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MISS L M ALLPORT (Brierley Hill, UK)

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Sacrilege
Sacrilege
Price: £3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More good stuff from S J Parris, 10 May 2012
This review is from: Sacrilege (Kindle Edition)
If you enjoyed the first two Bruno books then you`ll enjoy this one too. There is an involving central mystery amidst the turmoil and intrigue of Elizabethan Canterbury. Some loose ends from the first book are tied up in this book in a very satifsfying manner.


Mango Master, splits, cores and de-stones your mango by Eddingtons
Mango Master, splits, cores and de-stones your mango by Eddingtons

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saves time and mess, 18 Feb 2010
I recommend this product most enthusiastically! Being one of the more clumsy members of the population, preparing fresh mango is something I find quite difficult. I have cut myself in the past trying to remove the stone from a mango, and at other times the task generally ends in a sticky orange mess.

The Eddingtons mango master is a simple to use kitchen utensil, that goes lengthways through the vertical axis of the mango, removing the stone without too much wastage. The two halves of the mango that remain are easy to slice into little cubes. THe cutting edges are quite sharp and go through the fruit without massive pressure, yet the grips are far enough from the blades to ensure that you can't go through your own fingers.

I have used this several times. Only once did I angle it wrong and hit the stone. This wasn't a disaster as I simply pulled back and pressed in a slightly different direction, thus avoiding the stone.

When deciding whether to purchase this product I was unsure about its effectiveness and quality. I almost bought the more expensive OXO Good Grips mango cutter, which is sold in Lakeland stores. Having handled the two, I can say that they are very alike, and that this model is every bit as good as the OXO mango cutter - in fact I have had no issues with the Eddingtons mango cutter, while a friend thinks that her OXO Good Grips mango cutter has gone blunt.

This is a great piece of kitchen equipment, and it pays for itself over and over again in time saved (and stress avoided).


Bound to Shadows (Riley Jenson, Guardian, Book 8)
Bound to Shadows (Riley Jenson, Guardian, Book 8)
by Keri Arthur
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking ending!, 18 Feb 2010
I am a fan of the Riley Jenson series, and have enjoyed watching Riley develop into an effective guardian. This book takes Riley's personal life to a new dimension, with shocking consequences.

The plot is fast paced and compelling, involving a grisly series of vampire beheadings, and human women perishing through interaction with emo vampires, with a twist. It is fairly clear from the outset who the villain is, although there more to the story than first meets the eye.

I enjoyed the fact that so many recurring characters make an appearance in this novel. Riley is partnered up with the horse shifter Kade. There are some interesting revelations about Dia and Risa. Vinny, the emo vamp who lives in a block of flats is implicated in the murders, albeit briefly. Liander and Rhoan make short appearances, but there is the promise of more to come in the next novel. Even the annoying vampire ubersecretary Sal gets involved in the plot - and it seems she isn't as bad as we were at first led to believe.

The Quinn and Kye story was fantastic! Fans of the series will really enjoy learning where Riley is heading to in her love life.

This book would have merited 5 stars were it not for a few nagging details. The shadowy 'vampire council', who are supposedly all powerful, would not all go to their deaths one after another like lambs to the slaughter. Some of the revelations about the Aedh were rushed, and Quinn could have been much more forthcoming in that regard. I don't want to spoil the plot for those who haven't read this yet, so I will just say that the final scene with Kade is highly unrealistic. The last 3 chapters seem somewhat sketchy and rushed - I know that Riley lives in a high adrenaline world but sometimes more narrative would be appreciated.

A good read for fans of the series.


The Rapture
The Rapture
by Liz Jensen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Partial rapture, 13 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Rapture (Paperback)
Rapture is an odd novel. It was recommended to me as part of the Channel 4 Good Read series, so I thought I'd give it a go.

At first, the protagonist character was very intriguing. Gabrielle is recovering from a horrific car accident in which her lover died and she became paralysed from the base of her spine down. Her family is on disarray - estranged from brother Pierre, and her father has slid into Alzheimers. Gabrielle has moved to Hadport to start a new life as a psychologist in a home for criminally insane children.

It is here that she meets Bethany Krall, guilty of matricide yet able to predict natural disasters with unswerving accuracy. Bethany is a hard character to fathom. It is only in the final chapters of this book that Bethany stops being a 2 dimensional typical troubled teen rebel and becomes a character one can empathise with.

This book is confusing and flawed. Bethany predicts earthquakes and floods that happen within days, and is also able to sense things about people that later turn out to be true. She makes some statements about Dr Fraser Melville that cast doubts about his loyalty and integrity. Later in the novel, it is implied but not stated that these allegations are untrue. Why would only this one of Bethany's predictions and assertions prove false, when on every other count she has spoken the truth?

The physicists that band together in the novel to 'save the day' are an odd bunch. Luckily they have access to all manner of equipment and people in high places (helicopters notwithstanding). They are able to plan and carry out complex and partially criminal escapades, yet they cannot go ahead without the help of Gabrielle. It seems far too unrealistic and convenient.

The redeeming feature of this novel is the way that the author weaves religious themes into the latter stages of the plot. Sadly the end (set in the Olympic stadium) is very unrealistic and contrived, and lets the novel down again.


Mortal Suns
Mortal Suns
by Tanith Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Tanith, 11 Feb 2010
This review is from: Mortal Suns (Hardcover)
Dark, erudite and thought provoking, this novel is everything that you'd expect of Tanith Lee. The narrative is pervaded by a sense of imminent death. The plot explores themes of youth and sacrifice. Tanith Lee's writing is exquisite. She excels herself here. When I started reading this novel I thought that it was a departure from her usual Gothic fare, however the more I reflect upon this novel, the more typically Tanith it seems. As you would expect, strrong female characters face perverse fates and have to rethink their view of the world. Masterful.


The Poe Shadow
The Poe Shadow
by Matthew Pearl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to enjoy, 11 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Poe Shadow (Paperback)
Usually this is just the sort of book I'd go for - a dark Gothic novel with elements of mystery. Unfortunately, for me, it was extremely difficult to get into the book. I never really built up much pathos for the central character. Pace was lacking at times, and I felt that too much of the action happened in the final few chapters.

I will freely admit that I'm not an Edgar Allen Poe fan particularly, so that may be one reason why I found all the historical detail distracting. The author obviously has a passion for the subject and has researched extensively, which is to be commended. However, I'm not sure that I'd read any of Pearl's future offerings.

This book was a disappointment.


Impressions of Cathedral Cities (AA Impressions of Series): 1
Impressions of Cathedral Cities (AA Impressions of Series): 1
by Automobile Association
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic photographs, 9 Feb 2010
This is no weighty tome, it is a simple collection of photographs of Cathedrals. I found it inspiring and uplifting. The pictures contain an excellent balance of scope and detail. Highly recommended.


Martyr (John Shakespeare)
Martyr (John Shakespeare)
by Rory Clements
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Martyred hybrid, 9 Feb 2010
I bought this book because it was recommended to me as being in the same style as C.J. Sansom. Unfortunately, it was not in the same class as Sansom's Shardlake novels, although there were similarities.

The protagonist was not always likeable. At times he was too worldly wise for his station, at other times surprisingly naive, even dense. The main 'love interest' was supposed to be a fervent Catholic and shelterer of Jesuit priests, yet was quick enough to drop her moral standards when it suited her.

Overall the plot was well realised. There was very little mystery about who the murderer was, since most of the possible suspects could be trivially discounted. Sometimes this book really ramped up the religious fervour and anti Catholicism of its age, other times it was a race against time to prevent an assassination attempt. I felt it was trying to be two types of book at all. The sense of time did not fully pervade the narrative.

I think the author intended it to be a 'plot twist' that the protagonist is Will Shakespeare's brother, yet this was more predictable than not.

I will read the next Shakespeare book, partially beacuse justice was not served at the end of Martyr, and partially to allow the writer's talent to develop.


Little Luxury Knits: 20 Accessories in Rowan's Kidsilk Yarns: 20 Rowan Kidsilk Accessories
Little Luxury Knits: 20 Accessories in Rowan's Kidsilk Yarns: 20 Rowan Kidsilk Accessories
by Alison Crowther-Smith
Edition: Paperback

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 8 Feb 2010
I highly recommend this pattern book. The designs are absolutely dreamy, and I imagine would appeal to a wide range of tastes. None of the patterns is particularly complex, yet with such a stunning but temperamental yarn as kidsilk haze this is a boon. There are also patterns which can be knitted in kidsilk aura, the "double knitting" weight version of the kidsilk family.

Knitting with kidsilk haze means that you have a wide choice of shades available, which means that you can adapt the colours of any of these patterns to suit many people's tastes. However, a drawback would be the potential cost of items made using this luxurious yarn.

I would recommend anyone who had purchased this book to check with your local yarn shop to see whether they have any skeins of discontinued shades of kidsilk haze. Rowan update their colour range frequently, and you can often get odd balls at a great discount.

Some of the patterns, including the beaded Gathering Scarf, only require one skein, so could be a luxury project for the thrifty knitter. Some of the patterns do require a huge amount of kidsilk, that most of us could only dream of affording.


Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match
Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match
by Wendy Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.28

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and compelling, 8 Feb 2010
The subject of this biography had an outrageous and ill fortuned life. One would be forgiven for thinking that the book was a work of fiction rather than fact. It is enjoyable to read, being neither too heavy nor too trivial. The 'worst husband' as named on the cover turns out to be unimaginably cruel and hideous, and the author brings him to despicable life very well.

I almost rated this book 5 stars, because it was compelling, interesting, and it made me reflect upon the rights of women in matrimony. At times I felt the author glossed over some aspects Mary Eleanor Bowes life that I felt should have had greater bearing upon the narrative. Her many beaux whom she discarded, for instance; was she right and justified to abandon these lovers? Did they resent her afterwards or spread malicious gossip about her? More importantly, I felt there could have been much more detail about Mary Eleanor Bowes' strained relationships with her children.

For a biography, I found it well researched, enjoyable and entertaining.


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