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Irwin Winterchest

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Luxury black desert mand costume
Luxury black desert mand costume

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 2 April 2012
Having decided to enter the Coxhoe to Spennymoor half marathon I was looking for an outfit to really make me stand out from the crowd, and this stylish, versatile costume did the trick. Despite finishing last and suffering from heat exhaustion and severe, all over body chafing, I featured on the front cover of both the Northern Echo and The Durham Advertiser. The front page photo of me being attended to by three St. John's ambulance men is framed and on display in the downstairs toilet. It's quite the conversation starter, I can tell you!

I would not hesitate to recommend this to any other endurance runner trying to add a little something to the tired vest/shorts/trainers combo favoured by more conservative athletes. One word of caution, be careful how you position the optional Jambiya. The chances of me ever having children have been greatly reduced, the doctors say.


Ordinary Joe and the Mark of Four (The Majia Trilogy Book 1)
Ordinary Joe and the Mark of Four (The Majia Trilogy Book 1)

5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the ordinary!, 18 Feb 2012
A gripping adventure packed not only with great fantasy characters and thrilling scenes, but recognisable people you can really believe in and root for. Can't wait for book two!


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Picture, 14 Jun 2011
It's great to see in these "politically correct" times one can still find a quality print of two of my favourite fascist dictators. Whenever I invite a guest round to my dungeon they always comment on how nice it is to see the pair looking so relaxed and happy. Good work Amazon! (Although I would suggest that the description "ready to hang" be altered as this may cause upset to some in the Mussolini household.)


TravelJohn Disposable Urinal - 3-Pack
TravelJohn Disposable Urinal - 3-Pack
Price: £5.27

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff, 13 Jun 2011
I was in the middle of making a speech at the Women's Institute when I received a sudden call of nature. Thankfully, I'd invested in this little life saver prior to the event so my blushes were saved. Admittedly this was also due in part to a sizable rostrum, but nevertheless, without TravelJohn I doubt I'd have been invited back. Also works with urine, I believe.


Handling the Undead
Handling the Undead
by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Well handled, 13 Jun 2011
This review is from: Handling the Undead (Paperback)
Not being someone who enjoys reading about people being disembowelled or eaten alive I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this book. Happily, John Ajvide Lindqvist is more interested in the emotional shock to the living of having their beloved dead return to some form of life than describing people being used as dessert.

Having also enjoyed Let the Right One In, Lindqvist it, seems to me, has the ability to invest great feeling for character and emotion that rings true, even in these horror / fantasy settings. Several reviewers have commented that the ending is weak. I disagree (and clearly I'm right and they're wrong. This is the internet, after all). I thought the end was an effective summation of the book's themes of attachment to the living and the difficulty of letting go of the dead. It does what, for me, all good "genre fiction" should do - take the fantastical and use it to express something about life and living in a unique and powerful way. In this case how people cope with the death of a loved one. Of the three main plot strands I wasn't sure the Grandmother / Granddaughter story worked quite as well as the other two - there seemed to be more mileage in the religious side of things which kind of petered out. But for his characters and how the book concludes, this is an excellent read.


Unless
Unless
by Carol Shields
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.73

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be worse..., 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: Unless (Paperback)
Perhaps I'm too ignorant and/or possessing a cold heart of stone, but I struggled throughout Unless to tolerate the narrator's unswerving melancholy. Is it me or is Reta Winter's "dramatic loss" not dramatic enough to justify her reaction? I'm with the count your blessing crowds she finds so repulsive. The main problem I had with the book was that I just didn't believe the central premise. It didn't feel real or authentic and came across as more of a literary contrivance to support a theme. Also for a book about the silencing of women's voices in society Reta did an awful lot of presumptuous speaking for others - her daughter, the "Muslim Woman", Mrs.... Radiator Woman. You know the one. And is there a hint of cultural imperialism in the use of the nameless, voiceless "Muslim woman" and her self immolation as a plot catalyst for some very wealthy, Western navel gazing? Whilst I'm not obvious target audience material for this book (no spaceships, time travel or sentient killing machines? I'm out) I didn't think it was particularly good within its own genre. Maybe some time travelling sentient killing machines might have helped.


The Little Stranger
The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goes bump in the night, 7 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Little Stranger (Paperback)
This book scared the bejesus out of me. Being something of a wuss, that might not be saying a great deal about its scariness, but I thought Waters managed brilliantly to balance the creaking genre floorboards, a very evocative depiction of crumbling English aristocracy and a disturbingly twisted, multi-layered romance in one post-Freudian package. Its flawed, annoying, fascinating characters, particularly our dubious narrator, held my attention to the very last page. A page which contained a rather brilliant way to end the story with its ambiguously creepy form of closure. A great story.


The Behaviour Of Moths
The Behaviour Of Moths
by Poppy Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Behaviour, 3 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Behaviour Of Moths (Paperback)
I enjoyed this page turning read which didn't outstay its welcome, but it perhaps left a few too many loose ends at the conclusion. The restricted view of the first person narrator kept the atmosphere strange and confused - ultimately a bit too confused for me, to be honest. Due to the mysteries surrounding Virginia and her suspect storytelling I was expecting a big twist at the end - She's a ghost! She's been programmed to kill the President of the Royal Entomological Society! She's really a giant moth! Which, granted, would all have been awful ways to end the book but nevertheless it left me feeling a bit nonplussed and wanting a few more answers. But then again this did make me want to go back and try to fill in the gaps, which is the sign of a good story.

Also, being somewhat scientifically illiterate I like a bit of science in fiction to make the hard stuff palatable and so appreciated the bits about lepidoptery. Although the three plot points concerning the moths did seem to fizzle out with no resolution. But maybe the moth equivalent of Moby Dick was not what Poppy Adams was aiming for.


The Sea, The Sea
The Sea, The Sea
by Iris Murdoch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Sigh, The Sigh, 3 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Sea, The Sea (Paperback)
How can a book manage to be hysterical, banal and tedious all at the same time? That life, or indeed Charles Arrowby, can be all of these things may have been the point but it didn't make for pleasant reading. The apparent philosophical profundity was lost on me as I was hoping the sea monster would put in a re-appearance and maul the insipid, irritating and unappealing characters to death. Sadly it didn't and the infuriatingly repetitious plot, complete with Charles Arrowby's Cooking for Theatrical Hermits, meandered on and on all the way to page 511. Where a postscript cruelly adds another 27 pages, just when I thought I'd made it to the end, the end. However, the lentil and chipolata stew did sound delightful.


Memoirs of a Master Forger
Memoirs of a Master Forger
by William Heaney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.79

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Demonic Forgery, 6 Oct 2010
Sorry to say, but I was rather disappointed with this. I found the characters either bland, under developed or unlikeable. The plot felt like three or four disparate short stories uncomfortably glued together with neither demons nor forgery playing much of a part in any of them. Rather than the tale of nefarious supernatural activities I was expecting I got something that felt like a mid-life crisis with a dash of middle aged male wish fulfilment sprinkled on top. Nice cover, though...


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