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S Riaz "S Riaz" (England)
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Saving the Queen (The Blackford Oakes Mysteries)
Saving the Queen (The Blackford Oakes Mysteries)
Price: £6.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saving the Queen, 9 Feb. 2016
First published in 1976, this is the first novel featuring former fighter pilot turned CIA undercover agent, Blackford Oakes. We first meet Oakes in 1951 at Yale, where having spent time in the war, he is unsure of what to do next before being recruited for the CIA. Being the first in a series, this is an introduction to Oakes, his background and his training. Oakes is then sent to England, where due to the sudden death of her sister, we have a young, fictional, Queen Caroline on the throne.

Oakes has a history with England, where his mother lives with his step father and where he had a (very) unhappy educational experience, so being back brings mixed emotions. The Americans are concerned that secrets about hydrogen bomb research is being leaked to the Russians and Oakes is sent to investigate. His undercover work leads to him being presented to the Queen and what follows is a tongue in cheek, romantic and, often funny, Cold War espionage novel. I enjoyed this very much and would be interested to read further books in the series. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.


Count Those Critters! Deep Sea Edition (Revised and Extended!)
Count Those Critters! Deep Sea Edition (Revised and Extended!)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Count Those Critters!, 9 Feb. 2016
This is a fun counting book, with lots of pictures of sea creatures. The first part of the book counts up to ten different sea creatures and the pictures are cartoon like and very cute. There is also extra challenges for children ready to count on their own. For example, there are four lobsters, with text which says, “Count all the critters that you see here,” and then the next page has the numbers to make it easier.

For slightly older children, there are harder tasks – more detailed pictures with lots of small fishes and other creatures, like turtles and an octopus. Some of the pictures go to slightly over 20, but if you are reading this with a toddler, you can keep to the beginning of the book, as some of the pictures are quite small on a kindle screen and difficult to count. However, for older children, they will enjoy the pretty pictures and trying to challenge themselves.

I like the way that this book is really something different to the usual counting books I have come across on kindle unlimited. Often, they can be quite basic and not very imaginative. This does offer something a little different and more challenging. I would have liked to see photographs of the creatures rather than cartoon pictures personally, but it did not seem to bother my little nephew, who enjoyed this very much.


Duck's Days: The Letter D Book (AlphaBOX Books 4)
Duck's Days: The Letter D Book (AlphaBOX Books 4)
Price: £2.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Duck's Days: The Letter D, 9 Feb. 2016
This is one of a series of books about the letters of the alphabet and, obviously, this features the letter ‘D’ This is a delight to read aloud with small children, with cheerful pictures and words which begins with the letter ‘d.’ There is also a nice mix of photographs and illustrations, which work very well. As well as Duck doing things beginning with ‘d’ – whether it is drawing at his desk or dancing in the drawing room, this book also uses the days of the week to add extra early learning and a really fun twist at the end!

The pictures are bright and cheerful and the simple story is fun to read aloud. A very nice introduction to one letter in the alphabet and I will certainly be reading more books in this series to my young niece and nephew. Ideal for children of 3 and under. I really love this series of clever, pretty books. They are really good fun to read with your little one and have lots of learning opportunities, as well as a good story for young children.


The Crow Girl
The Crow Girl
by Erik Axl Sund
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crow Girl, 8 Feb. 2016
This review is from: The Crow Girl (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing that strikes you about this book (assuming you buy this as a book and not on kindle of course) is how hefty it is at over 750 pages. The novel was written by Erik Axl Sund, which is actually the pen name used by Jerker Eriksson and Hakan Sundquist. This Swedish duo originally published this as an award winning trilogy: Crow Girl, first published in 2010, Hunger Fire in 2011 and Pythia’s Instructions in 2012. Now it has been translated into English and republished as a single volume.

The book begins with the discovery of a mummified boy, found bound with tape in a bin liner. Detective Superintendent Jeannette Kihlberg is in charge of the case, with her colleague Jens Hurtig. Jeannette is an interesting character; the daughter and granddaughter of police officers, she is committed to her work but feels that she does not devote enough time to her son, Johan. Meanwhile, her stay at home husband, Ake, dreams of being an artist, but Jeannette feels resentful that she has to juggle everything with little financial reward or support from her superiors or her husband.

Before long it transpires that the child found was not Swedish, but possibly Arabic. This is a dark and violent book, which looks at child abuse and trafficking. Jeannette finds her investigation stalled, especially by the Prosecutor, von Kwist, and feels the case is seen as less important as the child in question was not Swedish. Meanwhile, she comes into contact with psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund, who spent three months in Sierra Leone. She hopes that Sofia can help her with her investigation and, as the book progresses, becomes very intrigued by her, both professionally and personally.

In fact, this is a novel which has women at the centre of the storyline and the strong, central female characters really work very well. This is a book which looks at the damage that abuse causes and is really a story of vengeance and serious psychological disorders. Although there is a lot of violence and some really upsetting content, it is never gratuitous and the story and characters carry the plot along at a fast pace, with lots of plot twists and turns. Unsettling, disturbing and sometimes upsetting, this is a stunning achievement and really well translated.


AmazonBasics 1.5 Litre Electric Kettle - Black
AmazonBasics 1.5 Litre Electric Kettle - Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AmazonBasics 1.5 Litre Electric Kettle, 8 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like other Amazon Basics products which I have reviewed, this is a very good quality item. It came simply boxed (brown cardboard, with a label) but everything was safely packaged and it has a good instructions booklet. This is an electric kettle, which holds 1.5 liters of water. The kettle itself is a simple black colour and the base silver, so it should fit easily into most kitchen decors.

The base feels light, but the kettle fits on snugly and you can swivel the kettle so the handle faces either way (useful if you are left handed). The heating element is neatly concealed under an inside plate/floor, which obviously makes the kettle easier to clean as it does not ‘fur up’ so easily with limescale. Sometimes, this makes a kettle noisy, but this both heated efficiently and quietly.

With a modern look, a great, chunky handle and no spills or drips when pouring, this is a very well designed kettle. I cannot comment on price, as this is not currently listed, but it certainly looks good and works well.


Bond SATs Skills: Arithmetic Workbook: 8-9 years
Bond SATs Skills: Arithmetic Workbook: 8-9 years
by Sarah Lindsay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond SATs Skills: Arithmetic Workbook 8-9 years, 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bond have always been known for workbooks aimed at the 11+, but now they have a whole new range of books which are for the Key Stage 2 SATs exams. The books are for four different age groups (8-9 years, 9-10 years, 10-11 years and 10-11+ years stretch workbook) and cover Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling and Vocabulary and Arithmetic. There are also Vocabulary Flashcards and Times Tables Flashcards available in this series, as well as a Times Tables workbook. As reviews for workbooks tend to be cross posted by Amazon, I will make it clear that this review is for the Arithmetic Workbook and for years 8-9. If the review appears on other books, then please note that I did not post it there.

This book has ten units of activities, which cover the arithmetic element of the National Curriculum and are useful not only for SATs exams, but also for children preparing for the 11+. The book contains a progress chart, each page is scored separately, so children get immediate feedback, there are helpful hints, a pull out answer book, lots of word problems, a list of key words and a final test.

Like all Bond workbooks, this one is well laid out. I like the fact that – although units can be four or five pages – children mark each page as they go along (or you can). This means that they get feedback instantly and it also means that you can give them one page to complete at a time, if you do not want them to do a whole unit at once. This is good ‘extra’ homework and is also useful for home schooling or tutoring. I like this very much and suspect there will be similar books for KS1 in the future.


Bond SATs Skills: Grammar and Punctuation Workbook: 8-9 years
Bond SATs Skills: Grammar and Punctuation Workbook: 8-9 years
by Michellejoy Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond SATs Skills: Grammar and Punctuation 8-9 years, 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bond have always been known for workbooks aimed at the 11+, but now they have a whole new range of books which are for the Key Stage 2 SATs exams. The books are for four different age groups (8-9 years, 9-10 years, 10-11 years and 10-11+ years stretch workbook) and cover Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling and Vocabulary and Arithmetic. There are also Vocabulary Flashcards and Times Tables Flashcards available in this series, as well as a Times Tables workbook. As reviews for workbooks tend to be cross posted by Amazon, I will make it clear that this review is for the Grammar and Punctuation Workbook and for years 8-9. If the review appears on other books, then please note that I did not post it there.

This book has ten units of activities, which cover the grammar and punctuation element of the National Curriculum and are useful not only for SATs exams, but also for children preparing for the 11+. The units include information boxes, instant scoring, lots of helpful hints, a pull out answer section, key words, quick quizzes and tests.

Like all Bond workbooks, this one is well laid out. I like the fact that – although units can be four or five pages – children mark each page as they go along (or you can). This means that they get feedback instantly and it also means that you can give them one page to complete at a time, if you do not want them to do a whole unit at once. This is good ‘extra’ homework and is also useful for home schooling or tutoring. I like this very much and suspect there will be similar books for KS1 in the future.


Bond SATs Skills Spelling and Vocabulary Workbook: 8-9 years
Bond SATs Skills Spelling and Vocabulary Workbook: 8-9 years
by Michellejoy Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond SATs Skills - Spelling and Vocabulary 8-9 years, 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bond have always been known for workbooks aimed at the 11+, but now they have a whole new range of books which are for the Key Stage 2 SATs exams. The books are for four different age groups (8-9 years, 9-10 years, 10-11 years and 10-11+ years stretch workbook) and cover Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling and Vocabulary and Arithmetic. There are also Vocabulary Flashcards and Times Tables Flashcards available in this series, as well as a Times Tables workbook. As reviews for workbooks tend to be cross posted by Amazon, I will make it clear that this review is for the Spelling and Vocabulary Workbook and for years 8-9. If the review appears on other books, then please note that I did not post it there.

This book has ten units of activities, which cover the spelling and vocabulary element of the National Curriculum and are useful not only for SATs exams, but also for children preparing for the 11+. The units include word lists, helpful hints, a pull out answer section, a progress chart at the back of the book and each page allows children to score their marks as they go along. This is full of crosswords, word searches, cloze exercises, anagrams, synonyms and antonyms and puzzles.

Like all Bond workbooks, this one is well laid out. I like the fact that – although units can be four or five pages – children mark each page as they go along (or you can). This means that they get feedback instantly and it also means that you can give them one page to complete at a time, if you do not want them to do a whole unit at once. This is good ‘extra’ homework and is also useful for home schooling or tutoring. I like this very much and suspect there will be similar books for KS1 in the future.


Death in the Stocks
Death in the Stocks
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death in the Stocks, 6 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first mystery featuring Inspector Hannasyde and is the first Georgette Heyer mystery that I have read. It begins with a very unusual murder – Mr Arnold Vereker, who has a weekend cottage in the country, is found stabbed to death with his body left propped in the stocks of Ashleigh Green.

As the story unfolds, we find that Mr Vereker was a wealthy man, who was disliked by his younger half sister and brother. Antonia was engaged to a man that Mr Vereker disapproved of; while her artist brother Kenneth is in debt, and wants to marry the beautiful Violet Williams, who makes no secret of her desire for a good life. Both Kenneth and Antonia treat the matter of Mr Vereker’s murder flippantly, to the despair of both Inspector Hannasyde and their, considerably more sensible, cousin Giles Carrington.

This mystery has a relatively small amount of possible suspects and a lot of humorous conversations between the characters as to who could be guilty. The characters are eccentric, rather than unlikeable, but it is easy to see how the generation divide leads to misunderstanding. I liked this enough to want to read more by Heyer, with a fun storyline, some good plot twists and turns and a likeable amateur sleuth in Giles to aid the Inspector.


Mr Norris Changes Trains
Mr Norris Changes Trains
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr Norris Changes Trains, 6 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This novel begins with William Bradshaw, a young English tutor, meeting the slightly ridiculous Mr Arthur Norris on a train to Berlin. Mr Norris is nervous at having to present his passport, elusive about what he does and, with his rather obvious wig and odd habits, does not seem as though he is a character to take seriously at first. However, this chance meeting results in a firm friendship and, fairly soon, William is visiting his new friend frequently and becomes involved in his disreputable life and associates; including his bullying secretary Herr Schmidt.

Mr Norris is a man who lives well, despite his soon obvious lifestyle of debts, despair and dodgy dealings. The novel is set in 1930’s Berlin and so it is impossible to ignore the political situation unfolding there. Mr Norris is keen to shine at the local Communist Party meetings, but these activities also lead to him being questioned by the authorities.

I have never read Christopher Isherwood before, but I liked the way that the author allowed us to interpret events for ourselves. He trusted the reader to keep up and so it is enough to infer certain things, or show us glimpses, so that we can make our own assumptions. The style of the novel seems deceptively slight, but this is a very clever book – beautifully written, it flows wonderfully and is filled with great characters and has an excellent setting.


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