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David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom)
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Street Dance: The Best Moves
Street Dance: The Best Moves
by DJ Hooch
Edition: Flexibound
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars "We're dancing in the street", 2 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Learning to dance by reading a book is not dissimilar to taking exercise by watching a video.
So this is in reality a reference book for dance students, those energetic practicioners that we see on the pavement in every city with their mats and beatboxes and competitors for attention, now shared on YouTube fat your leisure.

Dance books are nothing new, back in the day there was a craze for books on ballroom dancing with Victor Sylvester et al. with every new dance craze (just count them) the intricate steps are laid out for you, though, as above, the only way to learn new dance steps id to practice them as often, and as publicly, as possible.

Herein you will find all the archetypal street dances, though philosophically speaking, the definitions will change as often as they are performes, such is the nature of the originalities of street dances.

Dancing in the street is about as ancient or more so as streets themselves. Dancing round the bonfire, outside the church, at weddings and celebrations, dance has been the key way to "let your hair down". Prescriptive dance has never been very "cool"; far too often an act of rebellion against the establishment (think rock n roll)

But here the dance student may follow the basic photographed steps of the Salsa Step, Chair Freeze, Fresno, Scoobot and many many others though a lot could be gleaned from the "Step Up" movies and studying the moves by Diversity.

The book will have a following from the gang that produced it as a seminal work on a new art form, unfortunately like all Popular art forms it dates as soon as it is written
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2016 8:58 PM BST


A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 14
A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 14
by John Connolly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A darker shade of Dark, 2 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Mosaically maelstrom-like Connolly drags us to hell in this latest add-on episode of his Charlie Parker novels. Once you have dived into the complexity that is "A Time for torment" there is barely a foothold in order to resurface...

All the threads are here from the previous Parker books with Louis and Angel the ever watchful minders to the action, also demons like The Gray Man; The Collector, a Fallen Idol; a Hero are all blended together in this unputdownable or you will lose the plot blockbuster that requires a single reading on a long train/plane/coach journey to physically disorientate you.

I have been reading the Connolly books since the first = "Every Dead Thing" and with each one the themes become darker and his canvas becomes broader, almost biblical, Miltonian. His meta world has become the darkest possible shadow of the real one and he has veered further an further away from the genre crime novel so as to have invented his own; a kind of blend of metaphysical horror noir with added meat sauce !!

Fans will lap this up, newcomers to Connolly may well be baffled; research is required. A brilliant summer read nevertheless and I don't think he has exhausted his genre-busting mythology just yet


Blood Wedding
Blood Wedding
by Pierre Lemaitre
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing tour de force of a novel, 29 April 2016
This review is from: Blood Wedding (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I could not help thinking while reading Pierre Lemaitre's new novel how much Hitchcock would have loved to have filmed it. The novel includes all the Hitchcockian elements = identity, guilt obsession in an extremely stylised from that can become very unsettling for the casual (and not so casual) reader.

If picked up at an airport for a flight read that reader will not be wanting to disembark until the tale is done, it is truly that intriguing and compulsive a read. Lemaitre is a master of misdirection too since his style is a roman a clef, a noiresque exercise into the labyrinth of mental disorder where reality appears to be just one step away and yet being a writer of true class you are made to feel anxiety about Sophie getting caught and being found out, this again is an aspect of Hitchcock at the height of his powers, think Vertigo, and Lemaitre leads you through this troubling maze assuming you might be able to find your own way ~ you won't, you are as lost as Sophie.

This amazing tour de force will keep you hooked until the final pages = one hell of a great read
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2016 7:44 AM BST


World's Best Street Food mini (Lonely Planet)
World's Best Street Food mini (Lonely Planet)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars eating in the street, 28 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like all this excellent series this Street Food volume is superbly presented with top quality photographic images, well informed written information with a large dash of wit and humour from many well respected food writers, but where to begin?

A brief flip through indicates two major sections = Savoury & Sweet. Each section is alphabetically listed by food. Photographs of dish and location, a brief synopsis of origins, the recipe including ingredients, method and ,marvelously, tasting tips !!

The food called street food although basically is food you can devour al fresco whether in the geographical location given or in the privacy of your own back yard. Food always tastes better out of doors !!

On closer reading I came upon foods I had never heard of before and definitely have never tasted, though the pickled herring, the hot dog and the Cornish pasty have been staple foods in my diet for decades. With the influx of new and exotic foods and their culinary masters now appearing on our High Streets and so we are now able to dine out on foods never known in the last century.

There are a number of street food dishes I would love to savour, especially in their own locations = Greek gyros, Ghanaan kelewele, Egyptian kushari, Turkish gozleme, Mexican elote, Singapore chilli crab and from the sweet menu Hungarian chimney cake (!), Taiwanese douhua, South Korean hotteok, not to mention the other worldly Indian mithaa paan !!

This is a book to savour and enjoy as much as the food depicted therein. There is a short tale involved in every one of the recipes and like many a cookery book can be indulged, shared and looked into again and again.

If looking for a new location for a holiday, maybe somewhere off the beaten track then this little book will fill you with adventurous ideas


Why We Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica - The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds
Why We Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica - The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds
by Dr John Powell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a world without music is unimaginable, 27 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A world without music is unimaginable.

John Powell's book not only looks at the technical expertise needed in the making of music but also at the essential and psychological need we all have to hear beautiful (and sometimes not) sounds. Music refreshes, stimulates, soothes, calms, excites, invokes memory, relieves stress among a million other things.

It is possibly the most essential requirement in these heady, chaotic days when to sit still and listen, to be transported by the sounds of the spheres is one of the most healing conditions.

We are moved by music whether it be a three minute pop song or a two hour symphony. whether it is infused through headphones from a downloaded mp3 player or experienced in the overwhelming concert hall or cinema, it affects us deeply and often changes our moods, attitudes and lives in some cases.

There are many answers to the books simple question. I, for one, have a musical autobiography, the first couple of notes of a song or musical piece can evoke some instance in my past and that evocation can not only last for the music's duration but can take me into memory's vast chambers as potently as a photograph.

The book has a considerable wealth of academic knowledge that can be studied and reviewed but also there is a lot of psychological understanding in the ways we listen to music, what music we choose to suit our various moods and public displays at celebratory or mournful occasions.

Music is fundamentally organic, it changes over time. The tunes of our youth may seem lame as we get older and yet the very structure of our personalities has a definite soundtrack, those snippets of music that pop into our heads, unbidden, and stay with us forever


Toilets: a spotter's guide (Lonely Planet Spotters Guides)
Toilets: a spotter's guide (Lonely Planet Spotters Guides)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a fun and factual exploration of the most essential requirement on world travel, 27 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well and why not have an all colour geo/eco tour of the world's most essential locations. we would die without them; they truly are the most convenient necessities and you would be in chronic denial if you were unable to name the ten nearest ones to where you live and work.... yes folks we are talking Toilets.

This amusing, educational and architecturally fascinating little book ( a bit like a grownups eye spy book) takes you on a world tour of some of the most dramatic and eccentric W.Cs.

Each entry comes with a professionally photographed image and a text, often witty and amusing accompanying it. From the high tech toilets of Japan where you can test your target skills or stream strength !! to the log cabin loos of Alaska; from the beach palm huts of Brazil to the Modern Art masterpiece of the Roadside Reststop in Norway; from the beautifully decorated public toilets of Calgary to the tin outhouse (freezing cold) facility 6812 metres high in Nepal !!

You and your travelling buddies cab have the greatest fun on your next round world visit seeing just how many of these sites you can spend a penny in. it is a fascinating book, and conversation stopper, when you discuss London's pop-up urinal (anybody remember them?) or the fountain of toilets in Foshan, Chine......

Endlessly fascination, the euphemism has come centre stage, featured in Installation art exhibitions and constantly sought after when you need to go


The Birdwatcher
The Birdwatcher
by William Shaw
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars A bleak location makes for an inriguing crime novel, 26 April 2016
This review is from: The Birdwatcher (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is yet another new writer to me who has seized me away from my everyday world of blissful retirement and thrust me into a wonderful puzzle. I do believe I read the first chapter in a single breath, its visualisation of the isolated coast with its flat marshes and bitter winds had me shivering.

It is a stand alone novel ~ I've not read the Breen and Tozer series, though after this I may well investigate them ~ and features a wonderful pair of cops = Alexandra Cupidi and William South, both of whom are superbly written and leap off the page, full-blooded.

The story's narrative has a then and now attitude as William was once Billy, a young lad in Northern Ireland and a distinct shade darkens that past.

The book is definitely a holiday read and if you can afford the luxury of devouring it in one go then do so. The reward of reading so richly drawn a novel such as this is unparalleled .

I have the unfortunate habit when reading crime novels of this calibre of casting them for a BBC2 series, it was not a problem here since there have been such a wealth of good crime drama on the box this year.

Read and enjoy and let's hope Mr Shaw might write us another !!


World's Best Drinks (Lonely Planet)
World's Best Drinks (Lonely Planet)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Around the world in a glass (or cup), 24 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The contributors to this book, and there are many, must have had a really enjoyable time travelling the world and tasting the drinks on offer here.
For so small a book it is absolutely jam-packed with information ~ not only the cocktail recipes and their origins = historical/geographical knowledge but also the ways to taste them to get the fullest benefit from the experiences.

the book is divided into drink categories I. e. beer, wine, spirits, rare stuff from the back of the drinks cabinet that you were saving for a special occasion !! plus some non-alcoholic ideas for that time before the sun is over the yard arm and some special tea-making rites and rituals for just about any time of the day.

The book is witty, the writers are enjoyable, illustrated with full colour photographs of the drink in its environmental location and so practical you will want to try them all out right away though a trip or two to the off licence and the oriental supermarket is advised.

So many new and fresh ideas to choose from, the book will make a party of booze-tasting friends very successful ~ taxis home required !!

With so many new ideas to choose from, several of which are certainly beyond my abilities I advertise here a couple of favourite reads as the book is not unlike a collection of short travelogue stories:

1) Tasmanian Bushwalker's Rum Hot Chocolate which starts with the boiling of water in your billy can, the use of a spork (sic) and advice on ignoring the rain on your tin hut roof while you enjoy the pleasure of this sweet intoxicating liquid !!

2) Dark and Stormy, a recipe from Bermuda which incorporates ginger beer and dark rum; origins in the regular tot given to sailors to keep up morale !!

Enjoy the book and do try out some of the classic cocktails as well as some of the new and interesting teas


St Moriz Gradual Self Tanning Lotion 275 ml
St Moriz Gradual Self Tanning Lotion 275 ml
Offered by LittleBigCosmetics
Price: £7.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars tanning from a bottle was never easier, 24 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Just how desperate are you to lose that ghostly winter pallor; to get back into those bright summer colours; to enjoy once more the golden glow that your mirror reflects? Well here is the answer in a simple tube. St Moritz Gradual Self Tanning Lotion is a very good idea as, with its acclaimed and dermatologically safe applications you can build up a tan daily without the skin looking false.

This 275m tube with its additional aloe vera and vitamin e content not only does the "gradual" tan trick but also softens the skin unlike those harsh days in a tanning salon or the even harsher and gruelling days on the beach and despite some staining to the palms of your hands (washing advised after application) there really is something natural about the look of the skin.

One weeny word of warning ~ the size of the tube is such that if you do not leave it in the standing position you might need to ask your Popeye friend to squeeze out the white juice as it is very thick, so leave it standing upright and let gravity do the rest.

A highly recommended product with a gentle aroma that actually improves when the actual sun gets to work on the skin


SlimFast 7 Day Starter Kit with Noodles
SlimFast 7 Day Starter Kit with Noodles
Price: £30.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slimfast does it again ; a bos of goodies to help lose those extra pounds, 22 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ever needed something more practical to start a dietary regime than the mirror's (never lying) reflection, a slim friend, a health scare? Well look no further for the folk from Slimfast have not only prepared a bounty of their super tasty food range but have set up a 7 day plan that it is so easy to keep up to without pining for some leftovers from the fridge, just one more bag of crisps/another square of chocolate.

The planned box of goodies consists of 6 ready to drink shakes various flavours ~ the café latte is so delicious,8 meal replacement bars = these are very very delicious and very very filling, 3 noodle boxes = Slimfast's take on the ever popular pot noodle craze = Spicy Thai, Chicken Tikka & Spaghetti Bolognese.

There are also snacks to take that edge of mid morning hunger = sour cream pretezels and cheesy bites + heavenly chocolate mini bars, this all adds up to a treat of a way to start that diet that you have been meaning to undertake since last time your waist band cut in and you cut out the size label!!

Along with this scrumptious box of goodies there is a very practical illustrated pamphlet featuring a 7 Day Meal Planner and recipe guide for your sensible Evening Meal.

Go on, try it out today. I cannot promise to be round with my scales and tape measure but I am certain you might greet that morning reflection in the bathroom mirror with something approaching glee at your achievement


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