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Mrs. K. A. P. Wright
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Not Another Happy Ending
Not Another Happy Ending
by David Solomons
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, romantic and satisfying, 28 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the novelization of a film. These usually turn out dreadfully as the two forms are not that alike. This one, however, works well. The story is superficially light and frothy, but has a bit more bite to it than most light romances.

Jane has written a novel that has been a critical success, but it is part of a two book deal. The success of the second book is of vital importance to Tom, her publisher and former lover, because his publishing firm is on the rocks. Unfortunately, Jane has writer’s block and cannot finish her book. Tom believes that writers, and especially Jane, work best when they are miserable, so he sets out to make her life a misery.

One of the things I especially liked about this book is that it is set in Glasgow and the Highlands and that the publishing world it depicts is not the fast, brash London scene that usually features in novels. The fact that Tom is French adds another interesting flavour to the book.

I really enjoyed this book. It was funny and romantic and yet had enough meat to it to make it a very satisfying read. I look forward to seeing the film.


The Secret Place
The Secret Place
by Tana French
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Detective fiction at its best, 20 July 2014
This review is from: The Secret Place (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tana French’s first detective story was terrific and she has got better with every book. I thought Broken Harbour would be a hard act to follow, but she has succeeded. The Secret Place is superb. It is a long book that unwinds slowly. It is told in two time streams – now, and just over a year ago, the months leading up to Christopher Harper’s murder.

Christopher has been found murdered in the grounds of St Kilda’s, an elite girls’ boarding school. He was a pupil at the neighbouring boys’ boarding school. Extensive police enquiries have led nowhere. A year later, Holly, a pupil at St Kilda’s who had been a witness in a trial five or six years earlier, approaches the policeman who looked after her. She has what appears to be new information. The policeman, Stephen Moran, works in Cold Cases but aspires to the Murder Squad. He takes the information to the lead on the Harper case, Detective Conway, an ambitious newly promoted cop who is ostracised by her colleagues. In parallel we find out what happened a year ago and the progress of the new investigation.

French’s characterisation is superlative. The detectives quickly discover that they should concentrate on eight girls, two groups of girls who loathe each other. The dynamics of the relationships between and within the groups is explored in depth revealing contradictions and ambiguity until slowly the truth comes into view.

Unlike many detective story writers, Tana French does not have her own pet policeman. She has a police force from which her characters are taken. We see the world and all the other characters from her lead policeman’s point of view and this may be very different from what we have seen in previous books. So, we have met Stephen as a bit player in a previous book, Faithfull Place, where we also met Holly and her father, Frank Mackey. Other characters from previous books are also mentioned, but all now seen from Stephen’s point of view. This gives the characterisation extra depth and interest, so much so that I am now re-reading Faithfull Place and The Likeness.

It would be pointless to try to describe the plot in any more detail, because Tana French needed over five hundred pages to do it and she didn’t waste a word.

This is an excellent book. It is a totally absorbing, long and dense book which needs to be read carefully. This is not a book to skim or skip. Read every word. Enjoy.


Glorious Record Box 110 Vinyl LP Storage - Black
Glorious Record Box 110 Vinyl LP Storage - Black
Offered by Analogue Seduction
Price: 35.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware! This is not a storage box. It is 5 pieces of MDF and a bag of screws., 14 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This looks like a very stylish and useful storage box for vinyl LPs. I have to say, though, that the workmanship is appalling. I know this for a fact because the workmanship, unexpectedly, is mine.

I ordered three of these to house my record collection after my move to a new house. They looked good, seemed adaptable to my needs, could stack or stand freely on the floor or could build into a larger unit. I thought they were on the expensive side for an MDF box, but was prepared to pay the price for the convenience.

But I did not receive three boxes. I received three parcels, each containing five pieces of MDF and a bag of screws and nuts. There was not even an alan key to help me. 35 for five pieces of MDF and a bag of screws is exorbitant.

I was cross, but my need was urgent, so I didn't parcel it all up and send it back, but I was tempted.

One of the other reviewers was able to assemble theirs in ten minutes. It took me a lot longer. I possess three screw drivers. None was an exact fit for the screws, but the alternative was to get the car out and drive five miles to the nearest DIY shop to buy another, an option I was not prepared to consider. I persevered with what I had, only to find that the screws had to be screwed in to precisely the correct depth or the bolts wouldn't work. The screw heads were quite soft so became more and more difficult to manipulate. Box 1 is now assembled. It is only a little bit wonky, but I am exhausted. Boxes 2 and 3 must be completed before the records arrive (sometime this evening) so I haven't got long to recuperate. I am hoping that venting my spleen will help my recovery.

I have scoured the product description and can find no reference to self-assembly. (I should have read the reviews!) If my need were not so urgent, I would have sent the whole lot back as I did not want to build the things myself and I certainly wouldn't have paid over 100 for the privilege of doing so. I'm hoping that practice will improve my efforts and that Boxes 2 and 3 will look slightly less awkward.


Acts of Omission
Acts of Omission
by Terry Stiastny
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

3.0 out of 5 stars A good plot but poor story telling, 9 July 2014
This review is from: Acts of Omission (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very frustrating book. There is a very good story lurking in here and it is obvious that Ms Stiastny knows what she is writing about, but her storytelling skills leave rather a lot to be desired.

A brief outline of the story without too many spoilers:

•Alex, a civil servant, has lost his laptop while out drinking with his friends
• Although the laptop turns up there is a disk missing and we discover that Alex works for intelligence
• An investigation is started
• Meanwhile the disk turns up at the newspaper where his ex-girlfriend works as a reporter

The rest of the story describes the impact of these happenings on Alex, his ex-girlfriend and a newly appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and his family.

This should have been taut, nail-biting stuff - a really exciting political thriller, but for most of the time it isn't. In fact, for the first one hundred and seventy pages it develops very slowly and we are introduced to so many people, it is hard to keep track. Then it kicks into gear and for next eighty or so pages it lives up to its promise. Sadly this momentum is not kept up. It all ends too neatly and, then, at the end, there is a final cop out, which if it is true - and I think it is meant to be - belies what we have been told at the beginning. This is cheating and is not fair on the reader.

Disappointing - a 2.5/3 star.


Acts and Omissions
Acts and Omissions
by Catherine Fox
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, naughty and, at times, profound., 7 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Acts and Omissions (Paperback)
I followed this book as a weekly blog - a chapter every week - I loved it. Why, you might ask, if you have already read it, do you want to buy it again in book form? An easy and quick answer: because it is good, and like all Catherine Fox's work (Angels and Men, The Benefits of Passion and Love for the Lost) is worth rereading as it delivers more each time.

The narrator carries us to the diocese of Lindford and introduces us to various characters, both clergy and non clergy. Thereafter we can swoop down and observe what is going on in their lives: very little is simple and straightforward in Lindford, whatever one's first impressions might be. We see the hierarchy of the Church of England (if you are not very familiar with this, the narrator is by our side explaining what's what and who's who) and its sometimes not so gentle clash with human wishes and desires. We see the moral dilemmas and misdemeanours of the church and its people being sorted by the Bishop's enforcer, the Archdeacon Matt - terrifyingly efficient until faced with the highly moral stand of atheist, Jane. We see sinfulness, spite and despair but we also see love and forgiveness - and silliness.

Now, in case that all sounds far too worthy and dull, this is the naughtiest, funniest book I have read for ages, and unlike many funny books (as I said before) it bears rereading many times.

Its sequel, Unseen Things Above, is being blogged at the moment and promises to be just as good.


Romika Womens Milla 68 Clogs And Mules
Romika Womens Milla 68 Clogs And Mules
Price: 40.48

5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect all-purpose shoe, 5 July 2014
Just in time I have found these on Amazon as the pair I bought at a local shoe shop several years ago are about to fall apart, having been worn almost constantly winter and summer. The local shop no longer stocks them and I had given up hopes of being able to replace them.

They are almost the perfect shoe being warm in winter, yet cool in summer - I have worn them to work in the winter and I have walked all over Crete and Rhodes in high summer wearing them in comfort. I grant they would not look right worn with evening dress, but they work in most other situations!

My current pair are battered and worn now, but they have given sterling service and I look forward to my new pair.


Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine
Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine
by Andy Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eat Istanbul: a journey to my heart!, 3 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine is by the same team who wrote A Month in Marrakesh: A Food Journey to the Heart of Morocco, Andy Harris, writer, and David Loftus, photographer. It has the same combination of anecdote, photographs and glorious recipes.

I have owned the book for nearly a week and have cooked from it every day. I have some knowledge of Turkish cookery but I thought I would try recipes, ingredients or techniques that I was not familiar with - something of a leap of faith, but I do admit glancing at some old favourites to check his methods. Cooking these recipes also meant that I was not necessarily using my favourite ingredients either, so the recipes have had to work harder to please me. So far, it has all turned out brilliantly. My two favourite are Pathcanli pilav (aubergine and veal layered pilaf, although, as suggested in the recipe I substituted lamb for veal) and Lamb Stew with wild greens and egg-lemon sauce. The recipes were straightforward and easy to follow and the results were delicious. I had been worried that the wild greens would be bitter and the sauce sickly but it worked really well and I think you could omit the meat and have an excellent veggie dish.

The book is divided into sections:
• Introduction
• Breakfast
• Streetfood and snacks
• Meat and poultry
• Fish and seafood
• Desserts

There is also a comprehensive illustrated ingredients glossary and it is well indexed so it is easy to navigate.

However, this is not just a recipe book. It is also a travel book. Andy Harris writes well and his stories, anecdotes and bits of history are fun to read both for pleasure or while you are waiting for something to come to the boil.

It should be noted that the photographer, David Loftus, has equal billing on the title page. He deserves it. The book is full of the most glorious photographs of people, places and food.

This is a gorgeous book on all levels and I heartily recommend it - and - if you don't have it already - buy A Month in Marrakesh too.


Colgate A1500 ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Colgate A1500 ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Price: 117.79

4.0 out of 5 stars A superior and expensive bit of kit, 24 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very superior (and expensive) piece of kit.

• It claims to remove five times more plaque at the gum line than a manual tooth brush;
• It has a sonic wave cleaning action (not sure what that is)
• It polishes and removes stains and plaque
• It cleans between the teeth
• It has a choice of two different heads – triple clean or sensitive
• It has a two minute timer and turns itself off so that you don’t over brush
• It pauses every 30 seconds as a prompt to move onto the next section of your mouth
• It has a travel case

As far as I can tell all these claims are true and certainly my teeth and mouth do feel very clean and shiny, but I think this would be true using any powered toothbrush or even using a manual one correctly.

I have three major complaints:

1. It has a two pin plug and needs an adaptor to be plugged into the mains. I think, for the price, they could have included an adaptor.
2. It needs a 16 hour charge twice a week to work at its best.
3. The carrying case does not have room for the charger. What is the point of being able to carry your tooth brush in a smart case if all its additional bits have to roll about loose in your sponge bag or you have to find another container to keep them in? For the price, 94.67 (Amazon), 189.99 (RRP), I think they could have included a carrying case that catered not only for the toothbrush, but the charger, adaptor and tooth paste as well.

Have said all that, I am really enjoying using it, and am expecting Brownie points from my dentist, but I don’t think I would have spent nearly 100 for the pleasure.


Joseph Joseph 6-Piece Nest Storage
Joseph Joseph 6-Piece Nest Storage
Price: 36.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good, 24 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As with all Joseph Joseph products these not only are beautifully designed for purpose, they look very beautiful too. They have been designed to address two problems in addition to their primary function as food containers:

1. Taking up an unwarranted amount of space
2. Keeping track of and matching up lids to containers

This they do. The containers stack so the total amount of space needed is for the largest container. The lids stack and click together and are colour coded so you always know which lid goes with which container.

So far, so good.

According to the blurb they can go in the microwave, the dishwasher and the freezer. If this is true then they are truly a fantastic product. I have to say that, after the limited use of a few days, this all does seem to be true. However, experience makes me fear that long term use may cause problems with the fitting of the lids. If this occurs, I will amend this review.

My main problem with Joseph Joseph products is that they look so pretty all stacked up and pristine, that I find it very hard to break into the stack and actually use them. I used to have the multi colour Joseph Joseph Nest 9 Plus, 9-Piece Set of bowls and strainers but I couldn’t bear to use them, they looked so beautiful. In the end I had to give them away even though they were both practical and useful, because I preferred looking at them to using them.


Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking
Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking
by Tilly Walnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good guide for young dressmakers, 23 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This an excellent book to teach you how to start dress making. It is clearly set out with lots of good tips. (Did you know that a slightly darker thread is less noticeable than a lighter one?) It demystifies how sewing machines work and has clear instructions, with diagrams, as to how to thread one up. It lists equipment that you are likely to need and each project refers back to the list so that you will never find yourself stuck halfway through a project without the right tools.

The projects are clearly differentiated as far as difficulty is concerned, so if you are a novice, I would suggest that you work your way through the book rather than diving into the middle.

My only argument is with the projects, which don’t, on the whole, appeal to me, but I don’t think they are meant to. The book is definitely aimed at the young – mid to late teens to twenties – and the projects are designed for this age group. So, if you are getting on a bit, buy the book, read all the good advice then give it to a young friend or relation.


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