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Kangaroo Dundee
Kangaroo Dundee
by Chris Barns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!, 20 April 2014
This review is from: Kangaroo Dundee (Hardcover)
My daughter (who lives in Oz) bought me this book as a birthday present earlier this year. So many times when we spoke on the phone she had listened to me eulogizing Brolga (Chris Barns) and his campaign to rescue orphaned joeys after his Kangaroo Dundee series had been broadcast on TV in the UK. I was enthralled by the programmes and can only say that the book is just as gripping and beautifully written - factual but demonstrating great emotional sensitivity. Throughout the book Brolga's passion and gritty determination shine through - he is truly a dedicated, caring and selfless person, continually prepared to make personal sacrifices by putting the needs and care of his rescued "kids" before himself and any material pleasures. He gives credit to those who in their own individual ways have helped and inspired him in his continuing struggle to set up and maintain his kangaroo sanctuary. I found Brolga's journey from impressionable and idealistic young man to mature and fulfilled carer, living his dream and educating the wider public, very moving and enlightening. If, like me,you love roos and want to feel uplifted then read Brolga's story! You will be amazed at what he has achieved!


Big Aerobic Step Stepper by Maine Sports
Big Aerobic Step Stepper by Maine Sports

5.0 out of 5 stars Just the job!, 9 Feb 2013
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I purchased this particular aerobic step as it had three different height settings with the lowest being 6", the highest 10" and the price seemed quite reasonable compared with other similar models. It is sturdy and quite substantial (an important consideration when using it to do workouts involving heavy weights!)yet sufficiently lightweight to be able to carry it around as necessary. The platform surface is non-slip, again an important factor, and the rubber inserts for the risers ensure the whole thing stays put on the carpet! I was surprised by the speed of delivery after placing my order (it arrived just 4 days later!)and it was well packaged. My only gripe is that some of the risers were covered in thick dust and needed washing before use - I'm surprised that the item was allowed to be shipped in that state, but that does not detract from the item itself.


Omron Walking Style III Pedometer
Omron Walking Style III Pedometer
Price: 16.99 - 44.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent gadget!, 23 Dec 2012
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I have spent ages trawling through the different makes of pedometers, digesting their pros and cons and relative costs. I decided to buy this one after much deliberation and must say that, so far, I am very happy with it. I have bought a fair few others in the distant past, before my Nike+ Sportband and foot sensor, but with the coming cold weather I wanted something to track my walks whilst wearing warmer footwear than my Nike+ trainers and this seemed ideal. It is a neat, unobtrusive little gadget, easy to use and scroll between the readings, and up to now I have found the plastic clip to be surprisingly sturdy and secure!(this always seemed to be the weakest part of previous pedometers). It seems to be quite accurate, having used it on the treadmill whilst walking and running (although another model is recommended for jogging!) but it has tended to slightly over-read the calories expended. I would have rated it 5* if the device was backlit (useful when out walking on these dark winter evenings),had the facility to display distance also in miles rather than just metric, and had a chronometer when using the "action" facility. However, I'm very pleased with it and would definitely recommend it as good value for money.


Corelli, Torelli, Vivaldi, Manfredini: Christmas Concertos
Corelli, Torelli, Vivaldi, Manfredini: Christmas Concertos
Price: 6.16

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Christmas!, 12 Dec 2012
This beautiful and evocative CD is too good to to be played only at Christmas! When written, these rich and colourful Baroque concerti were originally intended for Christmas celebrations or to be used as Christmas music but I firmly believe that such wonderful and inspiring pieces should be given an airing throughout the year! On this CD the Italian composers reveal a wealth of different forms and musical techniques that are exquisitely interpreted and performed with great sensitivity by Il Giardino Armonico, founded in 1985 and comprising a group of highly talented musicians performing on period instruments. I would most certainly recommend this CD to anyone remotely interested in music of the Baroque!


THE SCORPION'S ADVANCE
THE SCORPION'S ADVANCE
Price: 3.20

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping plot but not as good as other reads by Ken McClure!, 5 Sep 2012
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Martin Klein, a 22 year old Israeli medical student at St. Thomas's Hospital, Surrey suffers a horrific death following admission to hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. The traumatic events leading up to and surrounding his demise are to remain imprinted on the minds of the attending doctor and nursing staff. Dr. Neil Anderson was the bacteriologist on-call that night and arrived to analyze a sample of cerebrospinal fluid taken from the patient to secure a diagnosis as the patient's condition was deterioraring rapidly. However the sample proved negative and despite symptomatic treatment and the best efforts of the medical staff the patient succumbed. Anderson learns that Klein was a volunteer involved in the trial of a new antibiotic, Galomycin, which was being conducted at the hospital. Was there any possibility that this contributed in some way to his death? Unfortunately, the subsequent post-mortem fails to find a cause for Klein's death and all virology, biochemical and pathology reports prove negative too. The conclusion is that the death was due to some unidentified powerful toxin, probably bacterial in origin. Anderson also has to contend with a disturbing trend within the hospital - an increasing number of patients are relapsing after treatment with antibiotics. His research through the medical journals reveals the possibility that perhaps a plasmid has infected the bacteria, conferring resistance to antibiotics. He begins to test his theory by setting up plasmid tests on lab cultures from Klein, relapsed patients and test controls. The results confirm the presence of plasmids but to Anderson's surprise the Klein culture carries a different plasmid from the others - cloning vector PZ9, a man-made plasmid designed to transfer genetic material in genetic research. Further investigation reveals the plasmid to have originated from a laboratory at the University of Tel Aviv. Anderson embarks on further testing of the plasmid in animals only to find that further deaths ensue and that there is a link between the Galomycin and PZ9. Anderson is tasked with going to Israel and collaborating with Prof Jacob Strauss at the University of Tel Aviv in an attempt to solve the crisis and bring the matter under control. However, it soon becomes clear that Anderson's presence in Strauss's lab is resented by Dr. Cohen, Strauss's assistant. As he tries to unravel the threads of Klein's involvement Anderson meets hostile resistance and his life is endangered. At one crucial point in his investigation he is rescued by a female Israeli army officer with whom he later becomes romantically involved. As the body count rises and Anderson becomes more perplexed by developments, involvement of the CIA complicates matters still further and he becomes unsure as to whom he can trust. When Anderson finally discovers the truth, it is much more shocking than he could ever have envisaged!
I must confess that I did not enjoy this novel as much as other works by Ken McClure. The plot was gripping and fast-paced and, as always, the scientific and medical detail impressive. With his excellent descriptive narrrative the author transports us from Surrey to Israel, where the action is played out between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - I could feel the opressive, cloying heat and humidity of Tel Aviv and shared Anderson's relief as he escaped to the more equable climate of Jerusalem. However, I felt that Anderson's romantic involvement with Captain Zimmerman was superfluous to the plot and, for me, actually detracted from it - I didn't feel that the dynamics between the two of them were either credible or plausible. In addition the CIA agents seemed implausible characters and, again, superfluous to needs. I also have to agree with one other reviewer as to the irritating and recurring lack of hyphens! Still, a good read and to be recommended!


90 Miles To Freedom
90 Miles To Freedom

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read., 4 Sep 2012
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George and Betty Scott were living the dream with their two adult sons, Collin and Joey, just outside Key West, Florida. Technically Collin had "moved out" to live and work on a large fishing vessel that he had bought, but which was conveniently moored outside their property and therefore still "attached" to home. As a united family they rejoiced in their love and respect for each other. However, on the day of Joey's eagerly anticipated graduation, tragedy shatters this idyllic existence and life for Collin will never be the same again. He subsequently blames himself for the accident and retreats into himself, causing concern and eventually consternation for his younger brother, Joey, and fiancee, Morgan. Unbeknown to his family, Collin had led a secret life and built up a working relationship and strong friendship with a Cuban, Adelio, with whom he used to rendezvous out at sea. This liaison is to cost him dear, as Collin later discovers, and he finds himself fighting for his life and that of his younger brother as he realises that all his good intentions have only served to bring down disaster upon those closest to him. If only Collin could have done things differently, if only he could be given a second chance.....
I did enjoy this book, although I agree that the lovey-dovey aspect of Betty and George's relationship was a trifle overdone! The characters however were credible and well-developed and with the attention to detail and clear descriptive narrative I was made to feel part of this close-knit family. The plot was entertaining and the ending unexpected! All in all, a good read - even better that is was free!


CRISIS
CRISIS
Price: 3.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, fast-paced medical thriller!, 12 Aug 2012
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This review is from: CRISIS (Kindle Edition)
Following the sudden and unexpected disappearance of Dr. Lawrence Gill, an Edinburgh pathologist, Dr. Ian Bannerman, a consultant forensic pathologist in London, is asked by the Medical Research Council to take over the job of discreetly investigating three suspicious deaths in Scotland. The three victims were all farm workers on Inverladdie sheep farm, near Achnagelloch, where some of the animals had been found to be infected with Scrapie (a slow virus degenerative brain disease affecting sheep) and had been involved in the disposal of the infected carcasses. Their dramatic deaths had occurred within three weeks of having dealt with the infected sheep. At this particular time the government is collating information regarding the incidence of brain disease in the general population via a survey carried out by the MRC. Both agencies are now concerned in case these deaths could be due to the virus mutating and "jumping" the species barrier, thus infecting humans - this dreaded development would not only upset their precious statistics but also present a nightmare scenario for the medical profession and catastrophic consequences for the farming community and its economy! One possible causative agent for such a viral mutation would be radiation from a nearby nuclear power station at Invermaddoch, which would feature in the proposed investigation. Bannerman accepts the challenge and heads off north to look into the matter - but things are not as straightforward as they should be. Dr. Gill's whereabouts remain a mystery, the three farm workers' cadavers (upon which he performed the post-mortems) are missing their brains, fire ravages the laboratory and he encounters hostility and resistance from the local community of Achnegelloch! The body count starts to rise (puting paid to the MRC's hope that the three deaths were just an isolated incident) with one body disappearing before Bannerman can perform any diagnostic tests. As he digs deeper and becomes more frustrated by his inability to gain any hard evidence and being thwarted at every turn, his life becomes increasingly endangered and he realises that someone is very keen to prevent him from finding the answer to the recent deaths and completing the medical jigsaw puzzle! The eventual truth is even more terrifying than had been envisaged!
I have become an avid fan of Ken McClure's novels, probably because of their detailed medical content. His plots are always based upon sound medical knowledge, well-researched and with topical, sometimes controversial, themes (e.g.health-care rationing due to limited financial resources in REQUIEM) - this novel is no exception. The plot is very plausible with well-developed, credible characters and there is excellent descriptive narrative throughout. Bannerman's frenetic efforts to solve the riddle of the rising death toll and find a link between the victims, together with his mounting frustration and desperation, are palpable and the events unfold at a gripping pace. OK - there were a few punctuation issues (misplaced or omitted speech marks, mising hyphens) but nothing that, for me, detracted from the suspense and thrill of the plot. I would certainly recommend this novel - an excellent read with plenty of unexpected twists and turns!


250 Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets for Potters
250 Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets for Potters
by Jacqui Atkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book!, 5 Aug 2012
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I recently started pottery and ceramics classes and unashamedly confess to being completely addicted to this art! My tutor happened to have this book with her at one of the classes and let me borrow it when I expressed an interest in it - what a gem of a book it is! The layout is clear and simple, totally user-friendly, and the pictorial step-by-step guidance on both basic and more advanced techniques and projects is excellent! This book is certainly a must-have for anyone starting out along the potter's road and also appears to be a trusty "vade mecum" for the more seasoned potters of this world! Definitely to be recommended - an excellent buy!


The Benefactor
The Benefactor
Price: 1.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping page-turner!, 3 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Benefactor (Kindle Edition)
Sean views the free holiday he has won in Florida as the perfect opportunity for papering over the cracks in his marriage to Maggie, re-establishing bonds with his two children, Sophie and Liam, and a welcome distraction from his brother Griff's murder and recent funeral. However, it soon becomes clear that their good fortune was not a random event and someone is taking a very close interest in Sean and his family - in fact, this mysterious person knows more about each individual member of the family, including their innermost, dark and intimate secrets, than any of them could ever envisage! Their holiday spirals out of control and into a nightmare scenario as events unfold and tensions escalate - in the final confrontation with their benefactor can Sean and Maggie keep their family together or are their heroic efforts too late and in vain?
I found this a riveting read, with credible, well-developed characters and an excellent plot with undercurrents of general unease and mounting tension throughout. I do agree with another reviewer that there were many unanswered questions by the end of the story, e.g. regarding motive and identities of the perpetrators, but I could forgive these omissions as I enjoyed it so much....and the ending was totally unexpected!


Brothers
Brothers

2.0 out of 5 stars Macabre twist to this tale!, 3 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Brothers (Kindle Edition)
Beth Conwell is convinced that her daughter's killer and vicious abuser is the boy living in the decrepit house across the road - she has watched him digging repeatedly in his garden and girls are still going missing. Beth just knows it - Jacob, that's who killed her darling little girl, Sahara. Despite her mother's protestations of Jacob's apparent innocence, Beth cannot reconcile herself to "letting it go" unavenged and so she awaits her opportunity to confront him. Armed with a small handgun of her mother's, Beth surprises Jacob and demands that he starts to uncover whatever secrets lie buried within his yard. After all, she taunts him, how would it be if Jacob's brother, Kirk, found out what he'd been up to during his absence? However, things do not go to plan for Beth and Kirk's arrival home offers little hope of a reprieve, for blood is thicker than water....or stew, in this instance!
I felt that the opening to this short story was promising but was then disppointed with the way in which it was developed. The characters seemed superficial, lacking substance and there was little in the way of descriptive narrative. However, the ending had a neat, if somewhat macabre, twist to it!


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