Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle  Learn more Countdown to Prime Day Shop now Shop now
Profile for Lady Fancifull > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Lady Fancifull
Top Reviewer Ranking: 148
Helpful Votes: 8822

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Lady Fancifull "Tinkerbell" (UK)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Mister Memory
Mister Memory
by Marcus Sedgwick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "Memory…given to us in order that we may learn, understand and build upon our previous achievements", 1 July 2016
This review is from: Mister Memory (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I first came to Marcus Sedgwick from a chance find of one of his children’s books, Blood Red, Snow White, in a charity shop. Sedgwick is a magnificent writer, mainly for the YA market, managing a deft balance between page-turning plot, fascinating, complex character, crafted writing, and balancing sometimes complex themes. Blood Red Snow White was typical Sedgewick, based on the real-life story of children’s writer Arthur Ransome, taking in fairy-story and its tropes, and, where Ransome crossed world events, the Russian Revolution, a love story, and espionage.

A couple of years ago, he wrote his first book for adults, the absorbing A Love Like Blood, a very different take on the over-crowded, often drearily repetitive vampire-lit market. Which I normally avoid like the plague, except when a proven, rather lit-ficcy writer strays into the territory. So I was eager to jump at the chance of Mister Memory.

Set in post-Commune Paris, at the tail end of the nineteenth century, this is – with many, many genuinely shocking, genuinely apposite twists, several things : a tale of corruption and sexual scandal in high places; a police procedural, not to mention police cover up; a political thriller; a murder mystery; an exploration of theories of ‘mind medicine’ at the time, and a unpicking of memory itself, its mysterious workings, and philosophical reflections about it.

The story, recounted through 3 viewpoints, is this: ‘Mister Memory’ himself,Marcel Després, a man who can forget nothing he reads or experiences, Inspector Petit, a man with tragedy in his past, and Doctor Morel, elderly ‘Alienist’ at the Salpêtrière hospital for those seen as mentally impaired. The third person narrator/author guides us overall.

Marcel, returning early from his ‘Mister Memory’ cabaret act, finds his flirtatious, sexy cabaret dancer wife in flagrante delicto with one of her many admirers. In jealous rage, he shoots her dead, and immediately gives himself up to the police. Petit, investigating the crime is astonished to discover that, far from going through normal channels of police procedure, trial and sentence, Marcel has instead immediately been whisked away to the
Salpêtrière. Motivated by a personal desire to see proper justice done, as he perceives it – the death penalty, or at least transportation to the ‘dry guillotine’ (Devil’s Island) Petit begins an off-the-cuff investigation. Initially he thinks he is carrying out normal procedures, but is inexplicably and heavily warned off the case. Meanwhile, Doctor Morel, a rather dry, unempathetic clinician, is fascinated by the opportunities Marcel presents, in terms of scientific understanding of the mind and its processes.

I found this a generally very absorbing, and at times, genuinely jaw-dropping in shock and surprise, read (for the right reasons)

I have some reservations, mainly because I felt that Sedgwick, in this one, offered fewer over-arching reflections for me to think about. Though there were a few of these, he generally sews more of them seamlessly into his books.

This was also a little over-long, even at only 326 pages. There were times when the various investigations and unravellings – Petit’s, Dr Morel’s, and Marcus'-through-Dr Morel, lumbered a little. But there were always those jaw-drop moments to absolutely gather and drive renewed forward momentum in my reading.

Not to mention some passages, in the light of present political happenings, which made me wince and wryly shiver:

“That’s one of the ways in which powerful men become powerful; they do despicable things, and if they get away with it, then stories are rewritten, facts are ignored. History, as we know, is written by the victor”

“Do you know what memory is for?......... Most people, if you ask them, will tell you that memory is about the past – it is, after all about remembering things that have happened. But that is not what memory is for. The ability to recall past events is a mere by-product of what memory does for us. It was given to us….in order that we might be able to negotiate the future……That is what memory is about: the future, not the past. The future.”

I finished my reading of this on the Hundred Year Anniversary of the battle of the Somme. In sombre mood


Kolymsky Heights
Kolymsky Heights
by Lionel Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A stylish, chilly, Siberian set thriller, with dabs of Sci-Fi, 27 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kolymsky Heights (Paperback)
Lionel Davidson’s Kolymsky Heights was first published in 1994. As the major political adversaries are Russia on the one hand and the intelligence services of Britain and North America on the other, the book was slightly out of time with itself, as the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s meant that Russia was not quite such a potent repository for parking all ideas of ‘the foe to be overcome’, a necessary part of any adventure story.

I’m certainly, on the strength of this one, interested in investigating more of Davidson’s books. This one was re-published in 2015, to critical acclaim. Although I can’t quite concur with Philip Pullman who said it was “The best thriller I’ve ever read” , being a devotee of early Greene and Eric Ambler for that accolade, it is certainly, in my mind ‘a tremendous thriller’

Something appears to be going on at a research station deep in Siberia, and surveillance satellites and spy planes have taken some curious photographs. A Soviet scientist who once attended a conference sends an ambiguous and unsigned message to an English academic whom he met at a conference some years earlier. It is not easy to see and understand quite who the real recipient of the ambiguous message should be, nor even where the scientist sent the message from, or how. He has vanished from the scientific community.

British and American intelligence mysteriously converge on the English academic. They are keen to discover who this message is really being sent to.

Enter a classic, unbelievable, with one bound he was free, hero. Johnny Porter. But the bounding one, possessing any manner of physical and linguistic skills, is nonetheless very far from ‘cartoon’. He is not James Bond, he does not indulge in a string of bed-hoppings with the pulchritudinous, though he does have a great ability to charm people. He is indeed a good man, an intelligent man, - and an extremely reluctant spy. Johnny Porter, also known as Jean-Baptiste Porteur, comes from a tribal Indian background from a particular area of British Columbia. He is an academic, and involved in various progressive causes. He’s also a loner, and a bit of a shape-shifter, in that he can successfully pass himself off as belonging to a number of possible ethnicities, from part Korean to part member of a number of Siberian ethnic groups – Evenk, Chukchee.

Pullman’s foreword to my edition is an unusually fine foreword. I read it, as is now my wont, after I finished the book. Too many forewords reveal plot. Pullman doesn’t, though he does let us know why the book is so successful. It is a classic ‘hero quest’ story: an unlikely person, with hidden gifts, sets out on a dangerous adventure. Along the way they will meet surprising companions who will aid them in their dangerous quest. Fairy stories would make the companions magic talking animals, fairy godmothers disguised as poor beggar-women and the like. The dangerous quest (and there is a lot of danger here) in fairy and myth involves something of great and rare value. The quest will transform and extend the seeker. And IF successful the seeker will bring the gift of value back to his or her wider community. And there may very well be a rival quest going on at the same time by those forces who wish to stop the good seeker being successful. This is NOT a fairy-story, but it has the myth/fable structure, meaning 'helpers' may be surprising. The quest adventure is a classic kind of story, and can be done well or badly.

Here, it is done very well indeed. One of the real pleasures is that Siberian setting, and the complexities of different ethnicities, languages and cultures within that vast region. Another is the very detailed physical descriptions of how exactly our hero gets to do some of the things he is doing. For those who care about these things these detailed descriptions do not include graphic and gratuitous accounts of violence or sexual encounters. But it is the detailed descriptions of, for example, the building of a particular truck type vehicle which can cope with cross country Siberian travel, which also does give me some reservations. It is a long read, nearly 500 pages, and at times those descriptions, whilst they ground the story in reality, sometimes do hold up the forward pace. Greene and Ambler go for greater tautness, and a shaving of excessive detail. Perhaps they trust, a little more, that the reader acknowledges the genre, and WILL suspend their disbelief if enough, but not too much, reality joins the dots of the one freeing bound!

Nonetheless, recommended!


Space Saver Vacuum Seal Storage Bags, Landoom Combo Pack of 10 (XL,Large,Medium,Travel) - with Air Pump
Space Saver Vacuum Seal Storage Bags, Landoom Combo Pack of 10 (XL,Large,Medium,Travel) - with Air Pump
Offered by Fortuneshop
Price: £16.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to vacuum seal, sturdy and with a good range of sizes., 25 Jun. 2016
Firstly, I received these as an item for review purposes.

I was delighted to be offered these, as another, smaller (6 pieces instead of 10) but otherwise very similar set which I was equally delighted by, last year, had inevitably suffered an unavoidable fate in this house.

Namely, I happily use these bags in under-bed storage, lacking lofts, cellars or garages. They are brilliant, and they are sturdy and durable. Except to the claws of determined cats deciding, for reasons known only to themselves, that they would rather like to temporarily find new snuggle places.

So,some of those bags which last year were storing summer clothes and summer bedding have been decorated by interesting puncture patterns.

Households without artistic cats, or with storage spaces uninteresting or unavailable to cats, should find these can be used and re-used happily for years .

The pack arrives enclosed in a ziplock bag of its own, which could of course be cannibalised into other uses to store small items.

Although a hand pump is enclosed, using the pipe nozzle of your vacuum cleaner is the best and quickest method, with the pump, if used at all, merely for the last ccs of lurking air.

Now, if someone can make these cat claw proof, or unattractive to lie on..................


Dormibene Black Sleep Mask/Eye Mask Set -3D memory foam won't touch eyes- Includes Ear Plugs & Travel Pouch
Dormibene Black Sleep Mask/Eye Mask Set -3D memory foam won't touch eyes- Includes Ear Plugs & Travel Pouch
Offered by Precipice
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleep for eyes, ears and noses, 24 Jun. 2016
Firstly, I received this as an item for review purposes. And was glad to do so:

This is a well thought out little collection for sleepers who might be short of the darkness and the silence they might need in order to get the sleep they need

The mask itself is lightweight, and the velcro closure is far better and more comfortable than the elastic versions many others have. I particularly like the pouched sockets, so you don't end up feeling that your eyelids are being pressed by the mask.

The mask arrives with its own little velveteen bag, and also has a little box containing a couple of good quality ear plugs. As you can see from the product photo, there is a strange little soft silicon shape. I think this is a soft and comfortable version of the kind of anti-snoring aids which get clipped into the nostrils to dilate them, preventing snoring. I'm not sure quite how effective this particular version is, but it is comfortable


200 Juices & Smoothies: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
200 Juices & Smoothies: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Fine for occasional treats, not for daily 'helping your 5-7', 23 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I very much like the little Hamlyn 200 series, and though there are indeed some interesting recipes in here for juices and smoothies, in some ways feel that juices and smoothies almost need to come with a kind of warning (which this book doesn't give) rather than the present pushing of them as the healthy option aiding your daily 5 consumption, particularly for children

There have been plenty of studies looking at the hefty dose of quickly available fructose, no longer bound to indigestible fibre, which rapidly enters the bloodstream when smoothies and particularly juices (fruit and vegetable fibre, which slows down the availability, are removed) are consumed. Drinking regular large amounts of fruit juice contributes to potential problems of type 2 diabetes!

Eating a similar quantity of whole fruit is a much slower process, and even the most ardent fruit eater is unlikely to consume the equivalent of what might be in the average juice or smoothie.

I have marked this book down precisely because they are pushing the juices and smoothies as health options, and there is no mention that in reality, these should be as much of an occasional treat as any other sugar heavy snack.

I'm likely to stray more in the direction of smoothies than juices, because 'wasting' the necessary and valuable fibre seems retrograde. I will be exploring using water in order to turn the juicing recipes to a rougher (in texture) blending ones, and will continue to get my fruits and vegetables for daily 5-7 by employing my teeth to do the juicing!


Verbatim 44403 Bluetooth Headphone
Verbatim 44403 Bluetooth Headphone
Offered by dbprice.it
Price: £60.36

3.0 out of 5 stars Suitable enough for my modest needs, 22 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly, I got these to serve a fairly undemanding purpose - purely for Skype calls, as I am fed up of being anchored by my wired headphones, whilst carrying out some work related Skypes I have to do from time to time

I'm not really a fan of music in my ears-on-the-move - my musical tastes mean I like to sit and actively listen, and am not any kind of fan of 'background' music.

So, these were easy enough to set up to hook up to Bluetooth on the PC, and it does now mean that I am not tethered to the desk on these calls.

However, these work out okay only, even for these fairly modest needs, as the quality of the sound on a Skype 'echo test call' , playing back my own voice, from the inbuilt mike, my voice sounds flatter than it does with my wired, and so does the recorded voice of the 'echo test call' . The controls for volume, and receiving a call/activating the mike, or indeed, if you are using it to listen to music and wanting to skip tracks etc, seem fiddly and awkward. The advantage of the bluetooth, for the aforementioned Skypings, is good enough


Post-it Index Medium Plastic Dispenser - Bright Blue (Pack of 50)
Post-it Index Medium Plastic Dispenser - Bright Blue (Pack of 50)
Price: £3.33

4.0 out of 5 stars A versatile shape and size with enough sticky for re-use, and enough space to write a short note., 22 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I prefer these larger 25mm flags for my purposes - to mark passages in books, which I want to return to for quotation. as the transparent area can be used to write a short note, for example, the start and end of a paragraph, phrase or sentence which I am going to use as a quote.

They are nicely sticky, and can be lifted off without damage; if you don't write on them, they can be restuck several times - I also use post-its to highlight appointments on my wallchart, and DO reuse them

A great vibrant colour - loss of final star only because the dual packs of colours offer better value and could be separated, one for the home office and one for travel!


The Day Before Happiness
The Day Before Happiness
by Erri De Luca
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A love story to Honour, and to Naples, 19 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Day Before Happiness is a short novella, by Neapolitan author Erri de Luca, first published in Italian in 2009, but here in a new translation by Jill Foulston. And I assume a fine one, as the various voices seemed to have their unique personalities, and I had a sense of rhythm and flow which felt vernacular, easy, assured. This felt particularly commendable, as something running warmly through the book is humour, provided by a rather volatile character who is prone to Malapropisms and has pronunciation problems I think it takes great skill to translate humour born out of wordplay:

“The other evening they performed False Daft at San Carlo”
“What do you mean, False Daft? Which was it, False or Daft?”
“Don Gaetano, the opera: False Daft”
“But what do you mean, False Daft? Was it really silly?”
“No, False Daft. That’s it’
“But what are you going on about? Did you laugh?”
Don Gaetano was scared of La Capa, but he wouldn’t let him get away with it. La Capa couldn’t say Falstaff

There are a couple of layers of narrative voices, and a couple of time settings.

The central character, now a young man, whose name we never learn, is preparing for a cataclysmic change He is looking back to the moment which set the change in motion : he was a young boy, an orphan, aged eight, when he saw a young girl, a few years older, looking out of a tenement window, and fell in love, secretly, though he never spoke to her, and only saw her behind her window, a few times after that.

Without family, he is befriended by Don Gaetano, porter/concierge/repairman in the tenement. Don Gaetano tells the young boy stories from the German Occupation of the city. Don Gaetano is salty, pithy, profound and wise, a kind of transforming philosopher for the young boy. He also has other wise teachers – books, he is a greedy reader, and also the kindly Don Raimondo, a second hand book seller

“Books retain someone’s imprint even more than their clothes or shoes. Heirs get rid of them as a kind of exorcism, a way of banishing the ghost, with the excuse that they need the space, they’re being suffocated by all the books……..the emptiness you feel before a bare wall after its collection of books has been sold off is the most profound one I know. I take those banished books away and give them a second life”

The narrator looks back on his own life, and tells himself the profound stories Don Gaetano told him, about his own childhood, youth and manhood. Don Gaetano will also reveal some secrets about the narrator's origins, and, for the reader, there are satisfying patterns, repetitions and resonances which play out.

The book is extremely charming, the story telling and the story tellers seduce with their language and their reflections, but the tale does more than just charm. In some ways, it seemed far more Spanish than Italian, a sense of some deep, dark, mysterious, but necessary fate/rite of passage playing out. I thought, as the end neared, of Lorca, and of the raw, pain and joy mix of Spanish flamenco music and singing

Recommended, a good combination of playfulness and deadly punch


Post-it Index Flags - Dual Pack 25mm - Pink (50 Flags x 2)
Post-it Index Flags - Dual Pack 25mm - Pink (50 Flags x 2)
Price: £3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A versatile shape and size with enough sticky for re-use, and enough space to write a short note. In the pink!, 18 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I prefer these larger 25mm flags for my purposes - to mark passages in books, which I want to return to for quotation. as the transparent area can be used to write a short note, for example, the start and end of a paragraph, phrase or sentence which I am going to use as a quote.

They are nicely sticky, and can be lifted off without damage; if you don't write on them, they can be restuck several times - I also use post-its to highlight appointments on my wallchart, and DO reuse them

A vibrant colour and the dual pack is economical - and could be separated, one for the home office and one for travel!


Post-it Index Flags - Dual Pack 25mm - Orange (50 Flags x 2)
Post-it Index Flags - Dual Pack 25mm - Orange (50 Flags x 2)
Price: £3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A versatile shape and size with enough sticky for re-use, and enough space to write a short note. And a hap-hap-happy colour too, 16 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I prefer these larger 25mm flags for my purposes - to mark passages in books, which I want to return to for quotation. as the transparent area can be used to write a short note, for example, the start and end of a paragraph, phrase or sentence which I am going to use as a quote.

They are nicely sticky, and can be lifted off without damage; if you don't write on them, they can be restuck several times - I also use post-its to highlight appointments on my wallchart, and DO reuse them

A bright and cheerful colour and the dual pack is economical - and could be separated, one for the home office and one for travel!


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20