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aglaecwif "Old English Lin" (Worcestershire, UK)

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The Eagle's Vengeance: Empire VI (Empire series)
The Eagle's Vengeance: Empire VI (Empire series)
by Anthony Riches
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The next brilliant instalment...!, 17 Mar. 2016
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Another first class adventure from Anthony Riches - probably the best series around at the moment for invoking the lives of real soldiers while taking you on a rollercoaster of a story. One not to miss!


Wearside Battalion: The 20th (Service) Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry in The Great War
Wearside Battalion: The 20th (Service) Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry in The Great War
by John Sheen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Readable with impressive historical detail, 17 Mar. 2016
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An immaculately researched insight into two of the service battalions of the Durham Light infantry which satisfies on several levels. If you want to read about WW1 in detail and from the viewpoint of one group of soldiers, John Sheen does a wonderful job of bringing in the first hand accounts, letters home, and battalion war diaries, into the wider account of the battalions' movements. For my part it was also a brilliant resource for helping to reseach my family history. Much of what I've managed to do would not have been possible without this book because of the difficulty of getting to Durham and using the county archives for myself. They are written in an accessible style, too, so that they are an easy and interesting read despite presenting an enormous amount of information. John Sheen's books do a great service to the men who fought in the DLI in WW1.


World War 1919 British Soldiers Cologne Armoured Cars
World War 1919 British Soldiers Cologne Armoured Cars

5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical resource, 17 Mar. 2016
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Wonderful to have some contemporary views of the events.


Chakra Wisdom Oracle Cards: The Complete Spiritual Toolkit for Transforming Your Life
Chakra Wisdom Oracle Cards: The Complete Spiritual Toolkit for Transforming Your Life
by Tori Hartman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great, buy them, 3 Feb. 2016
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This is really more of a tarot set than oracle cards in that you really need to do spreads with them to get anything out of them. I was looking more for the oracle cards to draw one and meditate on it, so these really didn't fit the bill. Also the stories attached to each card didn't resonate with me at all - they're more fables than anything - and you very much need to refer to the book for the whole story for each card because by themselves the cards don't mean much. I certainly don't think you would be using these on a daily basis simply because of the time it takes just to use them. I also found the pictures themselves drawn in a very naive style - if this appeals to you, great, buy them, but I was looking for something a bit more artistic and profound. I'll be handing mine on and buying a different set.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The all-time classic fantasy!, 29 Sept. 2015
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My all-time favourite books, so this purchase on kindle is just to give me a portable version of them!
This is the book which really started it all, the one all fantasies have to live up to. In the light of GRRM's sex-and-violence Game of Thrones, these books might feel a little naive and old fashioned to some readers new to fantasy, but the quality is never in doubt. This is one of those books you have to read at least once in your life (or in many cases multiple times!). The characters are a joy - who could not empathise with the way the hobbits feel so out of their depth with the quest they have to undertake? - and the wonderful language evokes the landscapes and cultures of Middle-earth brilliantly.


The Miniaturist
The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.20

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read which doesn't deliver what the hype promises, 31 May 2015
This review is from: The Miniaturist (Paperback)
I really hoped that this would be as gripping as some of the gushing reviews promised, but somehow this book never quite delivers. Yes, there is some lovely writing, but only in places. In others it rather falls away to a rather pedestrian novel. Also, this is a book which never quite seems to make up its mind what it wants to be - it could be a mystery, or it could be a romance, but it ends up being rather something of nothing.

If we were supposed to be drawn into the tension of the arranged marriage which country girl Nella finds herself drawn into in the bustling world of Amsterdam in the 1680s, then I'm afraid I wasn't, not least because the book shifts focus so often, skittering around the sugar trade and the social conventions of the time before dotting back to the family. And I was never totally convinced of Nella - sometimes she was every bit the teenage bride, but at other times she behaved as someone ten years older - and her responses to her husband's failure to consumate their marriage weren't consistent enough even for a young and immature girl. Also I'm afraid I saw Johannes as gay from very, very early on - that was no surprise anymore than the fact that it would cause conflict on all sorts of levels in a world governed by 17th century religion - so no tension there at all.

Yet the "mystery novel" side never fully developed either. I kept hoping that there would be some kind of explanation of how the titular miniaturist came to know so much of what went on in the house, but it never came. At the end of the book we are no further forward in knowing whether the miniaturist was some kind of peeping tom putting observations into carvings regardless of outcome; a psychic malevolently inclined to all who live there; or some other kind of savant trying to save Nella. And this matters because right at the start of the book the unknown woman at the funeral does dangle such a possibility of knowing in front of the reader. Indeed the book simply stops rather than coming to an end. Nella and the remaining characters seem in many ways no further forwards than when they first appeared - their statuses may have changed, but they haven't developed. And given that the author goes to such efforts to reinforce the fact that women could not hold property, run businesses, or do anything else which would allow them to live independently, to end with Nella left without a man as a head of the household just didn't ring true. Especially given the implication that the situation she finds herself in at the end of the book would remain static - so inconsistent!

I do not demand happy endings or every last strand to be tied up, but I do want some kind of development and resolution and there's absolutely none here. So I'm afraid this isn't a book I could recommend to anyone.


Paneangeli Icing Sugar (125g)
Paneangeli Icing Sugar (125g)

5.0 out of 5 stars far better than anything produced in England, 26 May 2015
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Far, far better than anything produced in England! If you want it to dust cakes with it has a much superior taste to icing sugar, and to bake with it lends a lovely lightness and hint of vanilla to cakes and biscuits.


Biscotti e dolcetti
Biscotti e dolcetti
by Carla Bardi
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: £13.85

5.0 out of 5 stars THE handbook for all lovers of Italian pasticcherias!, 26 May 2015
I actually bought a copy of this in Rome because I was so frustrated at not being able to get good Italian pistaccheria recipes at home. The book is in Italian, but the recipes are so well laid out that if you have any cooking experience you can work out what's what, and there's nothing in here that you can't do with the help of a basic Italian dictionary. Since I bought this book I've been baking non-stop, in no small part helped by the fact that although there are some complex recipes in here, there are also a good many really simple ones you can cook up when you have other things on the go. Of the 3 books I bought in Rome, this one stands out as by far the best - the recipes really work (which sadly isn't always the case with some cookbooks I've known). I wouldn't be without this book now and it's become a firm favourite with friends and family who've tasted the end results. A genuine taste of Italy!


An Echo in the Bone (Outlander)
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander)
by Diana Gabaldon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where did the storyline disappear to?, 6 Jan. 2015
Oh dear! That about sums this book up for me. In comparison to the previous books this is poor fare indeed. It needed a very ruthless editor's pen for a start to cut away all the repeated descriptions of army camps and other minutiae of daily life - yes it was dirty, smelly and not like now. We get that. It doesn't need to be endlessly repeated. And some of the twists in the storyline are getting to the point of downright unbelievable. As a writer myself I do appreciate that sometimes you need to tweak fate so that characters can be in a position to witness something of historical importance, but these aren't tweaks - they're up there with the fairy wand being waved. How many ship-wreaks/storms/fires are Jamie and Claire supposed to survive?
It's telling, I think, that DG is meeting with another writer who has landed a lucrative TV deal and is now stringing out his series, George R R Martin. In both cases they seem to have lost sight of who their readership is, because those loyal readers who started off years ago have a maturity which does not necessarily want the soft-porn sex scenes all the time. Jamie and Claire have a good sex life, great! Now get on with the story! And the most unbelievable scene in that sense comes at the end of the book when Claire fears Jamie is lost at sea. I won't give a spoiler, but it really is beyond believable on so many levels!
I also agree with another reviewer in that DG may have her American details right, but her Scottish episodes grate with those of us who actually know Scotland. And sometimes something as simple as reference to a decent map would have put things right, so no excuse at all!
So a very poor novel from someone who once upon a time I rated as one of my favourite writers, to the extent that I seriously doubt whether I shal buy future books. What a shame!


The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2
by Patrick Rothfuss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Having just finished this I have to say it suffers ..., 10 Nov. 2014
Having just finished this I have to say it suffers from second book syndrome. With such a cracking story as The Name of the Wind it was always going to be hard to follow it, but there are times when this books gets a bit rambling. I also found myself wondering at several points where this story was going to. Granted, these wanderings were pulled back, and it became apparent that these digressions were intended to fill out Kvothe's skills, but sometimes it was definitely stretching the point out longer than was needed. And I also found myself wishing some of these wanderings had been replaced with more on Bast at the inn and filling his character out more, instead of which he is dropped tantalisingly into the story every so often then forgotten about. Kvothe's narration of his life shows his life in all its mundanity, but occassionally Rothfuss gives us too much of the daily routine and too little of the story. It's still worth a read, but I hope he tightens the story up for the next book.


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