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Moonless (London Town)
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Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedicure Foot Soak 150 ml
Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedicure Foot Soak 150 ml
Price: 5.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Not outstanding, 26 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This new foot soak from Scholl has a nice consistency. The smell is quite nice, too, clean and fresh and light. The directions suggest adding 15ml of the soak to 3-5L of water. I had no idea how much this was so just added what I thought. It would be great if there was a measure added onto the side of the bottle to help with that although I don't know how whether the amount you put in will really make a difference.

The soak doesn't lather up much, and I much prefer this. While soaking my feet, I used a skin remover, but while I found the whole experience relaxing overall, the soak didn't seem to improve the smoothness of the skin. It's a good price, but doesn't stand out in the crowd.


Mutant City
Mutant City
by Steve Feasey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to Book 2!, 26 Jun 2014
This review is from: Mutant City (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A story set in a post-apocalyptic future where the Last War has destroyed much of Earth as we know it. Millions of humans were left with deformities and defects - mutants, the legacy left by the chemical war. Others managed to shelter for years in bunkers below the scorched earth - the pure. Now, pure and mutants don't mix, at least, not officially. Parallel lives that bear no resemblance to each other. The pure can change eye colour at whim, demand a blue-eyed, black-haired baby if that's what they want, enhance and perfect, while the mutants cannot even treat basic illnesses.

In the middle of all this, almost a new group entirely - created in a lab, a mixture of pure and mutant - five teenagers with mutant blood and extraordinary powers. Children whose existence threatens the rule of the cruel and evil President Melk. Melk wants the children in his possession at all costs and sends out his ARM (Agency for the Regulation of Mutants) agents to find them.

`Mutant City' is a fantastic read for fans of sci-fi, alien worlds, super heroes, a post-apocalyptic Earth. With gender selection, genetic engineering, biological and chemical advances, there's a touch of the here and now in this novel. With a bit of fantasy thrown in.

The characters are likeable, there are also plenty of baddies and goodies, too. Apart from the idiosyncratic Melk who will stop at nothing to retain power, there are also outlaws, bandits, rogue mutants, protectors of the children, enemies of Melk and a host of other players that bring the story to life.

Feasby has created a whole new world that somehow replicates the one we know now but with so many tweaks and changes that could be plausible. Who knows what the long-term outcome of chemical warfare and genetic engineering could be?

The ending suggests a second book could be on the way. I hope so! I could also see `Mutant City' being turned into a TV series!


Thirteen
Thirteen
by Tom Hoyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Thrills and chills don't quite hit the spot, 26 Jun 2014
This review is from: Thirteen (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Adam was born at the stroke of midnight on the Millennium. He doesn't know this as Adam was adopted at a young age and knows little of his previous life. However, more is known of his past by strangers - knowledge they have that puts Adam's life in mortal danger.

Coron is the leader of a cult who believes that boys born at the stroke of midnight on the Millennium are a danger to him, and to the new kingdom that will rise to conquer all, with Coron at its head. To let this kingdom prosper, those boys must be killed before they reach their fourteenth birthday. So far, 12 boys have died - Adam will be the thirteenth, and final sacrifice.

So far, so good. An intriguing story idea, a contemporary setting, and the thrills and chills you would expect in a story about cults, sacrifices, murder and madness. However, `Thirteen' doesn't quite cut it as I'd hoped. There is something lacking here - the plots moves along at a steady pace, but the nuances and ups and downs are not there. We are told the story in an almost lectured tone - this happens, then that, then Adam says this, Coron does that. I don't feel we really get into the characters' minds or feelings, there is a certain lack of empathy that makes it difficult to connect to them. Perhaps nuance is sacrificed for pace!

Having said that, the pace is kept up with lots of twists and turns. You want to know what happens at the end. It seems this just the first in a series, although that's not clear. What is good, though, is the use of a cult and its crazy cult leader as a premise for a story.

There is a lot of violence in this book - murder, torture, kidnapping, swearing, so it's not for younger readers.


Kipling Nevada Suitcase
Kipling Nevada Suitcase
Price: 77.30 - 156.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Roomier than you think, 11 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kipling Nevada Suitcase (Luggage)
I purchased this bag for short weekend breaks or overnight stays, and I've found it ideal. Initially, it didn't look that big to me, but it is split into compartments and zipped sleeves to better pack your things. I've managed to fit in a couple of pairs of shoes, a toiletry bag as well as clothes for two days and other bits like a book, straighteners and so on, quite comfortably.

I think it's adequate for a two-night stay or as cabin hand luggage (although I have not used it as such yet) but not for longer breaks. It has soft grip handles which make it comfortable to wheel around or carry and straps inside to keep your clothes in place. With so much choice on the market, this is one to definitely consider.


Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband
Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband
by Natalie Young
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Out of death - a new lease of life, 11 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found the title to this novel intriguing – it reminded me of the fabulous short story, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ by Roald Dahl in which a woman kills her husband with a leg of lamb and then the evidence is eaten. In this novel, though, I found very little of the black humour associated with Dahl’s adult work. In fact, it’s quite a sad story of a marriage that was long, empty and unfulfilled.

After 30 years of marriage, Lizzie Prain kills her husband and then decides to eat him to get rid of the evidence. Thus follows a painstaking and detailed account of how best to cook the sixteen bits of him that are in the freezer. It’s pretty sick in parts (especially as I’m a vegetarian!) but the idea of cannibalism isn’t mentioned till the very end. I’d expected that the husband, Jacob, may have carried out domestic abuse or an affair or some such, but it seems he was simply an inadequate man who wasn’t even able to leave his wife even though he wanted to.

The Prains stayed together, out of habit, apathy, fear. More than a tale of cooking and eating your husband, the story is also about a relationship that had lost its way and couldn’t find an amicable conclusion. The minutiae of how to deal with a human being’s parts, for example, what to do with the eyes or lips or just how big a shoulder of man is to cook and eat are particularly stomach churning. For Lizzie, it takes the death of her husband to give her a new lease of life, but overall it is a sad tale of a love that may not have been lost, but one that may never have been.


A Short Book About Drawing
A Short Book About Drawing
by Andrew Marr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Marrvelous!, 3 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is exactly what it says it is - a book about drawing - it isn't to teach you how to draw, a collection of techniques or even really about how Andrew Marr draws, but it is about how having drawing as a hobby can enrich your life.

Andrew Marr takes us on a journey giving us insight into how drawing has brought joy and satisfaction to his life. It is, in parts, autobiographical, but is actually quite humbly written and he manages to put forward his enthusiasm for drawing incredibly well.

He describes various mediums from simple pencil and paper to using an iPad and makes you feel it is something that anyone can do and get pleasure from. If you are a lapsed doodler, sketcher or even artist, it may well give you the impetus to pick up your pencil (or pen or stylus) and start drawing. If you are a little frightened of the blank page, you may pick up some inspiration. Or if you are not artistically inclined at all, it is somewhat refreshing to read a book by a public figure about such a simple pastime.


Electronics All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies: UK Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science))
Electronics All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies: UK Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science))
by Dickon Ross
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction, 2 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was a little sceptical about this book at first as Dummies books can be a bit hit or miss and can sometimes be a little too gentle with their readers. However this mighty volume, that weighs in at over 800 pages and is made up of a collection of eight original mini Dummies electronic guides, is actually pretty good, and gets to the point.

The first four books give a really good grounding in electronic principles, starting off with the foundation of `What is electricity?', tools, safety tips. It then moves into the basic components with excellent explanations of theoretical concepts such as Ohm's Law. Then a book about working with basic integrated circuits followed by alternating current.

There are straightforward mini projects throughout that can be built using relatively cheap and easily available components to bring to life the concepts.

The last four mini books are where the building blocks get to be put together and used for longer involved projects.

It begins with an old school project, building a radio, which, as are all the projects, is very well explained with clear instructions. There is a comprehensive mini book on building digital electronics circuits followed by another book on using a BASIC Stamp programmable module. I had never heard of a BASIC Stamp module before, but it is like an earlier version of an Arduino module - so maybe if this is the direction you want to go in, skim through this section and maybe buy an Arduino instead (there is quite a sizeable maker community based around the Arduino so you'll get a lot more out of it). However, if you haven't heard of Arduino, then this is a good place to start with BASIC Stamp. The final book has a collection of projects, the most interesting being for a metal detector.

To summarise, this is a great book aimed at complete beginners to the world of electronics or those of us who have some vague memories of doing electronics in physics at high school - and want to get into the hobbyist practical side of electronics. Some of it is a little dated and some of the projects are a bit obscure (talking puppet anyone?) and you probably won't end up doing all the practical elements - but it is a good solid comprehensive introduction.


Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman
by Elizabeth Buchan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.56

4.0 out of 5 stars A good holiday read, 28 April 2014
It’s the time of year again to start thinking about summer holiday reading, and Elizabeth Buchan’s 2002 novel is a pretty good place to start. The story is not as dramatic as the title makes out. There are no spiteful, vengeful acts of suits slashing and crockery smashing, drunken displays of embarrassment or screaming matches in public. Instead, there is a measured, more profound approach to the fallout caused by infidelity and the breakup of families.

The main characters, Rose and Nathan, have been married for 25 years. Rose thinks they are happy enough but then Nathan drops a bombshell that not only is he about to leave Rose, he’s also leaving her for her assistant, Minty. Thus begins an unravelling of the couple’s relationship, not just with each other, but also with their children, friends and work colleagues. There are flashbacks to happier times, and times before Rose met Nathan, as she wonders how it all went wrong, and whether ghosts from her past had always been present.

What’s interesting, though, is how Rose seems to cope better with the breakup than Nathan does. As she becomes stronger, or more together, he appears to be falling apart. Sometimes you want Rose to do the whole screaming, wronged-woman thing, but ultimately, her dignity and empathy wins out in the end.


Marathon Leicester Stripe 5 Pair Pack Sock Men's Socks multicolored One Size
Marathon Leicester Stripe 5 Pair Pack Sock Men's Socks multicolored One Size

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality, 26 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This brand of socks is slightly more expensive than others, however, the quality and comfort reflect this. I got this set for my husband and he has found them very comfortable. They allow the feet to breathe, and have lasted well for over a year. Also kept their colour and brightness. Would recommend similar from the same brand (as I've seen this particular set is not currently available).


Octopus Rattle - Green
Octopus Rattle - Green
Offered by Bumbles Toys & Gifts
Price: 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Pebbles can cause a ripple effect!, 9 Mar 2014
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Octopus Rattle - Green (Toy)
Pebble products are a firm favourite gift of mine for all the new babies in my life. They are made by a women's cooperative in Bangladesh, called Hathay Bunano. Hathay Bunano means made by hand, and the toys are made by women who are part of a non-profit fair trade organisation.
The toys themselves are so well made. They are bright, colourful, eye-catching and comforting for tiny eyes and hands. I particularly like this octopus which I've sent as far afield as Australia and the US as gifts. Its legs are easy for small fingers to clutch and it also makes a gentle rattle sound.

If you're not into octopuses, Pebble have also just launched a new range of `Once Upon a Time' toys such as Humpty Dumpty, unicorns and dragons. I would recommend them as a slightly alternative gift, and certainly one that gives back!


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