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David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom)

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How To Eat Fried Worms
How To Eat Fried Worms
by Norman Rockwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.80

4.0 out of 5 stars a disgusting classic, 16 April 2014
This review is from: How To Eat Fried Worms (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So what would you do to earn 50 bucks? No don't answer that but do read this Rockwell (son of Norman) children's book to discover what Billy was willing to do. There are probably more disgusting things to have to eat than worms, ~ hmm thinking of far too many right now ~ but nobody's cooking can possibly compare to boiled/fried/fricaseed worms surely.

The descriptions of how Billy manages to get them down and keep them down are totally hilarious and he is expected to eat 15 in as many days. His tempters find the biggest, sluggiest, wormiest worms for the challenge. He is allowed dressings of every description to get the worms down - ketchup, Worcester sauce, picalilli, and even cinnamon & sugar - begins to sound easier doesnt it?

The problem after the first few worms isn't the taste (sic) but the thought of eating worms!! And the horrors from his family when they hear what he is doing.

You will have to read this "charming" little volume to find out if Billy wins his bet and buys the minibike with the money.
A must for any kid (of whatever age) who enjoys a bit of disgust on the page

sussed! | hilarious personality quiz card game | series 4 | score the most points by sussing out other players' emotions | answer funny questions about what makes players happy, angry, sad, surprised, disgusted, afraid ... | age 8+ | 2 - 8 players/teams
sussed! | hilarious personality quiz card game | series 4 | score the most points by sussing out other players' emotions | answer funny questions about what makes players happy, angry, sad, surprised, disgusted, afraid ... | age 8+ | 2 - 8 players/teams
Offered by Games to Get Ltd
Price: 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars choose a category, 14 April 2014
In this latest addition to the Sussed series the question cards are categorised: happiness,fear, anger, sadness, disgust,anxiety, doubt,boredom are just some of the topics included.

Although designed as a game for "all the family" I can see that their use could be invaluable on many training courses from personality bonding to therapeutic, stress relieving; for teacher training to corporate management or for any group who are interested in exploring their own group dynamics. The questions can easily be adapted as "ice breakers" in training sessions as well as more in depth "know yourself" sessions, even in "truth games"!!

Just how prepared are we to reveal ourselves especially to strangers?

At random I pick the Disgust card. This is a topic we rarely discuss with any kind of serious agenda and yet it is as revealing as those hypothetical questions dealing with our public everyday habits, possibly even more so. Are you willing to admit to your most disgusting habit? or what things you find the most disgusting in others? Would this category be one to be avoided in a training session with strangers?

And how about Joy? Surely this is a blissed out state we most want to experience and yet how many of us ever truly achieve the joyful state that is our right? and how to we spread this oh so precious aspect of our daily lives? where do we find it? is it a human entitlement?

And then there is anxiety, we are considered to be in a new Age of Anxiety, how do we cope with this and how free are we to declare our own personal anxieties to others and how do we find people who are willing to help us? Can you share your anxiety dreams, exchange ways with others to minimise anxiety and stress?

This brilliant little pack could also be of use to those learning how to meditate by concentrating on issues and individual questions by considering personal responses. Personally I found this pack extremely revealing as through the medium of "game" people are often more likely to let go, though it should be stated that there really are NO winners......

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste
The Ghost of the Mary Celeste
by Valerie Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.72

5.0 out of 5 stars how we do love a good mystery, 14 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The mystery of the Marie (sic) Celeste has been in the folk history as long as Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner" told his tale to the reluctant wedding guest. The sea is possibly the greatest mystery of all as it is, literally, unfathomable in its vastness.

In Valerie Martin's reinterpretation and possible solution (no spoilers here) she takes the form of the classic Victorian novel through a labyrinthine narrative structure the like of which was popular with Dickens and even more so Wilkie Collins and his masterpiece "The Woman in White" where journals. diaries, letters, etc intertwine to tell a story. The form creates dramatic tension as well as making the book virtually unputdownable as the reader is forced through curiosity to discover the solutions to the mystery.

The book is populated with folk both real and imagined and covers in time the last decade of the 19th century, a period of much interest in the fate of dead loved ones, the reality of fairy folk, seances and inevitably ghosts. Conan Doyle is cast as investigator into the fate of the passengers and crew of the ill-fated eponymous ship and through a mysterious maze of clues and interpretations he is led to a book that may hold the solution to one of the world's most intriguing mysteries.

The book is stunningly constructed and the execution is of a novelist at the peak of her creative abilities. I doubt I will read the like for many a month!!

Mrs. Hemingway
Mrs. Hemingway
by Naomi Wood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.86

4.0 out of 5 stars Ernest and his life in wives, 13 April 2014
This review is from: Mrs. Hemingway (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
More than just women, Hemingway wanted wives. He behaved better, wrote better and was happier when he was married, or so Naomi Wood n her novel "Mrs Hemingway" would have us believe.

The novel is written in a kaleidoscopically poetic style that is both engaging and distancing. Her research for the book is extensive and yet not intrusive and there are great passages that read almost like reportage; the distancing element, for this reviewer, is due to not finding the characters particularly agreeable. The wives define the writer and he, in turn is defined by them even when the relationships are coming to a close and in three out of four sections it is the unravelling of the marriages that are the key dramatic points.

Hadley, Fife, Martha and Mary all have their moments in the sun but these are to be shortlived and are sloughed off like dead skin for the next "Mrs Hemingway" to take over.

Wood's evocative novel takes you on a journey from the 1920's to the 1960's and it is obvious from her very rich and loving style that she adores the central towering figure for all his faults. The cast of extras put in appearances to give the book its social and historical contexts

Dear Jelly: Family Letters from the First World War (One Shot)
Dear Jelly: Family Letters from the First World War (One Shot)
by Sarah Ridley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.27

4.0 out of 5 stars the truth behind the ripping yarn, 10 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This slight slice of history has an enormous impact through its naivety and simplicity. These few annotated and humorously illustrated letters from the Front back home to the soldiers' young sisters have a poignancy that a 700 page novel will always lack.
The Semple family is really just another British family who suffered such a loss during WW1.

These letters are most moving by what they miss out. The soldiers Bill and Bob send home idealised records to their young sisters almost writing as if they are having a great adventure and that the trenches and tents are fun, though Robert can not disguise his loathing of the mud and later the lack of fresh water in which to wash.

Since both these letter-writing brothers did not survive the war the letters are now more than archives they are witnesses to the pointlessness of it all and that too many of war's victims are little more than children

Inside Llewyn Davis [DVD] [2014]
Inside Llewyn Davis [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Oscar Isaac
Price: 10.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an instant icon and his cat, 6 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In pre psychedelic hippy days the folk/bohemian/beatnik scene in Greenwich Village sported musicians who would become the seeds of the Peace & Love generation that burned draft cards and made Love in the park. One such is the semi fictional Llewyn Davis who seems to be part revolutionary part useless bum but is nevertheless an instant icon in this latest Coen brothers film.

The film is outstanding because everything about it is just right. The mood, the colours, the music and the details in the various apartments we visit during the picaresque adventures of the directionless Llewyn who appears to have come fully formed into the world with only a distracted sister to hint as family origins,

Llewyn is fairly adorable and everybody at some point comes under his tousled haired, dark-eyed spell until he does something too outrageous and he edits himself out of their lives. But he can never be all bad as he is devoted to a stray cat who, like himself, lives from day to day without any need for future.

This is a film that will stay with you long after it ends and the image of Llewyn's sensual mouth hovering mid beard either pleading for support or singing one of his melancholy folk songs is difficult o get out of your head,

Another winner for all concerned and will not do Carey Mulligan nor Justine Timberlake's CV any harm

The Woman Before Me
The Woman Before Me
by Ruth Dugdall
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A new voice; brilliantly told story that totally satisfies, 3 April 2014
This review is from: The Woman Before Me (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ruth Dugdall weaves her threads with an intimacy so rare in genre fiction. Her voices blend in a fabulous harmony bringing this difficult story to life. The intertwining of Cate's story and Rose's story, overlapping, echoing, reflecting is a tour de force in a novel of this length.

It would be far too easy to compare her to her other sisters in crime so let me evaluate her as, for me, a brand new writer who has somehow come up with the key to writing an unputdownable that is, at times painful to read. The prison sequences are done so well I can only assume that the author has first hand knowledge of the procedures of which she so acutely writes.

The central crime is one of such horror that it is one of the great unspeakables and yet as mentioned above the author brings a knowing intimacy neither judgemental nor speculative.

A writer is a long way from her audience; rarely does she hear the applause she evokes and I am giving you a standing ovation, Ruth Dugdall.

I look forward to reading more of you and can hardly believe that this book will not be adapted for the small screen as it has so much visual story in it ( am casting in my head already!)

No spoilers here but anybody reading this review should grab a copy and discover a truly energetic, creative and moving book

Johnny Nothing
Johnny Nothing
Price: 2.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the funeral the fun begins, 30 Mar 2014
This review is from: Johnny Nothing (Kindle Edition)
"Johnny Nothing" is a wickedly entertaining book for young adults but with enough allusions and references to appeal to an adult who still has his own wicked sense of humour.

The story which, for me, has its seeds in that great classic "Tristram Shandy" with its deconstructed narrative format and frequent eye winks to the reader makes for an interactive experience. The asides, not unlike those to camera comments a la Eric Morecombe and Miranda Hart , draw the reader into a new kind of involvement with the text which is a joy!

Ian Probert, unashamedly, plunders the wealth of children's classic literature and runs the Grimm groove as well as the satisfyingly anti adult subversive themes of Blyton and Dahl.

I do hope this little book does well as it has some brilliant "new" baddies in the awful MacKenzie parents and what child has not fantasized locking their parents up in their bedroom and seeking an inevitably revenge

I should also add to this review the delight I took in the illustrations undertaken by the author himself; the are delightfully creepy and original and certainly enhance what was for me a charming read.

Smart Weigh Digital Kitchen Scale and Timer - Food Scale - Slim Stainless Steel Design - High Accuracy - LCD Backlight
Smart Weigh Digital Kitchen Scale and Timer - Food Scale - Slim Stainless Steel Design - High Accuracy - LCD Backlight
Offered by Five Star
Price: 44.95

5.0 out of 5 stars such a good~looking addition to any kitchen, 28 Mar 2014
slim super sexy shiny silver scale ideal for this bloke's kitchen and fairly haphazard cooking regime, ideal for putting together a little something to impress the guests. I'm not a natural baker but with the recent telly exposure to all things culinerilly baked I will attempt anything and with the help of this devastatingly attractive young thing I will embark upon a career in the kitchen and try out all Mary Berry recipes.

The scale is virtually idiot proof; I needed a ten minute lesson (thank you, Jim) on how to use it, the buttons are all obvious; errors can be reset and weights are so so accurate and you can weigh in many different ways from dear old ounces (oz) to grams (g) millilitres (ml) and my favourite fluid ounces (fl oz).

Oh and did I say, it looks really good ~ very stylish. My kitchen was so dull before SNT100 came into my life

Something New: Motown Lost & F
Something New: Motown Lost & F
Price: 18.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars too much treasure for me to hold, 27 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I just felt sure that if I stayed around long enough the those dank and dusty vaults would yield all these early tracks by the one and only original Queen of Motown. These gems collected from 1969 - 1964 are almost unparalleled in their nostalgia quotient and even feature The Supremes on backing vocals on four tracks, I will not comment on how the crown was sidelined to one Miss Ross!!

As well as the two CDs of wonders and never before heard tracks ( in the UK) the pack comes with a 30 page booklet telling the Mary Wells story, the archive history of many of the tracks ~ a real labour of love.

I can not recommend this highly enough not only as an historical document that fills the gaps in Mary's recording history but also for any student of the development of soul music from the 1960s.

Although each track has its own unique magic for me the two standout tracks (at the moment, I play it daily) are "Honey Boy" also later recorded by The Supremes and the original of "When I'm Gone" a hit for that other much neglected daughter of Motown, Brenda Holloway

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