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Book fiend "Enthusiast" (Petersfield, Hampshire)
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Amenable Women
Amenable Women
by Mavis Cheek
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

4.0 out of 5 stars How to succeed by being amenable, 2 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Amenable Women (Paperback)
I hadn't read a Mavis Cheek book before though had always heard that she writes well. Indeed she does and I thoroughly enjoyed the very witty observation of the characters and their doings. The central character, Flora, was married to an impossible eccentric who has died in a fairly eccentric fashion - Flora is not exactly the grieving widow and as the story unfolds you are entertained by her attitude to life and her neighbours. She believes she is as plain as the "Flanders Mare", Anne of Cleves, and becomes fascinated with her history and her portrait, finding various links to where she lives and develops theories about how Anne of Cleves lived her life. So far so good, but I found the central section where Anne (who is for some reason called Anna throughout) finds her own voice and tells her own story. This somehow didn't have quite the same witty and entertaining impact, but effectively continues the fabric of the tale. It's a clever idea and I found most of it funny and enjoyably readable.


Roberts Blutune200 DAB/DAB+/FM/CD/USB/SD/Bluetooth Sound System
Roberts Blutune200 DAB/DAB+/FM/CD/USB/SD/Bluetooth Sound System
Price: £265.52

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roberts reputation stands firm, 2 Nov 2014
I hunted for ages for a DAB radio with a CD player - really difficult to find one with quality sound but this fits the bill perfectly. I have a large collection of CDs and listen to classical music and jazz so the sound is really important. It's a handsome looking item with a very clear display and a large "sleep/volume" button on the top - handy if you are going to use this as an alarm. But it's almost too good to be used for that! There are a large number of display settings and so forth to choose from: perhaps too many but you can stick with the basics.
The tuning is automatic, efficient and easy. Other radios in my house don't receive a very good signal (even the DAB one) but this radio picks up even Radio 3 beautifully clearly with no interruptions.
You can use the bluetooth to connect with your laptop, iphone or tablet and also record to a USB or SD. The remote is tiny and lightweight and possibly a little vulnerable to being damaged - just don't leave it anywhere you could tread on it! I have only one criticism - it seems odd for a sophisticated quality piece of technology such as this that there are no individual buttons for pre-selected radio stations. You can pre-select up to 20 radio stations on DAB or FM but even if you do this you still have to scroll through the stations to find the one you want and then select it. You can buy cheaper machines but if you want the quality sound go for this one.


NW
NW
by Zadie Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars How another half lives, 23 Sep 2014
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This review is from: NW (Paperback)
It took me quite a long time to get my head around the "rap" style of writing with no clear definition of who is speaking (the character in question or the author) as the descriptions merge into the conversations and are very much in the vernacular style of north west London - Kilburn and similar areas. However, the author is magically observant and once you get into the style of writing, you can identify whole-heartedly with the characters and their situations even if you don't wholly sympathise with them!
It's a book to read when you can give it more than ten minutes so that you can get into the mood and follow the storyline. It's not my world at all and it isn't the sort of book I would normally choose, but it is a highly intelligent, entertaining and clever piece of writing that paints a very real picture of a community. It's outside my comfort zone, and maybe many other people's - a very good thing to be bounced into reading something quite different. Recommended.


Classic Cat Litter Tray
Classic Cat Litter Tray
Offered by Pet Connection
Price: £9.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Cat convenience, 23 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Classic Cat Litter Tray (Misc.)
The cat seems happy with this though he still manages to scuff earth out of the tray onto the floor despite the lip around the detachable dark grey edging frame. (Possibly cat litter rather than earth might not get scattered around quite so much as it is bigger grained.) Some have complained that the edging comes away but this shouldn't happen if you click it on properly all the way round and don't lift the box by this piece. Makes for easier cleaning of the box too. My only criticism is perhaps that the plastic used for the box itself is not terribly substantial and I shall be interested to see how long it lasts. Otherwise, a sensible product designed for the purpose.


VULKAN Tennis Elbow Brace Support , S
VULKAN Tennis Elbow Brace Support , S
Offered by SDA-Direct
Price: £15.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Away with tennis elbow..., 23 Sep 2014
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This does what it says on the tin. I had to look at Vulkan's own website to work out the sizing - you need to know that the critical measurement is just below the elbow and around the arm, so 24cm is a "Small". There is no doubt that the brace support down the inside of the arm gives a very good extra resistance when striking a tennis ball as it absorbs all the extra vibration that can be painful if you have even slight tennis elbow. Definitely helps quite a lot. Nicely made with good Velcro fixings and perfectly comfortable to wear.


Q-Connect KF3480 Envelope DL 90gsm Self-Seal (Pack of 1000) - White
Q-Connect KF3480 Envelope DL 90gsm Self-Seal (Pack of 1000) - White
Price: £16.59

5.0 out of 5 stars they are just envelopes - but I reckon this is a good product at a good price, 23 Sep 2014
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Ok, they are just envelopes - but I reckon this is a good product at a good price. Good self-seal closure and a sturdy enough envelope for all purposes. They come in an excellent box, tightly packed so they don't flop about and get creased. Nothing wrong with these at all!


Small Island
Small Island
by Andrea Levy
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read, 10 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Small Island (Hardcover)
This book has been around since 2004 but it is as fresh to read now as it would have been 10 years ago. The story is written in the first person by several central characters before, during and after the Second World War and with particular emphasis on the experiences of a Jamaican who volunteered for the British Air Force, his wife and various friends and family. The author treats the whole question of racism with remarkable sensitivity but pulls no punches and some of the language and events are shocking to our eyes now but were commonplace at the time. Attitudes were often based on total ignorance and lack of personal experience but there were instances of quite extraordinary prejudice which would be totally unacceptable today. Andrea Levy tells the story through both male and female eyes completely convincingly and paints a vivid picture both of wartime and post-war Britain and various wartime events. A highly original and fascinating book.


Premier Housewares Compost Bin, Red
Premier Housewares Compost Bin, Red
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good bucket for your banana skins, 10 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent windowsill compost bucket of a sensible size - most are far too small, with the alternative being a pedal bin. This is a very jolly red tin bin with sensible handles to pick it up by and a good close fitting lid, also with a good handle, to keep the flies out and the odours in. There is a white plastic liner bin to lift out to empty it and the only criticism I would have is that it is a bit fiddly to get hold of this as there are no handles - the solution would have been to have a couple of recessed hollows on each side to make it easier to get a grip. I don't think this is a serious fault though and it is such a nice looking compost bin that I won't downgrade it to 4 stars just for that. It remains to be seen how long it lasts but it seems pretty sturdy. A good find and it wins another bonus point by not having to use bin liners if you don't want to.


Pictionary Board Game
Pictionary Board Game
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Drawing and laughter for all ages, 10 Aug 2014
This review is from: Pictionary Board Game (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a wonderful family game but does need an absolute minimum of four players as you need to play in teams of at least two - so, the more the merrier and it therefore makes a brilliant game for a large family, or a large gathering of any ages. Little people can be helped along in the team by older ones and there are junior choices of subjects for picture drawing as well as general ones. Each team takes a turn with one of their number drawing a picture as directed by the card they have drawn. The team has one minute to guess what the drawing is and the drawings and the guesses can be hilarious. The subjects are not always the easiest or the most obvious to draw but children are surprisingly quick to get straight to the point. If the team guesses correctly they throw the dice to move forward on the board and have another drawing to do (by another team member) but if they get it wrong it passes to the next team, and so on. You really don't have to be able to draw well to do this and everyone has a good laugh. Recommended.


Tourist Guide to Karnataka: The Land of Splendour
Tourist Guide to Karnataka: The Land of Splendour
by V. Subburaj
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Local guide with a local flavour, 27 July 2014
I love this book because it is gloriously Indian, written and published there in 2005. It is of course out of date now so things like phone numbers and train timetables will be inaccurate, but other information is still relevant and I look forward to taking it with me to check the details while there. It really does not compare with a proper guide book and I wouldn't recommend it as such, but as an additional bit of background and with a reasonably good map of the area at the back it is a nice slim volume to take with you. The information provided of various places to visit is a little random and quirky and not what the modern British tourist is looking for, but it is a delight to read, e.g. a description of some gardens doesn't tell you a lot but mentions "a profusion of brightly coloured blossoms, enchanting fountains, musical fountains and slides and swings for children who can always be seen roistering in the place"!! Probably not top of your travel needs, but enjoyable.


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