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A. J. Russell-pattison "Tony" (Manchester. U.K.)
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Alice and the Fly
Alice and the Fly
by James Rice
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow....., 21 Nov 2014
This review is from: Alice and the Fly (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Gregory Hall, a teenager with mega phobias, infatuations and ,as is skilfully and agonisingly revealed ,major mental illness. These are his journals written potentially to the object of his infatuation, Alice ,over one very fateful Christmas and New Year. Interspacing our protagonists journal entries ,unevenly ,are police interview transcripts with those close to Greg, which very cleverly introduce to the readers mind the suspicion that all is far from well.

To reveal more of the story line would not be good but I have to say that this is one of the best debut novels I have read. The Author is skilled in generating a horrific anticipation that starts off gently and gains momentum. The language and imagery are appropriate for the age of the journaler and from within that format he manages to produce a storyline redolent with sinister atmosphere.

In the cover blurb the Author says that story is part biographical. Given the uncanny grip of the torments of the mentally ill teenager displayed here I sincerely hope that this is true in only a very slight part. In the same cover material the Author says he wanted to write a book that was ultimately about love and hope, in this I am fairly certain he did not succeed. A book about the lack of love and poignant hopelessness maybe.

This is an excellent book, you should read it (as should every mental health care professional!)


Cole & Mason 145 mm Brushed Chrome Oxley One Handed Pepper and Salt Mill Set, Set of 2, Silver
Cole & Mason 145 mm Brushed Chrome Oxley One Handed Pepper and Salt Mill Set, Set of 2, Silver
Price: £38.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They are nice, don't get me wrong, 6 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I seem to have amassed a collection of salt and pepper pots ( these will be the fifth set). It's not some weird hobby I just haven't found that one "special" set that I can bond with for eternity and having tried these out I still haven't.

They are nice, don't get me wrong, but nice only. Let's start at the beginning. The packaging is a cool dark red which compliments the silver and black of the pots visible inside. The instructions are clear and straight forward. The write up pure marketing hyperbole ( the makers are passionate about seasoning and want to open for you a world of flavour!). The pots look cool in silver and black with the Cole and Mason name on the front and they come ready stacked with salt and pepper to get you on your way ( nice touch).

On the plus side they actually work. One handed grinding is now within your grasp. You can alter the size of your grinding easily and they are especially helpful when you need to season and stir at the same time. As such I found these most useful in the kitchen while cooking.

On the down side, while they look good, the lack of weight and the jerky "grindy action" make them feel , not exactly cheap, but not the state of the art table wear the manufacturers would have you believe and pay for ( they are not cheap).

Many of you, like me, will have been told at school that "nice" is an insipid word. These are nice only at that price (£37:95 currently on Amazon ) but functional in the kitchen.


Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Tomorrow and Tomorrow
by Thomas Sweterlitsch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 14 Oct 2014
This review is from: Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a truly accomplished book. The plot outlines on the products page gives you the outline story, I want to give you how I experienced it!

The main character is skilfully and poignantly drawn. The "future" age after the destruction of Pittsburgh is woven with great art to be believable and compelling. In particular the "adware" inserted into the brains of people seems a really terrifying possibility for the not too distant future, and its the abilities this product gives to wander the recorded past and to be embroiled in an almost parallel but intimately connected universe that gives both the background and backbone of this excellent book.

Books I love I nearly always read quickly in a few sittings but for various reasons this was not possible for me with this book. Normally if my reading is interrupted I need to back read sections before moving on. This was not the case here and I think that is a testament to crystal clarity of the writing and the engaging story.

I want to give nothing away of the subtle and stylish intricacies of the plot but impress upon you how impressive I found it!


The Good Priest: A Father Vincent Ross Mystery (Father Vincent Ross Mystery 1)
The Good Priest: A Father Vincent Ross Mystery (Father Vincent Ross Mystery 1)
by Gillian Galbraith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book, 16 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The murder mystery premised on knowledge of dastardly deeds acquired by a priest in confession is not a new approach. It is, however a rich seam and this book mines it well. Our hero Father Vincent Ross, a parish priest hears a murderers confession , initially he does not know who it is but it breeds a nightmare for him. I won't go into the plot in any further detail as it will spoil it but will tell you how I found the book.

I really enjoyed this book. Our hero is realistically portrayed as a human priest while avoiding any of the sentimental portraits given in clerical hero type books which can over sentimentalise and make pious the clergy hero. The supporting characters both clergy , laity and police are also realistically constructed within a contemporary setting where clerical child abuse and cover ups are no longer unthinkable.

The plot flows beautifully and swiftly but with sufficient twists to keep the reader intrigued and engaged. The culmination of the plot , however ,seemed rather abrupt and I wish it had been more meaty or at least more something, an anticlimax to a novel I really enjoyed.

My first Gillian Galbraith read but not, I think, my last!


Mr Muscle Oxy Stain Remover Fresh Scent
Mr Muscle Oxy Stain Remover Fresh Scent
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wondreful but whiffless!, 15 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As any if you who have read some of my reviews before (are there review groupies ?) I have two things which make me review carpet cleaning products frequently. One a light coloured sitting room carpet and an adorable but messy golden Labrador !

This spay carpet or upholstery cleaner uses the oxygen method to remove stains, can't say I understand it but it does work. I have used it mainly for spot carpet cleaning, muddy paw prints etc and once for a small sick episode. The cleaning ability is rather good and does the job although the "fresh scent" resulting is rather overly subtle, at least to me ,in that I can't actually smell it! It may be that I got a dud bottle but I think not as the carpet smelt ok after cleaning up the sick, sort of neutral rather than fresh, but i am not complaining!

Handy thing to have in!


The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but wearing, 21 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

This has not been an easy book to review ,so much so that I broke my self imposed reviewing rule and looked at the other many reviews of it on Amazon. The wide range of reviews from terrible to wonderful made me feel a little better in my difficulty!

The plot of these Swedish pensioners sweetly fighting the iniquities of retirement home regimes where profit must trump care by undertaking lucrative robberies to benefit themselves and ultimately other pensioners, is more than adequately described in the promo blurb and the many other reviews. Unlike other reviewers I have never read any other book by the same author.

So why did I find it so difficult? The gait and lilt of the writing style initially seemed appropriate to the age and condition of the elderly protagonists or possibly may be attributed partially to the translation from Swedish. At first it seemed sweet and gentle but over time it became somewhat wearing and tiring and led to me putting the book down for long periods.

True, the story is sweet and endearing and it does deal with some important issues in relation to the treatment and attitude of society towards the elderly but, at least for me, the style and flow was too lugubrious. It's like a prolonged and slightly draining marathon of Last of the Summer Wine! Worthy but wearing


Men Rock Cut Throat Shavette
Men Rock Cut Throat Shavette
Offered by Gadget Grotto
Price: £11.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool but scarey, 20 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Menrock: The Cut Throat Shavette

I have only once had a shave with a cut throat razor and that was at a barbers which specialised in such things. It was a real treat and felt great.

That being the case I jumped at the chance to try this home edition cut throat razor although things didn’t quite turn out as planned!
But first. The packaging is grand. All sepia and maroon (very masculine) and featuring a picture of a partially shaved and very attractive young man who looks frighteningly cool. Inside is the razor wrapped in tissue paper and a small tube of “love heart” sweets (not sure why?). The overall effect is cool and blokey, although calling the razor a “shavette” adds a rather camp note.

As you would imagine the razor comes with blades which are easy to attach and the whole thing is simple and stylish. A friend suggested that before launching myself at my own face with what can be a quite scarey looking piece of kit that I practice by shaving foam off a balloon. Good idea I thought and so that’s exactly what I did. Anyhow, many balloons later and with the room looking like a shaving foam canister had exploded I admitted defeat. I hate balloons popping and so was a little psychologically if not physically shredded at this point!

So there you have it. Looks stylish and classy. Well made and very cool. How does it shave? No idea. Too frightened to try it! Now seeking medical help for possible tremors!


Alpen Porridge Raisin/ Hazelnut/ Almond 40 g (Pack of 4)
Alpen Porridge Raisin/ Hazelnut/ Almond 40 g (Pack of 4)

4.0 out of 5 stars Porridge ( Pack of Eight!), 19 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like porridge particularly in the winter and have tried a few different brands of microwaveable porridge in individual sachets but this was my first stab at Alpen. Fruit and Nut.

Oddly the Amazon title of the product says pack of 4 , when in fact what I got was a pack of 8. At 8 the price is ok, if it were only 4 it would be a bit hefty!

Eight sachets with clear instructions. Place porridge in bowel and fill sachet with milk up to the line ( this is important , go above the line and use even a small amount of milk too much and it becomes too runny) add to porridge and nuke for two mins. Stir and leave for 30 secs. Enjoy! This method of making is favourable compared with other brands that require more intra cooking stirs!

Taste wise, it's rather nice. Less salty and sweet than other brands I have tried which I assume is healthier and provided you have got your milk measuring right,a nice consistency.

I would get these again and am tempted to try the other flavours in the range!


Vanish Powerpowder 650 g
Vanish Powerpowder 650 g
Price: £5.40

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vanish Large Area Carpet Cleaner, 23 Jan 2014
This review is from: Vanish Powerpowder 650 g (Grocery)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Vanish Large Area Carpet Cleaner

OK so Christmas has been and gone and with it the attendant footfall of enthusiastic revellers. Cold wet January is here and my Labrador is rejoicing in finding and playing in muddy puddles. Neither of these things are good for my ridiculously light coloured carpet, so time to try Vanish carpet cleaner.

Following the instructions (after hovering) I dispensed the moist powder from what feels peculiarly like a handbag with holes in its bottom and then used a clean brush to brush it into the carpet. The dispensing was easy but the brushing less so as the powder does tend to clump somewhat and resist de-clumping (if that's a word). The legend on the bag says that the powder will dry within 20 minutes. Mine took at least twice that length of time. Then hoover. The whole process seems quick and in no way difficult.

Did it work? Well, yes and no. The carpet certainly smelt fresh as did the whole room (I am a smoker so this was a novelty) but I have had this effect with Nutradol carpet powder at much less cost. I suppose the carpet did look a little lighter and cleaner but any areas with distinct dog prints say remained and I removed them by hand and cloth. No replacement for a carpet steam clean I would think.


Sorgenfresser Worry Eater Saggo
Sorgenfresser Worry Eater Saggo
Offered by 24/7 DIRECT
Price: £17.03

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saggo the worry eater., 16 Jan 2014
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Saggo the worry eater.

As a Registered Sick Children's Nurse I have encountered very many children with understandable anxieties and worries and so I was fascinated by the premise and promise of the Sorgenfresser or worry eaters.

The premise is straight forward enough, these 21 velour dolls all have zip mouths into which children can insert paper with either their written or drawn worries or fears on at night and parents can remove them so that when the child wakes the worries have been eaten. This also allows the parents to gain insights into what their child is worrying or fearful about.
Each of the dolls has a distinct design and name (presumably if your child is really neurotic your could have a small army of worry eaters!). Saggo is the one I got and is featured in the promotional video on the international Sorgenfresser web site ([...]).

The idea is not new as evidenced by the much older Guatemala Worry Dolls, which have a similar function but the format is different.

I found both this doll and all its relatives to be rather scary in design but being in my fifties I realise I am not exactly up with the tastes of the little youth of to-day ! I sought the opinion of some children under five who generally agreed that they looked weird but more in a zany than frightening way which tells me what I know of children's taste!

I have a vague disquiet about parents effectively spying on their child's fears and indeed depending on the child's expressive ability either in drawing or writing, some disquiet about parents interpreting what their child is trying to say. It is also a gentle fairy tale as to how worries are dealt with in life but then again Santa is a similar fairy tale and children positively collude with their parents on that one for as long as possible!

I can see the positive possibilities but will have to leave their description for a reviewer who has actually used them with their own child!


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