demonstrating strange powers, Lucas and his friends know that they are no longer be safe at Peregrine House and that they have been given these powers for a reason. To find the solution, they have to listen to the strange voice that calls to Lucas, for it may be that this strange voice can be the only one that can give them the safety they are desperately seeking.

Fortune’s Child was a strange yet very gripping book. It captures the attention of the reader and makes you want to find out the ending. Whether or not Lucas and his friends find what they are looking for. It’s strange in a good way and it’s different from other books, which is why I think I found it so good. I would definitely recommend that you give this book a chance. Once you start reading it, you may find you aren’t able to stop.

Published in 2010 in Great Britain by
ISBN: 978-1-4452-6168-3

Fortune''s Child Book

New book title looks at GWR and the age of steam in Mid Devon.

If you are keen on the age of steam and also a reader of books, we have news of a brand new title that may be of interest. "The Tiverton Museum Railway Collection" by Amyas Crump is an extremely interesting volume. Published to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the "Tivvy Bumper" locomotive - a full size former GWR locomotive that once operated on the now defunct branch lines to the Mid-Devon town of Tiverton.
Mr Crump's book contains plans, photographs and documents from the Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life and private collections along with excellent commentary by Crump. Of particular interest are the excerpts from the notebook used by the engineer responsible for the building of the Exe Valley Railway. The notebook is, along with the "Tivvy Bumper" itself, an exhibit in the museum but examination of it in this detail has never before been an option for railway enthusiasts. We would highly recommend the books to anyone interested in railway or local history. Priced at £10.00, the book is published by Kevin Robertson under the Noodle Books imprint and is available from Tiverton Museum and selected booksellers.
We understand that all proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated by Mr Crump to the Tiverton Museum - a worthy cause and well worth a visit if you are ever in Mid Devon. will be offering a signed copy of the book soon - so look out for the listing!!

Tiverton Museum Railway CollectionTiverton Museum Railway CollectionTiverton Museum Railway Collection

Book review - "FREEDOM'S LAND" by Anna Jacobs.

Well, our intrepid book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, ran out of books to read this week !! Tempted to return to her father's stash of Clive Cussler thrillers, she decided that she had read enough of them and went in search of new material. What did she find? Here is her latest review:

"Freedom’s Land" by Anna Jacobs.

Norah’s life hasn’t been easy. After her husband dies in WW1, she loses her job and struggles to support herself and her daughter. Andrew’s wife has died and he wants to start a new life with his two sons.

The Australian government are offering a free piece of land to farm to all ex-servicemen. However, this scheme is only being offered to families, so for Andrew to move to Australia, he must first find himself a wife. Brought together by a friend, Andrew and Norah decide to marry even though they barely know each other and the children are wary of each other. For Janie has never had to share Norah before, so she sees Andrew and his boys as a threat.
Australia offers them little of what they were promised, they are given land which first they must clear and prepare themselves. Norah and Andrew have to learn to rely on each other facing these new challenges and when nature threatens to take everything away from them, it is only then that they realise how lucky they are to have found each other.

Freedom’s Land is an remarkable tale of disappointment, struggles and determination. The strong use of emotions felt from many of the characters quickly draws you into the story and captivates you, making you want to read more. My favourite character has to be Norah because as her character develops, she shows how determined a woman can be. To try and make a better life for her and her daughter by giving up everything she knows, to move across the world with a man she hardly knows, starting her new life with a marriage of convenience, she continually amazes me. This book is an amazing and somewhat addictive read and one that I would recommend.

ISBN: 978-1-444-70575-1
First published in paperback in 2009.

Freedom''s Land Book

New Science Fiction book by Devon author.

Young fans of Science Fiction will, no doubt, be pleased to hear that local Devon author, Lee Austin, has just published a novel called "Fortune's Child". Inspired by his own love of the genre and the fact that he remembers a distinct lack of Sci-Fi aimed at young readers during his youth, Lee decided to write his own novel.
We understand that the book is set locally in Exeter and on Dartmoor so, Lee hopes that it will particularly appeal to readers in the South West of England. The plot centres around Lucas Fortune, a 12-year-old orphan who tries to unravel the mystery surrounding his parents. Lucas himself possesses unique powers and is spoken to by a strange voice via his dreams. We have been in touch with Lee and are hoping to bring further news of the book and, maybe, a review at some stage in the near future. If you would like to know more in the meantime, you will find Lee's website of interest.
Happy reading!

Book review - "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris

So, when you read a book that has also hit the "silver screen" as a film, do you normally prefer the book or the film version? Most of us appear to have an opinion on this subject. Indeed, we have seen some pretty fierce arguments over which is prefered. Our intrepid book reviewer, Becky Cleaver has just finished a book that has also been made into a film - what were her thoughts on this popular work? Find out now:

"Chocolat" by Joanne Harris.

Lansquenet, a small village in France. A village, that takes religion and the idea of Lent very seriously. When strangers, Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk come to Lansquenet, Father Reynaud sees them as an immediate threat.
Tension between Vianne and Reynaud escalates into a war as lent begins and Vianne opens a chocolate shop. Reynaud does everything in his power to ‘protect his congregation’ from the danger of giving in to chocolate and breaking Lent traditions.
Vianne offers the people of Lansquenet a place to come to share problems, make friends and achieve your most secret dreams. Reynaud sees her as someone who will corrupt the people of Lansquenet with her weird ways and believes he is the only one who can stop her.

Joanne Harris gives the reader an insight to the life of a small French town, the humour and the challenges met by individual people going about their everyday lives. One good thing about this book is the way that alternative chapters are told by both Vianne and Reynaud which gives the different prospective of the two different sides. However, in my opinion, Chocolat wasn’t what I would call a gripping book. Although it contained large amounts of humour, for me it didn’t contain enough of a storyline to keep the reader interested. Also, the book didn’t end in the way I imagined.  The book contained many small different storylines within the book and when it ended, I felt like some of these weren’t completed.

ISBN: 0-552-99893-1
This edition published by Black Swan in 2000. Originally published by Doubleday in 1999.

Guess she didn't like it as much as the film, then?

Chocolat Book

Book buyer's comments.

We at really appreciate feedback. It isn't that we only want positive comments, rather that we welcome any feedback from the purchases of our books. Feedback helps us to provide the titles and service that our will keep our customers coming back. Unfortunately, you book lovers seem to be a reserved bunch (no offence intended) and we very rarely receive comments on transactions. It is, therefore, rather nice to have received an e-mail in the last couple of days from one of our recent book buyers. We publish it here in it's entirety:

"The book I ordered (Crafts of the Countryside) arrived today. It is fantastic. I'm currently curator of the museum in Market Lavington where the author E. J. Stowe lived and worked (he was headmaster of the village school). It seemed to me that this was a book we should have in the collection and I already spot various mentions of local craftsmen. Thanks very much for the efficient, prompt and courteous way in which you have operated.

Best wishes

R. F."

After a brief exchange of e-mails. R. F. was kind enough to add the following comments as well:

"I really was pleased with the service and book. I might add that your copy worked out much cheaper than either of two others I found on line and it seemed to me your description of condition sounded honest - you didn't puff it up as being pristine."

We would like to thank R. F. very much for allowing us to use the comments on our website. If any readers are interested in museums, the Market Lavington Museum website is well worth a look (as we are sure the museum itself is too!!).

Apologies for "blowing our own trumpet" - but, if we don't, we doubt anyone else will! Please keep sending us feedback - positive or negative. Your opinions are always welcome.

Book review - "TOMORROW'S MEMORIES" by Audrey Howard. seems to be quite relevant for the new "spring" season (though we wish the weather was rather more spring-like!!). Our keen young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has obviously been inspired to read another romance. Was this book to her liking? Find out here:

"Tomorrow’s Memories" by Audrey Howard.

Sally Grimshaw has only ever known how to be the landlady of the Grimshaw Arms, a respectable Inn that she has lived in her entire life. When her brother gambles away the inn to Richard Keene, she now can either serve Keene or turn away from her pub and start a new life.
Sally starts to rely upon a friend, Adam Cooper. On arriving at his home with the idea of becoming his housekeeper, she is shocked when she discovers that what he really wants is for her to be his wife.

Through his proposal, Sally learns to be loved by someone who comes to realise too late how much he really needs her. For when a person from Adam’s past threatens the happiness of his new life with Sally, only then does Sally learn the true meaning of lost love and betrayal.
Sally’s happy life is shattered and is replaced with misery and despair. But she soon realises what she has lost and that she must fight for the life that she lost and the people that she loves.

This book is a typical romantic novel, including a complicated love story with many unexpected twists. I loved this book. I found that once I had started I wasn’t able to stop myself as the vast amount of description and emotions kept my attention until the last page.
The one thing I would have to say was bad about it was the beginning. For me, it included too much description about the inn itself and how it was run. It was only when more of the main characters were introduced that the story started to improve.

Tomorrow''s Memories Book

Book review: "Vixen 03" by Clive Cussler.

Our prolific reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been raiding her father's bookshelves for thrillers again! What did she think of this one? Read on........

"Vixen 03" by Clive Cussler.

In January 1954 Major Vylander and his team are assigned a top-secret mission over the South Pacific. When none of the crew or transport plane Vixen 3 can be found, it is believed that they were lost at sea. However, Vixen 3 mission was classified as top secret because the plane was carrying a lethal substance, a quick death virus, capable of wiping out millions of lives.
In 1988, this lost substance comes back to haunt the world and there is only one man who can stop it. Dirk Pitt.  Someone who has to overcome the many problems involved with stopping this deadly substance. Because he knows the consequences, was he to fail.
The book flips between two very different stories, Dirk’s being the dominant one but the second is on a civil war that is brewing in South Africa

For me, Vixen 3 was an ok book compared to other books written by Clive Cussler.  Throughout the book, I didn’t feel that there was enough of a storyline to keep the reader fully entertained and also that there were too many characters, it made me confused sometimes. The best part for me had to be the ending as it was probably the only part of the book that includes a lot action and suspense, which would keep the reader interested.

ISBN: 978-0-7515-0589-4
First published in Great Britain in 1978. Republished three times in 2009.

Vixne 03 Book

Book review: "The Cleaner" by Brett Battles

Our intrepid book reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been sampling thrillers again. So what did she think of this slightly "different" thriller?

"The Cleaner" by Brett Battles.

Jonathan Quinn is ‘The Cleaner’.  Someone who disposes of bodies or unwanted evidence. But his latest job will change everything for him as secrets from his past will come back to haunt him.

One simple job. To investigate a mysterious death. But when some of his colleagues from ‘The Office’ get assassinated, Quinn knows he has got himself into something a lot more complicated. Quinn now has only two people he can rely on, his assistant Nate and Orlando, someone from his past who isn’t as willing to assist Quinn to crack the case. Somehow, Quinn has to find out why someone wants him killed and whether it is linked to something bigger, a case that is about to take place in Berlin and threatens a large group of people.

Brett Battles’s book contains everything a good thriller should include. Secrecy, betrayal, revenge, car chases and a story that will keep you entertained throughout the whole book.
The one bad thing I would have to say about this book is that although the story is good, I was expecting it to have a brilliant ending. For me, the cleaner doesn’t have this. Throughout the book, the storyline becomes more dramatic and you expect an ending that is of the same quality. In my opinion, the last few chapters should complete a story but for me, the cleaner doesn’t do this.

ISBN: 978-1-84809-007-1
First published in the UK by Preface Publishing in 2008.

The Cleaner Book

Book review - "ODD THOMAS" by Dean Koontz.

Becky Cleaver, our avid young reviewer, has been busy once again. This time, she has been reading a book that we lent her and have read ourselves; "ODD THOMAS" by Dean Koontz. We thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it absolutely riveting. A great read that was really different and very captivating - what you might call a "page-turner". What did Becky think of it ? Read on to find out:

"Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz.

How do you go about solving a murder in just one day?

When Odd Thomas is given this task, many problems stand in his way. He discovers the main suspect dead in his flat and realises this case is far more complicated than he first thought. Odd is nervous. He wants to protect his town, his girlfriend and everyone he knows from something he doesn’t even know if he can stop from happening.
Odd, though, has a secret. He has a ‘sixth sense’, which lets him see people who have died and he believes that this might just be the help he needs to solve the murder. He knows that time is working against him. The book starts on August 14th. The murder is set for August 15th. Odd has less than 24 hours to solve the case.

For the entire book to be based around just one day makes it an unusual but gripping read. Unexpected events continually appear throughout the whole book, which is what made me feel that once I started reading it, I wasn’t able to put it down. After finishing it, I believe it is one of the best crime/murder books I have ever read. It is different from your normal murder/crime novels, which is why I think that it is one book everyone should read.

Odd Thomas Book

Book review - "Ferney" by James Long

Well, our superb young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, is back amongst the romances again. We feel there may be an emerging theme here!! Though we are sure Becky will put us right. The latest offering is:

"Ferney" by James Long.

Ferney contains a love story that evades time itself, a love affair like no other.
This book contains a very complex and to start with, confusing story but after a couple of chapters you find you are not able to put it down as you want to unlock the secrets behind this love story, A very appealing read.

Mike and Gally are a typical happily married couple. Yet Gally is restless. She wishes to move away from the city to somewhere deep within the countryside. When they find the ideal little cottage deep in Somerset, they believe they now have everything they could ever want.

Everything is perfect in their new house, until the meet Ferney, an old man who seems to know the entire history of Gally’s new house. As she gets to know him, Gally soon realises that there is a connection between them, though they have only just met. Haven’t they?

Ferney has a secret, something he has had to live with for over fifty years. Gally is at the heart of this secret which Ferney has to make her understand before he dies. He has to make her understand their relationship, something that has been tested against time and even death itself…

ISBN: 978-0-7515-3885-4
First published in 1998 by HarperCollins Publishers, this edition published in 2008 by Sphere.

Ferney Book

Book review - "Before I Die" by Jenny Downham

Becky Cleaver, our avid young reader and reviewer has been busy once again. This time she has been reading:

"Before I Die" by Jenny Downham.

This book really highlights the good points of being alive and making the most out of your life. It shows you a mixture of emotions, the fear of dying to the happiness of being alive. It’s a truly moving novel, one that I believe you shouldn’t miss reading.

Tessa is only sixteen when she is told that she has only a few more months to live. She’s dying from cancer and so when she is told this news, she wants to make the most of the time she has left.

She makes a list, ten things she wants to do with her best friend. But getting the things you want most in life isn’t always easy and can sometimes end in trouble. Unexpected events can sometimes become the most important. Ten things. Tessa wants them all done before she feels ready enough to die. Learn to drive, Get her parents back together, fall in love, But the clock is working against her and Tessa soon has to make the most important decision of all…

ISBN: 978-1-862-30487-1
First published in Great Britain by David Fickling Books in 2007.

Before I die Book

An inventive way to recycle books in the South West

We wouldn't wish to make anyone part with their book collection. In fact, we hope most people keep adding to theirs!! However, there comes a time in most people's collection when the volume of books just becomes too difficult to cope with and something has to give. Or maybe a new collecting or reading subject becomes the order of the day. So how do you dispose of those titles that are now surplus to requirements? There are lots of choices. Sell to a book dealer like us, give them to charity shops or friends and relatives, recycle them, swap them, sell them via the internet or the classifieds. Most of us plump for a mixture of solutions. If you want your surplus books to help both charity and the environment and you live in either the Exeter or Brighton areas, you should be getting in touch with Book-Cycle. We love this idea and the philosophy behind it. New, innovative and deserving of your support........well, we believe so anyway! We wish the project the best of luck for the future.

"Plague Ship" by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul. Book review.

Our keen young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, obviously liked her first taste of Clive Cussler as she has been reading another of his thrillers. You can read her review below. Becky tells us that she has had enough of reading thrillers and crime fiction now so who knows what she will be reviewing next !! Here are her thoughts on "Plague Ship":

"Plague Ship" by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul.

The Oregon is a ship like no other. The outside appearance is that of a rundown ship while inside it is fitted out with the latest technology that helps it complete the many missions the Oregon and its crew are sent on.

After completing its latest mission the captain, Cabrillo, is set on taking it easy. His plans change when they come across, what looks to be a deserted cruise ship. On further inspection, Cabrillo discovers that the ship isn’t deserted. Dead bodies are found covering the deck and there are many more inside the ship. Only one person has survived and Cabrillo risks his own life to see that this person is saved.

Cabrillo then sets his team the task of finding out the truth behind the mystery. It takes him to many countries to discover what he is up against. A rivalry group with deadly plans that they believe can save the human race. But can Cabrillo stop them? Time is running out…

A gripping book filled with action and suspense. It’s the kind of book that keeps you engrossed until the very last page. I would recommend you to read it, when you do, you may find you won’t be able to stop.

Published in 2008 by BCA, An imprint of penguin books.

Plague Ship Book

Latest Book Review - "Tunnel Rats" by Stephen Leather

Our prolific young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been reading another thriller. All of a sudden, her dad's book shelves seem to be providing plenty of new material !! No doubt it makes a change from having her nose buried in textbooks. What did she think of her latest read ? Find out now:

"Tunnel Rats" by Stephen Leather.

How can you solve a crime when you must first face your biggest fear? Nick Wright is a detective stuck in this impossible situation.

Two deaths. One on Bangkok the other in London. The only thing linking these two murders is a simple playing card, the ace of spades.
Nick Wright is one of the officers trying to crack this unusual double killing. Any suspects linked to this case mysteriously seem to die before they can be of any help. Nick has to travel Vietnam to find the answers he desperately is looking for. He must discover the history of the Tunnel Rats, the people who fought the most dangerous war against the Vietcong down in the Vietnam tunnels. But when the murder count starts to rise, his discoveries put him in grave danger, as the killer is willing to protect the secrets of the past at whatever cost…

I believe "Tunnel Rats" contained everything a thriller book should contain, secrets, deceit and revenge. Stephen Leather’s many descriptions of the conditions in the Vietnam tunnels captures the imagination of the reader and helps you to picture in your mind, what they may have been like for the soldiers who used them.
The only downside to this book for me was that I felt that there were too many characters, mainly policemen involved. It made it hard for me to remember the differences between each of them.

First published in Great Britain in 1997. This edition published in 2005 by Hodder and Stoughton.

Tunnel Rats Book

Book review: "The Chase" by Clive Cussler

Becky Cleaver's exams are over and, true to form, she's back reading fiction again !! Here is her latest review (not an author she would normally choose it has to be said):

"The Chase" by Clive Cussler

In April 1950, a rusting steam engine is brought to the surface of the Montana Lake. Inside, there are the remains of four bodies who died 45 years ago. The Chase tells the story of how this event came about.

Its 1906 and the Butcher Bandit is at large, robbing banks and taking the lives of many people who could be used as witnesses against him. He does this, without showing any kind of regret or remorse and after each robbery, he simply vanishes into thin air.
Isaac Bell, a detective that never fails in completing any case is brought in to deal with the Butcher Bandit. But he has never had this much of a challenge before. For not only is there any evidence left to follow, but time is working against Bell because he knows soon the Bandit can and will strike again. Bell’s journey takes him from one side of America to the other, only to find that he has been outwitted yet again. Yet, through each failure, Bell learns a little more about how the bandit thinks and believes he may just be able to catch him. But, soon the tables are turned. Now Bell must use all of his skill to stay alive as the Bandit becomes increasingly dangerous as Bell becomes the Bandit’s next target.

As this is the first book I have ever read by Clive Cussler, I was doubtful whether I would actually enjoy it because I normally don’t really read crime novels. However, I surprised myself by enjoying it. It is the kind of book that will keep you engrossed until the very last pages…

This edition was published in 2007 by BCA by arrangement with Penguin Group.

The Chase Book

First book review of 2010

A very Happy New Year to all our customers and friends!!

Becky Cleaver has sent her first book review of 2010. Another example of Becky's varied taste:

"The Elephant Whisperer" by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence.

Lawrence Anthony is the owner of game reserve called Thula Thula, situated in South Africa. When he was asked to adopt a herd of elephants, in his mind he wanted to refuse. However, Lawrence was the herd’s only chance for survival, if he turned them down, they would be killed. Before they were moved, the elephants escaped from their old home and the matriarch and her baby were shot. When the rest of the herd arrived in Thula Thula, they were in shock and were angry.

This true story tells you about one man trying to make a difference. Lawrence believed that if he could get the herd to bond with just one person, he believed he would be able to save them from being killed by poachers or park rangers. This book shows you the aim of one man who wasn’t going to give up and throughout his struggle to succeed in what he believed in, he learnt valuable lessons about loyalty and freedom from the elephants themselves.

For me, this book was a very moving read and you learn from it the harsh reality of life, that bad things can really happen even when you are trying your hardest to do the right thing. I think this book would appeal to anyone, as it is a truly inspiring and unforgettable read.

The Elephant Whisperer Book

Season Greetings would like to wish all their customers a Very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We hope to continue providing you with the books you want at prices you are pleased to pay.

Final book review of 2009: "Persuasion" by Jane Austen

Our young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has just sent us her final review of 2009. We would like to say a very big THANK YOU to Becky for her superb reviews. Taking the time to share her thoughts on whatever she reads is quite a commitment.
Please don't forget that ULoveBooks welcomes reviews from anyone - and regarding books on any subject. Why not share your latest reading experience? Simply submit your review together with a Jpeg photograph of the front cover to We look forward to publishing your review !
Anyway, back to Becky's latest read. This time it is a classic:

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen

Persuasion is the last finished novel by Jane Austen. My favourite quote from the book is ‘There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison’. It truly shows the amount of emotion, especially love that can be felt between two people.

I can’t really tell you a lot about this book without giving away the whole story. It’s about two people Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth and how, at a young age, they fall in love and get engaged. When a friend persuades Anne that this is a bad match, she breaks off the engagement and breaks the young man’s heart. Eight years later, they meet again but Frederick still feels resentment towards Anne. Both have received attention from other people and it is only after so many years, they realise how much love they felt for each other. But has too much time passed? Have their characters changed too greatly? And is happiness about to escape them again…

The book shows how people can regret the actions that they may take. It also shows how people truly view each other and how opinions can change depending on the decisions they take.

I really enjoyed this book. More than I thought I would. And I would recommend it anyone. If you give this book a chance, it can really capture your imagination and make you want to find out how the love story ends.

Persuasion Book

Book review: "The Adoption" by Dave Hill

Our thanks to Becky Cleaver for yet another book review. She really is a star !! Her latest review is here:

"The Adoption" by Dave Hill

The Adoption tells the story of one family and the changes that have to be made when a new family member joins them. This is a moving story that gives you a good idea of how much of a struggle parenthood can really be at times. A novel that makes one message very clear, the type of childhood and family people have, make them the kind of person they are in later life.

Jane is a happily married woman with three children. After longing for a child that nature fails to give her, Jane and her husband decide to adopt. But Jody isn’t what they were expecting. When Jody first arrives into their household, quiet and withdrawn into her own world, not only do Jane and Darren have to balance looking after their own three children but now have to make Jody will feel excepted as one of the family. But looking after Jody isn’t as simple as it should be, Jane soon realises that Jody’s past is something of a mystery. How can she care for someone that has been abandoned and now doesn’t want to enjoy life?

I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy this book when I first started reading it. After a few chapters, however, it captured my attention. It really did demonstrate the range of emotions that can be felt by one person very well. And it was this which made me want to finish the book to find out how it ended.

First published in 2006 by HEADLINE BOOK PUBLISHING.
ISBN: 0-7553-2632-6

The Adoption Book

Book review: "Rose Alley" by Audrey Howard.

Becky Cleaver's latest review:

"Rose Alley" by Audrey Howard.

‘Rich or Poor, you can’t escape your destiny’

Rose Alley is one of Liverpool’s worst slums and living within it, a dodgy neighbourhood. This is where Queenie is trying to raise her child Gillyflower. Queenie only wants the best for Gilly but without a good education, society can be cruel. Queenie dreams that one day Gilly will make her proud, go to a good school, run her own shop and marry her sweetheart Jem.

But dreams don’t always become reality. Fate interferes with Gilly’s life and changes her destiny. When the charm’s of one of the richest young men catches Gilly’s eye, Jem now must fight for the woman he loves. An enemy from Gilly’s past is determined to ruin her future and everything she is trying to achieve. Gilly must now decide what path in life she is going to take and accept the consequences that comes with it…

Rose Alley tells the story of a complicated love triangle but also a story of loss, hatred and acceptance. As I had never read Audrey Howard before this, I found I really enjoyed the way she wrote and found this book really gripping to read, as each chapter is different in revealing the unexpected.

First published in Great Britain in 2006 by Hodder and Stoughton.
ISBN: 978-0-340-92137-1

Rose Alley Book

Book review: "The Butterfly Box" by Santa Montefiore

"The Butterfly Box" by Santa Montefiore.

This moving book tells the story of one girl whose life is turned upside down when her father leaves. The story captures your imagination from the contrast of the hot country of Chile to the cold edges of England.

Federica Campione loves her father more than anyone else. Although Ramon is a traveller, each time he returns, her attention turns to only him. One day, he presents her with the butterfly box, something that will stay with her throughout the entire story.
When Ramon and Helen’s marriage breaks down, Frederica and her brother Hal are forced to move away from their home in Chile and move back to Helen’s home in Cornwall. The only link Frederica has with her father is the butterfly box and the memories it contains. In Cornwall, she meets the Appleby family and soon becomes friends with Molly and Hester. But she also begins to fall in love with Sam, the Appleby’s oldest son.
As the years go by, Federica feels alone and insecure. She marries the controlling Torquil Jenson and takes her years of being unhappily married to escape the prison that is now her life. Sam realises the one person he actually has ever loved may be lost to him forever and Federica finally learns the true lesson held within the butterfly box…

A story of an old fashioned romance that you can really enjoy within the depths of this book’s pages. A very enjoyable read.

The Butterfly Box Book

Book review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been busy again. Two reviews from Becky this time. First is a recommendation from us and second is a contrasting choice by Becky herself:

"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew has everything he needs, a job, a home and a fiancé. After one simple act of kindness, he gets the opportunity to experience what lies beneath the streets of London Above, a parallel city like no other. For here is a place for the people who have fallen through the cracks. A city dominated by monsters, murderers, angels and saints.

Richard Mayhew must help his companion, Door, to unlock the mystery that led to her family being murdered. But there are many obstacles standing in their way. A mysterious employer sends Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar, both murderers and evil beings, on the trail of Door and Richard. The Marquis of Carabas and the Angel Islington, are they beings that Richard and Door can truly trust? Only after all the secrets have been discovered, is there any chance that Richard can return to London Above and the life that he once took for granted…

Neverwhere transports the reader to another world. By naming two of the characters, Angel Islington and Old Bailey after places located within London, is something that I liked about the book, as it made sure that the book always had some link to London itself. Neil Gaiman uses a wide range of description, which captures the reader’s imagination and keeps you entertained until the very last page. A top read.

First published in Great Britain in 1996 by BBC Books. First published in paperback in Great Britain in 2000.
ISBN: 978-0-7553-2280-0

Neverwhere Book

Book review: "The Divide" by Nicholas Evans

Young book reviewer Becky Cleaver has been busy once again. This time, she has been engrossed in a volume by the author of "The Horse Whisperer":

"The Divide" by Nicholas Evans.

Nobody can change the past. Nobody can change past decisions. Nobody can change the consequences…

Ben and Sarah were a happily married couple, with two children. When Ben decides to leave his family for another women, all four people realise that nothing will ever be as it once was. Nobody believed that anything else could destroy them as much as Ben’s decision to leave.

So when Abbie’s life is turned upside down again for being wanted for a murder and acts of terrorism that she didn’t commit, not only must she now leave her broken family but also the life she once enjoyed living. Ben and Sarah must now put aside their differences to help their child.
When Abbie’s body is discovered in the ice of a remote mountain creek, their lives once again are changed, as their devastation for their loss is indescribable. All they want to know now is how Abbie died and what events took place before her death to lead her so dreadfully astray…

The divide takes you on a journey of emotions, from betrayal to forgiveness, from love to loss. This book takes you from the busy streets of New York to the green spacious lands of the West.
It tells an unforgettable story of how much pain we can inflict on our loved ones even if we think we are doing the right thing and how after making one wrong decision, how the people left behind can suffer for a very long time afterwards.
I would recommend this book as I found it an amazing read.

First published in Great Britain in 2005 by Bantam Press.
This paperback edition published in 2006 by Time Warner Books.
ISBN: 0-7515-3934-1

The Divide Book

Book Review: "City of the Beasts" by Isabel Allande

Becky has been busy again (between studies, of course!). Here is her latest review:

"City of the Beasts" by Isabel Allande.

Alex Cold doesn’t think his life could get any worse. When his mother has to go into hospital, Alex is sent to stay with grandmother Kate, an old reporter who only enjoys drinking and smoking to pass the time.

When Kate is sent on the trail of a story into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, instead of changing her plans, she decides to take Alex along with her. Joining Kate on her expedition, are two photographers, a scientist, two translators, Nadia a translator’s daughter, six soldiers and a doctor. Once in the Amazon, it’s not long before strange events start to take place. Stories start to reach the small party of local Indians nicknamed The People of the Mist, believed to be very dangerous and able to control beasts that that can kill you before you even see them.

As these beasts kill some of the soldiers, Alex and Nadia try to find out the truth. Not only are they kidnapped by the People of the Mist, they also come face to face with these legendary beasts. Alex and Nadia soon realise that the stories told about these creatures aren’t completely true, only told to help protect the People of the Mist. For they are the ones in real danger and Alex and Nadia must complete two tasks to try and save them before its too late…

City of the Beasts tells a story of an adventure like no other. Although, the story could be interesting at times and also included an ending that I wasn’t expecting, I felt that sometimes, it didn’t feel like much was happening. With the book containing over 400 pages, I felt that the book should have included a more gripping storyline to keep the reader fully interested.

City of the Beasts Book

Book review: "Voyage of the Damned"

On a rather less light-hearted subject, this review looks at a non-fiction volume recording events just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War:

"Voyage of the Damned" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts.

Truth is often stranger than fiction and this book really does make you wonder! The book tells the harrowing story of 937 Jews who left Hamburg harbour on 13th May, 1939 aboard the luxury liner St Louis. The ship was one of the last to leave Nazi Germany prior to the outbreak of World War Two. Some of the Jewish passengers had already been in concentration camps and they all believed that they had bought valid visas to enter Cuba. "Voyage of the Damned" charts the journey of the ship as it became a pawn of the Nazi propaganda machine and the victim of cold-blooded corruption.

Not a cheery subject possibly but it certainly is interesting. Much of the material for the book was from first hand accounts of those who were on the ship. It provides a rather unique perspective of the almost unbelievable experiences people went through during the Second World War, experiences that modern generations in Western Europe would be unable to endure I suspect. Read it only when you are feeling good about life - but, do read it!

"Voyage of the Damned" first published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1974.
Our copy published in paperback by Coronet Books in 1976.

Voyage of the Damned Book

Book review: "Duma Key" by Stephen King

Time for one of our own reviews!

"Duma Key" by Stephen King.

A psychological horror by the king of the genre (no pun intended), "Duma Key" was a recent holiday read. Having read quite a few of King's books in the past ("The Stand" still being one of my favourites) but, not quite being a seasoned fan I was recommended "Duma Key" by my brother. The book tells the story of Edgar Freemantle, self-made construction company owner. Freemantle is badly injured in a freak accident and suffers physically and mentally as a result. He decides to rent a beach house on Duma Key, Florida to recuperate. Reviving an old hobby of sketching to aid his recovery, quickly becomes almost an obsession - an obsession with dark overtones in his new location.

What struck me about the book was the major development as King as a writer. The book was less "raw" than older novels, the characters more developed and the shocks less gory (though no less effective for it at all). King has always produced horror that is difficult to put down and this book was no different. I managed to read it in just three days even though it is quite large. Quite how King keeps uncovering subjects that pick at everyone's deepest fears, I don't know but, I guess that is why he is a successful author of horror fiction and I am not!!! I would certainly recommend "Duma Key" to anyone.

Duma Key by Stephen King

Book review: The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill

Here is Becky Cleaver's second review for today - we hope you find it interesting:

"The Icemark Chronicles" by Stuart Hill

The Cr
The Cry of the Icemark Booky of the Icemark starts with the story of fourteen-year-old Thirrin Lindenshield. After her father, the king, is killed in battle, the role of defending her country now falls to her. Her small country is about to be invaded by one of the largest armies her country has ever faced, led by a fearsome general from the south. The only way she can survive this war is by making allies with vampires, Wolf-folk and giant snow leopards. However, her most important ally and friend is Oskan, someone who she soon realises she can’t live without. After a ferocious battle, Thirrin leads her army to victory and the Icemark lives in peace.

Blade of Fire is based 20 years after the Icemark defeated the general from the south. He is out for revenge and once again, marches on the Icemark. Thirrin, Oskan and their five d
etermined children now once again, march to war. But not all of the royal children are ready. Medea, has inherited her fathers gift of sight but instead of following in her father’s footsteps and using it to help, she meddles with the darkness of it and starts poisoning the family. Sharley, the youngest and child can’t take part in the war and so is exiled with the civilians to the far south of the country. But it is foretold that he will return to the Icemark with a blade of fire. Can Sharley really live up to this prophecy?

Last Battle of the Icemark tells the story of M
edea. After her father banishes her to the spirit world, Medea is out for revenge and wants to punish the people that were once her family. She allies herself with the leader of the spirit world and together they create an army of restless souls and demons, with only one purpose, to destroy. This time the Icemark and its allies must once again march to war to cleanse the land of the creations from the darkness. But it is in this final book that Oskan plays the main part, as it is only him that can destroy Medea once and for all. But does he have it in him to kill the daughter that he once loved?

The first two books tell a remarkable story of how powerful the true meaning of friendship can be. The wide use of description captures the reader’s attention as you can visualize the allies and large battle scenes. Although the last book completes any unfinished storylines, I didn’t really enjoy it as much. It mainly just contained the problem of war that I felt had already been done in enough detail in the first two books so was hoping for a different story in the last one to really bring the chronicles to an end.
Cry of the Icemark ISBN: 1-904442-60-9,
First published in Great Britain in 2005
Blade of Fire ISBN: 1-904442-88-9
First published in Great Britain in 2006
Last battle of the Icemark ISBN: 978-0-905294-70-1
First published in Great Britain in 2008

Book review: "Connections" by Sheila O'Flanagan

The first of two book reviews being posted today from our young reviewer, Becky Cleaver. It sounds as though Becky has been reading even more quickly than usual in anticipation of an imminent return to college and some slightly less appealing reading material. Hope all goes well, Becky.

Here's Becky's first review:

"Connections" by Sheila O’Flanagan

White Sands is a holiday resort located in the Caribbean. With plenty of sun, sea and sand, many find this a place to go to relax and forget their troubles.
Corinne is a thriller-writer. After coming to White Sands with writers block, so soon realises that the people staying within the hotel have given her plenty of storylines for next book. Jennifer has come to the resort to get married, the weather is gorgeous and she has the man of her dreams. Only when an unexpected guest turns up does she realise that her wedding day could go from perfect to disastrous. Aidan is celebrating his anniversary with his wife but after being married for twenty-five years, he begins to wonder if his marriage is worth really saving. Rudy arrives for a rare holiday with his son, but his ex-wife isn’t very happy with him when she finds out where he has gone. Isobel has never been lucky with love. After walking away from her wedding day and a Spanish relationship, she comes to the Caribbean to forget her troubles. Its only when her past catches up with her, does she realise that the man she once loved, may have moved on with his life.

Connections is a very comical but touching read, as for each chapter you don’t know what to expect next. Through the interweaving stories you get an experience of the different situations within one holiday resort and how people’s lives are changed by the different choices that they may have to make.

First published in 2007 by Headline Review.
ISBN: 978-0-7553-2345-6

Connections Book

Book review: "The Map That Changed The World"

Our intrepid young reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has had a slight change of direction with her latest read. Delving into non-fiction for the first time (in terms of reviews at least). This is a book that we have also read and enjoyed:

"The Map that changed the World" by Simon Winchester.

"The Map that changed the World" tells the true story of William Smith, someone who was never rich or well connected but who had a love for fossils, rocks and geology in general.

His love for geology took him all over the country and it is after much studying that he decided to map the geology that makes up Britain as a country. His creation made him one of the most important people during the nineteenth century and his finds in geology were remarkable.

However, the years leading up to this creation being completed are hard and William suffered greatly. People that once supported his findings by donating large amounts of money became jealous and started to steal his earlier work, passing it off as theirs. His wife slowly turned mad and William found himself struggling for money, which later led him to the debtor’s prison.

Simon Winchester tells the story of William Smith through findings in history and through parts of Williams’s diary. It shows the struggles that can be faced by one man for over twenty years, the history of geology itself and the different levels of English society during the nineteenth century.

More importantly it shows how one man achieved his aim that was nearly taken from him due to so many problems and how William Smith produced the map that changed the way people viewed Britain forever.

ISBN: 0-140-28039-1
First published by Viking in 2001, also published by Penguin in 2002.

The Map That Changed The World Book

Book review - "The Story of Stone" by N. M. Browne

Our prolific reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been to the library again......and, as usual, has found the time to provide us with a synopsis of her latest read;

"The Story of Stone" by N.M.Browne

A book that tells two stories that interlink through one stone.
Nela’s father is a findsman, someone who dedicates their life to unlocking the secrets of the past. When he finds an unusual black stone, he thinks that the discovery made is very important but it is just a stone. However, when Nela touches it, memories are revealed of another life that occurred many years before.
This life contains Jerret, a chief’s son who strives to make his father proud. His family are the most important people to him, so when one of his brothers becomes ill, he changes the future by kidnapping a dark daughter of the night, someone who contains the power to heal any illness. Jerret kidnaps this person even though he is unaware that she is the owner of the black stone and it is her memories that are what Nela can feel.
Nela soon begins to realise that the feelings of power and love that are contained within the stone, can be linked to her life in many ways and makes her think that is was maybe fate that brought her and the stone together.

The story of stone tells the struggles and problems that all people are faced with throughout life and how lives can be affected from the choices those people make.

It is an unusual and gripping fantasy based story and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

ISBN: 0-7475-7702-1
Published in Great Britain in 2005 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

The Story of Stone Book

Royal Mail strike action

As many people in the UK will already know (but a lot of people outside the UK won't), the Royal Mail is currently the subject of National strike action. So far, this does not seem to have had too much effect on the service we provide to our customers........but, that may change. With this in mind, we would appreciate it if customers could let us know when ordering (or preferably before) if their order is time sensitive. That will allow us to investigate alternative postal services or make other arrangements.

Book Review - "ALIS" by Naomi Rich.

The latest book review from Becky Cleaver looks at "ALIS" by Naomi Rich. Seems that Becky is finding plenty of time to read on the bus (and we're very grateful).

"ALIS" by Naomi Rich.

‘Is love worth fighting for?’

Alis is just 15 when her parents come to her and tell her she is going to be married. Her new husband is their local minister and is over 40 years old. She is terrified about the marriage and whether it should even be allowed to take place.
She escapes her past by running away, firstly to another village where she meets Luke, a person who helps her to find the freedom that she has always wanted.  But when problems start to occur, once again Alis must flee, going to the city to find refuge with her lost brother. The city is dangerous and full of suffering and only memories of Luke can ease Alis’s pain.
So when news reaches her that Luke has died, Alis must make a decision. But will the decision she chooses be the right one, or does it have fatal consequences for everyone she has ever loved.

ALIS tells the story of trust and betrayal, the distress of a girl who has to choose between obedience and the freedom that she longs for. Naomi Rich emotionally draws the reader into the book and moves you deeply as you realise the amount of suffering that is faced by one girl.

ISBN: 978-1-84270-693-0
First printed in 2007 by Anderson Press Limited.

Alis Book

Book review - "The Fearful" by Keith Gray.

Apparently our avid young reader, Becky Cleaver, is now ploughing her way through the 'Teenage' and 'Horror' sections of Exeter Public Library!! At the rate she devours books, we can't help feeling that isn't going to take long. Anyway, here is her latest review:
"The Fearful" by Keith Gray.

‘For those who want to believe, no proof is needed. But for those who can’t believe, no evidence is enough’.

The legend of Moutonby town is that in 1699, William Milmullen and five of his pupils visited Lake Mou. William claimed that on that day, a creature rose out of the water and devoured the boys. A group of people at the time believed him and called themselves the Fearful.
Ever since the tragedy, the Milmullen family has protected the town. Tim is next in line to become the Mourner, the person who leads the Fearful and who can apparently keep this creature at peace. Tim wishes he knew whether or not the creature really existed or whether the creature is just a myth. However, if the creature is real, then according to legend, Tim is the only one who can stop the creature from killing again. But will Tim accept the job that has been laid out for him? Or does he wish that he could just make his own way in life…

The Fearful tells an unsettling and mysterious fantasy of old legends and terrifying creatures. It can be quite disturbing at times and includes an ending you might be expecting. However, if you enjoy dark and unexplained stories, I would recommend this book.

ISBN: 978-0-099-45656-8
Published in Great Britain by the Bodley Head in 2005, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

The Fearful Book

Book review - "The Vanished" by Celia Rees.

Our ace reviewer, Becky Cleaver, has been busy reading again. Thistime, a chiller that will keep you turning the pages.....

"The Vanished" by Celia Rees

‘Don’t go down into the woods today’. A warning told to every child, as mysterious things happen within the woods that can never be explained.
Fraser, Cassie and Jake run the school newspaper and gather together wierd stories from friends and teachers about unexpected incidents. All mention disturbing stories of children going missing and seven hidden steps that lead to a decaying underworld. Most stories also include information about a child called Billy, yet nobody knows where he lives or what he has to do with the incidents. All these stories are connected by the warnings of the wood. But many believe they are just that, stories, created as something to scare each other. This is until Jake’s sister goes missing…

A gripping storyline with a frightening atmosphere that is present throughout the whole book. A book with many unexpected twists and a very interesting read overall.

ISBN: 978-1-407110-60-8
First published in the UK by Scholastic Ltd in 1997.
Republished by Marion Lloyd Books in 2009.
The Vanished Book

Book review - "Eve and Her Sisters" by Rita Bradshaw

In spite of having plenty of college work to be getting on with, our young reviewer, Becky Cleaver has managed to provide some words on her latest read:

"Eve and her Sisters" by Rita Bradshaw

Three sisters, Eve, Nell and Mary live in comfort knowing that they are part of a loving family. When a mining accident kills the only family they have left, the three sisters realise that now all they have are each other. A kind neighbour takes them in. However, they soon have to leave after his affections for Mary become clear. After trying to find work and failing, it looks like Nell and Mary are destined for the workhouse. This is before a young innkeeper called Caleb Travis takes pity on them.
Eve is forever grateful towards Caleb for employing them and soon starts to fall in love with him. However, Caleb only has eyes for Mary and soon Eve feels she has to leave before it gets too painful for her. Only once she has gone does Caleb realise that the person he has always loved has left him, maybe for good. But will he able to win Eve back before its too late?

Eve and her Sisters tells the story of love and betrayal, hope and regret. It shows how one life can be changed by so many emotions and how hard you have to try to achieve what you want. A love story with many twists throughout.

First published in 2008 by BCA by arrangement with HEADLINE PUBLISHING.

Eve and Her Sisters Book

Book Review - "The Other Hand" by Chris Cleave

Becky Cleaver has been busy reading once again. Here, she shares her opinion on "The Other Hand" by Chris Cleave.

"The Other Hand" by Chris Cleave

Two women. One happily married with a little boy, the other a refugee from Nigeria. On a sunny day on a beach in Nigeria, both are brought together and they lives will never be the same again. This day haunts them both for two years, filling them both with regret and remorse. The story starts two years after this day where both women meet again. The story provides flash backs to tell you how they first meet and how one of them had to make a terrible choice. It tells you the story of how these two women have to get to know each other and how they both realise that they have become dependant on the support from the other person.

The Other Hand tells the story of trust and betrayal, life and death and shows how people can struggle to survive after terrible choices that they have had to make. Although the story was exciting and unpredictable, the story has two narrators, which sometimes made it confusing about who was speaking. Though once you have read this book, you won’t forget the powerful story that this book contains.

First published in Great Britain in 2008 by spectre. Published in paperback in 2009.
ISBN: 978-0-340-96342-5

The Other Hand Book

Book Review - "Marley and Me"

Yes, young reader Becky Cleaver has completed another volume:

"Marley and Me" by John Grogan


"Marley and Me" tells the story of a young married couple, John and Jenny Grogan. They decide to buy an adorable puppy to complete their happy lifestyle but what they got was Marley, an excitable and hyperactive puppy. They soon realise that the energetic Marley has invaded the peaceful lifestyle they once shared. Banished from obedience school, he soon deserves the title of world’s worst dog.

Yet, when the Grogan family continues to grow, Marley quickly adapts to many of the changes made. His family quickly come to realise that devotion comes in many different forms and that their bond with Marley will never be broken, even when they are at their wits end with his behaviour.


Marley and Me is a comical and emotional read which immediately engages the reader because it is based around a true story. It also shows the depth of trust and emotions shared between the human/animal bond. The author, John Grogan was the owner of the one and only Marley. It appeals to anyone who enjoys a moving and touching book. I would recommend it to anyone.

First published in Great Britain in 2006 by Hodder and Stoughton in paperback.

ISBN: 978-0-340-92210-1

Marley Book

Book review - a classic for a new generation.

Young reader, Becky Cleaver has been busy again. This time she has had her nose buried in a classic that we think every young person should read:

"The Diary Of A Young Girl" by Anne Frank

Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in July 1942 when the Jews started to become targeted by the Nazi’s. Whilst in hiding, Anne kept a diary and wrote many letters to Kitty, an imaginary friend who she could always confess her greatest fears and hopes to. "The Diary of a Young Girl" contains the letters that Anne Frank wrote for the two years that she was confined in the Secret Annexe. They describe the food shortages, the frustrations of living in a confined space and the fear of being discovered.

Anne’s diary became the most important thing in her life, as when she was older, she wanted to become a writer. The last letter is dated Tuesday 1st August 1994. Three days later, her family were discovered and she was separated from her parents and taken to Bergen–Belson concentration camp, where she died in March 1945.


This book tells the moving story of eight people and how their lives were forever changed by the Holocaust. Although Anne was just a teenager when she died, she achieved her dream of becoming a famous writer though the contents of her diary. I would recommend this book because it tells the true-life story of the emotions felt by an extraordinary teenage girl.


First published in Great Britain in 1997 by Viking but republished in 2002 by Puffin Books.


Anne Franks Diary Book

Book Review - The Riddles of Epsilon

Prolific young reader, Becky Cleaver, has come up trumps again with another book review to keep you reading. Becky says that her reading for pleasure will soon be slowing down a bit as she will be studying at College. Still, in the meantime, you can enjoy her latest offering (and a big thank you to Becky for continuing to submit reviews).

"The Riddles of Epsilon" by Christine Morton – Shaw.

The story starts with Jess, moving with her parents to the remote island of Lume. It is here that she finds an abandoned cottage in which she feels another presence. While exploring the cottage, she finds three locked boxes containing a mystery. The presence she feels is Epsilon, her guide who will help her understand the secrets contained within the boxes. But what she can’t work out is whether Epsilon is a guide who is actually helping her or whether he is using her to get what he needs. After finding a message that she has to translate, she realises that the past is repeating itself and that someone before her has already tried to resolve the mystery and failed. And as Jess is put under pressure, can she work it out in time?


Although the Riddles of Epsilon captures the reader’s attention with its dark and mysterious story, I felt that the book could get quite confusing at times and that you had to really concentrate to appreciate it completely.


Published in Great Britain by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2005.

ISBN: 0-00-719982-1

The Riddles of Epsilon Book

Don't forget......if you would like to write a review of your latest read (old, new, fiction or reference), just submit it to our email address Alternatively, you could just post it on the forum. We look forward to hearing from you.

Book review - Getting Personal by Chris Manby

Becky Cleaver has been busy reading again. Here's her latest review:

"Getting Personal" by Chris Manby


"Getting Personal" tells the story of three friends Ruby, Lou and Martin. They each have something in common, they are all lacking relationships for the upcoming summer. After a friend of theirs gets married after finding her husband in a personal ad, they decide that they will place ads for each other to find their friend’s perfect match. However, things don’t go to plan and after many disastrous dates, they all soon start to worry that they are getting old and that they will never find the person that is just right for them. When they all are about to give up and admit defeat on finding their ideal person, someone special comes along for each of them and Ruby, Lou and Martin begin to realise that being single isn’t always the best thing.


Getting personal is a light hearted and comical read and is perfect for anyone either worrying about being single or not finding the perfect person. Easily filling hours with disasters and achievements, I found it a comical and enjoyable read. J


ISBN: 0-340-81897-2

First published in Great Britain in 2002 by Hodder and Stoughton, Hodder Headlines.

Getting Personal

Debra Raymond Military Figures Open Day

Well, we're always trying to scale new heights in looking for quality books for our customers ! Actually, this climbing wall was one of the attractions to be found at the Debra Raymond Military Figures Open Day that we had a stand at on August 15th. It was an extremely interesting and enjoyable day where we met a number of new book lovers. The theme was quite obviously mainly military so, our stand was made up almost exclusively of books dealing with military themes. Also present were the Army Cadet Recruiting Team (who provided the climbing wall) and a number of people who were exhibiting military and war era vehicles and other world war two ephemera. An extremely interesting day all round. Debra Raymond Military Figures offer a comprehensive range of regimental ornaments and souvenirs as well as some of the best military model painting we have seen. Their website is well worth a visit if you are looking for regimental items and they are also easy to visit in person if you happen to be in the South West of England (their premise are literally 2 minutes from junction 28 of the M5 motorway).
Below are a few more pictures from the day.

The Twilight series book review.

The "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer has been incredibly popular in recent times, capturing the imagination of readers the world over. One of her local fans, Sarah Clayton, has written a review for that shares her passion for the series:

The "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer.


Stephenie Meyer is the well known author of the best selling novel "Twilight" with three other accompanying books "New Moon", "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn" with a possible sequel coming soon! The genres of her books is fantasy meets reality in her compelling love story between two teenagers.


Twilight starts with an ordinary girl called Bella Swan who is leaving sunny Phoenix and her mother behind to go and live with her dad in a rainy little town called Forks. Bella believes that this town has nothing to offer until one day at school she is struck by the pure beauty of her fellow class mates, the Cullens. They are the adopted children of the local doctor Carlisle Cullen and his wife Esme. They keep to themselves in the school, never daring to talk to anyone else as they are all paired off into couples except for one. That one is Edward Cullen. Something the town of Forks does not know is that these people are Vampires.


Edward has a special gift, which allows him to read other people’s minds and is taken aback when he cannot hear the thoughts of Bella Swan. The book is a love story between the lion and the lamb and follows them as they battle for their love against the not so good vampires who disrupt the gentle calm that Forks has to offer by feeding off the local resistance.


In the continuing stories, we see more of the people of La Push who are known from the old legends as Quileutes. As Bella’s world collapses when the love of her life Edward Cullen leaves her, she later leans on Jacob Black for support finding a strong relationship in the dark mist. However, in the unusual circumstances, Edward re-enters her life again thus making her feel like she must choose between him and Jacob Black while they both risk their lives to save her.


The story continues in Breaking Dawn as the consequences of her choice unravel, putting Bella’s life and the others in danger once more.


Stephenie Meyer really engages the reader by captivating you in this compelling love story making it compulsive late night reading as you fall madly in love with the characters.


Published in Great Britain in 2007 by Atom.

ISBN Twilight – 978-1-905654-37-6

ISBN New Moon – 978-1-904233-88-6

ISBN Eclipse – 978-1-904233-91-6

ISBN Breaking Dawn – 978-1-905654-28-4

Twilight Saga Book


Thank you to Sarah for taking the time to write this review. We hope it inspires you to give the "Twilight" series a go.

Book Review - The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse.

Our young book fanatic, Becky Cleaver has been busy reading yet another volume - and here is her verdict:


"The House at Midnight" by Lucie Whitehouse.


"The House at Midnight" tells the story of Jo and her group of friends. When her best friend Lucas inherits Stoneborough Manor after his uncle’s sudden death, he and his friends spend many weekends there, escaping from their busy lives in London.


However, Jo is the only one who is uncomfortable about staying there. She feels like she is constantly being watched and that an atmosphere is building within the house. Lucas can’t seem to accept his uncle’s death and friendships are put to the test when secrets are revealed from their past. They all soon begin to realise that their lives have been changed forever by staying within the manor.


The House at Midnight is a gripping story about well kept secrets and changing friendships. The emotional and dramatic story draws the reader in and keeps you entertained until the last page. J


ISBN Number: 978-0-7475-9625-7.

Publisher: Paperback copy printed in 2009 by Bloomsbury publishing plc.

The House at Midnight Book

Two more books reviews.......

The first review comes from our young book reviewer, Becky Cleaver:

"The Smoke Jumper" by Nicholas Evans.


Based in America, it tells the story of two smoke jumpers, Connor Ford a photographer and Ed Tully a musician, who are best friends and believe that nothing will ever come between them. This is before Ed meets Julia. She changes the way that both men view the world and wins the love of not only Ed but also Connor. After a terrible fire involving all three characters, their lives are changed forever, as Julia must choose between Ed and Connor, though she loves them both. It causes a rift between the once best friends and leaves Connor wanting to go off around the world and photograph the worst wars and suffering, no longer caring about what happens to him. That is until one day, where he must once again try and save the woman who he has always loved…


The Smoke Jumper is an emotional novel containing not only love and loyalty, but also guilt and unhappiness. It tells the story of how people can suffer when the wrong choices have been made.


 I would highly recommend this book to anyone because I believe it is a moving story. An excellent read to enjoy while on holiday or for a quiet afternoon. J

The Smoke Jumper Book

Thank you, Becky. Our own reading has been rather less light-hearted but no less interesting for that:

"FIVE CHIMNEYS" by Olga Lengyel.

This incredible autobiography tells the story of Lengyel's horrific time spent in the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The book is a detailed account of Lengyel's experiences in the camp which, if it weren't factual, would be too horrendous to contemplate. The book covers the period from Lengyel's journey to the camp right through to its liberation. The mere fact that she survived at all is incredible and the book is a lasting testament to those who were not so "fortunate". Not the lightest of reading but still a book that should be read by every generation. The most surprising element of this book was the fact that Lengyel was able to write in such a dispassionate way. All aspects of life in the camp are covered in some detail and we would challenge anyone to read this book and not be moved by it. Highly recommended reading but, pick your moment! 

Originally published in 1947, our copy was a paperback edition published by Academy Chicago Publishers in 1995.

New Book Reviews....time to get reading ? are publish two book reviews sent to us by Becky Cleaver. Becky is an avid young reader who lives close to our base in the market town of Cullompton. She has been kind enough to write the following reviews and we hope they will inspire you.

"The Nanny"


The Nanny is written by Melissa Nathan and tells the story of Joe Green. Joe is a nanny and is someone who wants more out of her life.  She decides to take a major step in her life and moves to London to accept a job with the Fitzgerald family, where se will look after three children, Cassandra, Zak and Tallulah. Here she unexpectedly meets Josh, the older brother and someone who is attracted too. However there is a problem, Joe already has a boyfriend and hasn’t told Josh this yet. So when her boyfriend Shaun comes to stay, her life starts to get a little more complicated….


The Nanny tells the story of a typical romance with comedy included. It is a good book to enjoy many times and something in which you could lose many hours in reading again and again.  The Nanny is a very enjoyable and hilarious read and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a love story with complications thrown in.


Overall, a hugely entertaining read.

The Nanny Book



"The Twilight Saga"


"Twilight", "New Moon", "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn", four books written by Stephanie Meyer.

Twilight starts with Bella, moving to a small town called Forks to stay with her dad Charlie. Here she meets Edward, someone who she is immediately drawn to because of his voice, his smell and his looks. There is only one problem with Edward and his entire family, who all share a deep and well-kept secret. They are all vampires and Edward is drawn to the smell of Bella’s blood. Their relationship doesn’t last long before problems arise and another vampire comes to town and wants to kill Bella for her blood.


Throughout New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward’s relationship is put to the test against werewolves, evil vampires seeking revenge and the Volturi, the most powerful family in vampire history. Bella and Edward soon begin to realise that any relationship between them is never going to be easy. The other problem for them is Jacob, a long-term friend of Bella’s who wishes their relationship could develop further and so a love triangle starts to develop.


These books contain a teenage romance with a supernatural twist. I found them all very enjoyable reads and all contain storylines that you will never get tired of reading again and again. I would recommend this saga to anyone, though maybe those more into love stories or the supernatural.


A top read in my opinion. J


Thank you to Becky for taking the time to write these reviews. If you would like to provide a review, please send us your text plus a picture of the book to: We do reserve the right to refuse publication or edit/amend copy supplied should we feel this necessary (though we're sure that won't be necessary!!).

Come and meet us Saturday, August 15th

We would like to extend an invitation to come and meet us. We will be participating in an open day at Debra Raymond Military Figures and Gifts in Cullompton on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 from 10.00 am. A selection of books on military subjects will be available to buy and we will be available all day to give advice or just chat ! The location is just off junction 28 of the M5 so, if you are en-route to the South West of England that day, why not stop off for a cup of tea and a "chin wag" ? You will be most welcome. Local book lovers are also more than welcome - maybe you have books you would like to sell ? If so, don't be afraid to come and talk to us about it.

For directions to Debra Raymond, have a look at their website . We look forward to seeing you.

When is a book not a book ? And other bibliophile notes.....

We have discussed "e-books" before here at We don't think much of them. It isn't that we don't embrace modern technology - we wouldn't exist without it !! It all just seems so pointless. Spend money on an e-book reader and then spend more money buying the "books". To us, it just sounds like yet another great way to take money people. It all feels much more like an industry attempting to get you all to buy your books again when there is really no need for you to do any such thing (hints of the music industry's never ending search for new "formats" for you to buy the same music on, maybe?). If I want to buy a book, I'll buy one of those things with paper pages, a decent binding and a nice picture on the cover, thank you. Apparently, e-books are fantastic - more environmentally friendly (are you sure?), totally transportable (the same as books, then), you can have lots of books on the one "gadget" (you can have lots of "real" books too - you just need some shelves), etc, etc, etc. Thanks, but no thanks. Particularly when you read stuff like We can't help thinking that George Orwell's only comment would have been "told you so"! Amazon did, apparently, clarify the situation; Strange indeed. At least, if you buy an "old tech" book, the seller isn't going to get into your home, take the book back and then refund your money! Ah well, we'll probably be attacked for being stuck in the past. Never mind.

For fans of modern Sci-Fi and Fantasy, here are a couple of titles reviewed We are sure that we are not the only ones who are a little disappointed at times with film adaptations of books - normally, books that we have particularly enjoyed. It seems that we are not alone as this piece demonstrates;

With the approaching anniversary of the legendary Woodstock festival, it seems that books on the subject are about to become popular. A book of photographs by Dan Garson (a reporter for his high school newspaper when he covered the festival) entitled "Woodstock Experience" is due to be published by Genesis Publications soon. Another is reviewed here;

Do you love self-help books? You are far from being alone. A massive market in recent times, self-help books share one thing in common - they tend to make authors and publishers a lot of money!! Here is one woman's reasoning for her addiction to them; Now, there's a potential mega-seller targetted at anxious teens who are "trying to work out how they fit into society" (does any teenager?). A spin-off from "The Secret" (a massive seller in 2006), "The Secret of Teen Power" looks to provide the answers. We're not sure we should comment further for fear of upsetting our younger readers and customers!

Available now - a rare First Edition copy of Othello Unveiled.......

ULoveBooks are proud to offer another extremely rare book for sale.

Othello Unveiled Book

We have unearthed a First Edition copy of “Othello Unveiled” by the Indian Shakespearean scholar, Rentala Venkata Subbarau. Published in 1906 by Rentala House, Mylapore, Madras, the book accompanies “Hamlet Unveiled”, published later. Subbarau also wrote “Kamala’s Letters to Her Husband”.

“Othello Unveiled” is an extremely rare book in its own right, with modern re-prints being almost the only versions available on websites such as Abebooks. The copy we are offering has a superb provenance. The volume was gifted by the author to pre-eminent Shakespearean scholar, A. C. Bradley and is inscribed to the front free endpaper “To A. C. Bradley, Esq, LLD, Litt. D, with the compliments of the author. 14th March, 1906.” Andrew Cecil Bradley (1851-1935) was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University for five years during which he published his two most important works “Shakespearean Tragedy” (in 1904) and “Oxford Lectures on Poetry” (in 1909). The book contains quite a lot of pencil annotations that could well have been made by Bradley, though we cannot be certain.

The copy we are offering also contains another (presumably later) inscription just above that to Bradley that reads “Marjory W. Baker, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford”. It is very likely that this copy of “Othello Unveiled” is a unique offering and one that will be of high interest to fans of Shakespeare, Bradley and the author, Subbarau. The book can be found on the “Rare Books” page of our shop.

The Lonely Waves by Subhro Banerjee. Book review.

The Lonely Waves BookI have now had a chance to read Subhro Banerjee's novel "The Lonely Waves". Self published by Authorhouse in November 2008, this is Indian author Mr. Banerjee's first published book in English, though he has apparently published three books in the Bengali language. "The Lonely Waves" follows the story of 3 successful but ultimately lonely men, Narayan Sharma, Arjun Sinha and Rajeev Agarwal as they find their lives connecting. The novel has a sub-plot of a criminal attempting to kill lawyer, Agarwal, as a result of his investigation of various high-tech crimes.
The novel is set mainly in India with some scenes taking place in Germany, the home of Sharma. Towards the end, the scene shifts to Kashmir, the "paradise on earth" where the three friends take a holiday and where the story reaches its climax.
Ultimately, I liked the book. It feels like a very personal creation - a book that really has "come from the heart". Mr. Banerjee explores the themes of spiritual loneliness and isolation from an unusually male perspective.
Whilst I enjoyed the book, there are several problems with it. For the average English or American reader, the language of the book is very Indian in its style. For me, that wasn't a particular problem as I know a number of Indian people extremely well and understand a lot of the cultural mannerisms of Indian people. Those who do not have this advantage may struggle to understand some of the meaning and context of the book. I can't help thinking that an English editor or adviser could help considerably in making the book more "readable" for a Western audience. Having said that, "Westernisation" of the novel may in some way detract from its appeal. It is a difficult balance to achieve, no doubt.
I was also a bit disappointed with the slight lack of descriptive content - particularly description of India as a country but lifestyle that the characters lead. Having never been to India, I would be keen to know more about both. The descriptions of Kashmir were more comprehensive and it sounded like a fascinating place.
Overall, we felt that the book has a lot of potential. The current published version feels very "raw" and would definately benefit from an English editor and some plot re-arrangement. I would still recommend that you give it a try - it is certainly different and who knows, you may become a fan ! I sincerely hope that Mr. Banerjee will find an opportunity to make the "tweaks" we feel are necessary to enable this potentially successful book to become a real prospect for Western readers. You can find out more about the book and it's author by clicking the link on the cover picture.
Review by Andy Bush.

New Year.............bad weather and new book sales tactics.

Well the start of 2009 has been a little different ! What with the world economic situation, the apparently growing UK recession and all the doom and gloom, its been a somewhat depressing start to the year. Here at, we've been soldiering on and, thankfully, our sales have been pretty reasonable. So, thank you to our customers for carrying on with your love of books.Snow in Devon The main impact on us is that we have been concentrating on keeping our overheads and costs to a minimum. It has also meant that we are listing books that we have had in storage rather than combing the auctions and buying new stock.
The scene to the left shows the sort of weather conditions we have been having to contend with as well ! This may be normal in other parts of the world but, here in "sunny Devon" it hasn't snowed like this in many years. Needless to say, there was some disruption (including to postal services) as a result meaning that a few books shipped in the last week or so were slightly delayed. Apologies if yours was one of them.
The snow seems to have gone for now so life has got back to normal.
Since the end of 2008, we have also stopped selling on E-Bay. We found the costs of selling were rising, the "hassle factor" increasing and the returns diminishing. As an alternative, we are now using AbeBooks alongside the website. Abebooks can be found here: Abebooks has long been one of the most popular book buying and selling websites on the net and we are pleased to be associated with the site.

New novel from Indian author.

ULovebooks are pleased to draw your attention to a new novel from Indian author, Subhro Banerjee. Subhro has been in touch with us recently and will be making a copy of his book, "The Lonely Waves", available to us for review in the near future. Published by Authorhouse, the book is a thriller set in Kashmir. We look forward to being able to give you more information soon. In the meantime, here is a reproduction of the cover:

The Lonely Waves

Merry Christmas from

We would like take the opportunity to wish all our customers, readers and contributors a very

Merry Christmas
and a very Happy New Year.

Thank you all for your continued support. We look forward to doing business again through the course of 2009.

New book on the subject of author dedications

Once Again To Zelda has been in touch with Marlene Wagman-Geller, author of the recently published book “Once Again To Zelda”.

Marlene grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is a self-confessed lifelong bibliophile. She currently teaches high school English and history in San Diego, California. About her book, she says:

“A book's dedication says much about an author's relationship to the person for whom the book was dedicated.

"Once Again to Zelda" explores the dedications in fifty iconic books that are an intrinsic part of literary and pop culture, shedding light on the author's psyche, as well as the social and historical context in which the book was first published.”

One of the examples from the book quoted on her website relates to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J. K. Rowling:

FOR JESSICA, who loves stories.
FOR ANNE, who loved them too.
AND FOR DI, who read this one first.

            The story of the Dedication for the first Harry Potter book begins in Britain in 1964, when two eighteen- year- old strangers met on a train. The woman, Anne Volant, (in a ruse as old as time) told Peter Rowling that she was cold. He gallantly offered her half his coat. This was followed by a lengthy conversation, which culminated with kisses. By the time they reached Scotland, they had forged a bond that would last for the rest of their lives. Their daughter Joanne was a result of this chance encounter, followed by her sister Dianne (Di) two years later.

The book sounds like an interesting one, particularly for those who are intrigued by the dedications used by authors. Most of us have probably, at one time or another, wondered why authors have mentioned particular people in dedications. It is published by Penguin. We are currently awaiting a review copy of the book and will try and provide more information when it arrives.

In the meantime, you can contact Ms. Wagman-Geller direct: email:

Or, follow the above link to her website where you will find details of how to purchase the book.

Recommended for reading in "one sitting"........

No Time For Goodbye BookEverybody likes a good thriller don't they? Well, if you do, here's one that will keep you hooked for a while. "No Time For Goodbye" by Linwood Barclay was in the bestseller list for some time earlier this year.

Cynthia's parents and brother disappear one night. They simply vanish without a trace. Were they murdered? Abducted? Did they just decide to leave without her? he questions remain unanswered for 25 years. Then a letter arrives that simply makes no sense and Cynthia starts to stir up the past in an attempt to answer the questions. The problem is, this may just be the worst mistake she has ever made.

We enjoyed this thriller. It is tempting and engrossing enough to read it in one go. If you are lucky enough to be reading it on a relaxing holiday, that is probably just what you will do! A good read that will keep you guessing.

Review by Andy Bush.

Feel better in bad times - read a book.

So, times are a bit tough at the moment in the Western World. Economies are being hit hard, people are losing their jobs, businesses are closing and there isn't much "feel good" factor around just at the moment. It's easy to get trapped into thinking that life is bad. Often, though, it isn't until we hear about other people's experiences that we realise just how lucky we are.

Forgotten SoldierWe have just finished reading "The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer. The book is an intense autobiographical account of one man's experiences during "Operation Barbarossa", the German invasion of Russia during World War Two. Sajer was a teenager when he joined the Grosse Deutschland division to fight on the Russian front in 1942. By this time, the German assault on Russia was already faltering and Stalingrad would soon fall to the Russians. The book recounts Sajer's experiences as he fights (mainly on the retreat) for three long years through Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Prussia, and Germany. Written in a sober, matter-of-fact style, the book manages to almost put you on the front yourself. You can vividly imagine the terror, the cold, the inhuman conditions and the sheer scale of the conflict.

Sajer's story is an intense reminder not only of the horrors of war but is a quite stunning portrayal of the amount of suffering human beings can ultimately endure. Sajer himself suggests the book shold be read when things aren't going well for the reader. Whatever they may be going through will almost certainly pale into insignificance compared to the conditions faced by all involved in the conflict on the Eastern Front. One of the most interesting books we have read in a very long time and highly recommended.

Reviewed by Andy Bush.

Credit Crunch - we've read it all before, haven't we?

John Leech Cartoon

Yes, the picture is big enough!!

One of our recurrent themes here on ULoveBooks is the fact that when one reads a lot of older and antiquarian books, it quickly becomes painfully clear that not much in this wonderful world of ours is new. The current doom-laden news about the "credit crunch", profligate borrowing, irresponsible lending and dubious practices by bankers and share traders is hardly new, is it? The world has seen numerous recessions, the Great Depression of the 1930's and all manner of spectacular financial failures. The cartoon reproduced above comes from a volume entitled "Early Pencillings From Punch (Cheifly Political)". The book was probably published around 1880 and featured a compilation of superb satirical cartoons from the master, John Leech.

The cartoon itself  "Mrs Threadneedle's Soothing Syrup", shows old Mrs Threadneedle feeding a bowl of pounds shillings and pence to a brattish looking youngster on the knee of his maid. The explanation? "The Government, of which Lord John Russell was Premier, moved for a Select Committee to enquire into the operation of the Bank Restiction Act; and relief to the money market was subsequently afforded by a large issue of Bank notes. The date? 1847 !!!

So, you see, some things never change! The constant is that we never seem to learn from past mistakes. Why is that?

Here's one for fans of Illustrated books

MemoriesNewly listed on is this rather nice book by Max Muller

 "MEMORIES - A Story of German Love"

Translated from the German by George P. Upton, this limited edition is illustrated with pictures and decorations by Margaret and Helen Maitland Armstrong. You can find the book in our "Illustrated Books"  category for a very reasonable £15.00 plus p&p.

This particular edition was a new illustrated "Large Paper" limited edition and the copy we are offering is number 39 of 250. The edition features 9 full page illustrations as well as numerous chapter and page decorations. Published in Chicago by A. C. McClurg & Co, the vast majority of copies of this book are available only from the U.S. So, for UK collectors, here is an opportunity to buy a nice copy without having to pay postage from the States.



A new favourite book.....

Suspicions of Mr Whicher BookEvery now and then, you come across a book that is simply a pleasure to read from all perspectives. It satisfies the mind, entertains, provokes questions and thought and provides information as well. Sometimes you find these gems by accident and sometimes they are recommended. One of my problems with new books is trying to see through the cover hype to try and ascertain if the book is likely to appeal. Only rarely does a new book surpass all my expectations and "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher" by Kate Summerscale certainly did that.

What a superb read. I can honestly say, it was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I had seen the book around for some time and nearly bought it on several occassions - but, for some reason, didn't. I finally got around to buying it a few weeks ago just before going away to Cornwall for a few days. I am very glad I did!

The cover of this book has part of a review printed on it by Craig Brown (Mail on Sunday). It reads as follows: "Summerscale has constructed nothing less than a masterpiece....A one and the same time a crime thriller, a sociological history, a biography and a fascinating essay on the nature of investigation....My shelves are stacked with books about crime, but none more satisfying than this." For once, I wouldn't disagree with a single word of this review.

"The Suspicions of Mr Whicher" is about a gruesome murder that took place in the village of Road, Wiltshire in 1860. Jack Whicher of (the recently formed) Scotland Yard is sent to investigate. Whicher faces an uneviable task to uncover the murderer as the grieving family are the suspects. The crime itself provoked national hysteria at the time and the press was full of speculation about the events. Kate Summerscale has clearly spent a lot of time meticulously researching the case and has managed to "untangle the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.

The book really does have something for everyone but if, like me, you are fascinated by history and also like a good story, you are in for a treat. Some of the ground covered includes the facts of the case itself, the sociological background, the pressures of press and society, the influence the case had on crime fiction, the history of policing in Britain and much more. It is one of those books that underlines how much has changed since the nineteenth century but also reminds us of how little has changed as well - particularly in terms of the way that the media treat cases like this and the inevitable public dissection of every part of the events.

My advice is, if you read no other book this year, read "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher". I would be very surprised if you were in any way disappointed.

Andy Bush.

A dedicated book collector......and more.

Book collecting (like any form of collecting) can get really quite serious. This lady has amassed a superb collection of pop-up books. These intriguing books make a great subject area for collecting. The themes of pop-up books are quite varied and the format has a long history so there is no shortage of material out there. We admire the dedication of people like Leah - keep up the good work!!

If you spend your life collecting books, when you reach the twilight years, you may be stuck for what to do with your treasures. You could bequeath them to relatives, you may sell them to a book dealer (yes, we would be interested!) but you may consider giving them to more useful cause. Such a charitable donation will obviously benefit a great many people.

Whilst the current economic situation appears to be hitting a lot of book sellers hard, this company  appear to be doing very nicely. Well done to them - expansion is currently a brave step, one feels.

This review made us chuckle. 

If you have ever heard the phrase "there's a book inside everyone" and then (like us) wondered what on earth your book may be, you probably felt a bit like a lot of authors searching for inspiration. The beauty of book blogs and blogs related to writing is that you can often get a real insight into the writing process itself. Not only that but the real problems of doubt and "writers block" that creep into many many author's minds. Next time you pick up a novel to read, spare a thought for the possible agonies the author went through in order to give birth to their latest project!

The final insult for E-Bay booksellers ?

Well, we suppose it had to happen in the end ! Yes, E-Bay pushing the "self-destruct button". Some years ago, we were great fans of E-Bay and sold a lot of books on the site. Unfortunately, the site has changed hugely for smaller sellers in the last 12 to 18 months. For booksellers it has probably been even worse.

In the beginning - and for many years - we enjoyed selling on E-Bay. Listing was simple, the visibility in international terms was good and the cost of listing was reasonable. Everybody seemed to enjoy using the site (in spite of some dubious trading). One of the really unique things about E-Bay has always been the fact that every transaction conducted by sellers could be rated by buyers. We can't think of any other business where each transaction is, to a large degree, transparent. To maintain a decent feedback rating, you really need to be good. As we wind down our listings on the site, we are proud that we maintain a 100% feedback rating and higher than average "Detailed Seller Ratings" on all individual sectors.

The writing was on the wall when, overnight, and with no warning, E-Bay decided in their wisdom to ditch 50% of our sales by changing the rules on US visibility. Having your sales cut by half for no good reason isn't pleasant, we can assure you ! Subsequent changes and "tinkering" with E-Bay has meant that, for us at least, the site has become non-viable. The reduction in sales volumes coupled with ever-increasing costs means it is a real waste of time and effort listing on the site. In the light of current economic events, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is another case of corporate greed killing the market that pays its wages. Whatever the reason, we know we are not the only ones to be giving up selling on the site and we feel it is a shame. The site is just not what it used to be.

On the "upside", no longer listing on E-Bay will provide us with the time to concentrate more on ULoveBooks. With a bit of luck, we may even be able to "blog" more than once every two months !!

If you're looking for great books at low prices with excellent service, you have definately come to the right place.

If you can't sell books, write them instead ?

OK, we understand that money is tight (particularly if you are the banking sector it would seem) and we're accepting of the fact that our book sales have gone the way of the most shares on the stock market. So the question is, what to do to replace the income ?

All you budding authors out there must dream of becoming the nex J. K. Rowling. With good reason it would appear ! The news has been full of the earnings of Ms Rowling. One year "poverty stricken single mother", the next international superstar with earnings that even make bankers bonuses look stingy. A "Google" search of J K Rowling earnings returned 67,900 results !! Here are a few:

Comparing the earnings of other authors, Sephen King and Dean Koontz are having nightmares in comparison whilst Tom Clancy and Ken Follett can't be too thrilled either.

So, if like us, you may struggle to pay the heating bills this winter why not try writing your way out of debt ? There are crazier suggestions. Who knows ? Maybe in a few years time, you will also be earning £5 a second. How lovely.

Noah Webster and his dictionaries

In the last couple of days, we had an enquiry about a book (in fact a "speller") by Noah Webster. We thought others may like to know some more about Webster.

Noah Webster (1758-1843) was a Yale graduate who became a school master for some time and then was admitted to the bar. His chief work was educational writer "producing text-books that were distinctly American". His "Elementary Spelling Book" published in 1783 is said to have sold over 100 million copies. In 1828, Webster published his large, two-volume "American Dictionary of the English Language" which became accepted as a standard authority in the US. Updated editions of his dictionaries are still published today.

For more information on Webster and his work, have a look at these links:

No doubt there would be many interesting discussions about the rights and wrongs of American spelling as opposed to the British versions but, we're not even going to begin those arguements!!

We've hit 1,000 books !!

Yes, its official - ULoveBooks now has over 1,000 individual book titles listed on the site.

All of our listings have photographs so that you can see what you are buying (well we find it important so why wouldn't you?). Some listings have more than one photograph but, please don't be shy about asking us for more if you feel you need to see more of the book. We will always oblige.

If you have any comments about how we do things here on, please feel free to let us know. We always try to make things easier for people looking at the site and your ideas are probably better than ours!

Happy Reading.

Book listing detail - how much is enough?

Listing books for sale is always a slightly difficult prospect. Buying books in a shop is relatively easy - you can look at the book in detail and select those that suit easily. Buying online is somewhat more difficult when you can't actually handle the book. Reference books are particularly difficult to buy online even if you know exactly what you are looking for.

This week, we were looking for two reference books to buy for ourselves. We searched the net without success due to the scant information on content provided by many sellers. Having failed miserably to find what we wanted via internet selling colleagues, we wen to our local book shop. Much easier, we thought. Well, actually not!! Finding exactly what we were looking for was actually nearly as difficult as searching online. This time, it was the sheer number of books on the subject that  proved difficult to cope with! Some were too technical, others too basic, some appeared to be what we wanted but on closer inspection weren't at all - and so it went on. Eventually, having spent a good hour in the shop, we bought 3 books.

The problems with finding a book to suit online surely depend on the amount of description provided. This is why we try and provide as much information as possible on each title (within reason). We would be glad to hear about what other people consider to be the "ideal" information to provide on titles for sale - have we got it right? Please let us know your thoughts...................

Going down the river......

So the great independent AbeBooks has gone down the river. It has been bought by This article on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer  website made quite interesting (if somewhat misleading) reading. We have never used AbeBooks as a sales site as we have never liked the huge variance in prices for the same or similar products or the general lack of product photographs. We have also never sold on Amazon - mainly because we don't like the layout of product descriptions. These sites do, however sell a lot of books for those who list on them.

The Intelligencer article appears to hint that AbeBooks sells a lot of books - of course, the fact is that it is a listing vehicle for booksellers. It seems that Amazon is rapidly becoming the Tesco of the book world and we're not sure that is a good thing.

Book links and chatter - it's snow joke !!

We're not sure if it is just us but, there are times when we find the Internet an extremely useful tool and other times when it becomes some sort of information snow storm. The flake we are looking for is normally buried somewhere in an impending avalanche!! Losing your life in cyberspace is a lot more likely than losing it in a book.

Sifting through the blizzard recently, we came across various pieces that variously made us laugh, think or just wonder why? First was this publisher's piece. Maybe more interesting to the average reader of books was this interesting item about a teacher rescuing books from other people's rubbish - why does he think the slide rule is obsolete? (presumably it is still quite a useful tool when a computer or calculator aren't available!).

If, like most of us, the economy is on your mind you could find some useful investment tips here. Not everyone's idea of great bedtime reading but, ideal if you fancy yourself as a new investment maestro.

A number of sites featured this story about numerous old Jewish books turning up in Iraq - the spoils of war.

If you are an author of fiction, an active imagination is obviously rather important. This rather amusing story shows the lengths some will go to in order to make things as "realistic" as possible!

At present it seems as though hardly a day passes without us hearing of another book shop closing. The threat of "Acres of Books"  in L.A. closing had author Ray Bradbury rather annoyed. We don't blame him. The number of traditional book shops closing down is extremely sad. Maybe it is just how it has to be but the new generation of readers may have to get by without experiencing the smells and textures of a shop full of used books. Somehow that feels like a loss. They won't have the same experience from their "Kindle" or alternative "electronic book" - and they had better avoid dropping them or they won't have any sort of experience. Ha, ha.

Talking of childrens experiences, its good to see that they are being protected from the more "adult" reading experience. Reminds us of the fun to be had trying to find the "rude bits" in the classics when younger. Great fun!

Ulovebooks Logo

Book Reviews

So our holidays are, unfortunately, over (thank you to the people of Cyprus for   showing us your   traditional warm hospitality). It is back to the "grind-stone". We promised to review our holiday reading for you so, here goes!

BonesToAshes"Bones to Ashes" by Kathy Reichs was well up to Reich's normal standard. The book, once again, features Dr Temperance "Tempe" Brennan, forensic anthropologist as she investigates a the parallel cases of three unidentified bodies and the skeleton of a young girl. Whilst   I find these   novels a bit formulaic,   I love them just the same. As with most of Reichs' books, this one is an international bestseller and probably still in the top 20 paperbacks now. Its a great escapist read and   I would recommend it, particularly if you have read other episodes in the "Tempe" series. If, like me, you often only get time to read when you are on holiday, the good thing about these books is that you're pretty much guaranteed a new instalment next year!!   Review by Andy Bush (

SkinPrivilege"Skin Privilege" by Karin Slaughter was also what I would describe as an "airport" book (no offence intended) and another rather formulaic read that carries on the series featuring medical examiner Sarah Linton. In this new bestseller, Sarah and her boyfriend, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver have (for the umpteenth time) to go to the rescue of Lena Adams, one of chief Tolliver's detectives. I have to confess that this particular series is beginning to wear a bit thin. Don't get me wrong, its good escapism but, I can't help but feel that even Slaughter may be getting fed up with these characters. The "brilliant but small-town professional woman who finds murder behind every blade of the town's grass" formula is losing it's appeal. As is the on-off romance of Linton and Tolliver. Never mind, if you want a decent "whodunnit" which is fairly grisly in places, it's a decent read.   Review by Andy Bush (

NeverwhereIn terms of fiction books, this is my favourite for some time. "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman is based on a BBC TV series written by him. In his introduction to the book, Gaiman says that whilst the TV series wasn't bad, it "simply wasn't what I had in my head" so, he wrote "Neverwhere" as a novel. And an excellent novel it is. A "simple act of kindness" delivers the central character, Richard Mayhew, into a surreal, parallel London inhabited by monsters, angels, saints, and other strange creatures. I particularly liked some of the characters such as the "Angel Islington" and "Old Bailey" - based on London place names but, bursting with life. Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar, truly evil creations, are enough to frighten the life out of you! It is a clever, original and thoroughly enjoyable book that really has made me wish for a sequel - and I am quite sure that one will be forthcoming. Great escapism. Read and enjoy!   Review by Andy Bush (

And now for something completely different!!! ATraveller"A Traveller's War" by Alaric Jacob is the autobiographical story of the author's travels between June 1941 and June 1943. During that time, he travelled a total of 40,000 miles via boat to the Cape and then to Libya, through Persia, India, Burma and then on to the Soviet Union. All this was achieved as a war correspondent for the "Daily Express" newspaper. The book gives fantastic insights into the atmosphere during the Second World War including some stark revelations of life in the desert campaign. Personally, I really enjoy this kind of book. It reveals a lot about the thinking at the time - Jacob's personal stance is one of support for left-wing ideology and admiration for the Soviet Union.   This sort of book   also gives a real glimpse of the sort of hardships that   people went through during the war years and is a sober reminder of the havoc that conflict causes. The book, however, is not without humour and is also fascinating from a topographical point of view, describing India during the Ghandi phenomenon and much more. The book is almost certainly available quite cheaply from antiquarian book sellers (we don't have a copy in stock at the time of writing) and well worth reading.   Review by Andy Bush (  

Holiday Books and other things


 It has been some time since our last "blog" - mainly due to holidays. Now we're back and, hopefully, we will be blogging much more. Subject matter isn't a problem, in fact there is often so much to write about that it is difficult to pick the "wheat from the chaff".

Amongst our holiday reads this year were "Bones to Ashes" by Kathy Reichs, "Skin Privilege" by Karin Slaughter, "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman and "A Traveller's War" by Alaric Jacob. Quite varied reading really and in a setting such as that pictured, who could go wrong? A very pleasant escape from the fuel strikes, rising prices and general economic doom and gloom. We will add a brief review of our reading shortly. If you're off on your holidays soon, we hope you have a very enjoyable time and don't forget to take some books with you!!                                                                                                     

Holiday Reading


What will you be reading on  your holiday?

It's that time of year again. The holiday season is beginning in earnest and the holiday reading and "airport novels" will be in high fashion once again!

We'd love to hear what you read on your holidays - fiction, non-fiction, romance, thriller, we're sure they will all be on someone's reading list. Let us know what you've been reading here or on the forum. Include a picture if you like (maybe we'll start a gallery with them). 

Enjoy and keep in touch!!

Blood on the Book Shop floor

Booksellers doing battle? - No, don't worry, its just a scene from a history book!

The world of books is now as cut-throat as any other business with many small independent book shops going to the wall every day. Our nearest town had a "Waterstone's" move in a few years ago that was the final nail in the coffin of a very good independent. Most sizeable towns appear to have had much the same experience. It isn't just a UK phenomenon though. Our friends in the United States bookselling world are having an equally tough time of it.

We were heartened to see this piece from the Wall Street Journal. As yet, we haven't come across anything similar in the UK. If you have please let us know as we would be keen to get in touch and offer publicity if it was of help. Maybe the bibliophiles of the US are a step ahead of their UK cousins. Well done to the philanthropists that have stepped in to help. 

It isn't just the smaller book sellers that are having problems though. The US book chain Borders  appears to be having problems too. Quite how anyone can turn a $56.9m operating profit into a $157m loss isn't really explained - apparently it was down to "exceptional items". Crikey - that really is exceptional!!

Collecting Books (Part 2) - What should you collect?

One of the questions we are often asked in connection to book collecting is – “what should I collect?”


As usual, there is no easy answer to this question. Our stock answer is “collect what you enjoy and what makes you happy”. Collecting books for investment potential is a risky and complex subject (as per most investments). If you enjoy what you collect, at least if the bottom drops out of the market for that type of book, you will be left with books that you find enjoyable. That may seem simplistic, but that is our opinion!


  People collect all manner of books. Some collect only extremely rare and valuable books, some collect “Ladybird” books, others collect “Observer” books, people collect Fiction books, Non-Fiction books, Illustrated books, Topography books and so on. Particular authors are collected, certain publishers are collected, particular artists, and the list goes on and on. For every type of book, there are collectors out there.

Collecting books based on future value as an investment is a particularly difficult area. In common with almost everything else with a value, the value may increase or decrease. What is in fashion and attracting large sums of money today may well not be of any interest in the future. Since the huge success of the “Harry Potter” series, first editions of the original book have become very collectable. The First Edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” comprised only 500 copies (300 of which were distributed to school libraries). Obviously an extremely rare item and, therefore, very sought-after.


The challenge for many book collectors now is to identify the next J. K. Rowling. The last suggestion we heard was that a volume that was originally published as “The Highfield Mole” (and now known as “Tunnels”) was going to launch its authors into the literary stratosphere. When it became known that “Tunnels” was tipped for the big-time, first editions of the book started selling for massive amounts. Whether or not the title (and its likely sequels) actually achieve their supposed promise remains to be seen. Those that paid large sums for first editions of “The Highfield Mole” will presumably be waiting with baited breath. It could be that they made a canny investment but it could equally be that the book sinks again as quickly as it rose...............(to be continued).

Collecting Books (part 1) - Where to start with your Book Collection?

Running a website for book lovers is such a diverse and rewarding thing to do!


Almost every person who visits has a different reading interest and a different book buying requirement. Buyers of our books range between the casual reader of novels and other fiction and the serious book collector who is looking for that ultra-scarce first edition to complete a collection. With millions of different titles available in different formats and editions, supplying specific book requests can be challenging! Somebody here at read recently that in an average year there are around 130,000 new titles published worldwide currently – yes, per year!!


Obviously, if you are a book collector, the internet has made life considerably easier when attempting to locate rare books. Gone are the days when the only option was to telephone book dealers, write letters, or travel large distances to look around dingy book shops (though, for many of us, the last option was actually a considerable pleasure).


So, why collect books in the first place? Actually why collect anything? Well most of us start collecting because something attracts or interests us about a particular book, a particular author or possibly an illustrator. Value may also be a factor as the value of some books will definitely rise over the long term so they can be quite a good investment. Many of the basic rules about collecting anything also apply to books. For instance, we would always advise people to collect because they actually like things rather than just for investment purposes. Just as stocks and shares can fall in value as well as rise, so can the value of any antique or collectable item.


So, what should you consider if you are going to be a serious collector? Our advice is always consider condition first. In general, the condition of a book is always going to affect its value (there are exceptions if a book is particularly rare and hard to find). Not surprisingly, the older the book, the less likely it is to be in pristine condition – two or three hundred years of use is going to take its toll on anything! So, whilst you should always try and buy books that are in the best possible condition, do try and keep things in perspective! If, however, the books you collect are more modern you do need to be buying items that are only in top condition if you want them to hold maximum value. Dustcover, hardcover, and internal pages should all be in mint condition or as close to this as possible. Investing in plastic covers for the dustcovers is definitely worth serious consideration. Storage conditions are equally important. Your investment/collection will be seriously compromised if you store your books badly. (to be continued...........)

No such thing as a Free Lunch.....

........well, more like no such thing as Free Postage!!

This may turn into a rant!

Whilst trawling around the internet researching other book-selling websites, we can't help noticing some of the strange (and probably rather naughty) marketing strategies employed by some of them. One of the "biggest" book sales sites has a prominent banner stating that millions of the books offered come with "Free Postage". Really? Are the UK Post Office no longer charging for their services? Sounded rather peculiar to us (because the Post Office certainly like charging us!) so, we decided to look a bit deeper.

Firstly, the "Free" postage appears only to be free in the same country as the seller is based (though the heading doesn't qualify that) - so, if you live outside that country, your postage will, presumably, be anything BUT free.

We took an example - a volume entitled "Options, Futures, & Other Derivatives" by John Hull (800+ pages of bed-time reading for stock brokers) and looked at what was being charged.

All the items we looked at appeared to be identical so that we could make a true comparison. The lowest UK price being charged for the edition we examined was £46.06 (plus £2.50 postage) and the highest a whopping £117.83 (including "Free" Postage). So what should we read into that? Does the "Free" postage actually mean that the postage costs £69.27? If so, it must be delivered in person, on foot!! The cheapest copy with "Free" postage was priced at £63.20 (still £14.64 more than the one where postage was quoted at £2.50)!!!

We might be able to understand the difference if the book was an antiquarian book where one copy was in poor condition and the other was in superb condition and signed by the author - but such a difference for a new title? What a bizarre situation - and the website has the nerve to state that millions of books have free postage. We say b***s**t!

Here at this has made us even more determined to offer books at reasonable prices and with the postal costs fully disclosed so that you know what you are buying. Certain other websites, shame on you!!

Who is buying Books?

Anyone who still ignores the Internet as a place to sell books does so at their peril!! Proof (if it were needed) comes in the shape of the latest research by the polling company Nielsen Online. Their research shows that Book sales is one of the largest slices of online business.

Evidently, 41% of Internet users surveyed had bought Books online. Possibly surprising is the revelation that the largest percentage of people buying books in any country was South Korea (at 58%). The UK was 10th in the survey - with 45% of those surveyed having bought books online. Nice to know you're in good company, though.

Countries we have sold to so far are (in no particular order):

Sweden, Finland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ukraine, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. We will add further countries as we send to them.

The best part of this is that it is really enjoyable to be part of such a global, book-reading community.

Welcome to the Book Seller's Blog

Welcome to ULoveBooks

We would like to offer a very warm welcome to readers of our "Blog". We've decided to add a blog as there are lots of subjects we felt were worth discussing but that we did not feel were appropriate for adding to other pages.

It was our intention to promise that we would not try not to bore you with too much irrelevant rubbish but, we can't guarantee that.  What we do hope is that our love of books will shine through!! 

Having been "online" sellers of books for some years, we hope that we will be able to provide some really useful information to you and answer any questions that you may have as well as make this a fun place to buy and discuss books.

We would also like YOU to contribute:

Would you like to like to review a book you have read recently for the benefit of others?

Can you provide a bibliography?

How about sharing your knowledge with other book lovers?

Please add your contributions here on the blog - or, if you feel it is more appropriate, submit them via an e-mail for inclusion on other pages of the site. We do reserve the right to edit posts and submissions if we feel that is appropriate and we will delete inappropriate or offensive posts (though we are sure we won't need to).

Book Shelf ImageBook Bindings

Click here for RSS feed