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Alan Pavelin (Chislehurst, UK)
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In Search of Solace
In Search of Solace
by Emily Mackie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex cinematic novel you may want to read twice, 4 July 2014
This review is from: In Search of Solace (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the kind of book which, if you become really involved in it, you will want to read again, to take account of all the twists and turns which continually surprise the reader. Without going into the plot details, which become quite complicated, the basic points I would make are:
1. The central character is one Jacob Little, a sad young man who adopts a total of 17 different guises over a dozen or so years, and is searching for the eponymous Solace, a girl he used to know.
2. The novel is written almost as if it were a film screenplay, and is divided into three broad sections, The Beginning, The Middle, and The End. The director (Emily Mackie?) constantly takes us to different places, different characters, and especially different times, across the dozen or so years up to the present day (a date mentioned near the start of The End, on which a key event occurs, happens to be Good Friday 2014, though the reader is left to judge the relevance of this)
3. Apart from Jacob with his 17 alter egos, other major characters are a teenage girl with two mothers who later becomes an authority on Jacob's existentialist philosophy, an old man obsessed with clocks and who used to spend much time with Jacob's mother, a fat lady who runs a Scottish pub (in and around which much of the action takes place), and a girl child who thinks she is a boy and wants to be a detective.
If you like a novel with frequent twists and turns, with different writing styles at times, with philosophical undertones (or overtones), in which the reader is almost literally swept around in time and space, then this could well be for you. There are some fairly explicit sex references, which some readers may wish to be warned of.
I think this book, Mackie's second, will cause quite a stir.


Is the EU Doomed?
Is the EU Doomed?
by Jan Zielonka
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Eurosceptic essay, interesting but probably impractical, 25 Jun 2014
This review is from: Is the EU Doomed? (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a strongly Eurosceptic essay by an Oxford professor. Unlike many Eurosceptics, however, he presents a rational rather than an ideological case for why he thinks the EU in its present form will not survive. But he does not advocate its abolition, rather he describes the different path he thinks it should take, based not on national states but on what he describes as a "polyphony" of city states and other blocs as existed in medieval times.
It is an interesting thesis, but I feel it is most impractical as it would require, presumably, every country to agree to it. I cannot see this happening. There is a useful bibliography and some fairly extensive notes. No index, however, which I always feel is a drawback for this kind of book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2014 2:44 PM BST


The Good Priest: A Father Vincent Ross Mystery (Father Vincent Ross Mystery 1)
The Good Priest: A Father Vincent Ross Mystery (Father Vincent Ross Mystery 1)
by Gillian Galbraith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good thriller about a Catholic priest, 10 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is very reminiscent of two films: the 1952 film I Confess, starring Montgomery Clift, and the very recent film Calvary. The former has a murderer confessing his crime to a priest, the latter has a prospective murderer telling a priest in the confessional of his intention. The Good Priest has a similar, though not identical, start, a variation on a theme, as it were. Set in the present day (dates in 2013 are mentioned, as well as recent events and well-known people in the news), it shares with Calvary the theme of clerical child abuse, though as in both the aforementioned films the protagonist is a thoroughly good priest.
The author is clearly thoroughly familiar with the Catholic Church in Britain (actually a small town in Scotland). The book rattles along as a good thriller should, with some amusing scenes, mostly involving a talking parrot in the convent where the priest sometimes stays. Readers who enjoy good murder mysteries should feel at home with this. Not a classic of its kind, but worth reading nevertheless.


Pocket Guide to GastrointestinaI Drugs
Pocket Guide to GastrointestinaI Drugs
by M. Michael Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 39.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful guide, but for specialists only, 28 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this guide because my wife has longstanding gastrointestinal problems, with a fair bit of experience with these drugs and their side effects. I would emphasise that the book is a VERY specialist one, aimed, as the preface states, at "gastroenterologists, gastrointestinal surgeons, and all physicians who care for patients afflicted with digestive disorders". Not light reading then, and not really for the general reader either. But it does have a fairly comprehensive index in which particular drugs can be looked up, and side effects are well covered. I give it 5 stars, not because it is riveting or even comprehensible reading but because it is obviously a very useful handbook for the relevant specialist.


Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedicure Intense Foot Serum 30 ml
Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedicure Intense Foot Serum 30 ml
Price: 5.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems a promising product, 14 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My wife suffers from callouses and very dry skin. Following a foot soak she used a callous knife and applied the serum. Her skin looks and feels smoother, and she will be able to judge after a week or so how effective it is. It certainly seems a promising product.


Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedicure Foot Soak 150 ml
Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedicure Foot Soak 150 ml
Price: 5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Effective, but lacks a cap to measure the dose, 2 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My wife used this, and continues to do so, and finds it as good as other brands she has used. However, she makes the adverse comment that, while a 15ml dose is to be used in water, it would be very helpful to have a measuring cap to ensure this correct amount is used.


Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep
Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep
by Richard Wiseman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but there is little for insomniacs, 7 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As an insomniac I am naturally interested in books about sleep. This one is not primarily for insomniacs; there is barely a mention of the pros and cons of sleeping tablets for example, and it seems to assume that anyone can take a nap at will (something which the author strongly recommends daily, contrary to what many other experts say). It is more about the science of sleep, with long sections about the nature of dreams and how we can interpret and even direct them. Lots of surveys and anecdotes are described, including some amusing and tragic ones about sleepwalkers. The book is written in a somewhat jokey way at times, but there is no index, which I always feel is a failing in a non-fiction book. But for those interested in the science of sleep and dreams, it is a good read.


Au Hasard Balthazar [DVD] [1966]
Au Hasard Balthazar [DVD] [1966]
Dvd ~ Anne Wiazemsky
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: 7.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The zenith of Bresson's career, 5 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I reviewed the VHS version of this some years ago, and having acquired the recent DVD I have no reason to revise my enthusiasm. It is one of those films where, however often you see it, new depths reveal themselves. Bresson has brilliantly interwoven various sub-plots, including murder and financial skullduggery, which you barely notice first time round in this birth-to-death story of a donkey. All the characters seem to be victims of destiny, acted upon rather than acting, with the sole exception of the evil Gerard, who seems able to do what he wants. This pessimistic view of human nature, which becomes more evident in Bresson's later films, is observed throughout by Balthazar, clearly a Christ-figure who seems to understand everything while remaining silent. My one complaint is the lack of extras, unlike the Criterion edition which apparently includes a long French TV discussion of the film.
This film comes in the middle, and many would say at the zenith, of Bresson's career.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2014 3:15 PM BST


Alpen Porridge Maple and Pecan 40 g (Pack of 4)
Alpen Porridge Maple and Pecan 40 g (Pack of 4)
Price: 9.93

5.0 out of 5 stars A filling dish for a cold morning, 27 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A very nice maple-pecan flavoured porridge, easy to make (2 minutes in the microwave with milk), which can be mixed with, say, grapes and yoghurt to produce a filling dish for a cold morning. The only tiny niggle is that the paper sachet easily tears when opening, rendering it impossible to measure the milk by means of the sachet. Easy to measure 150ml in a jug, however.


Alpen Porridge Cranberry and Blueberry 40 g (Pack of 4)
Alpen Porridge Cranberry and Blueberry 40 g (Pack of 4)
Price: 10.03

5.0 out of 5 stars A tasty porridge,,easy to make, 26 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A very tasty, easy to make, liquidy porridge, containing two "superfood" fruits (in small quantities), to which I like to add a few grapes and some yoghurt. Delicious!


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