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Spyro Madgirl "~ Tasha ~" (Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom)

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BABY FARMERS OF THE 19th CENTURY (FEMALE KILLERS Book 8)
BABY FARMERS OF THE 19th CENTURY (FEMALE KILLERS Book 8)
Price: Ł1.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Subject but how original is it?, 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I find this a fascinating subject and the information about infamous baby farmers was interesting to read. I have read quite a bit on this subject online, however, and suspect some text was taken straight out of Dorothy L Haller's paper, 'Bastardy and Baby Farming in Victorian England.' It is word for word in places. At other times Haller's words are juggled around a bit and repurposed. If you are going to quote from another article, you really should acknowledge it.


Witch and Wizard (Eyewitness Guides)
Witch and Wizard (Eyewitness Guides)
by Douglas Hill
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars I glimpse into the mysterious world of magic, 7 Oct. 2011
This Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guide investigates the role of magic throughout history, offering a fascinating glimpse into traditions from around the world, exploring the practice of magic in different cultures from ancient civilizations to modern times. I obtained the book because I thought it might be interesting to read with Halloween approaching.

Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guides are like museums in book form, full of photographs of objects and artefacts, which are so clear that you could almost lift the objects off the page. From amulets and talismans to tools of divination, the sharp photographs really stand out against the white pages, so that the textures and colours are fully appreciated by the reader. This is particularly beneficial when looking at the many wonderful tribal masks and carvings, as you can admire their intricate designs and craftsmanship. One of the things that I find so interesting about magic is the artwork it inspires. I have always loved the images on tarot cards and I love the carvings and masks that are made for use during elaborate magic rituals in many cultures. One of my favourite pictures in the book shows a traditional Aboriginal bark painting used in rain making ceremonies. A carved, painted wooden image from Malaysia of a winged female spirit, traditionally hung in houses to protect from evil influences, is also very striking.

I think the title `Witch & Wizard' is a bit misleading. The book steers us away from the western stereotypes about witches and wizards that we have acquired through books and films and encourages us to look at the many different types of magic makers. From the `wise women' of the middle ages, revered for their grasp of folk remedies to African `witch doctors' in their various guises, Native American medicine men and the shamanic healers of the Amazon forests, the book provides a rich catalogue. There is a good balance between the discussions of magic in the past and its legacy in the present day, with references to the New Age revival as people continue to search for spiritual meaning and alternative forms of healing, influenced by ancient traditions.

Because of the way the book is laid out, with each 2-page spread covering a different aspect of magic making and because there are so many illustrations, it isn't a heavy read. It's easy to browse and read a little at the time. On each page there is bound to be at least one picture and one piece of information that grabs your attention. You can pick up some interesting snippets of information as you browse this book. For instance, you will discover where the term Abracadabra originates from and which English queen made a wax effigy of her husband, stuck pins into it and melted it on the palace fire. I also discovered the difference between amulets, charms and talismans and learned how to make a traditional Chinese love potion.
The part of the book I found the most enthralling dealt with the rise of Christianity in Europe and the subsequent persecution of those involved in pagan practices from the 15th to the 18th century. In a grisly, but informative section, we learn about some of the appalling torture devices used on suspected witches, such as the hideous scold's bridle and a spiky contraption known as a witch's collar. I was astonished to learn that in Plymouth a suspected witch would be strapped in a chair and weighed on a scale against two massive volumes of the Plymouth Bible. If she weighed less than the bibles she was presumed to be guilty! This section of the book also looks at the Salem witch trials of 1692.

Some parts of this book are quite gruesome and I would certainly not consider it suitable for children. There is a section which discusses the use of animals as a form of sacrifice, which I didn't enjoy, including a photo of a stuffed 2-headed lamb which had once belonged to a witch in Somerset and a downright horrible shot of a sheep's heart studded with nails. Because of the clarity of the photographic images, some of the more grisly pictures really have an impact, so this is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Would I recommend this book?

For me it was an interesting book. You don't have to be a believer in magic yourself to be fascinated by its history. I enjoyed learning about the other cultures from around the world and seeing how often magic is bound up with religion, mysticism and art. It was fascinating to me to learn just how unique each culture's traditions were. I also liked the way the book looked at the role of witches, wizards and magic in literature, referring to such works as The Brothers Grimm, Shakespeare's Macbeth and Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

In addition to the superb photographs, the book contains reproductions of plaques, woodcuts, paintings and lithographs. There is even an actual warrant for the arrest of Ann Pudeator, who was convicted as a witch in Salem and hanged. The variety of eye catching illustrations scattered across each page draws the reader in more effectively than if the book contained text alone. For a relatively slim volume, just 60 pages, there is a commendable amount of information.

Admittedly some of the subject matter is a bit dark and will not appeal to everyone, but if you have a curious fascination for magic and ritual, along with a keen interest in mythology, history and different cultures, you will probably enjoy this.


White Lies and Custard Creams - A Romantic Comedy
White Lies and Custard Creams - A Romantic Comedy
Price: Ł1.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When the going gets tough, the tough get........biscuits!, 21 Sept. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With such a quirky title, I was immediately attracted to White Lies and Custard Creams when I saw it in the Amazon Kindle store. The price was a very reasonable Ł0.97 so I was more than happy to download the novel and see if it was indeed my kind of book.

What is it about?

Liz has a knack of getting herself into some bizarre situations. She would love a quiet life running her accountancy business from home with just her dependable, laid back collie dog, Moocher for company, but there is the small matter of having to deal with her ex-husband, Hugh, and her collection of peculiar lodgers. At the start of the book, just when Liz is about to confide in Hugh that one of her lodgers has absconded with "3 months' rent, her collection of vintage Bonzo Dog postcards and all of one of the other lodgers' knickers", a mysterious woman appears looking for a lost tortoise capable of climbing walls. At this point I knew I was in for a zany and slightly surreal plotline and it just got better. We meet Liz's oldest lodger, Simon, who has a habit of leaving smouldering cigarettes in his pocket and setting himself on fire - "He doesn't smoke in the house - part of his body might but he doesn't" - and two newcomers, Julie and Tony, who both seem to want to move into Liz's home as a matter of extreme urgency. Liz isn't sure why, but as long as the gas bill gets paid she isn't too bothered. If that wasn't enough there are some rather odd neighbours to contend with. On one side there's Lonely Lydia - "she's a Poor Thing and always pleased to see people" and on the other there's Git Next Door. When a brick comes through Liz's front room window and next morning she finds a human finger in her fridge - "on a very pretty plate, covered in Cling Film" - the stage is set for an unusual black comedy/crime mystery involving inept part-time hoodlums, disappearing evidence, kidnappings, drug dealers, long lost relatives, secrets, lies and a plenty of biscuits along the way.

My thoughts on the novel

I found this novel an absolute hoot! Liz makes an unlikely amateur sleuth. She is a lovable heroine, who I connected with straightaway. Liz is just trying to get on with life and support herself. She can't quite shake off her feelings for her ex-husband, especially when she learns that he is engaged to be married to another woman, but she soldiers on. She's a refreshing lead character. It was pleasing to read about someone who was not always obsessing about her appearance or her weight, didn't have a fabulously glamorous job and wasn't forever bursting into tears when the stress built up. Liz is neither pathetically weak, nor annoyingly strong. She is endearingly world-weary, but she still believes in romance deep down. When the going gets tough, Liz gets biscuits, which is a philosophy I can relate to. She isn't irritatingly virtuous. We never see her in the gym or grabbing a health lunch at the salad bar. Another thing I liked was that Liz isn't one of these annoyingly clever amateur detectives who always finds the right answer. On the contrary, Liz tends to rush headlong from one situation to another like a headless chicken, randomly finding things out, making mistakes, putting her foot in it and falling back on the custard creams for comfort. She's a woman after my own heart! She has a great bond with her dog, Moocher, but this is not portrayed in an overly sentimental way. She is fiercely protective of him. Liz's attempts to defend Moocher lead to some wonderful comic moments. There is a great scene where someone tells Liz that her dog smells and she retorts loudly- "He's an uncut male. They all smell!" which makes every man in the street turn round and stare at her. Moocher is a character in his own right. As long as there are crumbs to nibble on, he's unfazed by life. He and Liz make a good team. Susan Alison's observations of canine behaviour are spot on and many of her descriptions of Moocher will be familiar to dog owners. I note that Susan Alison is also a talented artist who has painted many beautiful pictures of dogs. Her love of dogs and understanding of them comes across very clearly in her portrayal of Moocher.

Although I enjoyed this mad, high-speed comic caper, I admit I found it confusing at times. Liz's life does become extremely chaotic and frantic, which is great from the humour point of view but does mean it is hard to keep track of the plot. The reader's attention is drawn to one suspicious character after another as Liz rushes around, trying to make sense of her crazy situation. Red herrings are picked up and discarded, only to be picked up again. Just when you think you are following it, another character is introduced who invariably has connections with another character, so you have to slot them into the frame. I found that if I left it a few days then picked up the novel after a break, it took me a while to recap on the action. This interrupted the flow and spoilt my enjoyment of the book somewhat. There were just too many twists and turns for me to cope with. That said, at least I was kept guessing until the end. What I had been expecting to happen didn't turn out to be the case and it is always satisfying when a novel surprises you. The characters were well-rounded and mostly unpredictable.

This is a very visual novel with some extremely funny slapstick moments, including an incident when an intruder is attacked with a bust of Beethoven and ends up face down in a sea of crusty socks, an amusing incident involving the dog flap, which is used by Liz's lodgers (as well as the dog) for getting in and out of the property when they forget their keys. There is also a wonderful scene involving a getaway vehicle and someone in a pair of recalcitrant trousers. Perhaps my favourite episode though involves a farcical dog-shampooing scene which takes a very unlikely turn. I think it would make a splendid film and I was able to picture the events very clearly in my mind.

The relationship between Liz and Hugh works well and the author captures very credibly the irritation and exasperation each feels towards the other, along with the feelings of fondness which won't go away. The old cliché about not being able to live with someone and not being able to live without them is particularly true in relation to Hugh and Liz, as is the way that you often want someone back as soon as you realise someone else has got their claws into them. Liz's habit of referring to Hugh's fiancée, Charity, as Uncharitable Charity made me laugh, as did Hugh's patronising way of starting a sentence with "Now Liz" when he is about to express disapproval of something she has done - which is quite often. They are a very convincing pair. I loved the way that Liz's main concern amidst so many potentially life-threatening events, was that Hugh would have a field day, berating her for attracting trouble yet again. She is torn between whether to involve him and let him be her knight in shining armour, or whether to keep him in the dark and avoid another `Now Liz' conversation.

I would recommend this novel, even though it requires a lot of concentration to avoid losing the different threads of the plot. The threads are, at least, all tied up properly at the end. It is a superb black comedy which reminded me of a Bernice Rubens novel in some respects. (I note that one Amazon reviewer has compared it to Terry Pratchett's writing style, which I would not disagree with either). It is a great spoof on the criminal world. Liz inhabits the sort of surreal world where you can be munching a custard cream one minute and have a gun pointed at your head the next, often by the most unlikely people. Severed fingers and kidnap attempts are not the sort of thing she ever expected to come across in her normal suburban residential street but after a while Liz, like the reader, is pretty much ready for anything. No occurrence would be too bizarre, it seems. Unfortunately for Liz, the events are so bizarre that the police don't believe they have actually happened and they keep going round to question her simply for entertainment purposes. The portrayal of the deeply sarcastic police officers provides another source of comic fodder and adds to the quintessential Englishness of the book. It's an enjoyable read for anyone who fancies something a little wacky and different, with eccentric characters you will certainly warm to. At its current bargain price, it's well worth snapping up.


Marianne Dreams (Faber Children's Classics)
Marianne Dreams (Faber Children's Classics)
by Catherine Storr
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 'Family' Reading, 11 Sept. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book after reading the reviews on here, as I wanted to reinstate the bedtime story at our house. My daughters are 9 and 13 and read avidly by themselves, but they still enjoy me reading to them. This story has really captured their imaginations (as well as my own.) I think it's great for all ages. My 9 year old is particularly fascinated by her own dreams at the moment, and about what they mean, so this book is such a hit. I think there is a message in there for adults too. As with so many 'children's novels' this is a book that adults can also relate to and enjoy.


Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (GBA)
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (GBA)
Offered by sicodaddy
Price: Ł39.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this game!, 3 Dec. 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red is certainly a change from the original Pokemon games, and also as good. I love it to bits! The graphics are decent, and it's really cute seeing those tiny little sprites on screen. In a world where you are a Pokemon you actually get to see other Pokemon talk and interact with you and each other, their emotions and you can get people to join you on your adventure. This is a truely cute little game that Pokemon fans are sure to love!


Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GameCube)
Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GameCube)

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pokemon XD ROCKS!!!, 7 Nov. 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I think it's the best Pokemon game out there. It's got brilliant graphics, colour and music, great characters and 83 Pokemon to snag. Almost double the amount in Pokemon Colosseum. You meet characters that previously appeared in Colosseum, and snag Pokemon that you couldn't snag before, or obtain without events. Like Lugia itself.

You have to buy this game, it is AWESOME, and although I've completed it, I still get hours of fun out of it!


Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly [Platinum] (PS2)
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly [Platinum] (PS2)

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing..., 12 April 2006
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I played all the other Spyro games and they were brilliant, but this one really let me down. The game is a 'slow' sort of game. Spyro moves slowly, people talk slowly, the game loads slowly, and the enemies even move slowly.

The main thing that let me down is that the game was really glitched up. So I bought a new disc. That one was also glitched up. My friends bought this game and their game was glitched up. The game would always go wrong somewhere.

Some of the tasks are good fun, such as the slides, especially the volcano one. I could spend hours on that one. But the game can be frustrating and difficult, even if you have mastered the first 3 games.

If you want my honest opinion, I don't think this game really deserves platinum.


Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer Platinum (PS)
Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer Platinum (PS)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: Ł82.95

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly one of the best Spyro's., 12 April 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer or Spyro: Ripto's Rage, is a very good game. It has many friendly characters to talk to, unlike the first game.

From the dusty desert to the deepest depths or the icy plains to the sunny coast, this game has many new places to explore.

The video clips are funny, and you get to view them in a theatre at the end of the game.

Learn new skills such as swimming underwater, climbing and headbashing as you fight your way towards Ripto's Arena. Beat riptocs, pay gems and even ride shark submarines in Spyro's second adventure.

Buy it!


Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon (PS1)
Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon (PS1)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best Spyro game ever!, 12 April 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This game is by far the best Spyro game ever created.

This game has large, colourful levels to explore and mini-games from blasting tanks to rescuing wolf cubs. Master tricks in the skatepark and skills in the submarine. This game is packed with activities that can be played over again for hours on end.

The glitches make the game even more facinating. Turn Spyro different colours, swim in mid air, and even skate on a squidboard.

Play as Sparx the dragonfly, Sheila the kangaroo, Sargent Byrd the penguin, Bentley the yeti and Agent 9 the space-monkey as well as the purple dragon himself in his third adventure.

Buy it! There's far too much to do to rent it!


Inside Out (Coronet Books)
Inside Out (Coronet Books)
by Rosie Johnston
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read, 23 Nov. 2002
I have read this book about half a dozen times now. It provides a fascinating account of prison life from the perspective of a middle-class girl from a loving background who could never, in her worst nightmares,have ever imagined that she would end up there. Each time I have read this book I've felt as if I'm there, serving the sentence with the author. At times it is harrowing, at other times funny. It raises many important questions about the role of prison in our society.


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