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David Lovie (Aberdeen, United Kingdom)

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Poison and Poisoning: A Compendium of Cases, Catastrophes and Crimes
Poison and Poisoning: A Compendium of Cases, Catastrophes and Crimes
by Celia Kellett
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not for me..., 28 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Poison and poisoning: A compendium of cases, catastrophes and crimes attempts to blur the line between the serious textbook and a more fun book full of anecdotes and side information and hands us a book choc full of data on near enough every poison you could imagine, but also one that you will actually want to read through and not just look up the specific item you want then store away again.

It does this through trying to convey a slightly more conversational tone than pure bullet point facts, and intersperses the data with stories relating to the relevant poisons - crimes they were used in or historical stories relating to them.

I ordered this book hoping for a fairly interesting read and a route to broaden my knowledge somewhat, without getting bogged down in detail, but for me the book just didn't quite live up to what I had hoped - while perhaps not being as boring as a textbook, I did end up finding it somewhat dry and hard reading, with a lot of information to take in and not as much emphasis on the storytelling and anecdotes as I would have liked. A bias that will suit many I am sure, but for me it still came as still a bit too bogged down in pure data.

If you are looking for a lot of basic data on poisons, some examples and something not quite as dry as a pure textbook, this is probably a great choice. If you are looking for more of a compendium of poisoning stories and enough data to teach you about those, perhaps not.


Redline [DVD]
Redline [DVD]
Dvd ~ Takuya Kimura
Price: £14.43

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: Redline [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Redline is a Japanese anime film based around the story of racing driver JP taking part in the Redline - a futuristic no holds barred race. A fairly simple premise, complicated somewhat by various back stories, evil mafia's and a race location not particularly wanting of a race happening right there.

To try and sum it up with a few references, think the pod racing scene from Episode One (and yes, apologies for reminding you about the rest of that movie) turned up to eleven with some even wilder vehicles, a hint of akira and some beautifully done anime visuals. Gratuitously over the top in all the good ways that make for an entertaining blast of a film, with enough of a back story and hook to draw you in and keep you interested.

A film that I was slightly wary of in advance - it had the distinct possibility of being a bit generic, lacking storyline in favour of excitement and grand set pieces, but one that was pulled off perfectly and makes for a very entertaining film when you want something just slightly over the top and silly, while still being a genuinely good film.


3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
Offered by Activecare Online
Price: £8.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says..., 19 Nov 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a fairly regular DEET based insect repellent it should be pretty easy to guess how effective this will be - pretty much the standard issue in bug sprays and in use with everyone from the military to campers.

What is a bit more different about this product is the form it comes in - the vast majority of bug sprays I see are in a liquid form in a spray or similar bottle. Instead the 3M is a creme more reminiscent of a suncream than bug spray which just makes for a different application which I personally prefer. I am used to sprays that always seem to get everywhere trying to apply them, or liquids that are hard to evenly spread and tend to get on everything in a nearby vicinity - which is not handy when the higher concentration DEET will act as a solvent to plastics and other materials (the humble red Swiss Army Knife for example isn't too happy when you get it on the scales). The creme is a *much* more controlled substance that can easily be squeezed out in an appropriate amount, and can easily be applied over you skin which since it is a white colour can easily be kept track of.

Once applied it absorbs into the skin in a fairly regular way (if slightly slower than a liquid version) leaving little smell behind.

Overall it does the job no better or worse than any other bug sprays I have used, but in a compact container and easy to use form compared to a spray.


Philips HR1366/90 Hand Blender, 600 Watt
Philips HR1366/90 Hand Blender, 600 Watt

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job perfectly, 22 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I will have to admit that not being a huge kitchen person it is hard to get too excited over something like this, especially considering how similar it is to the range of alternative models and brands out there at a quick glance.

The Philips HR1366/90 is a handheld and mains powered blender/whisk, giving you attachments to blend or whisk in the supplied jar/container and also a self contained blending unit. Compared to older units I have used it is a step up in size and weight, which is forgivable when you also consider the extra power behind it and the solid feel in use and in hand. In use the various pieces do exactly what they are supposed to in terms of blending or whisking, at a fairly brisk and powerful rate compared to lesser units, so it is fairly easy to go a bit overboard and blend everything down to mush if you get a bit over eager on the turbo button. It is also worth noting that you probably will need to use the high sided jug for blending and whisking in, as it is fairly easy to throw food about wielding it in a lower sided container - whisking up a milkshake or some angel delight for example.
Washing and so on is fairly easily accomplished - blend up some soapy water and you will have bubbles galore and a nicely clean machine, and the implements can also be detached from the main unit to give them a proper wash (which I believe can be done in the dishwasher as well as the sink)
The manuals and so on are predictably sparse, as there is not really too much to figure out here - attach the relevant implement (all with pretty obvious uses to anyone who has done any cooking) and go.

About the only omission we noted was the lack of any 'why not try this with your new gadget' style recipes or ideas to get you going where you would often get a couple of basic soups or other ideas to try. Not exactly a huge omission but about the only thing we saw missing compared to other similar items. Given the fairly obvious uses the blender has, not one I am going to be worked up about given the ease of finding new ideas to try online and in print.

One of those gadgets that is not particularly exciting or flashy, but a genuine help in the kitchen.


The Burning: (Maeve Kerrigan 1)
The Burning: (Maeve Kerrigan 1)
by Jane Casey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat predictable, but entertaining., 11 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I will admit to having not read Jane Casey's previous novel, so had no preconceptions of her style, and so took a small gamble in The Burning.

The book follows the story of two characters during the investigations of a serial killer, the first being Maeve Kerrigan, one of the detectives assigned to the case and on the hunt to find the killer before anyone else dies. Alongside this it follows the story of Louise, a friend of one of the victims as she is included in the investigation. The book jumps back and forth between both characters every chapter, with each character notably being written in a different font to separate them.

The story I will have to say I did find somewhat predictable, and slightly formulaic in the fashion of many similar books (a problem that comes with the territory of writing in such a well travelled genre) but is still an interesting read that certainly draws you in, even if you can make an educated guess as to the killer fairly early on (then again, who doesn't when reading murder novels?). Well worth a read for anyone with an interest in murder/thriller style novels.


Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War
Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War
by Giles Milton
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look from the other side of the war..., 11 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Wolfram: The boy who went to war follows the story of Wolfram Aichele and his family growing up and living during the rise of the Nazi party and throughout the second world war, giving the story of some of the innocent people forced into the Nazi way of life by the state without any choice in the matter, and unwillingly involved in the war against the allies.

The story starts with some background into Wolframs childhood as a somewhat unique child, eschewing most of the normal traits and passions of a young child in favour of his love of architecture, art and drawing, encouraged by his parents and on through his time in school and college until being conscripted into the army and his time under their rule moving around to the various fronts and areas involved at the time.
Alongside this the story sticks to the home life in Pforzheim of his parents, and how the war affected them as non-believers in the Nazi system and policies - from the burning of books by non-approved authors, the ruling that homes must display the Nazi flag to the devastating Allied bombing raid the war brought to Pforzheim and the resulting aftermath.

I found it very interesting to hear of the story of the third reich from an innocent viewpoint in Germany, and how it affected everybody, whatever their opinion. Rather than many of the known works this does mainly skip over some of the larger atrocities - the concentration camps are mentioned, but not as a large feature which I find makes for an interesting read, free from some of the more sensational anti-nazi propaganda. Well worth a read for anyone with an interest in the war, and some thought of how home life in Germany was affected in the same way ours was in Britain and across Europe and the world.


Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything
Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything
by Kevin Cook
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tale of one of Americas biggest gamblers, 11 Jan 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Titanic Thompson: The man who bet on everything is the biography of Alvin Titanic' Thompson - a charismatic man who spent his life travelling America gambling on anything anyone would be willing to put a bet on - from playing poker in the back rooms of small towns and taking bets on him performing tricks such as throwing cards or coins all the way to his later life playing big money poker games and wagering big money on golf.

Despite being the sort of life that sounds as if it was taken straight from a movie, the tale of Titanic Thompson is a real one, researched by the author and pieced together from every source he could collect - the scant news reports, interviews with those who knew Titanic and by distilling all the bits of urban legend and story down and adding them to the known facts to try and piece together the full story of Titanic.

The book itself is a good read - a story of the old style American hustler and gambler that keeps you reading to find out what trick or scam he was planning next, and where it would take him. A good read about an America icon that I doubt many people have heard of...


Bike Snob
Bike Snob
by Eben Weiss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars From the wild of the internet to a hardbacked book..., 11 Jan 2011
This review is from: Bike Snob (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Bike Snob is a fairly well known writer amongst the bike riding internet community, having been writing his popular blogs for some time now, he has decided to make a detour into print via his book 'The Bike Snob: systematically and mercilessly realigning the world of cycling'.

If you have read the blog you will probably be able to guess where this is going - his love of bikes and riding, dislike of hipsters and silly trends organised and better explained in book form, looking at different areas like the history of cycling and the bicycle, the different types of cyclists out there (hipsters, messengers, time trial rider, etc...) and exactly what he thinks of them - from the mountain bikers who get some respect for just being out there and having fun, confusion of why you would ever want to take part in triathlons, or the complete disdain to all the trend following hipsters (which seem to be a big dislike of his)

A constant background to the whole book of course is just his love of bikes down to the fact getting out riding is just plain enjoyable and a practical way to live somewhere like NY.

For someone with an interest in cycling (whatever style, as long as you are not a hipster...) this makes for an enjoyable read - while opinionated he makes a lot of sense and will resonate with most people who spend time in the saddle. If you don't ride, his enthusiasm here may just be ther persuasion you need to get a bike and get out.


Livin' the Dreem: A Year in My Life
Livin' the Dreem: A Year in My Life
by Harry Hill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you would expect from Harry Hill..., 11 Jan 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Livin' the Dreem is the (fictional) diary of TV personality and entertainer Harry Hill throughout 2010.

Being familiar with Harry Hill, but not a huge follower I was not entirely sure what to expect of Livin' the dreem - A basic cash in on his popularity with a humdrum diary of his actual life? A real diary written humorously? Something else altogether? As it turns out the last one is most definitely the case (at least I don't remember the 100 greatest tree's airing on TV...) with a book written as a traditional 'diary' style of the somewhat outlandish and bizarre life that exists inside Harry Hills head.

For the first chapter I will admit I was a bit touch and go on the book - it almost seems as if it was trying just a bit too hard to be wacky, with outlandish stories and regular namechecking of various celebrities flowing thick and fast almost to the point it became annoying. As I kept reading though I did get into the style of it, and came to the realisation that that style is exactly what Harry Hill does - watching clips of Harry's TV Burp or other shows he has featured on shows exactly the same sense of humour and style.

I think it is fair to say if you are looking for something intelligent then Winnie The Pooh is probably a more appropriate book than Livin' the dreem, but if you are familiar with Harry Hill and enjoy his style of comedy, then you really can't go too far wrong.

Incidentally, it did amuse me that the book finishes in January 2011, despite the fact I received and read it before christmas 2010... A fact that will be missed by anyone buying it now where it will have ended before you read it.


The Proper Care and Feeding of Zombies: A Completely Scientific Guide to the Lives of the Undead
The Proper Care and Feeding of Zombies: A Completely Scientific Guide to the Lives of the Undead
by Mac Montandon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The handbook for all budding zombie researchers..., 14 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"The proper care and feeding of zombies: a completely scientific guide to the lives of the undead" is a book attempting to put a scientific spin on the various zombie theories seen throughout popular culture looking at the different causes and effects seen and investigating them in a scientific and logical manner, finding real life possibilities for the explanations given.

The book by default is very much rooted in pop culture and the lore of the various zombie stories around, and make constant references throughout to the well known sources - The different Romero films, 28dayslater, zombieland, the Max Brooks books and so on - and makes a surprisingly cohesive argument for the existence of zombies with examples like various parasites that can affect relevant parts of the brain or drugs to cause similar effects to the shambling brain dead we know and love. By no means is it complete though, as there are still various problems with the science that cannot yet be solved (the legendary staying power of zombies without getting their five a day...) but then again it should probably be noted that the medium it is taking cues from are fiction to start with...

The only downside I found was the fact that it actually is a pretty scientific approach to the subject, and despite the 'friendly' image one the cover is not the lightest read, where world war z is a collection of stories to read through with basic background information, this eschews the storytelling to focus on said background...


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