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Greaders review June/July books

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AnninGlos Report 7 Jul 2016 09:19

Due tomorrow but I have Persephone's review so I am putting this up early

NYPD Red by James Patterson & Marshall Karp
Janey's War - Barbara Murphy
Head over heels in the Dales. By Gervase Phinn.


AnninGlos Report 7 Jul 2016 09:21

Persephone's reviews

Gervase Phinn'a "Head over Heels in the Dales"

Loved it, I'd get so far along in the book and then I would go looking for where himself is, so I can read out a humourous passage to him. Those of you that have read the book can imagine I was stopping and going looking for him often. It was also a delightful story of his relationship with his contemporaries and his soon to be wife. I am now going to have to read the first two.. and all the others he has written.
I am glad I was not reading it on the bus to work, as I would have been laughing out loud. I did this with Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Country." and had to stop and compose myself. I did this three times on the way home one night. While I always liked geometery and would have had no problem with an Octagon or whatever it was, however for the little girl to write 'Melanie' because the question said: Name this shape was very funny. Even he put his foot in it with the teacher with regard to winking, saying we all have done it. One of those reads where you feel good after reading it.

I have not been able to get his first two books but have read book four and am now half-way through book five.


Okay, as said I have read a few of James Patterson's books and he churns them out so fast that now he has these very short paperbacks called bookshots to be sold at airports etc. Such a size that you can read it in one sitting on a plane trip. The one thing you can say about his books and whoever he collaborates with he does not go in for descriptive passages.. He is not one for setting the scene, you just go straight in boots and all and everything happens at a fast pace.. like about 4 episodes of criminal minds going flat tack. However, I will admit to not getting really engrossed until he had nailed Spence to the floor and then I just read till I finished it. Because so many of his books are of a smiliar genre, I will read them any time they come up for review but I won't go looking for them... I really did not like one of his series because it delved into fantasy and I am not good on fantasy much says she who loved fairy stories when little. All up he is a good read and holds your interest to the end.


Anotheranninglos Report 7 Jul 2016 10:42

Well this is the part that I have been dreading as I read a book without giving it alot of thought. I either like it or I don't and never look any further into the reason why. So here is my very short review .

Head over Heals in the Dales.
I thought and was hoping for more of the children tales, I think children say alot of funny things and he must of come across alot of them in his time as teacher/inspector. Must admit I did wonder if that boy who didnt think alot of himself what happened to him in his adult life. I wouldnt go out looking for any more of his books.

Now I liked this book and it was nice to actually read the first one in the series so we know how the partnership came about and the background before. I take it the rest of the series are about the two partners. (I have such a short memory and the book has gone back to library so forget there names). For me this book was good as the txt was quite large and clear and spaced out well.
I would read the rest of the books.


AnninGlos Report 7 Jul 2016 12:46

Thanks Anne your review is fine. Re Gervaise Phinn, I seem to remember that in his first books there was quite a lot about the children. So long since I read any of them, and was unable to find this one in any of the charity shops to refresh my memory, that I can't remember. I do know I have enjoyed every one I read. However, we all like different books/authors, many is the time I have disliked a book that all the others who read it have liked.


AnninGlos Report 7 Jul 2016 13:03

I read one of the winners plus one of my choices and in the past I have read the Gervaise Phinn book

Review The Girl next door by Elizabeth Noble.
This is only her second novel. She wrote Things I want my daughters to know which was very good.I see from the listing that she has written a few more so I will look out for them.EN has an uncanny ability to get inside her characters and make them so real. This is about an apartment block in New York and the people who live there, so we follow their individual stories and how they link with the other residents (or don’t).
The residents are a mixed bunch, from Eve and Ed, newly arrived English, and 78 year old Violet English but lived there many years, who always laid the table the night before for breakfast, with a linen napkin and silver cutlery, toTodd and Gregory a gay couple. There are young families, elderly curmudgeony men and Cuban doormen who all have a part to play.
The individual stories are very well written as is the way they interact with other residents. It is sad and funny, very readable and clever.
A really good book that held my attention and that I really enjoyed.

Review Janeys war by Barbara Murphy.
Well yes, nicely written and a very good account and reminder of WW2. The characters were well written and believable and the story was as well. But that was it really, it was ok, it was readable and it was factually correct. Janey and Rose, twins but nothing like each other, no problem, that happens, but their Mother really only liked Rose and blamed Janey for everything, and ‘put her down’ at the slightest provocation. And her Dad, while showing her affection, did nothing to stop this. There was always a feeling that there was going to be a shock explanation. But there wasn’t, it was bland and predictable mostly, I somehow wanted more. A good story has the feeling of ‘going somewhere’ to a grand finale this had the feeling but the ending was weak and, to me, pure Mills and Boon.
I see there is a sequel and it is not the first time that I have read an e book that finished with a lead in to a sequel.
So yes, I didn’t dislike it, well written, a good little story but it didn’t grip me. Would I read the sequel? Maybe if it was free.

Gervaise Phinn. I have read a lot of his books, including Head over heels in the Dales and have always found them really funny and a good read. In fact, if I could have picked up this one at a cheaper price for the Kindle than £4.99 I would have bought it to re-read. He is such a good writer and makes his job with the children come alive.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 7 Jul 2016 16:09

NYPD Red by James Patterson & Marshall Karp.

Although I've got two James Patterson books on my "waiting to read shelf" , I don't think that I've read one of his books. Luckily it was easy to get from Birmingham Libraries, not a long wait.
I found the (very) short chapters a useful ploy, both because it made reading in short bursts easy and because new chapters indicated a change of scene/people, making it incredibly easy to follow.
"The Chameleon" wrote his screen action scenes in short bursts and the story was told this way too.
I don't often ( or maybe now I should say DIDN'T often) read action books but found this one highly readable and enjoyed it. Action packed with a touch of emotional thoughts thrown in.
Not riddled with big surprises but an occasional "add-on" detail added to the drama.

P.S. Since reading NYPD Red and making notes for my review, I have read one of the Patterson books from my "" waiting to read" shelf. Initially, although it featured a different "goodie" it was much of a muchness with NYPD Red, however, I stuck with it and found in the end that it was a very different story, so worth reading. Think though that I will leave a larger gap before attempting to read the next one.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 7 Jul 2016 16:09

Back with two more reviews later.


Mersey Report 7 Jul 2016 18:16

Hi there everyone.....reviews will be all be finished a little later :-D <3


AnninGlos Report 7 Jul 2016 18:48



Pammy51 Report 7 Jul 2016 19:34

Will post revues tomorrow :-D


AnninGlos Report 7 Jul 2016 19:57

Ok Pammy


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 7 Jul 2016 22:53

Second Review.

Head Over Heels in the Dales by Gervaise Phinn.

This is the second Gervaise Phinn book I'd read, the previous one (I forget the title), was also a GReaders choice.
The last time, my only quibble was that it was shelved in the library as a biography, I.e. nonfiction. I felt, when reading it, that if any of the people he wrote about really existed, and they or their friends or family read the book, Mr. Phinn may well have been taken to court for defamation of character! However, as a work of fiction it was amusing and informative.

I had the same difficulty with this one. It was still shelved as a Biography/ Government Control in Educatio book. But many of the people written about are criticised. Their charectors are demeaned, both in appearance and their ability to carry out the work they are laid to do.
If this was classed as a work of fiction it wouldn't concern me, but as a work of fact it does.
If reviewed as a fictional work, I found it to be a rather pleasant story about an "off-come-un" man in the Yorkshire Dales, who worked as a School Inspector.
Although amusing and written with a light touch, I also found it slightly annoying. I'd heard some of the stories before, ( but perhaps they originated with Mr. Phinn, I hear you say!). Other stories dwindled into nothing ness e.g. What happened when Gervaise cleared the wrong allotment plot? Surely there were some consequences?
Others seemed to run out of sequence e.g. putting his new house to rights. Not the way to tackle a house renovation.

So a few little quibbles about the "story". or should that be about the " facts" ?
Basically though, this book was OK, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't analysed it.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 7 Jul 2016 23:15

Third Rewiew.

Janey's War. By. Barbara Murphy.

A slightly different way of looking at England during WW11 - Through the ryes of a young girl, Janey, who is evacuated to Norfolk with her tein sister Rose.

After a blot on their copy books, the girls return to their family home, in the London area, while England is still bring bombed.
Janey tells of her family experiences, St home and at school and work. A very scary time and place. Although Rosie is very bright, it is Janey who is the studious one and works hard St school, determined to succeed. Rosie, meanwhile has ambitions to become a great (and famous) actress, and encouraged by her mother Perdue's her dream, instead of reaching her gull potential at school.
This sets the girls along diverging paths, setting the girls further and further apart.
The expectations for both girls in their different world's was high. Making the chances of reaching their goals slim. In Rosie's case, short cuts seemed yo be the only way.

Circumstances forced both girls to grow up very quickly.

An interesting g story that I enjoyed, I do wished for a happy. (or happyish) ending.
You will have to read it to see if I got my wish!

P.S. not sure if I have read any Barbara Murphy books before, as have got a terrible memory for names. Might well read more if i can find any.


AnninGlos Report 8 Jul 2016 08:43

Tess re your last comment on the GP book. " perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't analysed it." I have had that thought several times before. Which is why I could not go to the book clubs held in groups in the real world. I prefer to have to write just a simple critique.


Mersey Report 8 Jul 2016 10:13


Two investigators work together protecting those of the rich and
famous. Things from their past regarding their relationship carry
on through the book to the present. A partnership encrusted in
trouble which also includes that of the heart.
They are the best at what they do. I felt I had read stories like this
before or something very similar. Not a book for me Im afraid, although
I did read it all, was a fast reading book.......

Head over Heels In The Dales

Recounting his experiences as a school inspector and those around
him in the teach profession. It is written in such a humour that I have not
read any other books like it before. Some of the stories had me laughing
out loud and some I found hard to believe were real. He writes the tales
in such away I certainly wanted more which I least expected before reading
it. Would I read more of the books Yes ! most defintley......


AnninGlos Report 8 Jul 2016 10:16

From Perse:
Now I am giggling... you reviewed The Girl Next Door last time as well as this time.. I think that's why I put the comments on the bottom of my e-mail regarding that book. I can vaguely remember reading it. Quite happy for you to put those comments on the thread as I am with my reply to Theresa:

Re Theresa's criticism of Gervais's book.. they are supposedly non -fiction and are in the biographical section and I do tend to think that the cleaner with her malapropisms is more than likely a combination of people that he has met. Probably there is no one that exactly resembles Mrs Savage because I am sure if there was such a person he would have been taken to task before now. She too is probably a combination of an officious person and a woman heavily bedecked in jewellery and a person that wanders around holding a clipboard or a sheet of paper and looking self important without actually doing any work. I don't for one minute think that each person is exactly as written except maybe his wife who would be able to read it before publication.

I used to find Lillian Beckwith's books in the English Literature section of the library and not in amongst fiction.. I always thought that the librarians did not know how to categorise her as she also talks of the people she is living along side.

I guess there is a fine line that one must not cross when doing this sort of writing to make it amusing and not exactly portray any one particular person.


Pammy51 Report 8 Jul 2016 17:19


Zac Jordan is a detective with the NYPD's special unit set up to handle cases involving the rich and famous in the city. His partner has been injured so he is assigned a new partner, Kylie MacDonald, an old flame who he still carries a torch for but is now married to a producer. The city is trying to attract Hollywood money by holding a film festival but this risks being spoiled when the murders of people linked to the festival begin. Zac and Kylie have to try to find the murderer before he kills more people. Interspersed between the chapters charting their slightly difficult relationship and their even more difficult investigations are 'scripts' written by the murderer, who seems to believe he is taking part in his own film.
This book held my attention, and although the ending was not a complete surprise I could not work out how the two detectives were going to win through (I won't say any more in case someone is still going to read this book).

Head Over Heels in the Dales

I was lucky enough to see Gervais Phinn live some time ago and could not stop laughing so I was really looking forward to reading this book. As an ex-teacher it definitely brought back memories for me, and I could almost hear his voice as I read. I agree that the characters are probably composites but that didn't stop me enjoying them. A feel good book.
(Perse mentions Lillian Beckwith, I re-read her lovely book 'The Hills is Lonely' recently and if you enjoyed Phinn you would probably like this.)


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 8 Jul 2016 23:13

Lillian Beckwith, now there's a blast from the past! I had forgotten all about her till I saw the name, then I began to smile. :-)

I used to be an avid reader, could hardly wait for a new L.B. book to arrive at the Library. Now I can't even remember any of the stories/book titles, just know that I loved them! <3

Also used to read the James Herriot "vet" books. Long before the t.v. series.

In both these cases I THINK. that the stories were said to be based on experiences, and were not actually autobiographies.
Checked the classification at the library this time, to see who decided what number on the dewi decimal system books should have. (I got the G.P. books at different libraries with different librarians) Was told that although it could be decided by a librarian, the classification was often "suggested" by the publisher.

Not defending myself here, its just that as Perse said, if some of the characters were real people, G.P. would have been taken to task by now.

I can't remember which shelves I got the Lillian Beckwith books from. I just read them and enjoyed them. But didn't think that they were supposed to be completely true.