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Sati Marie Frost "collector of anything and everything" (London, England)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 very thankful stars!, 27 July 2014
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When this first arrived, I was disappointed. It was folded over and rolled up, and looked like a piece of generic foam that I could buy from the market for a tenner. And it stank. Oh God, the smell. I put it on my bed and covered it with a mattress protector and a sheet and it still smelled terrible. And it had a really annoying ridge in the middle from where it was folded.

And then I slept on it.

All my disappointment went away, because it was the first good night's sleep that I'd had in months. For the first thirty years of my life I needed a hard bed - in fact, the most comfortable sleep I can remember was a summer sleeping on a blanket on a marble floor in Spain - and I couldn't understand why people liked soft memory foam. My bedroom at my father's house has a Tempur foam mattress, and sleeping on it was a nightmare. It was so squishy and made it hard to move. Then I packed on a load of weight after an illness, and gained a couple of cup sizes too, and suddenly I was waking up every morning with agonizing back pain. I didn't want to accept that the bed that had been so comfy for several years was the thing that was causing it, but at 3am one night I'd had enough and ordered this.

Three or four months down the line, it's not QUITE as comfy as it was, as my weight has caused it to sag a bit. I guess that's the "memory" part of memory foam - it automatically goes into the position that you were in before. I think I'd probably be better off with "non-memory foam" (if such a thing exists?), as I like to change my position as I sleep, and really dislike anything that holds a shape rather than bouncing back to its original shape. That's why I've given this 4 stars instead of 5 - I sometimes feel like I try to change position and instead I just roll back into the dip that I left. I also have squashed it enough that I sometimes feel the springs of the mattress through it - hopefully this will improve when my weight decreases.

That said, I still feel so much better than I did before I bought this. I only wake up with backaches one or two mornings a week now, instead of every day. I'd like to get that down to no pain, but I think that will take a miracle. Or maybe a thicker mattress topper. I'd definitely be interested in upgrading to a 5-inch or 6-inch.

I'd recommend this to anyone with upper backaches, and anyone who's put on weight and found that their old mattress no longer suits them. Although it was quite expensive, it was cheaper than buying a new mattress (especially a good-quality one). I would recommend airing it out for a few days before sleeping on it, particularly if you're buying it for a guest room - the smell is quite appalling, but gets fainter after a few days and is gone in a few weeks.

Edited: I see that the price has been reduced considerably - it was £64.99 when I bought mine in the spring. Even better value now!

Omron Walking Style III Pedometer - Purple
Omron Walking Style III Pedometer - Purple
Price: £15.86

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 very happy stars!, 27 July 2014
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A very nice basic pedometer.


~ Easy to use - buttons are a good size and lie flat so you don't hit them accidentally.

~ Durable - the first week I had it I fell flat on my face while running, and though the screen got scratched it still works just fine. (My nose was not quite so lucky, though it has healed.)

~ The belt clip is much stronger than any other that I've tried (I tend to lose a lot of pedometers - they often just fall off). The fact that it's on a lanyard is good too, as you can tuck it inside your clothes if necessary, and if you clip it onto thin fabrics it's less likely to pull them out of shape.

~ Unlike most pedometers I've tried, it's sensitive enough to log my steps when I'm walking super-slowly with my disabled mother. Also sensitive enough to log steps if I put it in my handbag or on the neck of a dress. Previous pedometers that I've tried have ignored any steps that don't match my input stride length, so I've come home many days wondering why it says I only did 4000 steps when I actually walked three times that. This one logs just about everything.

~ I like the colours! OK, it's ridiculously girly, but what can you do? :)


~ It would have been nice to have an aerobic step counter. (If there's one on here, I haven't found it.)

At some point I'll upgrade to a pedometer that I can connect to my iPhone, so that I don't have to hand-log all the details into the app I use for charting food and exercise, but for a basic, reasonably cheap step counter, this is excellent - the best I've tried yet. (I think I've had five or six different ones in the last few years.)

The Princess & the Penis
The Princess & the Penis
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A very amused 4 - 4.5 stars!, 27 July 2014
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A friend reviewed this, and her review was so charming I had to go out and buy it myself. I'm glad I did.

Princess Amalia is beautiful and kind, but her overprotective father has spent her whole life making sure that nothing that could hurt her ever comes close to her - including men, and any knowledge of sex, or even that sex exists. So the King and Queen are horrified when their virgin princess mentions that her bed has been visited at night by a "creature" shaped like a mushroom, a tree trunk and two apples! Poor Amalia just wants to pet the creature and nestle it between her legs so she can get a good night's sleep, and doesn't understand why her parents want to exorcise it, beat it, kill it or ask it to leave...

The plot sounds utterly ridiculous, and it is, but it's a charming sort of ridiculousness. Part smut, part fairy tale and part screwball comedy, this book is frothy and fabulous and funny. A delightful read.

My Only One
My Only One
Price: £0.00

2.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 stars, 27 July 2014
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This review is from: My Only One (Kindle Edition)
Rose and Jake fell in love as teenagers, and he was her first lover. (Not sure if she was his.) But they lived on different continents, and they knew they had to move forward with their lives and meet new people, so they split up.

Twenty years later, she's a widow, he's divorced, and he shows up at her door telling her he wants her back.

It's quite a sweet story, and the sex is nicely written, but something about it felt a little flat to me. We never really learn much about either character, aside from the basics; never find out their passions or beliefs or what makes them tick. I didn't feel like they were fully formed people, and without that depth of character I find it hard to care whether they get their happy ending or not.

That said, I do like the idea of the story. I'm just not sure that it worked for such a short piece. 2.5 stars.

Born Free
Born Free
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 stars, 27 July 2014
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This review is from: Born Free (Kindle Edition)
** spoiler alert ** I have to admit, I don't really understand the ebook generation. The sort of stories I was reading on Literotica a few years back are now being published (self, or otherwise) as complete books, albeit electronic ones. On the plus side, it's nice to get tasters from new authors and explore different things to what I'd usually read. On the minus side, I think of an adult fiction book as being something at least a couple hundred pages long (anything up to a thousand, really); either a novel or a collection of short stories. And I am not convinced that a single short story counts as a "book".

Of course, that's neither here nor there, so onto the story.

Clarity is working as a waitress in a café when Jessie walks in. I want to say he swaggers, because his Harley Fat Boy is parked outside, and frankly I just expect guys who ride Fat Boys to swagger, don't you? He doesn't, though. He's very sweet and charming and earnest, which is a refreshing change, given all the Swaggering Buttheads I've seen in romance stories lately. He seems to fall for Clare at first sight, asking her to sit with him and share his breakfast, and then defending her against two roughnecks who are either threatening her or coming onto her (it's not clear which, maybe both).

She agrees to take a ride with him when her shift ends, and they do. And then he takes her home, and when he sees her old rambling farmhouse, he decides that he should move in and help her run things in exchange for room and board.

I admit, my danger signals were going off here. I'm surprised Clarity's weren't.

So he moves in. They make love. After a while he feels the pull of the open road - he's Born Free, after all - but just when she thinks she's lost him, he comes back and tells her that with her is the only place he feels at home. Awww.

I'm not quite sure what to think of this story. A couple years back I'd have laughed at the idea of love at first sight, until the day three or four years ago when a guy walked into my uni class and I fell head over heels before he even opened his mouth. No, he wasn't a model or Adonis or Mr Corporate GQ; wasn't anything like the type I usually went for. I have no idea why I fell for him. But I did, and as a result I've been less cynical about the whole love at first sight thing.

The relationship does progress a little too fast for me. It has to, I guess, considering the length of the story, which is why I have a hard time accepting short stories as complete books. Things move too fast, and everything's focused on the action rather than getting to know the characters as people.

As I mentioned, my danger signals went off when Jessie decided that he should move into Clare's home. What kind of guy does that, unless he's a psychotic criminal? What kind of woman says yes, in this day and age? Yet my biggest bug-a-boo with the story was also the thing that illustrated one of the things I liked best: the curious innocence of both Jessie and Clarity. In some ways they feel like transplants from outside society, who are untouched by the cruelties of the world. They're honest, true people who seem to accept others (or at least each other) at their word and who don't see the danger in, say, going off with a stranger. While I can't truly empathise with this - I've had intimate knowledge of all the world's dangers since I was in my cradle - it makes both hero and heroine strangely endearing.

I really enjoyed the descriptive, evocative language Hobbs uses, too, especially when describing the desert scenery.

All in all, 2.5 stars. It wasn't terribly memorable, but nice enough to read for a few minutes.

A Cajun Werewolf Christmas (Stormy Weather, Book 6)
A Cajun Werewolf Christmas (Stormy Weather, Book 6)
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars, 27 July 2014
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Probably I should have read the other books in this series before this, because it's really just an epilogue. It's hard to keep everyone straight without reading their personal stories.

It is nice and Christmassy, and I enjoyed the present betting game - overgrown boys can be such fun in groups. :) I liked the characters enough that I might check out the longer books in the series and see what they're like in full.

I wasn't overly thrilled with the narration - although it's written in third person, it jumps from one POV to another, without any dividing markers, and I couldn't keep track of whose thoughts I was hearing.

All in all, not bad. As an epilogue, I might rate it higher when (if) I've read the rest of the books.

Halloween Hooker Costume
Halloween Hooker Costume
Price: £2.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Generally sex has to involve love to interest me these days, 27 July 2014
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I have to admit, full-blown (hah!) erotica / porn isn't really my thing most of the time. I spent my overly-hormonal teens reading stuff on Literotica, then discovered romance novels and didn't really look back. Generally sex has to involve love to interest me these days.

But I am obsessed with Halloween, so I spent the whole month of October reading everything Halloween-themed that I could get free on kindle: horror, YA, cookbooks - and this. I thought it was going to be trashy and awful.

It IS a little trashy, but wonderfully so. It was a delightful surprise to me to find out how nicely-written and engaging this tale was. The scenarios are unrealistic, but that adds to the appeal; it really feels to me like a magical, surreal, lusty Halloween dream, despite the lack of supernatural occurrences.

I found heroine Veronica very easy to relate to, and the boys were nice enough to like, nasty enough to have that raw sexuality, and detailed enough to have their own distinctive (and interesting) personalities, although I'd like to have known a little more about their histories and what makes them tick. (Aside from banging the hot librarian, anyway. *grins*)

For a stroke story, though, the personalities were complete enough, and the sex was descriptive and very erotic. That, coupled with the likeable characters, made this a particularly enjoyable read.

Crash and Burn: A Men of Crash, Fire and Rescue Short Story
Crash and Burn: A Men of Crash, Fire and Rescue Short Story

5.0 out of 5 stars like real people, 27 July 2014
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Now THIS is how to write a short story!

I've read several shorts in the last day or two, and this is the only one that's had characters that felt fully (or almost-fully) fleshed out, like real people. I'd still like to have known more about Dane and Laura Jo, but we got to know enough here for me to really be rooting for them.

The ending seemed a little abrupt, but the story in general was lovely.

The only other nitpick I (might) have is that I'm not entirely sure what Dane's job is. His team - what? Waits around for planes to crash? What if they crash elsewhere? But then I was reading quite late at night, so that might be clearer on a second reading, and if not then I expect it'll be cleared up in the next tale.

Romantic, hot and sweet, this is a perfect taster that introduces the Men of Crash, Fire and Rescue series. I'm off to check out the longer stories, and hope they're as good!

Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST
Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice!, 26 July 2014
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A very nice anthology here, much better than most horror collections that I've read. None of the stories were bad, although there were a couple that I didn't quite warm to, as well as a handful that I enjoyed, and two - "Voices of the Soul" and "Bloodlines" - that I thought were piercingly beautiful.

I skipped "Voices of the Soul" this time round, as I have it as an ebook (and am planning on rereading Rene Folsom's Soul Seers series soon) but I remember it was an A* read - one of my top five books last year. "Number 18" was a decent enough story, although I'd guessed what was going to happen. I wish they'd decided to call this anthology "Twisted" or something slightly less obvious than what it's called. KNOWING each story has a twist makes them less shocking when they come. Not sure how I felt about "Sweet Lenora". I enjoyed the story but I'm undecided on the ending - it seemed abrupt. I hadn't figured out the twist, although I was prepared for various other things, from Josef being Joe Stalin to Charlie being a creature of the night of higher rank than Jakob. :)

"Truth or Dare" was good - very atmospheric - although once again I guessed the twist. My mind is twisted, I guess. :) "Suburban Zombie" was short and sweet, and literally made me LOL.

"All I Want for Christmas" was brilliant. The epistolary style works really well for stories like this - it makes the big reveal feel more shocking to me. The narrator's voice was so very much like that of a 13-year-old girl - kudos to the author, because that's not an easy thing to write, particularly for a man. And the sting was quite deliciously twisted. "In the Eyes of the Beholder" had an interesting storyline that kept me guessing, but it felt a bit overreaching. At times it felt like a collection of disparate elements that didn't quite come together.

"Little Tchotchkes" was a delight from start to finish, and just kept surprising me. I liked the beginning of "I am Serna" - Damon was an interesting enough character to be part of a full novel. Didn't like the end. I wasn't expecting it, though, which I guess is a good thing?

"Bloodlines" was stunningly beautiful. "Metronome" was seriously creepy. I wish it hadn't been the last story - "Bloodlines" would have been a much nicer ending note.

5 stars for "Voices" and "Bloodlines", 3 stars for a couple of the others, and 3.5 - 4 for the rest, evening out to a very credible 4 stars from me.

Toy Story 2: Joke Book
Toy Story 2: Joke Book
by Skinner Daphne
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Meh, 26 July 2014
This review is from: Toy Story 2: Joke Book (Paperback)
It's very difficult to review this, as I only vaguely remember the Toy Story films (I think I must be the only person in the world who disliked them) and many of the jokes went over my head.

Of the ones that I understood, some made me groan, a few made me giggle, and the majority I had heard previously in another form that was unrelated to "Toy Story". Very few of the jokes are original, and I can only infer that it was published purely to capitalise on the success of the film(s). Nothing wrong with that, I suppose - it's a capitalist society, after all. But I don't imagine that recycled and rewritten jokes will appeal to kids over a certain age, and even those that they DO appeal to are likely to read the book once and then forget about it. As a freebie with a magazine or a Happy Meal - which is indeed what I thought it was, before I saw the barcode and price - I would likely judge it a little less harshly, but as a book sold in a store (albeit a £2.99 book) it doesn't really cut it with me. More original jokes would have improved the book immensely.

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