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Reviews Written by
A-E Moutet (Paris, France)

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Clarks Couture Bloom, Women's Ballerinas
Clarks Couture Bloom, Women's Ballerinas
Price: £24.00 - £78.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why oh why tamper with a perfectly good design?, 8 Feb. 2017
I bought these to replace my well-loved pair of Clarks Carousel Ride ballet flats, which are no longer produced. They look almost alike, but these are extremely uncomfortable where the Carousel Ride were a dream to wear. The back is higher than in the Carousel Ride and hurts my heels; so does the top front which rides just a little higher on the foot, with resulting pain as well. Why oh why tamper with a perfectly good design?


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't live without mine, 23 Feb. 2016
I love, love, love, love mine. Have travelled with it in the certainty that however cold a house I might be staying in, my bed and my feet would be toasty. It does what it says here - plug it in 3 minutes and when the red light goes off, unplug it; it will soon get even warmer and stay that way for 3 hours at least. Be careful never to use it without the cover; it gets hot enough to burn. My first one lasted 6 years and I'm on my new one; I've also offered lots to friends.


The Ravens of Falkenau
The Ravens of Falkenau
by Jo Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars To keep us happy during the too long wait between Jo Graham's full-length books!, 28 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Ravens of Falkenau (Paperback)
I have long been a fan of Jo Graham's Numinous World series: her original, extraordinarily well-researched historical novels ranging from the Antiquity to modern times, linked by characters' common destinies. You can follow her heroes as reincarnated in different eras, from the aftermath of the Trojan War (Black Ships) to Alexander's successors's turbulent nation-building (Stealing Fire) to Cleopatra's Egypt (Hand of Isis); or you can take the books individually and never be puzzled by continuity, since each can also stand alone with a self-contained story. (I would still advise to read her Napoleonic saga in sequence: The General's Mistress, The Emperor's Agent, the forthcoming The Marshal's Lover, etc.) Still, the wait is long between books! But this is a volume of short stories, which bridge both the historical and temporal gaps: from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, each beautifully crafted, original but with familiar echoes. And for Graham fans, there are just lovely snippets, like the Amcient Egyptian tale of the Lady of Cats, which could only have come from an author both very familiar with Egypt, and a cat ownee! A wonderful collection and, to newcomers, possibly the best introduction to Graham's rich, enthralling world.


Mind Fuck (Administration)
Mind Fuck (Administration)
by Manna Francis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed to make a Eurosceptic out of you: clever, edgy, complex whodunit set in a bureaucratic near-future EU dystopia, 31 Mar. 2013
The most interesting part of a mystery has always been the world it makes you discover, from the Judge Tan series to Cadfael to Rumpole to Sam Spade. This is an edgy, complex, riveting whodunit, set in a bureaucratic near-future European Union dystopia which is both scary and believable. (Well, perhaps apart from the fact that Britain is very much inside it still. On the other hand, what you see of it would make a Eurosceptic out of the most committed Lib-Dem.) Inside the political, bureaucratic and corporate rivalries is a clever romance between two anti-heroes of sorts, both ferociously intelligent, both flawed. I defy any reader to guess the outcome of the murder investigation or the guilty party. The book is plotty, convoluted, occasionally very funny - I can't imagine the author hasn't some personal experience of working for a large bureaucracy - and very well written. Much recommended. (I plan to look up the rest of the series instantly: damn you Kindle, there goes my Easter week-end.)


The General's Mistress
The General's Mistress
by Jo Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most fascinating woman-adventurer of the Napoleonic era, 27 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The General's Mistress (Paperback)
Ida St Elme really existed. Not just that: from 1827, she wrote her Memoirs, which became the best-selling book of the early 19th-century in France and beyond, earning her the nickname of "the female Casanova". (And as the actual Casanova wrote beautifully as well, it's an especially apposite tag.) Courtesan, actress, spy, soldier, wife, mistress, hostess, writer, this Dutch-born heroine lived through the French Revolution and the First Empire as a modern woman, now unjustly forgotten. She died in obscurity and poverty in 1845 in a convent in Brussels; you can find her actual "Mémoires d'une Contemporaine", written in French, recently-added at Project Gutenberg.

"The General's Mistress" tells the story of Ida, also known as Elza or Elselina: lover of general Moreau and Marshal Ney, agent of Talleyrand and Napoleon, traveller from Paris to Italy, soon to ride as far as Alexandria and Moscow. It is the first novel in a first-person Napoleonic saga planned by Jo Graham, the author of "Black Ships", "Hand of Isis" and "Stealing Fire", and like these previous historical novels, it ties the characters to a common sense of destiny. I am a fan of Graham's writings, but as a Frenchwoman I am especially excited about this series: on the strength of this first book, Graham has a deep understanding of French and European history and mentalities, which she brings to her usual talent for creating characters we deeply care for. Graham has been compared to Mary Renault for her historical novels set in ancient Greece and Egypt; it's obvious here that she applies the same understanding to modern history. Instead of simply writing of a 21st century woman in Empire costume, she recreates a real woman of the times - what fascinating times, what a fascinating woman, flawed, sometimes wrong, always brave, human. I can't wait for the next book!


Evans Lichfield Cats Tabby Traditional Tapestry (Filled) Cushion, 18 x 18 inch
Evans Lichfield Cats Tabby Traditional Tapestry (Filled) Cushion, 18 x 18 inch

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, would buy many more for friends, 28 Mar. 2012
This cushion is nicely made, ages well, and it is the spitting image of my own cat, Metrobius, so much that people ask me if I had it commissioned specially. It's the best of all Evans-Lichfield cat cushions - the cat has a real cat-like expression instead of looking like a Christmas card - and I hope they make more, because I know half a dozen prospective buyers already.
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Evans Lichfield Homely Cat Cushion, 18 x 13 inch
Evans Lichfield Homely Cat Cushion, 18 x 13 inch

4.0 out of 5 stars Not half as pretty as the tabby you don't sell any longer, 28 Mar. 2012
I like Evans Lichfield cushions very much - have two which look good and age well. I regret that this rather twee cat & device seems to have replaced in your inventory the tabby one which was MUCH nicer - could you sell that one again? (No, the assorted kittens are no replacement - they firmly cross the line from twee into pure Evans Lichfield Kittens on Sun Lounger Cushion, 18 x 18 inchsaccharine...)


Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford
Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford
by Leslie Brody
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A tin-eared hack job of a fascinating subject, 6 May 2011
You know the wrong writer is trying to tackle a Mitford biography when, on page 6, the famous brood's parents are described as "Baron David and Lady Sydney Redesdale" - then, to compound this blooper, we are told that the sisters were entitled to the "Hon." prefix because they were "the daughters of a baronet". You need not approve of the English aristocracy to write about them, but a working knowledge of basic conventions is useful. Alas, Ms Brody doesn't limit her ignorance to the English upper classes. Lion Feuchwanger's sensitive and complex "Jew Süss" is NOT "a malevolent novel that fueled German anti-Semitism": the author must be thinking of the Veit Harlan movie, produced under the Nazis one year after Unity Mitford shot herself in Munich, and therefore unlikely to have influenced her noxious beliefs. Etc. etc.

Other reviewers have underlined how accepting is is of its subject's devotion to Communism. Ms Brody is a fellow-traveller, which, as it implies some understanding of the Left where Decca Mitford made her home, could help throw light on her motives. But nothing can possibly save a Mitford biography where you find dire lines such as "He had a bitter edge. She had a wicked mouth. Finally, they were just kids." They go a long way to explain why the remaining family members haven't cooperated.


Black Ships
Black Ships
by Jo Graham
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting retelling of the Aeneid and a brilliant heroine, 29 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Black Ships (Paperback)
"Black Ships" is the first volume in a historical cycle spanning centuries. (Jo Graham's next book will apparently be about Egypt under Cleopatra and Caesar.) Here we meet Gull, a Trojan priestess who joins her people's survivors in a voyage across the Mediterranean to unknown shores. This is of course a retelling of Virgil's Aeneid, the founding of Rome, by the vanquished of the Trojan war. Virgil meshed the tales of both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and "Black Ships" is an adventurous odyssey which takes us across the sea to many places including Carthage, future foe of the future Rome. It's a terrific book, meshing the Ancients' belief in the supernatural with a feel for Bronze Age history: as in Mary Renault's books, the past is another country; you get a feeling of a different world and a different worldview. I could believe in Gull and her visions, and can't wait for her next incarnation.


Breaking The Code: The Brandreth Diaries: Westminster Diaries, 1992-97
Breaking The Code: The Brandreth Diaries: Westminster Diaries, 1992-97
by Gyles Brandreth
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive and hilarious, 3 April 2008
Gyles Brandreth is a terrific diarist and a vastly underrated writer - this is funny, perceptive, shrewd, wonderfully indiscreet, massively readable, and should be required reading for politicians, to counterbalance the weighty policy tomes which all too-often seem to shape their deathless prose.


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