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Kate.Tudor (UK)
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Frommer's Greece Day by Day
Frommer's Greece Day by Day
by Stephen Brewer
Edition: Paperback

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A guide to popular places and the well beaten tracks, 20 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Arguably "The most dazzling country in the world" - Greece is a very hard subject to do justice to in just 700 pages. The authors of this guidebook seem to have responded to the challenge by covering the areas either well known or particularly dear to them and skimming over the rest. Its slightly disappointing because Frommer's pocket guide to Italy led me to expect better. The map isn't of great quality either.

Athens and Crete get full and fulsome sections, as do a lot of the popular islands and these sections are informative and comprehensive. There are however quite a few fillers - 4 well spaced pages devoted to the pantheon of gods and 2 pages on feta cheese making - which could have been better devoted to travel information. Likewise there are lots of glorious photographs, but a few of the ones showing people sunning themselves on beaches might have been taken out and something useful included instead.

Chapter 13 - Corfu and the Ionian Islands get just 33 pages and most of that is about Corfu and Corfu town. Some of the rest of the Ionian islands get a quick writeup - Cefalonia and Ithaca are dealt with in a couple of pages and Ithaca "can be done as a day trip" Fortunately for those of us who love the Ionian islands other than Corfu, Frommers will bring them few further visitors.

If you value 4* hotel comfort then this is the guidebook for you.


Private Lives
Private Lives
by Tasmina Perry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.16

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, 15 Sep 2011
This review is from: Private Lives (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a book that doesn't really know what it wants to be - its a bit of a glossy bonkbuster, a bit of a detective story and a bit of a romance.

Unfortunately it doesn't quite deliver in all three areas.

I'm very happy to read about the high life in expensive and exotic locations, but when we get to move amongst the rich and famous its either all about how miserable it makes them or its over in 5 pages! A bit more lingering over Italian villas or Indian weekend breaks would have been most acceptable. And surely a man as rich as Larry Donovan could afford a private hospital room.

The detective story started promisingly, if a bit slowly, but its a story spread very thin across the entire book and doesn't really start moving until the second half.

Likewise the romance(s) - its fairly obvious what is going to happen without much build up. Sex is something that gets dealt with in a couple of pages and just seems to be in order to get it out of the way so that we can move on. The sex scenes are pretty unerotic and don't linger in the memory.

So, surprisingly, I quite enjoyed reading this book - its a nice light read and the characters you are meant to like are actually quite likeable, with some sense of morality. They do have a bit of depth and I did care what happened to them. I'd quite like to read a follow up written a year later in order to find out what happened and whether some of them got their comeuppance.

Recommended as a beach read, but I wish she'd sexed it up a bit and added some glamour or concentrated on the detective story.


Chelmsford 123 - The Complete Series One and Two [DVD]
Chelmsford 123 - The Complete Series One and Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jimmy Mulville
Price: £11.60

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality transfer to dvd, 8 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At last, after at least 10 years I can get rid of my old videotapes of Chelmsford 123, captured off "Dave" and enjoy the programme on dvd. The transfer quality appears fine to me, with the picture at least as good as when originally shown on analogue, if not better.

Badvoc, Mungo, Aulus Paulinus and the good citizens of Chelmsford are back, as silly, clever and downright devious as I remember. Who could forget the "three times runner up of the "Pillage a Village" competition"? Or the fact that Gargamadua means "snot bucket" in the local language? Or Andy Hamilton as the dream interpreter trying to find in a goat's entrails something that looks like the blob in Aulus' dream?

The second series has clearly had more money spent on it and continues the quality of the first.

Shame there aren't any extras (apart from a picture gallery on the first disc - pah), but if you loved this comedy the first time, its well worth the modest cost to enjoy it all again.


New Apple iPod Shuffle 2GB - Blue
New Apple iPod Shuffle 2GB - Blue
Offered by Deal With It
Price: £39.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sit this one out too, 26 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Tempted by the extra storage capacity and the promise that the mistakes of the 3G had been corrected, I ordered a shiny new 4G.

Tiny. Tiny box, tiny instructions which when I deciphered the tiny print said little more than "switch it on and charge it".

When charging, when you switch it on (only one switch now - hmmm) the status light flashes orange, or green and then goes out again. I don't know if this is now the norm or if the shuffle I received was faulty.

USB cable to plug into my home PC is the length of a finger. Although there was a helpful note to say that longer cables are available from the Apple store. Shuffle looked a bit sad drooping off the back of my home PC and requiring me to get up and down under the desk to look at it.

Finally, charged up and ready to go, it was impossible to get my PC to recognise the shuffle. Tried everything, including reconnecting my old 2G - instant recognition - 4G - nada.

Its going back as faulty and I'm buying another second hand 2G in the hope that the next model will be better.


Sony SRSGU10IP 2 Ch iPod & iPhone Compatible Docking Speaker (discontinued by manufacturer)
Sony SRSGU10IP 2 Ch iPod & iPhone Compatible Docking Speaker (discontinued by manufacturer)

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The review I wish I'd read, 25 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When the product description says iPod - it means the ones with a screen, not the tiny MP3 players (iPod shuffles). There are lots of adaptors which come with the docking speaker - but they are all for USB - if your MP3 player needs a metal spike to connect then its not compatible.


Turkey
Turkey
by Leanne Kitchen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very attractive book, 21 Aug 2011
This review is from: Turkey (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The trouble with books like this is that they make you more likely to sit down on your sofa to look at the pictures than to roll up your sleeves and get into the kitchen.

Beautifully presented, each page is decorated and the book is full of picturesque photographs as well as food illustrations. There's a very welcome ribbon place marker and decorated end papers. I can't contemplate it being splashed with grease or the pages getting wrinkled with steam in the kitchen.

Never having visited the country, I was keen to learn how to cook some Turkish dishes, but there simply wasn't enough explanation in this book and I found the more complex recipes daunting - particularly the long lists of ingredients.
I've tried some of the simpler recipes - Pasta with rocket, feta, walnuts and herbs was nice as was Simit - bread rings with sesame seeds. Baklava, I was amused to find, is Turkish not Greek. Only problem was, she didn't give the recipe, since "Proper baklava just can't be replicated at home - you have to go to Gaziantep to experience the real thing". I thought that was a bit cheeky - I'll just have to make it from my Greek cook book then since they're slightly less precious about it.

In summary, a lovely book, but more likely to live on the coffee table than in the kitchen.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2013 1:36 PM GMT


The Slow Cooking Bible (Cookery)
The Slow Cooking Bible (Cookery)
by Murdoch Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Its okay, 21 Aug 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although all the weights and measures are metric and imperial, I think this cookery book must originally have been written for the Australian market as it has a very strong Asian influence. The contents are - Asian soups - Vegetable soups - Meat and Seafood soups - Casseroles - Stews - Curries - One-pots - Vegetarian - Slow Cookers.

It is a well laid out cookbook in reasonable sized print and plenty of illustrations. With a few exceptions the ingredients are familiar - for example, I'm not sure what Moroccan spice mix is and it isn't explained and another recipe calls for 2 jars of spicy taco sauce - I'd have thought which one you used might make the results a bit variable. South East Asian chilli paste was another unfamiliar ingredient, but you are unlikely to want to make the Crab curry for which it is required as the picture is of a crab sitting in a bowl of yellow liquid with a couple of basil leaves on top. Pulses are used a lot, but almost always from a tin. If you wanted a book which praises slow food and shows you how to make it, this book takes a lot of short cuts.

Some of the recipes are inspiring and none of them looks very complicated. The pork sausage and white bean stew that I tried turned out very well and I'm keen to try the potato curry, the chickpea curry and the vegetarian chilli.
The lamb and rice curry was edible, but not so great. This would be a good beginners book, nothing is very daunting and the photos show you how it should turn out.

Quite a few of the casserole pictures are uninspiringly presented in a strange mixture of pyrex and china and the cassoulet on P135 could have come straight from a '60s cookery book. And many of the meat dishes look offputtingly glutinous.

To summarise, its a straightforward cookbook with lots of recipes that are worth trying, some that look distinctly unpleasant and a strong Asian influence. Its also a big, heavy book, so make sure you've got plenty of space.


Midwinter Sacrifice: 1 (Malin Fors)
Midwinter Sacrifice: 1 (Malin Fors)
by Mons Kallentoft
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really engrossing read, 15 Aug 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a slow burning mystery, set in February in a provincial area of Sweden.
Winter is a character in this book and the effect of the cold on the people, the beauty of the weather and its killing effect is a major part of the atmosphere. The effort to survive in a freezing landscape, the darkness of the forests and a hint of the supernatural add up to a spooky and absorbing read.

The characters of Malin Fors and her police colleagues, their personal concerns and worries are quickly established. Malin, at 31, is trying to ensure that her teenage daughter Tove stays on the rails, keep her parents happy and improve her own life as well as meeting the demands of the case and deliver justice to the victim. I found her believable and wanted to know more about her and her colleagues and their lives and hope that this will be the first in a series.

Not everything in this story was neatly concluded, but loose ends could be tidied up in further stories as in real life. A word of warning though, this includes a couple of crimes so dark that this is not a book I'd lend to anyone who likes "Midsommer Murders" type crime fiction. Its very dark and quite gruesome.

I enjoyed this book so much that I carried it around with me to read whenever possible and finished it in a weekend.

Highly recommended.


The 52 Seductions
The 52 Seductions
by Betty Herbert
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted - yes, Funny - not really, 9 Aug 2011
This review is from: The 52 Seductions (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No surprise that this book started life as a blog - its 52 installments from "Betty" - a young woman attempting to revive the sex life of herself and her husband - "Herbert". Poor old long suffering, heroic Herbert. Once I found out that Herbert had a beard, I couldn't get those 1960s "Joy of Sex" drawings out of my mind.

Anyway, Betty and Herbert's love life has not only gone off the boil, but the gas has been turned off underneath and this is the story of their sexual revival. If Betty had limited the story to this, I'd have found it a lighthearted and amusing read.

However. Betty has another agenda, which is to map her insides in public.

The seductions take up about 1/3 of each chapter and the rest is devoted (in much more flowing prose - and I use the word advisedly) to Betty's grisly gynaecological problems, described in loving detail. If Herbert was getting anything like the same running commentary then I'm not surprised that he was becoming a bit lacking in the bedroom.

You may find it an amusing and sexy read. Then again it may put you off sex altogether.


The Whispering Mountain (Red Fox Older Fiction)
The Whispering Mountain (Red Fox Older Fiction)
by Joan Aiken
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Aikens best, 25 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Highly imaginative children's book set in Wales with very appealing characters. The text is sprinkled with Welsh words and there is a glossary at the back, which fascinated me as a child. I've always felt since that Wales was a little bit mystical.

Am exciting story and a thoroughly good read - even for adults.


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