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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)
by Ransom Riggs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.87

4.0 out of 5 stars No Ordinary Book!, 13 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is no ordinary book. It isn't just presented as text, we're also treated to a wealth of black & white photos and hand-written letters dotted throughout the book as if they were in a photo album or scrapbook. The book was perfect for me... I love looking through old photographs and imaginging the story behind them.

The chapter titles are also thoughtfully presented on their own page decorated with a patterned background. Even the spine of the book is designed to look like an old leather-bound book found in the library of a big house.

So, does the story live up to the wonderful presented book? It certainly does! This is a fantasy story without any vampires, wolves or angels involved. It's beautifully written with descriptive (but not overly so) text. While some of the story is set in the present day, a lot of it is set during World War 2. Despite the differing times, it is easy to follow. It's haunting, fun, adventurous, mysterious and creative.

I did have a couple of niggles, though they were fairly small. Niggles aside, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is a wonderful book for teenagers and adults alike. I didn't know quite what to expect with this book, but was pleasantly surprised. It's definitely a book I'd recommend!

The Hunting Ground
The Hunting Ground
by Cliff McNish
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite creepy for a kids book?!, 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Hunting Ground (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't read a ghost story in a while, so I thought a young adult book wouldn't be too scary of a re-introduction to ghost stories. However, The Hunting Ground is quite creepy for a kids book! I guess that's why it says "Not for younger readers" on the back of the book!

I found the book to start very well, with tension building immediately. I certainly felt a little wary when I put the book down and turned off the light... If anything had made a sound shortly after I'd put the book down, I'd have jumped out of my skin! However, I thought the story faltered a little in the middle and I began to lose a little interest. Thankfully, the pace quickened again in the final third of the book and I found myself racing through it.

Only one thing really bugged me about the book and that was the diary sections. They find pages of a diary belonging to Theo (a boy who once lived at Glebe House) and the diary entries are dotted about the book as and when they are found. Theo's diary started off being written like a diary would be, but then the writing started to read more like a story would. It was almost as it the story was actually shifting to the first person perspective, rather than reading a diary entry.

All in all, The Hunting Ground is an enjoyable (if slightly scary!) book and is definitely one to give a go.

Now You See Me
Now You See Me
by S J Bolton
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Crime Thriller from S. J. Bolton!, 25 May 2011
This review is from: Now You See Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved reading Now You See Me! It's the first book S. J. Bolton book I have read, but it certainly won't be the last. I was hooked from the very first chapter right until the end of the book and I found it very difficult to put down. It's one of those books you think about even when you're not reading it.

There are parts of the book where you wonder what relevance it has to the story, but as the story reaches it's compelling end, it all becomes clear. This is a book that will have you thinking and guessing. I had an inkling of what might be, but S. J. Bolton is full of surprises and just when you think you know something, you realise that maybe you didn't!

The book is narrated by DC Lacey Flint and her character is complex (just like real people are) and sometimes I didn't quite know what to make of her. She has her dark side and her colleague Joesbury makes you doubt her at times. Is she telling us all she knows?

Now You See Me is built with short bursts of chapters. I found this style, along with the gripping storyline, compelled me to keep reading. I kept telling myself I'd read one more chapter and then but the book down... Several chapters later and I would still be reading! I enjoyed it so much that I read it in 3 sittings. Why twists and turns, and a ripper-thread, what's not to love?!

S. J. Bolton has a new fan! If you enjoy crime thrillers then why not pick this up? I'm sure you'll love it!

Philips DS8550/10 Docking Speaker for iPad/iPhone/iPod with Bluetooth - Silver
Philips DS8550/10 Docking Speaker for iPad/iPhone/iPod with Bluetooth - Silver
Offered by Electro Tycoon
Price: £249.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Sound!, 22 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For a docking speaker that isn't overly big, the sound which comes from the Philips DS8550/10 Docking Speaker is amazing! As it isn't too big, it is lightweight enough to carry and move around as you wish. It's also very sturdy and well built, so I would imagine it could take the odd knock (though that's something I don't really want to test!).

As the Philips DS8550/10 uses PureDigital technology, the sound produced by the speaker is clear and crisp. Depending on the song, it can produce quite a bass! The volume settings can go quite loud without the sound produced getting distorted.

The docking speaker has an AC power supply as well as an internal rechargable battery and I was able to use the battery straight away without any prior charge (which totally surprised me!). When fully charged, this docking speaker can play up to 8 hours worth of music, so it's just the right thing for playing music out in the garden when having a BBQ or a few friends around.

Docking your iPod, iPad or iPhone is simple and there's even a little stand for the iPad. One thing this has over my Sony system (which also has an iPod dock) is that I don't have to remove part my iPod Touch case before docking. I can simply slot my iPod Touch onto the speaker. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you don't even have to dock it, you can use bluetooth to control the speaker and play your music!

I'd advise downloading Philips Fidelo app from iTunes. It's not a neccessity, but gives you the ability to change various settings (such as the Flat, Pop, Rock, Jazz and Class sound settings). The full 5 band equalizer on the app will allow you to get the sound down to your tastes. You can also customise alarms, so you can be woken to your favourite music. The app is non-fussy and easy-to-use.

This is a fantastic piece of technology and it's well worth the money. It doesn't take up too much room (even the remote is small!) and the sound it produces is brilliant. The Philips DS8550/10 Docking Speaker is a top quality product and I'd highly recommend it to any iPod/iPhone/iPad user wanting a speaker.

AVG Internet Security 2011, 4 User, 2 Year Subscription (PC)
AVG Internet Security 2011, 4 User, 2 Year Subscription (PC)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full set of tools to keep your PC safe!, 22 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having a PC already installed with the free version of AVG, I jumped at the chance of testing out AVG Internet Security 2011. The installation didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd have liked, well, the problem was more with trying to uninstall the previous version (it just wouldn't uninstall)! However, once that was sorted the installation of this went smoothly.

The advantage this version has over the free version is that there's around double the amount of security features. The firewall set to work straight away and added Firefox to it's safety list as I accessed it to register the software.

The software also includes AVG PC Tuneup which helps speed up the PC and gets rid of any unused or temporary files, freeing up disk-space. I'm finding the PC faster already! AVG PC Tuneup also enables file recovery for files which have been accidently deleted or damaged.

For 2 years worth of protection on up to 4 computers, and for the job it does, I think AVG Internet Security 2011 is well worth the month.

13 Rue Thérèse
13 Rue Thérèse
by Elena Mauli Shapiro
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.59

4.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative story, 24 April 2011
This review is from: 13 Rue Thérèse (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having read a great review of this book on a blog and then it appearing in my Amazon Vine list, I decided to snap it up and give it a go. I loved the premise of Louise's life in a box. The pictures, the postcards and letters, the personal possessions... Somebody coming across these so many years later and imagining the life of their former owner.

The pictures, postcards, letters and personal possessions are actually pictured in the book throughout the story. I loved seeing these and the only thing better would to have had the box itself! I love family history and so to me rooting through a box like that and imagining that person's life would be wonderful.

The author actually lived in the apartment below the real-life Louise Brunet's apartment and she ended up with a box of Louise's possessions when her neighbour died and no relatives came to collect them. The items captured her imagination and gave way to this intriguing story.

13 rue Therese is a story of history, love and mystery and a little bit of magic, all set in the city of love itself - Paris. There are a couple of sex scenes in the book (though with some added humour), but nothing too explicit.

There isn't a clear, straight timeline throughout the book, with chapters bouncing back and forth between times every now and then, but I found it easy enough to follow.

One thing I did notice about the book was that a few of the pages had a little fleur-de-ys in the bottom corner. The page numbers don't all match between my uncorrected proof copy and the website, but a visit to the book's website will give you more detail and in some cases, an audio track or video too.

The story did take on a slightly different slant towards the end and it's one on which I can't quite make up my mind, but it didn't take away too much from that fact that I quite enjoyed this imaginative book. It's different and one that will possibly divide the opinion of its readers.

The Burning: (Maeve Kerrigan 1)
The Burning: (Maeve Kerrigan 1)
by Jane Casey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Slow-burner (Pardon the pun!), 9 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I chose this book from Amazon Vine because I thought it sounded like a great story. In fact, I was right, in a way. The Burning is a great storyline, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would have or should have. I think the way in which is story is executed was the issue.

Each chapter us told by a different person, mainly alternating between Maeve (the Detective Constable on The Burning Man case) and Louise (victim's best friend), but with one or two others thrown in. I found it slightly off-putting to start with and found it to interrupt the flow of the story, making it slightly disjointed, especially when a chapter went through the same scene as the previous one but from another persons perspective. I did get used to it though.

Also, compared to the crime thriller books I've been reading lately, I didn't find many twists & turns in the story, certainly none that stood out. Nothing shocked me, not even the reveal of the murderer. Excuse the pun, but I found the book to be somewhat of a slow-burner (although there are a couple of fast-paced parts to the story).

Despite my negative points in this review, I did somewhat enjoy reading The Burning. It's a book I can't really make up my mind on. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I only seen Maeve's story. I have read books before where the chapters bounce back and forth between characters, but this time it didn't work for me.

Onto more positive things... I warmed to the character of DC Maeve Kerrigan. I found her quite likeable and realistic. Another thing I liked was the use of newspaper articles at the end of the book to round-up the storylines. I also think there's room for other books using the Maeve character (actually, I've just read that Jane Casey's next book also features Maeve) and I'd certainly give them a go.

All in all, this is an OK book. It's not one I've going to rave about, but I think it's one that could divide readers opinions.

Immortal Beloved: Bk. 1 (Immortal Beloved 1)
Immortal Beloved: Bk. 1 (Immortal Beloved 1)
by Cate Tiernan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A paranormal/fantasy with a little bit of magick!, 29 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nastasya has lived a lifetime, an everlasting lifetime. As an immortal, she's reinvented herself more times than she can count. After witnessing her friend Innocencio break a man's back with a spell and then walking away, Nasty takes a look at herself and her friends and she doesn't like what she sees. In fact, she's scared, horrified even. Scared enough to run and hide from her friends, from her memories, from her life.

Nasty seeks help from a woman she once met years ago and ends up at River's Edge. She doesn't feel like she belongs there, but where she belongs doesn't exist anymore. She can't trust the people she thought were friends, is there anyone she can trust? Will River's Edge save Nastasya or drive her deeper into despair? Will Innocencio come looking for Nasty?

Read the book to find out!

Immortal Beloved is the first book in a new trilogy by Cate Tiernan. It's different to most paranormal/fantasy books these days, because there's no vampires, no werewolves, no shape-shifters, nothing like that. This is about being immortal in this world and all that is brought with it, magick is also wound through the story.

The story is told from Nastasya's point-of-view, so the other characters are all based her perspective. You almost find yourself liking or disliking the characters she does. Despite being several hundred years old, Nasty is quite immature, but when you read how she's been wasting her life you can see where the immaturity comes from. Her immaturity also gives the character room to grow, to become who she is, not who she pretends to be.

Some might find this story slow, but I'd say to keep with it as it's an evolving story and there are faster-paced parts to it. We learn more about Nastasya's life through flashbacks, giving us a more detailed story.

Something I like in a book is humour and there were several instances where I had to laugh while reading Immortal Beloved. Despite what shes been through, Nastasya can be quite funny. Even on the last page the author managed to fit in some humour.

My only real problem with the book was that one of the storylines was left open, almost forgotten about, not in a cliffhanger sort of way. However, I'm guessing that this will be carried on into the second book, so it's not a big issue.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Immortal Beloved and found it a refreshing change. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I got through it in just a couple of day and I'm already looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy.

Belkin Neoprene Sleeve with Front Pocket for Kindle Keyboard, Purple (only fits Kindle Keyboard)
Belkin Neoprene Sleeve with Front Pocket for Kindle Keyboard, Purple (only fits Kindle Keyboard)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Protect Your Kindle!, 29 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having got my wonderful Kindle in my hands, I wanted something to keep it safe and these Belkin Pleated Neoprene Kindle Sleeves seemed just the thing. Choosing Perfect Plum, I sat back and waited and waited and waited. When the cover finally arrived it was just what I needed.

This Belkin Kindle sleeve is well padded meaning my Kindle is safe should I drop it (which I have done once!). The outside of the sleeve is durable and will save the Kindle from any small spills or knocks, while the inside is soft and offers scratch-free protection. There is a handy zipped pocked at the front for little knick-knacks and accessories such as earphones etc.

The Belkin Kindle sleeve is also lightweight and doesn't add much weight to the Kindle. It, obviously, makes the Kindle slightly bulkier, but not by too much. It can still be easily slipped into a hangbag or backpack.

The only downside I can think of is that it's a snug fit and so it was a bit difficult getting the Kindle in at first, but I've found it easier the more I've used the case. Also as it's only a sleeve your Kindle can be prone to any knocks & bangs when its out of the sleeve.

A very handy case for wen you're travelling with your Kindle!

VTech Baby Crawl and Learn Bright Lights Ball (Orange)
VTech Baby Crawl and Learn Bright Lights Ball (Orange)
Offered by Midco Toys Ltd
Price: £19.79

4.0 out of 5 stars No Ordinary Ball!, 25 Mar 2011
The VTech Crawl and Learn Bright Lights Ball is no ordinary ball! It's a sturdy ball-shaped toy which encourages babies to crawl and learn. I thought this would be a fun toy for my baby niece.

My niece has had the VTech Crawl and Learn Bright Lights Ball for a few months now. She was already crawling when she got it, but it has still encouraged her to move about and play with it.

The ball is made of plastic (like most kids toys) and is coloured cyan (blue), orange and white. It has 3 number buttons to press which also light up, as well as 3 animal buttons (cat, dog and monkey). At the top of the ball is a ladybird than can be spun around (the top also lights up), as well as 6 colourful ribbons sticking out from the top.

When the ball is turned on (there are 2 levels of sound to slide the switch across to), the ball starts moving and playing a song before asking the baby/toddler to "roll me!". When we first gave the ball to my niece, she was somewhat surprised at the ball moving by itself and didn't quite know what to do! However, she soon took to it.

There are a number of different songs that the ball plays (such as Row, Row Row the Ball, which is pretty much "Row, Row, Row the Boat" but with slightly different words!). All seem to encourage the child to play.

The number buttons light up when pressed, as well as saying the number, shape or colour of the button and even the noise of the animal on pictured on it.

The animal buttons more often than not play the sound of that particular animal (e.g. pressing the cat makes a "Miaow" sound), but sometimes the ball will also say what animal it is.

Now my niece is getting older, she isn't just pushing or rolling the ball and pushing the various buttons, she is also picking the ball up. Due to the mechanics inside the ball, it isn't the lightest of toys, but that doesn't stop my niece. The problem with her picking the ball up is that she's now inclined to either just drop it or to try throwing it (luckily she can't throw far at the moment!). As the ball is quite heavy (for a little one, at least), dropping it results in quite a thud and us adults cringing in case the toy breaks. However, this ball has now been dropped on many occasions and is still working as well as it did on the day I bought it. It's certainly a sturdy toy, that's for sure!

Also, whatever batteries VTech put in this ball, they are either very high quality or the toy doesn't use as much energy as you'd think it would. We've had the ball for a few months now and, despite regular play, we still haven't needed to change the batteries.

The VTech Crawl and Learn Bight Lights Ball has provided my niece with plenty of play time so far and I'm sure she'll be playing with it for quite a while yet. I'm also sure it'll still be in good working order by the time her sibling (due any time now) is old enough to play with it too.

It's certainly well worth the £14.99 we paid for it at the time from Argos, but I have recently seen it for £[] from Amazon.

Highly recommended by me and my niece!

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