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D. Pearce "djarmhp" (rainham, kent)
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The Empty Family: Stories
The Empty Family: Stories
by Colm Tóibín
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curate's Egg, 4 Dec 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I came to this book knowing nothing about Colm Toibin. Having read this collection of short stories I doubt I will seek out much of his previous work. That's not to say he is a bad writer, far from it. It is just too uneven and, generally, depressing. Two Women is a beautifully written and touching story that I enjoyed from first to last. The Pearl Fishers is a faster paced read that draws you into the lives of the three main characters despite steadfastly disliking two of them. Barcelona 75 has been mentioned by many reviewers because of its extremely strong sex scenes. Now I don't object to strong sex scenes per se (as long as I can see the point in terms of characters or story), but this story was reminiscent of the type of Slash fiction that populates some internet sites where the characters remain utterly unrealised and simply exist to perform meaningless sex acts to excite readers who like that type of thing.
On balance it's almost a perfect 3 stars. 3 stories I enjoyed, 3 stories I didn't and 3 stories I couldn't care less about.


Letterland Stories Level 3a (Letterland at Home)
Letterland Stories Level 3a (Letterland at Home)
by Lyn Wendon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic start for young learners, 27 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My 2 year old goddaughter is just starting to learn the alphabet and, knowing that my own children loved Letterland so much, I gave this book to her. She absolutely loved it! Her mother reports being pestered to read it over 20 times in 2 days!
She loves the characters especially the Kicking King and Crazy Cat who star in the first story! It is the instant association with these characters, even before the child makes the clear connection with letters of the alphabet, that has made this series so popular for so long. Sammy Snake appears in the second story which both mother and daughter really enjoyed. The third story about missing socks is dull and ends abruptly but does nothing to dampen the enthusiasm generated by this great book.
For anyone with a young child learning the alphabet you cannot beat this series of books, so buy with total confidence that your child will love and learn from these books in equal measure.


Takeshita Demons: The Filth Licker
Takeshita Demons: The Filth Licker
by Cristy Burne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, 24 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the sequel to Takeshita Demons, Cristy Burne has come up with another winning read for readers young or old. Picking up where the original left off, The Filth Licker is a sequel that in many ways outdoes the original. While the first was a fast paced read with a demon that was obvious from the start, the demon force in this book is altogether more difficult to spot. When the reader realises this they are constantly on their guard wondering if the person on the page is who they say they are. This of course leads to some shocking twists and a fantastically involving story.
I will not give away any of the plot, because to do so would rob fans old and new of some of the magic of this book. Cristy Burne is going to have to come up with something special to top this book for the final part of the trilogy, but I think she will deliver that something special with ease. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I cannot wait till Part 3!


NG Kids Infopedia (National Geographic Kids Almanac UK ed)
NG Kids Infopedia (National Geographic Kids Almanac UK ed)
by National Geographic
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, in school or out of school., 24 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My 9 year old daughter absolutely loves this book! She flips through the pages and shares all the fascinating facts that she finds about the various animals and places she likes. It is the perfect book for general education or for topic based homework. As it is produced by National Geographic the quality is second to none and the photos are stunning. For any interested student at primary school level this is a must have as it will lead your child into areas of discovery that could start a lifetime fascination with the world around us. Unlike most encyclopedias this is destined to be taken down off the shelf again and again, maybe by more than one generation.


The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai
by Ruiyan Xu
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing premise, 24 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is based on one of the more fascinating ideas that I have seen in recent literature and an idea that has particular resonance with me given my job as an ESL lecturer. The protagonist of the novel loses his ability to communicate in his native language through a freak accident and has to communicate in schoolboy English. There are enough reviews giving the content for those interested in this book. For me the important aspect of this book is the way that language is seen as a barrier to communication. Having lived abroad I know the feeling of not being able to express anything more than the most basic of thoughts and it is here, for me, that the strength of this novel lies. I got the impression that this book is aimed more at women than at men. Certainly, my wife loved it and raced through the pages, whereas I struggled in places. Having said that I thought it was a really interesting departure and a book well worth checking out.


The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
by William Irwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book to dip in to., 24 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I bought the Twilight version of this well established Philosophy series and my son was so hooked on it that when this came out I just had to get it. As a fan of Harry Potter I thought I would take to this quite well and to a large extent I did. Some of the chapters, each of which covers a different subject, are fascinating. The Love Potion chapter that deals with the philosophical implications of forcing someone to act against their will is superb and thought provoking, as is the Severus Snape section. However, some of the chapters are just filler, with the most appalling example being the sensationalist 'Is Dumbledore Gay?' which is tripe from beginning to end and to a lesser extent the messy section on Hogwarts education.
That said, there is more than enough here to fascinate the Harry Potter fan, and if, like Sophie's World, it introduces young people to philosophy that has to be a good thing.


Mr Mumbles (Invisible Fiends, Book 1)
Mr Mumbles (Invisible Fiends, Book 1)
by Barry Hutchison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and scary, 3 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First up I have to say how well paced this book is. Each chapter ends at a cliffhanger and my children were bugging me to read just one more chapter every night. It is scary, possibly too scary for under 12s. My only slight reservations, and the reason why I gave it four stars, are the graphic violence in a few places which I felt were overplayed for a children's book and the fact that, like so many books these days it is part of a series. This means the ending is totally inconclusive and merely sets up book 2.


Braun Oral-B EB417-4 Dual Clean Replacement Rechargeable Toothbrush Heads - Pack of 4
Braun Oral-B EB417-4 Dual Clean Replacement Rechargeable Toothbrush Heads - Pack of 4
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful replacement heads, 30 Oct 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Dual clean heads are one of a range of different heads brought out by Braun, the market leader in rechargeable toothbrushes. They are excellent value for money as 4 will last you a minimum of a year even if you change them every 3 months as dentists recommend, which most people don't. I have used Braun products for years and would not consider using any other toothbrush.


State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974
State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974
by Dominic Sandbrook
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force of social history, 13 Oct 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Usually, social history books are either dry as dust or full of the 'comic observations' beloved of celebrities trying to make a few quid. This book has as much in common with either as Ted Heath had with Enoch Powell! This is quite simply as gripping as any thriller. Grisham never penned anything as page turning as the 1974 election campaign at least in Dominic Sandbrook's masterly prose.
The facts behind certain well held myths are frequently jaw dropping. Whatever you thought you knew about the 70s, be prepared to completely change those ideas, however long held they are. From the vantage point of three to four decades on the problems faced by the country look incredibly similar to today with banking crises, out of control borrowing and home grown terrorists.
I was utterly gripped from start to finish, and if you only ever read one social history author it has to be Dominic Sandbrook.


Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool
Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool
by Odo Hirsch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.21

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful well paced read, 12 Oct 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is a total delight. For a start it is well written, neither condescending too nor over the heads of children. It also examines the human condition in its positive and negative traits and shines some fairly unforgiving light on the characters who do not act correctly. In the way of all the best children's books it is a morality tale with plenty of food for thought even for adults. The final few chapters are of rare beauty and insight. Read it to your children or read it yourself, but please read it.


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