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Accurist Men's Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue - Digital Display and Gold Stainless Steel Plated Bracelet MB1030B
Accurist Men's Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue - Digital Display and Gold Stainless Steel Plated Bracelet MB1030B
Price: £350.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watch for those lightning deals, 11 Dec 2014
1 star for the RRP, at least 4 stars for the watch. My 'review' is all about the price.

This handsome and desirable Accurist watch was first made available on Amazon on 1st August 2013. The general view of buyers and owners is that it is a very good timepiece and an attractive one too.

I think potential buyers deserve to be made aware of how the price of this watch has risen and fallen so that they can "time" their purchase to their optimum benefit.

The recommended retail price (RRP) of the MB1030B is and possibly always has been £350.

Amazon reviewer T G Parris said in December 2013 "A VERY IMPRESSIVE WATCH FOR THE MONEY WITH 70% OFF" - c. £105

Amazon reviewer Michael said in December 2013 "This watch is brilliant and I only paid a quarter of the RRP) - c. £88

Amazon reviewer Woody said in January 2014 "I bought this watch here on Amazon with 74% off the original retail price" - c. £91

Amazon reviewer Chris Stevens said in January 2014 "A week ago this watch was advertised on Amazon for £91.82. Today it's a penny off £150"

The above reviewers all made Verified Purchases via Amazon.

This watch featured among the many Lightning Deals on Amazon at 4pm on 11th December 2014. In the hours leading up to the time when the deal price was revealed, the price on the MB1030B product page was £350. At 4pm the Lightning Deal price was displayed as £95.98 (73% off). This is actually HIGHER than some people paid nearly one year earlier.

I believe to get this watch for under £100 you would be getting a good deal, indeed. But don't be deceived by the "73% off" promotions, because that seems to have been the typical discount in both December 2013 and December 2014 - probably in several other months in between, too.

So this is definitely a watch to snap up in a Lightning Deal, and at the price (typically 73% off the RRP) it's great value and gets 4 stars from me.

Sony Xperia E3 4G UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Sony Xperia E3 4G UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Offered by Shelfone™
Price: £94.00

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unbeatable value, 10 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Quick Summary :-

4G for up to 5 times internet speed
5MP Camera
4.5 inch screen
Android KitKat 4.4
1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad Core 400 Processor
8 hours 40 minutes talk time

In our family we have been using the Sony Xperia J for two years and the M for one year. I wanted to know how the E3 rates against those two. Quite simply, it's miles better, with a lightning-fast Quad-core processor and a built-in LTE/4G modem. This enables superb Internet connections with much faster download and upload speeds than 3G.

The Xperia E3 4G is superior in almost every way compared to the M and the J. Not only does it replace the feeble and basically awful Xperia E, it also replaces the E2 which as far as I know never made production (at least not in the UK) - the E3 is a giant leap forwards compared to the E, and its predecessors M and J. The screen's a little bigger (4.5" as opposed to 4.0"), its nearly a year newer having been released in September 2014, it has a better processor and of course it's 4G. Sony also reckon it can last up to two days thanks to its 2,330mAh battery and STAMINA mode option. This could become a stand-out feature in a market where entry-level smartphones can barely make it through a single day.

The sides mimic the latest Xperia looks with rounded edges and rubbery corners that are there to absorb impacts should you drop the phone. The sides are simply matte plastic with a nice grip that enhances the feel, and handling the E3 is a pleasure thanks to those matte surfaces all round. This phone feels sturdy and solid, not fragile and bruise-prone. Smudges and fingerprints can be an issue on the front glass panel however.

The right side is where you'll find the volume control and the power button. Adjusting the volume is a little tricky as the rocker is rather shallow and doesn't give out much feedback. The power button, on the other hand, is great and responsive (unlike the Xperia J which was really poor in this respect). There is no physical camera button, instead you use the volume buttons to capture but there's no half press for focus lock. I guess you can't have everything at this price. The left side of the Xperia E3 hosts only the micro-USB port.

The back panel is removable but only to allow access to the micro SIM and microSD card slots. The battery is still sealed-in so you can't swap it for another one. The SIM compartment handles microSIM cards and I found it very hard to remove the card. The 5MP camera lens is on the top left of the Xperia E3's back. Alongside it there is a single LED flash and the second, noise-reducing microphone. There's an NFC indicator on the back showing where the point of contact is. The main speaker is placed at the very bottom of the back panel, which isn't ideal because the E3's back is very flat, making the speaker easy to muffle when you put the phone face up on a table.

One of the E3's main selling points is its battery life, which managed to go on a charge for 75 hours or just over 3 days of use based on an hour of talking, an hour of web browsing and an hour of video watching per day. This means Sony's claim of 2 days is well justified as the Xperia E3 should last for 48 hours even if you use it fairly heavily (and particularly if you don't watch lots of video, which turned out to be its weak spot).

Another weak-ish spot is the storage capacity of 4GB, which quickly gets used up. It may be necessary to delete some little-used apps. But it's now a cheap phone and complaints seem undeserved.

So -

It's well made and feels good in the hand
No headphones included (plenty of space in the box for them though)
The display is bright but not razor sharp
Battery life is probably the best in its class if not a class or two above
Internet connectivity is excellent thanks to the LTE modem
Internal 4 gig hard-drive is quickly used up (Needs to be 8GB). External SD card helps solve that, mostly
The multimedia package is good, but the video codec support isn't so hot
Images and video a little disappointing for quality, lacking sharpness
At the price in December 2014, it's very hard to beat for value

This is as good a PAYG phone as you'll find, for value. On contract this phone would cost about £312 over 2 years (based on the best deal I could find in Dec 2014) which means that buying the phone SIM-free and unlocked leaves the equivalent of £9.70 a month for a PAYG SIM to represent exact-same cost. So if you can keep your PAYG costs below that level, you're going to be better off. And of course you have the major bonus of not being tied in to a contract. They say time waits for no man, but two years can seem like a decade when you have a contract phone.

If the so-so picture quality is an issue, have a look at the best Nokias but of course expect a much higher price. The equivalent Samsung Galaxy (of which we have one in our household) isn't any better but it's currently pricier. I wanted to give this phone a 5-star rating but in the end the camera doesn't rate better than just above average so 4 stars overall seems right and fair - I definitely like it a lot. In the end the Xperia E3 is all about value, and if it's an Amazon Lightning Deal or Deal of the Day - under £80 in my case - then I'm sure there's nothing better for the price.


***SOME KEY DIFFERENCES between the E3, M and J***

Operating system in the E3 : Android v4.4.2 (KitKat)
Operating system in the M : Android 4.1
Operating system in the J : Android 4.0, 4.1.2

Dimensions - E3 : 137.1 x 69.4 x 8.5 mm (5.40 x 2.73 x 0.33 in)
Dimensions - M : 124 x 62 x 9.3 mm
Dimensions - J : 124.3 x 61.2 x 9.2 mm

Screen size - E3 : 4.5 inches (480 x 854 pixels (~218 ppi pixel density)
Screen size - M : 4.0 inches
Screen size - J : 4.0 inches

Weight - E3 : 5.08 oz (144 g)
Weight - M : 4.06 oz (115 g)
Weight - J : 4.37 oz (124 g)

Features of E3 : Accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass
Features of M : Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass
Features of J : Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass

Battery Talk time - E3 : 8.7 hours
Battery Talk time - M : 10.30 hours
Battery Talk time - J : 05.60 hours

Stand-by time - E3 : 27.5 days (661 hours) - the average is 20 days
Stand-by time - M : 20.8 days (498 hours)
Stand-by time - J : 25.3 days (607 hours)

Music playback : 49.00 hours (E3) - 39.40 hours (M) - 39.40 hours (J)
Video playback : 7.50 hours in HD (E3) - 6.58 hours (M) - 8.50 hours (J)

System chip - E3 : Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
System chip - M : Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8227
System chip - J : Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 MSM7227A

Processor - - E3 : Quad core, 1.2 GHz, ARM Cortex-A7
Processor - - M : Dual core, 1000 MHz, Krait
Processor - - J : Single core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A5

System memory - - - E3: 1Gb RAM
System memory - - - M : 1024 MB RAM
System memory - - - J : 512 MB RAM

Camera - E3 : 5 megapixels (2592 х 1944 pixels) with LED FLASH
Camera - M : 5 megapixels with LED flash
Camera - J : 5 megapixels with LED flash

Camera features - E3 : Geo-tagging, touch-focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
Camera features - M : Auto focus, Touch to focus, Face detection, Digital zoom, Geo tagging, Panorama
Camera features - J : Auto focus, Touch to focus, Digital image stabilization, Digital zoom, Geo tagging, Self-timer

Camcorder - E3 : 1080p@30fps,
Camcorder - M : 1280x720 (720p HD)
Camcorder - J : 640x480 (VGA)

Ultrasport Men's Luca Winter Jacket - Black, Medium
Ultrasport Men's Luca Winter Jacket - Black, Medium

5.0 out of 5 stars This will keep you warm and dry when the going gets cold, 6 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
After a slightly so-so recent experience with another product from Ultrasport, this has immediately left a totally positive impression on everyone in the family. Quite simply, we all like it.

I'm always a little sceptical about buying clothes online mainly because - of course - it's not possible to try them on first, to see how they fit. One company's medium is another one's large, and so on. In this case it's officially a medium but I'd say it's quite generously so; I'm an XXL but not only did I manage to get it on quickly and easily, but I managed to do the zip right up to the top. Now, I still looked a bit daft as it was clearly too tight but I feel sure that anyone who is L (large) would have no problems with this - that's two sizes down from me. If I was XL (which I sometimes am, for some products) I'd still find it too tight, not surprisingly. As for the more important question of how this medium-sized winter jacket fits a medium sized person, I must say that it's slightly on the big side but not too much. Two other family members - one medium and the other small to medium - tried it on and it was absolutely fine - plenty of spare room but not so much that you'd need a different size altogether. So in the size department it does, in the end, meet the medium need and certainly won't be pinching anywhere. There are numerous draw-strings both inside and out to help find the best fit.

Regarding pockets, it's good on the outside but a little short-changed on the inside. Outside there are four pockets covered with Velcro-type flaps, two vertically positioned on each front facing side. One of the upper pockets has a zip enabling the wearer to insert something smallish such as a wallet, a small phone or maybe the house/car keys. There are no pockets on the arms. Inside though it's a surprise as much as anything to find that there is just the one pocket, and even then it's just a section of stretchy netting that seems designed for a mobile phone - and probably best that only a small to medium sized phone at that. The longest/largest phones could slip out, although of course any sized phone would be very secure in any of the external pockets, perhaps more so the two lower ones.

Putting the jacket on it feels snug and warm immediately. It has been worn outside in early December and the temperatures have been close to zero but everything's cosy inside this jacket. The cuffs have a nice stretchy covering for part or even all of the hands (depending how long your arms are) and this is a welcome added means of keeping the cold out. Finally there's the mock-fur lined hood which is fully detachable but again in cold biting winds keeps the ears and most of the head very well protected. This jacket scores maximum points in this respect, which is of course its main objective - to keep you dry and warm. The manufacturer claims that it is breathable, waterproof and windproof and I have no reason to question any of those descriptions.

In terms of style it's possibly a little bland but not in such a way that I'd ever be embarrassed to wear it (if I was the right size, that is). We have a vaguely similar jacket from Superdry which does seem a little more stylish but the differences are small and insignificant.

Overall I think this jacket deserves a 5-star rating although I should add that at the time this review was submitted its price was completely unknown to me. As a result I cannot comment on its value for money. That aside, it's a well-made, comfortable and thoroughly insulated jacket that seems totally up to the task of keeping the cold winter winds and other wet elements at bay.

Ultrasport Shakti Yoga Bolero - Black, Medium
Ultrasport Shakti Yoga Bolero - Black, Medium

3.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing, 4 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the pictures accompanying this bolero, the woman is wearing three garments but the bolero is only the top section in black; the white T-shirt and the black jogging pants are not included.

I must take the company to task over two prominent claims made right here on Amazon - that it's "Great for Yoga, Pilates and other activities", and that it offers "Perfect fit and comfort".

My wife is a qualified pilates instructor and therefore also qualified to assess this item's "greatness" in that respect. She is not impressed, and having seen and felt a similar type of Bolero (or shrug) that cost five quid from a local shop a couple of years ago, I can fully understand why. The Ultrasport Shakti is really not very comfortable at all and not very stretchy. It's made of 95% cotton and just doesn't feel particularly soft or snug, more to the point it really does not feel "great" for such activities as pilates or yoga.

The claimed perfect fit seems (literally) wide of the mark. The size chosen - medium - is actually a bit loose and baggy in places and if you're somewhere between a size 8 and a 10 you should regard this as much closer to a 10.

My main criticism though is the material it is made of; it doesn't feel anywhere near as pleasant, as comfy or as snug as I had expected and while it doesn't appear very expensive at first glance, I already know that better products can be found for less than half the price. It's okay, but I cannot recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 9:22 AM GMT

Cole & Mason Electronic Gourmet Precision Grind 21 cm Greenwich Stainless Steel Pepper Mill
Cole & Mason Electronic Gourmet Precision Grind 21 cm Greenwich Stainless Steel Pepper Mill
Offered by KG Homewares
Price: £39.89

5.0 out of 5 stars The best for the seasoning of goodwill, 4 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's hard to imagine a better quality pepper grinder than this. It is simply superbly made, very attractive and does the job perfectly. Suddenly you can spinkle ground pepper with just one hand.

Even before you open the box you know this is a substantial product, just by the weight of it. It actually weighs 621g which is of course more than half a kilo, and it's clear that in every way the makers have not cut corners - they wanted to create the best. My review sample came with all 6 AAA batteries fitted, together with a generous supply of peppercorns as well, so it was totally ready to use in every sense. Retail samples do not include either of these.

The instructions are in rather small print which I found difficult to read, but in fairness they are hardly needed as most of what you need to know you'll figure out for yourself. Twist the top section clockwise and pour in the peppercorns, twist the other way to lock. Adjust the setting near the bottom to match the size of the corns, and that's it - you're ready to go. Press and hold the chrome button on the top and it starts to dispense fine-grain pepper.

It must be difficult to have one without the other, and it's highly likely that I will buy the matching Cole & Mason Greenwich Electric Salt Mill - the cost of the two together might make your eyes water but be in no doubt : This is an outstanding product in every way and if anything is worthy of a 5-star rating, it's this.

Totally recommended.

Last Witness
Last Witness
by Jilliane Hoffman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.04

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay but not as good as her other previous novel Redemption, 29 Nov 2014
This review is from: Last Witness (Paperback)
Jilliane Hoffman rightly shot to fame following the publication of her first novel RETRIBUTION. The Last Witness is not only her second work, but it follows the same storyline and employs the same characters. The problem for me is that while Retribution seemed to have been written from the heart, the follow-up has been written almost entirely from the head.

We're back in Miami serial-killer territory again, only this time the victims are police officers who were involved in the arrest, trial and conviction of "Cupid" from the first book. We've moved on 3 years, which is how long Cupid has been on Death Row. Central character CJ Townsend, an Assistant State Attorney just as the author herself was, inevitably but reluctantly becomes involved in the hunt for a killer nicknamed the 'Black Jacket'. She's assisted by her (mostly) live-in lover Dominick Falconetti, a Special Agent from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Funny how these "Special Agents" have cool names, eh? In Britain he might in real life be called Derek Jones, or Brian Pilkington. But not in a Jilliane Hoffman story, oh no. He has to be Dominick Falconetti.......

There is never any doubt about Ms Hoffman's knowledge of her subject matter. She is almost relentless in her descriptions of investigative methodology and cross-agency politics. She's been there herself, and it leaves me wondering how much of the story lines have been adapted from real-life experiences. Some will find this attention to detail impressive, but to me there was just too much of it and there wasn't enough passion - something that Redemption did not lack.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, my expectations were sky-high but unfortunately it turned out to be less than special, bordering on a by-the-numbers crime thriller. We already know that the writer can do better than this, let's hope she does next time round.

The Burning Room
The Burning Room
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You want to be a good detective? Go out and knock on doors", 25 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Burning Room (Hardcover)
Good old Harry Bosch. Literally. He's good - very good - but he's in his sixties now, no hiding away from that, and it must be a challenge for his creator to bring out yet another tale that Bosch has to carry on his shoulders alone. Because that's the Connelly style, really - Bosch is on every page, and it all works so smoothly and so comfortably. From the very first page, it's like putting on a pair of comfortable slippers. Just snuggle up and enjoy.

If truth be told, this isn't a rivetting story. Interesting, of course, but not one to set the pulse racing. Bosch has a new partner in the form of rookie detective Lucy Soto and at the beginning she is - in her spare time - trying to find out who caused a fire in an L.A. daycare centre some 21 years earlier, a fire that she survived as a seven-year-old but which took the lives of several people including young children. Meanwhile the case that she and Bosch are officially working on is the murder of a Mexican musician who had been in a coma for some ten years. So while the shooting of Orlando Merced may have taken place long enough ago to be classified as a cold case - which is the type of crime that Bosch specialises in - the actual death happened only a few hours before this story begins. It's therefore something of a stretch to the imagination to learn that the two crimes have a connection, although that's what does tend to happen in crime fiction it seems. The only thing Bosch and Soto have to go on is the bullet from the late Merced's spine, and somehow that's enough for an investigation that traverses several regions of California and beyond. There isn't anything else to the story however; no sub-strands or multi-layers, this is the sum total of what it's about.

That's nothing new for anyone familiar with Harry Bosch novels. The first one was published more than 22 years ago and The Burning Room, officially the 19th in the series, has that faintly familiar feel to it in being an arguably lightweight story made good by the magnetic appeal of Harry Bosch who has to be one of the most engaging characters among the hundreds that have appeared over the past two decades. As ever it's hard to picture Bosch in sharp focus, hard to tell if he's tall or short, thin or fat, hairy or bald; he's just 'Bosch', a kind of everyman creation that will appeal to women and men in equal measure. So yet again he successfully carries the tale, and while it feels slightly unexciting I felt a little sad to have finished it, wishing that there were another few hundred pages of the same stuff. Or another unread Bosch/Haller tale to pick up immediately afterwards. As ever, we'll have to wait until next year.

In the end I wouldn't place this at or near the top of the Connelly portfolio. I still believe that his best work was in the 1990s and indeed Connelly still gives the impression that he is more fascinated by the 1990s than the fourteen years we have had since. Hardly a novel of his goes by without at least a mention of the LA riots in 1992, and he even has the confidence (some might say arrogance) to refer to past Bosch cases that formed parts of his novels from that era. When Bosch tells Soto an anecdote about one of his former partners, it's not a surprise to see him talking about Jerry Edgar, from many years past. This isn't up there with the likes of The Last Coyote, The Black Echo or The Concrete Blonde but it is still very good to read, absolutely won't disappoint Connelly fans and is likely to get newcomers to this author going through that superb back-catalogue of his. Not a classic, but not to be missed either. Connelly is still right up there with the best of them.

Philips LED Light Bulb (E27 Edison Screw 6W A60) - Warm White
Philips LED Light Bulb (E27 Edison Screw 6W A60) - Warm White
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars How many Viners does it take to review a light bulb?, 24 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At least 46, as of today's date. Since we have a couple of bedside lamps purchased in France with screw fittings, I thought I'd give this Philips LED bulb a try. One thing that's rather difficult to verify is the manufacturer's claim of a life expectancy of 15 years, having used it for only a few weeks. The two notables about it are its weight (a bit heavy) and the positive fact that it does not suffer from light-lag, in other words it's at its best almost immediately. I'm also a bit sceptical as to the other claim Philips make, that being the saving of at least 80% in terms of energy consumption. It's another element to its specification that's hard to prove or disprove.

It's well made as befits a rather pricey light bulb, the value will be realised if it really does last until 2029. I may not last as long as that myself, so forgive me if I'm unable to update this review in fifteen years' time.

It's rather hard to love a light bulb so I'll give it 4 out of 5 for being liked.

The Medea Complex
The Medea Complex
by Miss Rachel Florence Roberts
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst thing with pages in it anywhere, 13 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Paperback)
"Miss" Rachel Florence Roberts' collection of pages, The Medea Complex, is without doubt the worst book you can buy on Amazon.
At the time of writing this review, it stands in the Amazon UK Bestsellers Rank at No. 549,505 which seems to flatter it in a most misleading way because this of course suggests that there are only 549,504 books that are more popular. This is absurd and calls into question the integrity of the Amazon ranking system. Things are slightly more credible in the USA where the current ranking is 864,163.

By buying this I took one for the team and as a result believe that anyone with the ability to read should NEVER have to be subjected to this equivalent to literary excrement. I beg you, don't let my selflessness be for nothing and heed my warning. This is the worst book ever written.

If this book is the most horrific thing the devil can come up with, I think humanity is safe from the threat of hell.

There are so many things wrong with this book, I decided to keep notes so I could present them in an orderly fashion, with quotes to back me up. I don't want you to take my word for this novel's horridness, I'm going to let Miss Roberts speak for herself.

The opening line is "What I really want to know is how the bastards did it". Well what I really want to know is why anyone would want to read this drivel.

"This is possibly the rudest thing to which I have ever borne witness" is another quote from Page One. Well, this is not possibly but definitely the worst thing in my life to which I have ever borne witness.

"I'm contacting the police" is written by the person claiming to be an author (still on P1 by the way). Well the same thought crossed my mind after reading this object which for reasons difficult to explain is offered for sale on Amazon in a section called "novels". So I did. The police called round at about 10.30pm and, after flicking through the pages, completely understood why I called them. WPC Crawley said - and again, I quote - "This is criminal. Were you actually charged 99p for this?", while her colleague Detective Inspector Yates unexpectedly lost all control and started beating it repeatedly with his truncheon.

Moving on to spelling and grammar - and still on Page One remember - "The thieve won't be too hard to find" is just a sign of the awful standard to come. The writer presumably thinks thieve is the singular version of thieves. The irony is not lost on me; I believe the writer has stolen 99p from me by way of gross misrepresentation. I had taken note of eulogies such as "captivating", accolades such as "moving" and commendations such as "extremely well written" and made my decision based on these overviews among others similar to them. So I have to say that I regard the person ultimately responsible for The Medea Complex as a thieve.

When will people learn never to trust their SpellCheck without verifying it's the word they meant??? There are, in total, 11 instances of Roberts using the wrong word, and believe me, each one is funnier than the last. And we're only just moving on to Page Two.


".....nothing of sufficient prominence nor irregularity informs me of my whereabouts". Poor old SpellCheck won't know the mistake here, because "nor" (the wrong word) and "or" (the right word) are not spelling errors. Of course, writers with ability and creative talent delegate tasks such as this to proof-readers, but it is very evident that so such service was carried out here, on any of the pages. No ability or creative talent is on display either, it must be said.

Not only is this the worst book ever written, it's also the worst-written book that nobody will ever read - those being the fortunate ones to make the prudent decision of not buying it.

THE MEDIA COMPLEX is the perfect example of everything that's wrong with publishing in today's world. Anyone with the notion - whether they have the talent or not - can "write a book", but to unleash this mess on an unsuspecting world is an act of dreadful negligence if not sickening cruelty. It may in fact be the first book to cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder all on its own. And then we wonder why no one reads anymore. Why should they? If this is the kind of stuff they're being subjected to.

There was a time when writers had to learn to WRITE before they could get published. Now, all you need is a laptop and you've got yourself a book. Talent - who needs it? Skill - what for? Learning to write? Are you kidding me? All you need is 500 email addresses and Bingo! You can create 500 sock-puppet Amazon accounts and 500 glowing reviews.

It's enough to make aspiring writers want to give up seeking legitimate publishing contracts. Please don't. Just be sure to write better than this woman. It won't be difficult. The Media Complex would make for a more entertaining read if it was written backwards in Swahili, in invisible ink.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2014 11:59 AM GMT

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Station to Station, 11 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Girl on the Train (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Rachel is the girl on the train, and she's an unemployed, recently divorced alcoholic who is getting the train because she used to work in London and that's what she does. The whole framework of her life has collapsed and she has no idea how to put it back together again, and this is her way of treading water. Rather than paying attention to her own life, she creates a story around the lives of a couple whose house the train passes, and who coincidentally live on the street where Rachel used to live with her ex-husband. I think anyone who has ever commuted regularly will know the idle speculation that goes on as you become familiar with snapshots of other people's lives, so this way into the story really appealed.

And then the woman from the couple, Megan, disappears, and Rachel thinks she has information relevant to the investigation because one morning, as the train passed Megan's house, she saw her kissing a man who was not her husband.

But, Rachel is a thoroughly unreliable narrator. Not only does she have blackouts after drinking, but she's been behaving a bit crazily towards her ex-husband,Tom, and his new wife, Anna. The police have multiple reasons not to trust her, but Rachel is a bit obsessed with Megan and she won't give up. It's as if she wants to protect the fantasy life she's created for her, so she starts her own investigation.

There are some good twists to the tale. It works as a thriller and also as a character study of someone who has fallen pretty far down the ladder and might just be on her way back up. Rachel isn't entirely sympathetic but somehow, Megan's disappearance gives her something to seize onto. Seeing it through offers her some sort of redemption, even as she continues to screw up any remaining friendships along the way. She's also not the only unreliable narrator; all of the characters are hiding something and so the reader's understanding shifts as Rachel starts to piece together the truth and her own part in it.

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