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I Hear the Sirens in the Street: Sean Duffy 2 (Detective Sean Duffy 2)
I Hear the Sirens in the Street: Sean Duffy 2 (Detective Sean Duffy 2)
by Adrian McKinty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stonkingly good read, 25 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I discovered the works of Adrian McKinty only a few weeks ago and for me he has jumped to the top of the tree when it comes to needing a really good book to read. I just like everything about his writing, it's almost as if he's writing it FOR me, because when I turn a page as often as not I find that whatever happens or whatever is said is exactly what I was hoping for.

It's Northern Ireland, 1982, and in this second in the Duffy series, Sean (a Catholic in the predominantly Protestant RUC) has been promoted to Detective Inspector and soon enough we know the case he'll be working on: a dismembered body in a suitcase, dumped in an abandoned factory. There are very few clues but Duffy needs to find out who the victim was and who killed him. The backdrop of The Troubles is always highly prominent and the author very skillfully weaves an intriguing mixture of historical facts (such as The Falklands War) with his own verdant imagination, all this topped off with outstanding character development artistry. What might have been made heavy and complex by most other writers is extraordinarily simple for any reader, whether they are familiar with the conflict in Northern Ireland or not.

Having read the fourth in the series first, I already know that McKinty's skills at adding humour to the mix had not yet fully matured in this second episode, so I suppose I missed that light relief because he is to become very good at it. Instead, I suppose, there are elements of what might be regarded as romance, or at least Duffy's sex appeal to most of the female characters in the story. It's not over-done in the slightest however, and in any case the bedroom scenes are always very much part of the story itself and not an indulgence.

It's only when you get deep into the tale that you realise that this is actually a combination of fact and fiction, or at least McKinty has taken a number of events surrounding a very well-known American businessman and made them central to what is a fictional police investigation. I have to admit to not knowing exactly how much of this story IS fiction, not least the question of whether the dead man actually existed in real life.

So having read three of the four Duffy novels now, I can say with confidence that this is the real deal, a rare treat in an otherwise mundane world of crime fiction, and if you haven't yet tried a Sean Duffy novel then don't even hesitate; you will enjoy this. I'm hard to please these days and this has given me nothing but complete reading pleasure.

Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg
Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed and I won't be buying it, 23 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've seen the adverts on television for Vanish Gold and it does seem to be a good and appealing product. The reality, in this household at least, is that it doesn't even qualify as being "okay". For example, our daughter's cotton school blouse had numerous ink stains on the cuffs, so it seemed a good test of Vanish Gold's stain removing credentials. And the results are almost shockingly bad, frankly. The instructions were followed to the letter yet the "before and after" pictures would have almost anyone wondering why this product should be purchased at all.

Let me make it clear: This is a stain remover that does not remove stains. Not all stains, anyway.

It does have some redeeming features. Colours remain as vibrant as before, and whites are whiter. So that's good.

But Vanish Gold is prominently described as a stain remover, and in this respect I think it is improperly labelled. There is nothing unusual or uncommon as ball-point ink stains on white school clothing, and although after using Vanish Gold the stains fade somewhat, the results are actually surprisingly poor.

This is not a cheap product and I can see no point in buying it at all.

Vidal Sassoon Salonist, Dark Neutral Brown Number 4/0
Vidal Sassoon Salonist, Dark Neutral Brown Number 4/0
Offered by Direct Pharmacy
Price: £12.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dye-a-follicle, 15 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product is a little more time-consuming to use than others but the results are worth the extra effort and cost. In this case the point of comparative reference was Clairol's Nice'n Easy which Mrs OEJ has been using for several years and her summary view is that Vidal Sassoon's Salonist is just better, if a little fiddlier. Slightly more expensive (but not much) and in any case worth paying more.

Mrs OEJ's hair is - or should I say was! - naturally jet black but she was happy to try this dark neutral brown colourant. The universal view of all in the family is that it's very hard to see any brown after application so there has to be at least a question over the product's colour-changing properties, at least for those with black hair. However in most other respects it has been given a firm thumbs-up, for its lustre, smoothness and sheen.

It takes a little longer than usual to apply, and at first it's rather thick and sticky when the colouring cream and activating lotions are combined and applied. Thankfully things improve with the application of the VS Serum and it's just a more pleasurable experience after that point. Once the hair has been washed and dried the total time taken from start to finish was nearly one hour, which is about 15-20 minutes longer than with the Clairol colourant. For anyone with lighter hair, such as blonde, this could easily take more than one hour in total since the instructions recommend 30 minutes between Step 1 and Step 2.

For the record, there is no unpleasant smell, or nothing worthy of mention, and this too is a welcome improvement compared to Nice'n Easy.

This is a good quality product that is a little higher in price than some of its competitors but the firm impression is that it's worth paying more, you get what you pay for.

Vero Moda Women's Alba Wide Knit Jumper, Chinois Green, Size 10 (Manufacturer Size:Small)
Vero Moda Women's Alba Wide Knit Jumper, Chinois Green, Size 10 (Manufacturer Size:Small)
Offered by G.T.L
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars There are one or two snags but overall I like it, 12 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I chose Chinois Green in S - in the picture on Amazon, it looks different. In reality, the jumper has a much greener tint so it wasn't quite what I had expected but I still like it, no problems there. As for the fit, S (small) is about right overall but the sleeves are a bit long - again not a problem in my case because I prefer it that way. Around the shoulders it's very slightly loose but I'm happy with that.

The main thing to be aware of with this jumper is how easy it is to snag it on something, so it needs to be treated with care at all times. I've had it about a week and it's happened twice already - so far it hasn't been a disaster as it has been quick and simple to pull it back in from the inside.

The other thing to be aware of is its slightly see-through nature; you may want to wear a thin vest or something similar underneath to retain your dignity!

Overall though I like it and it's a good on-line purchse.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner - 5 ml, Black
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner - 5 ml, Black

4.0 out of 5 stars There's a fine line between this and much cheaper products, but it's worth the extra, 12 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Usually, I find it difficult to use liquid eyeliners like this, I use kohl pencils or gel, but surprisingly it was easier than I thought. It's a good size, it sits in the hand nicely and has a good size tip. The brush tip is probably of average thickness which would be good for beginners (like myself!) but I would have preferred thinner. It has a simple and decent packaging.

As always, everything depends on the eye shape. If it is easier, start off using kohl/gel eyeliner as a base and go over it with this liquid eyeliner. That way, the liquid liner will be much quicker and simpler to apply. It's lightweight so it won't go a horrible crispy/dry formula. However, practice makes perfect, and the more you practice with this, the better the result!

There are some cheapie eyeliners around for a pound at places like Primark but they can get dry and crispy and generally uncomfortable. This Revlon ColorStay is admittedly much more expensive but it's long lasting, easy to apply and remove (just with water) and quite honestly it's the best eye-liner I have tried so far. I would have given it 5 stars but the tip isn't quite as precise as I wanted - my personal preference is for a very fine line and this product can be difficult to do fine. I also use a liquid eyeliner pen from H&M and although the quality isn't as good as the Revlon Colorstay, it's easier to apply with greater accuracy.

Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain - 2.7 g, Honey
Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain - 2.7 g, Honey
Price: £5.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me, 12 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my first try of one of Revlon's lip balm stains and I really like it, it's a natural shade that is very similar to my lip colour and just gives the lips a bit more of a vibrant look. The consistency is amazing, it's soft, smooth and gentle, it doesn't have a plastic or chemical taste, instead it smells and tastes like mint, which I like. It's retractable which should hopefully last a few weeks if used daily, although applying too much can make it very sticky so only a little is needed each time. It can last all day, but can be a little hard to remove and it definitely 'stains' the lips, leaving them looking very natural. Once I thought I removed it all before I went to bed, but woke up to it still being there, it still looked nice though. I would definitely recommend this as it's got everything that I wanted in such a product: lip balm, nice smell & taste, lovely consistency and is very long-lasting.

By coincidence one of my girlfriends bought this exact same lip balm (in the same colour) a few days before I got this, she really likes it and uses it every day.

The Cold Cold Ground (Sean Duffy Book 1)
The Cold Cold Ground (Sean Duffy Book 1)
Price: £2.39

4.0 out of 5 stars The even better news is : This series gets better later on, 12 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Against the advice of some reviewers I read the "fourth novel in the trilogy" first, Gun Street Girl, and it was so good that I bought the three that went before straight afterwards. This is where things kicked off for a Catholic cop in a Protestant police force in 1981 Northern Ireland. A cop who is tasked with finding the killer (or killers) of two gay men and one divorced woman - although it's far from clear that the woman's death is connected. The Troubles take front and centre stage at most times, with numerous real-life events and characters (such as the prison hunger strikes and Gerry Adams) woven tightly into the script.

Adrian McKinty is a talented writer, of that there can be little doubt. There are hints in his style of Chandler and Ellroy, but make no mistake: McKinty has an identity very much his own and has a seemingly natural ability to create engaging characters (mainly Sean Duffy) and to inject both pace and pathos into the narrative. One of the many appealing features of the style - and one that is absent from many other works of crime fiction - is a sense that the reader is right there with Duffy in terms of knowledge of what's going on. Sometimes in other tales the reader knows more than the leading character, and in a few cases less, but here there's a story-length touch of reality inasmuch as Duffy is just as baffled as to who killed who and why as the reader is. We're there with him, by his side, and at times it really does feel as if Duffy is telling the story to us; we are the audience surrounding him and we won't know the outcome until he tells us.

The relative simplicity of the tale and the short, sharp prose belies the cleverness beneath it all. The concluding chapters feel slightly rushed, but McKinty improves with age and experience as Gun Street Girl later testifies. Definitely a class act, one of its few weaknesses being a shortgage of humour in the dialogue which is so evident in the most recent novel.

Sumvision Gaming Mouse Nemesis Kata High Precision Programmable LED Gaming Mouse 3200DPI, 6 Button, OMRON Switches, Programmable Macros, AVAGO A3050 Optical Sensor, 36g Extra Weight
Sumvision Gaming Mouse Nemesis Kata High Precision Programmable LED Gaming Mouse 3200DPI, 6 Button, OMRON Switches, Programmable Macros, AVAGO A3050 Optical Sensor, 36g Extra Weight
Offered by 7dayshop Limited
Price: £11.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best mouse at the price, 9 Feb. 2015
Over the past few months I had had cause to replace a gaming mouse twice. The first one - an aLLreli® 8200 was highly satisfactory but developed a fault within five months - the scroller wheel failed. I replaced it with a DLAND ZELOTES Gaming Mouse which is okay and has not failed but it has proved irritating in gripping the mouse pad and slowing down movement.

So I welcomed the opportunity to get it right third time, and although it's only been a couple of weeks since I started using it, I'm very happy because there are no faults and it moves around much more freely than the Zelotes mouse.

I would question its full entitlement to the term "gaming mouse" if only because of its understated and possibly bland style; the other two (aLLreli and DLAND) definitely look cooler, and this might matter to some.

The four DPI settings are changed via a button on the top just behind the scroll wheel, and one thing I have noticed and approve of is that I have not once pressed this button by accident; with both of the others this was always happening and was a real nuisance.

An unusual and unexpected feature is the option of inserting any one of three weights of 6g, 12g or 18g (or having none at all). It's possible for the weight to fall out inadvertently and I would have preferred a more secure fitting. It's not a big deal though.

I like this mouse and although it's slightly smaller than I would prefer, it's my favoured choice relative to the two others mentioned. Excellent value too.

(This product was supplied by the manufacturer)

[T80 New Version] DLAND ZELOTES Professional LED Optical 5500 DPI 7 Button USB Wired Gaming Gamer Mouse Mice Adjustable DPI Switch Function 5500DPI/3200DPI/2400 DPI /1600 DPI /1000 DPI For Pro Game Notebook PC Laptop Computer with Dland Large Mousepad Gaming Mouse Mice Pad Mat-300x230x3 mm (L x W x H) (T80-NEW-UK)
[T80 New Version] DLAND ZELOTES Professional LED Optical 5500 DPI 7 Button USB Wired Gaming Gamer Mouse Mice Adjustable DPI Switch Function 5500DPI/3200DPI/2400 DPI /1600 DPI /1000 DPI For Pro Game Notebook PC Laptop Computer with Dland Large Mousepad Gaming Mouse Mice Pad Mat-300x230x3 mm (L x W x H) (T80-NEW-UK)
Offered by Dland_Europe
Price: £10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Flashy rather than functional - but outstanding value for money, 3 Feb. 2015
This is definitely excellent value but I like it rather than love it.

It's usable within a minute (if that) - just plug in and play, basically. The blue braided cord is about 1.5m long and although it's early days (I've had the mouse for about a month) it's not causing any concern and seems reasonably durable. Ergonomically I have no complaints at all but I would have preferred it to have been slightly larger overall. Not a complaint, not a problem, just an observation. My Novatech laptop uses Windows 7.

This replaced a similar product from aLLreli which - after less than 5 months' use - developed a fault (scroll wheel became inactive). Now, the DLAND ZELOTES also offers multi-colour displays like the aLLreli but they differ in one very important aspect. With the aLLreli, the colours were matched to the DPI setting, so I could instantly see which DPI setting I was using (usually yellow/gold). With the DLAND mouse the various colours serve no real function other than to be cosmetically attractive. The colours change at random from lime green to mid-green to purple to red to light blue to dark blue to red. All very pretty but I prefer function over design and I would have preferred the colours to have been manually linked to the DPI variants of 1000, 1600, 2400, 3200 and 5500.

My only real gripe is the slight friction or 'grip' that this mouse has on my favoured mouse pad. A fairly large mouse pad is supplied but this issue was apparent with that, too. Basically the best freedom of movement seems to be on glass surfaces but this comes at a price: loss of accuracy. Either way it's a compromise, regardless of the DPI setting. It would appear that the 'problem' (although it's hardly that) can be traced to one of the three contact points on the base; the two left and right contact points at the rear are shiny and friction-free, but the third one at the front is of a different material that does grip rather more than I would like. This could be a personal preference but it is a constant distraction. Again, reverting to a glass surface removes the distraction but I'm not keen on glass. It's difficult to reach the ideal compromise.

I still like it though, and it's a relief to have a scroll wheel that works - even though it obviously should. I prefer the aLLreli but that one is out of commission, and it has to be said the DLAND is much better value at less than half the price of the aLLreli.

This product was supplied for review purposes by the supplier and was not purchased via Amazon.

Revlon Blush Brush
Revlon Blush Brush
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Lush, 2 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Revlon Blush Brush (Personal Care)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My mid-teens daughter never usually shops for or even looks at Revlon products, but this one may have made her change her mind. She loves the design, in pink and matte black, it's not too heavy, not too big and is easy to hold. It's soft and has a silky feel on the skin, very easy to apply and blend out the blush or bronzer and she has also tried powder, but it's best for blush/bronzer. Since she doesn't wear any blush, this brush almost makes her want to, it does make her want to get some of Revlon's other brushes as well.

I would definitely recommend this for someone who's trying out blush or bronzer for the first time. It's a great first professional brush although my daughter does say that she has a preference for a Real Techniques or Zoeva brush over this one. They are much more expensive though, so this is an appealing alternative at a more attractive price.

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