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Reviews Written by
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England)
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Wings
Wings
by Patrick Bishop
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and easy to read but not balanced across the one hundred years, 17 May 2015
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This review is from: Wings (Hardcover)
I read this book having previously enjoyed Patrick Bishop’s The Bomber Boys, so knew the author’s style.
Wings takes a similar approach with the telling of the general history interspersed with anecdotes from real life individuals, which nicely adds a human touch to the book.
I felt the book perhaps spent a little longer than I’d have expected on the war years – undoubtedly the author’s main area of interest – with much less information post WWII given that period is fifty years of the one hundred in total covered by the book.
That small criticism aside, in my opinion this is a well written, easy to read and informative history of not only the aircraft but the people behind them.


The Truth According to Us
The Truth According to Us
by Annie Barrows
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Too much detail but an enjoyable read, 17 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoyed this author's previous novel and was interested that she had decided to set her latest in America, very different to last time.
There is an intense atmosphere created through this writing, it's the 1930s and there is plenty of gossip, intrigue and secrets, as the blurb of the book suggests.
The characters are all interesting and I enjoyed the inclusion of the letters which broke up the narrative well.
The plot ticks along quite nicely but, at times, became completely overwhelmed by the detail which ended up losing my interest. The feel of a novel is very important but it is a fine line to becoming bogged down with too much information and this book reaches this point.
I think it's a good book to read on holiday as you can occasionally skip through paragraphs where the entail gets too heavy without losing too much of the plot.


Science in Sport 60 ml Energy Gel Variety - Pack of 7
Science in Sport 60 ml Energy Gel Variety - Pack of 7
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good example of this type of product, 17 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's a nice idea having a "taster" pack so that you can decide which you prefer. It has to be acknowledged that no one uses this product because of the taste but it does make them more palatable.
I found that I didn't need to take the gel as frequently as suggested but I'm mainly using this at the gym after work to keep up energy levels so I can have a worthwhile workout.
These gels are as good as any others I have tried but I am not completely convinced about the idea of the product overall, maybe an energy drink does just the same?? Not sure.


Prisoner to the Streets
Prisoner to the Streets
by Robyn Travis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Tries to be an insight into a closed world but I'm not convinced it achieves that, 11 May 2015
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I do a lot of work in prisons and was interested to learn more about the gang culture from someone who has lived through it and survived.
It's a very authentic read with the language being pitched at a level which could be understood by most but still feels very real.
He has lived through the worse experiences that society can throw at someone but seems to have come out eventually in a state mind to be able to now tackle his issues head on by writing the book.
Personally, I never felt any attachment to Robin and struggled with feeling any emotion about what he saw and did.
I understand that this book has been good therapy for the author but I'm not convinced that it is a good book.


The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope
The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope
by Nancy Tucker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

5.0 out of 5 stars It's great to be thin - isn't it????, 11 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've read many memoirs focused around mental health problems suffered by their authors and usually find them interesting so was attracted to this book. Anorexia effects many people and numbers can only continue to rise based on our society's obsession to be thin.
Here, the author is 21 when she writes her account. Nancy has an almost incredibly mature attitude to her condition, a point which is made early on when she explains why she will not be talking about her actual weight and calories consumed. The effect of this is that you get inside her head properly rather than having the distraction of being shocked by the numbers.
Many people struggle with weight and body image and, if you are interested enough to have picked up the book, you will recognise some of your own thoughts here. Losing weight is addictive but most have the balance of mind to be able to see the good that food does us. Nancy can't see that and her desperate need to be in control of her eating results in her total loss of control.
In common with most mental illnesses, eating disorders are difficult for non-suffers to completely understand. This book, however, makes a good job of explaining the workings of a sufferers mind and I would recommend this to anyone who have ever seem symptoms in themselves or anyone around them.
I struggled with her parents reluctance to admit Nancy to hospital and would be very interested to hear this story from the mother's view (I've got a daughter the same age as Nancy and recognised all the triggers and social pressures).


The Spring of Kasper Meier
The Spring of Kasper Meier
by Ben Fergusson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Miserable and hopeless......, 5 May 2015
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The first thing that strikes me about this book is that the chapters are named rather than numbered which is quite intriguing to begin with - this was great for the first few chapters but then his imagination seemed to wear out.
Kasper Meier is struggling to support himself and his father in Berlin during the period immediately after World War Two. The city has been devastated and the only way to survive is to fight.
Reading this novel is a very uncomfortable experience as Berlin is a horrible place to be - Germany has been defeated and the victors are fighting each other for control. The characters are all having tough times and, without exception, are portrayed in unsympathetic ways. Combine this with the harsh environment and there is very little to latch onto it. I don't think its important to like characters in novels but I think there has to be something human about them and these people have all become monsters.
What I did love about the book is the description. I don't know much about this time in Berlin and the city is shown in detailed images which are built on with every element of the story. This setting is very visual but becomes so extreme that it slows down the progress of the plot at times.
Several times during the first 50 pages I nearly put the book down as it is not pleasurable to read but persevered due to it having been chosen as my bookclub's current book and I wanted to have an opinion of the whole book.
Eventually, Kasper did start to develop and, once his thoughts became more exposed and a level of sympathy could be developed, the book started to go somewhere. The misery is relentless though and, although I admire the writing, I didn't find any enjoyment in reading this book.


I'm Travelling Alone
I'm Travelling Alone
by Samuel Bjork
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Very familiar but enjoyable and I'm looking forward to the next one!, 2 May 2015
This review is from: I'm Travelling Alone (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is something very familiar about this novel....... It's a debut for this author but includes many elements from other Scandinavian crime thrillers - the cold weather, the experienced detective, the unsettling female, the dark murders and lots more.
It is an introduction to new characters who are probably going to be around for some time as a series is promised. They are all well established straightaway, having interesting back stories - both of the main detectives has been scarred from past experiences which are revealed as the book moves on.
A lot of planning has gone into the plot and this showed in the crafted structure. Characters are introduced, then disappear to come back later when they are relevant to the story. I like that he is planting seeds all the way through, leading up to a ending which, although not completely surprising, is exciting to read. Whilst the structure is good, there are too many strands to the story and a couple of times sub plots just fizzle out but everything picks up again quickly and the overall pace is great.
Whilst this is marketed as a debut, the author is writing under a pen name and is actually a well established Norwegian writer (previously of songs more than books though). His experience shows in the maturity of the text, with the dialogue between characters standing out as particularly good.
This book is what the Dragon Tattoo series could have been with the main characters being believable and not too extreme. Salander was very interesting but, honestly, did you ever believe she could be real? Mia could be!
Great start from a new novelist.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as engaging as I had expected, 27 April 2015
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This book was recommended in a magazine and sounded fascinating. I find the process of death very interesting, with a body changing from being a person to a cadaver in a brief moment.
I am not squeamish at all - a statement which was proven as I read about the purification of bodies while eating my porridge one morning!
The author, Mary Roach, is American and the book was first published in the U.S. The historical and educational defences tend to be American rather than British and I was surprised that I found this to be less engaging than if it has been the other way round. I can't really explain why but I'm fairly certain that this did dull my enjoyment of the book.
One or two of the chapters found me skipping towards the end but there was always something good in the next chapter to pull me back in again.
I did enjoy the chatty style of the author which was irreverent and respectful, at the same time - much the same as those who deal with cadavers on a regular basis. I wonder if she developed this during her research or whether she was like it before?
It's also worth noting that the book was published in 2003. I'm sure there has been lots of changes in the technology since then and I felt that the book could do with an update.


Lenor Unstoppables In-Wash Scent Booster Beads Fresh 275 g (Pack of 6)
Lenor Unstoppables In-Wash Scent Booster Beads Fresh 275 g (Pack of 6)
Price: £24.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Odd product which I don't think there is a need for, 25 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product turned up in a much larger box than I had expected. I should have read the description properly as it said there was 6 in the box!! So I was delighted.
The granules smell pretty much as you would expect a fabric softener to, although maybe a bit stronger. The smell is very pleasant and seems to last well, to the point that all my wardrobes and clothes cupboards small of this fragrance....
The product is presented in a funky bottle that has an easy to open lid.
So all good so far. The main question though is whether this product is worthwhile and will I buy it on a regular basis? And I think the answer is no to both.
I initially thought this was a fabric softener and was surprised that it is supposed to be used alongside your usual fabric softener to boost the fragrance added to the washing. It seems to me that if you are that bothered about the fragrance of the washing the better plan is to buy a more expensive softener.
Also, I'm not sure the product is that easy to use. The instructions are vague about quantity - you should use "a little or a lot". I used about half a capful each wash and found that to be enough but the bottle says up to 3 cups per load which seems way over the top. You are also told to "Throw into the drum at the beginning of the wash" - several times I did this (carefully I thought) and ended up with the little granules on the floor which is then difficult to pick up as they start to dissolve on hitting any water.
I'll finish using the products but will not buy in the future.


In a Dark, Dark Wood
In a Dark, Dark Wood
by Ruth Ware
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well structured plot with many layers, 23 April 2015
This review is from: In a Dark, Dark Wood (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book sounded like a quite spooky, unnerving thriller and has been surrounded by a high degree of hype. Hype never guarantees a best seller but always helps to raise awareness and, if the book is good, will lead to word getting around quickly.
The book starts in a very promising way. Nora, the narrator, is running through the woods seemingly escaping from something, she then wakes up in hospital and we don't know if the wood is a dream or a memory. The plot quickly flashes back to the planning and start of a hen weekend. Tension is there from page 1 - something terrible has happened and we're going to find out what.
Further layers of tension are added by the mystery about why Nora has been invited to the weekend at all. She knew Clare (the bride) at school but has not seen her for 10 years.
The book is set in the present day so is easy to relate to with all the technology of phones and Internet. It's comfortable imagining being in Nora's head - intrigued by the invitation but slightly scared about having to deal with the past.
Characters are all very strong with the limitations of the small number in the house creating a claustrophic atmosphere which works beautifully.
As the plot moves on it seems to be peeling back layer after layer until the core of the whole story is exposed at the end. This isn't to say that the book is completely without flaws and there are a few things that happen within the last few chapters that are unbelievable at best but I found that I was so carried away with the thrill of the ending that I forgave this.


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