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Happily married Mom of 2 boys. Interests, home education, children's books and at the moment dinosaurs. Always happy to answer any questions on my reviews or books in general and very appreciative of suggestions for similar books. Marge3781/ Broxi3781.

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since 28/06/2010


Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee 17/08/2015

You can never go home again

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has always been one of my favourite books, so I was counting the days until Go Set A Watchman came out. I bought the book on kindle the morning of its release, and dived straight in. I did finish the book that night, desperate to get to "the good part" I just knew had to be in there someplace, but it never quite came, despite the fact that there was some shred of redemption at the end. Go Set a Watchman has been taken from Harper Lee's original draft for to Kill a Mocking Bird. The publisher felt that this book had no chance of success, but that if they chopped and changed enough, the part about the childhood of Scout was well worth saving. Three years later, To Kill A Mockingbird was published to both acclaim and dissent. The book received the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, but also has been banned repeatedly, originally because the subject of rape is discussed, and because of the word damn, which I gather was offensive then. Later more emphasis was placed on the use of the racial slurs and the book is still banned in most American schools. I first read it simply because it was banned. I have a thing for banned books. Go Set A Watchman begins with an adult Scout, now known by the more grown up name of Jeanne Louise, returning from her home in New York City to the rural Maycombe Alabama. Gem is dead, Dil has never returned to Maycomb after the war, and my favourite character Boo Radley never makes an appearance. I was disappointed by this, as I ...

The Hidden Life of Wolves - Jim Dutchner 12/05/2015

Excellent for dog owners as well as wildlife fans.

The Hidden Life of Wolves - Jim Dutchner From the time my children were able to speak, I have given them a "book allowance". A couple of times each month they are allowed to choose anything they would like to read from Amazon and I pay for it. This book was chosen by my youngest son, age 6, as he wants to learn and understand more about canine behaviour. It really is an adult book, not a child's book, but he has still enjoyed reading parts of it, while I have read other parts to him, and of course the photos transcend any age barriers. I would not hesitate to recommend this for ages 8 - 108, and even for younger children if they have a strong enough interest in the subject. That said, I did get more from this book than my son did, and I ended up buying him an easier book as well. I also skipped the section on "wolf management" when sharing this book with him, just telling him it was not very nice. The Hidden Life of Wolves tells the story of a pack of wolves known as the Sawtooth Pack, raised by film makers Jan and Jim Dutchner in a 25 acre pen meant to approximate wild conditions as closely as possible. These were not pets, but they were hand raised and somewhat domesticated to allow humans to observe them over a period of several years, hopefully viewing their natural behaviour patterns. In addition to learning about these particular wolves, the authors also explore the attitudes of humans towards wolves in different cultures and different times, the current state of "wolf management" in the USA, and most ...

What Are The Best And Worst Gifts For Xmas? 19/12/2014

The best gifts can not be bought.

What Are The Best And Worst Gifts For Xmas? I love Christmas and I love giving presents, especially to my children, but I do think we make a bit too much of spending money at Christmas. The best gifts I will ever receive are mine year round I have my family. I have a wonderful husband, children who are truly a delight to be with and brighten every day, and my beloved pets as well. My husband doesn't really do Christmas gifts though. I always just buy a couple of books and maybe some new pyjamas for myself. But he did surprise me with the best gift ever this year. He bought me Staffordshire Bull Terrier out of the blue ( he did take me to choose the pup - or rather so the pup could choose me). He knew me well enough to find the one thing that I truly wanted and needed - who cares if it was Christmas. I do buy him gifts at Christmas, but we are both more likely to buy the other something we know they will really enjoy whenever it comes up, rather than at certain times of the year. But my most treasured Christmas gifts are often a bit unusual, and never expensive. The first was an egg poacher. We didn't get any toys that year. My Mother assumed my Grandfather would get them and he assumed my Mother would, so I got an egg poacher and my brother got a toaster. Now some people think that sounds awful, after all I was only 8 and my brother 12. But I loved the egg poacher. My grandfather did put a lot of thought into it. He knew that I loved eggs but wasn't allowed to use the frying pan myself then. He found a safe way that I ...

The Modern Dog - Stanley Coren 10/12/2014

A fun, entertaining book, but doesn't live up to its promises.

The Modern Dog - Stanley Coren Despite my mediocre rating, this is by no means a bad book. It is fun to read and highly entertaining. I just feel that it didn't quite live up to the claims made in the title and the product description. I was expecting something a bit more scientific, and some detailed history of how dogs had actually changed human society or development. Instead what I found was a collection of stories, usually, but not always with a connection to history. On other occasions there were stories which bore more relation to history, but which the dog was really not central to. Finally, there were a few stories that seemed rather pointless, like the fact the author's dog once encountered a skunk. In addition there is a chapter about sleeping with dogs, and some basic comments on behaviour, and a number of other shorts with some tie in with dogs. This read very much like a collection of magazine articles, randomly grouped together and would have been better sold as an anthology of dog stories and opinions. I bought this book after reading a couple of quotes from it in a few newspapers articles. I had been looking the theory that dogs may have been a deciding factor in the triumph our ancestors over Neanderthals, and even more interesting that dogs may have played an actual role in the evolution of modern humanity. This does in fact have a brief chapter entitled " Why Neanderthals Don't Rule the World", but I am afraid the newspaper articles I read which cited this as a source were more ...

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7" WiFi 8 GB 03/12/2014

Sadsong Galaxy review , moved to correct place

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7" WiFi 8 GB Please note : This review has been moved from the 16gb category where I placed it by mistake. I have written ciao to request the first review be removed. Sorry for the mix up. About 6 months ago I took a contract with Virgin which entitled me to this tablet along with the phone and contract. My oldest son talked me into swapping his older HP tablet for this - and I had the phone anyway - I didn't mind him having the newer tablet. It was a poor trade for him though. We are now trading back as it isn't fair for him to be stuck with this lemon. It isn't all bad though. To be fair this tablet looks good - which is why he wanted it. It is thin, light and very easy to hold with one hand, even for me and I have a disability affecting my hands. In fact this is the most comfortable tablet I have ever used. If this still worked with Kindle, it would be ideal for reading. I also have to admit the picture on this brilliant. It was extremely sharp and clear at least on the higher settings. My son usually turned the brightness down to get more battery life from it. When we first got it, the tablet was pretty quick as well. Another good thing is this does work with Google Play without problems. We have found some cheaper unbranded tablets have a cheap unlicensed version of Google Play - or none at all meaning you can install any apps from them. We had no problems with compatibility on apps. I would also note that unbranded cases and accessories for this are easy to find at reasonable ...

The Book of Riley - Mark Tufo 27/11/2014

A cross between Homeward Bound and 28 Days Later

The Book of Riley - Mark Tufo It took me awhile to get into Mark Tufo's books, despite the fact that they have quite following among readers of post apocalyptic fiction. To be honest, I don't think I would have ever given his books a chance if I hadn't ended up with one as part of anthology. I'd read rave reviews, but his main series includes a pop tart loving vampire, an America Marine with his family and a farting bulldog named Henry in the midst of zombie apocalypse. The premise hardly had me wanting to rush out and buy it. But somehow, once I started reading I ended up hooked. Tufo has a strange ability to take the absolutely ridiculous and make it seem plausible, and if not entirely plausible, at least highly entertaining. So the fact that Tufo was the author, and the main character apparently an American Bulldog ( although several of the little pictures show a Staffordshire Bull Terreir type dog) I had to give it a try. The Book of Riley is told in first person perspective - or should I say first dog perspective? The main characters for this book are all animals. There is Riley, an American Bulldog with the typical loyalty, courage and heart of most bully breeds. Ben-Ben is a Yorkshire Terrier who had been terribly abused before being adopted from the local pound by Riley's human family. He's yappy, annoying, and bundle of nerves ( and excrement) but in his own way as brave as Riley and determined to protect the surviving members of his human family at all costs. Patches, the cat is.... well a cat. ...

Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead - Rebecca L Johnson 27/10/2014

Gruesome, gory and perfect for Halloween.

Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead - Rebecca L Johnson Finding good non- fiction for boys can be a nightmare, but the fact is many boys really prefer non-fiction to fiction. My sons do have an interest in zombies - and zombie non-fiction is nearly impossible to come buy. I have several books on diseases my son thinks might be useful in creating a zombie virus, a couple on the folklore of zombies, but only three which have any type of real life zombies, and this is by far the best. If you are looking for humans rising from the grave - this is going to disappoint. Then again if you are looking for tales of humans rising from the grave - non-fiction really isn't the place to look. I have classed this book as a science book, and this is the way it is presented. Other than perhaps the title, there is no sensationalism, and the author certainly does not stretch the truth for a good story. This book is about parasites, fungi and one virus that invades the host's brain and control at least some of the hosts behaviour. Every parasite a pathogen mentioned is very real. Most of the hosts in this book are invertebrates, and these stories are the most extreme. There is a wasp which uses venom to control the brain of cockroach. Once stung the insect is not quite paralysed - it can walk, but only where the wasp leads it. The wasp leads it to a den, lays an egg on the wasp's body and seals it up in a den. The cockroach remains alive while the larvae hatches, burrows under its skin and slowly eats it from the inside out. The victim of the ...

G3 Ferrari G10006 Delizia Pizza Oven 20/10/2014

" The best Pizza in the whole world"

G3 Ferrari G10006 Delizia Pizza Oven Good points: *Better pizza than any takeaway we have tried, including Pizza Express. * 2-4 minutes per pizza * can be used for some other items - such as cookies. * reliable after 6 months of very frequent use. Bad points: *Difficult to clean. * Not safe for children to use. * smokes when in use. *can not be used for frozen pizza unless it is thawed first. *Not safe for non-stick cookware *pizza stone may absorb odours or flavours. * Best for thin - medium crusts. I love pizza and so does my oldest son. My youngest son can take it or leave it, but the best chance of getting him to eat it is to let him make it himself. Our oven makes awful pizza though. Yes I know the poor workman blames the tools, but the main oven just does not get enough heat to the bottom and despite using several different pans, I never been able to achieve restaurant quality pizza crusts. I was very hesitant to buy this because it is quite expensive. I pad £99.99 from Amazon. After using this once the whole family agreed it was money well spent. The title comes from my son's comment. My husband said - "That was delicious, and I don't even like pizza - can we have more tomorrow?" The whole family agrees is better than Dominoes, Pizza Hut or Pizza Express. The children no longer ask for takeaway. We haven't bought a pizza out since we got this. The savings from not eating out have easily covered the initial purchase price. Size The G3 Ferrari G10006 Delizia Pizza Oven is available in red or black. ...

Ebola K: A Terrorism Thriller - Bobby Adair 06/10/2014

Realistic horror book, but with inspirational characters as well.

Ebola K: A Terrorism Thriller - Bobby Adair I came across this little gem while searching for a non-fiction children's book on ebola for my youngest son. I am afraid I would not have given this a second glance if I hadn't noticed the author's name. I've read Adair's first series "Slow Burn" and always found them difficult to put down. He isn't a very well known author yet, as he is self published, but each book he writes is better than the last ( and I gave his first book 5 stars), so I thought I would give it a try. Had it been anyone else I would have written it off as yet another kindle book jumping on the Ebola band wagon, but I suspect this book was started before the current epidemic. Either that or he can write very well in a hurry. Ebola K is billed as a terrorism thriller. I would not say that is inaccurate, but it does short-change the book a bit. It is a thriller, without a doubt, and a very well written fast paced one. It does deal with terrorism, but also with humanitarianism. The book revolves around two main characters, both with much in common but some very major differences as well. Both main characters are idealistic young men, both want to change the world, but they will go about it in very different ways. One will become an aid worker - the other a terrorist. Both boys will eventually end up in a small village in Uganda - where the fate of the world may be decided when ebola makes the leap to fully airborne. This isn't as unlikely as one might think. Airborne transmission has already been proven ...

Numatic Henry HVR200 04/10/2014

The vacuum that leaves a smile on everyone's face.

Numatic Henry HVR200 Quick points - if you are in a hurry * Very reliable, nearly impossible to break * Excellent suction, sucks up pet hair, feathers, sand, gravel food even socks and pencils. * Long electric cable * Requires bags but these last for ages and are quite inexpensive * Easy to maintain - the filter never gets dirty if you the right bags. * Easy to find inexpensive attachments * Louder than some vacuums * Heavy * Does not include roller brush attachment * Not fun to find objects hovered up by mistake in that huge bag. My Experience : Prior to buying Henry, I had owned a Morphy Richards vacuum for about five years , and I had been quite happy with it. True the filters were a nightmare to clean, but it did the job, and I thought it did a very good job at that, at least until I saw the difference with our new Henry. I would have continued using the Morphy Richards, I'm not one to replace a product unless I have to, but once again, I had no choice. My husband decided to remove the filter, but failed to notice the wee door at the top. Instead he thought the whole upper part of the canister twisted off and managed to make one solid piece into two. Brute strength does have its limitations at times. At any rate- I needed a new vacuum, picked out a few options and called in the expert - Nar2 for advice. One advantage to being a regular review writer is that you quickly realise that some members are experts in certain areas. I've often recommended Nar2's reviews to anyone buying a ...

Total Recall - Pippa Mattinson 11/09/2014

Excellent advice for training the perfect recall

Total Recall - Pippa Mattinson 'Total Recall' is 248 pages devoted to one topic only - teaching your dog to come when called. This might sound a little boring, and to be perfectly honest, it was at times, but I still feel this is one of the best books I have come across on training. True it only teaches you to train one thing, but many of the tips can be adapted to other behaviours if you wish and a solid recall is, in my opinion, the single most important thing you can train your dog. I bought this book because it has been ages since I had a puppy, and I am currently trying to train a pup, not just as a companion but also to assist me with some disability related issues. Because I am disabled, a rock solid recall is an absolute must. I am physically unable to chase or catch my dog. I have never had any problem with this as adult with my previous dogs - in fact I have had my dogs trained to the point that if they were in mid chase after a squirrel or rabbit a single command would have them stopping in the tracks and running back to me. But I am no longer to use all of my old techniques, and with my situation,, I simply can not afford to get this wrong. It is ever so much easier to teach a puppy a good recall then to try to retrain an older dog with bad habits. This book is written in such a manner that it is useful to an experienced trainer, but would also be completely suited to a new owner with their first ever dog and no prior experience. Everything is broken down step by step. The author is also ...

Beaphar Salmon Oil 03/09/2014

Adds flavour and vitamins - may improve demodectic mange.

Beaphar Salmon Oil I read up a lot on the benefits of fish oils when my children were babies, and as a result my children have been taken Haliorange most of their lives. One of the main benefits is meant to be increased brain function, whether it works or not is hard to say as one never knows what they would have been like without supplements, but this is something that I feel benefits health overall for both people and pets. I wasn't keen to give my dogs human vitamins though, as I had a friend who did so with disastrous results, so I started looking for dogs supplements. I found salmon oil was highly recommended, contains both Omega 3 and 6 , and is reputed to have a range of health benefits. Best of all, many sources said it might improve demodectic mange. I chose this particular product because it was 100% salmon oil and very reasonably priced - about £6 from Amazon for 425 ml. As I only use a tablespoon or less per feeding - this will actually last quite some time. I was a bit worries buying this. I hate the smell of fish. Thankfully this does not have a fish odour at all, in fact there is almost no smell to this - at least not to a human. The dogs tend to pick up the smell right away. My next worry was whether my fussy eaters would like it. My dogs are incredibly fussy. They won't eat fish unless it is cooked with lemon and butter, they won't eat several types of dog foods and treats, they insist on beef being well done. Yes I know, completely my fault as every dog I have ever owned was ...

A Dog Who's Always Welcome: Assistance and Therapy Dog Trainers Teach You How to Socialize and Train Your Companion Dog - Lorie Long 21/08/2014

A book that is not always welcome.

A Dog Who's Always Welcome: Assistance and Therapy Dog Trainers Teach You How to Socialize and Train Your Companion Dog - Lorie Long My husband isn't big on gifts. I don't feel they are necessary to prove love, and it simply makes more sense for me to choose what I want for holidays as I always want books and after Treasure Island he'd be lost. Two months ago though, out of the blue he decided to surprise me with a new puppy. I am sure he knew how desperately I missed my old male staffy and while we did get an older female, she ended up preferring him to me, and never did take to being indoors for long. Resnov was bought primarily as a companion, but now that I have him, I decided he might be able to learn to offer some assistance to me with my disability as well. So I combed the internet for books on training assistance dogs. Sadly such a thing does not seem to exist. Wait a minute you may be thinking isn't this book about training assistance dogs? Sadly it is not. The Amazon blurb tells us this book : "goes beyond typical behavioral training and basic commands and covers: •Evaluating your dog and recognizing traits that will affect her needs •Using reward-based processes to teach complex behaviors and self-discipline •Creating a socialization program that makes your dog focused on you and confident in different environments •Reading your dog so you can anticipate her reactions and keep her focused on your directions With these sophisticated training techniques, you'll turn your family pet into a sociable, take-anywhere dog who will always be welcome! " In my opinion it fails miserably in each and ...

St Patrick's Way Stables 15/08/2014

Perfect way to see the Co Down countryside

St Patrick's Way Stables After I became disabled there were some things I just accepted were part of my past, but not something I would be able to do again. Horseback riding was one of them. It was something I once loved, but not something I ever thought I would do again. But as my son is fascinated with horses, I decided that they shouldn't miss out just because I could no longer participate, and decided to try to arrange a pony riding experience for them. My husband surprised us all by finding a stable willing to cater to my disabilities and take all of us on an hour long trek. He surprised me even more that he went - he doesn't like to admit it but he isn't comfortable with horses or airplanes, and horses do seem to know when you lack confidence. So we had one adult who had only ridden once in his life and disliked it immensely, one disabled adult, and two young children with no riding experience whatsoever, it wasn't going to be an easy few pounds for the owner, and to top it off we used coupons from the visitor's attractions books so they certainly were not making a fortune with us. When we arrived at the stables we were early so had a few minutes to wait but we were made comfortable and filled in the forms. A lesson was just wrapping up and I was already quite happy with the place as I could see the lesson was well run and the staff had an obvious concern for the animals involved as one carefully applied sunscreen to the nose of pied horse. We were all fitted with riding helmets, and the owner ...

Summer Holidays: Best Memories and Places 15/07/2014

Sometimes the best holidays are close to home

Summer Holidays: Best Memories and Places This summer didn't start out very promising. I haven't been very well lately, and have had a lot of difficulty getting out for anything other than the usual hospital visits. We didn't go any place exotic or expensive, but this has still been my best summer holiday ever. We used to take the children to Scotland for a summer holiday, but having more or less inherited a relative's caravan, and with travel getting more and more difficult for me, we've have not ventured far from home the last few years. This year we did the usual caravan holiday on the seaside, and although it was exhausting we had a wonderful time. We found a lovely cove where the children can play and the dog can run, which is almost always deserted, the boys had a wonderful day at the Armed Forces Day in Newtonards and had what may be their last visit to the only Aquarium in Northern Ireland ( It very well may close after the summer). We had the usual board games and stories, picnics and days sitting in the sand making sand castles etc... it mightn't sound very exciting, but it what memories are made of for me. But all of this doesn't really distinguish it much from last year. Two things have really made my summer. The first was a wonderful trek on horseback with St Patrick's Way stables. I rode a lot when I was young, but never thought I would again. My husband arranged it all and while getting on the horse was difficult, once there all I had to do was sit, and the owners/ staff were so very helpful. They ...
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