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Reviews Written by
Mike Stevenson
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Simply Style Madison Blue Thermal Backed Readymade Curtain Pair 46x72in(116x182cm)
Simply Style Madison Blue Thermal Backed Readymade Curtain Pair 46x72in(116x182cm)
Offered by 4 Your Home
Price: £13.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Just the job, 15 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I fitted these in literally ten minutes flat - quick run over the curtains with an iron, tie off the ends, plug in the hooks (not supplied) and up they go. They're just what I was looking for - and at this price you can't really complain. Just be careful to measure the window first! The only thing missing are some sort of tie backs, but to be fair you can always get them separately.


Philips HP6423/02 Satinelle Legs and Body Epilator with Shaving Head
Philips HP6423/02 Satinelle Legs and Body Epilator with Shaving Head
Price: £36.07

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great unit, excellent for short hairs, and a good alternative to waxing, 13 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
(IMPORTANT - full disclosure - this is a proxy review by my wife; it may be that this unit would be entirely effective on male hair, but I personally have not tested it. So these comments are based on female hair removal requirements).

Having never used an epilator before, I found this worked extremely well, and will definitely be using this again rather than going through the hassle of having my legs professionally waxed. You can do it in the comfort of your own home, while watching the TV, etc., and I found it comfortable to hold and use. There are a few negatives; first, the unit could be said to be a bit noisy. It's not hyper-loud, but you're definitely going to have to turn up the TV! Additionally, the unit isn't cordless - meaning, it has to be plugged in; if you're looking for a cordless unit, this isn't going to work for you. However, with that said the cord is certainly long enough - it's not as if you'll be chained to a power socket. The epilator also comes with a handy shaving & trimming attachment, and a neat little bag to store it all in.

In summary, I'm quite impressed with it, and will definitely be saving a lot of money on waxes going forward! The thing that most impressed me is how effective it was at attacking shorter hairs than you would be able to with waxing.


William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge
William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge
Dvd
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent effort from Shatner, 5 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A decent and watchable effort from Shatner, looking at the development and initial running of Star Trek : The Next Generation. He's assembled a strong list of behind-the-camera interviewees for this - Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman, Mike Okuda, Brannon Braga, D.C. Fontana, Tracey Torme, David Gerrold, Lolita Fatjo... if you're a serious devotee of the show as I am, there may not be a huge amount that you don't know, but the interviews are in some cases both incisive and instructive. Maurice Hurley - although not necessarily someone I would want to work with - is a highlight. The front-of-camera talent is a little thinner on the ground; the only representatives are Stewart, Frakes, McFadden, Denise Crosby, and John DeLancie - with Stewart being the only one who gets any real screentime.

Shatner focuses on the development of the show seasons 1-3 and the rise and fall of Roddenberry's involvement almost exclusively; however, this is understandable in that the concept of the documentary is to outline the 'chaotic' environment of the early show, and with the start of season four and the death of Roddenberry whatever chaos there was was largely behind them. But it would have been interesting to see a little more about how the dynamics of the writing room changed with the introduction of Michael Piller, Brannon Braga, etc. There are also a few mis-steps; the lack of mention of DeForest Kelley's cameo role in Farpoint, for example, is a strange omission given the discussions about how TNG was struggling to inherit the mantle of the Original Series.

Nevertheless, a solid if unremarkable synopsis of many stories that - admittedly - any self-respecting fan already knows; you can do a lot worse than to check this out.


El Dorado Blues (An Atticus Fish Novel)
El Dorado Blues (An Atticus Fish Novel)
by Shaun Morey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.64

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for disposable beachside reading, 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The novel feels like a one-pot meal consisting of all the interests of the author - location, fishing, etc. - along with a humourous but incredibly fast narrative that appears largely unplotted. It's filled with many characters who are colourful, but are ultimately relatively shallow - largely due to the breakneck pace. I went in expecting a clever mystery, rather than a character romp, which was my first mistake - the second was that I didn't read this whilst lying on a beach towel - as recommended by many other reviewers. But still I had a lot of fun with the book, and I will happily be seeking out the others in the series.


What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
by Michael Sandel
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and thought-provoking, if somewhat subjective, 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An essential amalgamation of Sandel's broadcast work on this subject, this book is certainly thought provoking. Many of the subjects covered will not be new to anyone who has read any popular economics works - for example, the creation of markets for the sale of kidneys - but all are covered with depth and a fair amount of academic rigour.

My only concern is that the application of the word 'moral' is often subjective; for example, surely all life insurance is essentially a bet of when the policy holder will die? Judging some structures of life insurance as 'moral' and others as not so moral strikes me as hanging the issue of 'morality' on the 'optics' of a given instrument, rather than its fundamental nature. In a similar way, I think it's perfectly valid to suggest that markets should be essentially amoral entities - if a moral component is required, it should either be in the form of individual responsibility or (light) government intervention. This isn't really dealt with here, but in fairness to Sandel, it would be somewhat contrary to the central premise of his book.


Winner Take All: China's Race For Resources and What It Means For Us
Winner Take All: China's Race For Resources and What It Means For Us
by Dambisa Moyo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you talk to anyone from Africa about geo-politics (I have), the subject of China's inviligation into the continent will eventually come up. Whether this is about relentlessly hyperproductive chicken farming or commodity mining, the overriding theme tends to be that China are moving in. Sometimes emotive words like 'rape' are used; others are more circumspect, others still are positive and use words like 'investment'. This book gives a useful perspective - and a lot of facts - to inform those debates. There's no question that China is a serious power in the world - although, they're still a long way away from the US - and with a population of the size they have, it's inevitable that they would want to stockpile resources. But even so, the scale at which they're working is really quite surprising. This isn't a page turner - I'm not sure Moyo has a future as a novelist - but it's an interesting, fact laden, and thought-provoking take on the next superpower that is well worth the investment.


Rock Island Rock (A Crossroads Thriller)
Rock Island Rock (A Crossroads Thriller)
by Eyre Price
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.64

3.0 out of 5 stars Should have read the first one..., 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Full disclosure - I have not read the first one, and it looks like that was a mistake. As a dedicated fan of all things rock and blues, I appreciate the concept / conceit of the novel, and very much enjoyed the music references; but I would say that coming in with this book probably misses a lot of setup that is really necessary to make the lead characters relatable and engaging. I get the feeling that I would happily be able to add an extra star if I'd have read the original - something which this novel has done just enough to convince me to do, particularly in light of the comments from the other reviewers.


The First Book of Calamity Leek
The First Book of Calamity Leek
by Paula Lichtarowicz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 30 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found this to be a genuinely sublime work. Through the first person narration of the titular character, we are introduced to an enthralling, closeted, and at times horrifying world - a world that gradually breaks down as Calamity begins to question whether the worldview that she and her sisters have always been forcefed is really true. In my experience first person narrative only really works if that character is either entirely engaging, or relatable. Lichtarowicz goes for the former here - and rightly so, Calamity's naivete is sometimes very difficult to relate to - but the book is so well written that it works, and you'll find yourself completely dragged in before you realize. When it eventually becomes clear what is happening, you'll realize that subtle clues, hints, and foreshadowing throughout the book make it an entirely in-world logical outcome - one of the marks of a good writer, in my view.


Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles
Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles
by Ruchir Sharma
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile read, 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A thoughtful examination of a number of emerging markets, and how they will change the global economic picture. Actually that said, it's not fair to call some of these emerging markets - notably, I don't think anyone can really call China an emerging market. Anyway, Sharma deals with each of his chosen subjects in turn, musing on how the political and demographic characteristic of each will impact on and affect its geo-position in the decades to come, and comparing and contrasting them in some cases to analagous times of the history of developed countries. There's much to appreciate here - if nothing else, you're going to come away with a decent overview of each of the 11 countries Sharma deals with. It's an engaging and worthwhile read, and could stand a new edition to deal with a few anachronisms - for example the change in China's two child policy.


Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others
Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others
by James Gilligan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prepare yourself for an extremely partisan argument..., 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Gilligans argument is simple; that when the GOP are in power, suicides, crime and violence rise - and when the Democrats are in power, they drop. Is this true? Well..... yes. But that's not the question (or it shouldn't be) - the question is, is this correlation or causation? Are these changes when the GOP take office actually delayed reactions to policy changes made by the Democrats? What other economic and geopolitical events happen to coincide with the transitions from left to right, which might go some way towards explaining what's going on?

Gilligan makes a decent case, but ultimately for such a fascinating topic, it comes across as too partisan and subjective. Too much gets ignored in order to focus on an ideological argument for it to be a convincing essay, and this (in my view) knocks it down to two stars. And for the avoidance of doubt - my politics are pretty centrist; I was just looking for a more critical approach.


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