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Sue Kichenside
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Skechers Women's EZ Flex 2 Sweetpea Ballet Flats Beige (NAT) Size: 5 UK
Skechers Women's EZ Flex 2 Sweetpea Ballet Flats Beige (NAT) Size: 5 UK
Offered by Charles Clinkard
Price: £47.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Spring into summer!, 22 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are my third pair of Skechers - I have a pair for spring, a pair for winter Skechers Women's Synergy Loving Life Trainers and now a pair to see me through summer! I am a complete convert to the degree of comfort that Skechers always provide and these pretty shoes are no exception. Here at last is ballerina daintiness - with a decent sole (so not too flat). The lacy upper fabric means these are lovely and cool to wear in hot weather. And the inner sole (in an attractive aquamarine colour) is memory foam so you know it's going to shape to your feet in its own unique way. As everyone says about Skechers, they're like walking on air. And with these Sweetpea Ballets, you can put a real spring in your step!

NB They do come up a little large. I'm normally size 39 (5.5-6). I ordered them in a 5 and they're a perfect fit.


The Pure 60ml Screen Cleaner Kit contains only Eco-Friendly, Bio Degradable and Hypo Allergenic ingredients. NO chemicals. NO alcohol. Naturally removes all dust, dirt, marks and stains from LED, LCD, Plasma TV, iPhone, Samsung, Sony, Smartphones, iMac, Laptop, Computers, Touch Screens and CD's to leave them gleaming clean.
The Pure 60ml Screen Cleaner Kit contains only Eco-Friendly, Bio Degradable and Hypo Allergenic ingredients. NO chemicals. NO alcohol. Naturally removes all dust, dirt, marks and stains from LED, LCD, Plasma TV, iPhone, Samsung, Sony, Smartphones, iMac, Laptop, Computers, Touch Screens and CD's to leave them gleaming clean.
Offered by VinylClear
Price: £6.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Pure brilliance!, 22 May 2015
I was sent a sample of this product for review from Pure. They are very courteous and seem like genuinely nice people.

As for the product itself, I'm pleased to report that Pure is excellent! I have tried many screen-cleaners over the years and as a smoker my laptop screen is particularly obstinate to clean. Most products are less than effective and leave smears. Not so, Pure. It's easy to apply (simple clear instructions) and leaves the screen sparklingly clean - like new! And it's brilliant on the keyboard too.

A full-size microfiber cloth is included as is a 20% repeat purchase discount. Rewarding loyalty is one of the many excellent values of the Pure company. As I say, they're nice people :)


Quicksand
Quicksand
by Steve Toltz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Mordantly funny tour-de-force., 21 May 2015
This review is from: Quicksand (Hardcover)
Take as your basic stock, the author's own unique blend of caustic humour and exuberant nihilism peppered with pungent insights into the 21st century zeitgeist. Add a handful of über-nebbish Woody Allen, a sprinkling of A.M. Homes, a soupçon of Adam Mars-Jones and a dash of Amis at his darkest. Mix thoroughly and leave to bubble for 430 pages and what you have is a mordantly funny tour-de-force that had me at hello.

Steve Toltz's impressive debut 'A Fraction of the Whole' was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 so one can only assume that he's been cooking up this second novel for quite some time. But enough with the culinary metaphors; what's Quicksand actually about?

Liam Wilder, would-be author and unlikely cop, has an unshakeable friendship with the irresistible but exasperating Aldo Benjamin. Aldo is a remarkably unlucky guy: a serially failed entrepreneur and spectacularly unsuccessful suicide. He's beginning to suspect he might even be immortal - and given the mutilated state of his body, that's not a prospect to relish.

Great lines come fast and furious and there are innumerable passages of brilliant writing. Two stand-out chapters cement Steve Toltz's place in the contemporary literary pantheon: 'The Interview, or Terms and Conditions' in which Liam conducts an official police interview with Aldo. And, in a subsequent but unrelated court case, 'The Madness of the Muse' in which Aldo makes a lengthy plea to the jury that becomes the stuff of legend.

Although this is set in Sydney, the writing very much has the feel, wit, inventiveness and sheer courage of the very best American fiction. How ironic that this Great American Novel should be penned by an Australian.


Little Egypt
Little Egypt
by Lesley Glaister
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Egyptology, eccentricity and empathy., 21 May 2015
This review is from: Little Egypt (Paperback)
Growing up with her twin brother Osiris in the faded grandeur of Little Egypt, the family's country seat, thirteen-year old Isis is impatient for her life to start. She can't wait for her parents, obsessive Egyptologists, to return home with the chimeric rewards of their dig. As she dreams of the house returned to its former glory, perhaps then Isis will have what she wants most in the whole world: a normal family life. In present time, eighty years on, it is clear that this was never to be. The aged Isis may now have switched her name around to Sisi (and who can blame her?) but her life was not to be so easily turned about.

Lesley Glaister shapes her dual time frame into a perfectly paced narrative arc. And what a great phrasemaker she is! Frozen puddles 'like plates of iron'. Nettle rash that 'stings like sherbet'. An early memory of licking rust is 'rather how she thought war might taste, deep blood and gritty metal'. Without a trace of sentiment or saccharine, the heartrending nature of this appealing character's unfulfilled life pulls at the heartstrings (before the story's descent into Grand Guignol which I'm afraid cost the book a star). It's a long time since I've read a book and so fervently wanted to give its young heroine a hug.


The Red Notebook
The Red Notebook
by Antoine Laurain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Bags of charm but..., 15 May 2015
This review is from: The Red Notebook (Paperback)
This sweet tale of a man who falls in love with a woman via the contents of her discarded purple handbag is really more of a short story stretched out to the length of a novella. Despite The Red Notebook's undoubted charm, this romantic confection was a little too saccharine for my taste and the hand of fate that hovered over the whole thing was a tad too heavy. 3.5*


The Harder They Come
The Harder They Come
by T.C. Boyle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The psychodynamics of rage., 14 May 2015
This review is from: The Harder They Come (Hardcover)
Master story-teller TC Boyle grabs you by the hair, pulls you in and keeps you transfixed to the very last page in his examination of what brings people to breaking point. This is the story of control and the consequences of losing it.

Set in and around the epic scenery of California's state forest, Boyle's powerful narrative involves three key characters: Sten, a 70-year old retired high school principal whose early army training is ingrained. Sara, a busty woman of 'a certain age', an authority-denier who refuses to abide by the laws of the land. And last but by no means least, Adam, Sten's son, who lives a fantasy life based on his hero Colter, a legendary 19th century trapper and survivalist, fearless in the face of the Native American Indian.

The character of Adam is right up there with America's most memorable fictional 'crazies' like Travis Bickle and William 'De-fens' Foster. Boyle may not quite deliver on the 'why' of Adam's psychosis but he certainly delivers on how it manifests itself, getting right inside this young man's beleaguered head and showing the reader exactly what it's like to live there.

Indeed, all three of his main protagonists are conveyed convincingly and compellingly. To varying degrees, each is a control freak but life simply isn't theirs to control. Only one character fails to make the grade and that's Sten's wife and Adam's mother, Carolee, who fails to achieve a third dimension. But otherwise, an intelligent, provocative, utterly riveting read. Highly recommended, as is TC Boyle's previous novel San Miguel.

Don't read the fly-leaf first: there be spoilers.


The Betrayers
The Betrayers
by David Bezmozgis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What price principles?, 13 May 2015
This review is from: The Betrayers (Paperback)
Bezmozgis is an intriguing writer. With a few deft strokes, he paints characters who are real people in all their varying shades of humanity, not a hint of black or white in his colour palette. Plot-wise too, he creates layers of profound depth and moral complexity in a deceptively simple storyline. Here, in a little over two hundred pages, is a concise yet broad canvas of politics and intrigue, new worlds and old regimes, poverty and survival, loyalty, love and betrayal.

Dissident survivor and Zionist hero, Baruch Kotler, is a charming pot-bellied Israeli state minister in his sixties. Recently unmasked in the press as having a beautiful young mistress, he has fled with her to a Crimean seaside resort fondly remembered from his youth. When a happenchance of circumstances propels him into a long overdue encounter with his nemesis - the man who had betrayed him to the Soviet authorities decades earlier - the day of reckoning arrives...for both of them.

This is an exceptionally well-written book with humour as well as pathos: towards the end, an email to Kotler from his wife Miriam moved me to tears. Hard to believe that David Bezmozgis, who emigrated with his family from Latvia to Canada when he was seven, is not a native-born English speaker. The early promise of his first book, The Free World, is more than fulfilled here in The Betrayers. Highly recommended.


The Betrayers
The Betrayers
by David Bezmozgis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What price principles?, 10 May 2015
This review is from: The Betrayers (Paperback)
Bezmozgis is an intriguing writer. With a few deft strokes, he paints characters who are real people in all their varying shades of humanity, not a hint of black or white in his colour palette. Plot-wise too, he creates layers of profound depth and moral complexity in a deceptively simple storyline. Here, in a little over two hundred pages, is a concise yet broad canvas of politics and intrigue, new worlds and old regimes, poverty and survival, loyalty, love and betrayal.

Dissident survivor and Zionist hero, Baruch Kotler, is a charming pot-bellied Israeli state minister in his sixties. Recently unmasked in the press as having a beautiful young mistress, he has fled with her to a Crimean seaside resort fondly remembered from his youth. When a happenchance of circumstances propels him into a long overdue encounter with his nemesis - the man who had betrayed him to the Soviet authorities decades earlier - the day of reckoning arrives...for both of them.

This is an exceptionally well-written book with humour as well as pathos: towards the end, an email to Kotler from his wife Miriam moved me to tears. Hard to believe that David Bezmozgis, who emigrated with his family from Latvia to Canada when he was seven, is not a native-born English speaker. The early promise of his first book, The Free World, is more than fulfilled here in The Betrayers. Highly recommended.


Maybelline Eysestudio duo eye shadow, Silver and Grey "820"
Maybelline Eysestudio duo eye shadow, Silver and Grey "820"
Offered by @Mr Cosmetics
Price: £1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars More silver than grey., 9 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Initially, I was disappointed with this eye shadow palette: the bevelled lid in the picture makes it appear as though there are four shades in all. In fact, there are two and by far the larger one is silver, the other smaller one being a frosted mid-grey.

It was a grey shadow I was after and it's actually rather a nice colour, gently pearlised and quite a subtle shade. The consistency is perhaps a little dry though this may improve with use. I can recommend applying with one of these SODIAL(R) Ladies Green Handle Eye Shadow Sponge Brushes Cosmetic Tool 6 Pcs which I recently discovered.


Mercy Seat
Mercy Seat
by Wayne Price
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Moody and menacing., 7 May 2015
This review is from: Mercy Seat (Paperback)
In an unsettling 'cuckoo in the nest' tale, short-story writer Wayne Price launches himself credibly - and creditably - into his first novel. At just under two hundred pages, this is a short read but it punches well above its weight with an undercurrent of menace compelling the reader onward.

Young male narrator, Luke, leads a lonely life of his own choosing. A casual girlfriend provides him with welcome company but before he knows it, he is saddled with a wife and baby boy, the family struggling to live in a run-down guesthouse on the west coast of Wales. When his sister-in-law unexpectedly arrives on the scene, Luke is insufficiently mature to manage a complex situation. We forget just how young he is.

The writing here is lyrical and the tension well handled. Less good is the stylistic quirk of abandoning speech marks altogether; this rarely contributes anything positive and, in a first-person narrative, makes it hard work for the reader. The off-putting cover art is baffling. I did, however, rather like the delicious sense of dread that hovered over the whole thing.

NB: I received a copy of this book from the publishers for review.


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