I live in Yorkshire, UK with my husband, David, and our six rescue cats: Razz, Kain, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.




 
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The Pineville Heist
Mr Lee Chambers
Very Unleashable
Added: 11/7/2011

Short Stories I-IV
David M Brown
Did not read yet
Added: 11/7/2011

Room: A Novel
Emma Donoghue
DEFINITELY Unleash it
Added: 11/7/2011

Toonopolis: Gemini
Jeremy Rodden
DEFINITELY Unleash it
Added: 11/7/2011

Beautiful (Beautiful Mess Series) (Beautiful Series)
Kiexiza Rodriquez
Did not read yet
Added: 11/7/2011

Heart of the Gods
Valerie Douglas
Did not read yet
Added: 11/7/2011

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
William L. Shirer
Very Unleashable
Added: 10/26/2011

All But My Life
Gerda Weissmann Klein
DEFINITELY Unleash it
Added: 10/26/2011

Fezariu's Epiphany
David M. Brown
Did not read yet
Added: 10/26/2011
 
 
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All But My Life
Date Posted: 11/7/2011 | Go To Book Page

Gerda Weissman Klein's memoir of her life during World War II is harrowing to say the least. Separated from her loved ones, surrounded by fear and tragedy, Gerda's life is turned upside down overnight and she faces years of anguish, pain and grief. Despite it all she retains an immense sense of what is right and fair, often putting the needs of others above her own and often putting her own life at risk in order to stand up for her principles.

Although the details given in Gerda's account do not feel watered down by any means, you can't help but think that even though her recollections are horrific, there's much more that she has chosen not to share and can only be stunned by her bravery and determination. She loses everything - all but her life and her spirit.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the story is the advice Gerda is given by her father to wear her winter walking boots one day: advice that will prove to be lifesaving. If it had been a novel, it would have seemed like one of those quaint coincidences that ties a book together but knowing that this is an autobiographical tale actually makes this incredibly poignant. Even though I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, every time I think about it I remember those boots and how her father's last piece of advice would be, literally, life-saving.

It is impossible for me to give All But My Life anything other than five stars. This is a beautifully related memoir: despite the overwhelming sense of tragedy and pain, Gerda's will to survive and determination to keep not only herself going but others as well is utterly heart-wrenching. Although I have never been a huge fan of autobiographies, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this. It is a story that must be told and it is a time that we must never, ever forget.
DEFINITELY Unleash it

Room: A Novel
Date Posted: 11/7/2011 | Go To Book Page

I wasn't too sure about this book but I'm so glad I gave it a try.  I absolutely loved it.  I listened to the audiobook version and the narration of the story was absolutely eerie in some ways and heartrendingly sweet in others.  A must read.
DEFINITELY Unleash it

The Pineville Heist
Date Posted: 11/7/2011 | Go To Book Page

Aaron Stevens is the less than happy son of town magnate Derek and let's just say it isn't like `The Waltons' in the Stevens household. When $5 million is stolen from the Pineville Bank, Aaron wants to recover the money. While his friends dream of fantastic cars, elaborate lifestyles etc, Aaron wants to do the right thing and return the money to its rightful owners: the town and - despite their turbulent relationship - his father.

Easier said than done though because first Aaron has to actually retrieve the money and with armed robbers running around looking to kill off those blocking their getaway this is a school day that Aaron will never forget.

The Pineville Heist was adapted from a screenplay and it does have all the elements of a great madcap comedy. There's some enjoyable tongue in cheek humour throughout the book, which moves at a fast pace but with a steady rhythm. The characters are larger than life, almost like caricatures but not quite. 

When I was reading The Pineville Heist, the thing that kept springing to my mind was `Scooby Doo meets Fargo'. It's a good, fun, fast read that's bound to make you smile and, best of all, it's not without a twist a two to keep you guessing all the way to the end!
Very Unleashable

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
Date Posted: 11/7/2011 | Go To Book Page

Considering the subject matter this was never going to be an easy book to read but would it be factual, objective and well-written?

Well, factual certainly: the great number of records and archives that became available after the war has made it possible for historians to have a much clearer picture of this period of history than they have had of possibly any other event previously.

Objective? Shirer was a correspondent living in Germany during the war and he openly admits that there are some aspects of the book that are more to do with subjective opinion than objective fact. Nonetheless, any recounting of an historical event is based on whatever documentation you can find (which may or may not be embellished, falsified, inaccurate), photographs, memorabilia and always, in some part, word of mouth accounts.

Well written? As a correspondent Shirer was a career wordsmith and he does write eloquently. When I initially began reading the book, it did seem to jump around a little but I quickly became accustomed to Shirer's style. His sudden leaps ahead from, for example, pre-war events to conclusions drawn as a result of Nuremburg trials did have a logic. So many things were covered in this book that an entirely chronological record would have been extremely difficult to follow.

World War II is a period of history that all of us must have some knowledge about, no matter how perfunctory. As it happens, this is a period of history that I read extensively about a few years ago and I felt sure that The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich would simply retell facts I already knew, rather than add anything additional to my knowledge.

I was, of course, wrong. This book ran for 45 hours (I listened to the audio version) and a great many things were new to me. William Shirer's first hand observations of Hitler and his formidable rages, the rumours Shirer picked up from correspondents, the events he was privy to as a member of the press: these are all things that are unique to his story. This is a factual chronicle of events that led to Hitler's rise to power and the subsequent political events that led to the war but it also serves as a memoir of a foreign correspondent's time living in and reporting from a country at war.

I found the political aspects of the story easier than the military aspects. Shirer does discuss military movements with some considerable detail, which I found difficult to follow at times and as a result I struggled to remain engaged. However, his telling of political events was utterly beyond reproach. He paints a conflicting picture of Hitler, which fits so completely with the fact that Hitler was a very conflicted man with a very conflicting persona. Charismatic one moment and raging blindly the next, he was beloved to his people, feared by his peers, abhorred by his enemies.

Shirer bravely states what many of us would feel unable to utter: Hitler was a remarkable politician and tactician. It was these traits that made him such a formidable opponent and made his regime so frightening. When you place someone utterly brilliant in such a position of power, it is the recipe for disaster and Shirer witnessed this first-hand.

There are some who have disagreed with Shirer's assessment of events or the way in which he perceived things that were occurring around him but I have read few chronicles that can rival this for the sheer amount of detail. Any book about this period of history will be difficult to write and difficult to read but this is an excellent effort from Shirer to document a horrific period of history.
Very Unleashable

Toonopolis: Gemini
Date Posted: 11/7/2011 | Go To Book Page

As much as I've thought about it, I'm still finding it difficult to see how I can possibly do justice to the imaginative, wonderful, glorious feat of writing that is Toonopolis. Jeremy Rodden has taken the best and worst of a range of things that were dear to us in our childhoods (but probably drove our parents crackers) and remain endearing to us now as - even though we are allegedly adults - we prove ourselves to be simply bigger kids. 

Toonopolis is like putting on a time travelling fluffy dressing gown covered in fairies or footballs that transports you to every Saturday morning of your youth and adolescence and every snatched moment of your adulthood where you pretended you weren't watching Dungeons and Dragons, Donald Duck or Thundercats but were secretly loving every minute. It encapsulates the lack of logic that surrounds not only cartoons but also video games and how willing we are to suspend disbelief in our quest for entertainment but also shows how, when we are willing to do that, things can be much much more enjoyable. 

As a `grown up' who readily admits to recently watching all 80 episodes of Batfink, wiling away hours on World of Warcraft and loving Studio Ghibli, there are some cringing moments in the book for me. Not, let me hasten to add, that I'm cringing at the author's work: absolutely NOT. Instead, I'm cringing at myself. Yep, I've spent that Saturday morning killing rats in a basement in a quest similar to one Gemini is offered. I've built up a party that - whilst it seemed logical at the time - had as much sense to it as Gemini's band of merry men (including talking Eggplant, mechanical dog and Miss Fire). And I've loved every minute. 

Toonopolis is a bundle of fun but it does have some serious underlying messages to it too, including the importance of not leaping to conclusions without all the facts and the necessity of accepting yourself rather than constantly trying to fight against what or who you are. Additionally, it has an ending that raises many questions and leaves you wondering, thoughtful and wanting more. Thankfully this is only book one of the Toonopolis Files so we can share a cheer that there's more of this wonderful world to encounter. 

How can you not love a book that is, in essence, an Alice in Wonderland for the modern era? Or in which distance is measured in PEZ candies? Or where the author paradoxically uses an impressive and varied vocabulary so deftly to tell a story that makes you feel young enough to have a spelling book again? This is a book for everyone who accepts that as logical as they may think they are, there's still a bit of the illogical rebellious Saturday morning slob in them. And really, it's a book for all those people who aren't like that because, by the end of it, they will be.
DEFINITELY Unleash it
 
 

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