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Lizzie (Newtownards Co Down)

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The Guardian Angel's Journal
The Guardian Angel's Journal
by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

3.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing..., 17 Jun 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Guardian Angel's Journal is something of a unique concept. The story begins with a woman named Margot who has just died. She is told she must go back to Earth to be her own guardian angel, and is given a new name, Ruth. She is taken back right back to her birth and so must guide, love and protect Margot on her path.

The book raises many issues about Angels and just how much they can do or change, and we feel Ruth's understandable frustration at being unable to prevent the consequences of others free will.

The book was well written and flowed easily with believable dialogue, and the concept of a person being able to be their own guardian was quickly grasped.

However, I don't think this book is for everyone. The descriptions of child abuse and torture were harrowing at best, and to be honest were a bit much for me, and at times I wondered if I really wanted to read on.

To sum up, an interesting tale, but one which didn't really warm my heart.

Mistress of My Fate
Mistress of My Fate
by Hallie Rubenhold
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining historical romp..., 15 Jun 2011
This review is from: Mistress of My Fate (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Henrietta Ingerton is seventeen years old in 1789, and the book opens with our heroine fleeing her home in the early hours of an October morning. Instantly we are drawn into the story and Henrietta's plight, eager to read on to find out the reasons for such a rash and dangerous act, and how this young lady of the Quality should fall from grace and come to be known as Henrietta 'Lightfoot'.

The book is written entirely in the first person, like a series of memoirs by Henrietta many years later. We are addressed as 'Dear Reader' and are told right from the beginning that the book has been written in order to let her Victorian audience hear her side of the story, because she has been the recipient of much slander by her relative, Lord Dennington.

The book positively races along and is difficult to put down. Facts about her early life are filled in, before we accompany Henrietta as she falls in love and inevitably falls prey to the consequences of such a forbidden and secret union. It is easy to empathize with her as we realize just how little control she appears to have with her fate, until she uses the only things she possesses to her own advantage - namely her good looks and her body.

I enjoyed this book and its easy reading style, although I have to admit that the first third was my favourite. I enjoyed reading about the tensions and relationships of her early life and the growing sense of menace which circled her. I thought this part of the book was quite gothic in nature, and even though the rest of the book was good, for me the second two thirds didn't quite have the same sense of urgency.

The ending was very abrupt and for me this prevented it from being a five star read. I know that 'Mistress of My Fate' is planned as the first of a trilogy, but I would still have liked the book to finish in a neater and more rounded way. I don't mind there being openings for the next book, but I don't like to feel that the first one isn't quite finished.

That said, I enjoyed the book very much and look forward to the next installment.

To My Best Friends
To My Best Friends
by Sam Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable easy read..., 6 Jun 2011
This review is from: To My Best Friends (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found "To My Best Friends" an enjoyable read punctuated with sadness. The book opens with Nicci who is dying prematurely from cancer. She is writing three letters, one for each of her best friends. This is the only time that Nicci is in the story as such, with the rest of her story shown through flashbacks. Mona, Lizzie and Jo were her friends and they have each been bequeathed something precious from Nicci. She wants Mona to have love in her life and wants her to look after Nicci's husband David, Lizzie is to have her beloved garden, and to Jo who cannot have children of her own, she gives the care of her three year old twins. Nicci has obviously wanted everyone to be happy and content after she has left them, but the friends all have their own lives and their own and secrets that they haven't shared.

The characters in the book were fresh and well developed and I found myself getting immersed into the story from very early on. It reminded me a little of Cecelia Ahern's Ps I Love You. That is not to say it was the same, it isn't, but I found it to have the same poignancy. The dialogue was realistic and I liked the way the characters interacted with one another, and the way the story flowed. That's not to say I liked all of the characters. In fact I wasn't too keen on Nicci herself - a little too perfect - but that had nothing to do with the writing, it was just the way I felt about Nicci.

I would recommend this book if you are a fan of chick lit and want to lose yourself in a good but poignant read :)

Philips Sonicare HX9332/04 DiamondClean Rechargeable Toothbrush White
Philips Sonicare HX9332/04 DiamondClean Rechargeable Toothbrush White
Price: 153.91

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for crowns...., 6 Jun 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was very pleasantly surprised by the Philips Sonicare HX9332/04 diamond clean toothbrush, having used other, albeit cheaper, rechargeable toothbrushes in the past. This is a delight to use. It is slimline and very stylish, and can be charged either through the case with the usb lead or with the glass supplied! Please note, if using the glass (which I do) it is fitted with a TWO pin plug, as all bathroom products are. Even if you do not have a two pin socket in the bathroom, adapters from two to three pin are cheap and readily available. I purchased one for 99p in my local chemist.

Initial charging was overnight, but the charge lasts about two weeks. When using the brush there is a 30 second beep which tells you when to move onto another part of your mouth. I was initially apprehensive about ordering this brush because I have two rather expensive crowns at the front of my mouth, and this had been one reason why I'd given up on battery powered toothbrushes in the past (I just felt the others were a bit harsh). So when this arrived I was delighted to see a sensitive setting.

The brush came with two different sized heads and I chose the smaller one with the sensitive setting. When using this for the first time I was very surprised how gentle if felt. In fact I began to wonder if it was actually cleaning my teeth properly, but when I'd finished my teeth felt as though they'd just been cleaned at the dentist. I was delighted. At no time did I feel that my crowns were under threat and my teeth were lovely and clean.

When finished simply hold the brush under the tap for a few seconds while selecting the Clean setting - this cleans the brush of any remaining toothpaste and debris.

My only complaint - and it is a small one - is that you cannot go straight to the sensitive setting without scrolling through a couple of other ones. Although only taking a couple of seconds to do this, some of the toothpaste can be shaken off the brush before the sensitive setting is selected.

All in all though - highly recommended :)

My Name is Memory
My Name is Memory
by Ann Brashares
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.68

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheated!!!, 1 Jun 2011
This review is from: My Name is Memory (Paperback)
'My Name is Memory' is a different kind of love story set across 1500 years. Daniel has always loved Lucy and spends lifetime after lifetime searching and trying to be with her. But he is the only one who remembers his previous lives, and many of the couple's difficulties arise from the fact that Lucy doesn't remember. She only has feelings, dreams and glimpses of something she can't quite put her finger upon.

I found reading this book a joy, and quickly got caught up in the web of Daniel and Lucy's tangled lives. The book spanned centuries but the writing was kept tight and kept me interested. It is very character driven, and I think that this is a book to be read slowly. I relished every word, with things really getting going from about the half way point. I also liked the character of Ben, and would have liked to see his personality developed even more.

It was fast becoming one of my favourite reads, until that is, I reached the end. As one other reviewer said, I was tempted to hurl the book across the room!

In one moment the story was ruined for me. It just didn't end. It felt as if the author had forgotten to write an ending, and just stopped writing. It has been mentioned that this may be the start of a trilogy. That may be so, but still I felt the story should have been at least rounded off. Instead, it was just left hanging.

I didn't know whether to give 'My Name is Memory' two or three stars, but plumped for three purely because I had enjoyed the characters and writing so much. But as for the ending?

Well, I just felt cheated.

Nature Babycare Wipes with Lotion - 10 x Packs of 70 (700 Wipes)
Nature Babycare Wipes with Lotion - 10 x Packs of 70 (700 Wipes)
Price: 29.60

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job..., 15 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These babycare wipes are soft and gentle on the skin. They are NOT drying or sticky either. They are fragrance free, chlorine free and biodegradable, if you want to be 'greener'. I found the packet to open and reseal easily and securely, ensuring the unused wipes didn't dry out. In comparing prices with leading brands they did appear to be cheaper. However, I would say that Pampers had the edge on softness. Also I thought the packaging looked a little dated, and felt a bit cheap - not very appealing and for this they lost a star.

To sum up - recommended.

What Women Want
What Women Want
by Fanny Blake
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.23

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a struggle...., 15 May 2011
This review is from: What Women Want (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'What Women Want' is about three women in their forties/fifties who have been friends for many years. Bea who works in publishing is just getting back in the dating game after a divorce, GP Kate's marriage appears to be stale now that her children have all grown up, and Ellen has apparently found Mr Right after having to bring up her children single handedly after her husband died.

I'm afraid I didn't find this novel very good at all. I thought the story meandered quite a bit, with each of the friends being dealt with separately a lot of the time. For me, the dialogue was often clunky and the character development poor, with Bea's teenage son Ben being one of the worst examples - lots of grunting and not much else. There was also quite a lot of padding imo which was curious, for it is not a particularly long book, eg. it took the author almost two pages to describe a hospital waiting room! Not really necessary, and every time Bea went out to lunch etc. we are treated to a run down of everything she ate. I realize that scenes have to be set, but Fanny Blake didn't do this very well at all and I was just plain bored. I found the writing style dry, amateurish and filled with cliches and to be brutally honest I hadn't read very much when I realized that I didn't care what happened to any of the characters.

I know that there are many people that seem to have enjoyed this book, perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea, but in all honestly I feel there are many authors out there who do chick lit and women's fiction so much better.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2011 12:01 AM BST

Devil's Consort
Devil's Consort
by Anne O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.03

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable..., 16 April 2011
This review is from: Devil's Consort (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first book of Anne O'Brien's that I've read and was eager to do so, being a fan of historical fiction. Eleanor of Aquitaine is not a queen that I'm very familiar with so I cannot comment on how accurate the novel is.

The book is written in the first person, which although not always popular, is a form which I quite like. I think there's no better way to get to know what makes a character tick. In this case the point of view is, of course, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. The story begins just before her first marriage to Louis Capet King of France, at the tender age of fifteen. The easy writing style draws you in from the very first page and it isn't long before we realize just how mismatched Louis and Eleanor are. Louis hadn't been brought up to be King. He had grown up in a monastery, and he finds it almost impossible to shake off his devout lifestyle, finding excuse after excuse not to come to Eleanor's bed. Eleanor, however, is portrayed as a passionate and in some ways volatile woman, and finds the thoughts of being trapped in a sexless, loveless marriage too much to bear.

The book chronicles her marriage, her role in the crusades and several affairs, finally ending with her well known marriage to Henry 11 of England and coronation. The author brings the period richly to life, and it was easy to picture the story unfolding. Eleanor is a fascinating woman, in many respects ahead of her time. You feel sympathy for her plight, and yet she is not without fault. Occasionally I felt a bit sorry for Louis.

I didn't give Devil's Consort five stars because I happen to agree with the reviewer who said there was a distinct lack of sex. Now don't get me wrong I don't like graphic bedroom scenes written for the sake of it, However, Eleanor's character was so passionate, so outspoken, so frustrated in many ways that it didn't seem in keeping with her character to leave these scenes out. We are told about her lovers, about her intense, physical attraction for them, and then the bedroom door - whilst maybe not being slammed - is certainly firmly closed in our face eg. from page 328 'Without a word I went to him. To a robing room, a comfortable divan clothed and cushioned in silk. What passed between us there should remain unwitnessed, unsaid.' So in this respect I wouldn't compare Anne O'Brien to Philippa Gregory. Philppa was never afraid of a good sex scene.

Having said that, it is a very enjoyable novel with an easy reading style, bringing to life one of the most interesting and controversial characters in history. Recommended :)

Jays a-Jays T00073 Two Heavy bass Earphones - Black
Jays a-Jays T00073 Two Heavy bass Earphones - Black
Price: 34.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb..., 9 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased these a-Jay Two earphones after my Bose earphones went belly up! I'd only had the Bose for just over a year and they had had no abuse. As you can imagine, I was reluctant to pay good money for an identical pair.

I've always been fussy about earphones. I have about half a dozen rejected ones languishing in a drawer somewhere. I'm no expert, but I like them to be comfortable and produce a good range of tones from my music. After reading the reviews for these a-Jays and reading that earphones is their speciality, I decided to take the plunge, and I'm so glad I did.

These are extremely comfortable and come with five pairs of different sizes of buds, so they fit perfectly. It is a bit fiddlely changing them around, but it is worth it to get the right size for your ears. They also came with an in flight adapter and a stereo splitter, neither of which I will use, but some people could find these useful and it is good value that these are thrown in with the a-Jay Twos.

I was delighted with the sound quality immediately and find I don't have to have the volume as loud. (I'd say this has something to do with the snug fit and the fact that these are noise insulating earphones). The sound is rich and deep and my music sounds better than ever.

Please note though, there were a couple of other reviews for a-Jay earphones saying that they kept falling out of the ear. It is important that these are inserted correctly. As said before, they are noise insulating earphones and need to be inserted into the ear canal. If you pull your ear out and up slightly when inserting them, they are safe and secure. Just practice a few times and you will be rewarded.

All in all, excellent value, and better than Bose!!!

Walk on the Wild Side (Mills & Boon Modern Tempted)
Walk on the Wild Side (Mills & Boon Modern Tempted)
by Natalie Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this...., 31 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Kelsi Reid is a bit of a loner who works as a web designer, although she appears to be happy with her safe and secure existence. That is until she bumps into - quite literally because she runs him over - the sexy and charismatic champion snowboarder, Jack Greene. Sparks fly and they end up having a wild and unforgettable fling on the beach. They are both content to leave it at that and both go back to their separate lives, that is until Kelsi finds out she is pregnant, and Jack just can't seem to get her out of his head. But their lives are incompatible, right?

I haven't read a Mills and Boon novel for many, many years but decided to give this one a go, being lucky enough to have been offered it as part of the vine program. I didn't really know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by this little book. The characters of Kelsi and Jack were well developed and any dialogue between them, well written. I found I understood them both and rooted for them too. I was especially impressed by the fact that Kelsi wasn't your conventional stunning beauty, but had a freshness and quirkiness about her which was endearing.

Ok, so I can't compare this to other Mills and Boon books, but if you love a sexy romance and a not too taxing tale to curl up with, you won't go too far wrong with this. Based on this book, I'll be giving some more M&B a try.

Hope this helps:)

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