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D E Barker
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The Labrador Theory
The Labrador Theory
by Cheever Hardwick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.14

3.0 out of 5 stars One for the Country Set..., 29 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Labrador Theory (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lightweight (in all senses of the word) hardback book which claims to explain why and how country gents are like their Labrador dogs. It is mildly amusing and the cartoons are nice. It does not contain many words and takes around 20 minutes to read; this probably reflects its target readership. Obviously released for the Christmas market, it would make an ideal stocking filler for someone of the hunting/shooting/fishing set. Not for me though, thanks.


The Incarnations
The Incarnations
by Susan Barker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky Chinese History!, 29 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Incarnations (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I can honestly say of this book that from page to page one never knows what is going to happen next. There's plenty of sex and violence, and, especially interesting for me, details of Chinese history. I found it a gripping read, even though most of the characters are quite horrible and the situations unbelievable. Susan Barker writes beautifully, evoking each scene to all the senses whist keeping the story rolling along. Reading this book is a bit like sitting round a camp fire listening to spooky stories. A good book for a winter read.


Hotpoint Hand Blenders 3 in 1, 700 Watt, Silver
Hotpoint Hand Blenders 3 in 1, 700 Watt, Silver
Price: £41.94

5.0 out of 5 stars For professionals!, 24 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the hand blender for the professional cook. It is sleek, all the accessories use the same attachment and click easily into place, so there is no fiddling and no worries about losing extra parts, and there is no wobbling even on the highest settings. I thought the whisk looked a bit flimsy so tested it out on some egg whites: the results were superb. This all being said, if you are a very amateur cook with weak wrists then this isn't for you. It is a heavy model, and it doesn't come with any recipes. Only get it if you know how to use a hand blender!


Leifheit Pegasus M Classic 81514 Drying Rack
Leifheit Pegasus M Classic 81514 Drying Rack
Price: £49.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for sheets and woollens., 24 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a brilliant drying rack. It may not hold quite the capacity of some others, but it makes up for this in the way it allows you to dry sheets and duvet covers over its wings, and woollens on the ample flat area. Also one can separate out small fragile items using the supplied plastic peg system. It is stable enough to use outside and would be ideal for someone with a balcony or patio. It is very light so easy to move. I couldn't help feeling when I was testing it that toddlers would love to use it as a play tent when it is covered in sheets. Wash day can be fun!


National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945-1963
National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945-1963
by Richard Vinen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Prof Waffles On a Bit, 21 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I asked for this book from Amazon Vine because I'm always interested to read the social histories of individuals who get caught up in a movement of some kind. Here we have a unique cohort of men told they must serve their country for a period of 18 months to two years of their young adult lives. It should make for a riveting 'rite of passage' account. Unfortunately, Professor Vinen is a historian so he has different ideas. He is interested in how national service might have affected society (it turns out it didn't much). He is also interested in how national service reflected society as it was (almost 100%). He looks at what men did before they were conscripted (some worked, some didn't). He explores the relationship between women and conscription (Mothers were a nuisance and all the nice girls didn't necessarily love a sailor). And he looked at who didn't get conscripted (barrow boys and gypsies)

That's it in a nutshell. How the Prof manages to eke it out to 535 pages is beyond me! He repeats himself a lot and waffles. The best parts are the individual vignettes. Unfortunately, the Prof tells us in his intro that such 'ego-documents' are not to be trusted. (Strange then that he should include so many.). The background politics is also fascinating if a little long-winded.

To sum up, this book provides a pretty comprehensive account of conscription. It just needs a good editor and some interesting pictures to spice it up. And someone should write a more interesting, shorter tome on conscription as a rite of passage for we of a more anthropological bent.


How to Fall in Love
How to Fall in Love
by Cecelia Ahern
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern 'Wonderful Life', 21 Sep 2014
This review is from: How to Fall in Love (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a real page turner; I couldn't put it down! A bit like a modern version of 'It's a Wonderful Life', it is all about coming back from the brink of suicide to feeling good about oneself and one's life. But in this case, the 'angel' rescuer needs the medicine as much as the depressed patient! I loved Ms Ahern's journalistic writing style. The dialogue is superb and the descriptions of venue around Dublin brief but telling. Even when something does jar, as when we are introduced to the protagonist's seemingly silly family, the deep seated reasons for this become clear later. As a darkly humorous romantic comedy, I can see this book making a smash hit movie!


Hotpoint Hand Blenders, 700 Watt, Silver
Hotpoint Hand Blenders, 700 Watt, Silver
Price: £49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Man-Sized Machine!, 21 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Wow! This blender is really big. It looks more like it was designed for industrial rather than domestic use. It is also really powerful...it blended my squash soup in seconds! Surprisingly, given its power and dimensions, its mixing bowl is of very limited capacity, and only gives metric measurements. Note that the bowl is the only accessory, so only get this if you already have other items for chopping and whipping. I would say it's the ideal blender for a muscular bloke in a bachelor pad who wants to make smoothies and soups quickly. But he must be an experienced cook....no recipes are included in the instructions!


IMEDEEN Hair and Nails
IMEDEEN Hair and Nails
Price: £20.68

1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware!, 20 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I asked to be sent this product by the Amazon Vine programme, but I'm am NOT taking it. This is because when I examined the contents, I found the first listed ingredient was Horsetail extract which not only is not proven to be a hair and nail improver, but also has been shown to have serious side effects when taken over a long period of time (you can check this online via Medline, if you like). As the leaflet suggests you will only get an effect after 4 months, you are obviously expected to take it over an extended period. So, I would stay well clear of this product. The other ingredients, zinc and B vitamins, may well be helpful if you have brittle nails. There are plenty of other vitamin and mineral supplements that contain these. I suggest you visit your pharmacist to see what he/she advises.


Konstsmide Lightsets Outdoor 3612-110 19.04 m 120 Micro LED Fairy Lights, Warm White
Konstsmide Lightsets Outdoor 3612-110 19.04 m 120 Micro LED Fairy Lights, Warm White
Price: £24.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too bright. Too white., 19 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my first foray into LED Christmas lights, and I must say it's a relief not having to worry about individual bulb failures. I first tested the lights as a pack, and nearly detached my retinas! This leads me to my main criticism of the lights: I think they are far too bright for internal display. They would be ideal for a small tree outside the house and this is how I intend to use them. However, if I were buying a set of lights for this purpose I would prefer to have a set which gave a choice of settings and colours. I don't think solid white colour is very festive outside.


The Moon Field
The Moon Field
by Judith Allnatt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not engaging., 13 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Moon Field (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a rather formulaic upstairs-downstairs version of life during the First World War. I very nearly stopped reading after the first chapter as I found the dialogue between the working class lads that hero George joins up with almost laughable. Ms Allnatt has no ear for accent; folk from the North West of England would never talk like this. However, I'm glad I did read on because the 'upstairs' parts are far better drawn, and the romantic interludes between Edmund and Violet are believable. I must say, here, that I'm surprised Ms Allnatt chose to focus on her male leads; Violet and Kitty are far more interesting as characters than wimpy George and goody goody Edmund. Also, there are already so many (better) fictional war accounts, it would have been more interesting to have focused on the women.
Generally, I found the writing style rather flat. It is functional writing with no frills. Ms Allnatt describes what is there, more or less, but she doesn't inspire or thrill. At no point was I tempted to turn a page down because I found a description particularly good or an observation acutely pertinent. I found the book very difficult to finish because I was not fully engaged either by the plot or the characters.


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