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C. C. Chivers "ccchivers" (UK)
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Varta 3W LED Indestructible Beam Lantern
Varta 3W LED Indestructible Beam Lantern
Price: 24.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very bright, but slightly on the heavy side., 25 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When filled with the 4 C batteries that come with it, this torch is very heavy. Moreover, C batteries are rather less easy to obtain than D batteries, so it should have been made to accommodate Ds instead.

However, all that aside, it is exceedingly bright when on full. It has two modes: full strength and energy saving. The latter being about half strength and therefore giving out the sort of light I get from my head torches.

I have not tried dropping it from a height or hammering it (seeing no need to), but I trust it is able to withstand such things to a certain extent - I doubt it would hold up against a bulldoser for example.


Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Utterly ridiculous, 3 Sep 2012
This review is from: Throne of Glass (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I read 11 chapters and finally had to give up. Celaena Sardothien is supposed to be an 18 year old hardened criminal. An assassin of such great reputation that people tremble at her name. She is supposed to have just spent a full year in the toughest prison in which most criminals only last a maximum of one month.

However, from the very start she is portrayed more like a superficial spoilt brat from court as she continuously worries about her appearance - her dirty face as she is presented to the Prince of the realm, the type of dress she should wear when being presented to the king prior to a deadly tournament that will decide her entire fate.

She nearly faints when going through one part of the palace made entirely of glass.

She trembles before the very king who is supposed to be such a tyrant that she wants to kill him, especially as he put her in the very mines from which she has just come. One would normally expect burning hate, but instead she behaves like a school girl being presented at court for the first time.

She is vein, wanting everyone around her to know who she is and think of her in some grandiose manner when in fact, a true assassin would welcome anonimity as a way of increasing their chance of accomplishing their goals. She has a somewhat uncontrolled temper like a petulent teenager rather than a street smart girl.

Vanity, fear, petulance - is this really what you would expect from a supposedly hardened criminal? Hardly!

All of these various displays of a normal child (rather than an experienced criminal) are interspersed with moments when the assassin side of her are expressed such as it being potentially easy to disarm the guards below her window and kill them before they really knew what was going on. These 'assassin moments' are completely opposite to her other personality that one would think she was almost a Jekyl and Hyde character. It is ridiculous and I most certainly do not recommend this book at all.

The story itself has great potential (therefore the two stars as opposed to just one) and flows well, but the characters are so superficial in their outlook of life as to make the whole thing a great disappointment.


Breathe
Breathe
by Sarah Crossan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars A possible future scenario for all of us!, 28 Aug 2012
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Earth! Three generations from now! Humans have decimated the planet, chopping down all the trees and killing all animals, even pets, in order to feed their ever increasing numbers. Now, earth is barren - a dusty, silent, open graveyard. Everywhere except in specially built pods.

These are enclosed cities in which a select few thrive whilst the rest merely survive. Moving quickly is against the law if you are an auxiliary. You have to have special passes in order to do anything that would use up excess oxygen (which is very expensive). Premiums though, are privleged and can afford to do just as they please, so they are fitter and healthier.

Most people accept this life as what has to be. But a select few, the resistence, rebel against this regime. Alina is one of them and one day she finds she has to flee. By chance she enlists the help of Quinn, an unusual Premium, and his friend Bea. Together they travel beyond the pod and discover that everything they have been taught is a lie. It is all a massive conspiracy!


A Dog's Purpose: A novel for humans
A Dog's Purpose: A novel for humans
by W. Bruce Cameron
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calling all dog lover!, 22 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is very well written. It flows beautifully, which makes it difficult to put down. Although I don't agree that dogs always think in that way, the book most certainly captures the essence of dog. Fun, adventure, love, bewilderment, protection. It's all there wrapped in the very soul of this wonderful creature as it goes from one life to another.

I remember so well the deaths of both my dogs: the love, the pain, the deep, deep sadness, but also the memories of a life well spent. Playing ball, being pulled on a sled in the snow (and then being pulled into some trees as an interesting scent was discovered), thefts of food, sleeping in the sun - the essence of all of these memories is portrayed perfectly in this book to remind me of them as our little hero travels from one life to another (maybe I will meet my boys again one day!).


A Face Like Glass
A Face Like Glass
by Frances Hardinge
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.93

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting., 21 Jun 2012
This review is from: A Face Like Glass (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The description was so enticing that I had to get it and I was not sorry. A fascinating story that keeps you guessing right up to the end and does not disappoint on the ending!

Caverna is an underground world. A world of darkness lit only by strange trap lanterns that exchange breathable air for exhaled air. It is an entire city with a palace and the equivalent of mansions in the form of tunnels. There are two social classes, the rich who make their wealth through various amazing skills and the drudge class who do everything else. They live by a 25 hour clock, but the strangest thing of all is that no one can make expressions naturally. They are born this way and must learn how to make those faces. Most are restricted to learning only a few Faces, whilst some are priviledged enough to afford to learn many more.

For centuries a number of Caverna citizens have been able to prolong their lives through strange and wonderful concoctions, trading their wares to the outside world whilst keeping their secrets, and carefully maintaining their way of life, because that is how it has always been done. But one day, a little girl changes everything.

Neverfell is a little girl who is discovered, at the age of 5, by a cheesemaker when she falls into one of his vats. She grows up isolated from all but a few visitors and when they visit she must wear a mask. She does not know why, but assumes it is because she is ugly in some way. It is a lonely existence, as well as a restricted one, as she is not allowed anywhere beyond the tunnels of the cheesemaker. However, one day when chasing a rabbit, she discovers a hole and enters the world of Caverna.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2012 1:34 PM BST


The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai
The Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai
by Barbara Lazar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.76

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, honour, death and revenge, 19 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a book primarily about honour. Matters of honour saturate this book until you feel you are drowning in it. Honour seems to transcend logic, life and all else. Honour means you must obey in the direst of circumstances. Honour is everything.

However, beyond this, the book is about love in all its forms and it is about revenge of the bitterest kind.

Kozaisho is the youngest daughter of a lowly farmer. She is abruptly sold one accidental day for extra land which will ensure her family will eat during bad times as well as good, and for honour.

In her new home she meets another girl only a little older than herself who must take care of her and teach her all the dances and songs she must know in order to entertain. At first this relationship is tinged with jealousy and anger, but Kozaisho's natural strength wins over her arch enemy, little knowing that this new friendship will grow into a lot more.

As time wears on, Kozaisho becomes fascinated by the samurai on the estate and is eventually allowed to train with them, but this leads to unforeseen consequences when she refuses to submit to rape by a priest. From that day forward, this priest haunts her life with dire results and forges the paths her life takes.


Seraphina
Seraphina
by Rachel Hartman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.79

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 25 May 2012
This review is from: Seraphina (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A confusing and odd beginning, but once you get past the first few chapters that establish the story, this is a pretty amazing book!

Forty years ago a treaty was created between dragons and humans to bring peace to the lands. The dragons take human form, as part of the treaty, in order to live peacefully amongst humans, but this means they also experience human emotions. These emotions are considered dangerous by dragons themselves and must be kept in check. If a dragon allows its emotions to run too freely, severe consequences befall them.

Dragons are viewed with disgust and great suspicion by humans, especially as they can walk among humans without detection other than a bell as identification - and some don't have to. Therefore there is a lot of tension and uncertainty between the two species which cause occasional riots. Worse still, the king has just been murdered in such a way as to suggest a dragon killing.

Seraphina is half dragon, half human and dare not reveal her true self to either species for fear of rejection and animosity. However, other than musical skills, she has very special talents that might prove to be the salvation for both species and maintain a most fragile peace that is teetering on the edge of collapse. The results of that would be war.


Frommer's Peru Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Full Size)
Frommer's Peru Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Full Size)
by Neil Edward Schlecht
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 21 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thought this was really good. I would say it is even better than Eyewitness books. There are loads of colourful pictures that show you life in different parts and really entice you to visit (and taste!).

You also have a multitude of tour suggestions ranging from classical 2 week tours to adventure tours and yummy food tours (ooh, they look delicious!!). I think this is a particularly good feature of the book because you can get an idea of what you want to see and how long it would take to do so. In other tour guides you are shown everything that is available and, a little like being in a candy shop, I tend to find it rather difficult to choose or, more importantly, where to start.

Nonetheless, there are the typical tour guide features of describing certain areas, what to see, what to eat and what to buy (I already have a shopping list - not kidding!).

One last, but priceless feature of this book ... a folding map! It is at the back in a separate transparent pocket. As far as I am aware there are very few other tour guides that offer this besides the usual incorporated maps on single pages. Who on earth can seriously navigate using those?!

This is a thoroughly practical tour guide that I highly recommend and will be using from now on.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2012 9:46 AM BST


Growing Your Own Vegetables Made Easy (Which?)
Growing Your Own Vegetables Made Easy (Which?)
by Ceri Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 16 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's like a 'dummies' book in its simplicity which means it is easy to understand and go through. I love the glossy pictures which make the book even more attractive to read and understand.

I recently discovered that my garlics have leek rust and not, in fact, insects.

The only down side to this is that although everything is in alphabetical order, it is first placed into families and, unless you know that garlics are part of the onion family, you would not necessarily know where to look. But it is a small enough book that you can find anything you want. This is not to say it is not comprehensive, which it is with such tips as '5 minute jobs' and a sowing and growing calendar related to each plant.

At the beginning of the book you have a planning section, then a preparation and techniques section. The first gives suggestions on where to grow things such as in pots or round beds etc. The second gives information on fertiliser (and how to make your own), water conservation techniques and how to sow, transplant and harden off, amongst other things.

A thoroughly good book.


The Glovemaker
The Glovemaker
by Stacia M. Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.08

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, 11 May 2012
This review is from: The Glovemaker (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A little like 'Silas Marner' and 'Moll Flanders', this book only becomes interesting in the second half. Up until then, there is a lot of scene setting which, although true to life, is boring in a book.

Moreover, the story switches from what is actually happening to bits and pieces of what happened to lead to the present and this occurs sometimes without much warning, so it is rather confusing.

Nonetheless it is interesting to understand that opinions of society at that time and how the law worked - rather inadequately, as stated by one of the characters.

The way it is written is a little like a detective story, putting all the pieces together one by one, but without the captivating detective, more like a whole jumble of people putting things together around the main character.

Storywise, Rachel Lockyer is discovered one night burying a baby not her own, but refuses to enlighten anyone as to who the baby belongs to or what happened to it. In those days, bearing a child out of weadlock was worthy of a public whipping, whilst killing one either intentionally or otherwise, was worthy of your own death. The story proceeds with how she and others are interrogated in an endevour to find out what happened, but not why because, in those days, that didn't matter.

I would not recommend this book except for history buffs or those with a lot of patience.


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