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Super Dale (cheltenham, england)

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing fantasy with a clear eye and a warm heart, 26 Mar. 2015
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A man finds himself driving back to his childhood home for reasons he can't really explain...

I can't even really find the words to praise this novel enough. You could consider this a tremendous plot-driven fantasy novel, which it is; Gaiman draws you ever so slowly into the story, stealthily introducing the fantasy element bit by bit until we find ourselves in a full on gothic horror tale with an original (and scary) monster. I found myself barely able to breathe at points as the plot drew tighter and tighter towards its conclusion.

The book is also about so much more. It contains so much that feels so true about childhood- the kind of fear that is only found there; the curiosity and acceptance of being a child in an adult's world; but most of all, how strange adults' actions can appear to children. One particular section of the book, narrated by a seven year old in a way that shows the readers adult behaviour that remains obscure to the child himself, is wonderfully done.

It is also about fathers and sons, and not in the sentimental way these relationships are often depicted- again, the way this is conveyed by the seven year old narrator is incredible. I really enjoyed the sensation of the unreliability of memory, together with the sly suggestion at the very end that our hero hasn't remembered events as well as he thinks...

In the end, I loved the story, but above all, this novel is so full of heart that I finished it with a massive grin and felt genuinely uplifted.

And none of that can really do it justice. Read it. With an open mind and open heart.


Elizabeth is Missing
Elizabeth is Missing
Price: £4.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but something is lacking, 26 Mar. 2015
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I don't know. Not the most propitious way to start a review, and I don't really like to give a three star review, but I have been in two minds about this book throughout.

On the one hand, it is beautifully written, with a precise use of language that cleverly conveys Maud's growing confusion at the world around her. Emma Healey is not afraid to show us the comedy in Maud's attempts to solve a mystery when she is forever forgetting what has happened to her just the minute before.

Perhaps the novel's best feature is its unsentimental exposure of how marginalised and ignored the Mauds of this world are. The whole premise is set in train because nobody has thought to explain to her what has happened. The novel is particularly good on the relationship between Maud and her daughter. Healey admirably shows Helen's frustration at her mother but also that she is continually trying to do the right thing- we might all behave similarly in the same situation.

However, the engine of the plot does leave a lot to be desired. The modern-day mystery isn't really a mystery at all- surely every reader will guess the truth instantly. I accept this is beside the point- it is Maud's confusion that is relevant, not ours. Clearly Emma Healey realises this, as she introduces lengthy passages from Maud's past in an attempt to create a real whodunnit, as it were. Again, though, this fails for me, and the drawing together of the two timelines has nowhere near the emotional impact it might have done, because it is presented in such a linear and straightforward way that again, there are no surprises to be had.

Maybe none of this matters, but I didn't really feel anything at the conclusion of the novel as it sort of petered out.

So- I'm glad I read it but it just didn't have the emotional punch you might expect.


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Price: £4.74

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous, thoughtful work of genius, 28 Jan. 2015
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Generally I find book reviews quite difficult. It's tricky to give a description of a novel without revealing vast chunks of the plot; and what one reader finds enjoyable will turn another off completely.

Some books, though, you want to shout from the rooftops. So it is with Karen Joy Fowler's incredible novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It's a family saga that isn't really a saga. It's literary fiction, but written in a plain, straightforward style that makes it very readable. And like all great novels it changes the way you view the world.

Fowler has given her first-person narrator Rosemary Cooke a very distinctive and memorable voice. The non-linear narrative allows the gradual reveal of key elements, along with meditations on the nature of memory and the treatment of each other and the natural world. Oh- and the plot really motors along like a great thriller. She even succeeds where many others fail in finding a hugely satisfying ending to the book.

I don't really want to say more. I absolutely loved it- can you tell?- and would recommend it to anyone.


Queen Of Denmark
Queen Of Denmark
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the decade (so far), 7 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Queen Of Denmark (Audio CD)
Quite simply the album of the decade. Nothing more to be said.

Oh all right then. Song after song filled with the most gorgeous piano-led melodies, reminiscent of the very best singer-songwriters of the 1970s (a decade it's hard to get out of your head after repeated listens). Marry this with literate, acerbic, often bitter lyrics (don't get me wrong, this really works, and John Grant can be playful as well, see Mars and Sigourney Weaver) sung in a rich voice steeped in world-weary experience but still upbeat.

Queen of Denmark and I have lived together for some years now- why haven't I reviewed you before?- and it's a love affair set to last.

There might be five years left in this decade, but it will have to be a really great album to knock this off its perch.


GEM Camera Case for Samsung WB250F, WB800F
GEM Camera Case for Samsung WB250F, WB800F
Offered by GEM Bags & Cases
Price: £12.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Good case, but bigger than you might imagine..., 7 Jan. 2015
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The case does exactly what you would expect- it is well padded to protect the camera and I like the additional pocket for keeping a spare battery etc.

I will say that given this case was advertised for the specific camera, the main pocket is quite roomy- the camera does not fit particularly snugly and the case is quite bulky in comparison to the camera.


LEGO City 7499: Flexible Tracks
LEGO City 7499: Flexible Tracks
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to train tracks, 7 Jan. 2015
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These tracks are great as an addition to one of the train sets. Very easy to put together and the flexible tracks are handy as they can be used as straight or curved track. The only thing to note is that 4 flexible pieces equate to one straight or curved piece, so the 16 flexible pieces included are the length of 4 regular sections.

I see some reviewers have had problems with the flexible track but I must say we have had none so far.


Auraglow 10 W Remote Control Colour Changing LED Light Bulb B22 Super Bright Warm White Dimmable Version - 2nd Generation
Auraglow 10 W Remote Control Colour Changing LED Light Bulb B22 Super Bright Warm White Dimmable Version - 2nd Generation
Offered by Safield Dist. Ltd
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great light!, 3 Jan. 2015
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Bought this as a birthday present for my other half- and I can't believe how much she loves it! (Don't worry, it wasn't the only present I got her).

What's not to like? You can have any of 16 different colours, three light levels, or a series of effects going through all the colours. There is also a normal white light if you're that way inclined...

All that, and a huge saving on the electric bill...


ASICS GT-1000 V2 Running Shoes - 10
ASICS GT-1000 V2 Running Shoes - 10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very inflexible, 3 Jan. 2015
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Bought these long enough ago that they have had a good workout!

I have always bought the Asics 1 series range, and they have always served me well. However, i haven't enjoyed these as much. To be honest, they're rather stiff and unbending. Although they have lasted well, I have started looking around for different shoes in the future.


Containment (Children of Occam Book 1)
Containment (Children of Occam Book 1)
Price: £3.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable sci-fi, up to a point..., 3 Jan. 2015
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To be clear, I did get this as part of a promotion and did not pay for it. This therefore is purely a review of the quality of the novel as I found it.

I enjoyed the novel- as fairly 'hard' sci fi it works quite well. Be warned there is a lot of info dumping, but this serves the plot which is fairly ingenious for most of the book but does veer into a well worn area towards the end- difficult to explain more without revealing the plot itself. And actually, I found myself wishing there was a sequel. However, the characterisation is not good. We are given little to work with- even the main characters are fairly two dimensional and the minor characters are virtually indistinguishable.


Minecraft: Blockopedia: An Official Minecraft Book from Mojang
Minecraft: Blockopedia: An Official Minecraft Book from Mojang
by Alex Wiltshire
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book for the Minecraft fan, 3 Jan. 2015
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I have looked at most of the other books in the Minecraft range, and haven't been that impressed. But this book is something different. A Minecraft block shaped book in a lovely presentation box with full colour detail of every block found in the game, it is a beautiful gift to give and receive.

My seven year old has already thumbed it thoroughly, both to read through and as reference material when playing the game. My only concern would be that after a bit of use it might start to show some wear and tear.


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