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J. Brand "jbrand" (Somewhere else)
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The Trinity Game
The Trinity Game
by Sean Chercover
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Improbable hokum but enjoyable hokum, 29 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Trinity Game (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Trinity Game is a rather surprisingly good book. The premise is that the vatican employs someone to investigate claims of miracles and this person then investigates his own relative's claims. A premise that is so improbable that this should by all rights fail the most basic requirement of any piece of fiction, that of expecting the reader to suspend their disbelief, and yet it overcomes that to be an engrossing page turner. However many flaws and improbable plot devices appeared I found myself wanting to answer the basic question of what happens next. So however much I would describe this as improbable hokum it kept me reading and on that basis alone it is a good book. In fact the only objective criticism I'd have of it is that it makes it very difficult to give an objective review without throwing in a few rather large plot spoilers. Suffice to say that if you like thrillers with a large element of the supernatural, secret societies and vatican plots then this is for you (and as others have said he's a better writer than Dan Brown)


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Bulky, heavy and very dim, 6 Aug. 2012
Modern LEDs are very bright these days. So how on earth did campri manage to put 20 of them in a lantern, run it off four heavy D cells and still get so very little light out of it? What light does come out of it all goes sideways so hung from the centre of tent it's great if you want to stub your toes while studying moths on the roof but not much else. On the other hand put it on a camp table and then you realise there isn't enough light to read even if you're sitting right next to it. All in all a triumph of design over usability, it looks like someone spent more effort making it look like a big lantern than making it work like a big lantern.

In practice we found this was far outperformed by a couple of LED lights that normally live in my son's playhouse and which are half the price and a fraction of the size.


Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media
Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media
by Pamela Whitby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A useful reality check even if you think you know about this, 16 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Now I got this book expecting it to tell me nothing I didn't already know but this isn't a simple subject solved just by technology and this book is quite good at dispelling some of the myths and conveying a bit of good advice. I'll only say a bit of good advice because the nature of the subject is that this is going to very rapidly become so out of date that any technical advice will effectively be useless and even the topics that exist now as concerns could be irrelevant in a couple of years; facebook like social sites might be a concern now but what will be a concern in two year? it's impossible to say but I can be fairly confident it will be something that's not in this book. That said there is some more socially oriented advice in here which will be more relevant for longer, for example discussions of the effect of peer pressure and the basic advice of 'talk to your children'.

It does seem to be a bit light on the technical aspects of how to address problems which in itself is not a major problem as most of the solutions to most online problems come down to a bit of common sense rather than some geek solution involving clever software tricks but it does mean that it will not bring someone up to speed on the technical aspects of this issue.

So a reasonable book, light on technology, good on the social aspects but could quickly become dated.


200 Fast Family Favourites: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
200 Fast Family Favourites: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
by Emma Jane Frost
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No nonsense, just a very good cheap recipe book, 16 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've only got a couple of the books from this series and I think I'd already recommend them as among my favourite cookbooks. Quite simply there's no nonsense about them. No celebrity chefs putting the prices up, no full page glossy pictures taking up half the book and reducing the actual content, no obsession with exotic ingredients or showing off. Just recipes, and a good selection of them, priced cheaply and it doesn't take up vast amounts of shelf space.

Now there's still a place for celebrity chef books and obscure references on my bookshelves but that's because I'm interested in such things. If on the other hand I was to recommend some good basic recipe books to anyone else these would be among my top recommendations (Delia's complete cookery course would probably be my other recommendation).


The Geek Manifesto: Why science matters
The Geek Manifesto: Why science matters
by Mark Henderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.94

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely correct but this is a dry uninspiring read, 5 Mar. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's nothing in this book that I'd disagree with. Essentially his argument is that all social decisions should have a science input and be evidence based. Nothing wrong with that and you'd probably find it difficult to find anyone who would disagree with it. But the presentation of the argument is just so boring that it's difficult to stay awake from page to page. It's a largely dry account of anecdotal evidence of such a policy not being followed. The geeks of the world will already agree and everyone else will either believe that they are following the evidence or they're not even bothering to read this.

I've read this, I agreed with it but I really can't see who he expects the audience to be and anyone who disagrees with Mark Henderson isn't going to be reading this anyway and, if I can't imagine an audience for it, then I can't imagine who I'd recommend read it.


Keeping Chickens For Dummies (UK Edition)
Keeping Chickens For Dummies (UK Edition)
by Pammy Riggs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

5.0 out of 5 stars A practical guide for the modern backyard chicken farmer, 7 Feb. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I would recommend this volume to anyone thinking of getting chickens. I used to recommend another couple of books on the subject but this is easily better. It doesn't lend itself to sitting down in one reading so it's not a fireside read before you get the birds but read a few essential chapters before you get the birds (basically the bits on buying birds, housing and feeding) and then treat it as an ongoing reference. If there's any fault in t at all t's almost that it's too comprehensive, most people won't need to know how a chick grows in the egg if they just want a few laying birds so if you try to rid everything before starting then you'll read a lot that you don't need to know so read selectively using it as reference and it's excellent.


200 Veggie Feasts: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook: Over 200 Delicious Recipes and Ideas
200 Veggie Feasts: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook: Over 200 Delicious Recipes and Ideas
by Louise Pickford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best vegetarian recipe book I've found, 7 Feb. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A problem with most vegetarian recipes is that they are great at producing side dishes but not at creating main meals, nothing wrong with that but sometimes meals want something to take centre stage. While most of this little volume's content ism't quite up to formal occasion catering there are enough main meals in here to make this have already replaced my usual veggie cookbook. It's also refreshing, given the current taste for celebrity chefs and glossy cookbooks, to see something that unpretentiously just delivers what you need and doesn't have some grinning overpaid loon on the front cover.

It's cheap, it's good, it's comprehensive, it should be on your shelf.


Bananas in My Ears
Bananas in My Ears
by Michael Rosen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nonsense verse or just nonsense?, 30 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Bananas in My Ears (Paperback)
If you were to write a book a poetry for children, who are probably only just beginning to encounter poetry, then it might be a good idea to try to make your poems rhyme and scan. There is a place for free verse but it's not in a children's book. On the other hand if you write to write a nonsense book for children then it might be a good idea to make it more than a few lines long. This book is mostly a collection of short nonsense free verse poems and even with the best of intentions free verse is not going to appeal to most children. If a book doesn't appeal to its target audience then it's not something I would recommend to anyone.
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Philips AVENT SCF314/02 Twin Electric Breast Pump
Philips AVENT SCF314/02 Twin Electric Breast Pump

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good but a bulky piece of kit, 25 Nov. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At first glance this was an almost frightening piece of kit. I know the modern world has turned the whole process of babies into something of a medical condition to be cured rather than something that's just what people have been doing for thousands of years but when you open this bag and see something that extols the virtues of what nature intended and yet is packed with a load of pumps and tubes it does send out perhaps the wrong message.

However sit down with the quick setup guide and all comes clear. It's actually remarkably easy to set up. If you really want to know everything I'm sure that somewhere in there is enough information to bore you rigid and convince you that it is really fantastic but to be honest I've not read that. The technical bits I did get from what I read are all to do with "learning you rhythm" and suchlike but the real test is the simple question 'does it work?' and the answer is a resounding yes. It does its job, cleaning the beast is a lot easier than I expected and all in all it makes it possible to use nature's answer in a world that demands you get back to your nine to five as soon as possible and objects if you actually try to use a natural solution in all too many places.

The only thing I'd say is that this turns up a rather smart black bag which is nicely laid out and packs everything neatly into pockets for travel but it's a big bit of kit and most of the time it just stays at home and only the bottles come with us in a regular change bag. Nonetheless it is a nice way to pack this all up should you want to cart it about.

When I was given to this in exchange for a review who said he got it free from amazon (thanks to my friend who gets this from amazon for some reason) I was expecting something like I had seen in the cheaper end of the shops and so had low expectations. When I saw the package and saw how ell it worked, well all I can say is I can see why it is one of the more expensive pumps and can also see that it really is worth paying that bit more.


On Nature: Unexpected Ramblings on the British Countryside
On Nature: Unexpected Ramblings on the British Countryside
by Caught by the River
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A collection of magazine articles not a book, 25 Nov. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is one of those books which shows why a simple star rating is possibly the poorest possible way to review a product (OK I admit they have the advantage of providing a quick way to rank similar items but that aside it's a poor way to rate products).

There are articles in here which are very good and would warrant buying this book and any number of it's sequels were it to have any, but there are also articles which are frankly just dull and uninspiring. That and the lack of any well defined connection between the articles puts into the category of books which even if you enjoy them, which to be honest I did, you would find impossible to recommend to someone. This reads more like a collection of magazine articles but without a stronger connecting theme they should stay in the magazine and not a book.

A quick random selection shows the problem; articles on how to catch trout, falconry and a walk across Dartmoor. Had it been three articles on hiking, or three on fishing, or three on ornithology I could have said who would read this book as it is I can't really recommend it to anyone.


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