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Reviews Written by
P. G. Strachan (Glasgow)
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Timbuk2 Gripster Jacket Cover with stand functionality for viewing at any angle, Black PU/Black Perf/Black Perf (will only fit Kindle Fire)
Timbuk2 Gripster Jacket Cover with stand functionality for viewing at any angle, Black PU/Black Perf/Black Perf (will only fit Kindle Fire)
Price: 17.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a style statement, 23 Nov 2012
First things first....the Gripster I'm reviewing isn't the Gripster pictured above. Amazon sent me a different one which is made, primarily, of fabric and comes in a grey/cold blue colour scheme so you might want to completely ignore what I have to say if it's the look of the ing you're interested in. Anyway...beyond being wrong I'd say the Gripster is well up to the job of protecting my Kindle....it's lightweight but robust and it seems to fit very snugly.
Price-wise I'd say it's a bit on the steep side given it's possible to pick up a Kindle jacket for a fiver and this doesn't feel as if it's at the luxury end of the market....


Corel PaintShop Pro X5 (PC)
Corel PaintShop Pro X5 (PC)
Price: 59.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but....., 14 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In my opinion Paintshop is the best of the breed. It has what you need whether you're a wizened pro or an enthusiastic amateur and getting to grips with it is a relatively straightforward exercise. My quibble would be that it feels as though there's precious little on offer in this iteration that wasn't there in the previous version so no reason, as far as I can see, to upgrade (unless you're some sort of paintshop zealot). Having said that if you didn't hitch you wagon to X3 (the less said about X4 the better) then the upgrade may well feel worthwhile....and if you're a newbie or a refugee from one of the many rival imaging softwares then it's definitely worth giving this a go.


Vengeance (Quirke Mysteries)
Vengeance (Quirke Mysteries)
by Benjamin Black
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Repeat performance, 14 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's no denying that Black/Banville writes beautifully but having read 4 of the 5 Quirke novels I'm starting to feel a little less interested in our hero. Book after book we seem to be going over the same ground....Quirke and Inspector Hackett mixing with the great, the good and the morally bankrupt of Irish society. All of which would be fine if I felt the layers of Quirke we're being peeled away...that he was revealing more of himself in each outing...but I have the feeling Black has nothing new to tell us about the big chap and we're just revisiting aspects of his character that have already been thoroughly explored.


Swift Mount Full Motion Wall Mount for 37 to 65 inch TV
Swift Mount Full Motion Wall Mount for 37 to 65 inch TV
Price: 59.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Does The Job, 12 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Fortunately I read some of the other reviews before I launched into sticking this on my wall....otherwise it would almost certainly have ended up in disaster. Plaster walls are a big no no. Common sense might have prevailed....indeed I've always been more than a little dubious about the idea that some little piece of metal is capable of keeping a hulking great telly suspended from your wall (engineering not being my strongest subject). Anyway...instructions in hand I managed to complete the job in something like twice as much time as most of the other reviewers (I find you have to stop every so often to put the kettle on otherwise you're not really engaged in manly work). And remarkably it works. Not even so much as a worrying wiggle when I tilt and pivot (in search of a wiggle to worry about). So all good....but the wires issue mentioned by others is worth considering.....perhaps it might be worth investing in one of those snake things that holds them altogether....can't remember what they're called but you know what I mean.


Think Dog!: An Owner's Guide to Canine Psychology
Think Dog!: An Owner's Guide to Canine Psychology
by John Fisher
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dog-eared, 12 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Here's my problem with "Think Dog"... I can't imagine that there's anyone who'd be interested in buying this book who wouldn't already be reasonably familiar with most of the insights it offers. Sure it'd be an eye opener if you'd never owned a dog nor given what goes on in their little minds a second thought.....but why would you be buying this book if you fell into that category ?
On the plus side there are some reasonably entertaining anecdotes but they tend to say more about the depths of the dog owner's idiocy rather than telling us anything we couldn't have figured out for ourselves.
On the downside there's a chapter on nutrition which makes the product placement in the average James Bond movie look discrete....a waste of space and something of a cringe..


Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China
Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China
by Paul French
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Burner, 12 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must confess I was toiling a bit with "Midnight" in the early stages and at times the author appeared more interested in the depths of his own research into Peking than the crime itself. Detail I can cope with but there's a point where it slows down the momentum of the book and you start to wonder if you really care enough to see it through to the end and get to the denouement. That said....it really picks up pace about half way thrugh (once the Japanese invade and the police are taken out of the equation) and (I'll refrain from any spoilers) once the victim's dad takes on the investigation it positively cuts to the chase.
All in all it's a fascinating insight into our colonial past as well as a remarkable piece of detective work on the part of the author....


Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 On-Ear Headphones -  Black/Black
Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 On-Ear Headphones - Black/Black
Offered by KoalaX
Price: 29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Sound, 27 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm no expert in headphone sound (some might consider me tone deaf) but I use them in my day to day work and I can say that these are streets ahead of the Sonys that the corporation supplies it's minions. I passed them to my daughter for an extra layer of scrutiny and she agreed that they're v comfy and v bassy (although she still preferred her own Skullcandys which was something of a relief as I could see these being whipped off me if it had gone the other way). My only quibble is with the detachable lead. It feels like a good idea given that so many headphones ended up junked because of a detached wire....but frankly it took a bit of jiggling before I was getting sound in both ears. Still - perfect now...so I'm well pleased.....


Tefal Vita Compact Food Processor (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Tefal Vita Compact Food Processor (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A whole new world of kitchen fun, 5 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My opinion on the Tefal is strictly uninformed. I've never owned a food procesor and, to the best of my recollection, I don't think my folks had one either. So what I'm saying is that I've nothing really to compare it against ....other than an over-employed potato masher and a tired right arm. Personally I've always held out against purchasing one because, frankly, who has the space to stash yet another kitchen gadget that might be used once in a blue moon ? But I have to say that owning one of these things has opened my eyes to a whole new world of cookery....all that stuff I've never tried because my potato masher wouldn't have been up to the job. My repertoire of soups has expanded exponentially.
Of course all this is no help to you if you're a processor pro. On that front all I can say is that it does the job perfectly....it comes loaded with extra bits that I haven't really figured out yet...and it looks rather retro sitting there on the kitchen worktop poised for action.


The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies 3)
The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies 3)
by Pittacus Lore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.53

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having read the other two books in this series (enjoyed the first, second a bit less) I thought it would be worth giving 3 a go. But frankly after a while I felt I was just reading 2 again. Correct me if I'm wrong but there's absolutely nothing new in this instalment and it's astonishingly brief. I'm not suggesting that "Lore" has to fluff out his stories if the "next Harry Potter" claim is to have any currency....But surely he can't expect to keep his audience by writing the same book over again ? This will be my last encounter with the Mogadorians....so that's one less reader already.


The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1)
The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1)
by Antonio Hill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger hell, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A promising new character on the block. Inspector Salgado comes with all the prerequisite baggage and certainly seems worth keeping an eye on. The thrust of the story is outlined elsewhere so I shan't go into great detail...but the central crime is possibly the least interesting aspect of the tale. Our Inspector is a man haunted by aspects of his own nature. If it's not too cliched (which it is) I'd say he was torn between the demands of justice and vengeance. Anyway....that's for you to find out about but what I did want to say was that I was somewhat confounded by the massive loose end in "The Summer of Dead Toys". Perhaps I'm being too rigid in feeling the need for total resolution but is it reasonable for authors to leave us languishing with huge cliffhangers. It's one thing on television and such like where we know the answer will be forthcoming next week/next month....but it could be a year, maybe more, before the follow up to this book appears. I can't dangle that long......


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