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Josh (UK)

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Multi-function digital catering thermometer with probe
Multi-function digital catering thermometer with probe
Offered by CATERINGBASE_LTD
Price: £12.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely accurate, 17 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for homebrewing, but not much point in going into loads of detail with so many reviews already.
The unit I received measured boiling water to be 99.8 C and ice water to be bang on 0.0 C. Once you take the protective cap off the probe (duh, took me a while to figure that out) it's pretty responsive too and seems to take its measurement from the very tip of the probe.
It comes with a meter of chord.
If I find it breaks or loses accuracy for any reason I'll update the review, but for now I couldn't be much happier!


The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, 11 Dec. 2012
A strong central theme that drives the story forward + a skilled writer who knows when to slip in a further nugget of information and when to tease the reader by holding things back + an inspiration message = a hugely satisfying novel that will inspire anyone who wants to make a mark and accomplish something good (however small or large). A wonderful parable for our times. If you're reading this review because you're wondering whether or not to buy, don't hesitate. Buy it!


Words Words Words
Words Words Words
by David Crystal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 21 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Words Words Words (Paperback)
David Crystal never allows his erudition to get in the way of readability. He manages to combine his near-omniscience on the subject of the English Language with a refreshing tolerance (celebration, even) of the way language evolves from generation to generation. There's no rant against "falling standards" or any snobbery about misuse of apostrophes here, but explanations as to why and when change happens. Yes, as one reviewer has said, some of it goes over old ground, but there's joy to be had in looking at things afresh. If you don't like a book to meander and go off on interesting tangents, this might not be for you, as the framework for the book is logical but quite "loose". You come away from reading this with the feeling that you've just enjoyed a wonderfully informative conversation with the author. If you love words and are hungry to find out some more priceless snippets, then this book will reward you and offer a chance to impress a few people by dropping in some obscure facts and derivations at your next dinner party!


Rifling Paradise
Rifling Paradise
by Jem Poster
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Strongly Recommended, 29 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Rifling Paradise (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It's not absolutely necessary, but you might want to read the wonderful "Courting Shadows" first, as this is where we're first introduced to the main character, but the book stands alone. As I've said elsewhere, Jem Poster does repression and underlying emotions and tensions brilliantly well, sustaining them throughout the book, so that you're gripped at every stage. He absolutely understands the apparent contradictions in the barbarism and correctness of Victorian men. JP really is a superb, accomplished novelist. I gave "Courting Shadows" 5 stars because I thought it was just about perfect. If you love Courting Shadows, you'll enjoy this one enormously, too. The only reason I've given it 4 stars instead of 5 is that I could have done without the apparitions/supernatural elements which I felt diminished an otherwise wonderful novel.


Courting Shadows
Courting Shadows
by Jem Poster
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Crafted, 29 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Courting Shadows (Paperback)
Jem Poster's novels are a delight: understated, ironic and teeming with underlying emotion. I'm a sucker for deluded, pompous narrators such as the "hero" of Courting Shadows, a more dangerous version of Charles Pooter in "Diary of a Nobody", because this one wrecks lives as surely as (like so many Victorian "restorers") he wrecks the church on which he's working. Indeed JP does repressed Victorian gentlemen really well ... the sort of man who's blissfully unaware of the trail of devastation he leaves in his wake (an C18th equivalent of the person who crawls along the middle lane of the motorway at 50mph, cursing all the idiots around them!). The poor, oppressed and dispossessed are the ones with the common sense, but the ones who bear the brunt of the narrator's stupidity. They're all beautifully drawn: there's great tenderness and much humour in there. I particularly loved the bittersweet moment where the mother of the narrator's love interest confronts him very directly and unflinchingly about his behaviour. It's a moment of literary genius ... just one word is all it takes, and it's pitch-perfect. You'll know what I mean when you get to it. I imagine anyone who reads this will also want to follow it up with "Rifling Paradise", which is linked with "Courting Shadows" (see separate review).


Isabel's Skin
Isabel's Skin
by Peter Benson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking, 27 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Isabel's Skin (Hardcover)
I was really surprised to see another reviewer on Amazon describing this as "tongue-in-cheek". In my view, this quietly unassuming novel has real depth. It can be read on two levels and, in this sense, it's a typical Peter Benson novel. Let me admit that I've been a fan of his since "The Levels" came out all those years ago. I've read all his books and, with one exception ("Two Cows..." which was fine, but not, to my mind brilliant), I've been very moved by everything he's written. Don't believe the blurb about this being a mock-gothic tale of murder. That's just the vehicle for a meditation (in PB's usual easy-on-the-ear but very thought-provoking style)on the nature of love and attraction, on how we can only truly love when we hold up a mirror to ourselves and shed the "skin" of our inhibitions ... only when we learn to accept our imperfections can we be "born again" and able to love and be loved. Isabel is much more than a curiosity, and much more than someone in need of help: she is the reflection in the narrator's mirror, through whom he learns how to love.
I was going to give it 4 stars but: a. I'm still thinking about it a few days after finishing it and b.he's earned the right to the benefit of the doubt for his body of work. So five stars it is! More important than whether this deserves three, four or five stars is the fact that PB deserves a wider audience. If you like this, you'll probably love "A Lesser Dependency", "Odo's Hanging" etc etc Keep those novels coming, PB ... I couldn't endure another seven-year wait similar to the gap between your early and later books!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2012 1:16 AM GMT


Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
by Justin Pollard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully readable and convincing account, 17 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Alfred the Great (Paperback)
The best historians take none of their sources at face value, read between the lines and then back up their point of view with evidence, all in a readable style. They don't try to sound clever. They just pepper you with insights. JP ticks all of those boxes. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the life and times of our greatest monarch. A few gaps had puzzled me and I'd always wondered/worried about some of the myths attached to Alfred. Read this and everything falls into place. I kept on thinking "ah, I understand, now". In particular, the revelations (which I suppose I should call suppositions, to be strictly accurate) around what went on at Chippenham/Athelney are compelling and a real eye-opener. By stripping away the hype (which the Victorians helped to whip up during the millennial celebrations), JP does indeed show that the real Alfred, with his flaws, his early misjudgements and his preparedness to learn from his own mistakes and the successes of others, was even greater than we supposed. My only minor gripe was that JP very, very occasionally lapses into "modern" thinking. (Best example: Pg 155/6 where Alfred is assumed to be possibly reflecting on his good luck when the enemy encountered a freak storm. No way: he'd have assumed it was the hand of the Almighty.) Highly recommended. If anyone wants to understand who "made" England, what it is to be English and who inadvertently invented "Englishness" (and how), they should read this. Brilliant and compelling.


The Marrowbone Marble Company
The Marrowbone Marble Company
by Glenn Taylor
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good. Nearly Excellent!, 14 Nov. 2011
I enjoyed Marrowbone a lot. I saw shades of John Irving and others ... that typically "muscular" narrative and dialogue, with a big cast of intresting characters, lots of humanity seeping through the story, a novel like a tough type with a sensitive side (a bit like the principle character). I imagine most people (myself included) who like this sort of American novel would enjoy the book. However, the little niggles that spoiled it slightly for me were these ... I believe Glenn Taylor could have culled quite a few of the characters. I thought there were just too many. A bit more depth on fewer of them would have been great. (Another reviewer mentions how the key character falls away a bit.) Also, it just felt (and this has also been mentioned) as if it could have had one final draft that eased the flow and made each scene a little more connected. That having been said, it's a great read. I recommend it. I think Glenn Taylor could become a great writer, but, in this one, I'd say he's very good indeed!


The Redemption of Elsdon Bird
The Redemption of Elsdon Bird
by Noel Virtue
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Gem!, 10 Nov. 2011
I've opted to write the first review of this novel because it's one of those gems that you stumble on and you wonder why it's not better known. It's small but perfectly formed. Written in the New Zealand vernacular in a spare prose style, it's a moving tale about growing up in the face of bigotry. Having read it, I then devoured other novels by Noel Virtue, such as "Then Upon the Evil Season" and "Sandspit Crossing". He's one of those writers (Peter Benson is another) who writes works of quiet, understated genius, brimming with humanity, but never get the plaudits they deserve. Highly recommended!


Wordsmith's Tale, The: Special Edition
Wordsmith's Tale, The: Special Edition
by Stephen Edden
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Compelling, 19 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Firstly, this doesn't fit the usual definition of "Historical Fiction". How do I describe it? The writing intrigues you from the beginning and then soon tightens its grip on you, so that after about fifty pages, you can't bear to put it down. As you progress, it just gets better and better. It brings to life the awful realities of Anglo Saxon serfdom and Norman oppression, but it does it in a frequently witty way(increasingly so as the book progresses), mainly through the banter between the characters. The novel is shot through with humanity. So much so that some of the most unseemly characters are also strangely appealing (eg Gross the cook, the Reeve and Mule).
Within the first page we get a taste of what's to come: a whistle that can conjure memories, a foray into Old English and a gag about Old Mother Hubbard and her dog. That playfulness with words, history, fairy tales, etc runs through the whole, but NEVER intrudes on the story. Not to my mind, anyway. I don't want to put readers off by intellectualising, because Stephen Edden has an easy, readable style, but it's a thought-provoking novel. It's a novel about Anglo-Saxon life OR it's a novel about the importance of stories and language OR it's a novel about the triumph of love over hardship OR it's a celebration of the Old English language and its alliterative poetry. Maybe it's all of those. I don't know. But I do know that I loved it!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2011 8:49 PM BST


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