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Reviews Written by
Fiona Millar "cookiemum" (Edinburgh)
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Prisoner of Night and Fog
Prisoner of Night and Fog
by Anne Blankman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.69

5.0 out of 5 stars and Anne Blankman does an excellent job here of bringing the realities of the start ..., 21 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Books which fictionalise historical events can be difficult to read, and Anne Blankman does an excellent job here of bringing the realities of the start of the rise of Hitler and the effect on Germans and Jews. Gretchen starts off as a favourite of Hitler, following her father's sacrifice in giving his life to save Hitler. But an encounter with a young Jewish reporter sets her on a journey of discovery which shows her she's been wrong about many of her most deeply held beliefs. The various elements of this story are very well told and woven together, and it was easy to lose myself in what was happening to Gretchen and Daniel and to share their emotions. I would highly recommend this book to young adults, and I'll be looking for the next book Anne Blankman and hoping it doesn't take long!


Far From You
Far From You
by Tess Sharpe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars it's not predictable and it manages a good balance between all the genres it's juggling, 21 Aug 2014
This review is from: Far From You (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'Far From You' is an interesting mixture of a book - murder mystery, romance, long triangle.... It's difficult to pin down exactly what it is. It tells the story of Sophie, trying to come to terms with the murder of Mina, although everyone else believes that Mina's death was the result of a botched drugs buy and therefore Sophie's fault. Sophie is determined to find out the truth, while also trying to hide another truth - the reality of her relationship with Mina. Add in Mina's brother Trev, who has always harboured feelings for Sophie, and you've got plenty of plot going on.
This is a gripping and engaging story, it's not predictable and it manages a good balance between all the genres it's juggling. The only thing I didn't like was that the first person narrative has Sophie going on about her drug cravings a bit too much - while that might be a realistic reflection of drug addiction and its control over a person, it gets a bit tedious to read the same thing over and over, and interrupts the flow of the story. Minor niggle though, and I'd definitely seek out and read more from this author.


Mutant City
Mutant City
by Steve Feasey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Those who survived the war in underground bunkers now live a genetically engineered perfect life, while those who survived out i, 12 Aug 2014
This review is from: Mutant City (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Mutant City is a fairly enjoyable dystopian tale, which paints a picture of the world where a chemical war has wiped out many, leaving two types of human. Those who survived the war in underground bunkers now live a genetically engineered perfect life, while those who survived out in the open have been left genetically mutated. The book follows five teens who fall in the middle, created as an experiment by President Melk before being saved and hidden for years. When they find themselves drawn back together, Melk and his ambitious son have to try to stop them from threatening their privileged way of life.

This is a fairly good story which ticks all the dystopian tale boxes, and will appeal to young adult fans. It's not quite as gripping as the likes of the Gone series or Hunger Games, but it's entertaining enough and leaves the story well set up for the next instalment.


Melissa & Doug Longfellow Caterpillar
Melissa & Doug Longfellow Caterpillar
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely love this cosy caterpillar - soft and cuddly, 6 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I absolutely love this cosy caterpillar - soft and cuddly, with a cute wee face and lots of crinkly or bean-filled feet to explore, I think this will be a favourite toy for a long time. The colours are bright and attractive and the materials and stitching are top quality. Lots of nice textures and colours for babies and toddlers to explore and enjoy cuddling up with - a really lovely, good quality toy.


Guitar Theory For Dummies: Book + Online Video & Audio Instruction (For Dummies (Sports & Hobbies))
Guitar Theory For Dummies: Book + Online Video & Audio Instruction (For Dummies (Sports & Hobbies))
by Desi Serna
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

5.0 out of 5 stars There's also a very useful internet link provided which gives audio and video clips ..., 6 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although this book is called Guitar Theory for Dummies, the introduction immediately makes clear that it's not for beginners. Instead it says it is aimed at those who know the basics and are ready to move on to more complicated techniques. The book doesn't use standard musical notation, presenting techniques in tablature form instead. It's certainly a thorough book, covering subjects such as harmonising, playing chord progressions, scales, riffs and solos, and perhaps most usefully, how to understand the way pop and modern songs are structured and put together. The book concludes with ten classic guitar songs to learn, ten sample scale applications and ten ways to put all the theory you've learned into practice. There's also a very useful internet link provided which gives audio and video clips to support your learning. An extremely accessible and useful book for keen guitar players.


Ambi Toys Dazzle Ball
Ambi Toys Dazzle Ball
Price: £11.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun to roll around the floor, 6 Aug 2014
This review is from: Ambi Toys Ambi Dazzle Ball (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely, bright toy for babies and toddlers, and will hold their interest for ages. Fun to roll around the floor, and then even more fascinating when it comes apart into five separate sections, each with a different visual or auditory stimulus. It is odd that it's labelled suitable from 18 months, as it seems a great toy for younger babies and toddlers and there are no bits which looks to be a danger to younger ones. You do wonder if the separate parts will end up becoming too loose to stay together, but so far it's fine and is a great wee educational toy.


Melissa & Doug Design Your Own Bracelets
Melissa & Doug Design Your Own Bracelets
Price: £4.57

4.0 out of 5 stars this is a great activity for wee ones, 25 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With four double sided bracelets and over 100 wee gems and stickers to decorate them with, this is a great activity for wee ones, and they will be pleased with the results. They don't take long to make so it's not something that provides hours of entertainment or learning, but it's a fun thing to do for a while, and makes a lovely gift.


Crusher (Finn Maguire)
Crusher (Finn Maguire)
by Niall Leonard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Things get a lot worse when his step-dad is murdered, 25 July 2014
This review is from: Crusher (Finn Maguire) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Finn has had a rough time since his mother walked out, leaving him and his step-dad to fend for themselves. He has no education, a criminal past and a dead end job. Things get a lot worse when his step-dad is murdered, and the local detective would love to pin it on Finn. This is a well-paced and well written thriller, with plenty of twists and turns. It's definitely not for younger readers, and is clearly aimed more at young men - my one complaint is that the female characters aren't very well rounded and all seem morally suspect, which ends up coming across as slightly mysoginistic. Other than that though, a good read.


The Moment Collector
The Moment Collector
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

2.0 out of 5 stars she finds her usually cool emotions thrown when she begins to fall for artistic ..., 23 July 2014
This review is from: The Moment Collector (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book starts off promisingly, with Maggie and her family forced to relocate to Gill Creek, a quiet backwater where nothing ever happens. Except Maggie arrives just as teenage girls start being targeted by a serial killer, and as if that wasn't enough, she finds her usually cool emotions thrown when she begins to fall for artistic Liam, who unfortunately pines for whimsical Pauline, who claims not to love him back. Oh, and there's also the second narrative of a ghost who watches what's going on while trying to work out her own past.

These seem like enough ingredients for an enjoyable read - unfortunately, the whole thing meanders around feeling like it's not really going anywhere. There's no real sense of menace around the killer storyline, a dead body appears now and again but everyone seems to pretty much carry on as normal. The author tries too hard to chuck in a few red herrings and false trails regarding the killer, but by the end, it seems even she's stopped caring who did it. The love triangle also dissipates to a dull nothingness, with all three characters being ridiculously bland and accommodating to each other. The same goes for the ghost portions of the narrative, they never progress and just feel pointless in the end. It's a shame, as it's a book you wish you could like - there's just not enough good plotting or character development to hang on to.


Fresh Prints: 25 Easy and Enticing Printing Projects to Make at Home (Simple Makes)
Fresh Prints: 25 Easy and Enticing Printing Projects to Make at Home (Simple Makes)
by Christine Leech
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.69

5.0 out of 5 stars and she's really pleased with it, 18 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this for my craft-loving daughter, and she's really pleased with it. It gives you a comprehensive run-down of what a print-maker needs to get started, and lots of info on mixing colours and making templates. There are three sections of print ideas - printing with found objects, lazy Lino prints and other printing techniques. The back of the book contains templates, which is a really useful addition. There's also a handy page of resources for the keen artist to source materials and ideas. An inspiring and enjoyable book.


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