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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" Standing Leather Origami Case (will only fit All-New Kindle Fire HDX 7"), Blue
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" Standing Leather Origami Case (will only fit All-New Kindle Fire HDX 7"), Blue
Price: 49.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Mind the Price, Feel the Quality !, 4 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although the Origami is described as a leather case on first inspection it doesn't really look or feel like leather and it's only really the smell that confirms it. This is because the leather is tightly stretched and bonded onto a hard plastic shell. The inside also has a soft brush texture which must be a man-made material. One half of the case is a single solid shell and the other half is made up of a number of solid triangular panels held together by the leather covering. On its own the overall effect is slightly underwhelming and left me thinking, "Is this really supposed to be worth over 50 ?"

When I put the Kindle Fire HDX into the case it did snap firmly into place in a very reassuring way. Despite only being held there by magnets there is no chance of it slipping out or accidentally moving at all really. The front cover closes snugly and again is held firmly in place with no chance of it accidentally flapping open. The inside cover now feels reassuringly soft over the screen and I feel there's no need for a screen protector.

When in hand held use, the front cover folds right back and snaps firmly in place with the magnets and does not interfere with the Kindle operation at all, even when playing games. It does, however, add significantly to the weight of the device. The on-off and volume buttons are a little more difficult to access like this since you have to push part of the cover up but the buttons themselves work very well indeed.

Folded into its standing position seems very easy to me and again the magnets in the cover hold it quite rigidly once in position. It can stand up in landscape or portrait orientation, with landscape being the steadier. There's next to no chance of it falling over on a steady surface and personally have no qualms about standing it on the widow-sill next to the sink or a high shelf. However, on a shaky plane table there is probably a slight chance it will topple over. There is no facility to adjust the angle of the stand but I've never found this to be a problem.

As stated in the marketing info there is a slight air space around the Kindle speaker areas which does indeed project sound very well. With an internet radio app this works brilliantly as a good quality portable radio and adequately for music as well.

Finally the cover feels very robust. If you accidentally hold the front cover only so all the weight is on the leather "hinge" there is no sense that it might tear. After using this continuously for 6 weeks there are no scratches, marks or nicks on the leather and I feel the cover is likely to last as long as the Kindle at least.

In conclusion, despite my initial indifference to the look and feel of the cover I've now become very fond of its functionality and robust quality and would heartily recommend it.


Planet Waves PW-CT-12 NS Micro Headstock Tuner
Planet Waves PW-CT-12 NS Micro Headstock Tuner
Price: 11.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Device, 23 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I remember learning to play guitar and trying different tuning techniques: I used pitch pipes, piano keys, standard 5th fret relative tuning and eventually settled on using harmonics. Oh how much easier it is with this little device. It clamps easily to your headstock with the little plastic ratchet (probably wouldn't stay on if you are into any mid 70s Jimmy Page moves though !). You play each open string in turn and it tells you if you are in tune or not via a simple bar graph and the note's letter. If you are dead on, the colour also changes from orange to green so really it's just a case of pluck the string, turn the machine head and when the colour goes green stop, you're in tune.

There is also a nice feature that lets you rotate the display 180 degrees for easier reading. The metronome feature I find less useful, just a bouncing LED really, but it's still a great device.


Just a Minute: The Best of 2013 (Audiogo)
Just a Minute: The Best of 2013 (Audiogo)
by Ian Messiter
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 8.62

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still a Great Show, 23 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The long lasting panel game returns yet again. The format of the show hasn't changed much over the years and I don't think many would want it to but the format of these CDs may be becoming a little tired. Once again we get two CDs with two full episodes on each. There's no introduction or commentary or anything additional at all. Even the cover hasn't really changed for about 10 years. It's really money for old for the BBC. However, the shows themselves sparkle as always and it's Sue Perkins who really seems to be the star of this series.


Vapor Trails (Remixed)
Vapor Trails (Remixed)
Price: 6.42

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving this new remix, 25 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vapor Trails (Remixed) (Audio CD)
Whilst for some the down and dirty original will always be how Vapour Trails should sound, I much prefer to be able to hear all the instruments and words that now reveal themselves in all their multi-layered glory. Acoustic guitars and solos have appeared that I didn't know were there and I can finally enjoy the whole disc without feeling fatigued. The first time I played this remix it literally brought tears to my eyes. It felt like the return of a long lost, presumed dead friend.

I'll still play the original disc from time to time to let off steam I'm sure, but there's enough grit in the new remix to satisfy me most of the time whilst also providing the musical depth and melody I love about Rush. This has now jumped right to the top of my post 1980s favourites. I'm so chuffed that after all the false starts they finally went through with it.


The Machine
The Machine
by James Smythe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Machine, 12 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Machine (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was probably drawn to The Machine by its memory orientated plot. The question of whether we are defined by our memories is a fascinating one. If our memories are changed or lost or (as in this book) deliberately erased would we be a different person and would we want the original "us" back.

The Machine is a story with an ever present, almost gothic, pall of doom hanging over it, despite being set in the near future. Society has seemingly given up hope of recovering from the desperate damage of global warming, war and overcrowding. Beth too does not seem to have much to go on for except a determined wish to restore her husband to how he was before he was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder by "The Machine": a process by which the machine removes the tortured memories and replaces them with something more benign. However, something went wrong with the process and its recipients became little more than vegetables. Beth intends to reverse the process by purchasing one of "The Machines" on the black market and restoring the memories that were deleted.

The future that Smythe pictures is depressing but fairly believable, although because Beth interacts with so few people you get a sense of emptiness rather than the overcrowding that's supposed to be present. Nevertheless the opening chapters of the book are compelling as Beth's world is described. However, the narrative did soon start to drag for me as it became apparent it was going to take a long time before Beth was going to be able to get to work on her husband.

When this time does come there is a massive signpost in the narrative which screams "plot twist!" that was so obvious I just hoped I was wrong about it or it would be resolved quickly and not be the final outcome of the story. Unfortunately the plot had little new to reveal and I read the rest with a hollow feeling of inevitability.

Overall, although I can't say I enjoyed the book I would say it has enough interesting ideas and style to indicate that this is an author of some talent and I wouldn't argue that the many positive reviews on here are inaccurate. I suspect it's just a matter of taste.


Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy
Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy
by James Elliot
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Pizza !, 10 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Much of "Pizza Pilgrims" is similar to many other Italian cookery books but it's well worth getting for the 62 page chapter on pizza making alone. Most importantly this section contains the best recipe for making pizza dough at home I've come across. Crucially the instructions are very clear and the pizza bases actually do turn out like pretty good pizza restaurant standard bases. "The best home-made pizzas we've ever had," was the feedback I got back on my first attempt. On the downside it's hard work and a pretty messy process but definitely worth it.

If the stove cooked pan pizzas still aren't good enough for you there are also instructions for making your own pizza oven in the garden. This section of the book also gives a fascinating insight into the history and Italian conventions of all things pizza.

Other sections in the book include "Street Food & Snacks" (a little uninspiring), a fairly standard "Starters" section, "Mains", "Puddings & Drinks". The best recipe in the "Mains" is a superb one for Parmgiana Di Melanzane (Aubergine baked like a lasagne). The puddings include the iconic Cannoli which I've always wanted to make as well. However, there are a lot of ideas that seem uninteresting or just plain wrong (T-bone steak and lemons anyone?), but I'm not Italian.

So what you get is an entertaining cook book that's superb on pizza and has several other great recipes in amongst the less likable stuff.


Ed Reardon's Week: Series 3
Ed Reardon's Week: Series 3
by Christopher Douglas
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated Comedy, 20 April 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you are unfamiliar with writer Ed Reardon's adventures it may take an episode or two to get into our self-righteous disheveled hero's state of mind. However, once it clicks there is much comedy gold to be had from some of these comic tales. Ed will write or indeed do virtually anything to scrounge a few quid and there is much fun to be had when he goes somewhat over the top selling product placements in his latest radio play, joins a secret mystery shopping group, becomes the on location writer for a murder mystery weekend and even ends up on an archaeological dig. These programs aren't of the joke every few seconds variety but rather develop wonderful comic scenarios which build up the laughs as they progress. Very clever writing.


TuneUp Utilities 2012, 3 User License (PC)
TuneUp Utilities 2012, 3 User License (PC)

4.0 out of 5 stars Some Improvements, 19 April 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like TuneUp Utilities 2012; it has a very user friendly operator interface (an improvement on the 2011 version) and if you don't run a similar package then you can see real improvements on a 3-5 year old PC. I particularly like the fact that it advises you if you haven't used an application for a chosen length of time and tells you how much background applications are slowing down your system. It also gives you the option of reducing the fancy display effects to improve performance by asking fairly straightforward questions about which is more important to you appearance or speed. Unfortunately it can't do much about the slow speed of for example Office 2010 running on a very old processor but it may enable you to get a couple more years out of your PC provided you're not trying to run these kind of large software packages.


Requiem for a Dream [DVD] [2001]
Requiem for a Dream [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Ellen Burstyn
Price: 4.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Cautionary Tale, 10 May 2012
Deeply disturbing study on the devastation caused by addiction in all its forms and how one addiction leads to another regardless of its seemingly innocent nature. So lay off the drugs, pills, coffee, TV, and film reviews.


The Prisoner Complete Series [DVD]
The Prisoner Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jim Caviezel
Price: 9.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Different Village, 10 May 2012
Unlike the 1960s original, Prisoner 2009 is a clever rather than a groundbreaking TV series. It's also a very tough sell. McGoohan was already an attractive hero from his Dangerman days and the Prisoner initially had the feel of that same character. Caviezel's No. 6 is not a spy and former olympic boxer and fencer; he just appears to be a systems analyst in a large corporation who has recently quit.

The nature of the village in this series is unclear from the start and becomes less clear as the series progresses. No. 2 maintains that the village is all there is and yet there are regular new arrivals from somewhere. Indeed No. 6 seems to become as confused as the audience, unsure if his memories of the real world are true or not. Halfway through the series I was rather bored with it. The hero had no fight and seemed clueless, the other characters were mostly unlikable and nothing seemed to make much sense. However, miraculously, the ending brings EVERYTHING into focus and suddenly it was a much better series than I thought it was.

Most people will have struggled through a difficult book which although they didn't enjoy reading much, had a very satisfying conclusion, that improved their life just a tiny bit. Well, this story left me with a similar feeling.

There seems much confusion as to the meaning of the ending of the original Prisoner series but to me it simply showed once again (in a metaphorical way) that the control and intrusion of the village was everywhere, and that we were all responsible for it. Although the tone of this series is totally different from the original it still asks that key question of how much of your privacy and self-control you will sacrifice for a safe and happy life. It also makes the answer to that question harder than ever.


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