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hjd (Scotland)

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The Infernal Devices 3: Clockwork Princess: 3/3
The Infernal Devices 3: Clockwork Princess: 3/3
by Cassandra Clare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Careless writing and repetitive character types reflect badly on the whole series, 14 Jun. 2016
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Yes, Clare only seems to have one model of hero (tortured) and heroine (feisty - not always a complimentary word, mark you), but the stories were entertaining enough to get by until it becomes obvious by this book that she probably should have left it at the Mortal Instruments series. What makes this particular book barely finishable is not just that we've seen it all before, but that the faults of her previous work in terms of utter carelessness are here insurmountably infuriating.
First of all is the glaring stupidity throughout all the books of casually ignoring the fact that both 'parabatai' and 'Nephilim' are plural forms. They were always plural, always meant to be plural, never, ever, under any circumstances to be preceded with an 'a'. The singulars are 'parabates' and 'Naphil' or 'Nephil', since you ask. This woman names and shames her language advisers, but either she ignored them or she chose remarkably badly. You think it's a misprint to begin with, but it's actually wanton stupidity or sheer laziness - neither is a very endearing quality in a writer who boasts about her research.
Clare also names and shames in this particular volume the people who were supposed to save her from anachronism, and yet there's a screaming howler every few pages, some linguistic (21st. century American usages/misusages of language and meaning would not trip lightly off the tongue of British characters a] at all and b] certainly not in the Nineteenth Century) and others matters of fact. There are plenty of American authors who are careless of actual British usage, one is used to that, and if you buy an American edition you can't be surprised to get American spellings but if an author boasts of her efforts to get it right, then she really does have to get it right. Clare fails miserably, and the failures so detract from the story that it becomes extremely hard to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Mortal Instruments as story (apart from the increasing desire to strangle Clare's editor for not knowing the difference between singular and plural). A contemporary setting gave her the freedom to work on the story rather than making a fool of herself. If she made some corrections to all future reprints, I would recommend that series to anyone. In a Victorian era setting, however, she is lost. There are still elements to enjoy in her creation of the Shadowhunters (if only she had stuck to that word, which she knows how to use), but it does all get very samey. Flogging, dead and horse are words that come to mind by the end. She does find an ending that resolves the conundrums of the three-book plot, and people will like that. If you care about language, authenticity or professional editing, however, you may wish to give this one a miss.


VonShef Instant Hot Water Dispenser Kettle 2.5 Litre Capacity - Red - Maximum 2600W - Free 2 Year Warranty
VonShef Instant Hot Water Dispenser Kettle 2.5 Litre Capacity - Red - Maximum 2600W - Free 2 Year Warranty
Offered by DOMU UK
Price: £69.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, safe, energy efficient - what's not to love?, 5 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used to have the Coopers version of this, which I loved until it decided overnight and for no obvious reason never to work again. I've gone with this version now and so far, I think by being slightly simpler in terms of the pouring switch and possibly a bit more robust, it's even better and you even get a free measuring jug. Not only do these super machines save time, energy and money, they are also considerably safer for an older (or indeed younger) or disabled person. For eco-warriors, which should include anyone with a bit of common senes, there is the reassurance that no extra energy is being used, given that filling kettles far fuller than they need to be is a major squandering of energy across the nation. The main marvel, however, is having exactly the amount of water you need, whether it's for a teacup or to fill a saucepan, boiled on the spot and dispensed instantly. Why did no-one come up with these sooner? I like this one so much I'm intending to get one as a present - that says it all.


Norfolk Punch Original Non Alcoholic Herbal Drink 700 ml
Norfolk Punch Original Non Alcoholic Herbal Drink 700 ml
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant alternative to a snifter, 19 Jan. 2016
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This is a delicious and comforting non-alcoholic alternative to a hot toddy or, in other circumstances, hot choccie. I think it is best when warmed (I serve it in Chinese tea cups, which are just the right size), although I know some people are equally happy with it as a cold little pick-me-up. It used to be widely available and was much missed when it disappeared. It's splendid to be able to access it now via Amazon and I'm now thinking it probably makes sense to buy one of the bulk deliveries on offer, given that one has to mail order anyway. It's a very pleasing drink in itself, but has the extra advantage that people who don't drink can join in at little something time. You do feel as if the ingredients (all good stuff) are doing you good as well as tasting nice. If you haven't tried it and like tastes like mulled wine or Gluhwein, you will like this.


Horrible Histories - Series 1-5 [DVD] [2001]
Horrible Histories - Series 1-5 [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Mathew Baynton
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £18.46

5.0 out of 5 stars A Jewel of British Television, 4 Jan. 2016
Not, in fact, a hundred per cent accuRat, but still one of the funniest and most irresistible ways to show people of any age how wonderful the study of History actually is. Blessed with a superlative ensemble cast, who have continued to work together on other projects and are earning National Treasure status, extraordinary inventiveness and sheer joy in the material, this is not to be missed. Genuinely funny, completely unexpected - you would imagine Deary's books to be unfilmable, but this gifted crew manage the impossible with panache. Many of the sketches will work their way into your mind for good. Definitely not just for children (or far too good for children, depending on how you look at it), this is family viewing at its best. You will learn a great deal so long as you remember that Deary does actually get things wrong - that won't stop you laughing. It is perhaps not entirely fair on them, but the different cast of the sixth series just don't have the magic, so this is the must-have set.


Evil Under The Sun [DVD] [1982]
Evil Under The Sun [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Peter Ustinov
Price: £4.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, classy, delicious, 19 Dec. 2015
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Your reviewer actually reviewed this when it first came out, ending with "It's an elegant divertissement, no more, but then again, no less". I loved it then and love it now - this film has everything you could want of an Agatha Christie adaptation: a superb cast, a gorgeous setting, clothes to die for. It's like going on a summer holiday oneself. Mercifully, as with most Christies, one does not mourn overly for the murder victim, played with a joyous relish by Diana Rigg - her bitch-offs with Maggie Smith's former showgirl hotel proprietor are worth the price of admission in themselves. The plot is suitably convoluted, Ustinov's Poirot remains my personal favourite, and you really, really do want to go there (and commandeer the wardrobe). You will not want to leave.


Flash Gordon [DVD]
Flash Gordon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Jones
Price: £5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars An essential camp classic, 19 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: Flash Gordon [DVD] (DVD)
Some of us remember when this first came out in the cinema and the entire audience cheered when Flash leaped into the air to celebrate his victory. This was always enormous fun, but has become a kitsch classic for very good reason. The costumes and set designs do much to recall the gloriously daft splendours of the original Saturday morning shows, everyone plays it for all they are worth, the music is infectious, the script is irrestistibly quotable. I defy anyone not to be cheered up by this marvellous piece of innocent silliness. Yes, Sam Jones isn't the world's best actor, but his very woodenness has become iconic now, and does actually fit with his clean-cut all-American hero character. Brian Blessed pretty much caricatures himself, but everyone loves him doing it, and Max von Sydow was born to play the evil Emperor of the Universe. Various serious actors keep their faces miraculously straight at all the right times but it's clear that everyone is having a splendid time. It's camp, it's daft, it's joy, it's a must-see.


The Other Wind: The Sixth Book of Earthsea: An Earthsea Novel
The Other Wind: The Sixth Book of Earthsea: An Earthsea Novel
by Ursula K. LeGuin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An elegiac farewell to Earthsea, 19 Dec. 2015
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This should be five stars because of Le Guin's wonderful prose, conjuring of place and powerfully memorable characters. That I rate it lower possibly says more about me, as the elegiac farewell (as far as we know) to this series leaves one with a sense of loss. We want more from all the characters, and one may feel that there is not enough of Ged. The point of that, of course, is that his tale has really been told and the right thing to happen is that he has found his place and his future and has no need to take a large part in the working out of fate. This does leave Tenar to fulfil more of her own significant destiny, along with the younger generation of denizens of the endlessly fascinating islands of Earthsea. In fact, the ending is a proper completion or scene-setting for the new lives to be lived after the story stops being told, but it leaves an ache, and the desire to know yet more about what lies beyond the horizons, what happens in the Isles of the Far North, how will the Kargs evolve, did the islands of the South recover, what about Ged's old friends in the East? The fact that all these things are so alive in the imagination is testament to the power of a master storyteller. It is five stars really, but I can't helping wishing for more.


Merrily Watkins collection 1: Midwinter of Spirit and Crown of Lights (Merrily Watkins Series)
Merrily Watkins collection 1: Midwinter of Spirit and Crown of Lights (Merrily Watkins Series)
Price: £6.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable everyday horror with an interesting heroine, 19 Dec. 2015
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How wonderful to find enjoyable and contemporary fiction in which faith is taken seriously. The stories should keep any reader who enjoys a bit of Gothic horror and whodunnit happy, but will be particularly pleasing for those very tired of having Christianity the subject of scorn and attack. The heroine is a believable working mum, and a welcome example of the fact that priests are sensible, down-to-earth people who have seen a great deal of life, not silly, not fey, not caricatures. Good to have a female hero in horror as well, and a deliciously macabre grounding in familiar spaces. This is a very British and domestic kind of horror, just the thing for winter nights. These are entertaining books, and I shall be happy to read more of Rickman's work.


Tales From Earthsea: Short Stories
Tales From Earthsea: Short Stories
by Ursula K. LeGuin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed for readers of the entire Earthsea series, 19 Dec. 2015
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A beguiling collection that is not just entertaining in itself, giving us wider views of the world of Earthsea, but actually necessary as a transition into the last (or shall we, in hope, say latest) volume in the Earthsea series, The Other Wind. Le Guin is a master of her craft and Earthsea one of her most enchanting and absorbing creations. The themes of this series are meaty and challenging enough to keep the interest of adult audiences, while the breadth of her invention will fire the imagination of any child. These stories really do need to be read in conjunction with the rest of the series rather than a stand-alone, but they are a must for a full understanding of Le Guin's aims and intentions.


HiLife Tempt Me Cat Food Chicken Collection in Jelly 8 x 85g Pouches (Pack of 4, 32 Pouches in Total)
HiLife Tempt Me Cat Food Chicken Collection in Jelly 8 x 85g Pouches (Pack of 4, 32 Pouches in Total)
Price: £15.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Vanishes off the plate, 19 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Disappearing fast, so obviously going down very well with the designated audience. Hi-Life is a very reliable brand which is not available in every supermarket, so it is a boon to get something in bulk that is pleasing to a demanding audience. Note to humans: cats who taste good quality cat food can definitely tell the difference, and it pays to read the label. Even some prime brands have as little as 4% meat. A well cat will be O.K. on this, as they are not thrown together without any thought for welfare, but if you have a cat with special dietary needs you are going to have to shell out for quality. Not cheap, but when an animal is dependent on you for its health and well-being, you do what you have to do, and if the animal enjoys what you are providing as well, so much the better.


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