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Roman Clodia (London)
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The Book of Aron
The Book of Aron
by Jim Shepard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A child's-eye view of the Holocaust, 6 July 2015
This review is from: The Book of Aron (Hardcover)
I think I'm giving this 4-stars for the content as I didn't always like the way this is written. It's a simply told (though not simplistic) story of life in the Warsaw ghetto and the final round-up of all the Jews from there to be transported to the camps. Do bear in mind that this is a short book (c.250pp.) and that it starts from before the war, ending in 1942 and so the whole rise of the Nazis, anti-Semitic laws, formation of the ghetto etc. right through to its destruction are given in a very compressed way.

The story is told through the voice of young Aron, a charming scamp of a boy who gets into all kinds of mischief before becoming embroiled in the politics of war and the real-life character of Korczak, a doctor who set up an orphanage to care for Jewish children.

The story of what is happening outside the ghetto is obliquely told and I think one of the things I found hard is the tone of knowing acceptance: no-one, for example, is at all horrified to hear that Jews are being mass-executed in gas chambers at Treblinka - we know that happened, but it was news to those still living in the ghetto but in this story it's almost as if people have the historical facts that we do.

I also found it difficult that everything is *told* via Aron, so there's lots of indirect speech rather than action or dramatisation: for example, "I said I didn't know what he was talking about and he said if I refused then the Germans he was with would take ten kids from the orphanage and shoot them. He said the Germans would be happy to tell me which ones they would shoot" ~ horrific, of course, but so much more impactful if dramatised as a scene rather than in a 'he said/I said' kind of way.

Despite my niggles, this is still worth reading both for the record of the Holocaust and for the humanity and heroism of people like Korczak under unimaginable circumstances.


Eylure Strip Lashes No.100 (Volume)
Eylure Strip Lashes No.100 (Volume)
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect party lashes, 6 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Gosh, these really make my eyes pop! I already have dark, curly lashes but it's nice to add a bit more volume for big nights out - these are perfect party lashes but are a little much when the lights are up.

As with the other Eyelure lashes they can be cut to fit the width of your eye and are a little fiddly to get on at first. I also like to add liquid eye-liner to hide the join. These are so lush that I might cut them to add volume only at the outer edges of my eyes where they give a definite cat's eye flutter.


Cetaphil 295 ml Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash
Cetaphil 295 ml Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash
Price: £12.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Works well as a hand-wash, 6 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't have clinically dry skin but do find that washing my hands during the day in a hard water area leaves my skin tight: this definitely makes a difference and has replaced my usual hand-wash. It also works well as a foot soak as part of a pedicure routine.

The clinical-looking bottle and lack of fragrance definitely position this as a utilitarian product - it works but I'm tempted to decant it into a more attractive looking bottle!


Three Twisted Stories
Three Twisted Stories
Price: £1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Twisted - but not wholly successful, 5 July 2015
These are definitely three twisted and weird tales where Slaughter seems to be experimenting with not being the Karin Slaughter of the Grant County novels - instead these are a bit Stephen King via Roald Dahl.

The three vary in length from the darkly satirical novella (Go Deep) to the almost throwaway Necessary Women which can be read in minutes, and the odd last story which is downright odd.

So don't come to these expecting the Slaughter of the novels: these are experimental but not, I think, wholly successful.


Commitment and Sacrifice: Personal Diaries from the Great War
Commitment and Sacrifice: Personal Diaries from the Great War
Price: £21.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Six diaries which offer a portrait of young men in WW1, 5 July 2015
There are many editions of WW1 diaries and letters: what makes this volume different is that it collects six diaries together here, five of which are previously unpublished, and lets them speak to each other.

The range is broad: a British soldier, a French officer, an American ambulance driver, a New Zealand soldier, a German internee in Britain, and a German POW in France. Most of the diaries consist of 1-2 line entries, and it’s only Kaufmann, the POW, who writes at length.

All the same, the pictures build up slowly and emerge out of the mundane, offering a rounded portrait of young men at a crucial moment in European history. Recommended.

(I received a review copy via Netgalley)


I Followed the Rules
I Followed the Rules
Price: £3.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and satisfying after a slow start, 5 July 2015
This gets off to a slow start to the point where I was almost ready to abandon it at the 30% mark - which would have been a shame because once Dylan arrives on the scene, all arrogance and confidence and broad shoulders and sinfully sexy, the whole thing perks up immeasurably.

If you can stick with the derivative sub-Bridget Jonesness, Bolouri does give us a great heroine in Cat and there is some genuinely witty bantering between her and Dylan. So frothy, light-hearted chick-lit with no surprises but a fun read all the same with a very satisfying ending.

(I received a review copy via Netgalley)


The Man Who Watched Women
The Man Who Watched Women
by Michael Hjorth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) Police soap opera crossed with Silence Of The Lambs, 5 July 2015
(3.5 stars)

If The Silence Of The Lambs had a book-child with the Scandi-Noir genre, this would be it. On one side we have a Hannibal Lector-alike psychopath pulling strings from his prison cell, on the other we have a dysfunctional police team replete with broken marriages, in-house love affairs, dark family secrets and not much sense of humour.

The writing is assured and there are some interesting characters here: my favourite is Ursula who sadly doesn't get as much page space as she deserves. Sebastian Bergman, though, the sex-addicted psychologist gets far too much: when will (male?) authors realise that making a 50-year old, shambolic, ex-addict, unpleasant, rude throwback so magnetically attractive to women that every one he meets can't wait to throw herself into bed with him is just silly?

This is a long book, almost 600 pages, and that's because it's packed with backstories, side-issues, and soap opera storylines - a good edit would have streamlined and tautened it.

Ultimately, this doesn't do anything new - as long as you are expecting something which is completely formulaic genre fiction then this is confidently-written entertainment.

(I received a review copy via Netgalley)


Eylure Strip Lashes No.070 (Volume)
Eylure Strip Lashes No.070 (Volume)
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Full, glamorous lashes, 3 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are very full, lush, glamorous lashes - not the sort of thing I'd wear during the day but perfect for a big night out. They're so dramatic that they suit careful make-up - either a classic smoky eye or with neutral eye shadow and a prominent lip. They are a little fiddly to get on and it's worth taking the time to do it right otherwise they can start lifting at the ends by the end of the night. I like to use a liquid eyeliner to disguise the lash line and deepen the effect.


Eylure Naturalite Strip Lashes No. 020 (Natural Volume)
Eylure Naturalite Strip Lashes No. 020 (Natural Volume)
Price: £4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars A natural-looking and subtle boost to your own lashes, 3 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are very good for a subtle boost to your lashes - they look natural and blend in well with my own lashes. They're a little fiddly to put on as they're so delicate and it's worth taking the time to position them right otherwise they can start lifting by the end of the evening - not a good look!
I like to use a liquid eyeliner to disguise the lash line.


A Book for Her
A Book for Her
Price: £9.02

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Christie's a brilliant comedian - but better on stage than on the page, 3 July 2015
This review is from: A Book for Her (Kindle Edition)
Look, I love Bridget Christie; I loved her brilliantly astringent 'A Bic For Her' show; I agree with everything she's got to say about feminism, about comedy, about gender politics - I just found this book a bit of a struggle.

Firstly, it's not quite sure what kind of a book it is: is it a biography of a comedian's working life? A politicised personal feminist tract? A record of how life in the real world gets transformed into comedy material? Well, it's all of this and feels jumbled: one minute we're rehearsing (again) the statistics on FGM (female genital mutilation), the next we're with Christie on the comedy circuit when a man gets his willy out (accidentally? no-one's sure). Christie herself seems to question what her book is, and is self-conscious of its positioning against Caitlin Moran, for example.

There are some brilliantly funny moments as Christie is sharp and committed and has a nice turn in acidic humour ('Jay Z, Beyoncé's husband, has also been hailed as a feminist. This is because he dropped the word 'bitch' from his stage songs after his daughter was born. So that's nice.') Her 'set' on the anti-rape pants is hysterical (in all its meanings), and she points up all the absurdities of sexism (and racism and all the other isms) with some freshness.

The problem, though, is that this kind of book is pretty much preaching to the converted and while we can laugh at many of her observations (on why surely feminism is over: 'women can vote and vajazzle and vomit at weekends now, can't they?') there's also something a bit depressing that all this *still* needs to be said.

I suspect that a lot of this material would work really well in stand-up to a direct and invested audience - I'm just not sure that it translates into a book.

So I'm sorry to offer an on-the-fence review when I share Christie's own convictions and sense of humour: if you get the chance, go and see her, she's far, far better on stage than on the page.

(I received a review copy via Netgalley)


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