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Damaskcat (UK)
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Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane, 26 July 2016
A young woman was found by a patrolling policeman in the early hours of 26 April 1871 with horrific injuries. She was taken to hospital but it was clear that she would not survive and in fact she died a few days later of her injuries. The murder shocked Victorian England and it gripped the public imagination to such an extent that people made pilgrimages to the site of her attack. The police investigation was less than professional to say the least and the crime scene was not protected so things such as footprints were not preserved. Forensic science was of course in its infancy but footprints could have been useful.

At first no one knew who the girl was but she was identified after a few days as Jane Maria Clouson who had left a post as a domestic servant a few weeks before the attack and was staying with a friend. Everyone who knew her had noticed that she had been in low spirits after she left her post with the Pook family but that her mood had suddenly improved after she received a letter, which she burned after she had written and posted a reply. She had told several people that she would be going away and that Edmund Pook had promised to find her something better than a job as a domestic servant.

When Edmund Pook was found to have blood on his clothes he was arrested for the murder though his family protested his innocence from start to finish. The police case was somewhat shaky to say the least and witnesses contradicted themselves and each other. Pook was tried and acquitted though he had to leave the area because the mob didn't agree with the verdict.

The trial was a travesty with a judge who had made up his mind that Pook was innocent. This book looks at the known circumstances of the murder and asks whether the police had the right man all along. It certainly does seem as though they had in spite of their incompetence at the start and during the investigation. Evidence was not preserved when it should have been and leads were not followed up.

I thought the book was interesting for the insight it gives into the way certain cases seem to stir the public imagination. In this case it is the age old story of a servant girl being seduced by the master and then disposed of or disowned. I don't think the book emphasised enough the way the class divide had an effect on the investigation and the trial. Jane was taken to the public's hearts and she became a symbol of something which was all too common in that era. As many as twenty thousand people visited the site of her attack on the Whitsun Bank Holiday following her death.

This is an interesting book with plenty of footnotes about the sources from which the information was gathered. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading true crime accounts. It is written in a lively and accessible style and the author brings the Victorian era to life. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.


Mrs Jeffries Stands Corrected (Mrs.Jeffries Mysteries Book 9)
Mrs Jeffries Stands Corrected (Mrs.Jeffries Mysteries Book 9)
Price: £4.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Jeffries Stands Corrected, 25 July 2016
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The landlord of a pub is stabbed on the day the pub holds its grand opening. Inspector Witherspoon is puzzled but decides for once to listen to his inner voice rather than talking it over with his housekeeper, Mrs Jeffries.

This is not what Mrs Jeffries intended when she encouraged him to trust his instinct as she and the staff love hunting out evidence and making sure he comes across it so that he can solve the case.
Not knowing what the Inspector is thinking and what is going on in the case doesn't stop Mrs Jeffries and the other staff doing their own investigating. Luty-Belle Crookshank and her butler Hatchet even return from holiday to join in.

I enjoyed reading this light-hearted Victorian murder mystery. I like Mrs Jeffries and her colleagues, Smythe - the coachman, Wiggins - the footman, Betsy - the parlour maid and Mrs Goodge - the cook. All have their different ways of ferreting out evidence but it is up to Mrs Jeffries to work out how to make their employer aware of it.


Judy Hall's Complete Crystal Workshop
Judy Hall's Complete Crystal Workshop
by Judy Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judy Hall's Complete Crystal Workshop, 24 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a useful book to have if you want to explore what crystals can do for you in your life and record the results. There are interactive exercises and plenty of space to record your results. The book comes with a CD of music and meditations and the scripts of the tracks are included in the book.

This is not the sort of book you read from cover to cover as it you need to work through the exercises which are relevant to you and dip into others when it is appropriate for you to do so. The book is divided into the following sections:
Introduction
How to Choose a Crystal?
All About Crystals
Crystals and the Chakras
Crystals for Self Development
How can I be my own crystal healer?
How do I keep my crystals working?
Taking crystal work further
Inspirations (CD scripts)
Index

If you want to buy just one book about crystals and working with crystals then this is probably a good one to buy.


The Allegations
The Allegations
Price: £9.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Allegations, 24 July 2016
This review is from: The Allegations (Kindle Edition)
I read some good reviews of this novel and the blurb intrigued me. Professor Ned Marriott, university history professor and television personality, is recovering from celebrating his sixtieth birthday when there is a knock on the door and he is confronted by police officers from 'Operation Millpond' investigating historical complaints of sexual abuse. To say Ned is surprised is an understatement. He cannot think of anything he has done which could cause them to want to question him.

Leaving his partner, Emma, shocked and dismayed he is taken in for questioning. He isn't arrested and he returns home later in the day. He would normally turn to his friend Tom Pimm, a colleague at the university, but Tom has his own problems as a secret investigation has resulted in complaints made against him by anonymous victims of bullying sarcasm and insubordination. He has been suspended pending the hearing of his appeal.

Both men suddenly find their lives turned upside down and must find a way of dealing with the situation. The book consists of conversations, supposed newspapers articles and e-mails as well as comments on various forms of literature in which people are accused unjustly. It is one of those books which just draws you in and I found my sympathy veering from one character to another. Right from the start I found I was asking questions about the characters.

I did not warm to Tom at all as he makes a joke of anything and everything and has an unpleasant line in biting sarcasm which can grate on the most even tempered people. I've worked, and lived with people with similar traits. I felt rather more sympathy for Ned though I realised he had a somewhat skewed idea of how to behave with women.

This book raises so many questions about human behaviour and relationships that it probably needs more than one reading to appreciate fully. It will make an ideal book club read and I can see that discussions would be lively. The book caused me to question events in my own life and the current trend for accusing people in the headlines of abuse. It shows what can happen when accusations are made whether true or false. This is a really excellent novel and deserves to win prizes. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review


Silentnight Supersoft Pillow, Microfibre, White, Pack of 4
Silentnight Supersoft Pillow, Microfibre, White, Pack of 4
Price: £22.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silentnight Supersoft Pillows, 22 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are very comfortable pillows which seem to bounce back into shape easily. I haven't tried washing them but they are washable and you can tumble dry as well which is useful to know. I like the soft covers on them as they feel nice to the touch if the pillow case slips a bit in the night. They seem to stay relatively cool in use in this hot weather though I'm not at all sure why. If you want reasonably priced and comfortable pillows then I can recommend these.


A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair)
A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair)
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cast of Vultures, 22 July 2016
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I have enjoyed the previous two books in this entertaining and well written series and this one is even better. Well written, they feature a narrator with an acid tongue and a tendency to poke her nose into things which might be better left alone. In this book editor, Sam Clair, fears for her job as her employer decides to restructure but there are things going on in her neighbourhood which soon serve to take her mind off her troubles at work.

A series of unexplained fires and a missing neighbour provide food for speculation and Viv, an elderly friend persuades Sam to ask a few questions about the missing man which lead her into more danger than she can ever have imagined. Readers who don't like heights may want to read some scenes with eyes half closed!

I loved the plot of this book and the characters are, as always, memorable. There is Sam's super efficient mother, Helena, her neighbour, Mr Rudiger, who has some surprising talents, her partner, Jake - detective and Sam's fellow employees at T&R. I really enjoyed the spiky dialogue and I could empathise with Sam's desire not to spend too much time with crowds of people as I am much the same. She is a lady after my own heart. These novels can be read as standalone stories but are probably best read as a series.


Malice in Wonderland
Malice in Wonderland
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Malice in Wonderland, 20 July 2016
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Nigel Strangeways is asked to look into a series of practical jokes perpetrated at a holiday camp called Wonderland. The management are convinced it could be a rival company trying to put them out of business. The practical jokes are carried out by someone calling themselves 'The Mad Hatter' and at first glance there seem to be potentially five hundred suspects - the current guests at Wonderland plus the staff. But Nigel quickly narrows it down to just a handful of people.

The book focuses on a few characters - Nigel himself, the management - two brothers - Mortimer and Teddy Wise, and Mortimer's efficient secretary, Esmerelda Jones. Among the guests are Albert Morley, who appears to the subject of everyone's jokes; the Thistlethwaite family and Paul Perry- who is there as part of a Mass Observation project.

I enjoyed this well written Golden Age Mystery though unlike many of the mysteries from that era is doesn't include a murder to be investigated. I liked the characters and I thought the plot was intriguing. The clues were there but I failed to interpret them correctly so I was surprised by the conclusion.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2016 8:22 AM BST


The Name I Call Myself
The Name I Call Myself
Price: £5.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Name I Call Myself, 19 July 2016
Faith is looking forward to her marriage to Perry - well sort of. What she wants is stability in her life and to be able to look after her brother, Sam who has several problems, and to forget about her traumatic childhood. But she is not keen on having her life taken over by her future mother-in-law, Larissa who seems determined to arrange every detail of her wedding not to speak of her life.

Going in search of a different wedding venue Faith stumbles across a choir with a difference run by the very organised Hester. Faith finds herself a member of the choir and it starts to change her life and it shows her the power of female friendship and introduces her to Dylan - the pastor - who is almost the successful Perry's opposite.

When the man who killed Faith's mother is released from prison, she finds herself living on a knife edge and her brother is plunged back into mental illness. Can Faith rescue her life from the brink of an abyss?

This is a real feel good story without being unnecessarily sugary and sentimental. Faith has serious problems to confront and major decisions to make but she has some new friends to help her and a new found determination to make the best life she can for herself, regardless of what other people think she should be doing.

I found this an uplifting story and while there is a religious element it is not obtrusive and the book can be read and enjoyed by people of any faith or none at all. I like Faith - an interesting character who has had a bad start in life but who wants to turn her life round with the help of friends who truly do want the best for her. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.


The Celts
The Celts
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Celts, 18 July 2016
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This review is from: The Celts (Kindle Edition)
This is an interesting and well written introduction to the Celts. Thought the author puts forward some of her own ideas this is not original research and more about pulling together all the current thinking and archaeological discoveries connected with the Celts. In my ignorance I had thought the Celts were confined to Britain but as I soon realised from reading this book they actually came from Europe and possibly from Portugal and Spain originally.

The author describes what we know about the way the Celts lived and how they fought in times of war. She describes their jewellery and their chariots. The fine workmanship on gold jewellery which has been discovered both in Britain and Europe shows that they had a high level of craftsmanship and were not the barbarians that Roman writers generally depict.

The problem with trying to establish an accurate picture of the Celts and the way they lived is that much of the information about them comes from Roman writers and they had a vested interest in portraying them as savages living in mud huts and painting themselves with woad. Good fighters but not much more. But there was more to the Celts than this and it seems that they may have been around for a lot longer than was originally thought.

This book brought the Celts to life for me. It contains some suggestions for further reading if your interest has been awakened and you want to know more about these fascinating people.


Real Confidence: Stop Feeling Small and Start Being Brave (Psychologies Magazine)
Real Confidence: Stop Feeling Small and Start Being Brave (Psychologies Magazine)
by Psychologies Magazine
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Confidence, 18 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been thinking that maybe my confidence needed a bit of a boost after a difficult period in my life but having read this book and answered the various questionnaires in it I have realised that actually my confidence level is higher than I thought it was. Like many people I have always tended to assume that the people who are the life and soul of the party - the really outgoing ones - are the people who have the confidence that I should be aiming for. But reading this book has made me realise that such behaviour is often a front and a way of covering up lack of competence - especially in a work environment.

If you have a work colleague who is always full of themselves and how good they are and always rushing around and who seems to get promoted when the rest of their colleagues are languishing in the same old jobs year after year, you can stop envying them because they are probably frantically covering up their inadequacies in the job. You can be quiet and confident and you don't have to make a show of how good you are to be confident.

This book has been a real eye opener for me and has made me realise that lack of confidence isn't the factor which is stopping me doing things but simple dislike of those particular tasks. The book points out that the people who are actually the most confident also have the most humility and are probably the people who have time to listen to you properly because they don't have anything to prove to you or themselves.

There are many useful strategies in this book for helping you assess your current level of confidence and for helping you increase your confidence gradually. There are also useful tips to help you stop sabotaging your own confidence. It also helps you assess what sort of confidence you actually want to achieve and there are plenty of useful quotes and case histories in the book.

I think this has to be one of the best self help books I've ever read. It is practical, down to earth, doesn't promise a new you in thirty days - instead it suggests small steps you can take to improve your confidence on a daily basis. I recommend this book if you want to assess your current level of confidence and maybe improve it gradually.


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