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Reviews Written by
Hard-marker "gzn" (Wales)

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Pack x3 Gypsophila Paniculata 'Bristol Fairy' Perennial XXL Supersize Plug Plants
Pack x3 Gypsophila Paniculata 'Bristol Fairy' Perennial XXL Supersize Plug Plants

3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 24 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Okay


Side Pony
Side Pony
Price: £9.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Side Pony (Audio CD)
Great range, from soul-searching to disco, all with a jazz vibe!


Derwent Graphik Line Painter Coloured Pens - Palette No.1, Pack of 5
Derwent Graphik Line Painter Coloured Pens - Palette No.1, Pack of 5
Offered by Crafty Arts
Price: £10.48

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 31 Jan. 2016
Disappointing - watched several videos and was excited by the potential of these pens, with their wet and dry uses. They are expensive, so I do expect them to be high quality, and to go at least some distance. The problems that I encountered, were the sudden blobbing countered by the equally sudden loss of flow. The white pen has been the worst and the most disappointing as I am always on the look out for the Holy Grail of white pens, the one that works for more than a week, on multiple surfaces. I thought Derwent had cracked it, but this one blobbed and stopped the most, and the the infill out, and the the two bits of the nib parted company. I wasn't rough, they just dropped out onto the paper and fell apart. Not happy...


The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder
The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 27 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I thoroughly enjoyed The Coincidence Authority so started this with relish. The idea is original and intriguing, however I quickly became disenchanted. Despite his meaningful name, I could not understand why a nice chap like narrator Adam would be content to subjugate himself to a dysfunctional and self-absorbed family. We learn very little about Adam's own connections. His life outside the ponderous Ponder realm is clearly deliberately underwritten, but the Ponders are just so awful......Perhaps the book is political allegory and on that level it has merit. As a yarn, it became a tedious, relentless observation on one narcissist, (among many) and his enabler.


1000 Quilt Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Contemporary, and Art Quilts
1000 Quilt Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Contemporary, and Art Quilts
by Sandra Sider
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.74

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, 16 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am biased because two of my small art quilts are in the book, but nevertheless, I think the book is delicious. It is just snapshots of 1000 quilts, all inspiring, all very different. The images are grouped, so you can compare and contrast traditional, modern, pictorial and abstract designs. There isn't a lot of info on each piece, just the methods and materials used, if the artist has supplied the information, (not all have). It is definitely one for the art quilter who is building an inspirational and informative library.


The Well
The Well
Price: £4.74

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Arid Read, 3 April 2015
This review is from: The Well (Kindle Edition)
The Well is an intelligent read, written with assiduous attention to language and a clear understanding of nuance. The author certainly understands the potential for a rural idyll to seem like a prison and, at times, the reading of the text felt like a long sentence, (I know, I know!) so dense was the prose. The premise of the tale is sound - what happens to individuals, family, community, society when faced with imbalance and lack. There was more than one drought going on here. The actual drought, the lack of rain throughout Britain except for a few magical pockets such as The Well, was the least well depicted point of aridity and I was not convinced. Rural communities often posit newcomers as scapegoats for resentment and exclusion, and the reaction here to the extreme good fortune of the incomers was not egregious. The national emergency does not preclude Mark's trip to the pub for a water wasting pint or two. The more tragic drought, the one that existed long before life at The Well, was the emotional desert that the main characters had to traverse. There seemed to be a dearth of unconditional love and that lack made for a dour read. Ruth's relationship with her partner was compromised by a cloud over his, (and subsequently 'their') past which Ruth's love had not overcome. Her relationship with her daughter was deeply flawed and brought in to question her suitability as guardian of her grandson, little Lucien, (who despite his name meaning 'light' could not chase out the ghosts from the dark corners of the life that Ruth and Mark so desperately wanted to heal) a question that proved crucial to the narrative, and made Ruth a most unlikeable protagonist. No friends came visiting, her phone did not ring. If as they say, you always take the weather with you, the rain that fell over The Well was less benevolent to its owners than the rest of the country believed it to be. The element of water was not kind. I was not convinced by the newly founded holy order - women did not get a good press here, but then nor did the police in their negligence, or the powers that be in their coup, (but who wants THEM to get a good press anyway!). Friendless, 'Voice' hearing Ruth was a prime candidate for a cult, but the voice of Ruth, established early on as a potentially unreliable narrator, seemed too worldly for such naivety. The denouement was a little too pat for my ambiguity-loving mind, but ends were neatly stitched into a satisfactory, if a tad unconvincing, conclusion. I was left feeling drained, so the watery metaphor was sustained to the bitter end.
I was given an edition of this book via NetGalley in return for an unbiased review


Art Quilts of the Midwest (Bur Oak Guides)
Art Quilts of the Midwest (Bur Oak Guides)
by Linzee Kull McCray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!, 13 Mar. 2015
After years of quilting, and an honours degree in literature, I am ashamed never to have considered the etymology of the word ‘quilt’. Here, in the fascinating introduction, you will find its origin – mattress! In the following pages though, the images could not push your mind further away from the mundanity of a mattress. The art quilts depicted are delicious, exotic, expressive and life enhancing! The artists speak with the sensibility of the Mid-Western states of the USA both through their work and in conversation with Linzee Kull McCray, whose sensitive and intelligent approach to art in general, and textile art as a specific area of interest, suffuses the text with passion and understanding. Add to that enthusiasm and a strong sense of place, and you have a book that is exciting and unusual. Reading as a person living deep in rural Wales, with limited knowledge of the Mid-West, I was thoroughly captivated by the words and images, and I found myself flicking between the two, seeking to ‘know’ the root and the result of lives so different from my own. I found familiarity - creative people influenced by the landscape, the weather, the seasons, the industries around them, including farming, their families, and the music that they are drawn to. There is familiarity too in the love of handiwork and the determination to express something personal and unique through the feminine legacy of textiles, whether the artist is male or female. The differences, specific to home and habitat, bring a freshness and energy that make this book one to treasure and to learn from. I was particularly drawn to Gail Baar’s strong use of shape and colour, created with her hand-dyed fabric, but I also loved the delicacy of Peggy Brown’s palette. The three-dimensional quality of Diane Núňez’s work was inspiring, as was the quality of light created by Pat Owoc using disperse dyes. Really I could name every artist as having their own charm. Finally and with a hurrah, the dimensions of every work are given – a small detail, but it makes such a difference to my interpretation of the wonderful artistry. I was given a digital copy of this book, via NetGalley, in return for an unbiased review, but I loved it so much that I have bought a paperback copy to pore over!


World War 1 Quilts
World War 1 Quilts
by Sue Reich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £33.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Filled with attractive images, 24 Feb. 2015
This review is from: World War 1 Quilts (Hardcover)
This is a very attractive book from Schiffer Publishing, (http://www.schifferbooks.com/world-war-i-quilts-5616.html).
As you would hope, the book is filled with lots and lots of gorgeous images of quilts made during, and as a response to, the first world war. The variety is stunning and to think that all the quilts were made before these happy modern days of rotary cutters, acrylic templates and whizz-bang machines, makes their intricacy all the more impressive. The poppy quilts were particularly beautiful and new to me. The text is interesting and informative, but also rather enchanting, being interspersed with extracts from magazines. The reader's letters were particularly charming, giving a real insight into the thoughts and feelings of quilters at that time. The images of advertisements and pages from needlework magazines, really adds to the book, giving it an appeal much broader than just the quilting community. Anyone with an interest in vintage textiles would enjoy it and embroiderers will find much to pore over. My only small criticism was the suggestion from the dedication, that took me aback in implying that WWI was an American war. I don't think that was the intention though.
This book was given to me via NetGalley, in return for a wholly unbiased review.


In Search of Solace
In Search of Solace
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, 24 Feb. 2015
What a touching and engaging read. At first I was unnerved by the omniscient commentator, dear reader, who takes us by the hand and leads us all over the place! I was worried that the novel might be an exercise in style over content, by a post-grad creative writing student with a determination to make their mark. I was wrong. The construction is highly literary, but beyond that, it is intelligently and sensitively written, with an understanding of plot and pace, that kept this reader involved and caring about the cast of existentially lonely protagonists, each one an outsider, (as we all are!) each one searching for solace, and several searching for Solace. Having known someone who re-invented themselves regularly, I was intrigued by Jacob Little, but more endeared to him as a literary persona than as his infuriating real-life counterpart. The obsessions which punctuate his various lives are actually 'dabbles' and the text, whilst it acknowledges many philosophical conjectures, does what Jacob does, and circumnavigates each theory whilst on the way to somewhere else. The text is set in times and places that are assiduously realised, without the clumsy product placement some authors use. It gently nudges you backwards and forwards in time using well wrought dialogue, monologue, and insightful observation. There is mystery and revelation, ambiguity and unanswered questions. There is sweetness and poignancy. There is a bloomin' good read.
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.


The Paying Guests
The Paying Guests
Price: £3.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Powerful evocation of place, milieu and time, but....., 19 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Paying Guests (Kindle Edition)
Sarah Waters writes era, milieu, and place like no other. She is rigorously, yet subtlety, attentive to detail and builds her characters and her scenery with such a powerful sense of authenticity that you could be sitting right there in a dusty old wing chair, watching the internal dialogue flit across the face of a protagonist through the stagnant air of the once-grand, now-faded, parlour. However, in this case, wonderful though her writing is, it felt like there was not enough to build the novel upon. The narrative, despite the unusual, (then and now - generally speaking in terms of fiction) nature of the relationship between the two main protagonists veered into cliché, with the main plot hinge clearly foreshadowed. Despite the careful development of tension, each of the characters remained largely unknown in their motivations and unlikeable, or, even worse, bland personalities unworthy of novelisation or of grand passion. Perhaps that was an intentional way to describe the suffocating restrictions of the times, but it made for dull reading. I ended up skimming the laboriously detailed pages that seem to be repetitious or circuitous, after beginning to feel somewhat as Frances must have done, seemingly trapped in her pointless, stultifying existence. Sadly the action, when it arrived, was not enough to jolt me out of my ennui and I closed the book feeling glad that it was done - not something I expected from a Sarah Waters book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2015 5:11 PM BST


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