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Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom)
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The Humans
The Humans
Price: £2.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but enjoyable, 22 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Humans (Kindle Edition)
This was a very strange but quite sweet book. A mathematician solves an apparently insoluble equation and immediately dies, his body being taken over by an alien sent to kill him as the answer to the equation will apparently cause terrible repercussions for his species. The alien is then tasked with killing the mathematician's family, but slowly he begins to learn about life on earth, and what it is to be human.

It's quite a short book - I read it in a single day on holiday - and easy to read, but ultimately I found it a little underwhelming. It's all rather predictable, and although enjoyable I hoped for something more, and didn't find it as moving as some of the other reviewers. All in all it was an entertaining read, but I hoped for more.


Becoming Johnny Vegas
Becoming Johnny Vegas
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A total surprise, 22 Sep 2014
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I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I've always enjoyed watching Johnny Vegas on TV but surely an autobiography - a long one at that - would be pushing things? Thankfully it was a hugely enjoyable read.

The book is the story of Michael Pennington, better known as Johnny Vegas, and how he developed from childhood to his first successes on the Edinburgh Fringe. He's often startlingly honest, and there were occasions where I was surprised he'd had the guts to put some of the stories into print. It's also funny, often hilariously so, and by the end I was viewing Johnny / Michael in a different light, the man we see on TV being a character rather than a human being.

Yes it's long, and some may find it boring. Yes, it's very "northern", but he grew up in St Helens so what else could it be? And yes, the interruptions by the hypochondriac Johnny (printed in a strange font in the paperback and hardback, but just rendered in a slightly larger typeface on the Kindle so not as easy to pick out) are a little tiresome at times, but they're few and far between.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the only negative thing I can say about it was that the Kindle formatting wasn't great regarding the "Johnny" interruptions.


Crying With Laughter: My Life Story
Crying With Laughter: My Life Story
Price: £4.68

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, warts-and-all autobiography, but a little disappointing, 22 Sep 2014
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I've recently read several autobiographies written by "old" celebrities, and was really looking forward to this as I've always enjoyed watching Bob on TV. Sadly I didn't find it as entertaining as the majority of the reviewers on here. It's an enjoyable read but I don't think I laughed at all, but it did raise a few smiles.

It's quite a "warts and all" tale, and Bob tells several stories which I did find quite surprising, and he often paints himself in an unfavourable light. As with many autobiographies however you can't be entirely certain as to how much is true, how much has been embellished, and how much is completely fabricated. The non-linear structure will be distracting for some, and it did feel a little over-long, but all in all it was an enjoyable read, just not quite as entertaining as I'd hoped it would be, especially after reading all of the reviews.


The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2)
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2)
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Galbraith / Rowling, 22 Sep 2014
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Earlier this year I read Robert Galbraith's "The Cuckoo's Calling" and found it thoroughly enjoyable. In Galbraith's (really JK Rowling's) second Cormoran Strike novel she maintains the standard set with the opening instalment in what looks likely to be another long-running series.

Following on from the events in the first novel, private detective Cormoran Strike is enjoying an increase in business thanks to his success with his previous case. This time around he is called upon to find a missing author who has vanished soon after delivering a bizarre and libellous manuscript to his publisher. Together with his assistant Robin, Strike faces a race against time to solve the case, and things get extremely grisly very quickly.

It's a thoroughly entertaining story and more than anything else I loved the relationship between Strike and Robin, and also her fiancé who appears in a few scenes. Admittedly, the final resolution to the case does come as something of a surprise, but many novels in this genre are like that really.

All in all this was a highly entertaining read, and I look forward to the third instalment in the series.


BISSELL Homecare Emergency Spot Cleaner 3698E, 275 Watt
BISSELL Homecare Emergency Spot Cleaner 3698E, 275 Watt
Offered by Lakeland
Price: £129.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clumsy householder? You need this!, 21 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This really surprised us as it actually worked better than we expected! We're a little bit clumsy and often find we spill things onto our carpets, such as food and drink in the lounge and kitchen, and toothpaste & mouthwash in the bathroom, and over the years we've tried carpet cleaning sprays, foams and powders, all of which claim to work wonders but the reality isn't so impressive. This however really does seem to do the business.

It comes in a fairly large box and the first impressions weren't great, as a long cable and a shorter ribbed hose with a large nozzle stretched from the unit itself and I envisaged it being the kind of thing I'd stick in a cupboard and find tangled amongst everything else every time I wanted to use it. However, the box contains three plastic clips which, when inserted into the main unit (it's easy to see where they go) hold the power cable in two easy-release catches, and the ribbed hose winds around the base and is gripped firmly at the rear of the device. Once everything is wrapped away it takes up only a small amount of space and is easy to carry, if a little heavier than I expected. The product specification here says it weighs 7 kilos, but this includes two trial bottles of cleaning solution.

It's simple to use. The instructions are brief and easy to follow. One side of the unit has a clear plastic tank for dirty water, and the other holds the water and shampoo. The water tank has two sets of markings - one for small stains and one for larger areas. Fill the tank with hot water (from the tap) to the relevant mark, then add the Bissell shampoo and finally top it up to a third mark with the booster solution - the two solutions are available from Amazon and elsewhere. Plug the unit into the mains, switch it on, and you're ready to go. The nozzle has a trigger which, when pulled, squirts the water and shampoo onto the carpet. Spray the area to be treated, leave it to soak in for a few minutes if you feel it needs it, and then you use it a little like a vacuum cleaner. It's quite noisy, especially as you will be kneeling close to the unit when you're cleaning your carpet, but as you scrub and squirt the shampoo onto the carpet you can see it shooting up the tube and into the dirty tank, where you can see just how much muck is being sucked out of the carpet. After a little while the dirty tank gets full, and the suction stops, so you switch the unit off, take the dirty tank out, remove a rubber plug from the top, and tip it down the sink, then once replaced you're off again.

This isn't a device you'd use to clean the whole carpet - the water tank is too small for that and it would take forever - but the product is clearly marketed as a spot cleaner. We used it on a couple of spills, plus on two grubby areas of carpet that the aforementioned sprays and powder cleaners had failed on, and they've come up really well and there's a vast improvement. For the price, and the portability of the unit, this is a little cracker. We're delighted with it.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, if not his finest, 10 Sep 2014
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I'm a huge fan of Haruki Murakami's work, but after the awful (in my opinion) "1Q84" I confess I wasn't really looking forward to reading this. I'm pleased to say that it is a much more enjoyable read, if a less challenging one.

The book opens rather depressingly with Tsukuru Tazaki full of despair as he has no friends. Back in his youth he was one of a group of five friends who were inseparable, but one day the other four ostracised Tsukuru apparently for no reason. He knew that the other four (two girls and two boys) had colours in their names whilst his did not, but surely that couldn't be the reason? He attempts to contact one of his friends to find out more but they simply tell him that he knows the reason already and shouldn't contact them again.

Years later he is on the verge of entering into a relationship but the woman he meets tells him he has issues, and that he needs to find the root cause. He explains about his circle of friends and his isolation from them, and she tells him that he needs to find out why they pushed him out, and that only by doing this will she continue with their relationship. So Tsukuru sets out to contact his old friends and find out the truth.

In many ways it is similar to his earlier work such as "Norwegian Wood", as this is an easy book to read and has a similarly cold atmosphere to it, almost a sterility. It's a bit of a page turner too, especially when Tsukuru starts to find things out, although it is a little repetitive as the latter half of the book is essentially a series of meetings and conversations. As some have commented the ending is a little open, but I drew my own conclusions about what happened next, and although I'd have liked a bit more of a full-stop at the close it wasn't too frustrating.

For those who are new to Murakami this would be a good place to start before venturing back into his stranger, often better books, but for me this was thoroughly enjoyable as it is.


Jimmy Jazz
Jimmy Jazz
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Short and perfectly formed, 10 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Jimmy Jazz (Kindle Edition)
I'd previously read and enjoyed Roddy Doyle's "The Guts", his sequel to "The Commitments". When "The Guts" was released as a paperback it featured "Jimmy Jazz" as a bonus and I was a little disappointed as I didn't really want to buy the book a second time just for a short story which was tacked on to the end. Thankfully I looked on Amazon and found that "Jimmy Jazz" was available as a free download for the Kindle.

It's an extremely short read and to be honest it feels more like a scene which was cut from "The Guts". As the description says, Jimmy hates jazz music but his wife loves it, so she buys him two tickets to see Keith Jarrett in concert in an attempt to convert him. Jimmy decides to take Outspan, a member of his band, to the show, but as we learned in "The Guts" Outspan is suffering from cancer and has to carry an oxygen cylinder around with him and breathes through a mask. Will they enjoy the concert? Will Keith Jarrett explode with rage as he apparently hates noise and disruption?

It's a very short tale, easily readable in a few minutes (I read it while my girlfriend was brushing her teeth one night!) but it's enjoyable and full of Doyle's fabulous dialogue. Would I have paid for it? No, but as a free download and a brief return to the characters of "The Commitments" and "The Guts" it's definitely worth a look.


Rock Stars Stole my Life!: A Big Bad Love Affair with Music
Rock Stars Stole my Life!: A Big Bad Love Affair with Music
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable stuff for music fans, 10 Sep 2014
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I was a huge fan of "Smash Hits" back in the mid-1980s and since then I've kind of followed Mark Ellen's life in publishing through the likes of "Q" and the much-missed "Word", so I was keen to read this book. It's an autobiography of his life in music with only a few diversions into his personal life, and it's thoroughly enjoyable from the start. There are lots of tales of life at the NME, Select, Q, Word, and also on the likes of Whistle Test and of course presenting Live Aid, and there are plenty of laughs and smiles to be found. Two chapters are a little different to the rest, one in which he describes meeting Lady Gaga and finding it an enjoyable experience, and the polar opposite when he joins the press junket on Rihanna's infamous "777" tour. It's a light, enjoyable read, full of nostalgia for those of us who were born in the early 1970s, and I enjoyed it immensely.


Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
Price: £4.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and quirky, 9 Sep 2014
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This book was a real surprise. I was expecting some kind of fantasy tale along the lines of "The Night Circus" and suchlike, but instead it was more of a geeky story which in some respects reminded me of a cross between "Ready Player One" and "The Circle". I admit, the quirky style and "techie" bits won't be for everyone, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable, although it did seem to run out of steam a little towards the end. All in all it was an enjoyable read on holiday, easily finished in a day, and I'll look for more work by this author in the future.


FRANK SIDEBOTTOM - OUT OF HIS HEAD: The Authorised Biography of Chris Sievey
FRANK SIDEBOTTOM - OUT OF HIS HEAD: The Authorised Biography of Chris Sievey
Price: £3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, 9 Sep 2014
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I really enjoyed this book. Like the man himself it's rather chaotic, written almost as a series of essays or interviews rather than as a standard narrative, and the chronology is a bit all over the place especially towards the start. There are numerous amusing anecdotes, lots of emotion towards the end, and Frank / Chris comes across as a true maverick, and a bit of a creative genius. Only one issue with the book: no pictures! It would have been great to have seen some pics of Frank, Little Frank (and Denise), and The Freshies, but the Kindle edition had none - not sure if the "real" book has any. If you're a fan of Frank this is a bit of a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


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