Profile for Katharine Kirby > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Katharine Kirby
Top Reviewer Ranking: 111
Helpful Votes: 6784

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
High Dive
High Dive
by Jonathan Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone is under pressure., 4 Aug. 2015
This review is from: High Dive (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was worried that the subject matter might be in poor taste or handled badly. It isn't. I was concerned that that the first chapter, the initiation of Dan into the active IRA, might put readers off. It shouldn't. I thought it might be an attempt at satire, but no it didn't come across as that to me. Maybe I read it from outside the target audience. I thought it would be weird/wrong to make this bombing funny, but the gentle humour comes from the everyday humanity, not the motivations.

To have the vision needed in order to imagine the build up to that never to be forgotten night, 12th October 1984, when The Grand Hotel in Brighton was split in two, killing five and injuring thirty one, called for skill, research, even handedness and a fresh way of looking at history. Jonathan Lee was not found wanting. He has woven a novel from the facts, replacing unknown characters with a living, breathing cast, who really ring true and allow one to believe they could have been so.

Seeing the pre planned and expertly executed placing of the well hidden, expertly planted explosives, deadly plot, from his main protagonist, modern day Guy Fawkes, Dan's complex point of view, made for gloomy, sad, horrible and hard reading. Sometimes impenetrable dialogue, for me, I'm in my sixties, and not familiar with the Irish way of talking, all took some working through. However I learned a lot, and saw his position, plus the pressures he was placed under from family, fellow terrorists and his conscience, which was very much in action, but sadly skewed. He stayed in the magnificent 'Wedding Cake' Grand Hotel, between the 14th and 17th September as did 'Roy Walsh' /Patrick Magee, joining fact with fiction seamlessly. On that October night Dan's deadly work was recognised and revenged for by his neighbours in his twin story line, over in Ireland.

In Brighton we get to know the town at the time, some it's local colourful inhabitants, especially Freya and her father, the weirdly nicknamed 'Moose'. he works at The Grand Hotel, in this story, and aspires to become the new general Manager shortly. Freya dreams through her days there behind Reception, waiting for her real life to take off. She meets Dan during his stay and tries to work him out, hopeful perhaps of romance. Without meaning to he is touched by her and lowers his guard a little. Father and daughter both enjoy competitive swimming, diving to a high standard and could have been champions. The atmosphere around and in the pool, from the diving board is wonderfully evoked.

All the while you feel the ticking of the bomb and the finale that must come. Streams of consciousness, words of wisdom casually imparted to Freya by a fellow worker Marina, who Moose rather loves, all bring alive the secret hopes, awkward adjustments in relationships, fears and fantasies. But more and more it is all about the inevitable event, the bomb will go off. Where will our friends be? How will they fare?

An outstanding achievement to spark life back into the recent past. Some passages are pure poetry, without fault, others more heavy and difficult to follow. All is gathered up for the final chapter which is sympathetically handled, treated with the respect it deserves. We were all in there with them. Remembering the tv coverage, the newspaper photos. A hero was quietly created, I will never forget 'Moose', who he was, and what he did. This could become a modern classic.

BISSELL Multi-Reach 2-in-1 Light Weight Cordless Vacuum with 12 V NiMH
BISSELL Multi-Reach 2-in-1 Light Weight Cordless Vacuum with 12 V NiMH
Price: £74.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Famous - and effective - for 15 minutes, 3 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Bissell Multi-Reach 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner is a curious, and very effective, piece of kit. It is almost perfect, but for one weakness which will no doubt be addressed in future versions.

I found it easy enough to get the vacuum cleaner out of the box, assembled, and on to its charging station. Once it has been assembled, the first thing you notice is how compact it is. The entire machine and its charging station are small enough to hide away, and easy enough to remove from the charging station, unfold the long handle and quickly tidy up a mess or prepare for a visitor at short notice.

The game of charging this cordless device then begins. 8 hours is required for a full charge, which delivers the promised 15 minutes of use, and no more.

The best use case for the Bissell 2-in-1 is as a lightweight, easy to use, cordless 'kitchen vacuum cleaner', or just a second vacuum cleaner for when you don't want to wheel out the main one, which is likely to be heavy, cumbersome,and stored in a cupboard. The Bissell works very effectively with its main head, or either of the attachments, namely an upholstery brush and a long thin crevice tool for corners or stair edges. The long handle can be adjusted to work at an angle which makes it easy to reach under tables and other awkward places.

I was surprised, and very pleased, that a cordless device could achieve such strong and consistent suction power. About 2 minutes before the battery runs out, the suction audibly begins to weaken, warning you that your time is nearly up.

Another innovative feature is the removeable hand-held vacuum, which is easy to detach, use, empty, and re-attach to the main body. The hand-held worked well in my car following an incident involving beach sand, biscuits and other inexplicable crumbs.

If you have a fascination with seeing exactly what your vacuum cleaner has collected, then the main cleaner and the handheld will reveal all, and enable recovery of coins, earrings or anything else that may stand out from the general collection of dust (speaking for my own carpets). My 2 and 4 year old grandsons also took a shine to the device, because of its bright colours, low noise level, and light weight.

The Bissell 2-in-1 is really a victim of its own success: there are so many ways use to use it, and the suction lower is so good, that a quick tidy up turns into a more thorough vacuuming session, and you hit the 15 minute battery charge barrier. It then needs to go back on the charging dock for 8 hours to gain another 15 minutes; easily done overnight. The battery life is the one and only weakness of an otherwise well conceived an well executed vacuum cleaner. If the battery life could be extended from the present 15 minutes up to, say, 30 minutes, I doubt I'd need or use another full size vacuum cleaner, such is the power and versatility of the Bissell 2-in-1. That said, I am happy to give the product as it stands a hearty recommendation for anyone in the market for an effective, lightweight and versatile cordless vacuum cleaner.

By Heart
By Heart
Price: £2.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Life's lessons learned, by Heart, 1 Aug. 2015
This review is from: By Heart (Kindle Edition)
Fiona Cameron writes with perfect pitch as artistic, creative, quirky Lucy Simmons, who calmly recounts her unusual, demanding and dramatic life so far. Her story ranges from age eight to twenty right. We dive right inside Lucy's head, firstly meeting her as an awkward, isolated, apparently unloved little girl, until she reaches a hard won maturity, with a lot more adjusting to do. As a gosling will be imprinted by a duck mother, she falls headfirst for her sister's husband from the off. Richard is sensitive, charming, kind and clever. I saw him as Ralph de Bricassart, from The Thorn Birds, that famously tempting cleric, throughout.

Families come in all versions and hers left her well damaged. Cats seemed more faithful and deserving. In an amusing way ('When God was a Rabbit style'). Lucy throws herself into overly enthusiastically fundraising for the local cat shelter, with disastrous results. Grown up Richard sorts things out, as he continues to do, for Lucy. That is until she meets Matt, a sturdy policeman, a modern day Gabriel Oak kind of bloke, and paths divide. Lucy's loyalty to Matt is tested as Richard continues to, subversively now, exert an influence. Machiavellian from time to time. Matt's family, in direct contrast, are simple, kind and solid. You can see the car crash coming.

Although the tale is Lucy's, Matt's honest voice becomes more important. He sees life quite differently, straight and true. I found him to be the hero. Lucy's troubles stem from traumatic events, isolation, denial of affection, acceptance and validation. She flounders about and you wish she'd see what's happening. Matt has had a happy childhood and his family are supportive, loving and easy. So much so it makes her cry for what she missed. As a reader, you accompany her closely through thick and thin, cheering her on or begging her no, don't do that. Surprises regularly pop up and take you aback, it's a stimulating read.

I loved it and have chosen this remarkable account for our next book club. I am excited to hear if others are as keen on it as I am. By Heart offers good old fashioned story telling with nothing to annoy; everything flows, entertains and treats the reader with respect. Set in Glasgow, Bristol, Northumberland, Cumbria, the writing is deeper than usual, really satisfying, with allusions that touch and spark, poetry, history that all have their part to play. Well done and thank you Fiona Campbell, who kindly sent me a copy to review.

Grow Roots on Plant Cuttings with CUTTING GLOBE Propagator in as few as 8 weeks - Propagate Trees, Shrubs, Roses, Climbers and More - Add Rooting Hormone to small cut, Roots Grow right on Growing Plant - Plant Cloning Made Easy - Quick and Simple Cloning Solution for Plant Propagation - Great Value 11 Piece Bonus Pack available for a Limited Time
Grow Roots on Plant Cuttings with CUTTING GLOBE Propagator in as few as 8 weeks - Propagate Trees, Shrubs, Roses, Climbers and More - Add Rooting Hormone to small cut, Roots Grow right on Growing Plant - Plant Cloning Made Easy - Quick and Simple Cloning Solution for Plant Propagation - Great Value 11 Piece Bonus Pack available for a Limited Time
Offered by SavingtheGreen
Price: £27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Clever Idea, 30 July 2015
I was offered a set of these in exchange for a fair review. I am afraid I was rather punching above my weight by accepting them.

Required extra equipment, etc - A compass, or a knowledge which way's which, 'Rooting Hormone', and 'Moss Peat'. Beware of using the Rooting Hormone on edible things - some types are not recommended. I chose a gel form. So unless you have such items loafing around in your potting shed you'll need to invest another twenty squid or so.

A bit above my usual grade of gardening, taking cuttings has never been something I dared try. I'd heard that canny gardeners always have a thumb nail sharpened, ready to quickly nick a cutting from a show garden or other outing. Also I had heard of 'Rooting Hormone' which again seemed another level of skill ahead of mine.

So being sent these toy like orbs offered me challenge. First I had to look up the meaning of the carelessly slung in word 'Cambium' not one I had ever come across before. This was becoming a bit of a Biology lesson. It is the thin layer behind the bark and essential to a shrub, tree or rose's well being. Therein lies the rub. In order to make these little globes do their job, you have to be able to judge 0.5 of an inch when removing the bark and the 'Cambium'! You must paste the wound (!) with aforesaid 'Rooting Hormone', fill the globe with Moss Peat and place around the wound with the red side south facing. After this surgery and First Aid you may need a compass to find out where south is so you can turn the red side of the globe towards that direction.

If all this sounds something you can cope with, then Saving The Green are your kind of guys. The two large balls and one smaller should work over and over. Their website is ready to help. I will report back again in eight weeks when I've fiddled about a bit!

The Last Telegram
The Last Telegram
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Older lady looks back and remembers, 29 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Telegram (Kindle Edition)
This was chosen at our July 2015 Book Club, as it was reckoned to be a lighter, easier read than we normally choose, to accommodate the more relaxed mood of the summer holidays. Liz Trenow writes about the manufacture of silk with authority, it was her own family's business.

Ultimately a worthwhile and satisfying story that may spark a little cry, a few tears toward the end, ‘The Last Telegram’ really stands out from the raft of plucky women working their way through WWII tales, because of the warp and weft, the unusual constantly running back story, interwoven with unexpectedly real and sympathetically presented information regarding the silk industry in the forties. Quotations at the beginning of each chapter come for a book 'written' by the head of the silk factory, Harold Verner, father of Lily and John, who are the next generation.

Foremost a family drama, reminiscent of so many other books that unpeel the hidden wartime histories of women, now grandmothers, who got up to all sorts unimaginable to their offspring. Concealed and never spoken of alliances, temptations, falls from grace, heavy loads of guilt are legion. Feelings that could not be acknowledged then are accepted without judgement today. A whole new world that we may take for granted now but which caused such anguish less than a lifetime ago. Of course people in the old one had the same emotions and attractions to cope with.

Lily wants to work, preferably in an office. She quickly becomes caught up in her father’s world of silk production despite her initial disinterest. At the factory she meets Gwen who teaches her, and becomes her mainstay for a great part of the time; Stephan, whom Lily has organised her father into helping after his arrival as an alien, a destitute Jewish young man from Germany. Tragedies and absences follow, each one poignant, scarring but regenerative.

Pages of almost clichéd scene setting – bombing raids, prejudice, whirlwind war time relationships, women’s new roles in wartime, domestic life for a well off middle class family; are all picked apart when an elderly Lily confides in her grand daughter, who is about to make a parachute jump for charity. This unleashes the stream of her pressed down memory and sets in action a journey of re discovery, settling of long debts and healing corrections of imagined or real mistakes. There are moments of great sweetness too which delight and cheer.

Leifheit 40038 Medium Latex Free Household and Kitchen Gloves, Turquoise
Leifheit 40038 Medium Latex Free Household and Kitchen Gloves, Turquoise
Price: £2.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Leave it to Leifheit to get it right, 29 July 2015
Sufficiently sensitive to avoid careless crockery crashes, yet pretty tough for heavier work, even weeding, these are great gloves. I have washed them after polishing brass and copper, and was pleased to see how quickly they dry,when turned inside out.

I used to buy latex free gloves from elsewhere, at a higher price, despite being three for two. I am pleased to be able to order them here and can say the quality is the same or better than more costly ones.

With no irritation or allergic reaction likely, they are a great everyday glove to use. For intense hand repair try putting some lotion/cream inside when doing a lot of washing up, that really does' leave your hands softer than your face'!! I can't give them 5 stars as they are only washing up gloves at the end of the day and one can hardly absolutely 'love' them...

Pretty Baby
Pretty Baby
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Samaritan on a train station, 28 July 2015
This review is from: Pretty Baby (Kindle Edition)
Heidi, an American adult literacy teacher, who mainly looks after displaced immigrants, has an open heart. She hands out change to beggars on her route home and watches out for others. One rainy week, when awaiting her trains, she regularly sees a soaked through, young, frail, homeless girl huddling with a small, crying, baby tucked inside her coat. The ‘do-nothings’ just pass by on the other side, but Heidi eventually follows her quarry, observes her and then can’t resist acting. The consequences of her determined, driven efforts strongly affect her investment banker husband Chris, and their one child, awkward twelve-year-old daughter Zoe. Later it is Heidi who unravels. Buried in the roots of Heidi’s past, there is unresolved anguish that has left her aching for a life she cannot have.

The girl’s name is Willow, as she grudgingly admits, and she ‘doesn’t do shelters’; but when Heidi’s overtures tempt her into the family home, she unbends. How she and her baby came to be in such a precarious position in the first place is a growing mystery, one that it becomes very important to solve.

I read this on a train journey myself and was completely relaxed about delays, as I needed to know what it was all about. There is much more to Willow’s situation that meets the eye. Towards the end the pace gallops, revelations follow thick and fast, and the dangers are tangible. I loved the tangled web Mary Kubika wove from her modern parable, which gave me plenty to work out. The clues are there, and picking them out is a challenge worth rising to. Pretty Baby is an excellent second novel, which I was pleased to receive as a review copy from Harlequin. Incidentally both sisters also read my copy, and were like me, completely enthralled and keen to talk it over.

U7® 18K Real Gold / Platinum Plated Chunky Chain Bracelet (18ct Gold Plated Silver)
U7® 18K Real Gold / Platinum Plated Chunky Chain Bracelet (18ct Gold Plated Silver)
Offered by U7Jewellery
Price: £41.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Sunshine bright, glowing gold, a brilliant bracelet, 28 July 2015
This bright bit of 'Bling' arrives in a simple but good looking golden box, with a see through panel to show you what's inside. Initially you may have to be quite strict with the clasp, don't be afraid to use some force to open it at first, it settles down with wear. Also there were some unfinished, scratchy bits along the links, which can be rubbed away, nothing to worry about.

Smaller wrists/arms might like to have the length reduced at a jeweller. On my arm it hangs down over my wrist a bit. Nevertheless it is dazzling, the heart shaped centres to each link are charming, the feel is light and comfortable. With a tan it will come to life properly.

I was sent this to review, by U7, and it is lovely to have it. I feel the bracelet is a good example of what used to be called 'costume jewellery'.

U7® Luxury Heart Charms Pink Pearl Beaded Bracelets (White)
U7® Luxury Heart Charms Pink Pearl Beaded Bracelets (White)
Offered by U7Jewellery
Price: £41.94

5.0 out of 5 stars These Pearls aren't just for 'Girls' - Mums, Grannies and Aunties love them too!, 28 July 2015
Whereas this is advertised as a gift for 'girls' I think something has been unfortunately lost in translation. Don't imagine this is just a child's bracelet, or teenagers. It would be suitable for ladies too; I am really enjoying wearing mine, which was sent to me for review and I could only be referred to as a 'girl' fondly rather than literally, my being in my sixties..

The chunky, luminously glowing pearl, and bright diamante beaded bracelet has those marvellous magnetic fastenings that are no trouble at all to close, what a joy. However it may fly off if you dance hard, fling your arms around or undertake heavy housework while wearing it, the magnets can unpop... Mine seems to prefer to mate with my washing machine cabinet than to stick around on my wrist.

The beads are silver effect with sparkly crystal 'diamonds' set around. There is a very pretty heart shaped centrepiece that hangs neatly from a bead and lifts the design from attractive to the positively gorgeous. Wearing it outside in the sunshine, you will see a terrific twinkling from the dozens of little sparklers. Would be wonderful for a summer wedding.

It arrives simply packaged in a gold box with a see through window to show you what's inside.

It all feels safe and well made, substantial yet light hearted, a pleasure to have. It looks especially lovely with a tan.

DBPOWER® 400A Peak 12000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter DJS10 Battery Charger Phone Power Bank
DBPOWER® 400A Peak 12000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter DJS10 Battery Charger Phone Power Bank
Offered by Bravo Tech
Price: £89.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for charging the mobile phone - not convinced for starting cars, 26 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was sent this by DB power for a fair review.

This smart, little powerpack has a range of uses and seems like something everyone could appreciate having to hand  - to get your car started but also to keep your devices charged if you're away from an easy electricity source for a while. 

It looks like a high quality piece of kit, it has a range of uses including as a back up powerpack for charging phones and tablets, jumpstarting cars and a torch with various signalling options.   In its own neat case, well protected from the bumps of the road, you could pack it in your spare wheel if you think you might need it for jump starting a flat battery, but it would equally be useful in a camping kit as way to keep your mobile phone charged up. It charged up quickly over a few hours, but also seems to lose its charge quite quickly, so you'd want to make sure you plug it in as close as possible to when you might need it.

It is pretty easy to work out how to use it, which is just as well as the instructions that came with it were a bit confusing - talking for example about a "Function" button when all it has is a power and on/off button.  The cap over the car starting plug outlet was a bit fiddly to get off (needed nails) and the instructions for jumpstarting a car were simply how to attach it then "jump start the car". I had to ask what that actually meant.

It charges my iPhone at around the same speed as plugging it into the mains but needed my own lightning cable.  It also only has one USB output so you can only charge one device at a time - still really useful for camping and travelling though.

I did try and use it to jump start my car but apparently the problem in my specific case was not to do with the battery but another part of the starter motor so it didn't work

At the current special offer price, I'd say this was worth having as a device charger alone if you're camping or travelling away from an easy electricity source. Not entirely sure I'd rely on it for starting the car - not giving up my AA membership yet

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20