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lilysmum "lilysmum65" (uk)
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Beijing Coma
Beijing Coma
by Ma Jian
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Searing and climactic account of Tiananmen and its aftermath, 30 July 2015
This review is from: Beijing Coma (Paperback)
This is a searing novelisation of the events in China leading up to the student protests of 1989 that ended with the Tiananmen Square massacre. It's banned in China and is a must read for that reason, though it is a long read at 666 pages in length, and you do need to steel yourself to read the harrowing details of the way the regime reacted to the people in those days. I am not sure I would say I enjoyed reading it, but I am really glad I stuck with it to the end. The middle of the book was a push to get through, as it goes into the in-fighting between the students in minute detail, and because I didn't know enough about the real-life figures these characters are clearly based on, I found it difficult to follow. However, the last 80 pages are worth waiting for as the tension rises inexorably. Poor Dai Wei's mother, suffers almost as much as him, in her efforts to care for him (he is shot in the head and sinks into a coma) and shows real fortitude, even though she succumbs to the pressure and says things like, "I wish you'd hurry up and die".
Dai Wei, then, is imprisoned in his body, unable to get medical attention since the doctors cannot treat anyone injured in the Square (and indeed ambulances are forbidden from helping those shot or run over by tanks), lies in a room, tended only by his mother. He re-tells the story of the build up to the events through a series of flashbacks which are intercut with his current musings on his sad situation, as his mind remains active despite the physical strictures he endures (painful pressure sores, tube feeding, incontinence).
Dai Wei's mother resorts to selling his urine (Chinese emperors used to drink the urine of infants to maintain their health), and even sells one of his kidneys, which is removed from his body with no anaesthetic, since the doctors tell his mum, "He is deeply unconscious, so won't feel anything."
Dai Wei remembers his love affairs and his relationships with friends, some of whom continue to visit him over the years.
For me, the coma is a metaphor for the constrained lives of the Chinese students, and their lack of freedom. It allows the writer to examine very coolly the horrendous events of 1989.


Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Bees of Stupidity (Stinkbomb & Ketchup Face)
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Bees of Stupidity (Stinkbomb & Ketchup Face)
by John Dougherty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for fans of Mr Gum - "a truly stupid story", 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Perfect for fans of Mr Gum, this book is the latest in the Stinkbomb and KetchupFace series by John Dougherty. The pages are usefully laid out for younger readers with lots of blank space and a helpful font. Eye catching and attractive illustrations and varied font sizes all help engage even the most reluctant reader. The badgers are the bad guys in these stories; they come up with evil and wicked plans "because they are evil and wicked". Just the sort of daft, funny stories that kids love. John Dougherty very kindly visited my school last year, and the kids loved him, so it is great to see his series doing so well, as I know that my children are going to love this latest book. I like the bit at the back of the book best - "how to dance like a bee" - " I like bees. They are all little and furry and buzzy, a bit like tiny electric kittens. And they get nectar and pollen from flowers. Which I think is probably like chocolate for bees. Or maybe ketchup. "


GCSE English Text Guide - Jane Eyre
GCSE English Text Guide - Jane Eyre
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Another great and up to date edition of the famous CGP study guides., 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another great CGP book, which will help teachers and GCSE students. It has sections on themes, characters and language as well a key quotes which are highlighted (given the new exams will be closed book) and also lots of practice style questions (which hopefully will be similar to the ones on the new spec). There's a page on marriage, family, religion, morality, secrecy and deception, gender, foreignness, and the supernatural. The plot summary is broken into three volumes which makes it easier to look at structure. At the back of the book there's a helpful section on exam preparation, and a two page cartoon strip which again will be useful when considering structure.
This is suitable for anyone studying GCSE English Literature from 2017 when the new exam comes in.


Eylure PRO BROW - DYBROW DYE KIT - DARK BROWN
Eylure PRO BROW - DYBROW DYE KIT - DARK BROWN
Price: £6.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Good little kit - value for money., 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a handy little kit for tinting your brows at home. It's a nice dark brown colour that would suit most colourings. It come with two small bottles which you have to mix to make the product. There is enough solution to tint your brows several times.
You are highly recommended to do a patch test as the solutions can cause severe allergic reactions. You just make up a tiny amount of the stuff - the instructions are very good so if you have never tinted your brows before, it's very easy to do. Then if all is well with the patch test you go ahead and dye your brows, which takes about 20 minutes in all. Make sure to protect your eyes and be careful with the mixture.
This kit gave a pleasing result and for the money it certainly saves on what it would cost for the same treatment in a salon.


Braun VitalScan 1 BBP2000 Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor with Positioning Guide on Device
Braun VitalScan 1 BBP2000 Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor with Positioning Guide on Device
Price: £27.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job accurately and easily, 21 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this because a family member is being treated for hypertension and it has come in very handy. I believe the readings are accurate having tested them a few times.
To take your blood pressure, you strap the monitor around your wrist, lift your arm across your chest until it is at heart height and then you have to hold still and keep quiet. Yes, you're not supposed to speak or move while the machine does its thing. If you do move or speak, you won't get accurate results.
It is really straightforward to work and several people in the same family can use it as it has a memory that will store data for different people.

Good piece of kit.


Rexel JOY 20 Sheet Stapler - Perfect Purple
Rexel JOY 20 Sheet Stapler - Perfect Purple
Price: £9.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Just the ticket, 21 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Super little stapler. Really robust, pretty colour, takes the everyday Rexel staples you are likely to have nestled in your stationery drawer if you have ever had a Rexel stapler - and strong enough to staple 20 sheets at a time, which is great for teachers. There is a little button on the underside which flips up the base plate so you can swap to the "paperclip" setting instead. This is incredibly easy to do whereas with my old one I used to practically split my finger nail trying to flip the setting.
Excellent stapler.


Brabantia Retro Pedal Bin by Orla Kiely - 30 L, Cream Linear Stem
Brabantia Retro Pedal Bin by Orla Kiely - 30 L, Cream Linear Stem
Price: £132.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, 18 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This bin is utterly gorgeous. I already had a Brabantia 30L bin, which had given years of good service, but it was the one you had to open with your hand. This is a pedal bin and so the lid keeps much cleaner because the kids aren't touching it with mucky hands. On top of that, it has the most lovely soft close mechanism, which means you don't get that awful "clang" when the bin lid closes again, instead you just get a soft click. Then, of course, there is the ravishing Orla Kiely design, which means it is more a thing of beauty than a utilitarian bin. It has a ten year fingerprint guarantee, whatever that means (I think it must mean the design won't rub off in that time) and a guarantee you can go online and register for.
It takes the G 30 litre bags that you'll be used to if you already have a Brabantia bin. Absolutely gorgeous item. It looks beautiful in my kitchen.
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Nobody Saw No One
Nobody Saw No One
by Steve Tasane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grabs you - and drags you into a modern underworld, 15 July 2015
This review is from: Nobody Saw No One (Paperback)
This is a second novel by a unique voice in YA fiction, Steve Tasane. I hadn't heard of his first novel (Blood Donors) when I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of this book, but I shall search it out now. I was intrigued by the title - "Nobody Saw No One" - and the tautology of it hooked me! What did nobody see?
It is the story of two boys, 'Mr Invisible', aka Citizen Digit, (real name Byron) who works for Virus at a place called "Cash Counters" - which is ostensibly a pawn shop but actually launders stolen goods and sells them on. Virus is a modern day Fagin and Citizen Digit the Artful Dodger in this re-working of Oliver Twist. He comes across Alfi Spar (named after the supermarket) when he is trying to do a bit of shoplifting, and the two twist free of the security guards and leg it back to Virus. They have a past - Tenderness House Secure Unit: "Locks and keys and windows that don't open - windon'ts. Rules and regularities, rewards and sanctions. For WhyPees that have fallen off the Googlemap and don't know the way back. Protecting society from us, and protecting us from ourselves."
Alfi's been fostered, but believes he gave his last foster mum cancer, at least, that was what the foster dad said. "When she got diagnosed he reckoned she must o' got it from me 'cos I had summat bad radiating through us like a ... exactly: like a cancer."
As the Digit says, " I've seen acts of violence and destruction, the head-buttering of Carers, the smashing of fists, the slashing of wrists, rainbows of bruises and overdoses of booze. Life is hard."
I really liked the poetic language in this book and I liked the down-to-earth style that doesn't omit any of the seedier side of life - it's a visceral and shocking read at times, and all the better for it. I think it would appeal to hard-to-impress teen readers. The teens in my school loved The Bunker Diary, by Kevin Brooks, and I think this would appeal to teenagers who like their fiction gritty and realistic. Modern, pacy, vivid. Great read.


Rexel Joy A4 5 Subject Notebook - Lovely Lime
Rexel Joy A4 5 Subject Notebook - Lovely Lime
Price: £8.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the job, 13 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really like this planner which is good value and excellent - made up of different sections which are separated by dividers, the pages have a space to put a date and heading and the whole thing prompts you to be organised and thorough in your approach to your notes. I am going to find this so useful because I can have a separate part of the book for different parts of my job. The cover is attractive with a cut out for you to write your headings in which correspond to the sections in the notebook. At the back of the book are perforated notes which you can tear out and write little notes on. Really brilliant. I have used a lot of notebooks at work, and this is one of the best I have used.


GCSE English Text Guide - A Christmas Carol
GCSE English Text Guide - A Christmas Carol
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great study guide from CGP, 13 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you have never bought a CGP guide before, here's what to expect. A revision and study guide in plain and simple language, which is really clear and easy to follow, and teenager friendly in tone and style. It's pitched very well indeed at GCSE level, and would particularly suit less able candidates who can't cope with the language of study guides like Letts and Collins. I am teaching this novel for the 2017 GCSE under the new spec and I think this guide will be very helpful. The new spec includes study of the structure of the novel, and this isn't covered explicitly in this guide; however, I think it is a very useful addition to any pupil's preparation for the exam. Colourful page layout aids retention and is attractive to the reader. Excellent.


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