Monday, 23 January 2023
Monday, 9 January 2023
Monday, 19 December 2022
Well, this really has been a year of extremes for me (losing my Dad and seeing the thrillers take off) but now it's Christmas and even though I'm not in the mindset for celebrating it's time to indulge in the annual blog custom and remember the good books of 2022.
6 drama (includes romance)
All of my reviews are posted up at Goodreads here
In case you’re interested, the previous awards are linked to from here:
Monday, 5 December 2022
|Me & Tracy, Christmas 1977 - look at how chuffed I am, I've got the new Look-In annual AND the Starsky & Hutch Gran Torino!|
Welcome to the sixth post (you can find the others on these links here - 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021) showcasing one of the Christmas highlights from when I was a kid (beyond the catalogues I wrote about in 2016), seeing which annual I got that particular year. For those who don't remember them, annuals were (and still are) large size hardback books, designed for children and based on existing properties, generally comics and popular TV shows, as well as the occasional film and sport and pop round-ups.
The ones based on comics featured the same cast as the weekly editions, while the TV and film ones had comic strips, the occasional short story, fact files and interviews and - brilliantly - in the case of The Fall Guy, behind the scenes information on stunts and how they were filmed.
Published towards the end of the year, annuals are cover-dated as the following year to ensure shops don't take them off the shelves immediately after the new year (though, by then, unsold copies are often heavily reduced). Still as popular now, though kids today don't have the choice of comics we did, the only real difference seems to be that they're skinnier (and that's not me being all nostalgically misty - my ones from the late 70s and early 80s are substantially chunkier than the ones I’ve bought for Dude over the past few years).
Here, then, is another selection of old favourites, ones I received and ones I remember my sister Tracy having. I hope some of them inspire a warm, nostalgic trip down memory lane for you...
scans from my collection, aside from the girls titles (thanks to the Internet for those)
You can read more of my nostalgia posts here
Monday, 21 November 2022
Monday, 7 November 2022
Sue Moorcroft is an international bestselling author and has reached the #1 spot on Kindle UK. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Published by HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by other publishers around the world.
Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.
Born into an army family in Germany, Sue spent much of her childhood in Cyprus and Malta but settled in Northamptonshire at the age of ten. An avid reader, she also loves Formula 1, travel, family and friends, dance exercise and yoga.
Monday, 31 October 2022
paperback covers, Top Trumps, VHS cover art and behind the scenes special effects shots), I've decided this time to go with something else I love, namely painted movie posters. Looking at some of these again reminds me of being a young horror film fan in the late 70s and early 80s (when BBC2 began showing Universal horrors in the early evening), seeing gaudily gorgeous posters for films I wouldn't get to see for quite some time (and which, sometimes, didn't live up to my imagining of what they'd be).
So with all that in mind, enjoy this Halloween treat of posters that (very occasionally) promise more than they deliver...
Monday, 17 October 2022
Following this, I decided to re-visit some of the books I'd missed on that second read-through, without any intention of posting reviews of them but, as if often the way, it didn't quite work out like that. Happily, this is on-going and so here's an additional review...
|Collins Hardback First Edition (printed in 1974 and never reprinted), cover art by Roger Hall|
|Detail from the back cover of the Armada format a paperback,|
art by Peter Archer. There were no internal illustrations
in the UK editions.
The central mystery - was there actually any treasure and where might Gunn have hidden it? - is well put together and the way the boys unlock the clues is nicely played, though I was amazed at all these businesses that just happened to have one-hundred-year-old documents lying around. Aunt Matilda and Hans have decent sized roles - the latter participating in a few key scenes - and Arden makes good use of the Christmas period, with the boys helping their parents/guardians put up the decorations and seeing them all over town, while the season adds a chill to the air.
As well written as always, this has some decent set pieces - especially the Santa Barbara and Cabrillo Island sequences - some nice touches of comedy (there’s a bit where Jupiter runs one way, only to see his compatriots coming the other way) and a mention for Ruxton University (where Dr Barrister, who the boys first met in The Mystery Of The Singing Serpent, works). Although the ending is perhaps wrapped up a bit too quickly for my liking, this is a solid mystery that works well and gives each of the boys their moment to shine. I would very much recommend it.
|Armada format a paperback (printed between 1976 and 1979), cover art by Peter Archer|
(cover scan of my copy)
|Armada format b paperback (printed between 1980 and 1982), cover art by Peter Archer|
(cover scan of my copy)
There were no internal illustrations for the UK edition which is a shame, since some of the set pieces used in the US hardback edition would have been ably served by Roger Hall.
Thanks to Ian Regan for the artwork (you can see more at his excellent Cover Art database here)