We’re Becoming More Interactive…..

Here at BFS, we strive to keep the site as user friendly and informative as possible and to this end we have introduced three new features.

Product Reviews

For some time now it has been possible to review our service on our Facebook page. This allows buyers to comment on the standard of service that Books From Sharon (BFS) provided and acts as a way to inform other potential buyers in the same way that feedback does on any buying / selling site.

In addition to the seller reviews we have now introduced product reviews. If you have enjoyed a book then why not tell others? It’s easy to do by clicking on the ‘write a review’ link at the bottom of each product page.

You will be asked to enter a user name which will be published and your email address which will NOT be shown. Below is an example of a completed review;

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Price Comparison at a Glance

The second new addition to the site is a price comparison. Where the RRP is printed on the book, you will now be able to see at a glance how much you save by purchasing from BFS.

This feature shows up in the gallery menu,

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the list menu

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and on the product page

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As you can see, for higher amounts, the savings only show whole £s.

This is being introduced across the store but it will take a while for all genres to be included.

PLEASE NOTE; The price comparison will not apply to stock in the Bargain Basement.

 

Latest Stock

Want to know what we’ve added since your last visit? It’s now easy to see what’s new in because it will automatically be updated on our home page.

To check out these changes or see what we have available, please click here to visit the BFS store.

 

 

Cake Stand Review

I am one of those home bakers who usually serves cake from a plate or maybe a Tupperware cake box, neither of which look particularly pretty! Today I decided to make more effort, so I tried a cardboard cake stand. They came in a pack of two and the circular tops have a different design on each side, so there is a choice of four patterns to match the occasion.

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The cardboard seems to be a decent thickness and the pieces are simply pushed out of a board and slotted together according to the illustrated instructions on the back of the box. It’s easy enough to do and feels sturdy once completed.

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Now for the important bit… eating the cake!

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Thank you, Victoria, for the review.  I hope you enjoyed the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Books by Camilla de la Bedoyere

 

This set of books are ideal for an animal loving child. They are packed full of beautiful photographs and accurate illustrations, surrounded by facts about each creature. One of my 7 year old son’s favourite parts is the ‘actual size’ picture in each book. In the minibeasts book this fits on one page, but in the others there are four page pull-out sections which show close ups of the predators.

Throughout the books, technical language is highlighted in bold and featured in a glossary in the back of the book to help children understand any vocabulary they are not familiar with. Additionally, there are suggestions for websites you can visit to learn more about each group of animals.

These books have been hugely popular in our household for my fact-loving boy and we will be on the lookout for more books by this interesting author.

Review supplied by Victoria H

 

Black House by Peter May – Book Review

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You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… except you can with this book.  Dark, mysterious, turbulent.  From the first, this book had me hooked!

You have the aloof, damaged main character, Fin Macleod, who ran from the island of Lewis, years ago, supposedly to a better life.  He’s dragged back, forced to face up to his past, following a murder most grizzly.
The island is not only harsh by nature, but the God-fearing way of life and lack of social mobility add to its difficulties.  It is easy to see why Fin left, regardless of the personal horrors he faced whilst he lived a grew up on the island.
It’s difficult to review the rest of the story, without giving too much away.  i wouldn’t want to disclose the plot line, as it is a very good read, and will drag you in, desperate to know what happened.  There are a few good twists, and it is well written.  It reflects how life could well be for people in such a cut off environment, and following Fin’s life, throughout youth, adolescence and adulthood, you get a sense of all stages in life.  The patterns seem to repeat themselves and many of the island inhabitants have had it tough, with some life defining challenges.
A very good read, and I will most certainly be reading more of Peter May’s novels in this series.

Many thanks to Lauren for this very informative review.

Book Review – Michael Marshall’s, The Intruders

…….all that I would want in a conspiracy thriller…….

The saying goes: “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”  With this book, I’m ashamed to say that the hyphenated title (paperback edition) bothered me and I automatically expected the book to be a little bit… well… bad.  I wondered what kind of publisher wouldn’t be able to employ a designer to fit one whole, nine letter word on the front cover.  I presumed the half-hearted attempt on the cover would be reflective of the inside content. 

I was wrong!  I knew Marshall had written many other successful novels, but I had never read anything by him before.  

I will, now. 

The Intruders purposely confuses for most of the book, until finally revealing its sinister and conspiracy-fuelled plot in a dramatic and thrilling end.  I was captivated by the main character, Jack, who you can’t help but get frustrated with.  He has had some success with his debut book, but can’t seem to motivate himself into much else.  Until, that is, his life crumbles as a result of the Intruders, and he loses his beloved Amy.  One is made to wonder whether, even despite the Intruders, the marriage was doomed due to Jack’s messiness, procrastination and lack of get-up-and-go.  Amy is the career woman, perhaps ploughing herself even more into work since a miscarriage.  Jack is the retired police officer who messed up and hasn’t quite got back on track.  If I had one criticism of the book, it would be that I’d have liked more detail about life before the present.  We are told the bare basics about Jack’s reasons for departing the force, but I think some more padding would have helped really understand Jack and why he and Amy are where they are in their lives.  

The other central character is our 10 year old girl, who mysteriously disappears.  We soon find out she isn’t quite what she seems and becomes very important to the climax of the story. 

The ending is not a happy one, but it is dramatic, well explained, and deserved of the build up.  Despite my feelings of “what-on-earth-is-going-on?!” throughout two thirds of the book, my questions were answered in the end.  Overall, the book was all that I would want in a conspiracy thriller. Although not the best thing I have ever read, I will be reading more by Michael Marshall. 

Review submitted by Lauren C.  

This book is currently available  HERE for £1.50 + p&p

Lunch With Mussolini by Derek Hansen

Book review by Lauren C.

“Overall, a very good read.  I would definitely pick up another Derek Hansel novel”  

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After reading the blurb of Lunch with Mussolini, I was disappointed when the opener introduced me to some old men in a cafe.  Where was the female heroine with a vendetta that I was promised?!  Nevertheless, I continued on and soon enough, my disappointment was replaced by delight.  I was introduced to Cecilia: a brave, literature loving girl, growing up in war-torn, rural Italy.

I had no idea how close this young girl would get to the war, but the fact that this is a story told from an Italian’s point of view, let alone a female one, was enough of a characteristic to make this book stand out from all other war stories I have read in the past.  Italy’s role in World War II was a complex and ever changing one and a far cry from the good versus evil we often see in a typical Allies/Nazis tale.  Being set in Italy allowed the classic roles to be blurred and made for a different and interesting read, based around what was ultimately a love story.

Cecilia is a complex character, but the reasons for this are obvious.  We are exposed to her youth, adolescence and adulthood and all the challenges those periods of life raised for her.  Underprivileged, yet bright: in the right environment, she would have flourished and become everything her mother had dreamed she would.

Cecilia’s family life is torn apart due to abuse and the stark injustice of the era is highlighted when Cecilia is cast from her home and blamed.  Her world is shattered and she doesn’t understand why.  All around her, political feeling and unease is bubbling and the war is getting closer.  Although Cecilia’s life moves on to expose her to high-level fascism and further abuse, danger, jealousy and judgment as a result of impressing audiences with her reading ability, it also opens her up to love, experience and excitement.  Her life at Villa Carosio exposes her to extreme sides of the war and allows us to see the struggle from both sides of Italy’s allegiances: the fascists and the partisans.  Cecilia – due to her intelligence, beauty and bravery – is on the front-line of both, risking her life for the causes of others.

She deals with all her trials with dignity, compartmentalising to keep her head about her and maintain the roles she has to play.  The compartmentalisation is probably as a result of her long-standing abuse, and also due to the loss of her family and the betrayal or loss of faith of those people she had come to trust.   Being beautiful is somewhat of a curse, with sex forced upon her during her adolescence and remaining central to her teenage years and success as an infiltrator.

Despite all the difficulties Cecilia faces, it was never lost on me that her life without reading, would have been a lot worse.  For this, I loved this book.

In addition to Cecilia, we are faced with the unusual storyline of Germans as victims.  The detail and depiction of the bombing of Dresden is horrific but excellent.  From the introduction of our German characters, we are coaxed to like the privileged Fredreich and Christiane and their cheeky, innocent romance.  They become a family affected by the war, like many Allied stories we have seen in the past.  The difference is, Fredriech is fighting for Hitler.  As the story develops, he becomes more and more concerned about what he is fighting for and worries about the rationale behind the military action he is being asked to take.  The Nazi bullying tactics are highlighted and we see the war from an unusual point of view.   We still have the classic “Nazi bad guy” in Dietrich, which highlights Fredreich as an even better man.

Eventually, Cecilia is given the love and ending that she deserves, after contemplating and deciding against murder.  For that, I was relieved.  Her love and happiness is not without bitterness, however, with the reasons behind the death of her beloved mother becoming clear.  One can only imagine that her and Fredriech – or Colombina and Henriech – grew older and happier together in a setting far away from war, abuse and betrayal.

My only criticism with the book was the old guys in the cafe.  Even with my initial misgivings with the opening of the story, I wasn’t clear why Lucio, Ramon, et al, were needed as a vessel for Cecilia’s story.  I felt the ending whereby Lucio misled the others into believing they were the judge and jury as to whether Heinreich should live or die, was an anti climax.  I would have preferred the story of Cecilia to have been purer and told from only her point of view, rather than Lucio’s.  At times, I found his extent of knowledge and the link between he and Cecilia, tenuous.  Throw in the fact that Gancio also knew of the story, and I thought it somewhat unbelievable.  Perhaps the summing up by the men was rushed, and that is why I felt as I did.  However, I do know that I read over the Lucio storytelling sections as quickly as possible, so that I could get back to the main story.

 

Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney

Thank you to Janet B for the following book review.

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Set in Australia, Lola’s Secret is a feel good family saga.  Lola is the matriarch of the Quinlan family,who run a motel,and has a habit of meddling in their lives with the best of intentions, trying to bring them closer together.  Her large family are all at different stages in their lives and relationships,not least Lola herself,who at 84 is still the mischievious,outspoken woman she always was,even if she has had to slow down a little!
Having packed all of her family off for Christmas,telling them she wants some peace and quiet this year,she secretly has other plans to invite a few guests to the motel,to see how they all get along.  Of course,her plans go awry and eventually Lola has a wonderful surprise herself.
The ups and downs of family life are well explored, and, along with believable characters and little unexpected twists, this is a delightful read.  Definitely one to curl up with in a chair on a lazy afternoon!