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P. A. Irving (UK)
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Vampsov 1938: A Spectre Haunting Europe
Vampsov 1938: A Spectre Haunting Europe
by Daniel Ribot
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good vampire story with added ideology, 17 Jan 2014
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The opening sequences of Vampsov grabbed me. They show an old-school encounter with vampires, vampires that are vicious and frightening and altogether not terribly nice. There is bloodshed and gore and thrills and spills. When this section settles into a spell of exposition, the novel's other great strength comes into play, which is its historical authenticity. There's a sense of the optimism in the face of all the odds that soviet Russia's ambassadors had; the emperor's new clothes sense of a flawed system that is beyond reproach, and this permeates the entire tale. The characters are rounded and the story of the central protagonist's relationship with her family is as engaging on an emotional level as the rest of the novel is as a thriller.

There are perhaps moments when the whole thing turns a little cyclical and video gamish - the team go out and 'kill vamps' and the tension is somewhat dissolved - but these moments are inevitably precursors to the more challenging encounters that the unit go on to encounter. Also - no spoilers - but arguably this contributes to the sense of hubris that accompanies those encounters and heightens their suspense.

The end of the novel resolves most of the plot while leaving enough loose threads to lead comfortably into sequels; overall it's a very satisfying and enjoyable read. There are some truly horrific moments on both a visceral and a political level and it has more than its share of ideas that will stay with you after you've finished reading.

Oh, and Vassily. It has Vassily. That alone is worth the asking price.


SodaStream Highland Fizz 500ml
SodaStream Highland Fizz 500ml
Offered by TAOS
Price: 3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite taste like I think it's supposed to., 13 Jan 2014
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Assumed this was basically Irn Bru and while it's not a million miles away it doesn't taste the same. Also it's clear, which was unnerving, but maybe that's just me.


Mens Superdry Hoodie - Orange label zip hood - Dirty dark marl (M)
Mens Superdry Hoodie - Orange label zip hood - Dirty dark marl (M)

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable but fitted., 27 Feb 2013
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Really nice and comfortable; warm when it's cold but lightweight when it's warmer. Nice fit; not as shapeless and sack-like as some hoodies.


Hilfiger Denim Pilot Badge Short Sleeve Polo Men's T-Shirt Classic White Medium
Hilfiger Denim Pilot Badge Short Sleeve Polo Men's T-Shirt Classic White Medium

3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely tight fit, 27 Feb 2013
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A nice top but the size would be a small for most clothing lines - even for slim fit it's very tight.


Mens/Gents Superdry Grey Canvas/Jersey Slip On Espadrille Shoes - Dark Grey Marl - UK 9
Mens/Gents Superdry Grey Canvas/Jersey Slip On Espadrille Shoes - Dark Grey Marl - UK 9

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice and comfy but not very durable., 27 Feb 2013
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Nice fit, flexible so they fit your feet better the more you wear them but the soles are merely glued on and started to come off after the first (hand) wash.


Duronic HDS3 Mini 3 Port Gold HDMI Auto Switch PIANO BLACK 3x1 (3 way input 1 output HDMI Switcher)
Duronic HDS3 Mini 3 Port Gold HDMI Auto Switch PIANO BLACK 3x1 (3 way input 1 output HDMI Switcher)
Offered by DURONIC
Price: 49.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Signal's fine but it's choosy, 24 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As others have said, for whatever reason it won't pick up my Sky box's signal. It'll autoswitch to the DVD player, which is great, but I've got to manually switch it back afterwards, which isn't great.


Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Dealz
Price: 7.53

7 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marmite comparison, anyone?, 26 Mar 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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Traditionally, alien invasion movies are rubbish. No matter how visually impressive, epic in scale, full of action they are, they almost always disappoint at the end. What's supposed to happen at the end of such a movie? We win, everyone goes home and sings songs. Or we lose, and the aliens colonise/devour/enslave us, and they, presumably, sing songs. Generally speaking, when it comes to what is essentially a specific sub-genre of military science-fiction, I watch alien invasion movies expecting to be disappointed.

What I don't expect is to be still thinking about the endings days later. To have my general understanding of the order of things changed by them. I don't expect the endings to have any lasting impact at all.

Mass Effect 3 is different. It takes the concept behind all three games and brings it to its conclusion. It makes sense in a way that goes far beyond the mere fictional narrative. In science fiction terms, it is a sound and very troubling premise and one which has its roots in social and ethical concerns of the current day. Love it or loathe it, it is meant to be emotive, perhaps divisive, but ultimately to give us pause for thought and to consider our assumptions about the relationship between organic life and technology.

Gameplay wise it's a lot of fun. There's enough customisation and character enrichment to keep RPG fans happy, as well as a convincing game world that is heavy with speculation about the realities of being on the losing side of a galactic war. Otherwise the whole thing is a bit like a Gears of War meets Dragon Age affair with some of the most authentically intense battles I've experienced on Xbox (by which I mean battles that are taxing without being impossible; enemies that are just tough enough to make it difficult without being ridiculously difficult to the point of being just stupid).

Graphically it's very good, though the galaxy interface still feels a little bit like asteroids on the Amiga. The cutscenes are beautifully rendered; some of the most convincing visuals I've seen outside FMV. The music is atmospheric but not intrusive and incorporates the theme that has played throughout the games in various adapted guises to suit the moods it needs to accompany.

Of course, the real reason the ME (and other Bioware) RPGs stand out is narrative. The narrative is superb. There are emotional scenes that pay tribute to characters from earlier games and there is plenty of relationship-building between Shepard and his crewmates. The world, as previously mentioned, is rich with small stories that combine to give a sense of the import of the quest that Shepard is on.

The ending, as has been mentioned here, is a lot of fun to reach and is a big risk. But it is the ending. Just because it's a game doesn't mean we get to choose it. This is fiction, of the interactive type, and like any story, it needs an end. I think it's a satisfying end to the series (any more than that and I'm going to start giving the game away). Those who are bemoaning it would perhaps consider what they'd have done differently, and remember that no story is told exactly the way that they'd have told it, unless they are telling it themselves. I liked it. I liked it very much.

But then, I also like Marmite.

NB I'm aware I'm being positive here, but then, I am. I'm ignoring the glitches others have mentioned because I didn't notice them. If there was hype about sixteen endings then I was unaware of it and it didn't affect my experience of the game. I'm not saying ME3 is perfect. It isn't. But it is very, very good.


Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Stereo Bluetooth Headphones
Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Stereo Bluetooth Headphones
Price: 43.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Badly defective., 26 Jan 2012
The battery life states that it has seven hours. I've managed to run it down from seven hours to zip in the space of an hour and a half. Not sure if it's a defective set or if I've managed to charge it wrong or something. Skips now and then for no particular reason despite the advertised 10 metres bluetooth range. Does what I wanted it to (assuming the battery's intact) but not well.

Edit - six months after purchasing this product it died. I had worn the earphones during a ten minute walk home and they stopped working as I was arriving home. I then realised that, though they were unresponsive, they were still switched on and I couldn't turn them off. They became extremely hot at this point - I'm glad I wasn't wearing them - but all I could do was put them in a safe place and wait for the batteries to run down. I tried to charge them at a later date but, unsurprisingly, they had ceased to work altogether by then. Either my set were defective or the design is - in either case, given the performance problems even before they ceased to work, I wouldn't get another set.


Doublju Mens Casual Double PEA Wool Half Trench Coat Jacket BLACK(868)
Doublju Mens Casual Double PEA Wool Half Trench Coat Jacket BLACK(868)
Offered by Doublju
Price: 35.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Super coat, super price, 18 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As you're probably wondering more about the size than anything, I'll keep this short. I ordered a large and I usually wear a reasonably close-fitting medium. It fits spot on - any smaller and I'd struggle to get in it. The reason for this is that it fits like a suit-jacket - it's rigid and lined - not like an overcoat. Comfortable, warm and stylish, and seems to sit right no matter how many buttons you do up. Only slight flaw I would raise is in the workmanship - a few loose threads here and there but nothing that's holding anything together - but that doesn't stop me wearing it because bottom line is it's a good-looking coat, and at a fraction of the price you'd pay on the high street.


Breville VHB070 3-in-1 600 W Red Hand Blender Set
Breville VHB070 3-in-1 600 W Red Hand Blender Set

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 8 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Couldn't be more pleased with it. Haven't used the whisk yet but the chopper finely chops, the blender is superb and the whole thing is good value for money. Feels sturdy and well-designed and provided you clean it immediately after use it rinses clean under the tap. Perhaps the only reservation might be that everything is chopped very finely - there's no option for more coarse preparation as you might get with more expensive food processors, but for the purposes of making curries, etc, it's perfect.


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