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DebB (Oxfordshire, England)
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Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade)
Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade)
Price: £4.51

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too YA for this not-so-young-A, but competently written, 14 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is okay, easy to read, with a storyline that keeps you interested, and text that flows naturally - but I spotted the principal baddie pretty early on, and the other baddies are somewhat stereotypical nasties. Our heroine is tough (aren’t they all) capable and determinedly solitary. Leading men - well they’re gorgeous with toned bodies (aren’t they all), handy with a sword, but this is Lila’s book, so you only get to know them through her observations.

The pixies are reminiscent of other author’s Brownies - or what’s the Harry Potter one, a house elf or something? Useful to have round even drunk. There are lots of other magical creatures, but most play a superficial part here. The non-magical humans are, derogatorily, called rubes, a term explained thus::

“His stance wasn’t an uncommon one. Lots of magick’s thought they were better than the mortals. Hence the term rube.”

Oh well that explains everything! I read that several times trying to spot where rube comes from. I failed. Anyhow, rubes are seen by the magick’s as cash cows to be treated with contempt. The only law’n’order seems to be the magical families who have vested interests, so this isn’t a kind world. There’s a lot of death in this book, quite a few fights against overwhelming odds, and one uncomfortable scene where the place of young, attractive, defenceless women in this world is made very clear (only threats - nothing graphic at all).

There are echoes of Ms Estep’s Spider books, with lovingly described food given much prominence. The lithe, lissom, cat-burgling Lila doesn’t half eat a lot. There were a couple of scenes where I found her gorging bordering on the distasteful - she eats 3 heaped platefuls of a bacon, grits, egg-style breakfast immediately before going off to bodyguard - wouldn’t a light snack have been more sensible, or the huge meal about 2 hours earlier? She is, natch, not troubled by weight gain.

The grown up in me found the reliance of one of the leading ‘mob’ families on sub-twenty year-olds slightly improbable, but I think this book is aimed at that age group, so maybe it’s not so surprising. Whatever age range it’s aimed at, my (generally pretty tolerant) inner realist just wouldn’t shut up, so I don’t think I’ll get the sequel, Dark Heart of Magic, due out in October 2015.

No overt sexual content, but some fighting, blood and death.


Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Coffee Capsules Nespresso Compatible Colombian Huila (Pack of 6, Total 60 Capsules)
Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Coffee Capsules Nespresso Compatible Colombian Huila (Pack of 6, Total 60 Capsules)
Price: £17.36

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly acceptable alternative if you can't source the real thing, but not good enough to replace full time, 12 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
1. The outer packaging is good
2. The plastic pods fit the machine snugly but you need to press the cover down more firmly to puncture the capsule than with the Nespresso pods.
3. No option to recycle the (plastic) pods as you can with Nespresso
4. Our first sample was for a "lungo" style coffee (our norm) and we both found this to be weak for our taste, even though the crema was achieved.
5. As the pod is described as espresso that was our next attempt and I found it much better (stronger!) and have been drinking it like this since. The flavour is fine for me, robust and not at all bitter. However my fellow tester says that the pod lacks the intensity of the Nespresso version so he's sticking with Nespresso
6. The cost of the Taylors pod is the same as Nespresso so there is nothing to gain except maybe the convenience of being able to buy locally
7. I like the flavour and will buy them again if I run short of Nespresso - as well as but not instead of!
8. The Nespresso machine seems happy after a longish period of regular use of `foreign' pods - so no downsides there.


One Part Human (An Obscure Magic Book 1)
One Part Human (An Obscure Magic Book 1)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too clunky for me, 7 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This suffers from too much clunky dialogue -

“… and don’t forget to write down anything interesting about the officers you are with.” […]

“I will consider it if there is anything noteworthy. I have never actually been in the XIA offices before.”

Read that out loud, as part of a conversation… Wouldn’t you actually say,

“… and don’t forget to write down anything interesting about the officers you’re with.” […]

“I’ll consider it if there’s anything noteworthy. I’ve never actually been…”

or,

“I will be fine. I will make some concealer…”

“… I will help you.”

Nooooo, that sounds as though it comes from an automaton. You’d say “I’ll make some concealer”, “I’ll help you”. People don’t speak in grammatically correct sentences, we abbreviate, miss out words, say “S’pose” instead of “I suppose so”. The sort of thing really disrupts the reading flow for me, and in the end I was focussing on looking for clunky dialogue rather than the story.

As to story line - well, I did wonder at times if this was a part two - I felt I was missing bits of the back story. There are of hints of sexual involvement that don’t progress (maybe that’s all for the sequel?), and a fair bit of sexual innuendo and flirtation, but nothing too explicit. You have to wonder how the paranormal equivalent of the CIA managed to achieve much before our journalist heroine on a week of observation tagged along. She sorts everything out, and makes no attempt to hide her bizarre and maybe illegal ancestry - on her first trip out with the agents she’s observing, she “flicks” out with her power and renders 2 fey unconscious, and on the second charms the car so a werewolf can’t get in - hardly behaviour to keep the curious uncurious!

There’s no background description - there’s talk of her odd eye, but no hint about what’s actually odd about it (other than the image on the cover - which is good), and she’s clearly attractive, from the agents reactions to her, but I couldn’t form a picture of her at all.

The author has peopled her world with paranormals of all sorts, and our human looking but Heinz-mix heroine seems to have just about a bit of everything. There are some nice ideas - such as the resident ghost, and the sort-of-sentient car - but this didn’t gel for me.


The Grendel Affair: A SPI Files Novel
The Grendel Affair: A SPI Files Novel
Price: £3.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, "traditional" urban fantasy with a rather fluff-headed heroine and the usual steel-jawed hero, 2 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just re-read this after finding it’s novella prequel in Night Shift. This is undemanding, enjoyable urban fantasy, the tweak being that the heroine has no spiffy super powers other than being able to see through any glamour a non-human tries to wear, including, it transpires, invisibility. So she can direct the big, powerful, mostly male, tough guys to where the things to kill are. She’s rare, her predecessor died nastily, but she’s not allowed a gun, or protective clothing, and is meant to hide behind the resentful, big-bad toughie allocated to keep her alive.

The tough guys seems to consider her a piece of fluff to be teased and patted on the head, and she doesn’t do a lot to disprove that approach. She has a weakness for sugar doughnuts and coffee, and seems to fall across solutions and all things important by accident. I think she says "euw" at one point...

Her boss is a dragon who looks human, her co-worker is a chunky Russian werewolf, the company lawyer is a vampire, the goblins are sexy, the ghouls are nasty, the grendels almost bomb proof… most variants of urban fantasy are here.

If you’ve read Ms Shearrin’s Raine Benares series you’ll know she likes to ramp up the action then never let it subside, not for one second. The same applies here. There are vague hints of romantic involvement towards the end, altho it could be considered a tad inappropriate, and there’s a sequel, The Dragon Conspiracy, that I’ve not read yet.

Not bad, but I prefer my heroines to be a tad more self sufficient.


Silent Blade (Kinsmen Series Book 1)
Silent Blade (Kinsmen Series Book 1)
Price: £1.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, enjoyable read with a fine heroine, 2 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another of those books, or novellas in this case, that I love, and re-read many times over.

I love the mystery of her - Meli is achingly competent and focussed, and to save her family she takes on one last job, to assassinate a powerful man considered unreachable. And a man she shares a history with. And how does she do it? By knowing her target better than he knows himself, and with passion cones - “crisp dough with a slight buttery taste and a tantalising scent of roasted passion raspberry..”, with allure, and then with soup. I loved her!

This is a satisfying short read from a competent author. There’s a sequel, Silver Shark, set in the same world where Meli and Celino appear briefly, that’s equally enjoyable.


Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel
Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, as you'd expect from this author, 2 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Love this - read it several times already. Competent, sorted female lead who just gets on with stuff; feared-by-all male lead with staggering amounts of power (altho’ that doesn’t stop him getting the occasional pounding). Her family are great, the story line grips, there’s clearly more to come - oh and despite having the hots for her staggeringly handsome and staggeringly powerful “assistant”, our heroine is no walkover, clinging to her self-respect by the skin of her teeth, determined to walk away with dignity! He sees this as simply the first skirmish in a battle he will win - arrogant? Oh yes!
This is fun, funny at times, well written, and totally worth the purchase. Sequel coming, but not in the near future.


The Winter Long (Toby Daye Book 8)
The Winter Long (Toby Daye Book 8)
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good instalment in the Toby Daye saga, 2 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The author says in her preamble that this book was one of the first she fully plotted when the series was but a glimmer in her eye, and that everything she’s done in Toby’s world up to this point has been for the sake of getting here. So, given what has already happened in Toby’s life, I was expecting a significant game shift, or a major “Ah-ha!” moment, and to a degree, I suppose there are some here, but some are pretty subtle, and there’s no biggie. I even re-read it shortly after my first pass to make sure I hadn’t missed some subtlety in my race to the end.

That said, I read this (twice) with ease, enjoyed it, altho the drenching in blood gets a bit much after a while, and there is now scope for change and more revelations. I do wonder when Amadine is going to make a proper appearance… the next book is due out later this year and there are no hints on the author’s website.

To sustain tension and momentum over 8 books is the mark of a competent author, and while I have several long-running series I’m sticking with, this is one where I pick up the next installment quickly rather than wait a few months. Probably not a series to just drop into at this stage - far too much has been gone through for this to make a lot of sense without reading the preceding books - and they're worth reading!


Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Coffee Capsules Nespresso Compatible Brazilian Yellow Bourbon (Pack of 6, Total 60 Capsules)
Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Coffee Capsules Nespresso Compatible Brazilian Yellow Bourbon (Pack of 6, Total 60 Capsules)
Price: £17.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly acceptable alternative if you can't source the real thing, but not good enough to replace full time, 1 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
1. The outer packaging is good
2. The plastic pods fit the machine snugly but you need to press the cover down more firmly to puncture the capsule than with the Nespresso pods.
3. No option to recycle the (plastic) pods as you can with Nespresso
4. Our first sample was for a “lungo” style coffee (our norm) and we both found this to be a little weak for our taste even though the crema was achieved.
5. As the pod is described as expresso that was my next attempt and I found it much better (stronger!) and have been drinking it like this since. The flavour is fine for me, mellow and not at all bitter. However my fellow tester says that the pod lacks the intensity of the Nespresso version so he's sticking with Nespresso
6. The crema remains until the end of a Nespresso pod (I often scoop it out with a spoon or finger!) but with the Taylors it disappears quickly.
7. The cost of the Taylors pod is the same as Nespresso so there is nothing to gain except maybe the convenience of being able to buy locally.
8. I have tried other makes of pod and come to the same conclusion.
9. I like the flavour and will buy them again if I run short of Nespresso - as well as but not instead of!


Skechers GO Walk 2, Women's Trainers, Black, 7 UK
Skechers GO Walk 2, Women's Trainers, Black, 7 UK
Offered by Fairtrade Online
Price: £45.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, brilliant, comfortable, light, washable..., 24 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are, as everyone says, the most wonderfully comforable shoes around. These are unexciting enough to work with fairly formal wear and not be noticable (I have a pink pair for less formal events!). I have problems with tendonitis in one foot, and these don't aggravate in any way. Wonderful - but what do I wear when it rains, or when it's cold?


Captured: A Fallen Siren Prequel
Captured: A Fallen Siren Prequel
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good set up for a series, good thriller, good character building - oh and lots of food!, 19 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My goodness, they eat well in this book. They take time for breakfast, they stop for lunch, they have evening meetings over dinner, he brings coffee and pastries… fascinating how some authors never mention people eating, while here we can have no worries that our heroine/hero are looking after themselves - they eat well and enjoy their food!

This is a straightforward thriller about a missing child, maybe linked to 2 other similar cases. Both main characters work for the FBI and are put to work together to solve, or not, the case before another child dies. That Zack is a werewolf is barely relevant - he can eat a lot(!) and at one point he uses his sense of smell to find someone. Similarly, Emma once uses her power to beguile to get important answers from someone, but the plot doesn’t rely on them having extra powers. The book would work as well without any supernatural elements - which is good I reckon. The underlying thriller works as a thriller, the supernatural elements are just extras.

I spotted the crucial whodunit link a bit early, but its difficult to bury your clues among red herrings, and it doesn’t shriek out of the page. I liked the restraint both showed over their attraction, they had important work to do and kept things professional - giving time for the simmer to get going towards a fast boil (as it were!)

A good set up for the full book 1 which I’m off to download right now.


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