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Stay Dead (A Eureka Springs Mystery Book 2)
Stay Dead (A Eureka Springs Mystery Book 2)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stay Dead by Patricia Gale – Eureka Springs to life again. Great story, well told. Strongly Recommended., 8 Dec. 2015
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Stay Dead (A Eureka Springs Mystery Book 2)
I bought this as soon as I discovered it was out, as I enjoyed reading the first one so much. I was hoping I wouldn't be disappointed, as often happens with second books. I wasn't. I'm already eagerly anticipating a third.
If you’ve previously read So Dead by the same author, you’ll immediately feel at home in the wonderfully weird and wacky world of Eureka Springs in Northwest Arkansas. Yes, it’s a real place. Be warned, though. Reading Patricia Gale’s vivid and colourful murder mysteries make you want to visit to see it for yourself.
The characters are fictional – at least, I think they are, though I rather wish they weren’t. It’s difficult to be sure as they’re so well portrayed even the minor characters take on a life of their own. There’s a list of them at the front of the Kindle version, just after the cover and before the point Kindle opens, so it’s easy to miss. If you lose track of who’s who, take a look at it. It’s worth reading in its own right as each is described in Gale’s typically laconic and humorous style. There’s also a map of Eureka Springs itself.
Right from the start, you’re immersed in this unusual place and its matching characters, including a dead man with a knife in his temple who insists on getting up, walking around and talking. That’s when it starts to get complicated, and the person who must unravel it all is reluctant detective-cum-editor Meg Talbot. Author Gale’s part Cherokee, part Boston blue-blood narrator has little choice but to get involved because her cousin Caroline is chief suspect and the Eureka Springs police chief is more concerned with clearing up the mess quickly than investigating further, despite a plethora of others with good reason to want the victim dead.
Deaths, accidents and attempted murders flow from Patricia’s Gale’s pen in abundance. In the usually hilarious mayhem that follows each twist of this whodunnit, Meg needs every bit of assistance she can get from the local community, including the town’s famous ghosts, her Cherokee ancestry and – unfortunately – her Boston relatives, many of whom are more hindrance than help.
Stir in several of modern life’s contentious issues, and you’ve got a potent brew of mystery, suspense, action, humour, emotion and community, along with magic realism that will keep fans of various genres enthralled and entertained from start to finish.
Strongly recommended.


TBS 6205 QUAD FREEVIEW DVB-T2/T/C Terrestrial / Cable Quad TV Tuner PCIe Card (Replacement for TBS 6285)
TBS 6205 QUAD FREEVIEW DVB-T2/T/C Terrestrial / Cable Quad TV Tuner PCIe Card (Replacement for TBS 6285)
Offered by Value AV Limited
Price: £169.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value. Does everything I ask of it. Strongly recommend it., 28 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
TBS 6205 QUAD FREEVIEW DVB-T2/T/C Terrestrial / Cable Quad TV Tuner PCIe Card (Replacement for TBS 6285)
I bought this tuner card from Value AV Limited. I found them extremely helpful, patient and very efficient - the card arrived the next day. I recommend using them. I bought the card when it was still quite new and difficult to find in the UK and the distributor had recently taken over from previous UK distributors.
As for the card itself, I've been using it for several months. It was easy to install and get up and running. I can record on at least 4 channels at once (and often do). Standard and HD reception here are normally excellent, and despite the aerial being split before it reaches the computer, the card gives very good quality recordings. My new computer is a Windows i7 with a solid state drive and storage is on a 2Tb HDD. Less powerful computers may struggle to cope with the number of simultaneous recordings, but this one allows me to continue working while the recordings are being made.
So far the only (minor) problem I've found with the card was with the pass-through loop. I used it to take the aerial lead on to my old computer as a test, and discovered pass-through only occurred when the new computer was switched on for some reason. This isn't a problem for me because I have another splitter in the aerial feed. If you're adding another tuner to the same computer, this won't matter.
I notice one reviewer has commented on interference from electrical power supplies and equipment. In my case, the aerial lead passes immediately behind the monitor, and a few mm behind an extension lead with 6 sockets in constant use. The landline phone (wireless) and mobile also sit on my desk near the aerial. I'm embarrassed to admit the aerial cable also snakes across the doorway for the time being (don't ask!), and is regularly trodden on. Yet after several months of use, I haven't noticed any trace of interference. I use the modern RF cable which is better insulated than older types of co-axial cable. I'll look for the receipt and add details of it to this review when I find it. The screw connectors are much better than the old style co-axial push-in type, which on my pr3evious computer tended to become loose after a while.
While the TBS 6205 wasn't cheap, it is very good value compared to every other tuner card I've used, and I've used several over the years. The effort to find it was worth it and I strongly recommend this tuner card.


SanDisk Extreme 64 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 245 MB/s
SanDisk Extreme 64 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 245 MB/s
Price: £24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, and good value. Recommended - and I've voted with my pocket by buying several over the years., 28 Nov. 2015
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SanDisk Extreme 64 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 245 MB/s
Works great. Roomy, fast and reliable, it's excellent value for money. This is the third of these drives I've bought over several years. All are still working perfectly, as are all the Sandisk cards I've bought for my camera over an even longer period. Those cards and one of these flash drives have taken quite a beating and have never let me down.
Only quibble, and it's a very minor one, with the flash drives is that it would help if it had an indicator light to show when it's actually being used by the operating system. For this I'd have knocked off half a star if I could, but it doesn't deserve to be marked down to 4, so I rounded up.
Summary: Thoroughly recommended.


Imaginary Brightness: a Durant Family Saga
Imaginary Brightness: a Durant Family Saga
Price: £3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-told, well-researched and entertaining historical fiction., 28 Nov. 2015
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Imaginary Brightness: a Durant Family Saga
Most books involving the Durants concentrate on the dictatorial family patriarch: the famously colourful Dr Thomas Durant, one of the pioneers that built the Transcontinental Railroad in America. Imaginary Brightness by Sheila Myers is largely about Dr. Durant’s immediate family, and the impact of his long absences and many scandals on his son and daughter: William West Durant and Ella Durant. Both achieved some measure of fame in their own right.
Based on a strong skeleton of well-researched evidence, the fictional elements of Imaginary Brightness focus very effectively on the characters and possible motives of the family. Many of the known ‘facts’ seem contradictory and impossible to reconcile. Author Myers convincingly makes sense of all the contradictions in an entertaining manner.
I like Myers' writing style. Her narrative voice is unusual. Style and technical 'purists' might find it a little quirky at first, but it quickly becomes appealing, particularly if you enjoy a good, readable and well-told story. There’s plenty of drama and emotional tweaks to keep you involved, and I defy all but the most expert to distinguish between the known facts and the fictional elements. She brings vividly to life the dangers and beauty of the Adirondack wilderness in Upper New York State, which Myers contrasts well with the privilege and culture of Victorian aristocrats so familiar to the spoilt Durant children in their early years.
In an interwoven storyline, the author juxtaposes the modern Adirondack wilderness with the past. This illustrates the main changes to the cultures of the separate times, particularly as they relate to women. This storyline is a valuable and relevant addition to the already complex story, as well as fun to read.
Summary: Well researched, well told and entertaining story. Looking forward to other volumes in the series.


StarTech 4x SATA Power Splitter Adapter Cable
StarTech 4x SATA Power Splitter Adapter Cable
Price: £3.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value. Arrived ahead of delivery date, 19 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It works, does the job. Good value. Arrived ahead of delivery date. Perfectly happy with it.


Creative Sound Blaster Sound Card PCI 5.1 Channel Surround Sound
Creative Sound Blaster Sound Card PCI 5.1 Channel Surround Sound
Price: £20.37

3.0 out of 5 stars Low cost soundcard does the job., 24 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Used this to replace an expired SoundBlaster card. Reasonable value, except that I cannot get it to work with the 'record what you hear' from the computer sound system which I could with my previous card, using Nero WaveEditor. This option is no longer available, even with the 'show hidden and disabled devices box' ticked. Did manage to download free software (Aposoft free audio recorder) which works just fine, though it doesn't have the flexibility of WaveEditor. Operating system is Windows Vista 32bit.


Schneider Topball 850 Rollerball Refill- Black (Pack of 3)
Schneider Topball 850 Rollerball Refill- Black (Pack of 3)

5.0 out of 5 stars Good alternative to the orignal now no longer available., 24 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Effective replacement for the Topliner 911 and Hauser bill 707 SF.


Schneider Topball 850 Rollerball Refill- Blue (Pack of 3)
Schneider Topball 850 Rollerball Refill- Blue (Pack of 3)

5.0 out of 5 stars Good replacement for the Topliner 911 and Hauser bill 707 SF rollerball refill., 24 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It worked fine. Does the job as a replacement for the Topliner 911 and Hauser bill 707 SF, otherwise we'd have had to throw out an otherwise nice pen.


Mastrad Nut Cracker, Charcoal
Mastrad Nut Cracker, Charcoal

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mastrad nut cracker – If you want a talking point, buy this. If you want to crack nuts, use a mole wrench if you’ve got one., 11 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After years of getting irritated with traditional cast iron nut crackers that broke or produced a mix of shell fragments and nuts that shot everywhere, I started using a mole wrench (see below for guidance on how to use it) after I ran out of nutcrackers when the shops were closed. I was happy using the wrench, but it was a little lacking in elegance sat on top of the basket of nuts in the middle of the table. In December 2014, I treated myself to the Mastrad nut cracker - a novel way of cracking nuts.
At first sight, I was very impressed. It’s nicely made, strong and yes, elegant, sitting atop the basket. Visitors expressed great interest and wanted to try it. This is where it began to come a little unstuck. Hazelnuts crack beautifully, when you can pin them between the crusher and the wall of the Mastrad. Messy shell fragments can be dropped neatly in the bin after picking out the nut. Walnuts too work well enough, though one or two of the largest ones wouldn’t fit in and you still have to winkle many of them out of the remains of the shells.
With almonds and brazils (my favourites) I was no better off than with a traditional nutcracker, except that the Mastrad was strong enough to crack even the tough nuts with relatively little effort. They just rarely cracked in a suitable place to free up the nuts.
Sorry Mastrad. In the end, I’ve gone back to my trusty mole wrench. The advantage of this is it cracks (virtually) all nuts neatly and with relatively little effort. The technique is very simple, and it never crushes the nuts. It’s also quicker to do than it takes to read the paragraph below, especially if you do several nuts of a similar size at the same time.
Caution: make sure the wrench is thoroughly cleaned. Release the jaws of the wrench and widen them until they’re just wide enough to take the nut. Lock the jaws, and adjust the gap so that they just touch the shell. Release the jaws, then reduce the gap between them by a quarter to half a turn. Put the nut between and lock the jaws again. You should find that with a relatively small amount of effort, the shell cracks along a seam without damaging the nut. You may have to repeat if the shell cracks oddly. If you’re concerned about the shell going everywhere, simply put a freezer bag or equivalent over the end of the wrench, or cover the nut in the jaws with your other hand.


So Dead: A Eureka Springs Mystery
So Dead: A Eureka Springs Mystery
Price: £2.63

5.0 out of 5 stars So Dead by Patricia Gale – a whole lot more to offer than just a great mystery, 11 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you love stories in any genre in which the places and characters spring to life and make you care about them, you’ll like So Dead. One of my personal tests of an outstanding story is that I slow down as I approach the end, because I don’t want to leave the world the author has created. So Dead slowed me down to a crawl. Yes, it really is that good.
If you also like mysteries, murders and (often hilarious) mayhem, you’re in for a special treat. Patricia Gale has packed the main plot with more twists, turns and surprises than Eureka Springs itself, plus enough subplots to provide several novels’ worth for other writers. All of these are driven by the various characters.
Pacing is tuned to make you forget you’re reading. There is what might appear to be a slightly slow section just into the story for a couple of sections, but don’t be fooled. The author is hitting you with a well disguised mixture of clues, finely drawn pen pictures of many of the characters, and introducing you to Eureka Springs. After that, the pace accelerates and doesn’t ease until the last page.
A large cast of quirky but real characters bring life to an equally quirky town “where the misfits fit”. Even the dogs have characters all their own – not to mention the ghosts.
Tip: there’s a list of characters at the end of the Kindle version. You might find it useful for a short while until you get a handle on them. It doesn’t take long, because each is unique and quickly becomes familiar. You may already know many of these characters yourself. As in real life, the characters irritate, anger, charm, scare, sadden, and amuse. They’ll make you laugh and bring you to tears, often at the same time. Look out for the funeral scene. It’s a classic. And so is... on second thoughts, I’d better not say or I’ll give something away.
So Dead’s Point of View is that of Meg, the one-quarter Cherokee, three-quarter blue blood, wild child narrator and detective extraordinaire. While she’s undoubtedly the star, the rest of the cast constantly do their best to upstage her. The narrative is polished, with action and interaction tightly woven in a light, witty tone that disguises the acute observational powers of author Patricia Gale.
But the real strength of this book lies in its theme – community, and the ties that bind people together. It’s Humanity writ small in a way that sheds light on all of us, regardless of our race, culture or beliefs.
Don’t take my word for it. Read it and see for yourself. As for me, I’m off to book a flight to the USA. I want to see Eureka Springs for myself.


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