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Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good
Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good
by Tom Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Jonny Wilkinson Subs For Jesus!, 28 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Using the interesting analogy of England winning the rugby World Cup, this book starts by explaining what makes something news. There has to be a contextual history, then a major event must happen in the present which has immediate and inevitable consequences into the future. Concerning the gospels, the history is the Jewish prophecy that a Messiah or King would come and rescue them. The major present event is the resurrection of Jesus (a bit like Jonny Wilkinson scoring the winning points for England). The future consequences are that the rescue of the whole earth by God has been put in place.

Such news, the book explains, isn't good for everyone. Just as England winning the World Cup was bad news for Australians and irrelevant for Americans, the Good News of the Gospels was bound to upset the Jews and be seen as totally meaningless by anyone who didn't worship one God. This is why St Paul had such a tough job! However, if we can all accept this interpretation of the New Testament life will be better for all of us, as we can rest assured that God has put the necessary processes in place to bring his Kingdom to earth.

Even though I am one of those terrible Christians who uses the Gospels for advice rather than as a newspaper, I must say I was thoroughly engaged and entertained by the book. Fed up, as so many of us are, by the dogma of the Church, I have tried to strip my own Christianity bare of "theology". I believe we all enter into the Kingdom of God, as Jesus said we would do, by listening to his words and doing what he tells us to do in the Gospels. However, this book made me think again. Maybe actually believing the resurrection a) happened b) had some significance. It will certainly occupy my mind this Easter.


Tetralogue: I'm Right, You're Wrong
Tetralogue: I'm Right, You're Wrong
by Timothy Williamson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.68

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Goes off the rails.., 25 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book starts with Bob and Sarah meeting on a train. Bob has hurt his leg because a neighbour's wall fell on it while he was doing some gardening. He blames his neighbour who he says is a witch. Sarah says there's no such thing as witchcraft and says there must be a scientific explanation for why the wall fell down when it did. A rather annoying character called Zac then joins the conversation, explaining that neither explanation is better than the other, they are just different viewpoints. Zac, it turns out, is a relativist.

I had problems right from the start. I couldn't really believe someone so obviously Western as being called Bob would believe in witchcraft. I might have believed the whole thing if Bob had been given a Nigerian name (I have had many Nigerian students who believed in witchcraft). Though if he had done this Mr Williamson would be accused of racism...Anyway, this ruined the whole argument for me. Surely, if Mr Williamson had wanted to talk about paranormal versus scientific explanations he could have chosen something better than witchcraft? Bob could have got on the train whitefaced because he had seen a ghost...

So, I found the original premise unbelievable. Then, with the arrival of Zac, the serious philosophy started and I got completely lost. Worse was to happen when Roxana arrived in chapter 2. I soon began to wish both Zac and Roxana would disappear under the wheels of the train whilst on a visit to the buffet car. Make no mistake. Any book that claims to make philosophy easy is lying. It is a very difficult subject indeed. It needs someone with better writing skills than Mr Williamson to make it accessible.


Quicksand
Quicksand
by Steve Toltz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.58

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Verbal Vomit, 21 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Quicksand (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I knew I shouldn't have elected to read a book by a previously shortlisted Man Booker prize author. For me, Man Booker prize winners are usually over wordy, pretentious, self-indulgent rubbish. Man Booker writers write for themselves and other writers, not for numbskulls like me who like compact narrative, unfussy plotting, and sympathetic characterisation.

So, if you are like me you will not like this book. Steve Toltz spews words onto the page like so much verbal vomit, saying the same thing over and over and over again, not clarifying but subfusticating, turning every paragraph into one giant conglomerative turd. The plot stops and starts (what was the point of chapter two, please?). And the characters are the most unpleasant individuals you could ever hope to meet. Perhaps it's a gender thing, I just couldn't imagine a woman ever liking this book.

Don't get me wrong. I really do like innovative modern literature. If you read my other reviews you will find that I recently gave the new Tom McCarthy novel, Satin Island, five stars. Now there is a man who really can write! Quicksand pales in comparison. It is nothing like as sharply observed, there is no lyricism in the writing, and the plot is leaden.

I cannot recommend it.


Scholl Active Sports Insoles Gel for Women
Scholl Active Sports Insoles Gel for Women
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for Non-Athletes Too!, 17 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I can't help feeling that Scholls is missing out aiming these at the athletic market; they are just as good for elderly ladies simply wanting to walk round town or take the dog out for a stroll. I found it very easy to cut the foam to my size and fit them into my walking boots. I felt a noticeable difference when walking, much lighter on my feet and no pressure on my knees. I've had quite a bad ham string injury recently, a result of wearing ultra flat summer shoes. I found these insoles cushioned my feet to the extent that I couldn't feel the injury even after walking several miles.


The Gift of Time: How Delegation Can Give You Space to Succeed
The Gift of Time: How Delegation Can Give You Space to Succeed
by Gail Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Should Have Delegated This..., 16 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found this book both intensely irritating and wildly funny in turn.

Intensely irritating? Yes. This is because Ms Thomas spends so long describing why delegation is a good idea when I, as a reader, wanted to know when and how to do it. She eventually gets to the point on page 119 where she reproduces a useful chart on how to delegate tasks. After this, on page 199, she produces a helpful decision tree telling me when to delegate. By this time I realised I should have delegated reading this book as I really wasn't enjoying it (the very first branch of the tree!).

Wildly funny? It turns out Ms Thomas has invented a revolutionary pair of knickers (presumably that means new not rotational). Reading about how Ms Thomas sets up a business using her delegation techniques is truly hilarious. It turns out that she knows nothing about underwear design, fabrics, quality control, marketing, or anything, in fact, that take any expertise or effort. She likes making logos and going to meetings, however, so this is what she does. The rest is delegated. Wonderful! It is clear at this point that Ms Thomas has confused delegation (an intra organisational process) with outsourcing (an extra organisational one). This is quite a serious drawback to the book.

On the good side, I liked that Ms Thomas explained how delegation is a process. Whether we are talking about a business or a family, you can't just load your tasks onto someone else without a period of training. Thus before freeing up time (which is the purpose of delegation) some short term time and effort must be put into the training process. People who delegate well must have a long term future timeframe.


Bakers Dentacrunch Chicken & Country Vegetables Dry Dog Food, 1 kg, Pack of 4
Bakers Dentacrunch Chicken & Country Vegetables Dry Dog Food, 1 kg, Pack of 4
Price: £11.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Best Economy Dry Food, 16 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've never known a dog not to like Baker's which must be the most readily available dry food in the country. Sure enough, my beagle wolfed down this new, tooth cleaning, version and even asked for more. I have no issue whatsoever with the nutritional value of the food, as I have seen superbly healthy dogs fed exclusively on it. It is undoubtedly the best value dry food on the market. However, I do note that there are no claims made for the ethical sourcing of the chicken or for the natural purity of the products. This suggests to me that the chicken is probably battery raised and that artificial colourants are being added. If such things bother you then I wouldn't recommend this food, but be aware that you'll have to pay much more for a totally natural, ethically sourced product.


Nutrifiz Wheatgrass Effervescent Tablets - Pack of 20
Nutrifiz Wheatgrass Effervescent Tablets - Pack of 20
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great gluten-free tonic!, 10 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I just want to say something that no-one else seems to have mentioned. Wheatgrass is in no way related to wheat. It is gluten free which makes this product an ideal supplement for coeliacs.

I found the tablets delicious and easy to use, though I would recommend stirring before drinking as otherwise one is left with a green residue which must be packed with goodness. I have been feeling particularly run down recently having had non-stop colds and other bugs this winter. These tablets are definitely perking me up. They act as a real tonic. My thinking is sharper, my sinusitis has cleared up, and my joints are aching less. Next year I'll take the tablets before winter sets in as they are packed with vitamins and minerals which boost the immune system.


Braun Silk Epil 9 SkinSpa 9-961 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator & Exfoliation system with 6 Extras
Braun Silk Epil 9 SkinSpa 9-961 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator & Exfoliation system with 6 Extras
Price: £109.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Redundant Device?, 9 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The last epilator that I reviewed for AMAZON Vine was a plug-in one and I noted then that a cordless design would be much easier to use. Well, here is an all singing and dancing cordless one that seems to tick all the boxes. The process of epilation itself is still painful, though being able to do it in the bath helps. The various attachments all work well, and I was pleased that that the speed can be adjusted to allow for sensitivity. The exfoliation head is useful to give an added softness, though I was disappointed that this attachment could not be used on the face.

However, given the price of the device I was disappointed that it didn't come in better packaging that could be used for storage. As it is, one is left with a multiplicity of little attachments which are easy to lose even if put away in a drawer. I think it should come in a box! I found using the instructions difficult as the diagrams are separated from the English translation by the original German instructions.

Finally, since writing my last review of an epilator system the no!no! device has become available which, though very expensive, removes hair using much less painful laser technology. I feel this system has made the epilator more or less redundant. Rather than adding more bells and whistles, Braun needs to produce a simpler product that can be more easily stored.


Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of 'Agitated Depression' but..., 8 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Reasons to Stay Alive (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As someone who has suffered a depressive breakdown myself, I can only attest to the incredible accuracy of Mr Haig's description. Most people, I find, can understand the 'sad' feelings of a depressive episode, but very few understand the feelings of total terror and alienation that the sufferer feels when at their worst. As such this book ought to be required reading for any relative or friend of someone going through such a breakdown.

The book is also useful for sufferers themselves as it gives details of how Mr Haig came out of his episode and found himself leading a happier and more fulfilled life as a result. In this respect I'm sure the stories of all recovering depressives are essentially the same. We have learnt to calm down, to control our worrying, to take good care of our bodies, to appreciate the current moment, and to value relationships rather than things.

Being a subjective autobiography, however, this book cannot cover the whole experience of depression. Mr Haig suffered a particular type of depressive breakdown...one that was accompanied with a very high level of anxiety. Another person's breakdown may not involve anxiety but may include bouts of psychotic delusion. For another, the depression may vary with the seasons (as in SAD) or be the other side of mania. So it might be presumptuous for a reader to think that their relative or friend is going through exactly what Mr Haig did. Similarly, it might be dangerous for another sufferer to conclude that because Mr Haig did not take drugs or undertake any formal therapy that they don't need to either.

In short, there are many different faces to depression. Mr Haig has described one type very well, but we should all be wary of thinking this is the last word that needs saying on the subject.


Philips HX6732/45 Healthy White Rechargeable Toothbrush
Philips HX6732/45 Healthy White Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £72.49

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beats the competition, but not perfect..., 3 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I normally use a Braun electric toothbrush, but since I've been testing this I've found it has several advantages. Firstly, the battery lasts much longer. I barely get a week's worth out of the Braun but this one lasts three weeks. This means I can take it on my hols in its attractive carry-case! I also like the fact that the light flashes to tell you when to recharge. The toothbrush head itself is highly aerodynamic rather than round so it fits into every crevice. I like the clean and whiten function where you clean normally for 2 minutes but then concentrate on the front teeth for 30 seconds. This certainly works. My teeth are noticeably whiter! The sensitive function is useful in a cold spell when the gums can easily start to withdraw from the teeth. Overall, using the brush is very pleasant as it makes a very gentle sound (unlike the Braun which sounds like a drill). Finally, if you register your brush, you can get product support and even get entered in competitions!

The only thing I found confusing was which of my brushes was the DiamondClean one that would whiten my teeth in a week, and which was the more bog standard ProResults one. The DiamondClean is the more colourful one with white bristles all round and with a pale green central area. Such things should be included in the instruction booklet. It would also be helpful if the stand held the spare head in place more firmly. Mine fell off almost daily. If I spend over seventy pounds on a product, I expect better design.

Also, don't forget when you get your brush you should charge it overnight before using it in order to get the best out of the battery.


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