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Andromeda Descendent (Tarn Vedra)
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Tacwise A11 (Type 140) Hammer Tacker
Tacwise A11 (Type 140) Hammer Tacker
Price: £22.86

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for professionals; amateurs use with care, 19 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Tacwise hammer tacker is a difficult tool to review because how useful and suited it is for what it does varies considerably with the tasks that you ask it to do. In common with a standard hammer, it's a blunt instrument, or at least it is unless you use it so much that you get the knack of positioning the staples exactly where you want them, and that for me proved very tricky in testing. My efforts were by no means neat. It's also a big tool and you need room to swing it, so open surfaces are fine but when I tried tacking down loose stair carpet I found it extremely difficult to pin the verticals.

But I guess that if you want a staple gun, you'll buy a staple gun, and if you're considering a hammer tacker you already know the limitations. The good points of this tacker are that it takes three types of staples - 6mm, 8mm and 10mm (a box of 8mm was included with the review pack) - it releases the staples without any duds or misfires, the handle has a good grip to it, and it is very well balanced.

If you're looking to use it for jobs around the home, I'd think twice before choosing this - not because it isn't good quality, because I think it is very well made - but because it's not going to be the answer to every task you'd consider it for, and it takes a while to get the knack of it, by which time you've probably finished what you wanted to do anyway.

I can see, however, that professionals - and to be fair to the manufacturers, that is probably their target market - would find this useful, as perhaps would those in professions where posters need to be put up on pinboards in a hurry and, well, my imagination runs out at that point. Maybe owners of lost dogs who want to pin "have you seen me" notices on tree trunks? Basically what I'm saying is it's more a professional's tool than an amateur's, but it's well made and if you're looking for one of these, I can't fault it on ease of loading, feel or mechanism.


The Gospel of Loki
The Gospel of Loki
by Joanne M Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely entertaining, 17 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Gospel of Loki (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Even for those of us who have never read up on their Norse mythology, the stories and themes of the gods of Asgard crop up so many times reflected in other stories that most of us will be familiar with at least one, probably more than one, of their tales. A good way of drawing together these stories for a modern audience is to focus them on just one character, and the character of Loki is – without any disrespect to Joanne M Harris' creativity – the obvious choice for this. I knew even as I was reading the book's description that I was going to enjoy this book.

Okay, I can't tell you how accurate this imagining of the story is to the "official version" that Loki tells us his story is just as true as, though I suspect there are many variations on the myths anyway. What matters is this is probably the most entertaining book you're going to read this year. Loki is an antihero with questionable morality who does some terrible things, and yet for most of the time (but not all of the time by any means), you feel some degree of sympathy for him. He's not human after all, but a creature of chaos, and that chaotic nature, over the course of the book, gets him both into trouble and into various characters' favours in equal measure, but he is constantly burdened by the realisation that he'll never be one of "them", whoever it is he hangs out with.

Loki the trickster not only plays a part in all the best stories about Asgard, he is instrumental in its rise to power and ultimately its destruction. As a reader, you know that destruction is coming, and you're eager to learn what role Loki plays in it. Of course the other side of this is that, seeing as the book is told in first person, the other discovery you are reading towards is, quite naturally, what happens to Loki afterwards. The decision to write Loki's narration in such a way that it contains a number of modern references and speech patterns was undoubtedly the right one, as it makes it easier for the reader to identify with him, however the flip-side of that is that it builds up an expectation that there is something more to Loki's story after the fall of Asgard than there actually turns out to be; that the Trickster might well be keeping his last and best trick to play on the reader, and I was waiting for that punch to come. I had felt that the book was building towards something extremely clever – something that could set it apart as a modern classic – and then it turned out not to be there. That left me with conflicting feelings, as I'd enjoyed the journey immensely, but the expectation that some creative licence was going to be used to blow me away with a massive revelation left me feeling disappointed when it failed to happen.

And yet I can't bring myself to mark this book any lower than five stars despite this. Doing so would be the equivalent of saying to someone, "maybe think twice before buying this," but I can't help but recommend it to everyone.


Furby Frames - Purple and Orange Glasses
Furby Frames - Purple and Orange Glasses
Offered by Star Action Figures
Price: £4.10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They're okay, but why can't you just buy the one you want?, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Furby Frames (Toy)
If you want to give your Furby a bit more of a visual personality these plastic glasses fit just right, and there are various sets, each with two designs. Furby doesn't act any differently when wearing the glasses, so they're purely cosmetic. They're an expensive accessory for what they actually are, and it's a nuisance you have to buy two at once instead of picking the one, or even two, you might want individually.


Memorex M00285 CD-R 52x 50 Pack Cakebox
Memorex M00285 CD-R 52x 50 Pack Cakebox

5.0 out of 5 stars Always reliable, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These CDs always write first time and have a reliability I haven't found with other makes. They have a simple, clear design with plenty of space to write on with a CD marker pen. The cakebox with internal spindle is very well made and tapers towards the top so that, if you have more than one, you can stack them.


Kiss Me
Kiss Me
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss Me, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kiss Me (MP3 Download)
I guess for some people this is one of their "guilty pleasure" songs, but I don't feel guilty at all. It reminds me of spring and summer, even on gloomy winter days. It's a simple, unpretentious feelgood song, and we need more of those.


Blue Crystal Puzzle Gift Box
Blue Crystal Puzzle Gift Box
Offered by JNS JAPAN STORE
Price: £9.12

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: £11.99

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 Shipping from Japan. JAPAN-SUBCULTURES
Price: £8.58

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 japanstore
Price: £9.50

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.


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