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Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton)
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URBAN ARMOR GEAR Case for iPhone 6 (4.7 Display) Orange
URBAN ARMOR GEAR Case for iPhone 6 (4.7 Display) Orange
Price: CDN$ 34.26
8 used & new from CDN$ 24.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective, Dec 17 2014
I have seen and tested a number of iPhone cases. Some are rather more cosmetically attractive without being too effective whilst others increase the weight you are carrying around, either due to their battery boosting abilities or just because of their construction. However, this impressive little beast suffers from none of these vices. Constructed from a strong composite material, it weighs in, unbelievably, at just one ounce!

Being moulded, the gaps for the camera, charging point etc are in exactly the right places so as not to impede operation. The screen protector supplied with the case is similarly designed with gaps for the camera and operating button and applies to the screen very easily, again unlike some so called screen protectors I have used. One day Apple are going to start supplying phones with toughened screens, but you see enough with cracked screens at present to understand that this is a real problem currently. However, meantime this case and screen protector will provide adequate protection and the small lip on the case is a useful feature which provides an extra measure of protection for the screen.

Aesthetically this is a very tidy case which looks good as well as protecting your iPhone without significantly adding to it’s bulk. Neither does it intrude on the screen in any way which, again, some other cases do. Overall this a very good iPhone case and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

This was kindly sent to me to test and write an objective review.

iPhone 5 Wallet Case - Holds 9 Cards - Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather - Tan - Quickdraw by Huskk
iPhone 5 Wallet Case - Holds 9 Cards - Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather - Tan - Quickdraw by Huskk
Offered by HUSKK Canada
Price: CDN$ 65.00
2 used & new from CDN$ 65.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and Effective Premium Case, Dec 17 2014
I have tested a fair few iPhone cases, and in terms of appearance and practicality, many fall short of the ideal. However, I have been really impressed with the Huskk which has no apparent faults and is a really smart design. It is a shell type case which encases the back and sides of the phone. It is made of a hard, rubber type compound and has cutouts for the charging point, camera etc. Hence the problem often encountered with leather cases, where the holes are not in quite the right place, is avoided.

The leather on the back, apart from providing an added layer of protection in case of dropping, looks really attractive. Stated to be made from Italian leather, it looks, feels and, indeed, smells very good. Again this is in contrast to cheaper imitations, many of which are clearly not authentic leather even if claimed to be so. There is a slot in the leather for credit cards or money, but capacity is very limited and I would personally not put more than one or two items in it for fear of stretching the leather.

I have not tried it, but I would imagine this case is effective if dropped as the compound it is made of has a little give in it, which will provide some shock absorption. Ideally I would consider adding a clear cover over the screen to protect against scratching or possible cracking which is something iPhones are rather prone to.

Overall this is a top end case, well thought out which will add a certain something to your iPhone. Certainly not the cheapest, but basically you get what you pay for.

Interlude
Interlude
by Rupert Smith
Edition: Paperback
11 used & new from CDN$ 6.16

5.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Novel, Dec 6 2014
Ce commentaire est de: Interlude (Paperback)
Helen, a housewife with two young children, becomes interested in her genealogy. To be specific her paternal grandfather, who her parents have not spoken to for many years, but who has achieved past fame as an acclaimed novelist. Intrigued by the wall of silence and hostility she meets from her parents she sets out to meet Edward Barton and is quickly enrolled as his future archivist.

As Jenny delves deeper into her grandfather's papers she starts to uncover skeletons which make most family's scandals fade into insignificance as secrets emerge covering the preceding three generations, and the revelations get bigger and bigger. She comes to understand just why her parents are so reluctant to talk about their own parents and why they are so distant towards her. Meanwhile Jenny has plenty of drama unfolding in her own life to deal with.

This is an impressive novel and the narrative switches between Jenny in the present day and Edward talking through the medium of his diaries. It certainly seized my interest from the start and does not lose momentum throughout. More than anything else I would say that this was an unconventional but very intense love affair which transcends both the accepted customs and, indeed the laws of the period in which it is set. Highly recommended.

The Other Shakespeare
The Other Shakespeare
Price: CDN$ 4.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and Authentic View of a Woman's Options, Dec 1 2014
This novel purports to take up where Virginia Woolf left off in questioning what would have happened had Shakespeare been born a woman. It focuses on William's older sister, Judith, and her struggles to become accepted as a playwright in the theatre of the Sixteenth Century.

The story begins with her as a child writing plays for her brothers and sisters to perform in the woods during the summer. William is her constant companion and soulmate as they are growing up and as anxious as Judith to perform if not write! Judith has taught herself reading and writing as unlike her brothers she nor her sisters are allowed to go to school.

Sent to service in London, Judith falls in with Leicester's men, a troop of actors who perform in the local theatres. She writes many plays (which the reader will recognise) but the leader of the troop refuses to let her join the players and is disinterested in taking up her plays for performance. Meanwhile back at home the family have gotten into debt, from which her mother has arranged for them to be extracted from by an arranged marriage for Judith.

Judith's future is bleak. Even beloved William appears to think she should give up her ambitions and turn to traditional marriage as the only way forward. The moral seems to be it was tough being a woman with non traditional aspirations in the Sixteenth Century.

The novel is well written and the main characters are well developed - from Judith's pious mother to her lover. It provides an interesting and authentic view of a woman's options in this period and the reaction of one strong and ambitious woman to them. This is a good read if you enjoy historical novels and I would recommend it.

A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker (2014) Paperback
A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker (2014) Paperback
by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing Julia's Journey, Nov. 29 2014
Julia is.a successful patent attorney in New York when she starts hearing voices, well to be more exact, one voice, that of a woman who is constantly questioning her. Initially she does exactly what most Americans would do under similar circumstances which is book an appointment with a psychiatrist. He, naturally, prescribes pills. However, encouraged by her close and non materialistic friend Amy, she then travels to Burma to see her half brother, U Ba in her search for answers.

What follows is Julia's quest to discover her true self as she and U Ba travel around this beautiful country gradually unravelling the mystery of her inner voice. This is a sequel to a previous successful book, set ten years previously. However, I was not aware of this when I started reading and this is very much a standalone story.

This is quite hard book to categorise and I was not at all sure how I really felt about it for quite a while. However, towards the end, as Julia begins to see things clearly, the reader also appreciates how it all fits together. This is not a spiritual book, although there is a fair measure of the Buddhist outlook on life within its pages. This is all about Julia looking at her own life and coming to realise what is really important to her. It is a journey which I appreciated taking with her and which I would recommend to others.

Brothers in Blood: Cato & Macro: Book 13
Brothers in Blood: Cato & Macro: Book 13
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Saga, Nov. 28 2014
This is the latest of Simon Scarrow's tales of the Roman heroes Prefect Cato and Centurion Macro. In this saga they have been sent to Britannia. They, and their much depleted men, including the feared Blood Crows, have the rather ignoble task of guarding the baggage train. In reality they are seeking the spy who has been sent to ensure Emperor Claudius' final conquest of the tribes of Britain does not succeed.

Their task within the Roman army leads them into many tough situations, dealing with Caratacus and the well fortified British tribes. Even once he is defeated Caratacus refuses to give up and escapes to raise the Brigantes, supposedly allies of Rome against the tribes.

Cato begins to smell a rat when the Brigantes' Queen is deposed by a faction of her people. Where did the silver necessary to buy their locality come from? Cato and Macro have to fight hard battles before they can even begin to solve that mystery and hopefully put an end to Claudius's problems-in Britannia at least.

This is a riotous romp and if you have enjoyed the escapades of Cato and Macro in this author's earlier novels I am certain you'll enjoy this latest offering. Even if you are new to Scarrow this is still a very enjoyable stand alone novel but one which I feel sure will send you to seek out more of his excellent writing.

Remember, Remember
Remember, Remember
by Lisa Cutts
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 5.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Crafted Police Procedural, Nov. 20 2014
Ce commentaire est de: Remember, Remember (Paperback)
I have not read the previous book featuring DC Nina Foster, during which she presumably received the injury which has kept her off work for many months. With some books this could be an irritation as the author constantly harps back to previous events. However, with Remember Remember, although there are references, presumably to the previous book, this is very much a standalone volume and I had not problem in reading it as such.

On her return to work Nina is assigned to a Cold Case unit. New information has come in about the Wickerstead train crash in 1964, and despite the half a century time lapse, many of the participants are still alive although rather in their dotage. In the meantime other events are occurring. There is an unresolved murder and additionally several young people have died, apparently from drug overdoses. Nina’s natural curiosity means she wants a finger in every pie. She soon starts asking herself whether there could possibly be a linkage between these, on the face of it unrelated events.

Nina is an interesting character, somewhat damaged, which is often the way with the protagonists of police procedural type books. In this case her childhood background and, in particular, a traumatic event during that period, have left lasting issues including a damaged sister. Nina has to tackle various internal conflicts as she struggles to bring normality to her life and make her relationship with her policeman boyfriend, Bill, work in a conventional way.

I enjoyed this book. The tempo is good and the reader’s interest is kept alive throughout. If anything I thought the very end was a little perfunctory, as this author clearly does not feel the need to tie up every little loose end as some do. However, if anything this could be counted as a positive. Roll on the next Nina Foster offering!

The After House
The After House
Price: CDN$ 1.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Tale, Well Delivered, Nov. 20 2014
Ce commentaire est de: The After House (Kindle Edition)
Michael Phillip Cash has tackled a number of different genres in a relatively short career – horror, sci fi and ghost stories. However, he keeps returning to the ghost theme and, having read them all so far I would judge this to be the best effort to date.

An old house on Long Island is the setting as Remy, a newly single woman and her daughter move in. However, the house has another occupant, well several actually. There is the solitary shade of a nineteenth century whaling captain, and, in a slightly different dimension, a couple of other beings overseeing the whole scenario.

The author has a good feel for this sort of tale. There is a steady tempo and a gradual increase in tension. One can really feel the emotions of the captain as he swings between confusion and anger, and his actions vary between passivity and violence. I do not think the latter part of the book was its strongest, but that is not to take anything away from an interesting tale delivered well.

Death of a Spy (A Mark Sava Spy Novel Book 4)
Death of a Spy (A Mark Sava Spy Novel Book 4)
Price: CDN$ 5.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably The Best Yet, Nov. 11 2014
Death of a Spy is the fourth Mark Sava novel and possibly the best to date. This time round we find Sava in an unaccustomed domestic situation, married to on-off girlfriend, the former Daria Buckingham and with a baby. However, he is soon embroiled in a new challenge as one of his employees is found dead under suspicious services and he is persuaded to take on an assignment for the CIA.

This time the action starts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where the recently wed Savas are living but quickly moves on to Tbilisi, Georgia and then to Mark’s old stamping ground of Baku, Azerbaijan, a country he was expelled from in a previous story. As usual the author writes with authority about this part of the world with which he is quite clearly very familiar and really breathes life into his settings so that the reader can almost feel that they are there.

This is a fast moving and interesting story of international intrigue and double dealing, which keeps the attention without being unnecessarily overly complicated so that it is hard to follow. It is bang up to date in that it refers to recent world events including the annexation of the Crimea by Russia. I have commented before that it does help to have read the previous Sava books, but this I think, is very much a standalone volume. Both Daria and Sava’s colleague, John Decker, who are significant players in the previous books, have almost walk on parts here. This is all about Sava himself.

I read through this story very quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!

IMEDEEN Tan Optimizer
IMEDEEN Tan Optimizer
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 88.33

3.0 out of 5 stars Protection at a Price, Oct. 27 2014
Imedeen Tan Optimizer claims that taking one of these pills each day for a month will fortify the skin to give it increased protection against the sun. Given that the object is to ingest antioxidants which have been proven to have this sort of beneficial effect, there is little doubt that they are effective to a degree although in practice, at this time of year, I have not been able to prove the claim by observing an improvement.

The active ingredients are Vitamins A, C and E together with Lycopene and Lutein. However, I already take a general vitamin pill - I use CVS Pharmacy's Multi which I obtained in the USA. However, although a good daily vitamin pill its contents are fairly typical of what you would expect from such a general Multivitamin. Out of interest I compared the content of Imadeen with this and to my surprise this was the result. Percentage RDA for Imadeen first, then CVS's.

Vitamin A 42% 70%
Vitamin C 56% 150%
Vitamin E 83% 150%

The Lycopene content in CVS was only about 20% of Imadeen's, and there was no Lutein. However, the cost per tablet was about 1/20 of Imedeen. I am not sure how essential these two ingredients are in the Imadeen cocktail, but they can be obtained in a daily dose providing about three times what the Tan Optimizer gives for no more than 15c a day.

My conclusion would be that this product supplies a useful mix of ingredients which should certainly help to protect from sun damage, but unless money is not a consideration, it is easy to get a supply of the ingredients in much larger quantities at a fraction of the cost. If you are already taking a multivitamin it's worth checking to see to what degree you are `doubling up' on what you are already taking.

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