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Reviews Written by
Kate "ms. c" (London, UK)

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Battery Operated Fairy Lights with 10 Warm White LEDs by Lights4fun
Battery Operated Fairy Lights with 10 Warm White LEDs by Lights4fun
Offered by GiftUK
Price: £0.95

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely lights, 9 Dec. 2010
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Lovely warm tone to these lights. Nice quality - sometimes battery operated lights can be rather cheaply produced with hard-to-open battery slots. But not these. I would recommend.


Silent Night Advent Calendar
Silent Night Advent Calendar
by Schroeder
Edition: Card Book
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Indeed, 9 Dec. 2010
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This is a superb Advent calendar, depicting a beautifully illustrated. There's the nativity story combined with other winter holiday elements, in a subtle, gently nostalgic scene. Excellent value - we will use this one again. Much better than throwaway chocolate calendars, I agree.


Monoprinting (Printmaking Handbooks)
Monoprinting (Printmaking Handbooks)
by Jackie Newell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A useful starting point, 23 July 2010
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I found this book interesting and it certainly is a useful starting point, with chapters devoted to various print making techniques and some general instructions. There are several inspiring examples of prints created using techniques outlined however I think some of the images were included more to demonstrate a process rather than for their brilliance or originality. It would have been interesting to see larger images too and a more inspirational selection. Perhaps this book is dedicated to technique rather than the individual artists featured, but it is rather general and often the instructions are less than accurate. The book is fine for someone who wants to muddle through and teach themselves various ideas, or indeed would be helpful to an art student, perhaps A level or adult education. The book's layout is not aesthetically brilliant and the binding makes it tricky to open to read easily.


Sony  CMTEH15 Micro HiFi System
Sony CMTEH15 Micro HiFi System

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CD failure, 23 July 2010
I purchased this hifi to play music and radio in our small living space. Unfortunately the radio reception is not brilliant and yes it is not DAB, so if like me you find yourself listening to 6Music or another digital station - then this hifi radio becomes semi-redundant. Alas after a year or so of owning the CD has now failed big time and has scratched several CDs. The quality was always far from brilliant but suited the budget, but now with the CD dying (and also it was always very noisy - the actual motor of it) then I would definitely advise against choosing this system. The speakers were a nice quality, but I would suggest buy a more up to date model and if you can spend that extra for DAB. Surprisingly disappointing Sony.


The Water Table
The Water Table
by Philip Gross
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance, 28 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: The Water Table (Paperback)
Brilliance in poetry is no easy feat. Here are poems with edge and a distinctive voice, individual and appealing. There are poems with a polished, focused feel. They reveal and thrive upon a confidence the poet has developed over several worthy collections. Gross writes with energy, verve, a true love for language and the interruptions the extraordinary came make into the seemingly mundane. There are quiet poems and poems with a more abstract energy. This collection really needs to be read over time and re-read. Reflect and return. The well-crafted longer sequences stand out for me, as poetry that will always offer something to a reader over time. I prefer the poems with a present human insight, rather than those directly responding to a landscape, for example. If at times this books feels just a little too taut, a little honed, then perhaps the next collection will have a wider focus and be ever more revealing?

Highly recommended.


Chronic City
Chronic City
by Jonathan Lethem
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars promising but abandoned, 28 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Chronic City (Paperback)
I began reading this book with some excitement, after hearing the author speaking about the book during a Radio 3 broadcast. Despite enjoying the one hundred or so pages, I have abandoned this large novel, as I just felt the lack of plot - or should that be energy to the plot - was defeating my enjoyment. As much as I quite liked the central characters they remained for me 'characters' - I wanted them to grow a bit and be challenged in a way that did not seem ultimately feckless and so what? - ish.

Shame to give up on any book. I would consider there are several good stories, perhaps related, perhaps not, lurking in this book - but this is not a great novel.


Moleskine Sketchbook
Moleskine Sketchbook
Offered by BOOKS etc
Price: £6.46

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect and flexible, 28 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Moleskine Sketchbook (Hardcover)
This book seems so incredibly BIG compared to the regular handy size moleskine sketchbook - but of course it would be! At A3 size, this sketchbook is not for carrying around in your bag, but still offers many flexible uses. I take the paper out to use for particular drawings, as I love the paper = this still works out as reasonable value. The large pocket at the back is great for storage. This oversize sketchbook makes an excellent portfolio. Paper quality is excellent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2011 12:19 AM BST


Love and Summer
Love and Summer
by William Trevor
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars light & competent, 29 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Love and Summer (Hardcover)
This new novel, on the Booker longlist 2009, has received very good press reviews. I read the book as part of my Booker longlist reading, and to be honest it really was not for me. I'll explain here, subjectively, the good and not so good aspects.

A book set in small town Ireland during the 50's, this is nostalgic writing. There is nothing wrong with nostalgia but I grappled to engage with this often prosaic narrative. The prose is competent writing with an endearing Irish accent. The opening is rather plodding and really this short novel could be a far better longer short story - Cut away the Connultys sub-plot that takes up a lot of space, and what you are left with is an interesting and quite touching short story. I think Trevor's attempt to interweave was ok but not satisfying. Competent story telling, yes, but I want more from a book shortlisted for such a literary prize.

No doubt this book is a good choice for book clubs and libraries. Not too demanding, rather undemanding to a reader who enjoys edginess in contemporary writing.

I enjoyed the last quarter of the book, the pace picked up and Trevor seems to drop all novel expectations - instead opts for crisp, elegiac short story prose. Far better. This for me demonstrates Trevor's ability as a good short story writer and if were to read his other books I'd definitely opt for for the short story collection and would perhaps hope for better.

Two of the male characters in Love and Summer - the young male 'lead' Florian Kilderry and the elderly local eccentric Orphen Wren could be read as Trevor himself. The younger is the romantic idyllic Self; Florian is a wistful, tender young man. The older man is the storyteller, a 'seer', interrupting and nudging his own characters - for without Orphen Wren (great character name) the plot would not work so succinctly, especially in the final stages.

For superb prose by an older writer I prefer Anita Brookner.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2010 11:53 AM GMT


Summertime
Summertime
by J M Coetzee
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars notes on an author, 24 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Summertime (Hardcover)
Summertime is an intriguing, revealing book that triggers questions. It's a book that gives insights into life in South Africa during a certain time, a time of flux and uncertainty. It is a book about the writer as outsider but there's so much to it than that, so forget that and see it as a book about the writer as human, almost failing but somehow able to love, bewilder and infuriate. The central 'character', is revealed by those that 'knew him'. He is to some a mediocre academic - not quite brilliant enough to be a good academic, not able enough to flourish and make something of himself beyond writing a certain book that won't get wide coverage. He is not embraced by anyone or anything, for any length of time. He cannot seem to engage, so people say, he doesn't seem to be able to open himself up. He's grown up having to protect himself from a certain attitude, a small-mindedness that he wishes to reject but at the same time feels a certain loyalty toward. I read this book as it is on this year's Booker longlist and this has been my introduction to Coetzee. I'd like to read more.


The Little Stranger
The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite wonderful, 20 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: The Little Stranger (Hardcover)
Highly enjoyable story, faultless writing! I enjoyed the world portrayed and the detailing of lives. I had read newspaper reviews suggesting this novel was so very chilling it was best not read alone in the house etc. etc... I did not find it particularly unnerving or spooky. I'm a modern reader perhaps too aware of the ghost story as a genre that has been reinvented over time, and how psychology has developed thinking and ideas regarding ghostly matters.... It's a brilliant book, despite not being spooked personally. I liked and believed in every character and felt the detailing was just so, really well done. Perhaps I would have liked a shiver up my spine, just a little somehow.....


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