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Gone - Lisa Gardner 23/11/2017

Don't Go Until You've Read This

Gone - Lisa Gardner I was really looking forward to this one, having read, reviewed & thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Gardner novels in the past. I wasn’t disappointed, so it’s one I’d give the thumbs up to for fans of the author and/or the genre. Gone falls within the crime thriller of the American ilk. On the cover is the tagline “Your whole world can change in a heartbeat…” This novel was out of sync to others I’ve read, so it took a little adjustment as Gone is an earlier novel before the likes of the most recent Right Behind You also featuring some of these characters. Nonetheless, enjoyment and understanding wasn’t at all hindered, so let’s get on with it. … Premise … We’re introduced to ex-FBI profiler, Pierce Quincy, and his wife Rainie Conner. They’ve had some struggles in their marriage since a nasty case recently involving a child neither of them could save in Astoria, the killer never brought to justice. Rainie started turning to drinking, Quincy out of touch with how to handle her reaction to the case, and neither of them able to talk to each other properly and understand the cracks that were forming. One night, she disappears, simply vanishing in the middle of the night after she went for a drive. She does that some nights when she can’t sleep, and the first assumption ion is that maybe she went to a bar to drink, but she doesn’t return and Quincy gets worried. He gets more worried still when her car is found, but there’s no sign of his wife. It’s time to call in the cops. Enter ...

Count to Ten - Karen Rose 01/11/2017

Counting Down To Murder

Count to Ten - Karen Rose Having read, reviewed and really enjoyed Karen Rose novels before, I was quite looking forward to this one. Count To Ten falls within the crime thriller genre of the American ilk. On the cover is the tagline: “your time is running out” (count to ten). We’re also told this is The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. … Premise … A burnt down house. A body, burnt beyond recognition. Tell-tale signs of an incendiary device, a separate small fire lit also in a waste-paper bin. Then another fire, another body, the same signature details. Enter Reed Soliday, a Lieutenant at the Chicago fire department. He meets with Detective Mia Mitchell from homicide at the precinct, finding himself being paired with her while her partner is on leave recuperating in hospital. The two make an unlikely pair and they don’t get off on the right foot, but between them they will need all of the experience and skills they can bring to bear on what seems like a string of deadly arson cases. Soliday and Mitchell go through the scenes piece by piece, painstakingly trying to tie together what’s happened, who was involved, what the possible connections and motive may be. It’s possible there could be links to the foster care system, that perhaps they’re looking at revenge killings. But one thing is for sure: there’s little evidence to really go on and this killer doesn’t show any signs of stopping any time soon. … // … The premise was made intriguing by the characters and the smaller twists and turns ...

Vaseline Lip Therapy Sugar Coated 03/10/2017

Sugary But Certainly Not Sweet

Vaseline Lip Therapy Sugar Coated Anyone who knows me, or has been around me for longer than an hour, will know I’m a bit of a Vaseline addict. Google it. It’s a real thing (I kid you not…) I get dry lips and this stuff has probably not only created the problem but has left me dependent on it. That said, I love it and prefer the classic original or Rosy Lips for moisturisation, but I also get tempted by limited editions. … The Vaseline Sugar Coated balm is one such example of a more recent limited edition ‘flavour’ to the range, coming in a pretty pink and white tin that appeals both to your feminine side and your sweet tooth at the same time. The product describes itself as providing “Delectable lip therapy” for “deliciously divine lips”. As per the other varieties, the tin shape and format is the same, and we get 20g of the good stuff. It’s packed quite hard, though it’s softer in warm temperatures - note: it does melt if it’s sunny outside and it’s kept in your pocket! As a result, it tends to last a very long time, making it better value for money. As with most novelties, the initial price was quite steep being more towards, and even over in some cases, the £3 mark. I was lucky enough, or unlucky perhaps given what I’ll say next, to spot this for around £1 in a discount store on sale. I think that this particular version is now coming off the shelves, as it’s harder to spot online aside from some wishful thinkers attempting to sell single pots for over £10 on eBay. … The balm itself is very light ...

Cross Fire - James Patterson 12/08/2017

Not One Worth Crossing Paths With...

Cross Fire - James Patterson Having read various James Patterson novels, I was quite looking forward to this one. Sadly, the expectation didn’t meet the reality, so Cross Fire isn’t one I’d necessarily recommend. Cross Fire falls within the crime thriller genre of the American ilk, and the author needs no introduction as he’s a big name in this speciality. On the cover we’re told this is “from the world’s bestselling thriller writer”, along with the following tagline to draw us in : “Alex Cross takes on the ultimate case, and faces his deadliest enemy”. Not overly original, which sadly is somewhat telling of the book itself. … Premise … We are introduced to Detective Alex Cross, now happily settled with the lovely woman he intends to marry, Brianna Stone. Things are about to get busy in his line of work when two corrupt public figures, a Washington DC congressman and a lobbyist, are assassinated. It looks like whoever was responsible was highly accurate and skilled, a professional killer or killers. Cross is on the scene to investigate, but there’s little in the way of evidence. But then another body turns up, and it looks like this pro has a mission, or at least a message, to send to the crooks and underhanded public figures they’re crossing off their list. Enter FBI agent Max Siegel. Or is it? We’re told early on, from the outset really, that another man has taken on his identity by means of plastic surgery. That’s right. A nemesis of Alex Cross has totally reinvented himself as someone else ...

Guilty Wives - James Patterson 03/08/2017

Not So Believably Guilty

Guilty Wives - James Patterson Having read, and loved, previous Patterson & Ellis novels, I was really looking forward to this when I came across it recently. While it was still engaging and easy enough to tempt me to turn each page, I wouldn’t say it was an example of their best work. Guilty Wives falls within the crime thriller genre of the American ilk. On the cover we are told that this is “The Sunday Times No.1 Bestseller”, alone with the following, somewhat predictable, tagline : “The holiday of a lifetime becomes a fight for survival”. … Premise … We are first introduced to Abbie Elliot, a woman sat in a prison cell in Paris with a murder charge over her head. Then we’re shifted back, back to the fateful trip to Monte Carlo, a group of four female friends letting their hair down for sun, drinks, gambling and mingling. But these aren’t ordinary women. They are rich, or at least have rich husbands, some more than others. On this night, they board a luxury private yacht; Abbie gets chatting to a famous movie star, the other women each find themselves a man or other interest to entertain themselves while the drinks flow and laughter echoes out onto the ocean. A few hours later, there’s no more laughter. People from the yacht and other neighbouring boats are dragged out by police and armed forces, with no one aware of what’s going on. And then they learn that a man and his friend have been murdered. Two men who were, up until a few hours ago, partying with the four wealthy wives in Monte ...

Cold Case - Faye Kellerman 26/07/2017

A Cold Case, But Not Quite Her Coolest Work

Cold Case - Faye Kellerman Having read and reviewed other Kellerman novels, I was quite looking forward to this one when I came across it in the library. I recognised the characters involved and got a sense of familiarity just from the cover, and while it perhaps wasn’t her best work, it was still an enjoyable read. Cold Case falls within the crime thriller genre of the America ilk. On the cover we are told this is “a Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus thriller”, along with a quote from the Observer: “Brutal, well plotted and fast moving”. … Premise … Years ago a much loved teacher, Bennett Little, was murdered, his killer never brought to justice. Genoa Greeves, one of his pupils from years gone by who has since found success in the software industry, steps up to offer the police a financial incentive to reopen the cold case. Why now? Because she comes across a murder of someone called Eckerling whose circumstances are strangely similar to those of Little. Execution style gunshot, stuffed into a car… Perhaps it’s coincidence, perhaps not. It’s been 18 years since Little was murdered and the leads are cold, but the best detectives are on the case. Enter LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker, and his team Marge and Oliver. They try to piece together what little clues they have, tracing down dead ends and digging up more questions than answers. Are the cases linked? Will they ever find Little’s murderer? … // … I thought the premise had a reasonable amount of originality to it in that it was given twists, ...

Lion (DVD) 10/06/2017

A Gentle Roar & A Long Journey Home

Lion (DVD) Lion doesn’t need all that much introduction as its cinematic release in 2016 caused quite a stir. I wanted to see for myself what the fuss was all about, though I must admit I avoided reading into the premise so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Lion falls within the drama/biography genres and was directed by Garth Davis, who hasn’t particularly worked on much or anything recognisable, so he’s certainly made a name for himself with this one. Lion is actually an adaptation of the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley. I’ve not read this so I unfortunately can’t comment on the book-to-film element. … Premise … [ The Search Begins ] We are introduced to the little Saroo in India in 1985, who at only 5 years old finds himself separated from his brother and travelling on a train. He ends up lost, lonely and before long thousands of miles away from his home. He doesn’t know exactly where that is, or where he is now, in Kolkata 1,500 miles away; no one seems to be able or willing to help him. In fact, he meets with those who want to do him harm and he finds himself going day to day just trying to survive. There’s no way to contact his family or get home, so he is totally stranded on his own in the middle of nowhere. Saroo finds himself taken in at an orphanage and eventually a couple take interest in adapting him. The Australian couple are a world away from anything he’s ever known before, and when they take him back to Australia he is thrown into a totally new ...

Minky Smart Fit Ironing Board Cover 22/05/2017

A Minky Cover For Manky Ironing

Minky Smart Fit Ironing Board Cover I don’t know anyone who enjoys ironing, but it’s a necessary evil. I often find that covers don’t last all that well and start to wear through after a while, or don’t fit and end up being too loose or too tight. The Minky Smartfit has been a decent choice for the price so I wanted to do a quick review of it here. … Features … The Smartfit cover is designed to fit all standard boards, with measurements up to 125 x 45cm. It’s both designed & manufactured within the UK and is widely available in various stores and online. It has a thicker backing made of felt, described as being “luxuriously thick”, for “a smoother, faster finish”. This should, in theory, “optimise your ironing comfort”. It claims to be “durable and machine washable”. This is available in various designs, most of which seem quite bold and contemporary to brighten and liven up your home and, one assumes, put some appeal back into ironing. Perish the thought. … My Experience … The elastic edging is “pre-tensioned” and should enable this to be a one-size-fits-all cover for standard boards. I’ve found this to fit reasonably well without being too tight nor too gappy* around the sides (*possibly a made up word). You just need to give it a quick iron over before first use. In terms of the board fittings, it states fitting boards up to 125 x 45cm, which is about 49” x 18”. I like the design for being a bit different, even if it’s not entirely to my taste. It does freshen things up a bit and add a dash of ...

Falling Down (DVD) 15/05/2017

Traffic Jams & Bad Burgers Bring Out The Thug In Michael Douglas

Falling Down (DVD) Falling down falls within the crime thriller / drama genres and was released around 24 years ago now. This was directed by Joel Schumacher, who has worked on numerous pieces before (including The Lost Boys) and after Falling Down, so he had experience to bring to … Premise … [“The adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world”] We are introduced to William Foster, aka. D-Fens as a result of his licence plate, who is on his way to his ex-wife’s house. It’s his daughter’s birthday and he’s keen to see her, but the day just goes from bad to worse. He ends up ditching his car in the middle of a traffic jam and opting to walk, getting frustrated at the delay and the inconvenience and the building LA heat. Wanting to make a phone call, he goes to a shop and finds it’s harder than it should be to get change to use the phone. Again, it’s another small thing to tick him off and he snaps, taking a baseball bat to the store. When approached by two thugs, he takes the baseball bat to them. But they want revenge, and D-Fens just isn’t in the mood to play nice anymore. As the irks and irritation of the day build, and D-Fens is late to see his daughter, he seems to reach a point of no return. He needs to vent his frustration at the world, and suddenly he finds a lot of pent up anger and annoyance to let loose. With Sergeant Prendergast on the case to hunt the owner of the car and the guy deciding to smash up a store, will D-Fens stop himself or be stopped before things ...

Sausage Party (DVD) 10/05/2017

Tasteless Burnt Offerings

Sausage Party (DVD) I was quite looking forward to this quite some time ago when the notion of a food-related CG flick starring Seth Rogen was first hinted at. I can’t say that I even had my hopes too high, because I wasn’t expecting to be wowed, just pleasantly entertained. All I can say is that this was the worst so-called comedy I had seen in a long time. This was directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, neither of whom had I come across before. Turns out the former has worked on a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine, while the latter has far more voice credits for the likes of Shrek than solid directorial experience. Perhaps that explains a few things, perhaps not. Sausage Party is predominantly a comedy, though you could argue it also falls within the adventure genre. … Premise … [ Just a little sausage, fighting for the truth. ] There’s not a great deal I can say on the storyline, so in a nutshell, it’s this: There’s a supermarket where all of the foodstuffs, from hotdog rolls and salami to cereal, are alive. They dream of the day when a customer will rescue them from the dusty shelves, when they are chosen and can move on to the real world on the other side of those automatic doors. But how much of this dream, this belief, is real? There’s a rumour that what happens to food when it leaves isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s quite horrendous. Food gets chopped, diced, seared and boiled. It’s not heavenly freedom it’s doom. One brave sausage wants a revolution. Frank wants ...

Original Source Mango and Macadamia shower gel 04/05/2017

Mango Shower Anyone?

Original Source Mango and Macadamia shower gel I do like a bit of Original Source and buy their shower gels quite regularly when I see them on offer at £1. I decided to give the mango variety a go as I was feeling a little fruity (ooer!) and find it to provide an uplifting shower experience. Original Source is a popular brand that’s easy enough to come across in most high street beauty stores, online, discount stores and supermarkets. Their range features some classic favourites and every now and again includes a special edition to tempt us towards something new. This review is for their mango shower gel, rather than mango & macadamia, given the inability to review this separately. This comes in the signature triangular shaped translucent plastic bottle that ‘sits’ on a black flip top lid. It stands out from the crowd for its deep yellow colouring, which I must admit tempted me. I wanted a shower gel that cleanses, refreshes and uplifts a little, as I tend to want a shower to energise and perk me up rather than soothe and send me to sleep. So, how does this hold up? It’s simple to dispense and the lid flips open and clicks securely closed easily with minimal mess. The gel is a reasonable consistency, well balanced so it’s neither too think nor too thick. Only a fairly small blob is needed on a shower poof/puff/floufypuff thingymabob with some water to create a decent lather. It glides smoothly over skin, feels like it’s doing a good job in terms of coverage and cleanses, and washes off without too much effort and ...

Head & Shoulders Citrus Fresh for Greasy Hair 01/05/2017

Giving Hair A Citrus-y Quick Refresh

Head & Shoulders Citrus Fresh for Greasy Hair Head & Shoulders is a well-known brand, perhaps a little dated in today’s world of endless beauty brands and innovative claims of luxurious hair. The Citrus Fresh shampoo is also anti-dandruff, which the brand is best known for, though that’s not the reason I buy it. If you’re looking to refresh your hair and cleanse it from feeling weighed down from product build-up then I’d recommend giving this a go. … Packaging … Available in 200ml and 500ml bottles, the design is quite distinctive yet understated. It’s a primarily white, opaque plastic bottle with a blue flip top lid and a blue and yellow design on the front label to show a citrus-y image to reflect the ‘flavour’ of the shampoo. The bottle stands up well on the shelf/in the shower, and I like being able to store it upside down on its lid when there’s less left in the bottle to get the remainder out more easily. It’s not too messy to dispense and it’s easy enough to do so. … The Claims … The Citrus Fresh version is “infused with a blend of citrus essences” and is designed to “remove oil and fight dandruff” with its “3 action formula” to protect, cleanse and moisturise. It is “gentle on hair and pH balanced for daily use”, and is supposedly suitable for all hair types, including coloured hair. It is approved by the British Skin Foundation, which is reassuring to know. … In Use … This shampoo is yellow in colour and of reasonably thick consistency; it’s just right to smooth onto hair and it lathers well, so you ...

The Last Mile - David Baldacci 28/04/2017

Innocence On Death Row?

The Last Mile - David Baldacci Having read and reviewed David Baldacci novels before and loved them, I was geekily excited to come across this in the library recently. It was a gripping read that didn’t let me down. The Last Mile falls within the crime thriller genre of the American ilk. On the cover we are told this is “the new Amos Decker thriller” that has sold “over 100 million copies” worldwide. The tagline reads, quite simply: “Memories can be a real killer”. … Premise … We are introduced to Melvin Mars, who was an extraordinary football player with dreams of an NFL career. That was until his parents died and he was convicted of their murder. He claimed innocence from day one and now, sitting on death row 20 years later and just about to face his own death, someone else steps forward and confesses. Enter FBI agent Peter Decker. Operating out of Quantico, Decker is part of a multidisciplinary team of different specialities to look at more peculiar cases. He sees something odd about this case, and as a former football player himself, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Mars and uncovering the truth behind this latest confession and the murder of his parents all those years ago. Decker, Bogart, Davenport, Milligan, Jamison and Davenport, an unlikely but effective team, set about meeting with Mars, following the leads and digging into the messy situation. Problem is, the leads are few and far between, and it looks like things are far more complex than they ever could have imagined. Was Mars ...

127 Hours (DVD) 23/04/2017

A Tense 127 Hours

127 Hours  (DVD) I had come across this a while ago but for some reason never really considered it as something I’d be interested in watching. In fact, I had somehow skipped over it thinking it thinking it was just about a guy getting stuck doing adventure sports of some description that I never even realised it starred James Franco. I’m glad I eventually got around to watching it recently as it was a well-acted and worthwhile film that kept me watching, as well as put me off ever venturing out climbing in the middle of nowhere on my own. This was directed by Danny Boyle, a man who needs little introduction. As the director of films like Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later… and Trainspotting, he has plenty of experience to bring to this piece. 127 hours falls within the adventure/drama/biography genres and is described on the DVD cover as “a triumphant true story”. … Premise … “There is no force more powerful than the will to live.” We are introduced to Aron Ralston, an adventurer and young man with enthusiasm, energy and a zest for discovery and fun. In 2003, he takes off mountaineering in Blue John Canyon, Utah. He takes his video recorder along to keep a record of his trip. Not long after he gets there he meets two hikers, Kristi and Megan, and shows them a hidden pool; he tempts them in to jumping off a sheer rock edge to get to the pool, which looks perilous and awful, but he knows what he’s doing and he’s done it before. They hang around for a little while, carefree and having ...

Maybelline Forever Strong Super Stay 7 Days Varnish Purple Reflects! 17/04/2017

Pretty & Glossy, But Not Forever

Maybelline Forever Strong Super Stay 7 Days Varnish Purple Reflects! I quite like giving new varnishes a go, and so far the Maybelline Forever Strong is one of my favourites. No varnish lasts 7 days without chipping, and this is no different, but I’m happy with the glossy finish, it being easy to apply and the rich colour it provides. This is the ‘Forever Strong’ varnish from Maybelline New York. On the front of the transparent label it reads ‘Super Stay Gel Nail Colour 7 Days’. It comes in a slightly curved bottle that looks sleek and contemporary. As expected, it’s the regular twist top with the brush attached. The varnish claims to be the following : “Long wear nail colour goes super impact: With super saturated pigment colour and long lasting resin formula, indulge in up to 7 days of fashion at your fingertips with lifeproof, glossy finish nails.” How does it do this? There’s a “perfect precision curved brush” and the varnish itself is apparently ‘enriched’ with iron and calcium. They do suggest using a clear base colour to prevent yellowing/staining and to extend the time the varnish lasts. Applying the varnish, they suggest one line of colour firstly down the middle of the nail from base to tip, then two strips either side. Leave this to dry before adding a second layer, then finally a top coat of clear varnish. All this is according to Maybelline’s “celebrity make-up artist”. I don’t have much patience when it comes to beauty and nail painting is no exception. Sometimes I’ll use a nail strengthener/conditioner as a base coat ...
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