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Reviews Written by
I. Horswell (Bristol, England)
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Mappamundi (Richie Littleton Book 1)
Mappamundi (Richie Littleton Book 1)
Price: £1.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced adventure through far flung places, 27 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Richie is bored with his humdrum existence and decides to go travelling, leaving his girlfriend in Blighty wondering what their future holds. His adventures take an unexpected turn whilst he's in India and he is drawn in to a puzzling chase across several continents involving some shady characters.

The book is fast paced and colourful. Having been to several of the places Richie visits, I enjoyed being transported back to them by the author's well researched and rich descriptions. From the first read, I found it difficult to put this book down and am looking forward to the sequel.


Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth about Parenting and Happiness
Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth about Parenting and Happiness
by Jessica Valenti
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and frank - a must for new and prospective parents, 10 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As with a great many things to do with children, there are a great many things that parents only find out once they've joined "the club" (childbirth can be painful, breastfeeding isn't always straightforward, take time out of your career and risk losing it, you don't have all the answers, you can influence but you can't control your children....)

This book is a frank look at parenthood today and the choices we have. There is an expectation that you'll feel happy and complete when you have a baby. The reality can be quite different, particularly if you didn't actively choose to become a parent.

Only a few decades ago, a child was a potential extra pair of hands in the field or family business. They were fed, watered, clothed but largely left to "roam free". Modern middle-class parents feel the need to micromanage their children's lives from choosing the right brand of buggy to researching the right school and providing a taxi service to an array of after school activities. They often feel that they are not doing enough for their brood.

With most women doing on average 18 hours more housework than their partners, can they still hold down a fulfilling full time career or does something have to give? Why is it the mums who usually sacrifice themselves (their bodies, their time, their careers and any sense of self)? We have as much to give in the workplace as men but if we step off the career ladder to stay at home and raise a family, we risk finding ourselves at the bottom again doing menial unfulfilling tasks.

The author writes about American employment law so a few of the employment discussions are not applicable here in the UK. She had a rocky start to parenthood with a premature baby. The book can feel overly negative at times - bear in mind that she is telling you the facts but the book doesn't balance them with the love/cuddles and positive side of being a parent (yes, there are lots!).


BrainBox - Horrible Science Blood and Guts
BrainBox - Horrible Science Blood and Guts
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Memory game for confident readers, 3 Oct. 2012
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
How it works:
There are 54 bright cards each covering a topic, richly illustrated in cartoon style with facts and silly things. You have 10 seconds using the sand timer to memorise the card. You then roll the 8 sided die and answer the question corresponding to the number on the die. If you get the question right, you get to keep the card. The winner is the person who collects the most cards in ten minutes. You can play by yourself or with others, and you need to be a confident reader.

What we thought:
It is very difficult to read much of the card in ten seconds (which I suppose creates more of a level playing field for adults and children). We both got a lot of questions wrong so were a bit dispirited after ten minutes. Some of the questions are based on the facts on the cards and others on peripheral things like "what was the rabbit doing?". I imagine this game is like trivial pursuit - when you first play it seems impossible but after a few plays, you start to remember certain answers. With 54 cards and 8 questions per card, this is a game that will last a while. Since we received the game, both my son and I have flicked through the cards and read a few just for fun, so perhaps its real value is in making these facts seem accessible and interesting, however you choose to play it.


You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum
You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum
by Andy Stanton
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun for 8-11s, 3 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have just started to read the Mr Gum stories - my 8 year old thinks they're hilarious and he likes the use of nonsense/silly language and pictures. I wondered how they would translate as spoken stories - they sound much better.

Kate Winslet reads them at a rollicking pace and keeps the story lively and interesting with an assortment of different voices and sound effects.


Zoggs Boy's Super Seal - Blue/Blue/Green
Zoggs Boy's Super Seal - Blue/Blue/Green
Price: £6.30

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great kids goggles, 11 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Zoggs Junior Super Seal (Sports)
We've had several pairs of Zoggs like these - the thinner elastic round the head seems to stop it catching on the kids hair, which is good but usually the elastic breaks after a year or so - I'm not sure if that's from use, age or overzealous manhandling!


Wilkinson Sword Long Handled Edging Shear
Wilkinson Sword Long Handled Edging Shear
Price: £19.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality that lasts, 11 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Arrived quickly, with plenty of padding for the blades. Looks and feels like a quality item and has nice long handles - I have had other Wilkinson Sword shears that have lasted for 10-15 years. My dad is very happy with his new toy!


90 Litre Jumbo Spring Loaded Pop-up Garden Bin
90 Litre Jumbo Spring Loaded Pop-up Garden Bin
Offered by Monkey-Shop
Price: £8.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job!, 11 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had several bins like these that have lasted for 3-5 years of constant use and exposure to the elements. This one appears to be just as well made as my others and, at this price, is a bargain. Arrived quickly.


Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders! British
Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders! British
by Sir Tony Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.02

5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and quirky look at all things British, 10 Sept. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a fascinating lighthearted look at what made us British. It is written like a kids TV programme - upbeat and bouncy illustrated with cartoons and sidebars. Ideal for the newly confident reader (junior school).

Find out about: the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom; what was the British Empire?; discovering America, sugar plantations and slavery; the Royal Navy and press ganging; Captain Cook; Lord Nelson; steam trains; Queen Victoria, why the army wears khaki; British India & curries; Livingstone & Stanley; our colonies and more...

Overall, my 8 year old and I really enjoyed this and we had some very interesting discussions. History was really not my favourite subject at school but books like these make it accessible and fun.


One Hundred Names
One Hundred Names
by Cecelia Ahern
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle tale with a moral attached, 4 Sept. 2012
This review is from: One Hundred Names (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Kitty Logan, a journalist, is in a bit of a pickle. Her life has reached an all time low exacerbated by the recent death of her best friend and mentor. Her mentor leaves her a final challenge (or is it a wild goose chase?) - to investigate and write a story about 100 names. Who are "the names" and what are their stories?

I liked this story as it drew you in from the beginning. Its setting in Ireland leads to some very twee descriptions and the story develops gently, meeting some interesting characters on the way. Perhaps a little involved for a beach read, due to the number of characters involved, but it would be a lovely book to curl up by the fire with!


The Rough Guide to Running (Rough Guides Reference Titles)
The Rough Guide to Running (Rough Guides Reference Titles)
by Lloyd Bradley
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference book for runners, 29 Aug. 2012
Like another reviewer I borrowed my first copy from the library. After 6 weeks, I decided that I needed to get my own. Lots of useful information on the mental and physical aspects of running. A good section on how to stretch and how to run more effectively - I would have liked to see diagrams too but that really was the book's only shortcoming for me.

The other contributors come from a variety of different backgrounds and I enjoyed reading their hints (given as sidebars to the main texts). I think this book would take most runners beyond their first half marathon but a serious marathon runner may want additional help, for variety and inspiration as much as anything else.


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