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Andromeda Descendent (Tarn Vedra)
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Blue Crystal Puzzle Gift Box
Blue Crystal Puzzle Gift Box
Offered by JNS JAPAN STORE
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal Puzzle Gift Box, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blue Crystal Puzzle Gift Box (Toy)
This is a medium difficulty crystal puzzle which, when finished, is about 6cm on each side and you can lift the lid off to put things (admittedly very small things) in the space inside. The blue "ribbon" pieces along the sides may look fragile, but are stronger than they look and everything fits together perfectly.


Weetabix Chocolate Biscuits 24 (Pack of 5)
Weetabix Chocolate Biscuits 24 (Pack of 5)
Price: £13.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Really nice chocolaty cereal, 29 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although Weetabix original is great, I'm of the opinion that any cereal can be improved by adding chocolate. In this cereal you get not only a chocolate flavour, but chocolate chips as well. I like to eat Weetabix very soon after putting the milk on, so that it doesn't disintegrate and I can still chew it before it goes all soggy, but inevitably there will be always be some chocolate chips left to tease out of the bottom of the bowl with the spoon afterwards. It is packaged in waxed paper, so I have no concerns about contamination when it comes through the post (should the postie accidentally drop the parcel in a puddle of… well, let's not got there).

I really like it and have no negative comments to give. If you haven't tried it yet, you should do so.


The Copper Promise (complete novel)
The Copper Promise (complete novel)
by Jen Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A promise worth keeping, 19 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I finished reading The Copper Promise last night and I am full of that bittersweet feeling that comes of reaching the end of a really good novel, knowing that you'll have to wait a frustratingly long time to catch up with the characters again... that's if there is a sequel. You might want to sit down for the shock of this, but this is a debut fantasy novel that actually RESOLVES the story at the end of what I very much hope will be the first in a series. Much of the reason for this resolution, I suspect, can be found in the acknowledgements, which reveal that the novel started out as a short story which indeed did have a cliff-hanger, but positive feedback gave the author, Jen Williams, the confidence to keep writing all the way to the end. That's crucial because so many modern authors don't seem to have the faith that readers will return without a major cliff-hanger, so when I say here that I want to return to this world and catch up with these characters as soon as possible WITHOUT there being huge plot threads flapping in the wind, then know that from me that is very high praise indeed.

The Copper Promise is a fantasy novel that follows three characters, and others later on that would be considered spoilers here, up to and then after they release a long trapped god, that takes the form of a dragon, from its underground prison. There is Lord Aaron Frith - his body badly scarred and broken from torture, his entire family having been killed by invaders. He hires a couple of sellswords to assist him on a dangerous expedition into a supposedly abandoned underground citadel, the last resting place of the mages. There is Wydrin, the self styled "Copper Cat", a very down to earth adventurer who protects herself with twin daggers and very sensibly covers every inch of her body in boiled leather. Unlike so many other fantasy heroines, she is very realistically envisaged and maybe author Jen Williams has based her well-developed personality on traits of her own, who knows? And there is Sebastian, a former knight, expelled from a heroic order that couldn't see past his homosexuality, who strives to do the right thing but finds less and less opportunity to do so without compromising the values he holds dear.

The chapters are brought together in four roughly equal parts. Although I give this book five stars, I have to admit that it was not until the second part that the book really "clicked" for me, and I started to see it all coming together as a convincing world. The choice to base the first part of the story in an underground citadel with very little geographical description or proper scene setting gives those first several chapters a loose, disjointed feel that fails to properly explain what type of world this is and why the reader should care about it. This may have been partly intentional, so as to allow the main focus to be on the characters, but it takes time to come to care about even the most well described protagonists, and for me this seemed to be a misstep.

Once we do get into parts 2 and 3, we see how the characters deal with situations both together and apart and the story finally starts to become engaging. What's more, all three characters (and others as well, but there's those spoilers again) grow and develop, and become more and more interesting throughout the course of the book. By part 4 you know how the characters are likely to react in certain situations. You have also been introduced to not one, not two, but three major plots - so there is the destruction being caused by the released dragon, another story of magic and revenge, and a third story that takes one of the characters in an interesting direction that may set them at odds with the others.

Much as you could really pitch The Lord of the Rings at any audience, The Copper Cat is also written so as to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. There is some minor violence and gore, but it's never gratuitous; it's only there when important to the plot. The language is nothing worse that you'd hear before the TV watershed, and perhaps some people wouldn't want me to say if there's sex or not as they like some mystery to remain when they read the book, but there's nothing there that any parent would need to worry about. Basically what I'm saying is it's suitable for all ages and I think all ages would enjoy it.

Although it's not often you see a debut fantasy novel shoot up the bestseller lists, this one is something special. I really do hope it sells as well as it deserves to.


Black Cat Crystal Puzzle
Black Cat Crystal Puzzle
Offered by JNS JAPAN STORE
Price: £8.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal Puzzle - Two Lucky Cats, 14 Jan 2014
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Cat Crystal Puzzle (Toy)
These two black cats - one large, one small - come in the same box and are very nice ornaments. They are only available from Japan at the moment, ordered through Amazon. Of course the small cat doesn't take much thought to assemble, but the larger one is a medium level challenge.

I considered these as lucky cats, so put the small one together in the closing hours of 2013 and the larger one together in the early hours of 2014 - the smaller one representing the departing year, and the larger one the new year (although it could have just as easily been the other way around).

You can't tell from the picture, but the deep blue eyes are actually stickers. I find the models are better without the stickers though.


Crystal Puzzle Blue Bird
Crystal Puzzle Blue Bird
Offered by Shipping from Japan. JAPAN-SUBCULTURES
Price: £9.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal Puzzle Blue Bird, 14 Jan 2014
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crystal Puzzle Blue Bird (Toy)
Currently only available on order from Japan, this crystal puzzle is nicely challenging and when put together forms one of the most attractive crystal puzzles available anywhere. The bird stands on a golden branch and stays firmly upright on a flat surface. A personal favourite, and that's coming from someone who owns a great number of these puzzles.


Crystal Puzzle Tokyo Sky Tree 62 Piece (R) Chic style
Crystal Puzzle Tokyo Sky Tree 62 Piece (R) Chic style
Offered by JNS JAPAN STORE
Price: £14.60

5.0 out of 5 stars The Tokyo Skytree, 14 Jan 2014
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Think me crazy if you like, but as a crystal puzzle collector, and one who often has to have these things delivered from Japan because you can't get them here, this is the jewel in the crown on my collection.

It looks really impressive when assembled, even more so when in the dark and lit up with the Crystal puzzle display light LED-001 (japan import) (sold separately). It's officially licensed by the Tokyo Skytree, the second tallest structure in the world after Dubai's Burj Khalifa

It's not the most challenging crystal puzzle to build, but for a newcomer to these puzzles, there is a good quarter to half hour of assembly as you work out which part fixes to which. It holds together extremely well once completed, and of course you can take it apart at any time if you want the fun of assembling it all over again.


PaperPro Prodigy 25 Sheet Capacity Stapler with One Finger Power
PaperPro Prodigy 25 Sheet Capacity Stapler with One Finger Power
Price: £20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An essential office tool I didn't know I needed, 14 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The packaging for the Paper Pro Prodigy says it's "The Easiest Stapler You'll Ever Use", and I'd find it hard to disagree with that. Basically, it's a staple gun for ordinary staples. Put the sheets in place (up to 25 at a time), press down with only a small bit of pressure... there is a "thunk"... and there you have it - a nice neat staple, perfectly curled at the ends.

Having read the description, it's what I was expecting would happen, but what I wasn't expecting was that there are no batteries in this thing - it works purely off stored kinetic energy. The other thing worth mentioning is that opening it up to put new staples in (of which there are six strips included) is just as easy. Turn it upside down, pull the base back, and the mechanism just slides open ready for you to drop the next strip in.

It's definitely one of those things that makes you wonder, "how did I manage before?"; When stapling several sheets together using an ordinary stapler, you often find it hasn't done it properly and have to do it again, which looks quite messy, but no such problems with this stapler.

I'm very impressed with it. Some may mark it down because of the price, and you may accuse me of being gushing about it because I got a review copy, but in a busy office environment something like this can pay for itself in usefulness and help reduce frustration.


PicknBuy 3D Crystal Puzzle Donkey Blue
PicknBuy 3D Crystal Puzzle Donkey Blue
Offered by PicknBuy
Price: £6.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Donkey, Llama or perhaps Alpaca?, 30 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a trickier crystal puzzle than it first appears, and I mean that in a good way, so in other words you'll definitely finish it but it may take some time.

Everything fits firmly together and the two pins that hold it together afterwards click easily into place. It isn't anatomically correct, by which I mean it has bobbles for feet and looks more like a piñata than a zoo animal, but it has a great deal of charm to it. I wouldn't bother with the tacky stickers, as it looks a lot better without them.

Rather than loose pieces, this one came with the pieces in several frames, ready to press or twist out. That's a good thing because you can tell at a glance that all the pieces are there (although I have yet to buy a crystal puzzle where any of the pieces were missing), and pressing or twisting them out of the frames is easy.

Already a favourite.


Alpen Light Chocolate and Orange Cereal Bars 19 g (Pack of 5)
Alpen Light Chocolate and Orange Cereal Bars 19 g (Pack of 5)

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely going onto the shopping list, 30 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like to take light snack bars to work with me to eat for elevenses, so I thought I'd give these a try as a break from my usual Cadbury's Brunch Bars.

The first thing I noticed when opening the packet was a nice orangey smell, which made me think the orange taste might be quite strong. Actually, it's quite weak at the first bite but then appears as you chew and sticks around a short while as a nice aftertaste.

Although this is a "chocolate & orange bar" (described in that order), the small drizzling of chocolate may as well not be there, as I for one didn't taste it. That didn't matter to me, as I wanted something different from the usual healthy-bar-dipped-in-chocolate option, and after eating two of these bars (which is my usual number for an elevenses snack) I felt full enough until lunchtime.

I still like the chocolate Cadbury's Brunch Bars, but have decided to buy these light Alpen bars regularly as well, and eat them on alternate days.


PicknBuy 3D Crystal Puzzle Cuttle Fish Purple
PicknBuy 3D Crystal Puzzle Cuttle Fish Purple

4.0 out of 5 stars Good puzzle, but has a couple of issues, 26 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This cuttlefish crystal puzzle is, for the most part, well made and a bit more puzzling than I initially accounted for. It's only let down in my eyes by the problem I had (and still have, as I haven't managed to resolve it yet), in fixing the two parts of the base around the eight legs that form the trickiest part of the puzzle element. Getting the legs in the right slots was tricky in a fun way, but then when I tried to press the top part down against the bottom part, something prevented it. I'm now stuck with a sizable gap that I can't close, worried that if I use too much force to prise it apart again it might snap the plastic. It's a shame, as the model looks really good when completed and also has a small LED illumination circuit you can choose to put in or leave out, which flashes red and blue.

If you get this, make sure you decide early on whether or not you want to include the circuit, as you may not be able to change it after fixing both parts of the base together.

I also found that the holding screw didn't quite reach the place it was supposed to screw into, but that didn't stop the head part of the model from staying on neatly, so it wasn't really a problem in practical terms.

I also liked the inclusion of stick-on googly eyes, which is a lot better than the simple stickers that a lot of other animal-type crystal puzzles use for eyes.

So overall, I would recommend it if you like the look of it from the picture but with the above words of caution that it might not fix together as easily in a couple of respects as you might hope.


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