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Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK)
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Mental Health Nursing at a Glance
Mental Health Nursing at a Glance
by Grahame Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fits The Bill For Last Minute Revision, 22 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"At A Glance" sums the whole publication. If you are not an assiduous student, and have not been rigid in revising, this publication will provide great pointers when sitting for an exam. It won't replace a personal compilation of bullet points, (as in a flash card system), but if you know your stuff, this is an excellent way to get the brain in touch with what you actually do know, and facilitates putting this on paper.

So, this is definitely a last minute option for study, but I would recommend it for the reassurance it will give for a hard working student coming up to final exams. It hits the points that you need to know, and will kick your brain into filling in the more important and relevant detail required for passing exams.


Belkin Chambray Cover for iPad Air 2 - Black/Grey
Belkin Chambray Cover for iPad Air 2 - Black/Grey
Price: £21.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds to the bulk of the iPad, 19 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I purchased my iPad Air2 shortly after its release there were few options for cases so I purchased the Apple 'Smart Case' at £65. Unlike this Belkin case the Apple model adds little to the overall size of the iPad, one of my prime reasons fro selecting the Air was its slim 'form' the Belkin case adds somewhat to the bulk of the Air, such that it is reminiscent of my iPad1.

That being said, the Belkin is just 1/3rd the cost of the Apple and it is a well made item, and the multi-position option is better handled than the Apple.

Others have made reference to the iPad ALS feature being 'disabled' by the rubber retaining corner, I rarely use this feature so it would not present a problem for me.

From a personal perspective whilst this is an affordable, attractive and durable case - i much prefer the compact profile of the Apple offering, albeit at a much higher cost.

I attach two images showing the size variation.
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The Rocks
The Rocks
by Peter Nichols
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.58

3.0 out of 5 stars It's The Journey Not The Arriving That Counts..., 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Rocks (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pleasantly busy novel with a fair bit going on, but it failed to enthuse or really keep my attention. The concept of using the mythical journey of Odysseus as a building block for the novel is a romantic idea, the travelling of this sea route clearly being a passion for the character Gerald, the outcome of which was a fairly successful book recording his experiences. I sense that this theme may have been a burgeoning one for the author to incorporate into a work such as this, and it does weave well enough into the telling of this family saga. To his credit Peter Nicols does capture the atmosphere of Mallorca in his writing, and also the small section of the novel located in Morocco. There seems to be a love or real knowledge of the island by the author which comes across very well.

There are specific moments when, because of certain critical events bordering on catastrophe, that should have felt as hairy, unnerving, anxiety provoking, or indeed frightening, just didn't happen; indeed it left me feeling quite odd because of the lack of emotion - perhaps there is too much spread thinly over the construction of this family saga. The characters didn't have enough depth for me.

Overall this is a novel that I wouldn't recommend, an OK holiday read, but that's all, hence the 3 star.


My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises
by Fredrik Backman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have a Cool Granny and Rock On.., 17 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Meeting Elsa's granny feels a once-in-a-life event, a privilege, if rather a whirlwind experience. Larger than life, with no hesitation on giving her opinion on everything in a politically correct and a perceived mad world, she is prone to drive people nuts with her relentless drive to seek justice and proclaim what is right. However, as we learn from this gradually unravelling story, she is the epitome of those positive qualities in people we most admire. Her quality of compassion and caring for others we discover extends far beyond the grave. This is developed by the author within a comic frame, yet more effective and real by its fair quota of human tragedy.

It seems that Granny has been preparing sometime for her death, putting everything in order, especially the unwitting involvement of her 7 year old granddaughter, Elsa. It is through this fantastic relationship, and Granny's sublime interventions through using fantastic stories that facilitates not just Elsa, but many people close around her, not just to come to terms with her own death, but in the process of revolving their own issues and dilemmas that have haunted their lives.

I love the wisdom of 7 year old Elsa, who is insanely bright but never precocious, and has a delightful naiveté that firmly roots her to her age of innocence. Elsa and Granny have an ultimate trust and faith in each other, they bounce off each other so playfully with a deep reciprocal empathy based in humour. Granny's capacity to weave fantasy and fiction together to actively help Elsa come to deal with a complicated world is almost like "philosophy for dummies". Granny subtly presents Elsa with suggested solutions to deal with all those problematic events of the here and now, but also valuable preparation for the future.

Fredrik Backman communicates well the power of unconditional love that presents itself through the relationship between Elsa and Granny. Helping others and being true to yourself are virtues that do shine through here, and demonstrates that we all have vulnerabilities and anxieties that can he healed through basic love, friendship and compassion. This doesn't get a 5 star from me, as I felt a bit frustrated at times with the style of writing where the humour contained didn't leap out from the page. Perhaps it's the 3rd person perspective, or something lost in translation. This is my only negative comment, and a purely personal one. One other novel that had similarities in theme, and I feel others might enjoy, is "Lost and Found" by Brooke Davis. This novel has the immediacy and presence that Backman's writing just misses out on. All in all though, a novel that I would well recommend.


Webbox Dream Bone Chicken Medium, 79 g, Pack of 10
Webbox Dream Bone Chicken Medium, 79 g, Pack of 10
Price: £24.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Callum likes them!, 13 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 0:51 Mins

Rawhide chews have always been treated with some disdain by all 4 of my golden retrievers. Initial interest may a couple of minutes, but then ignored and discarded, not seeming to find them pleasurable. Indeed, my breeder discouraged these as they can cause bloat, and certainly no beneficial nutrients.

However, as you can see on the video clip, Callum seems to be enjoying his Dream Bone, which looks identical to the ubiquitous rawhide chew. The fact that they are nutritious and digestible, as well as good for a dogs teeth makes it a great all rounder. These last longer than my usual dog treat, Dentastix. A recommended purchase for your dog to enjoy as a treat.


Wasp
Wasp
by Ian Garbutt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Home For The Lost, Fallen, and The Disinherited, 13 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Wasp (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As we witness the abduction of main character Bethany from "The Comfort House" to the mysterious "House of Masques", it may seem to suggest a positive shift from the stinking mattress of an asylum, to a softer bed of some improved refuge. However, we discover in reality that this is a mere sweeter hell, where all is not as fortuitous as might first appear.

A claustrophobic, closed-off community of women from all strata of society, whether lost, fallen or disinherited, the House of Masques contains many black sheep. All abused in some way, these relative unfortunates end up at the House of Masques not by chance, but as a consequence of "a catalogue of lies, broken promises and male indifference". Under the aegis and strict governance of the self-appointed Abbess, quasi-Masonic rituals are engaged to maintain and foster a strictly hierarchical society. A sometimes violent pecking order with tightly enforced boundaries, this is a prison in all but name, and inflicting pain is not unusual to ensure absolute strict order.

This is not a brothel per se, (the "Cellar" will be found to serve this purpose later on in the novel), but nevertheless new "kittens", fresh meat like Bethany, are trained for various assignments. The nature of these forays vary according to the predilections and unique tastes of the predominantly male customers, who all invariably come from the higher ranks of society. Women here are in effect mere chattels, goods for sale to the highest bidder, set out on the city's stage to pander to any mans wishes or desires, as long as he can afford to pay.

The momentum for this shadowy novel revolves largely around the activities and daily life of Bethany. With her feisty spirit and frank tongue, she is always primed for a ready retort if feeling hard done by. We learn much about her previous life and the deceit and subterfuge that led to the House of Masques marking her destiny. Her mouth certainly gets her into trouble, and a sense of justice causes the plot to veer in many directions with intrigue and counter-intrigue a common feature. Of course, there are a few sub-themes to keep the narrative truly alive, with an ending that feels rather satisfying that brings various strands of the themes together. I enjoyed reading this.


The Ladies of the House
The Ladies of the House
by Molly McGrann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Odour of The Unwashed Lecher", 12 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The female characters in this novel commonly share a vibrancy and colour. There is the exotic and erotic Rita; Sal the bordello manager making the best of things from her unrequited love; Flavia and Maria, the engaging mother and daughter combo with their sad rhythm of life, and also the pathos of Anneta, where we feel a particular empathy with the author’s portrayal of advancing dementia.

In blatant contrast, the men are portrayed as seedy, selfish, self-centred, traits very much epitomised in the character of Flavia’s husband, Arthur. This deceiver is a distant, un-emotional and uncommunicative person, ostensibly operating an honest business in London, yet he is in fact nothing but a highly successful pimp. Men are certainly the inveterate users and abusers of women, constantly portrayed in a bad light.

Founded very much on prostitution, this novel is a frank observation on the practicalities of selling sex, where women are treated merely as sex objects, dealing oft with “the odour of the unwashed lecher”, prey to the guiles and wiles of sexually deprived/depraved men. The balance that makes this novel work is this very clear differentiation between man and woman, which provokes a constancy of humanity throughout. All the women clearly yearn for a loving relationship with a man, desperately hoping for their own successful romances. Their succour is the solace and compassion they experience with their own sex. Always hoping for a better life, there is a pervasive sadness that comes from this yearning.

This is a highly readable, intimate and engaging novel, where the narrative isn’t puffed up with language embellishments, the words assertive sitting boldly on the page. The pathos of these women’s lives is particularly evident in their universal dreams of a better life. Like fancy dolls for the acting out of male fantasies, we witness a gradual disintegration of these fascinating womens’ lives, witnessing their gradual fading from a perceived glamour, to something pathetic and tawdry, and to the especially poignant ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
by Jessica Cornwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From The Tongues Of Heretics, 11 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a Savant, the historical researcher Anna Verco has remarkable and unusual abilities. She experiences the world through heightened perceptions, acutely attuned to her environment whether through her visions or the hearing of voices. Although her critics may regard her as rash and impulsive, she is of an élite and sits at the top of her game. This rare ability of hers will serve to guide her tortuous and dangerous piecing together of the invisible threads that will eventually unlock the mystery of 4 unsolved murders where she very much moves in the shadows.

Retired Inspector Fabregat is fretting over these final cases of his, committed a decade previously in June 2003. All identical killings were systematic, methodical and gruesome, performed with clinical precision. Are they all linked to the occult, with similar identical killings in 1851? - or even further back in time? Is this the work of the devil or vampire?

Upon Fabregat’s request, Anna will eventually solve the mystery once she connects all the murders to the discovery of a palimpsest, a missing masterpiece of antiquity written by medieval alchemist Rex Illuminatus, Sibylline oracles lost in the ancient world. A coded language comprising 9 letters and 4 symbols serves as a tool for answering any question of life, but if used inhumanely, has the capacity to violently destroy. The burden of this knowledge passed down over the centuries has horrendous outcomes that nearly result in Anna’s fatal and gruesome undoing.

The author sets a gradual pace in creating a suspenseful and sinisterly atmospheric novel, where there is always anticipatory tension. What indeed is lying around the corner? Her accomplished writing style flows easily, the shape of the language altering its tone dependent on the shifting scenarios in the intricate story’s unfolding.

Jessica Cornwell has created an intriguing and distinctive character in Anna Verco. The writing excels from her precise and closely intimate observations throughout, which demands attention from the reader. Jessica Cornwell’s photographic eye for detail allows the reader to share in Anna’s intensely intimate awareness, to be part of the intricately difficult process of eventually unlocking the perverse secrets.

I felt very much in thrall of this novel, which has much breadth and depth. The author has a true flair for storytelling, and overall I am very impressed. This is a big book, grown up and impressive both in conception and execution of the tale. Although of the past and present, it transcends the concept of time space, seeming all to be so closely linked it feels like its happening in an exaggerated here and now frame.

The characters of Anna Verco and Inspector Fabregat are so different, yet remarkably complementary. Fabregat is a thinker, a ponderer, less than impulsive, but intelligent and reflective with his boots on the ground, compared with Anna’s reliance on something otherworldly. Lets hope he comes out of retirement, and that we will encounter these 2 individuals in further engaging and gripping stories as this first part of the trilogy, “The Serpent Papers”.


Philips Sonicare HX9351/04 DiamondClean Rechargeable Toothbrush Black
Philips Sonicare HX9351/04 DiamondClean Rechargeable Toothbrush Black
Price: £112.49

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comes With A Design Fault, 8 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The black matte finish to the toothbrush is appealing in itself, allowing for a smooth, firm grip in use.
The charging facilities are what gives this product a certain Wow factor, although a bit gimmicky. Using up to date EMG technology, the battery can be recharged by simply placing the brush in the glass, which is then connected to the normal shaver adaptor which will give it 3 weeks normal usage. In addition the travel case with USB facility is appealing. It is well made and useful if the normal adaptor is unavailable.

There is an easy start facility for anyone new to using an electric toothbrush, which over a 2 week period, starts at a slower power than normal, then works up to its full potential. This is extremely easy to deactivate though.

My main issue with this toothbrush is regarding the function selector. The toothbrush has to be turned on to select which of the 5 brushing functions is required, (clean, gum care etc). This means that the head rotates at full speed, so toothpaste will then shoot off the brush whilst the required programme is being selected. I don't understand why there isn't a separate button to select the required programme before the head is turned on proper. This is an expensive item, so I would have thought this feature would have been included in the design. Apart from this, I would have given it 5 stars, as it does give excellent cleaning results.


Jakob's Colours
Jakob's Colours
by Lindsay Hawdon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales From A Gypsy Holocaust, 6 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Jakob's Colours (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
From the start there are promising signs that this novel is heading for a 5 star rating. Lindsay Hawdon has an uncanny ability to communicate empathy, accessing an essence of the self that glimpses the soul of each individual character. The writer’s skill facilitates the reader’s embrace of the emotional and psychological pain that Lor, Yars and son Jakob experience at the hands of the Nazis, yet also simultaneously provides a skilful balance in revealing a constant sense of beauty that flows in tandem within this world of horror and chaos.

Hope comes near to being exhausted for this Roma family, but proves an indomitable presence from start to end of this struggle to exist, most notably for Jakob on his tortuous path in his desperate fight for freedom. Life is tenuous for this Roma family, but their hope in life is never extinguished, although at times desperately close.

I love the sensual intimacy of the author’s description of Lor and Yars evolving love for each other, and how the inner strength of Yars and his philosophy of life is inculcated in his son Jakob. It is from Yar’s belief in life and his symbiotic, organic attachment to the earth with all its natural wonders that is communicated so intensely to Jakob. This source of energy sustains this poor young boy through the most awful of experiences, again hope pushing him forward towards a future however desperate.

Although a work of fiction, it comes from extensive research into the background to the Gypsy Holocaust, the “Porrajamos”, of which there is a very clear and succinct précis at the end. This lends so much weight and credibility to the tragic tale of this particular family. I find this to be a most splendid novel from an author with a remarkable talent.


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