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Latest Book Reviews

  • The world of Mr Lowry...

    For anyone who loves the art of L S Lowry - as I do - this book is a beautifully produced gem. A book with few words, but with full page photographs, printed on quality paper. They take you both inside and outside Mr Lowry’s home, The Elms, and into his surrounding environment, with evocative images of some of the characters who would have inspired his drawings and paintings. The book is a fascinating glimpse into the world of an artist who achieved his aim of putting the Northern landscape “on the map”, and an interesting addition to any collection of books about L S Lowry.

  • Perfect In Every Sense Of The Word

    If you haven’t already seen me ranting OBSESSIVELY about Holly Bourne and all the books she’s written so far, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

    Holly Bourne writes the MOST REALISTIC TEENAGE GIRLS in her gorgeously awkward and equally hilarious and most importantly, FILLED WITH FEMINISM books that will make you sit up and pay attention because the WORLD NEEDS MORE OF THESE KINDS OF BOOKS.


    I hadn’t even finished the Spinster Club series when the title was revealed for It Only Happens in the Movies and without even knowing what this story was about, I knew I would be reading it. Then, as if Holly Bourne + NEW BOOK wasn’t enough to sell me on reading this book, Usborne went and put ACTUAL FOOD on the cover of this book and I WAS SO EXCITED I HYPERVENTILATED around my room (Bookworm Cave) for a long time.

    It Only Happens in the Movies, definitely met my expectations of what I expected my latest Holly Bourne book to be like, even though it was more mature and a little different from The Spinster Club Trilogy.

    Let’s break it down:


    1. THE COVER: It’s yellow and happy and it has POPCORN on it? I honestly just wanted to eat popcorn through the entire time I was reading the book but YAY FOR FOOD ON BOOK COVERS. THEY’RE THE BEST. And so uplifting.

    . ALL THINGS FEMINIST AND BRILLIANT: This book analyses MOVIE TROPES FROM A FEMINIST POINT OF VIEW ALL WHILE BEING AWKWARDLY HILARIOUS. Could you really ask for more? Each chapter starts off with a movie trope that we are SO USED TO WATCHING (Eg: The Bad Boy that reforms himself JUST FOR YOU) and then breaks it apart to something that Only Happens in the Movies. It will make you think every time you watch another movie, it will make you think regardless. It is BRILLIANTLY done, even if I am overusing the word because It Only Happens in the Movies DESERVES every bit of praise I give it.

    3. ZOMBIE FEMINIST BRIDES: Ever heard of them? No? I don’t blame you. I spent all the time reading this book in awe of everything about it. A zombie bride in the movie our main characters were shooting raged against the patriarchy as a zombie and it was BRILLIANT. It was funny, and even the ZOMBIES MADE YOU THINK ABOUT THE UNEQUALITY IN THE WORLD WE LIVE IT.

    4. STRONG FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS: If there’s one thing that Holly Bourne’s The Spinster Club series and It Only Happens in the Movies has in common is these strong, brilliant and REAL female friendships. I love reading about these in books because I have the privilege of having them in real life and it just makes seeing them in books so much more affirming.

    Honestly, you guys, THIS IS THE BOOK YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW YOU WERE LOOKING FOR. It’s awkward, hilarious, real, filled to the brim with feminism, cute boys and girl power. It Only Happens in the Movies is perfect in every sense of the word and YOU NEED TO BE READING THIS. 5 stars.

  • Quirky disappointment

    I had high hopes at the start of this book, having been drawn in by the spiky narration of Jazmin Little, one of the characters who relates this YA fantasy.

    However I felt the story was a mix of elements of various other sci fi tales (perhaps a little like the best seller described in the course of the book) and that the way that developments were foreshadowed by cryptic utterances removed any feeling of suspense.

    The style of the book left me feeling disconnected and I found it difficult to care about the characters, with the exception of Jazmin, though in time her tone became a little wearing, despite being interspersed with other voices.

    For a book about searching for love I thought there was a failure to portray the different types of love with much conviction or depth. The creation of a weird and repressive atmosphere was much more successful.

    The unusual format of the cover and the striking illustrations suggested this book was something special, but I found the rest of the contents disappointing.




    An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers

    and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”

    Some really esoteric concepts are on show in this interesting and rather off-beat legal book written by Niels van Dijk and coming to us from the Edward Elgar Publishing stable of first-class, high level texts designed to make us think.

    Van Dijk is to be congratulated on his rather different approach to intellectual property rights and the substantial amount of tensions which can arise where disputes occur over an idea. For, as he poses, what is an idea? He gives lots of reasons and some excuses are given which are “motivational” although do read this remarkable collection of his views.

    The purpose behind this work is that, in the author’s words, he “applies a novel conflict-based approach to the notions of ‘idea’, ‘concept’, ‘invention’ and ‘immateriality’ in the legal regime of intellectual property rights by turning to the adversarial legal practices in which they occur”. Yes, a somewhat long-winded mission statement but quite novel in the way it approaches the subject-matter.

    So, what we get with this book are “extensive ethnographies of the courts and law firms” although we had difficulty understanding the meaning of this phrase for the purposes of practicalities. Van Dijk reviews classical questions on legal doctrine (jurisprudence and legal theory) covering “the immaterial nature of intellectual property rights from a thoroughly new perspective”, and it is one, we suspect, that has not really been thought-through before!

    For the IP specialist, we travel through the legal proceedings of disputes in patent, copyright and trademark law as the journey takes us “from the sites of enterprises, through the offices of law firms, the court registry, the courtroom and the judge’s office, until they finally arrive at judgment” - the author’s words, as you might guess and you get a flavour of his overall text style!

    Van Dijk’s purpose is to visit the “central matters of a dispute” which are “gradually transformed into immaterial works, inventions, or signs through the ceaseless ‘material’ operations of legal practices” – all grist to the IP mill, naturally.

    What we found most useful was the light the author sheds on “how seemingly abstract philosophical notions are rendered workable as concrete legal concepts with important consequences”. And expressed in this rabid prose, he means (we think) how we as lawyers protect your ideas- and we are given plenty of creative ideas how!!

    To sum up this high-quality text, “Grounds of the Immaterial” gives us, the readers, what we want… “an inventive and refreshing take on intellectual property rights which will be valued by academics and students in philosophy, legal theory, legal anthropology and intellectual property”.




    An appreciation by Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers

    and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”

    Without a doubt, the long-awaited research handbook for our times has arrived with the twin “evils” (for some) brilliantly covered here by Edward Elgar Publishing as part of their series of research handbooks in European Law, namely EU Law and Human Rights Law.

    The editors comment, in the introduction, that the “place of human rights in EU law has been a central issue in contemporary debates about the character of the European Union as a political organisation”. So there you have it- to set out their stall, 29 contributors have come together to produce the research material, and without their enthusiasm the book would not have been possible. It does make our task that much easier to have publications of this standard available to us at a difficult time for the future of both the EU and human rights.

    The collection of essays, splendidly edited by Sionaidh Douglas-Scott and Nicholas Hatzis, explores the principles underlying fundamental rights norms and the way such norms operate in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) at a time of major change for the UK with Brexit.

    The 29 leading scholars in the field have come forward to produce this handbook discussing both the “effect of rights on substantive areas of EU law and the role of the EU institutions in protecting them”. The structure of the handbook has three parts with the aim being to examine the current state of the law as well as the direction of future developments in the field which we feel will attract a wide and varied readership.

    The first part discusses the normative and doctrinal framework for the protection of human rights in the EU. The second part focuses on EU external relations and on the interaction between EU law and other sources of human rights provisions such as the European Convention on Human rights and international law. And the third part considers the influence of human rights in areas where the EU “takes action” as the editors put it.

    Described as both timely and astute for both lawyers and politicians, it will appeal we think to both undergraduates and scholars who specialise in European law and human rights issues, including learners who now have these areas as compulsory subjects for their studies. It does also offer a valuable and comprehensive additional resource for practitioners, policymakers, NGO and government officials now at a time of substantial European upheaval.

    The publication date is stated is at 28th July 2017 and the book is available in printed form and as an ebook.




    An appreciation by Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers

    and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”

    This new title from Edward Elgar Publishing has arrived at just the right time for international lawyers with the role of the United Nations high on the global political and legal agenda.

    As editor, Larissa van den Herik, says “the 1990s have been labelled the “Sanctions Decade”. This is because they witnessed “an unprecedented intensification of the use of collective non-military enforcement measures, and, in particular, sanctions by the post-Cold War re-activated Security Council”, she says.

    This book is part of the research handbooks series for international law. The twenty-five contributors review “the current practice of UN sanctions in international law, their inter-relationship with other regimes and substantive areas of law, as well as issues arising from their implementation and application at the domestic level”.

    As the publishers have commented, in “the twenty-five years following the conclusion of the Cold War witnessed an unprecedented intensification of the usage of United Nations sanctions”. This research handbook maps out how UN sanctions “multiplied and diversified during this period”. It also “analyses the substantive and procedural transformations to UN sanctions regimes, through the lens of international law”.

    The 25 experts describe the various types of UN sanctions regimes, most notably counter-terrorism regimes, counter-proliferation regimes and conflict-resolution regimes. They review developments across the regimes, including increased references to international legal standards in the procedure and design of sanctions and interplays with what they call “other processes and informal arrangements”.

    What we found of great value were the major chapters covering the synergies (their words) between UN sanctions and unilateral measures. The book explores the contrasting legal frameworks which govern and shape such regimes. \it offers the reader a “holistic study of UN sanctions” and explains cross-cutting issues and the common challenges thus providing an “outlook on the future of UN sanctions in a twenty-first century setting”.

    We welcome the description of the book as “comprehensive and engaging”. It will appeal to undergraduates and academics across the field of human rights law and international law.

    Additionally, it is highly relevant to those involved in the wider area of international relations as an “essential companion”. Rightly described as a “forward-thinking approach”, the title and the series will also benefit legal practitioners at the United Nations as well as arrange of international organisations and law firms involved in international law.

    The publication date is stated is at 28th July 2017.

  • Weird but funny

    This is the weirdest book I've read- so one one level you have a barmy academic going into insane tangents that are funny. On the second level it's the journo of ibn fudayl and his mentor and then there are footnotes that are mini stories in them selves. It had me stitches.

  • A crazy journey

    Funny, irreverent and very relevant for our times. Some stuff was so bizarre and absurd it was just an insight in to the authors twisted imagination. This book reminds me of Gulliver's Travels, Sterne and Cervantes.

  • A classic whodunnit!

    "The Parish Picnic Murder" written by Graham Hutton is a typically picturesque, English summer, murder mystery that I found very interesting and entertaining. Set in the 1960's, this was like a cross between tv's Midsummer Murders and Agatha Christie rolled into one, which also delved into the terrible and saddening tale of war crimes. Having all the elements of a traditional style murder mystery, everyone in both the sleepy villages could be a suspect, have a reason to be the murderer or have a secret they wish to hide.

    The author is a very descriptive writer, making sure when we are introduced to each of the characters, we learn in great detail who they are and their full background. Every thought, movement and action is detailed.

    The book kicks off immediately with the 'picnic murder' and straight away we are intrigued as to - why that character, who could he really be and what could possibly be the motive for his death? Detective Chief Inspector Paul Wreford is assigned to the case along with Woman Detective Sergeant Sarah Bowman and I enjoyed reading about the role of women and the attitudes towards them in the police force during the 60's. The author has captured the era perfectly and it was a nice change reading about a crime and it's suspects during those years.

    This is a large and detailed book at over 350 pages long but it does keep your attention in the slow burning yet well plotted storyline. I'm very impressed at the quality of the writing, considering the author only wrote the book after being advised it may be good therapy, following a traffic accident that left him disabled and partially sighted. A job well done and I'd happily recommend "The Parish Picnic Murder' to readers of classic murder mysteries.

    4 stars